New Rules or No Rules? Putin Defies the New World Order

Uncle Volodya says, "Speak when you are angry, and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”

Uncle Volodya says, “Speak when you are angry, and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”

Some time back – October 24th, in fact, an eternity ago in today’s roller-coaster event sequence – Vladimir Putin delivered an important speech to the assembly of the Valdai International Discussion Club, at Sochi, Russia. Several analysts, including our friend Alexander Mercouris, published their takes on it, and all agreed it was a significant and pivotal moment in Russia-western relations. Both Putin’s allies and enemies got what they wanted out of it; those sympathetic to Russia’s effort to be heard whilst being shouted down by the cacophonous west heard an appeal for understanding, while those who view Russia merely as an obstacle to blinding, total victory heard a vain and autocratic popinjay who wants to recreate the Soviet Union.

It’s entirely possible that neither correctly heard the message that Putin was really trying to get across. Some of the ladies on this board have emerged as first-class analysts of current events, and regularly display their ability to see deeper into a brick wall than the rest of us – and in the end, most people are capable of understanding what their eyes just saw, or their ears heard, once the deeper implications of it are laid out where we can see them. Doing her usual thorough and perspicacious job of it, on Putin’s Valdai speech, our own Jennifer Hor; take it away, Jen! Please note this is Part 1, suggesting there will be a Part 2!

Vladimir Putin’s Valdai Speech at the XI Meeting (Final Plenary Session) of the Valdai International Discussion Club (Sochi, 24 October 2014) – Part 1

Background to Putin’s Speech

Founded in 2004, the Valdai International Discussion Club brings together experts ranging from politicians to economists, public servants, journalists and academics from around the world to analyse and debate on Russia’s role and position in the world. The first meeting was held in Veliky Novgorod near Lake Valdai, hence the name of the club. The goal is to promote dialogue and debate on political, economic, social and other major issues and events of importance both to Russia and the rest of the world.

In 2014 the eleventh meeting was held in Sochi, and it was here that Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech in the final plenary session of the meeting (as is his custom) that in the future is likely to be seen as signifying a major turning point in geopolitical history. Under the theme of New Rules or a Game Without Rules, Putin declared that Russia will no longer participate in international politics according to rules set by the United States and its allies but will forge its own path as a regional power in its neighbourhood, as determined by the will of the Russian people, pursuing the path of peace and economic development and avoiding war where possible unless threatened by others. By making this statement, Putin has put Russia on a path the country has never trod before – previously Russia in various manifestations has either copied and followed other (usually Western) countries or has cast itself in a messianic role, whether as successor to the Byzantine empire, leader of the Slav nations or leader of the Communist world – and by doing so, has perhaps shown the rest of the world that there is an alternative to the tired Cold War paradigm that posed one set of countries and ideologies against another set of countries and ideologies, and both sets having long outlived their usefulness and relevance to a world beset by ominous developments that transcend political, economic and social divisions.

The Content of Putin’s Speech

Putin noted that current geopolitical institutions, systems and law mechanisms have become weak, distorted and ineffective against a rising tide of violence, instability and brutality in many parts of the world, in particular in parts of the Middle East and in Ukraine. Increasingly countries, Russia included, are searching for ways that will lessen their dependence on the use of the US dollar in trade and are establishing alternative financial and payments systems that do away with the US dollar as the reserve currency. The use of sanctions against Russia and other countries like Iran are undermining trade and causing economic stress in EU countries in spite of the fact that these countries have initiated sanctions under pressure from the US. Putin also referred to the 2013 banking crisis in Cyprus, in which that country’s government attempted to seize monies from uninsured savings accounts in major Cyprus banks as part of a bail-out agreement struck with finance ministers of Eurozone countries with the blessings of the EU and the IMF, as a motivator to seek out alternatives to the current global financial system that help preserve political and economic sovereignty.putin-valdai-speech-president.si

From Putin’s point of view, much of the blame for the breakdown in the systems and mechanisms that maintain world peace and stability lies with the United States which, since the early 1990s with the end of the Cold War, has broken its promise made to Russia by then US Secretary of State James Baker that the US would not extend NATO membership to former Warsaw Pact nations, and has sought and instigated regime change in several countries in western Asia and northern Africa as outlined in the Project for the New American Century, authored in part by neoconservative historian Robert Kagan whose wife Victoria Nuland is the current Assistant US State Secretary to John Kerry. Regarding itself as the winner of the Cold War, the US and its allies have tried to impose their own narrowly interpreted and highly militarised solutions onto major world and regional problems and conflicts: solutions that have the effect of throwing gasoline onto fires to put them out. Putin referred to US-led overthrows of governments in Iraq and Libya, and the current US attempt to unseat Bashar al Assad’s government in Syria, with all the dire consequences that have followed and resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties and millions of refugees, and large-scale environmental catastrophe that surely must influence global climate change, as examples of such hubris on the part of the Americans.

