Sacre Bleu! What’s Happening With The MISTRAL Ship “VLADIVOSTOK”?

Uncle Volodya says, "Nothing is so good for the morale of the troops as occasionally to see a dead General.”

Uncle Volodya says, “Nothing is so good for the morale of the troops as occasionally to see a dead General.”

Alert Internet followers of this subject – and it has its own dedicated community, both for and against – noticed almost immediately when the MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity) assignment changed from “France” to “Russia”, and the resulting speculation was instantaneous and explosive.

The “for” community was jubilant but restrained, considering this is only the expected outcome – the contract was signed in completely legal circumstances, and in fact was once touted as Russia finally making the right moves, by breaking away from its practice of purchasing state-supplied, obsolescent-on-delivery, technically-outclassed junk. More recently, the issue has become a bone growled over by the United States, which sees forestalling the delivery as a badly-needed political victory for Obama and America, whose image as a dispassionate button-pusher who can make anything happen, anywhere has suffered many dents of late. For that reason, the “against” community was incandescent with fury.

For its part, DCNS (Direction des Constructions Navales), owner of the St-Nazaire yard which built VLADIVOSTOK, was quick to deny any significance in switching the French identifier for the Russian, announcing that it was simply a required step in the Airworthiness test. This is probably true, but it has done little to calm the passions of those who believe the ships Russia legally contracted for, fulfilling its part of the bargain in every respect, should be withheld to “teach Putin a lesson”, although the “evidence” of Russian “meddling” in Ukraine has thus far turned out to be fabricated to an increasingly ridiculous degree, so much so that the Ukrainian NSDC Council recently reported an advancing column of its own armor and artillery as Russian.

vlad-003The U.S. State Department reportedly is grinding the French government under its thumb, pressuring it daily not to crack, and insisting it withhold delivery of the VLADIVOSTOK and its sister ship, and proposing wild alternatives such as NATO purchasing the ships for its own use. My, yes – that’d be a great deal for France, wouldn’t it? It could collect payment from NATO – maybe – in one hand and pay most of the money out with the other in return of advances from Russia and penalties for breach of contract. NATO would get two ships specifically designed for the Russian navy which would require extensive and expensive retrofitting to make them operable by NATO. I guess when you cling to the illusion that you have unlimited spending money – thanks to holding the world’s reserve fiat currency – your financial common sense turns to goo and seeps out your ear into your pillow while you are sleeping.

The whole farce is neatly encapsulated in a comedic piece at Yahoo, in which France’s Prime Minister squeaks pathetically that France “will not be dictated to” following Russia’s warning that it will claim compensation if France fails to complete delivery by the due date. Parody follows comedy as the article announces Moscow’s intent in asking for the merchandise it contracted and paid for is to “drive a wedge between Paris and its allies”, and that it does this knowing France’s failure to deliver the ships could damage its reputation. For shame, Moskali!!

Yes, Moscow should have a care for France’s image – after all, France has always been a stalwart guarantor of Russia’s image in the past. Turnabout is just fair play, and careful is as careful does. Insert favourite Forrest Gumpism here.

After signing a contract in which it presumably, as the supplier, factored in all time requirements to take the initial vessel from concept to reality and agreed upon a realistic delivery date – after it is crystal clear that the contracted-for vessel is complete to the last rivet and cable tie and that it is only outside influence from the American State Department (fast shaping up as a villain for the ages) that prevents the completion of the transaction and that its reasons for so doing are purely political and based on fabricated evidence – France now feels it is hard done by because its customer demands it fulfill its part of the bargain. To what a degraded and debauched system of values has the west come round in the end; one wonders how much lower we can sink. And how far away rock bottom might lie.


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355 Responses to Sacre Bleu! What’s Happening With The MISTRAL Ship “VLADIVOSTOK”?

  1. cartman says:

    A similar agreement with India over the Rafales should be reconsidered. If France can bend over for the US, then Washington can blackmail India over anything – including trade agreements – in order for them to receive their French aircraft.

    • marknesop says:

      Well, as of September 16th the deal had still not been signed, and in an embarrassing reprise of the Scorpene submarine deal, Dassault was found to be tacking on items that it says are “extra” and were not included in the cost. Add to that the devaluation in the rupee, and each aircraft is now headed for passing $120 million.

      But you’re right – there remains a possibility that India is just stalling and waiting out November to see what Paris will do. If they renege on the MISTRAL deal, India might dump the Rafale. And that would be the end for Hollande; they’d run him out of town on a rail.

  2. Drutten says:

    Hand them these glorified ro-ros already. They ships are unarmed too, but even when fully outfitted they pose no tangible danger to any NATO countries. All this bullshit is hurting my head so I’m not even going to bother going into detail why all of this is a total non-issue, lest my head explodes.

  3. davidt says:

    Tis claimed that Russian matelots have been banned from said boat:
    So let the French have them and just take the money.

    • yalensis says:

      I agree.
      Russia is going through “buyer’s remorse” anyhow.
      I fervently wish French would just back out the deal and Russia get her money back.
      But unfortunately, that probably won’t happen, and then Russia will be stuck with this leaky white elephant of a tub.
      (or as French would say “le éléphant blanc de cuve qui prend l’eau”)

    • marknesop says:

      They did say end-November. Hollande can go on praying for some dynamic to change so the decision will be taken out of his hands, but that’s not going to happen, and I believe Russia will initiate legal action promptly if delivery is not made. That might also affect the Rafale sale to India.

  4. ThatJ says:

    “To what a degraded and debauched system of values has the west come round in the end; one wonders how much lower we can sink.”

    This degraded and debauched system of values, as you put it, will eventually harden again, especially when you take into account modern civilization’s bleak future. Difficult times will force us to look after our essential needs first, thus eroding the support that society wreckers currently “enjoy”. Pseudo-humanists will also become a less prominent bunch. When you are looking after your own, the pleas of deedless humanists for us to use our resources, land and sacrifice our own posteriority so that we can satisfy their ego by taking care of the world (whilst they do nothing, excepting welcoming laws that stifle dissent against their bottomless egos) will fall on deaf ears. This does not necessarily imply less war, but it’s a good start.

    Humans and Energy

    German Army Peak Oil Study – Within 10 Years Oil Shortages May Collapse Global Economy

    And the recently released chapter 21 of Chris Martenson’s “The Crash Course”. Poland and Romania are briefly mentioned, and the American shale “miracle” is discussed in detail.

  5. Drutten says:

    Oh, while I’m in a fucking pissy mood, check this out (and the extremely ignorant comments that number in the hundreds):

    That photo set is so awfully misleading I literally can’t believe it, but it directly echoes similarly-worded news articles on the matter. Actually, the photos are the same used in these articles too, it’s just the creative captions that change from time to time.

    So what’s the deal here? Well, for starters all photos are from early this year or even last year. The top photo is of a temporary sign that was put away and be dismantled (it is now gone), the rest of the photos are from pre-games construction, with a few being from right after the games when the winter season was ending and the summer season hadn’t yet started.

    Ok, so now to the captions. Let’s take a funny example, namely the doomy-sounding “irrigation was never properly handled…” Who came up with that one I wonder? It has nothing to do with “irrigation”, it’s a muddy soon-to-be-lawn in the midst of a construction zone IN BLOODY MARCH.

    Ah, fuck it. Let’s look at some hard facts, shall we?

    Almost nothing is actually “vacant” or abandoned in any way there, I know this because I’ve kept close tabs on it. In fact I dare to say that the Sochi project stands out a lot as being one of the very few collections of shmancy Olympic sports venues that were immediately put to constant work once the “main” circus ended. For example there are ice hockey games every week in the Bolshoy Dome (it’s the home arena of HC Sochi, and its been hosting numerous tournaments, including international ditto such as Channel One Cup), there have been indoor tennis, basketball and ping pong tournaments in the other ice arenas and so on. One of them is hosting concerts and other stage performances on a weekly basis. The big Fisht arena is under re-construction to adapt it for FIFA 2018. Oh, and the entire thing is encircled by an autodrom which has hosted Formula 1, GP2 and GP3 and a whole bunch of Russian racing series races. Oh, and it does “track days” when nothing else is going on, and that attracts a lot of people.

    Anyway, as far as the peripherals go – the hotels are doing fine and it’s perfectly in line with how the seasonal things work, the roads and railroads are fine, the big amusement park appears to be doing fine and so on.

    As far as the mountain complex goes, it’s seen constant activity all summer, but obviously things won’t start for real until the 2014/15 alpine season. Oh, and Hackett opened his bungyjump center in the Mzymta valley which has been immensely popular.

    In fact, all of this information is freely available if you only bother to look for it. Just a YouTube search on Sochi reveals hundreds and hundreds of videos taken post-Olympics that show everything going on there and the conditions of things. Russian forums are full of information, peoples’ accounts and reviews, videos and photos etc. Hell, just pop over to and have a real-time look.

    Now, I wouldn’t go berserk like this over a silly Imgur post if it wasn’t for the fact that these things are recurring even in the MSM and people actually just take it at face value because “hey, it’ Russia so obviously all the negative junk you assert has to be true”. It’s like the west lives in a parallell reality.

  6. Warren says:

  7. Moscow Exile says:

    And today’s Grauniad Russia article:

    Finland back on red alert over expansionist Russia

    Russia-watching has become a national obsession since Finland broke free of the Russian empire in 1917. Two bitterly fought wars with the Soviet Union during the second world war are far from forgotten.

    Finland broke free?

    Actually, Finland was granted its independence by the Bolsheviks under the leadership of V.I.Lenin.

    Two bitterly fought wars with the Soviet Union during the second world war are far from forgotten?

    Actually, the second of them was when the Finns were helping the Nazis lay siege to Leningrad, which lasted for 872 days:

    Because the Soviet records during the war were incomplete, the ultimate number of casualties during the siege is disputed.

    About 1.4 million people were rescued by military evacuation from the besieged city in two years between September 1941 and November 1943.

    Another 1.5 million civilians perished in the city. After the war, The Soviet government reported about 670,000 registered deaths from 1941 to January 1944, explained as resulting mostly from starvation, stress and exposure. Some independent studies suggest a much higher death toll of between 700,000 and 1.5 million, with most estimates putting civilian losses at around 1.1 to 1.3 million. Many of these victims, estimated at being at least half a million, were buried in the Piskarevskoye Cemetery. – Wiki

    Poor little Finland!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Oh yeah! And that tosser Tisdall, who is on the Chatham House payroll, forgot to mention that when Finland became a Russian Duchy at the beginning of the 19th century, about 600 years of subjugation by Sweden ceased. When Finland was a Russian Duchy, the Finns were not “russified”, their language was not suppressed, and they were not exploited by those Evil Orcs from Mordor.

      Sweden, however, had taken control, occupied, invaded or whatever Finland in the 12th century as “crusaders” – the Finns were pagans at the time. And for 600 years the Finns were Swedish underlings, who were mocked at and exploited by their Swedish overlords and conscripted into their armies.

      I remember noticing this Swedish attitude towards Finns when I was living in Sweden in 1986: the Swedes’ attitude towards the Finns reminded me somewhat of how many of the English think of the Irish – funny, affable but stupid, shitwit peasants. And they talk funny.

      Yet here we have Tisdall talking of the how the Finns struggled to be free of the Russian Bear’s embrace.

      Well he would, wouldn’t he?

      Swedish comic taking the piss out of Finns:

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Russia took Finland off the Swedes, by the way, because Buonaparte had forced the Swedes to make one of his generals, Bernadotte, their king. By taking over Finland, the Russians were closing their back door, as it were, on St.Petersburg against invasion via Sweden through Finland. And I’m pretty sure that at the time the Finns were glad to be rid of the Swedes at last. About 120 years later, Lenin told the the Finns they were free to do what they wished as regards their governance.

        Wicked, wicked Russians!

        • Paul says:

          But then there is the Winter War – my aunt`s family is from what my uncle likes to call ‘occupied Karelia’. Soviet aggression in 1939/40 hangs over the Russian-Finnish relationship still.

          • Southerncross says:

            Finnish hostility to Russia has surprisingly little to do with the Winter War.

            As Karl could tell you, if he were here, Finland was preparing, physically and psychologically, for war against Russia throughout the 1920s and 1930s. It would always have joined Hitler’s coalition, whether there had been a Winter War or not.

            • kirill says:

              Finland’s alliance with the Nazis is always conveniently forgotten or dismissed as a non-issue much like the current NATO yapping trying to paint Banderites as angels fighting evil Russian oppression. The west is sick and everything it spews reflects this.

          • kirill says:

            The USSR under Stalin gave Finland a generous offer in exchange for a land buffer around Leningrad. But Finland was allied with Hitler’s Reich and got itself a war instead. I am tired of this victimhood BS from Poles, Finns, Balts, western Ukrainians and assorted other whiners. The Russian Empire made the mistake of not drawing Finland’s border more favourably to its long term interests. The USSR had to deal with the consequences of this decision.

  8. yalensis says:

    Hi, Mark, sorry to be a troll on your blog, but I wanted to finish off my summary of that last Evgeny Shultz bit (about the purported MH-17 shootdown photo), and have both parts be in the same place. Hence, here is a copy-paste of Part I of my comment from yesterday, which will be followed (shortly) by Part II:

  9. yalensis says:

    [Part I – comment copied from yesterday on Mark’s prior blogpost]:

    I should have read this when it came out a couple of days ago (November 15). This theory fully jibes with astabada’s mathematical equations, as shown above.

    This is Evegeny Shultz again, with a continuation of his discussion about the “satellite photo” of the MH-17 attack. Which he now postulates was actually a photo taken by a drone called RQ-4 Global Hawk.

    Shultz begins by reiterating his refutations of the main points arguing that the photo is a fake:
    1. The photo cannot possibly be a screenshot from Google, since, if you google Google Earth for this time period in Donetsk, all you will find is a mosaic of various images taken from different times and randomly pasted together. You don’t find an intact Landschaft, such as the one in question.
    2. The mistaken identity of the attack jet (calling it a “MIG” instead of an “SU”) belongs to Leontiev alone (=the anchor of the TV show).
    3. People arguing that the plane is shown 50km away from the crash site proving that the photo is a fake; are also mistaken or lying. It is asserted that the Boeing was attacked 3 TIMES, first two times by rockets, and third (coup de grace) by air-cannon. The photo in question records the moments before the first attack. A plane flying at that speed and altitude has a certain amount of inertia, even after struck. It would not fall down vertically, it would fall in an arc. And even a wounded plane might continue to glide a bit. It is not at all far-fetched that the plane could cover 50 km even after wounded.
    4. The assertion, that the “fakers” used the first result from googling “Boeing seen from above” was successfully refuted. People who say that are knowingly lying.
    5. The format of the timestamp on the photo is given in American 12-hour format. People who say the timestamp does not correspond, and represents the middle of the night, are not taking that into account.
    6. The amateur geometrists who calculated the hypotenuse of the triangle with a simple (a2 + b2 = c2) formula, in order to calculate distances, are not taking into account the effect of a magnifying lens on the camera. To that point, it is obvious that the photo was taken with the assistance of optical devices. We do not know what type of device was used. For some reason, people have focused on the idea of a satellite in low orbit. But it could equally well be a drone. For example, an RQ-4 Global Hawk.
    7. Other evidence indicates that the Boeing was attacked on the left (pilot’s) side, yet the photo shows the rocket approaching the right (co-pilot’s side). People say this proves a fake. Not so. The person who leaked the photo claimed that the Boeing was attacked 3 times. The first 2 times by rocket, the third (coup de grace) by cannon into the pilot’s side of the cockpit. Besides, a rocket is not the same thing as a bullet, it has its own algorithm, it doesn’t have to fly in a straight line, necessarily.

    Next, Shultz reviews the original source of the photo, it was leaked here on October 15.
    The leaker wrote literally the following, as an attachment to the photo:
    Снимок, получен по рассылке от энтузиастов руского Викиликс, источник не называется. Время на снимке, по гринвичу, соответствует времени, указанному в данных объективного контроля, представленных миноборон РОССИИ. Судя по надписи -обозначениям международного времени, снимок мог быть с американского спутника или развед аппарата.

    This photo, obtained by enthusiasts from Russian Wikileads, source not given. The time on the photo, given in Greenwich time, corresponds to the time indicated in objective control data presented by the Ministry of Defense of Russia. Judging by the heading and the designations of international timestamp, the photo could have been from an American satellite or reconnaissance drone [emphasis mine]

    [to be continued]

  10. yalensis says:

    Evgeny Shultz summary, Part II:

    To start reviewing again, with
    Point #8:
    The photo in question, whose authenticity is being debated, was originally leaked on this blog on 15 October, 2014, 3 months after the MH-17 crash. Either somebody spent 3 months crafting a convincing-looking fake, or it took 3 months for somebody to get the word out. Pick your favorite theory.
    Anyhow, the point is the very first leaker did not insist that the photo had to come from a satellite. He explicitly said in his comment to the photo that “the photo could come from an American satellite or a reconnaissance drone”.

    After this discussion, Shultz goes on to discuss the possibility that the photo was taken from a type of drone called RQ-4 Global Hawk. Goes on to discuss the history of the Global Hawk.
    First maiden flight was 28 February 1998, from American air base in California. [see photo]
    American navy took its first Global Hawks into action in 2004. They first saw combat duty in 2006.
    The drone is able to cruise at a height of 18,000 meters, for a duration of 30 hours at a time. This particular drone was the first one that was given permission to patrol skies over USA itself without having to let people know (that it was up there). Germany was so impressed with this American drone that they built their own version, called “Euro Hawk”.

    Shultz goes on to conclude that the drone is very cool! It can cruise at altitudes significantly higher than civilian aviation craft. It can keep on going for longer than a day. It is so safe that it can be allowed to fly over civilian areas. It is chock-full of cool spy goodies. In addition, it is so small that it can go unnoticed by civilian locator devices, especially if it is flying at a great height.

    Shultz then diverges into political polemic, about how both America and Europe fanatically support the Kiev regime. Concludes that it is highly possible a Global Hawk or Euro Hawk is patrolling the skies of Ukraine. In order to give assistance to Kiev’s “Anti-Terrorist Operation”. The drone itself has no aggressive function, it just spies and records a stream of quality surveillance.

    Next, he speculates that the purported drone could be German, and shows a photo of the German “Hawk” equivalent, which actually (to me) looks a lot larger than I expected. (I thought drones were more like small, toy planes, but this one looks as big as a crop duster.)

    The next section os the piece is called “What does a photo look like, as seen from a Global Hawk?” and there is a photo of California wild fires.

    The wild fire photo is placed above the purported MH-17 photo.
    Below that, he places the Google Earth photos (or rather mosaic of pieces of photos) which the critics claim is the source of the “screenshot” that was used to “fake” the MH-17 shootdown photo.
    The Google Earth montage is labelled: “Donetsk. Donetsk Oblast. Ukraine.”
    And draws his own conclusion:
    Ну, по моему, очевидно, что донецкая фотография более похожа по своим тех.характеристикам на снимок с Глобал Хоук (или с иного разведывательного аппарата в т.ч. и космического), нежели на скриношт с Гугл… Уж чем-чем, но скриншотом с Гулга этот снимок ТОЧНО БЫТЬ НЕ МОЖЕТ.

    Well, in my opinion, it is obvious that the Donetsk photo resembles more, by its characteristics, the Global Hawk photo [of California wildfires] (…) than it does the screenshot from Google. In any case, this photograph simply CANNOT BE A SCREENSHOT FROM GOOGLE.

    From this, Shultz draws the political conclusion that USA and Europe are participants, or at least observers, of the war in Ukraine. Since the photo had to have been taken from a WESTERN spy apparatus (either satellite or, more likely, Hawk drone).

    Returning to the issue of Google, Shultz repeats his accusation (or suspicion) that Google was complicit in forging evidence, in order to help the debunkers of the spy-photo. For Shultz’s overall theory to work, Google would have had to go back into its archive of photos from 2012, and replace a small section of its collage with a fresher copy from 17 July 2014.
    [yalensis: recall that a tiny section of the purported MH-17 shoot-down photo contains a twisty little cloud — it’s so tiny that you can’t even see it on the bigger picture, only in a blown-up section] that is identical in shape and location to a corresponding tiny section of the Google collage from some way earlier date back in 2012. This fact assists debunkers to claim that the faker of the spy-photo started with a screenshot from Google 2012 image of Donetsk.]
    Shultz accuses American secret service of altering the Google archive, in order to distort physical evidence and assist the debunkers of the spy photo.

    The rest of the piece is a political analysis of the Ukraine war and the role of the rest.
    I would call it the “summing up of the case for the prosecution”.

    [yalensis: If this were a real trial, and Shultz was the prosecutor, then I think he would have a very strong case. The only weak spot in his entire case is that tiny cloud in the Google archive. The cloud has to be explained away, and Shultz does this by presuming that American secret services have access to Google, they would have had to march into Google offices with a warrant and start pushing people around; that is more than believable, but the question is, were Google programmers able to modify their archive of screenshots without anybody noticing? This bit obviously can’t be proved, BUT, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, one has to look at the case as a whole, and the preponderance of the evidence!]

  11. yalensis says:

    At a round-table discussion of American tele-journalists, a journalist working for the TV channel owned by President Obama, explained why they are not allowed to report on anything that shows the American army in a bad light, for example, destroying civilian infrastructure.

    Okay, that was a fake, now the real story:

    At a round-table discussion of Ukrainian tele-journalists, a journalist working for the TV channel owned by President Poroshenko, explained why they are not allowed to report on anything that shows the Ukrainian army in a bad light, for example, destroying civilian infrastructure:

    “I am not opposed to (our) propaganda, and I will explain why,” declared Kristina Bondarenko, a journalist working for President Poroshenko’s TV channel 5, “Sure, the media can report on (a soldier) getting drunk, that sort of thing. But just imagine what happens (if we were to report on shells falling) on some (civilian infrastructure), or something like that. Can you even imagine (that we would report something like that)? Can you imagine that (a channel like) CNN would report on that, if the Americans were to accidentally (bomb something)? I can’t even imagine the possibility.”

    Arggggg! can these people not even imagine the possibility of a free press?

    • marknesop says:

      It’s funny how their artillery keeps accidentally hitting buildings it is pointed in the direction of. There must be something wrong with it, because you would never expect that to happen.

  12. ThatJ says:

    “Helpful” Britain Tweets “How To Spot A Russian Tank In Ukraine”

    In case you are wondering through Ukraine and come across a tank, the British embassy in Kiev has issued a handy pocket guide to indentifying whether it is Russian (bad guys) or Ukrainian (good guys)…

    Putin Said to Stun Advisers by Backing Corruption Crackdown

    Vladimir Putin sat motionless as the minister, seizing on the Russian leader’s first major meeting with his economic team in months, itemized the challenges.

    A recession is imminent, inflation is getting out of hand and the ruble and oil are in freefall, Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev told Putin, according to people who attended the meeting at the presidential mansion near Moscow in mid-October. Clearly, Ulyukayev concluded, sanctions need to be lifted.

    Brooklyn Woman On Ebola Monitoring List Drops Dead Bleeding From “Face, Mouth, Nose”

    Just a week after Dr. Craig Spencer was declared ‘Ebola-free’, The Daily Mail reports a woman, who had arrived from Guinea 18 days ago (and was on the NYC Ebola monitoring list), dropped dead in a Brooklyn hair salon this afternoon. FDNY sent their Special Operations and Hazmat units but she was declared dead at the scene. Witnesses said she was bleeding from the “face, nose, mouth, everything.”

    Italian ‘Invasion’ Has Swiss Fuming as Foreigner Vote Looms

    When Franco Agustoni stepped out on his balcony for a morning smoke in the Swiss border town of Bissone, he used to enjoy the view of Lake Lugano. All he sees now are rows of cars, motors humming as Italians cross into Switzerland for a day of work.

    Just 10 months after voting to introduce immigration quotas, a Nov. 30 Ecopop ballot will decide whether to cap the annual net influx from abroad to 0.2 percent of Switzerland’s population. The daily inflow from Italy into the Helvetian nation’s Italian-speaking Ticino canton, which is not captured by the immigration debate, is only exacerbating the situation.

    • marknesop says:

      Bloomberg’s Russia coverage is starting to get almost as bad as Yahoo’s. It is plain the west is determined to believe Russia is on the ropes and about to collapse, that just another week or two of pressure and holding firm to sanctions is going to be enough. The tipping point is near, just like it was in Iraq, which just goes to show you can’t teach some people anything. Just like Charlie Brown, no matter how many times you pull the football away at the last second and make them fall on their ass, as soon as you hold out a football again they will go for it. I guess they have to keep up the happy talk so that the Europeans don’t go wobbly. And if that’s what they want to believe, fine – let them. Just like that ignorant fool La Russophobe: years of gabbling that Russia was sinking deeper and deeper into the slime, the level of depravity and corruption was steadily more and more unbelievable, the economy was crippled and sick beyond any hope of recovery…and then one day, suddenly, I’m shutting down this blog because Putin has won, because not enough people listened to my warnings. How do you possibly reconcile those two narratives?

      Anyone who wishes to make major investment, financial or other economic decisions based on Bloomberg’s advice is certainly welcome to do so. It will end in tears, which is why it should be called Serves You Right Tax.

      I see they are trying once again to mobilize excitement for a Medvedev-vs.-Putin regime-change effort. I just have to shake my head in wonderment. Apparently what the voters in Russia think is not a factor at all.

      • Jen says:

        Ha ha, doesn’t the Ukrainian army itself use modified T-72 tanks?

        • cartman says:

          They also use that armour, so the poster is wrong.

          • marknesop says:

            They use the T-72AG, which does have the reactive armor described. The tank shown “near Luhansk” looks like a T-72AG, and let’s not forget Ukraine acquired a trainload of T-72s from Hungary. The AG upgrade was specifically designed to be carried out in the customer’s country, to save on cost, and is pretty much plug and play. Reactive armor is just a bolt-on mod, and the AG package also incorporates the upgraded sight.

            I need hardly point out, I hope, that the Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building plant is in Ukraine.

          • Drutten says:

            The “28 August” picture shows a Ukrainian T-72AG without the rubber skirts around the turret.

            The “04 September” picture shows a T-72 with much older Soviet ERA bricks. Version impossible to discern.

            The “23 October” photo could be anything, but it does have Kontakt-5. That photo seems to be from the Battle of Ilovaisk, and that immense clusterf**k is shrouded in mystery (Kiev does NOT want to talk about what happened there).

            For what it’s worth, UA put mall numbers of T-72s in operation early on, then denied it. Just as they denied having dispatched T-64s to the area, until people kindly pointed out that these machines had been photographed all over Donbass for weeks.

            And lastly, I know for a fact that there is Russian-supplied weaponry and ammunition in rebel hands. This includes a few vehicles here and there. However, it is not anywhere near the scale that has been alleged by Kiev and NATO, and frankly a lot of it seems so shoddy it makes you wonder if we’re not talking about rogue elements in the RF that “lost” some machinery (which could help explain the sudden lustrations of high-ranking RF army officers a few months ago, many of which were stationed in the Southern Military District). I mean, there are clearly small numbers of Russian IFVs/APCs and so on present, with their origins clear or only badly masked, like nobody really bothered to hide where they came from.

  13. ThatJ says:

    Meanwhile, This Is What Is Really Taking Place Behind The Second US-Russian Cold War

    It appears John Kerry is at it again. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the US Secretary of State called on him to “pay no mind” to a statement by President Obama, in which Russia was included to a list of top global threats. Seeking Russia’s cooperation in Iran and on the Korean Peninsula, Kerry told Lavrov to “forget about” what Obama said. As US foreign policy credibility dissolves, we leave it to Lavrov to conclude, “it is flippant,” he jabs, “it’s not appropriate for a powerful country to have such a consumer attitude to its partners – where you’re needed, help us; where you’re not, obey us.”