Having surveyed the sorry state of the world thus far, Putin comes to the question of whether to live by New Rules or No Rules. He explicitly rejects the No Rules option because the current global situation is clearly on the path to No Rules. He reminds his audience that nations must agree on fundamental values and to co-operate in finding collective solutions to common problems and issues. Major participants in such co-operation must lead the way in behaving with self-restraint and in ethical and responsible ways that others will be happy to follow. International co-operation and relations should be based on international laws that are themselves based on moral principles and respect by nations for one another and their interests.

Within this world of New Rules, Putin places Russia decisively on a path in which the country will emphasize pursuing its own development with an emphasis on open, democratic and accountable political and economic institutions, selectively adopting those modern global trends that would enhance the country’s progress and strengthen its society by emphasizing traditional values that have stood the country well in times of crisis. Russia will look back into its history, forward into a likely future and around it to find and draw upon those resources and forces that will ensure and enhance its progress. Putin explicitly rejects the idea of Russia becoming an empire again and envisages the country as being a partner willing to work with others on the basis of mutual interest and respect.

The Russian blogger chipstone summarises what he believes to be the main points of Putin’s speech, what follows are chipstone’s words (explained further by myself where they don’t appear to be too clear):

1. Russia will not play in the proposed “game”, leading the backstage trade on trifles. But she is ready for any serious discussion and agreement, if they will contribute to the security and will be based on a fair and equal integration of all interests. [Russia refuses to play any more games and indulge in backroom horse-trading on trifling issues; Russia is interested only and ready for serious discussion and agreement based on whether this contributes to collective security and on fairness and consideration of all parties’ interest.]
2. Any system of global security [is] destroyed. The future is not guaranteed. And this destroyer is, as they say, first name and patronymic. [All current systems of global security are in ruins, there are no more guarantees of international security, thanks to the United States of America which has trashed them.]
3. The builders of the New World Order have failed and built a castle in the sand. Build or not a joint world order to solve not only Russia, but without Russia and expense, this issue is not resolved. [The creators of the New World Order have built a house with a foundation of sand. Whether a replacement order should be built is not only Russia’s decision to make as a participant but any such global decision to create a new system of order MUST include Russia’s participation.]
4. Russia favors a conservative approach to the implementation of any changes in the society and the existing elements of the order, but does not refuse to consider new products for their meaningful implementation. [Russia prefers to tread carefully where fools would rush in, in introducing social change but would be happy to discuss and test such change first where it is justified.]
5. Russia is not going to fish in the troubled waters of chaos, is not going to build a new empire (we just do not need it, we would have his master), but is not going to save the world and at the expense of himself, as has happened before. [Russia has enough territory to satisfy its imperial ambitions if any. Russia is now not interested in building empires and in being the world’s policeman at its own cost as in the past.]
6. Russia is not going to reformat the world for themselves, but do not give reformat themselves to please someone else. We’re not going to close the world, but woe to those who try us “close”. [Russia is uninterested in reshaping the world to its preference and will not allow anyone to reshape Russian territory and society according to their interests. Russia will not be isolationist and will not tolerate being shut off from the rest of the world.]
7. Russia does not want the onset of chaos, not seeking war and it is not going to start first. Nevertheless, today Russia is considering the prospect of a global war almost as inevitable, is ready for this and continues to prepare.Russia does not want war, but not afraid.
8. Russia is not going to take a proactive stance in opposing the mountain – the builders of the NWO as long as it does not concern her vital interests, preferring to give them the opportunity to stuff as many cones as sustain their head. When violent Russian involvement in this process, at the expense of its interests, little nobody seems. [Russia won’t object to those still pursuing their dreams of a New World Order as long as they don’t impinge on Russia’s interests; Russia is happy to let those countries whack themselves silly but if they try to drag Russia into their schemes, then they will really know what it’s like to be whacked by Russian power!]
9. In its foreign and domestic policy the more power Russia will increasingly rely not on the elite and backroom deals, and the will of the people. [Russia will follow foreign and domestic policies aligned with what the Russian people desire or prefer as opposed to backroom horse-trading deals that benefit an elite group.]