    America Throws Up Over Obama’s Immigration Executive Action Even Before It Is Announced

    Ahead of President Obama’s address to the nation tomorrow to dictate his executive orders on immigration, potentially allowing millions of undocumented immigrants to stay legally in the US, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds nearly half of Americans disapprove of his plan. Only a dismal 38% support the President taking this executive action… which makes us wonder if there has ever been so much revulsion at the policies of a standing President. It’s good to be king.

    President Obama To Dictate Immigration Executive Order In Vegas On Friday

    While what normally happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas; President Obama’s decision to dictate his Immigration Executive Order from sin city will likely have repurcussions across the entire nation. As NY Times reports, Obama is preparing to use his executive authority to provide work permits for up to five million people who are in the US illegally, and to shield them from deportation.

  14. yalensis says:

    A piece from Mikhail Leontiev, the Russian Channel 1 analyst who presented the program about MH-17 photo.
    For future reference, let’s just call this photo “Exhibit A”, so we don’t have to keep saying “purported satellite photo” or “alleged photo taken from drone”, etc etc.

    So, anyhow, here is translation of Leontiev’s essay, he is sticking to his guns, and it sounds to me like he is speaking directly to idiots like “peter”:

    Now that we may consider it “proven” that we told the truth, and nothing but the truth, and that our material about the Boeing crash was received from an actual American specialist — now we can summarize our findings.

    (To be honest, we were not 100% convinced that the letter Andrievsky [head of Russian Federation Union of Engineers] received was from an actual aviation expert. But the person, George Bilt, actually exists, and his version (of events) does actually correspond with the analysis done by the Union of Russian Engineers, which is exactly what he told the American press.)

    We have not received any evidence that the photograph in question is a fake. Those shrieks about “a cheap montage”, “photoshop”, etc., — those are just the childish stammerings of dilettante bloggers who prove nothing except that they are dilettantes or simply liars.

    However — and this is important to stress — the absence of proof of fogery does in no way constitute proof that the photo is genuine. Because the proof of the authenticity of the photograph requires a professional analysis and control photographs, analyzed in an objective manner.

    On the theme of the satellite and the optical pretensions of the bloggers, we are presupposing that the “satellite” takes photographs with an optical lens, and not by a kosmonaut-spy hanging out the window. Some specialists even believe that the photo was taken, not by a satellite, but by a drone, more than likely, a Global Hawk, in which case we can be assured that our Western friends are involved in the Ukrainian conflict, as combatants.

    And here is the main point:
    All these so-called “debunkers” are discussing only the photo, which has been accessible to everybody on the internet since 15 October, and which George Bilt emailed to us, figuring that it was common knowledge; his only point in emailing it to us, was as an illustration of his own personal opinion, which fully coincided with the views of the Russian Union of Engineers. Recall that the Russian Union of Engineers version postulated 3 distinct attacks on MH-17: (1) cannon-fire, (2) unguided rocket fire; and (3) guided missile fire.

    [yalensis: This is new information – I mean, about the 3 different attacks!]

    And once again, I repeat that we were completely in the right, to show this photo. If we had not shown the photo, then the citizenry would not have noticed anything amiss.

    And the main result? The silence of the grave — on the part of ALL the official representatives of our pale-faced friends.

    We get it! We’re too lowly to expect a response from the likes of Psaki herself! But she could at least have employed some kind of technical specialist to try to refute us!

    In other words:
    If we were pranked, and we inadvertently let out a fake on the main TV channel of our nation, “the channel of raw propaganda”, as you guys call us — then go ahead and nail us to the wall! Here is your big chance!

    Or, sit back and let ME accuse YOU! When the Kiev regime published their photo with the “BUK”s, which Psaki alluded to — Russia immediately reacted, and debunked the fakes. In any court of law, the accused will be considered proved guilty, if he remains silent, not proferring any alibi. If you fail to call your own witnesses, of which we know you have them (there is the Ukrainian “Kupol” system, there are American spy satellites) — then we can assume that they are NOT witnesses of your innocence!

    In essence, we received confirmation, that our version — is either the truth, or something close to the truth!


    • yalensis says:

      P.S. –
      TWO pale-faced friends.
      Plus one faithful companion.

    • marknesop says:

      The Global Hawk is actually quite large – here’s an idea of its size – for a drone, but considering its capability it is very small and at the height of an airliner it is miniscule, a little bit bigger than a Piper Comanche, and that’s only because of the bulky fuselage.

      I believe this photo was taken from a Global Hawk, the other in a test of air-to-air refueling between two drones. It could also be from a satellite, hard to say; in either case, this is a rectilinear lens – there is no “fish eye” effect or bending of the image, and roads and the edges of cultivated tracts of land appear straight. This photo was definitely taken from a Global Hawk, but it’s difficult to demonstrate if is or is not a rectilinear lens because it is so high that natural curvature is observed. This Global Hawk is at nearly double the altitude that MH-17 was flying, and no detail of the earth’s surface is visible due to cloud cover.

      • yalensis says:

        That first image is clearly photoshopped, Mark. It’s so clear even a two-year-old in a bikini can see it. I mean, the first drone has gi-normous wingspan, and the wingtips are even clipped off in the photosthop. Nice try, but try to do better next time.
        Here is a hint: Grab a ruler and measure the length of the wing on the second plane.


    • Fern says:

      yalensis, thanks, as always, for your sterling work on providing translations of much of this debate. I’ve been wondering whether there is another explanation of this ‘corkscrew cloud’ apart from the one given by Shultz, that Google knowingly falsified its own imagery – could we be looking at an authentic photograph of the attack on MH17 but an inauthentic background?

      Assuming the US has knowledge and evidence of what happened to the plane, we can be pretty sure, based on the ‘dog not barking in the nighttime’ principle that this evidence does not support ‘the rebels and/or Russia dun it’ line. If there exists any photographic image of what struck the plane, the US would be pretty paranoid about it not leaking or being hacked. So maybe a way to go here would be to hide the evidence in plain sight – leak an altered photograph, incorporating part of image from 2012 so it can be debunked. That way any future photograph that surfaces purporting to show the destruction of the plane will be assumed to be another fake and dismissed.

      • marknesop says:

        That’s sort of where I was going, except your vision is even more devious. I was proceeding from the point of view that it is a deliberately-leaked fake which will undermine the credibility of subsequent efforts. But it’s totally possible that your version is the case. StopFake, for example, is known to leak photos it knows full well are fakes, usually with some fatal flaw incorporated that will conclusively debunk it, and wait to see if the enemy press source will pick it up. Every time this effort bears fruit it enhances the credibility of StopFake while shredding the credibility of the enemy.

        If even part of this is accurate, it could be very important; but if the ground was prepared for its acceptance as a fake, every attempt to reintroduce it will be met with scorn and mockery.

        • yalensis says:

          Thanks for your kind words, Fern.
          And yes, you DO have a devious mind!

          I like that in a person…. 🙂

          Actually, I’m not sure what I think about it. Because the “fake background”, if that is what it is, will not have been a seamless image from Google. The Google images are a sloppy mosaic, Google did not, and does not, have a complete and full Landschaft of the entire crash area. So the “photoshopper”, if such he be, would have had to patch together the pieces of the mosaic in his computer. Fixing everything down to the last pixel, fixing the grey shadings, and so on.

          ALTHOUGH…. there is another theory out there that the Landschaft background was taken, not from Google, but from Yandex maps. I have not had time yet to investigate this theory.

          In any case, as Leontiev pointed out, he had a bunch of Russian technical experts analyze the photo (=Exhibit A), and these experts couldn’t find any pixel-seams, even with a magnifying glass. Although, being Russians, they were most certainly drunk at the time and that would have affected their eyesight, also their hands holding the magnifying glass were probably palsying violently in Delirium Tremens.

  15. Southerncross says:

    Yuri Mikhalchishin of the Josef Goebbels Research Center has a new job with the SBU.

    For a wanna-be Nazi he looks remarkably like a Der Sturmer cartoon.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      If the Kremlin propaganda about fascists in the Ukraine were true, then why have the right-wing extremist parties done so badly in the polls and yada yada yada…?

      • yalensis says:

        Yeah, they only got 5% of the vote. According to AP, that proves their influence is tiny.

        • Southerncross says:

          Now that every remaining political party is overtly Banderite, Svoboda has become redundant. Likewise Right Sector.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          It’s like the old leftie comment in the UK about there being no fascist party there as it was a faction of the conservative party.

          The Tories never liked that accusation, of course, and always denied its veracity, yet they were never loathe in accusing the British Parliamentary Labour Party of having many members who were closet communists.

          Funny thing is, though, that some of the biggest British communist agents were members of the establishment, namely




          and former RN officer

          George Blake,

          which latter escaped from prison in the UK and is still alive and a resident of Moscow.

          I’ll have to look him up some day!

          The cops in the UK often called me a “commie”, which just shows how stupid Special Branch are: I was clearly no Kremlin agent, since I was not a member of the bourgeois, didn’t go to either Oxford or Cambridge University and neither worked in the Foreign Office or had a Queen’s Commission.


      • astabada says:

        Hi yalensis,

        the argument of the electoral preferences relies on a contradiction. Most democrats think that fascist parties are by definition anti-democratic and do not obey the rules of democracy.

        Then if commenter X agrees that Svoboda is a fascist party, why would he bother me with boring electoral percentages? Is he perhaps suggesting that Svoboda had a sudden change of consciousness and realised that it needed an electoral mandate to hold on to power?

        Similarly, how many votes is the US oligarchy casting? A thousand? Let’s exxxxagerate and say a million. That’s a whopping 0.5% of the votes. According to commenter X’s logic this means that they have no influence in USA policies – which is not exactly what we see in real life.

        • yalensis says:

          Hi, astabada,
          I agree. I was “spoofing” this former commenter who called himself “AP”. He now comments a lot on militaryphotos .net, but now is calling himself “Dr. Preobrazhensky”.

          He must have some training as a sociologist, because his shtik is poll numbers, charts and graphs, all of it “proving” that Banderite Ukraine is a democracy (because most people support the governing parties), and that is NOT a fascist country (since the openly fascist Svoboda party only got 5 or 6% of the vote or something like that).

          AP is easy to mock, but you will see people adopting his line of reasoning when they want to blow a lot of smoke up peoples *****es!

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Dr. Preobrazhensky?

            Dr. Transfiguration?

            Because he transfigures figures in order to prove his arguments?


          • ThatJ says:

            The goyim will be supported as long as they are needed. How long will they be needed? Until the country is fully under Zionist control (through EU membership and US influence in the union and inside Ukraine itself) and all pro-Russian forces are purged. The same forces who support the nationalists in Ukraine do the opposite in the rest of Western Europe, where these people would be jailed for saying much less, let alone being physical in any way.

            Which is why I never supported the so-called “nationalist uprising” in Kiev. They are not the true deal. They are the useful cattle, and if, as I said, the country becomes fully integrated in the “West”, they will be sacrificed.

            • ThatJ says:

              Meanwhile, in coup-supporting Britain…

              Schoolgirl arrested for refusing to study with non-English pupils

              This is the kind of future that the shabbos goyim are fighting and dying for.

              • marknesop says:

                “A complaint was made to a police officer based full-time at the school…”

                What?? A police officer based full-time at the school? And that was in 2006!! What’s next – a giant police station with classrooms in it?

                But Russia is jealous of the UK because of its freedoms. Ha, ha.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Yes, it happens. I first came across this practice at a new school in my home town where I worked in lieu of a sick teacher in 1992.

                  An old acquaintance of mine in the police force was sitting out his approaching retirement from the force in his own police office in the school. It turned out that he was the “community” police officer.

                  Why the hell they needed a permanent cop at the school, god only knows. As I’ve mentioned before, my home town is ethnically homogeneous, there are no huge gaps between income levels amongst my fellow townsfolk – they’re all on a below than national average salary – no major crime, no ethnic or religious strife, no gun-toting kids etc., but they had a cop in this “secondary school” (11 to 16 years of age): permanently.

                  The only reason why this was so is, I think, is that they just wanted to copy US practice in New York and elsewhere.

                  It was a month after I did that one day of work “on supply” that I left the UK for good to work in the Empire of Evil.

              • ThatJ says:


                Here’s another gem from (the once) Great Britain:

                A man is requested to remove his shoes by an airport employee, to which he jokingly replies: “I’m not Muslim, am I?“. Little did he know that in “democratic” UK he’d face a 6 month legal ordeal and over $2000 in costs for causing “racially or religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress.”

        • marknesop says:

          The U.S. oligarchy example has something of epiphany about it – that’s a very good way to make the point, because it is instantly easy to understand and makes perfect sense.

  16. Moscow Exile says:

    US Republican Ed Royce, who will continue serving as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the new Congress:

    I am honored that my colleagues have selected me to continue serving as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the 114th Congress. Over the last two years, our nation has faced continuous, serious threats from across the globe, including ISIL [Islamic State], Russia and North Korea.”

    See: US Lawmaker Names Russia Among America’s Serious Threats

  17. Moscow Exile says:

    Wollt ihr den totalen Krieg?

    “Do you want total war?” Joseph Goebbels, Sportspalast, Berlin, February 18, 1943.

    We are prepared for a scenario of total war… we don’t want war, we want peace and we are fighting for European values… – Porky the Pig Poroshenko, 17 November, 2014.

    See: We’re ready for ‘total war’: Ukraine President

    • marknesop says:

      Not hard to see why the west and especially the United States government is encouraging this attitude – Russia and Ukraine fighting each other is a dream come true.

    • astabada says:

      “We are prepared for a scenario of total war… we don’t want war, we want peace and we arefighting for European values… – Porky the Pig Poroshenko, 17 November, 2014.

      How revealing a declaration. They are indeed fighting for European values: free market, public money bailouts, austerity, foreign meddling, …

      It is particularly ridicolous to see how many european countries are being fooled to strive for the right to be occupied by the USA. To escape the alledged aggression of the Russian bear, they throw themselves in the jaws of the US hyena and of its loyal EU jackal.

  18. Moscow Exile says:

    Two Russian articles on the Grauniad front page today:

    The new cold war: are we going back to the bad old days?

    Tanks and troops invading a satellite state, tit-for-tat spy expulsions, high-risk military games of chicken involving nuclear bombers and interceptor jets, gas supply cut-offs, and angry diplomatic exchanges – if it sounds familiar, then it should. Newspaper headlines from Moscow to Washington and Sydney to Kiev all agree: the cold war is back.

    That’s off Tisdall again.

    “Tanks and troops invading a satellite state…”

    So the Ukraine is a “satellite state?”


    And where exactly are these tanks and troops, Tisdall?

    Got any evidence – pictures, perhaps?

    Spies, sleepers and hitmen: how the Soviet Union’s KGB never went away

    The plagiarist again, with a picture of a dead man whose mysterious death has still not been investigated – no inquest, no nothing – but Putin did it!

    Vladimir Putin was never an especially distinguished spy” writes Tintin straight off.

    I’ve got news for you, dickhead: he never was a “spy”, distinguished or otherwise!

    .. he[Puitin] sat out the collapse of the Soviet Union, an event that filled him with horror and rage…”

    Know that for a fact, Tintin?

    That’s not what he’s ever said about the event himself.

    And it goes on and on:

    … Putin has transformed Russia into a giant spy state …

    … FSB spies are a paranoid, conspiratorial and deeply xenophobic bunch …

    … For reasons that are still mysterious, the FSB decided that I was one of its enemies…

    … In 2006, an alleged KGB hit squad murdered the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko in London. It poured radioactive polonium-210 into his tea…

    … Moscow’s takeover of Crimea and its covert invasion of eastern Ukraine. ..

    … Russian propaganda comes in the shape of the English-language channel Russia Today and via an army of Kremlin online trolls who post comments on western newspaper websites, including the Guardian’s….

    How does he get away with writing such shite?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      How does he get away with writing such shite?

      By the way, nobody can pose such a question as that above to that posing oaf Harding even if he wanted to because (surprise, surprising) there is no comments section to his article.

      Comments have been allowed to Chatham-House Tisdall’s article, though, in which Tisdall states that Putin has a “stridently toxic personality” and in which it is, of course de rigeur of the Grauniad/Chatham House hack to state that “… the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, an event later deplored by Putin as the biggest tragedy of the 20th century” [Putin didn’t say that at all!!! but Tisdall almost always gets that one in in his diatribes against the Evil One], which comments consist of such gems as the following:

      20 November 2014 7:32am
      The Russian answer to the Islamic Threat is Mass Slaughter, and of course the Serbian Govt is a puppet of Putin. 100000 killed in Grosny, blowing up their own children in Beslan for PR Purposes.

      20 November 2014 8:08am
      “The people who freed Germany from the Nazis…”

      Really? You are talking about ‘the people’ who raped German women from 12 years to 80 years old and stole the entire manufacturing base of former East Germany.
      And now these same people are under the thumbs of a paranoid narcissistic kleptocrat.

      20 November 2014 4:41am
      “If Putin is such a tyrant, why does he enjoy almost universal support in Russia?”

      That’s an ignorant question and makes you look disingenuous. The Russian people are cut off and fed lies by Putins orchestrated media campaign designed specifically to fool them. When there is no opposing view and you are dealing with a population like in Russia who are still a simple people it’s not that hard to get them to believe whatever you want. Russia’s media is just like N Koreas and it works.

      And on and on it goes …

      Anyone here think that UncleSam404 might live in Langley, Virgina?

      …a population like in Russia who are still a simple people it’s not that hard to get them to believe whatever you want” writes UncleSam404.

      In the West, it seems, you can say anything you like about Russians.

      Now if someone should write in the comments to a Grauniad article: “…a population like in Nigeria who are still a simple people it’s not that hard to get them to believe whatever you want” the shit would surely hit the fan!

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Has anybody here ever thought that Putin is “toxic”?

        He seems a rather mild mannered man to me; “disciplined” I should really say – because of his judo training, I guess. He has been known to get angry in public and to have used vulgarities, though, but very calmly and quietly.

        The only three vulgarities of his that I remember were (1) when he suggested that an irritating French journalist go get circumsized after he had been arguing the case for Islamic terrorists in Russia, (2) that he should like to see the former Georgian president suspended by having his testicles attached to a street lamp and (3) that the forces of law and order would seek out and destroy terrorists wherever they could find them – including when having a crap down the khazi.

        I don’t consider those utterances especially “toxic”.

        Maybe Tisdall is a hypersensitive sort of person?

    • marknesop says:

      Here’s a picture of Vladimir Putin enjoying a lap dance performed by Emily Ratajkowski. Here’s a picture of Vladimir Putin spitting with fury over the breakup of the Soviet Union. And here’s a picture of Vladimir Putin talking to his Mom at a seance via a medium.

      I don’t mean to suggest Putin is expressionless or sphinxlike; he is perfectly capable of warmth and humor. But he has a very good poker face and iron self-discipline. Occasions of his actually and publicly losing his rag are rare indeed – such as his throwing a pen at some oligarch or other during that discussion in which he told them they could keep all their swag if they stayed out of politics. He has never, ever, in any medium said the dissolution of the Soviet Union filled him with horror and rage, and has been quite clear that there can never be any resurrection of it, or that it is certainly not a desire on his part to resurrect it. The continuous characterizations in the western press of Putin “spitting with fury” and “addled with baffled rage” are simply attributions by journalists who tend to lurid narratives and feel like applying a little artistic license.

      There has to be a point at which increasingly wild stories about Putin will backfire, and readers will pause and look incredulously at the name of the journalist to see if he needs to be committed, because the made-up foolishness just continues to unroll while the appetite of the public for even more crazy Putin stories seems insatiable. Perhaps the aim is to tip some citizen over the edge so that he will fly to Russia in an excess of choler and assassinate him.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        A typically venomous reply off a malevolent and toxic Putin:

        • Moscow Exile says:

          And he’s being extremely hostile and toxic here:

          And here he is being particularly nasty:

          Who will rid the world of this beast?

          Does Obama speak Russian? He certainly seems to understand what the venomous beast says to him here – must have been a particularly toxic turn of phrase:

          Have a nice day, Barry!

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Mind you don’t choke on that chewing gum, Barry!

            And here, at last, is an example of Putin losing his rag with a French journalist who had been going on and on about how wickedly the Russians had been dealing with Chechen Islamic fundamentalist terrorists in Chechnya:

            Pity he didn’t stick one on that bastard sitting to his left as well while he was in such a “toxic” mood – as a sort of pre-emptive strike, as it were : it’s that tw*t Rasmussen, if I’m not mistaken

            • Sam says:

              I remember that one very well. The main reason to Putin’s reaction was not only that the French journalist was criticizing the war in Chechnya as it’s said in the video, but that it was right after the Nord Ost hostage crisis (maybe a week after that) and that despite civilians deaths, there was not a word of sympathy to Russia, more like ” sorry but you brought it on yourselves”, and the journalist’s question was suggesting the hostage taking was a fair reaction from rebels to Russia’s aggression (something like you place mines and shell them so they react the way they can, poor souls).

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Yeah, that’s right! Forgot about that.

                I live about 15 minutes walk from the theatre where the outrage took place. They’ve built a church on the forecourt of the theatre now, dedicated to praying for those who died. And there’s a memorial to the victims there as well.

                The photograph below was taken last year when they had almost finished building the church. They had already built a small chapel made completely out of pine in the traditional log cabin style and which can be seen to the left of the church:

                And here’s the victims’ memorial at Dubrovka:

                Some of the local kids won’t go near the place at night: they’re scared of the place when it’s dark and say it’s haunted. That’s what my son has told me.

                Russians are a superstitious folk, I feel.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Click to enlarge the pictures.

                • Jen says:

                  I’ve heard that after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in SE Asia, there were stories about ghosts haunting the beaches in Thailand and other places where tourists had drowned. There was one tale (most likely apocryphal) about a taxi driver on night shift picking up two passengers and taking them to a remote beach; when they arrived, the driver turned around in his seat to tell the passengers they had arrived, and discovered the seats were empty even though the cab doors were still closed and locked. He had taken two ghosts for a ride!

                  I also heard that after the 2011 earthquake / tsunami in NE Japan, priests in the region were busy exorcising the spirits of tsunami victims from people possessed by them. There is an account by Richard Lloyd Parry of his meetings with one priest who’d been kept busy with exorcisms after the disaster:

                  So Russians aren’t the only technologically advanced people who might still believe in ghosts.

  19. davidt says:

    At last I can report something that doesn’t embarrass me from down here in the antipodes: a former (Labor) Prime Minister Paul Keating has come out and lambasted the US decision to run NATO up to Russia’s border. (In point of fact, an earlier Conservative Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser says exactly the same thing, which makes you wonder why it is that it’s nearly always retired politicians that harbor such seditious thoughts.) Hope this link works:

    • davidt says:

      Of course, it doesn’t work and I cannot see why. In any case, we should all be checking out Russia-Insider because it sometimes cheers us up. (Mark, what about a monthly award to that commenter who accidentally increases your comments the most.)

        • davidt says:

          Thanks- how did you do it?
          I was quite disappointed when I actually watched the interview- Keating is losing his edge. One thing for sure, if Keating had been Putin the Crimea would have been “annexed”, and probably without the referendum. I did a Google search “Malcolm Fraser Putin” and was quite pleased with what came up. At the time of the Vietnam war I had only contempt for Fraser. But something changed along the way- Fraser was one of the few Western leaders who took an ethical stand against apartheid, and visited Mandela in prison in 1986, or thereabouts. I guess there are some things that we are just not meant to understand.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Thanks- how did you do it?

            Like this:

            Between the inverted commas you paste the address copied from the site address bar; between the chevrons that point to each other you paste the title of the article or whatever you wish to create a link to.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              And it doesn’t show!

              You do this: “<" (without the inverted commas) then add "a href=" (without the inverted commas) then add inverted commas, between which you paste the address copied from the site address bar. Then add two chevrons that point to each other and between which you past the title of the article or whatever you wish to create a link to; then you add "” without the inverted commas.

            • astabada says:

              Of course davidt you must be sure that the link is typed correctly.

              To do so, after you must select the full link (In firefox is Ctrl+L (go to address bar) then Ctrl+A (select whole string) and finally Ctrl+C (copy). In most browsers you can click on the address, Ctrl+A (to select it) and Ctrl+C (to copy it).

              I suspect that sometimes you do not copy the whole address, whenever it is too long to be fully displayed in the address bar.

              • astabada says:

                Sorry I completely messed up my replies, which were intended for davidt… In fact I messed up the first and then did worse with the second.

              • davidt says:

                Thanks, I agree that the address that I used looked to be truncated, but that was certainly the full address shown in my screen.
                I will record all advice given to me and try to lift my game.

                • marknesop says:

                  I agree; the addresses looked identical, but one worked and one did not. Yours linked to the correct site but could not find the page, which suggests it was not your fault.

                • astabada says:

                  there’s an additional “_” after ukraine in your address. Perhaps you typed it in between copy and paste 😉

          • astabada says:

            <a href=””>Click this link</a>

            Produces somthing like:

            Click this link

    • davidt says:

      “Putin a shocker”- BS

  20. Moscow Exile says:


    Potential regime change alert!


    Are Czechs giving up on moral responsibility?

    At the NATO summit in September, Czech President Milos Zeman got into a public argument with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt when he denied that there was “clear proof” of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. He also denounced Mikhail Khodorkovsky as “a thief” soon after the exiled Russian opposition leader had come to Prague to deliver the keynote address to the annual conference of Forum 2000, an organization founded by Havel in 1996. “If there’s anything I don’t like about the Putin regime,” Zeman said, “it’s that he put only Khodorkovsky in prison and not more oligarchs.” Last month, during a visit to China focused on boosting trade ties, he further separated himself from the Havel legacy by ignoring human rights and assuring Beijing that he accepted China’s position on Tibet and Taiwan.

    The policy of appeasing Vladimir Putin and putting economic relations with China above human rights is being reinforced today by the Czech foreign ministry, which is in the process of terminating the assistance that has been provided to dissidents in Cuba, Belarus and China through a government program called TRANS, short for Transformation Aid.

    Alert! Potential commies in Prague!!!!


    Assemble now on Wenceslas Square!

    (Light refreshments provided by US Embassy, Prague.)

    • yalensis says:

      I like the fact that some reasonable Czechs like Zeman are starting to realize just what a bullshitting tosser was that Václav Havel. That jerk (=Havel) supported the vicious Lama clain in Tibet and, in general, every world tyrant who was pro-American. No wonder the Americans regard him as a saint. The cloying and self-serving hypocrisy of Gershman’s piece is simply unbearable!

      And yes, it does appear that Americans have decided to overthrow the legitimate and democratically governments of Czech Republic, as well as Hungary. I wonder when the fun and games are supposed to begin?

      • marknesop says:

        The fun and games can be short-circuited by telling the heads of western NGO’s and western embassy and diplomatic personnel up front in no uncertain terms that their role is not support of the opposition or of protesters in a regime-change scenario, and that the very first time any such behavior is observed on their part, they will be out of the country within 24 hours. That means verbal support, financial support, any kind of support. You are neutral in this, and as soon as you are seen , heard or read advocating, you’re out. And don’t bother whining about international law while you’re turning a blind eye to the Ukrainian government launching ballistic missile attacks against its civilian population. I imagine quite easily that Yanukovych would still be running the show in Kiev if he had been allowed to use the army to terrrify the civilian population by shooting missiles into the city: the Maidan crowd would have melted away pretty fast under an artillery barrage. Who cares if they take a building or two? Just nail the doors shut and set it afire! I call it “The Odessa Solution”.

        Democracy is not about making government takeovers easier – it’s a system of values, not a tactic.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          October 31, 2009

          01:25 Studio presenter:
          Do you think that the real live secret service could be involved,? Is it possible at all?