Some Observations

That Russia seems content to be only a regional power in its sphere of influence may disappoint those people who want to see a new world power leading a coalition of nations pulverise the United States and its allies. But such a scenario would be a repeat of old Cold War fantasies and would certainly play into the US government’s own desires of provoking Russia into war. From the experience of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, Russia is well aware of the pitfalls of traveling down that path again and how among other things the arms build-up and race against the US which the war in Afghanistan entailed weakened the USSR and distorted its economic decision-making and other priorities. Also there would be no guarantee that a rerun of the Cold War would not come to corrupt Russia’s decision-makers and its economic elites in the way the Cold War corrupted the US the first time. The Russian strategy means that the US and its fellow head-bangers will continue to bash themselves silly (and waste taxpayers’ money) with trying to stir up conflict in Ukraine, the Middle East and other arenas, only to see these conflicts fizzle out to their own disadvantage.

It might seem extraordinary that for the first time since 1945 a major power is content to remain within its own region and not take active steps to ensure that peace and stability in places beyond its immediate neighbourhood endure. This scenario is one that might strike Americans who know their country’s history well as being similar to the isolationist policy that the US tried to follow after World War I, to the extent of spurning membership of the League of Nations. The fact that the most powerful nation in the world in the 1920s and 30s turned its back on the rest of the world may have encouraged countries like Germany, Italy and Japan to pursue their ambitions and embark on empire-building; if the US did not support the League, then those other countries also would not support it. Isolationism as a nation’s foreign policy then failed to prevent instability and the drift towards another major world war. But this is not to suggest that Russia will follow isolationism in the same way that the US did; Russia may very well follow a selective isolationism in which the country will concern itself mostly with issues in the Eurasian region but will retain membership of the UN or its successor organisation, and might intervene in situations far beyond Eurasia if requested to do so as a third party mediator perhaps under UN or similar auspices.

What I think is most likely at this point is that Russia will refuse to be at the beck and call of every insecure small nation or group of such nations (like, say, the so-called Baltic nations Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) to intervene militarily in every problem that these countries perceive as threatening to them (whether they actually are or not) and to turn its armed forces into a mercenary global police force for hire, as the US has done over the past 60+ years. Whether in the long run that turns out to be a good thing or not, or the right path or not, we cannot judge from our vantage point in which most major global issues and conflicts have become extremely polarized politically.

What Putin has done is to signal the end of an age in which certain ideologies and their related concepts and narratives determine inter-relationships among nations and whether some nations should be judged “good” and others “bad” on the basis of selectively applied criteria from particular mishmashes of ideologies held by dominant partners. Instead his speech heralds an age in which nations greet one another at face value and co-operate as partners on pressing global issues, finding common cause and working together on agreed principles to resolve problems. It is time to approach and tackle problems as they are on their own merits and to find the most appropriate solutions based on the nature of the problem and the context at hand, and whether they will benefit most of those people who might be affected by the problem, not on whether it adheres to an ideal that may actually be a cover for one party’s self-interested agenda. Pragmatism and policies based on fairness, justice and accountability should govern nations’ relationships with one another.

Disappointingly but not surprisingly, Putin’s speech was either not broadcast on mainstream news media in the Anglosphere or was cherry-picked over for comments he made that would back the Western propaganda narrative of Putin as a dictator and tyrant whose removal from the global scene is now due.

This essay continues in Part 2 with the Q&A session…

References

1/ English-language transcript of Vladimir Putin’s 2014 Valdai Club Speech at President of Russia website, http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/23137
2/ Chipstone, “Game Over or Putin set a global policy for retirement”, http://chipstone.livejournal.com/1219546.html

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786 Responses to New Rules or No Rules? Putin Defies the New World Order

  1. Russia’s prime minister Dimitri Medvedev says that “Crimea is Russia, Donbass is Ukraine”: http://www.gazeta.ru/politics/news/2014/12/15/n_6742949.shtml

    Since the Minsk agreement it is clear that the Russian political leadership does not want Novorossiya to be an independent state from Ukraine. Russian nationalists and monarchists will be disappointed, but I guess Kremlin guys are wiser than them. I was hoping that Novorossiya will be an independent buffer state between Russia and a now-hostile Ukraine, but Russia thinks otherwise.