          Answer: Do you think bears actually shit in the woods? Is it possible at all?

          (The protest was one of those that took place on the 31st of a month over what was considered breach of Article 31 of the constitution that deals with freedomof assembly.)

      • Fern says:

        If Vaclav Havel has been a dissident in a south or central American country, Argentina perhaps or Guatemala or Honduras, rather than in Czechoslovakia, he would never have become president of his country. Instead, he would have been found dead in a ditch with his brains blown out as were so many priests, teachers, journalists, students, trade union organisers etc. These US-backed regimes committed dreadful atrocities, murdering hundreds of thousands of people and yet most of it has fallen down the memory hole while the remembrance of Soviet tyranny is kept ever fresh.

        • Jen says:

          If Havel had been a dissident in Argentina or Chile during the 1970s, chances are he’d never be found as his body would be at the bottom of the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean. Dissidents were usually bound and blindfolded, taken up in helicopters, had their stomachs cut open and then were tossed into the ocean.

          • astabada says:

            Hi Jen,

            I never heard of the cutting open bit. Also: I always associated these flights with Argentina and the Dirty War, rather than Chile.

            Garage Olimpo is a beautiful movie on this topic.

            • Jen says:

              It’s true that Argentina and Chile were rivals in some ways – I believe Chile did co-operate with the British to some extent during the Falkland War – but I’ve heard the military governments of both Southern Cone countries shared information on torturing and killing people and even rounded up one another’s dissidents (if Argentines had fled to Chile and Chileans to Argentina) and returned them to their home countries. I believe though a lot of the Chilean information was destroyed by the Pinochet government in the 1980s after it lost credibility over a financial meltdown scandal in 1981 caused by neoliberal economic policies; from then on, the writing was on the wall and Pinochet tried to cover his tracks.

              The torture was part of Operation Condor which aimed at wiping out all possible socialist influence in South America. Argentina’s Dirty War was part of it (and the worst in terms of the numbers killed and “disappeared”) but other countries on the continent (Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay in particular because they all had extreme right-wing governments at the time) had their own versions.

              The cutting open bit was to stop people from floating and also to attract sharks to the blood.

    • Fern says:

      Not surprisingly, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) aka ‘colour revolutions ‘r us’ , has a presence in the Czech Republic where its destabilisation instrument of choice is an organisation called ‘Demas’ which purports to be a ‘an independent platform of Czech non-governmental organisations’ committed to advancing the cause of human rights in both the Czech Republic and throughout the world. As clear evidence of their democratic credentials, they’ve happily advertised the appearance at a conference of that well-known democratic and human rights activist, Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

  21. Moscow Exile says:

    For those with a command of Russian:

    Yatsenyuk – what have you been smoking?

    His nonsense is compared by the “Kitchen Politician” in the clip to that which Psaki utters.

  22. Moscow Exile says:

    Сербию заставляют ввести санкции против России

    Serbia forced to impose sanctions upon Russia

    Either that – or we will not accept you into the EU

    Serbs like to talk about how they love Russians and Russia more than anything else. Finally I got a chance give this love a practical test. Johannes Hahn, the EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, has said: Either Serbia joins in with the sanctions against Russia or she misses out in joining the EU. Whilst Hahn has said that the EU understands the historical interaction between the Serbs and the Russians, nobody is going to put pressure on Serbia: if Slavic unity is more valuable to them, then please don’t apply for EU membership, and no one will say anything bad about you. But if you still want to be in the EU, then you will have to demonstrate some commitment. A bit like “Shoot a partisan so as to prove you’re not one”, but, basically, written more politely.

    Serbia became a candidate for EU membership in 2012. Previously the country’s leadership had stated that this shift towards the EU was a strategic one, but the country would not adopt an anti-Russian position. Now Serbia does not have this choice. Serbia is bound to a number of contracts, and above all to “South Stream”.

    • Southerncross says:

      If Serbia spares her current ‘leaders’, she owes the Obrenovici an apology.

    • et Al says:

      He’s only one Commissioner,even if he is German. OTOH, if and order comes directly from Berlin… but it clearly hasn’t. It think that some people in Brussels realize that putting Serbia in such a public position would only damage the new government and the Serbian public’s opinion of Brussels. As for EU policy, I don’t think there are any vetoes left where one country can block the whole EU.

      BTW Russian and Serbian armies have just been training together in exercises with APC’s being dropped from Il-76s

  23. Warren says:

    Calls for Latinization of Ukrainian Alphabet On ‘Civilizational Grounds’ Anger Russians

    Staunton, November 14 – Renewed calls by some Ukrainians to shift the alphabet of their national language from one based on Cyrillic characters to a Latin-based script in order to escape from the influence of Moscow and be closer to the West has infuriated Russian nationalists, who say that there is no chance Ukraine will ever take this step.

    Last weekend, on the occasion of the Day of Ukrainian Writing and Language, a group of intellectuals and activists in Lviv met to discuss the possibility of shifting from a Cyrillic to a Latin script, an idea with deep roots in that part of Ukraine which was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and that has gained support in Kyiv in the last two decades.

    The idea which was widely discussed in the 1990s and during the presidency of Viktor Yushchenko resurfaced again earlier this year during discussions of the status of Russian in Ukraine. But the Lviv session has raised the issue again and in a way that has infuriated many in Moscow.

    The participants in the Lviv meeting said they were advocating the shift because “the Cyrillic script divides us from Europe and keeps us closer to Russia,” a “civilizational” argument that echoes those many Bolsheviks used in the 1920s when they introduced Latin scripts on many minority peoples and even called for such a step for Russians and Ukrainians.

    But just as when Stalin reversed that pattern in the late 1930s and imposed a Cyrillic script even on those peoples his regime had earlier developed Latin scripts for, suggestions that Ukrainians should take that step to bring them closer to Europe, the latest Ukrainian discussions have sparked an intensely negative reaction among Russian nationalists.

    The latter see such civilizational arguments as anti-Orthodox and anti-Russian and thus yet another form of treasonous behavior by a fellow Slavic people that must be opposed and rejected.

    Some of the Russian arguments are practical. Psycholinguist Dmitry Petrov argues that “a transition to the Latin script will not make the use of the language easier because in the Latin script there are many fewer letters than in Cyrillic and consequently those using the Latin script would have to come up with letter combinations to fill the gap.”

    Moreover, he points out, such a shift would require the training of a new generation of teachers, be very expensive, and almost certainly would reduce literacy for a significant period and perhaps alienate some Ukrainians of the older generation from reading newspapers, magazines, and books altogether.

    And he and others note that several Orthodox peoples have even joined the European Union without giving up their own national scripts, so that even the argument that Ukraine needs to adopt the script of the West to do so is without foundation.

    Others are ideological: Ukrainians should reject this idea because the Bolsheviks supported it, something that should be in and of itself enough to see it would be a mistake. Early party leaders like Bukharin and Lunacharsky pushed it to as a way to end the backwardness of Russia and promote the revolutionary struggle.

    They won the day in the 1920s for the non-Russian languages – by the early 1930s, 17 Muslim nationalities had been given a Latin script in place of a Perso-Arabic one, and by 1936, a total of 68 languages in the USSR had been given Latin scripts. Efforts to change Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian, however, were put off, largely because of cost.

    (In 1936, however, Stalin reversed course and declared that “the enemies of Soviet power and the VKP(b) have sought to use Latinization in order to split the toilers of these republics and oblasts from the common family of the USSR. Covering themselves with talk about ‘the international character’ of Latin scripts, they are oriented toward the bourgeois culture of Western Europe in opposition to the developing culture, national in form and socialist in content,” in the Soviet Union.)

    Current Russian objections to the Latin script for Ukrainians – or for anyone else in the former Soviet space, for that matter – echo those of Stalin but go beyond the Soviet dictator’s arguments to what might be called a historiosophic plane.

    According to Russian nationalists, the difference between Cyrillic and Latin scripts traces its origin to the differences between the Latin Catholic West and the Cyrillic Orthodox East. In the former, holy texts were kept in Latin even as nations developed their vernacular languages. In the latter, the national languages were developed by the church and thus must be retained to defend against the Catholic West.

    In the words of one Russian critic of the Lviv meeting, anyone who considers what its participants are pushing will have “the impression that he or she has fallen back into the distant 1930s. The very same arguments in favor – ‘approaching the civilized West.’ And the very same enemies – ‘Great Russian chauvinism’ and Orthodoxy.”

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Why don’t the Galician Banderites just simply speak and write in Polish?

    • marknesop says:

      They should knock themselves out – it will further divide them from the Southeast and only more firmly ensure that those two parts will never again be the same country. They can save a lot of time arguing over initiatives which will lure that part of the former country back into the fold, because it will never happen.

      It reminds me, for all the world, of Yeltsin and his destructive machinations which were purpose-driven to ensure Russia could never return to the Soviet Union. It worked, but by God it was costly. And the Soviet Union started off in a fairly good situation, whereas the people in what remains of Ukraine are already hard up against it, and will not be able to take years of deprivation and adjustment. All to invent a language that nobody else will speak. Brilliant. Ukrainians should be asking angrily, “Is this what my fucking tax money is paying for?”

      • Moscow Exile says:

        For a while the Chechen language used the Latin alphabet, but the Chechens have since reverted to Cyrillic. Apparently it was not a popular decision to Latinize – few could read their own language – so the Latinization, clearly a political decision, was dropped.

        This is not the first time that this has happened there. Historically, Georgian script was first used. Later, the Arabic script was introduced for Chechen, along with Islam. The Chechens were the last people to accept Islam – in the 17th century, I think. There were then several reforms of the Chechen Arabic alphabet, the most recent being in 1910, 1920, and 1922.

        Meanwhile, a Chechen alphabet had also been devised in the 19th century by a Russian general and linguist, which consisted of Cyrillic, Latin, and Georgian letters. This alphabet was used for academic purposes and by the Russian imperial administration. It was reformed in 1911, but never gained popularity amongst the Chechens themselves.

        The Latin alphabet was then introduced in 1925, but it too was abolished in 1938, Cyrillic being used for Chechen from that year until 1992, when a new Latin Chechen alphabet was introduced by the secessionist government. With the defeat of the secessionist government, however, the Cyrillic alphabet was restored.

        That’s the situation now.

        I think runes should be re-introduced for my mother tongue. If that were done, many of the notorious spelling problems that English has would disappear, as the runic letters matched English sounds, whereas Latin does not. For example, the letter combination “-th-” has two pronunciations in English, each of which having had its own rune.

        The Old English “ABC” was called “Futhark” after the first 5 letters of the Anglo-Saxon runic alphabet. In like manner, Russians often name their Cyrillic alphabet “azbuk” (азбук) after the names of the first two letters of Cyrillic.

        The first two letters the Old English runic alphabet are, however, those that correspond to the Latin letters “f” and “u”. Now I wonder which Old English word begins with “fu..”…?

        Here is the English FUTHARK:

        • Jen says:

          English could do what Icelandic did and just adopt those letters ᚦ (representing “th” as in “think”) and ð (representing “th” as in “they”).

          • yalensis says:

            And ðat’s exactly what ðey should do.

            • yalensis says:

              After which – start introducing more improvements. baby steps…

              • Moscow Exile says:

                That’s why you still see “Ye Olde Tea Shoppe” in England”.

                What looks like a letter “Y” is really a sloppily written rune known as “thorn”, the third rune in FUTHARK. The old sign-writers used it to distinguish between voiced “-th-” (as in “the”) and the unvoiced sound given likewise by “-th-” as in “thin”. (The “e” on “old” and “shop” are old inflected endings of adjective and noun.)

                The modified “thorn” was used right up to the 18th century, but was never pronounced as “y” as in “yes”. So when reading Capt. Flint’s treasure map, old Long John, on seeing “Ye treasure be found 30 paces from ye skeleton”, would have said: “The treasure be found 30 paces from the skeleton”.

                The “pronunciation of “ye”, as in “I’m damn well telling ye, ye scurvy wretches, there be no passengers on my damned ship”, was as for the letter “y” in “yes”.

                This “ye” was (and still is in some parts of England, Ireland and Scotland) the plural of “thou”, meaning a familiar “you”,”ye” being the familiar plural 2nd person personal pronoun.

                The German cognate is “ihr”: thou/du; ye/ihr..

                So in the 1943 “Do you want total war?” histrionics by Goebbels (see above), namely “Wollt ihr den totalen Krieg?”, the exact translation into English/Irish/Scottish dialect would really be: “Will ye be wanting total war?”

                You see, Goebbels was talking to his party pals assembled at the Berlin Sportpalast.

                If he had been speaking formally, he would have said: “Wollen Sie den totalen Krieg?”

                And there’s the truth on’t, I’m telling ye, me darlings!


    • Jen says:

      Until we know who the people were who brought up that idea of Latinizing the written Ukrainian language and what their motivation is, there is the possibility that Latinizing the language is one small deliberate step towards its absorption by Polish. Doing things slowly but surely by stealth is equivalent to putting frogs into cold water and gradually heating it until the frogs realise too late that they’re being boiled.

      • Southerncross says:

        Truthfully, frogs have more sense than they are credited with. If you put a frog in cold water and gradually heat it up, the frog will in fact jump out of the pot when the heat starts to become uncomfortable.

        • yalensis says:

          Yes, but do Ukrainians have as much common sense as frogs? apparently not……

          On the alphabet issue, if they go forward with the Latinizing project, then Ukrainians may end up with 2 alphabets for the same language, just like Serbo-Croatian.

          Serbo-Croatian actually works out okay, either alphabet is fully phonemic and gets the job done.
          If Ukes decide to latinize, then they should copy either the Croatians or Czechs, and use diacritical marks; rather than the Polish way, which uses extra letters.
          For example, in Czech they only have to use one letter for the “sh” sound: Š.
          Whereas in Polish, they have to use 2 letters just to express that one sound: sz

          Polish is actually a decent alphabet, it is easy to learn to read. I am guessing Poles did it that way because people were just learning to use printing presses, and they didn’t want to use extra print blocks for the diacritical marks? But nowadays, with all the fonts digitized, that isn’t an issue any more.
          In summary, Western Ukes should latinize their alphabet and use diacritical marks, like the Czechs.
          And then get absorbed by Poland anyhow – ha ha!

          • marknesop says:

            “And then get absorbed by Poland anyhow – ha ha!”

            If that happens, I hope they name the new country “Ofcoursewesaidwewouldneverdothat”, after Radislaw Sikorski

          • Jen says:

            Yes it would be interesting to see if the Banderites use Polish orthography or something similar to Czech and Slovak. I don’t see that the Ukies will change alphabets by themselves, they are likely to consult outsiders for advice as to how to do it. Let’s see which other eastern European country jumps first and offers the most advice and help.

            I think I’ve seen somewhere that in the early Middle Ages, the Czechs used a spelling system similar to Polish and invented the diacritical marks in the 14th or 15th centuries, around the time that the printing press was invented.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              You should take a look at the Glagolitic alphabet!

              It’s the oldest Slavic alphabet and had over 40 characters. In the Church Slavonic that is still used in the Russian Orthodox Church and which still uses Cyrillic letters that have long gone out of usage in standard Russian, it is called Кѷрїлловица (Kirillovitsa – after St. Kirill).

              Church Slavonic is something else, though. I guess it sounds to Russian ears as Early Middle English does to native English speakers.

              • yalensis says:

                I like Glagolitic letter “Pi” (Greek pi Π). The name of the letter is “pokoj” (“calmness, peace”).

                (Is that a “pi”, or is that a gallows? LOL!)

                Anyhow, not sure, but looks like Glagolitic doesn’t distinguish between upper and lower case. I think that’s a good thing, not a bad thing. Perfect for the computer age! (nobody needs to mark case any more, really!)

                Arabic is like that too, it’s one thing (maybe the only thing) that I like about Arabic alphabet.
                (On the whole, I don’t like Arabic, because it’s too hard to learn, too complicated, too many swirls and dots, very hard for near-sighted people to read…)

  24. Moscow Exile says:

    Canadian couple hit with $950K bill after premature birth in US face bankruptcy

    Why do US citizens tolerate such a system?

    Or do most US citizens think that the couple only have themselves to blame for their having been presented with such a bill because they were under-insured?

    A few months ago I was given a full check-up in my local state clinic and I didn’t pay a penny because I am covered by national Insurance (same system as in the UK) and I mentioned this in conversation with Anatoly Karlin, who, as it happened, had had to undergo the same sort of full check-up in a Californian clinic (a condition of his employment I think) and the bill for it was mind-blowingly huge. Fortunately, he was covered by private insurance, but the cost of the check-up was in the thousands.

  25. Moscow Exile says:

    I see Pavel Felgenhauer, the self-styled military analyst, gets a mention over at Russia Insider:

    Control of Coal Mines are Huge Reason for Military Tension in East Ukraine

    which article, in its turn, sources Sean’s Russian Blog.

    I had not heard mention of Felgenhauer for ages – possibly because long ago I decided to stop looking at the Moscow Times, I suppose – but he’s still out there, apparently, spouting his military analyses to those who are willing to listen.

    Why anyone should pay attention to what he says baffles me.


  26. Moscow Exile says:

    Dutch government refuses to reveal ‘secret deal’ into MH17 crash probe

    What’s that buzz-word – one of many that they let trip off their tongues so freely in the West when acting so superior with Russian oafs who know nothing of freedom and democracy and freedom from want or fear or mom’s apple pie and …

    Damn! it’s on the tip of my tongue.

    Yeah, “tongue” – begins with a “t”..

    Got it!

    That’s the word!….


    Sounds good, don’t it?

  27. Moscow Exile says: is down, I see.

  28. ThatJ says:

    Russia, Ukraine Dispute Truce Format as NATO Sees Buildup

    Ukraine and Russia clashed over how to move toward a new cease-fire agreement, after President Petro Poroshenko said his country is ready for “total war” with Vladimir Putin’s forces.

    As NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg criticized Russia for staging a “serious military buildup” and sending troops and weapons across its western border, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk advocated new “Geneva format” talks including the U.S. to de-escalate the crisis. Russia said that framework, which followed April talks in the Swiss city that excluded pro-Russian separatists, would skirt a process that led to a Sept. 5 cease-fire in Minsk, Belarus.

    Eight Pitfalls in Evaluating Green Energy Solutions

    Does the recent climate accord between US and China mean that many countries will now forge ahead with renewables and other green solutions? I think that there are more pitfalls than many realize.

    Whitefish Residents Appeal to City Council for Anti-Hate Law

    …In the wake of the renewed publicity, dozens of Whitefish residents banded together and packed the council chambers Monday night, urging council members to enact an ordinance barring hate-group activities in the community.

    Organized by civil rights activist and local Rabbi Allen Secher, and his wife, Ina Albert, the residents offered emotional testimony in an effort to “pass a no-hate ordinance so that hate organizations cannot do business in our town,” Albert said. …

    …Many in attendance spoke of their Jewish faith, including Hilary Shaw, executive director of the Abbie Shelter, whose grandfather is a Holocaust survivor.

    “My grandfather taught me that diversity makes us more beautiful. I do not want Richard Spencer to conduct National Policy Institute business freely in our town,” she said. “I am here to ask you to stop he and others who share those beliefs from doing business in our town.”

    [ThatJ: I sorted the comments by “best” and the readers are clearly not amused by the rabbi and the rabble he organized.]

    Scott McConnell – Did Neoconservatives take over GOP foreign policy?

    National Summit to Reassess the U.S.-Israel “Special Relationship” on March 7, 2014 at the National Press Club.

    [ThatJ: The neocons are well-entrenched in the Democratic party as well.]

    • kirill says:

      Note how the Bloomberg report basically takes the so-called Russian forces in Ukraine as a fact. So even if Russia does not invade, in the Orwellian lie factory of the western media it will have invaded anyway.

      This raises the question, what does Russia gain by not pounding Kiev forces into flesh aerosol?

      • marknesop says:

        Just like Litvinenko – assumed to have been murdered by the “KGB” to silence him, although he knew nothing that could hurt the Russian state, his stock in trade being a wild-eyed series of stories about the Russian security services blowing up apartment buildings in Moscow so as to terrify the population into supporting another Chechen war. Meanwhile, there was no evidence to substantiate such a plot, there was considerable evidence to implicate Boris Berezovsky – whom some sources suggested was being blackmailed by Litvinenko, and no official verdict has ever been reached or released. But the British press blithely speaks of “the murder of Litvinenko by the KGB on Putin’s orders” (or sometimes done by Putin himself) just as if it were a fact. The western media does not need evidence.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          The Western lie machine has no shame.

          As regards the Litvinenko case, the British government categorically denied over and over again that that person had been in the paid employment of the British security services. His widow, however, eventually blew the gaff after her having become financially embarrassed following the cessation of the sinecure she had been receiving off that nice Mr. Berezovsky. Now the authorities in the UK do not deny that Litvenko had been in their employ, but have blocked an inquiry into the causes of his death “for reasons of national security”.

          So Her Majesty’s Government was not telling the truth when denying that Litvinenko had worked for British security.

          Now I am not saying that the Russian – or any other government for that matter – always answers absolutely truthfully the questions that are asked of it. But the thing is this: the West forever projects itself as being ever honest and truthful, whereas,on the other hand, the Russians are inveterate liars and their government ever mendacious.

          How often has it happened, when, after my having posted a reply in the “Comment is Free” feature of the Grauniad to what I believe are false accusations made against Russia, I have received a reply that mockingly expressing astonishment at my apparent naivety because my sources have been Russian?

          My mockers’ sources, on the other hand, are ever trustworthy.

  29. et Al says:

    Here’s an interesting tidbit showing that the EU (De+NL at least) was preparing for the break-up of the Euro in 2012:

    euractiv blogactiv: How close did the Dutch come to ditching the euro?
    Yesterday, former Dutch Finance Mininister Jan Kees de Jager, who held the role until November 2012, revealed something very interesting. Apparently, the Dutch government, together with the German govenrment, made contingency plans during the height of the eurozone crisis for the two countries to ditch the euro. A “team” of lawyers, foreign policy experts and economists were employed to investigate different scenarios,. One was to reintroduce the “guilder”:
    So, the usual say one thing in public, prepare for the worst in private…

    EU Observer: Hungary triggers rule of law ‘debates’ in EU council
    Last year, four foreign ministers, including the then Dutch foreign minister and now EU commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, wrote a letter to the EU commission asking for a new “rule of law mechanism”.

    It would be a type of monitoring system before the triggering of the “nuclear option” of article 7 of the EU treaty, the suspension of voting rights in the EU council.

    The EU commission put out a discussion paper looking at the options, but was immediately told by the EU council’s legal service that it was overstepping its powers. The “discussion was all but killed,” according to one diplomat.

    But Italy revived the debate by making the issue one of the priorities of its six-month presidency of the EU council.
    OTOH, this is quite odious as it is clearly a political weapon, and on the other, did you know that once you joined the EU all monitoring mechanisms that are in place (human rights, civil liberties etc.) are simply dropped because the candidate country has had each accession chapter closed and officially joined the EU as a member state? That is the technical reason why ‘new’ EU states were allowed to discriminate against their minorities with impunity, Russian speakers in the Balts, Serb citizens and refugees in Croatia, 20,000 ‘erased’ non-Slovenes in Slovenia etc. Apparently this has now been reversed by PACE in the Council of Europe – which is of course a separate body to the EU, kind of like an European version of the UN.

    EUObserver: Eurosceptics seek to topple Juncker over LuxLeaks
    A vote will be held in the European Parliament in Strasbourg next week after eurosceptic MEPs tabled a motion to sack Jean-Claude Juncker over the Luxembourg Leaks affair.

    The motion was predominantly backed by Ukip and deputies from Italy’s Five Star Movement but far-right National Front MEPs also signed up, with a minimum of 76 signatures needed for it to be valid.

    The no-confidence vote is unlikely to succeed as Juncker has the backing of the two largest groups – the European People’s Party and the Social Democrats – who hold a majority of seats…
    This is a genius move that is sure to fail. But that is not the point. The two main EP parties are rushing to Juncker’s defense long before any investigation has got off the ground over the 300 or so secret tax deals made in Luxembourg under Juncker. So, both main parties will be discredited and will also discredit the European Parliament as an institution that refuses to function in the european citizens interest, but only for MEPs themselves.

    UKIP and co. have set this one up nicely. As for precedent, remember that the EU Commission resigned en masse back in 1999 ” in the wake of a damning report exposing fraud, corruption and mismanagement at senior levels.“:

    & finally

    EUObserver EU countries keen to rebuild Russia relations
    Forty eight hours after Nato said Russia is pouring fresh troops into Ukraine, EU ministers opted to blacklist some “separatists” while trying to restart talks with Moscow…

    …Speaking after the event, EU foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini noted that the “main” point of Monday’s discussion was “how to re-engage in a dialogue … Russia is for sure part of the problem, but it is also part of the solution for the crisis”.

    She said “sanctions are an effective tool, [but] in a broader strategy”.

    She added that “many ministers” said she should go to Moscow.

    But she noted that she would only do it “after checking if the conditions are there for the meeting to be fruitful … the decision has not been taken yet”. ..

    …Speaking after the G20 on Sunday, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said one way to “ease” EU-Russia ties might be to hold talks between the EU and Russia’s new economic club, the Eurasian Union.

    Speaking in Brussels on Monday, he said “there were many [EU foreign ministers] who said it should be tried”…

    ..The Austrian foreign minister, Sebastian Kurz, also said on Monday there should be “direct talks” with Putin’s new Union…

    …he said that following the Merkel-Putin meeting in Australia, some EU states wanted soft conclusions in order to “leave space for further talks” with Russia.

    Asked by EUobserver why, given the Nato confirmation, the EU conclusions refer to withdrawal of “foreign forces” instead of “Russian forces”, he said: “We talked for over three hours about the wording of this text … in the end, we preferred to show that the 28 can speak with one voice, even if it’s not as spirited as we’d like”….”

    Is this the EU blinking?

    Despite the massive russophobe bombardment in the media, the US and NATO amping up their rhetoric, Nothing.

    The sanctions and the threats clearly have not had the effect they were supposed to have so it looks like it has undermined the Russophobe EU states position within the EU. Time to give negotiation a go.

    So, has the penny finally dropped that there is no way the EU can win the Ukraine and still expect Russia to subsidize it while it joins the EU.

    It also looks like a big defeat for the US, though I wonder if the crazy Republicans taking the Senate might have had something to do with this, i.e. get the policy in before the US can do something really stupid and drag the EU further in to the quagmire.

    I think the article’s title says it all.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Yes, short memories indeed!

      I was studying in Germany (I even lived in East Berlin for a spell in 1988) when the ball started rolling that resulted in the Wall going down.

      There was a right shower in charge in the GDR then – Honecker’s eventual successor got told by Gorby that the game was up. I can’t remember his name but I can still see his face now … Egon Krenz! That was the bloke.

      That was in October 1989 and in November the Wall fell. But long before then, East Germans had been flooding across the GDR/Czech frontier and no one was shooting at them. Clearly Honecker had been told from Moscow that it was all over. They, the East Germans who crossed the frontier, camped out in the FRG embassy in Prague and then from there they were allowed to flood into Bavaria. And there were big protest marches, especially in Leipzig and no one was killed.

      There certainly was “Gorbymania” in West Germany before all this happened though. I was studying in Düsseldorf then and everyone felt that word had been given by him to close shop in East Germany. And all things Russian suddenly became modish: salted gherkins “Russian style” appeared in the shops and I remember a brand of cigarette coming out called Fedor (Фёдор) – there was a picture on the packet of a Russian boy playing a balalaika. And I bought a classy, bright red sweatshirt with CCCP emblazoned in yellow on it across the chest. I liked it a lot and often wore it. Nobody assaulted me for doing so.

      Gorbachev visited Bonn – then the Federal capital of the Federal Republic of Germany – and was mobbed there by overjoyed Germans:.

      See: ‘Gorbymania’ Captures Bonn–It’s a Challenge to the West, Aide Says

      But Mother Russia was beckoning me then and I was getting ready to set off for the USSR at that time.

      So I said goodbye to my deutsches Mädchen and winged my way east towards the Empire of Evil, where I was promptly seduced by a Russian dyevushka.

      My fate was sealed!


      • Warren says:

        You’ve lived an interesting life, every wonder how things would of turned out had you stayed in Germany?

        Anglo-American geopolitics requires that Russia and Germany are enemies, the nightmare scenario for the transatlantic Anglo-Americans would be an alliance of Russian natural resources and German industry. This would be an immediate threat to US hegemony, and the Anglo-American sea-based power structure.

  30. Drutten says:

    Àpropos the T-72 talk by the British Embassy in Kiev…

    Here’s a disabled Ukrainian T-72AG north of Lugansk. This tank has the Kontakt reactive armor and everything. You can however tell that it is indeed a Ukrainian tank by the remains of the rubber turret “skirt” to the left, something unique to the Ukrainian AG (and it directly echoes the very similar and indeed distinctive turret “skirt” of the other widspread Ukrainian tank modification T-64BM “Bulat”). It also has the Ukrainian white stripe, but that’s not really a reliable identifier as some of their armor has two or three of these, others lack these identification stripes altogether, some even sport white dots and/or circles (which was previously thought to be a rebel or even Russian identifier).

    The tank appears to have been disabled by multiple RPG hits.

  31. et Al says:

    Neuters: Exclusive – U.S. increasing non-lethal military aid to Ukraine, U.S. officials say
    The United States plans to increase non-lethal military assistance to Ukraine, including deliveries of the first Humvee vehicles, having decided for now not to provide weapons, U.S. officials said.

    The increase in non-lethal aid to Ukraine, which is grappling with a Russian-backed separatist movement in its east, is expected to be announced on Thursday during a visit to Kiev by Vice President Joe Biden…

    …Officials in the Obama administration had said Washington believed Ukraine had enough lethal aid and the types of weaponry requested for Ukraine would be of only marginal value. They had also emphasized the need for a diplomatic outcome.

    Doesn’t the US ever know when to stop? It’s as bad as the Isrealis. Just when everything has totally turned to sh*t, keep going! If they were in a Lada Niva, that might work, but they are not.

    The whole ‘non-leathal’ thing is total bullsh*t too. Unarmed armored vehicles, night vision goggles, body armor etc. make the recipient more dangerous militarily because they are better protected they will take more action because the perceived risk to the soldier is less. NVGs provide the ability to fire weapons more accurately at night.

    My other pet hate is the banning of ‘dual-use’ items. Most things are dual use. A washing machines/dryers used to be dual use for criminals. Most commercial satellite have abilities that can be used for military application, not just billion dollar spy satellites. Commercial tech is not only much cheaper than custom designed military tech, but it is easier and cheaper to replace, upgrade much more quickly. Even a discreet graphics card in a computer can be harness to crack encryption, passwords when run in parallel and massively to build a cheap supercomputer that can simulate nuclear explosions etc. Even breathing is ‘dual-use’ for as long as you breath, you might decide to do something naughty!

    Oh, and here’s a tidbit on the ballistic missile defense system the US is deploying at Deveselu Air Base in south central Romania. It’s about 350km from the coast just and 50km north of Bulgaria.

    Defense News: Surface Ships Need More Offensive Punch, Outlook
    Clark would also create more Aegis Ashore systems, particularly in Japan, to free up cruisers and destroyers for more offensive missions. He pointed to the system now being set up in Romania, using the Aegis combat system and VLS of a cruiser, as a land installation to counter enemy ballistic missiles.

    • cartman says:

      “Nonlethal aid” flows through the NDN. Just wait until their strategy backfires in Central Asia. Uzbekistan exports their workers to Russia who return after they are paid in rubles. Kerry has spent so much time kissing the ass of Karimov to move him to the West, but the issue with migrant laborers could force him to close that alternate escape route for US troops. Then Kerry is back in the mercy of Pakistan.

  32. cartman says:

    Is not working for anyone else? It seems to be under a prolonged DNS attack.

  33. ThatJ says:

    As The “Sanctions War” Heats Up, Will Putin Play His ‘Gold Card’?

    The topic of ‘currency war’ has been bantered about in financial circles since at least the term was first used by Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega in September 2010. Recently, the currency war has escalated, and a ‘sanctions war’ against Russia has broken out. History suggests that financial assets are highly unlikely to preserve investors’ real purchasing power in this inhospitable international environment, due in part to the associated currency crises, which will catalyse at least a partial international remonetisation of gold. Vladimir Putin, under pressure from economic sanctions, may calculate that now is the time to play his ‘gold card’.

    A Quick Look At Goldman’s Takeover Of The US Judicial System: NY Fed Edition

    Moments ago, in the aftermath of the latest scandal involving Goldman’s Rohit Bansal getting material information from a NY Fed employee, finally admitted that the original Carmen Segarra “whistleblower” allegations, namely that there was a material weakness (as in it is non-existent) when it comes to the NY Fed’s supervision of TBTF banks, by which we mean Goldman Sachs here, were founded and valid when at 4pm on the dot the NY Fed released this…

    Brooklyn Resident With Ebola Symptoms Rushed To Bellevue

    A Brooklyn man, who recently returned from West Africa, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital with Ebola-like symptoms Thursday, police sources said.

    The man, whose name is being withheld by The Post, returned from Mali on Nov. 14, and came down with flu-like symptoms which are similar symptoms to those exhibited by patients suffering from Ebola, the sources said.

    “We Are Dissolving Into A World Of Planless Incoherence”

    …[A]s Yeats observed, we live in an era of faked sincerity and threadbare melodramas played for public consumption: those apologizing for their lies lack all conviction, while those seeking to rouse a partisan mob are full of phony passion.

    Disillusioned with the pillaging and predation of our supposed leaders who have circled away from all constraint, we in the center that cannot hold can only watch things fall apart as the orderly universe operated by the few at the expense of the many dissolves (in Aldous Huxley’s phrase) into a world of planless incoherence.

  34. Fern says:

    Five of Ukraine’s political parties have announced they’re forming a coalition – the People’s Front, Radical Party, Samopomoshch (Self Help), Petro Poroshenko Bloc and Yulia Timoshenko’s Batkivshchina. They’ve signed an agreement setting out their exceedingly modest aims:-

    “We will carry out reforms designed to achieve European quality of life for Ukrainian citizens, do away with poverty, develop a competitive economy, have a stable development of the society, favourable conditions for business, new jobs and decline in unemployment, as well as to obtain energy independence, develop the civil society, ensure freedom of speech, fight corruption and restore justice, develop education and science, culture and spirituality.”

    I hate to be the one raining on other people’s parades but they should be aware that the “European quality of life” actually eludes many Europeans who find that their governments haven’t managed to ‘do away with’ poverty.

    Jeez, what planet are these guys on? According to the European Commission’s own statistics, nearly a quarter of the EU’s population are a risk of poverty; 9% are considered to be severely materially deprived and 10% live in households where no-one has a job. So, Kiev, good luck with the westernisation project. Happy days are coming, eh?

    • Jen says:

      The Kyivsters live on the same Brave New World planet as does Latvia under re-elected Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma:

      ” … In her acceptance speech, Straujuma praised the austerity measures imposed in Latvia since 2009. The Baltic state was hit hard by the global economic crisis. The economy contracted by more than 20 percent after 2008. In Latvia today, 90,000 more people live in poverty than in 2010. The poverty rate rose from 14 percent to over 20 percent, and social inequality has dramatically intensified due to the austerity measures. The Gini coefficient, which measures income inequality, is the highest in the European Union (EU) …

      … Budgetary policy has focused on the destruction of social infrastructure in recent years. Half of all of the country’s hospitals were shut down and a comprehensive medical service no longer exists.
      The education sector has also suffered under the cuts. Since 2009, the pay of teachers and other public sector workers has been slashed by up to 60 percent. The media has reported on school head teachers who have to work as night janitors on the side to make ends meet. Now Straujuma cynically declares that teachers must be capable of “encouraging the younger generation to achieve excellence.” …

      … The Latvian government and the EU portray their brutal austerity measures as a success story. The universal flat tax placed a greater burden on low and middle income earners than high earners. The Baltic republic has the EU’s largest low-wage sector, with hourly wages of €2 per hour.
      All this makes Latvia a poster child for neoliberalism. As a consequence, growing numbers of people are leaving the country. In 1991, there were 2.4 million residents in Latvia, but this year [2014] there are less than 2 million …”

      Whither Latvia goes, Ukraine happily follows down the Yellow Brick Road.

      • et Al says:

        Latvia flat tax 2014 is 24%. Russia flat tax 2014 is 13%.

        I like flat tax because it makes the tax system very clear and easy to understand, but obviously it is how it is applied and how are other taxes levied, i.e. on ‘luxury’ items or items that only the better off can afford. Everything is about implementation.

        I seem to recall that in Britain they introduced a 10% basic rate a few years ago which was Gordon ‘Prudent’ Brown’s idea but then they killed it a couple of years later. He says it was his greatest mistake. I would have thought his failure to set up a functioning financial regulatory framework with teeth would be the worst that would have protected consumers from the Bank’s casino behavior, but apparently not.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Between the lines, these shits are always implying that their country is such a festering, corrupt to a Sub-Saharan level cesspool of crime and graft because of the … wait for it … Moskali, who have maliciously and exploitatively run their wondrous resurrected Rus’ into the ground these past 20 or so years.

      Truth is, they’ve done this themselves, the people who have formed “political” parties to promote their own self-interest and who are now promising a Brave New World to their sucker compatriots.

  35. Moscow Exile says:

    Here’s what Patrick Armstrong describes as a “1,000 word photo” taken at the recent G20 meeting at which Russia was “isolated”:

  36. yalensis says:

    Today (21 November) is one-year anniversary of when shit started to go down on Maidan.

    To commemorate glorious event President Porky went to Maidan, along with his henchmen , in order to lay wreaths.
    Porky was met by crowd of malcontented fascists claiming to be relatives of the so-called “Heavenly Hundred” (hereafter in this comment referred to as “HH”), who got gunned down on Maidan by (still) unknown snipers.

    Crowd was bitching about the fact that Euromaidan mobs who suffered from results of last February disorders, have still NOT been awarded special status, that would enable them for free social and medical services.

    Relatives of HH, who wish to get free social and medical services, greeted Poroshenko with cries of “Shame!” and “Where are the murderers?”

    Porky responded to them with a one-liner: “Try to be worthy of the Heavenly Hundred heroes.”
    In Shakespearean fashion, mob was not impressed, and parried back: “Who are you to tell us to be worthy?”
    Porky retorted cynically: “They did their job.”
    Crowd: “What about you, Mr. President? Did you do your job?”

    Porky had no response to that, but one of his bodyguards turned on a nearby young woman and rudely ordered her to stop taking pictures on her phone.

    Next in the order of events, Porky signed a decree awarding “Hero” status to HH dead people.
    Next, he met with American Vice President Joe Biden on Maidan, near the monument to the HH.

    • et Al says:

      ‘Holy Hundred’ or ‘Heil Hitler’? Quite convenient, no?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        And “Heavenly Hundred” in Russian is: “Небесной сотни” and in Ukrainian: “Небесної сотні”, or “НС”, which transliterates into Latin script as “NS” – “National Socialist”.

        • et Al says:

          Genius! That’s close enough. Have a cigar.

        • Jen says:

          Cue the fantasy of Irina Farion getting her knickers in a knot over the correct pronunciation of “Небесної сотні” by schoolchildren. Any child who says “Небесной сотни” instead of “Небесної сотні” must be sent to the bathroom for mouth lustration with soap.

  37. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, Porky’s administration preparing to abolish or downsize Ministry of Economics . Who needs it any more, now that Ukrainian economy is simply a carcass waiting to be stripped by Porky, Yulia, and the others?

    Dmitry Shimkiv, who is Deputy Head of Porky’s administration, has stated that he doubts there is any further need for the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.
    “Right now,” he says, “the task of the Ministry is to get involved in de-regulation to the fullest degree, to occupy itself with the Association Agreement prerequisites, and to organize control over international donor projects.”
    “At the same time,” he continues, “we need to downsize it to the smallest possible organization, after which it can be converted to a sub-agency, or be merged into another Ministry.”
    “Currently,” he continues, “it is my understanding that the Ministry has around 1200 employees, right away we can downsize this to 500. This will curtail functions, but these functions are not needed in any case.”

    Shimkiv goes on to say that he is all about privatizing as many state enterprises as possible.

    yalensis: This guy sounds like a follower of the “Chicago School” of economics!

    • marknesop says:

      That sort of operation will only be profitable for westerners – except for the most basic grab-and-run – if they are confident they can control the country afterward. Western companies are not going to invest in Ukraine if they have every reason to expect the government will fall and their assets will be seized and nationalized. So “international donor projects” are going to be few and far between.

      • yalensis says:

        By “donor projects”, I honestly don’t think Ukies even mean foreign investments, I think they mean literally standing on the corner with cup in hand, schnorring for $$$$.

        • marknesop says:

          Oh, I’m sure that’s exactly what they mean; that seems to be symptomatic of the current leadership – we do our part, we continue to spit on and insult Russia, and gobble about “European values”, now you do your part and give us Billions with no oversight or accountability.

          But that’s just in the short term. You can take a pile of money and use it to create jobs – you can do like the Orange Revolution crowd did, and build huge impractical highways with gas stations every few miles when a lot of people can’t afford cars, and there will be work until the highways are built. What then? Without investment and cash flow, everything grinds to a halt.

    • Jen says:

      Gotta wonder who Dmitry Shimkiv takes his advice from. His plan sounds pretty much in line with past pre-WW2 German fantasies about claiming Ukie territory and turning it into one giant farm with all the Slavs forced out of the cities and put to work as agricultural slave labour. In that scenario there is no need for economic development and certainly no need for international trade.

  38. Moscow Exile says:

    Further to the “toxic Putin” thread above, here’s a clip of the Evil One really losing his rag:

    Vladimir Putin takes Oleg Deripaska to task

    That happened in June 2009 as a result of the 2008 economic crisis.

    Note how the Telegraph article ends:

    Russia’s industrial production has ground to a near halt in the financial crisis. After 10 years of uninterrupted growth, it faces the prospect that its economy will shrink by up to eight per cent this year.

    Well it didn’t.

    Source: World Bank

  39. yalensis says:

    And speaking of stripping the carcass, check out this expose in KyivPost.

    Seems like Porky accused Prodan of taking a kickback on South African coal.
    Prodan vigorously denied the accusation and counter-accused Porky, or someone “close to him” of having some of scheme to buy up Russian coal as preparation to dividing up the swag, after Ukrainian coal industry gets privatized.

  40. Moscow Exile says:

    Baroness Ashton will be paid £400,000 by the EU to do nothing

    The above Telegraph article is dated 5 April, 2013.

    So they were wrong!

    Because Baroness Ashton met Secretary of State Kerry in Vienna this morning. Together with her was also the Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif. This afternoon Kerry met the French Foreign Minister Fabius and the British Foreign Minister Hammond.

    But in what capacity is Gosh Ashton there, I wonder? She retired last month.

  41. Warren says:

    • et Al says:

      I will take this opportunity to reinterpret one of the classics by Dimitri Medvyedev’s favorite band, Deep Purple: Mistrals on the Water

      I’m still insanely jealous!

  42. Moscow Exile says:

    The Russian blogosphere is full of what Klitschko said off a stage on the Maidan a year ago today:

    Пройдет год и вы не узнаете Украину!

    In a year’s time you will not recognize the Ukraine!

    I’ve been trying to find a clip where he says it.

    At least Hitler restricted himself to a more realistic time scale when he announced to the Germans:

    Gebt mir fünf Jahre Zeit und ihr werdet Deutschland nicht wiedererkennen!

    Give me five years and you will not recognize Germany again!

    Köln, 1945

  43. et Al says:


    Neuters: Exclusive – Foreign firms challenge Poland over access to mine concessions
    Poland’s environment ministry, which allocates concessions, denied it gave preferential treatment to KGHM over Canadian Miedzi Copper, which has filed a lawsuit, or British firm Darley Energy, which has submitted an appeal…

    …Whatever the outcome, the row could rattle foreign investors at a time when Poland’s resource sector, struggling with low prices on the world market, badly needs investment…

    …”The only other place where I had such a negative experience was Russia,” Ross Beaty, the main shareholder in Miedzi Copper, told Reuters. “I’ll never go back to Russia and I’m afraid that I’m starting to feel the same with Poland right now.”…

    Aren’t copper and potash industries in Russia designated as ‘strategic industries’*, i.e. they cannot be foreign owned or controlled unless they have approval from the Russian government (private companies wanting 50%+ need approval, foreign state owned companies approval for 25%+)? It’s perfectly normal and is also done in many other countries, though that is not to say that foreign conglomerates were stiffed, but why should Russia do virulently Russophobe Canada or others special favors? Not to mention the recent dust up between potash oligarchs.

    Meanwhile I discovered this from 2009 and it is machine translated
    Russian version:
    Other English unofficial translation (PDF) from the International Security Network:

    Russia’s National Security Strategy to 2020
    By Decree of the President
    Of the Russian Federation
    12 May 2009 No. 537

    National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation to 2020

    …17. A determining aspect of relations with NATO remains the fact that plans to extend the alliance’s military infrastructure to Russia’s borders, and attempts to endow NATO with global functions that go counter to norms of international law, are unacceptable to Russia.
    Russia is prepared to develop relations with NATO on the basis of equality and in the interests of strengthening the general security of the Euro-Atlantic region. The content and depth of these relations will be determined by the preparedness of the alliance to recognise Russia’s legal interests when engaging in military-political planning, and to respect norms of international law; and likewise NATO’s readiness to consider the further transformation of these relations and the search for new tasks and functions with a humanist [humane?] orientation….”

    An interesting blog though obviously not neutral:

    & another where from Russia: Other Points of View from 2011 “Both President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin frequently complain that relatively few of their instructions to the bureaucrats ever get fully carried out. Both President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin frequently complain that relatively few of their instructions to the bureaucrats ever get fully carried out. ”
    In light of the current sanctions against Russia, great document but where has been the real implementation, particularly in food security? Stuff just hasn’t been done so it looks like the state bureaucracy is either extremely slow or that it is still very hard for Putin and Medvyedev to get things done. So, how does that square with the Western Pork Pie News Network black propaganda that Putin controls everything? It simply doesn’t.


    And a Potash wars reminder from 2013:

  44. ThatJ says:

    Russia warns U.S. against arms to Ukraine as Biden due in Kiev

    (Reuters) – Russia warned the United States on Thursday against supplying arms to Ukrainian forces fighting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, hours before U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden was due to arrive in Kiev.

    Ukraine accused President Vladimir Putin of treating its territory like a “playing field”, trying to unleash a full-scale war that would pose a broader threat to NATO countries.

    Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in Moscow that a U.S. official’s suggestion Washington should consider sending arms to Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels have been fighting government forces since April, sent a “very serious signal”.

    Lukashevich cautioned against “a major change in policy of the (U.S.) administration in regard to the conflict” in Ukraine.

    Gold Repatriation Stunner: Dutch Central Bank Secretly Withdrew 122 Tons Of Gold From The New York Fed

    A week ago, we penned “The Real Reason Why Germany Halted Its Gold Repatriation From The NY Fed”, in which we got, for the first time ever, an admission by an official source, namely the bank that knows everything that takes place in Germany – Deutsche Bank – what the real reason was for Germany’s gold repatriation halt after procuring a meager 5 tons from the NY Fed. Some took offense with this pointing out, correctly, that the gold held at the NY Fed in deposit form for foreign institutions had continued to decline into 2014 even despite the alleged German halt. Well, today we finally know the answer: it wasn’t Germany who was secretly withdrawing gold from the NYFed, contrary to what it had publicly disclosed. It was the Netherlands. Why did the DNB decided it was time to cut its gold held at the NY Fed by 122 tons? “It is no longer wise to keep half of our gold in one part of the world,” a DNB spokesman said.

    Deutsche Bank: “People Are Talking About Helicopter Money And Debt Cancellation Being The End Game”

    I had a few meetings yesterday and one of the biggest surprises I had was that for the first time in a long time people were talking about helicopter money and debt cancellation being the end game. This was a major theme of our 2013 long-term study but one that we’ve struggled to get much traction with over the last year. Perhaps there’s an increasing weariness that more QE globally whilst inevitable, is a blunt growth tool and that stopping it will be extremely difficult (let alone reversing it) without a positive growth shock. Maybe Japan’s move this week in delaying the further sales tax increase and the economy’s adverse reaction to the first increase reminds the market how difficult it might be to actually pay the bills with real money. As we said earlier this week it could be that the last few days marks the first steps towards monetization. Anyway, this is not something for today or tomorrow but the fact that different clients brought it up independently of each other makes me think that’s its starting to get into people’s thoughts.

    Speaker Boehner’s Response To Obama’s Executive Action: “Acting Like A Teenager”

    Speaker Boehner is out with his response to Obama’s executive diktum:


    As Obama himself noted, these actions are those of a teenager…

  45. et Al says:

    Scion of AsiaTimes Online, Spengler:

    Dumbing it away
    Why We Lost: A General’s Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, by Daniel P Bolger.

    “I am a United States Army general, and I lost the Global War on Terrorism,” Lieutenant-General Daniel Bolger begins his history of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. “It’s like Alcoholics Anonymous; step one is admitting you have a problem. Well, I have a problem. So do my peers. And thanks to our problem, now all of America has a problem, to wit: two lost campaigns and a war gone awry.”

    By this, Bolger means that United States generals, notably David Petraeus, sold short-term fixes to baffled political leaders and hatched even worse problems for the future..

    …The trouble, Bolger explains, is that majority rule in Iraq meant permanent war: “The stark facts on the ground still sat there, oozing pus and bile. With Saddam gone, any voting would install a Shiite majority. The Sunni wouldn’t run Iraq again. That, at the bottom, caused the insurgency. Absent the genocide of Sunni Arabs, it would keep it going.” …

    Read much more at the link.

  46. Warren says:

    Hungary’s Viktor Orban: Washington’s New Enemy Image

    Hungary and its populist nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban have come into the cross-hairs of Washington’s political elites. His sin? Not buckling under to the often destructive diktats of the Brussels EU Commission; attempting to define a Hungarian national identity. But his cardinal sin is his deepening relationship with Russia and his defiance of Washington in signing an agreement with Gazprom for bringing the Russian South Stream gas pipeline into the EU via Hungary.

    Orban has himself undergone a political journey since he was elected as Hungary’s second-youngest Prime Ministers in 1998. Back then he oversaw the entry of Hungary along with Poland and the Czech Republic into NATO over Russia’s protest, and into the EU. As Prime Minister during far more prosperous economic times in the EU, Orban cut taxes, abolished university tuition for qualified students, expanded maternity benefits, and attracted German industry with low-cost Hungarian labor. One of his American “advisers” then was James Denton, linked with the Color Revolution Washington NGO, Freedom House. Orban seemed the darling of Washington’s neo-cons. In 2001 he was given the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute’s Freedom Award.

    But in 2010 after six years in the opposition, Orban returned, this time with a resounding majority for his Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Union Party, Fidesz for short. In fact Fidesz won a 68% supermajority in Parliament, giving it the necessary votes to alter the Constitution and pass new laws, which it did. Ironically, in a case of the pot calling the kettle black, the United States Obama Administration and the European Parliament for placing too much power in the hands of Fidesz. Orban was accused by Daniel Cohn-Bendit of the European Greens of making Hungary on the model of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. He was definitely not playing by the approved Brussels Rulebook for politically submissive EU politicians. Fidesz began to be demonized in EU media as the Hungarian version of United Russia and Orban as the Hungarian Putin. That was in 2012.

    Now its getting alarming for the Atlanticists and their EU followers. Orban has defied EU demands to stop construction of Russia’s important South Stream gas pipeline.

    Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline would guarantee EU gas together with German-Russian Nord Stream that could bypass the war in Ukraine something Washington bitterly opposes for obvious reasons

    Last January Orban’s government announced a € 10 billion deal with the Russian state nuclear energy company to refurbish Hungary’s only nuclear power plant at Paks, originally built during the Soviet era with Russian technology.

    That caused some attention in Washington. Similarly when Orban criticized the United States this past summer for failing to ultimately resolve the global financial crisis its banks and its lax regulation caused, and praised China, Turkey and Russia as better models. He declared in words not too different from what I have often used that Western democracies, “will probably be incapable of maintaining their global competitiveness in the upcoming decades and will instead be scaled down unless they are capable of changing themselves significantly.” In addition, Orban’s government managed to free Hungary from decades of devastating IMF bondage. In August 2013, the Hungarian Economic Ministry announced that it had, thanks to a “disciplined budget policy,” repaid the remaining €2.2 billion owed to the IMF. No more onerous IMF-forced state privatizations or conditionalities. The head of the Hungarian Central Bank then demanded the IMF close its offices in Budapest. In addition, echoing Iceland, the State Attorney General brought charges against the country’s three previous prime ministers because of the criminal amount of debt into which they plunged the nation. That’s a precedent that surely causes cold sweat in some capitals of the EU or Washington and Wall Street.

    But the real alarm bells rang when Orban and his Fidesz party approved a go-ahead, together with neighboring Austria, of the South Stream Russian pipeline, ignoring EU claims it violated EU rules. Orben proclaimed at a meeting with Germany’s Horst Seehofer in Munich on November 6, “”Es lebe die österreichisch-ungarische Energiemonarchie” („The Austro-Hungarian Energy Monarchy Lives.“)

    The US elites sounded the alarm immediately. The ultra-establishment New York Times ran a lead editorial, “Hungary’s Dangerous Slide.” They declared, “The government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary is sliding toward authoritarianism and defying the fundamental values of the European Union — and getting away with it.”

    The Times revealed the real cause of Washington and Wall Street alarm: “Hungary’s most recent expression of contempt for the European Union is its passage of a law on Monday that clears the way for Russia’s South Stream natural gas pipeline to traverse Hungary. The new law is in clear violation of the European Parliament’s call in September for member states to cancel South Stream, and of the economic sanctions against Russia imposed by the European Union and the United States after Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Instead of issuing tepid expressions of concern over antidemocratic policies, the European Union should be moving to sanction Hungary. Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, should exercise his power to force Mr. Navracsics to resign.” Tibor Navracsics, has just been named the new European Commissioner of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, a post in Brussels that has arguably little to do with gas pipelines.

    Next we can expect the National Endowment for Democracy and the usual US Government-backed NGO’s to find an excuse to launch mass opposition protests against Fidesz and Orban for his unforgivable crime of trying to make Hungary’s energy independent of the US-created insanity in Ukraine.

    F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

    First appeared:

    • et Al says:

      Stupid, stupid New York Crimes. The EP vote to ‘cancel South Stream’ was only symbolic. It was neither supported by the Council of Ministers or Commission. The EP cannot unilaterally change the rules because the EU is run on the Co-Decision procedure FFS!

      That the New York Crimes should so publicly flag their ignorance of basic EU governance is no surprise. All they care about is that Europe does what they think is right, regardless of any EU law or rules.

      If such ignorance is so deeply entrenched at the supposed pinnacle of American journalism, then it is no wonder they are incapable of holding their own politicians and bureaucrats to account, let alone criticizing foreign ones.

      And it was an editorial for god’s sake. If they really want to make the rest of the world think Americans are ignorant and stupid (which they certainly are not), then this is the way to do it.

      Here’s the link to the editorial, novemberr 5th:

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