    • Erebus says:

      Basically, the fun is over and the Russians have come for their money (cf Bismarck).

      Miller has announced that Ukraine’s days as a transit country are over. Done. If they pay in advance they’ll get gas, but Europe will have to build pipelines from the Turkey hub if they want any.
      Donbass is useless as a buffer state. A Greater Novorossyia (Odessa to Kharkov) would be better, and a bit more would be better still. I think that the Kremlin’s game now is Creative Destruction, to force Ukraine to tip into the abyss and cherry pick the best pieces later.
      As it is, the rump Donbass is going to need billions to be put back together materially, and from what can be seen is a can of worms politically. If it broke free, it would land in Russia’s lap and leave the rest of Ukraine to NATO by default.
      Best to let the whole thing burst into flame in NATO’s lap and come in with the water bucket if/when the moment presents itself. If no such moment arrives, sit back and watch NATO’s and the EU’s pants ignite.

      • This true as long as Russia provides Donbass a defense that they can deter any Kiev and NATO attack.

        • Erebus says:

          An interview with a Col. Zhilin. http://fortruss.blogspot.com/2014/12/united-states-is-creating-three.html. The upshot is that the US is moving into Ukraine with the express purpose to create chaos.
          Col. Zhilin says: “…Ukraine (will) turn into a naked steppe, on foundation of which will be built a principally new society.”. When the US has finished helping the Junta to “…maximally liquidate the native population”, Germany will step in to rebuild Ukraine as a “military platform”.

          The good Col. laments that Russia appears to have no plan to deal with this. IMHO, there is a plan and leaving Donbass inside Ukraine is part of it.

          • marknesop says:

            That would fit well with Medvedev’s immigration legislation; don’t think you can run here – stay there and solve your own problems. Ukrainians must be made to see who is really trying to help them and who is really hurting them and using them as a blunt instrument.

        • marknesop says:

          I would hope that Kiev has realized that while everyone talks a good fight, nobody really wants to help Kiev, and its own exhibitions of venality and mismanagement do nothing to modify that attitude. Poroshenko might keep trumpeting that the whole world stands with Kiev, but that’s easy to say and nobody seems willing to put any actual money into it. Likely that’s what the foreigners in the government are there for.

    • marknesop says:

      It is no more up to Russia than it is up to Kiev. Moscow can advise what it thinks is the wisest course, but in the end if Novorossiya chooses independence – and I cannot think how it would not, given the horrid insults against if from its former countrymen – Moscow will support it.

      • yalensis says:

        Abkhazia and South Ossetia also had to go through many years of trials and tribulations, and many many wanderings through Purgatory, before they obtained independence recognized by Russia.

  2. Moscow Exile says:

    From the BBC2 days ago:

    Ukraine underplays role of far right in conflict

    No fascists in the government says reporter Stern, but criticizes how “ultra-nationalists” have been able to fly under the radar by the denial of “Russia propaganda” that the Kiev junta is fascist and makes no denial himself that the presence of the far right, of fascists and neo-nazis in the Ukraine is, in fact, undeniable.

    But there are none in the government:

    And although Ukraine is emphatically not run by fascists, far-right extremists seem to be making inroads by other means, as in the country’s police department.

    Ukraine’s public is grossly under-informed about this. The question is, why doesn’t anyone want to tell them?

    And note the weasely statement slipped in amongst Stern’s denial of a fascist presence in the Ukraine government, in the running of the Ukraine (nobody ever does anything in Banderastan without the permission of Porky and pals?):

    “…the ultra-nationalists have proven to be effective and dedicated fighters in the brutal war in the east against Russian-backed separatists and Russian forces, whose numbers also include a large contingent from Russia’s far right.

    As a result, they have achieved a level of acceptance, even though most Ukrainians are unfamiliar with their actual beliefs.

    The volunteer Azov Battalion is a case in point.

    [My emphasis.]

    So tell me, Mr. Stern of the ever truthful and objective BBC, where is your evidence of the presence of Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine, for other observers report that there are none?

    November 7, 2014
    Pentagon Press Briefing

    Q: Since the Ukrainian government is saying that Russia has sent dozens of tanks into eastern Ukraine. So have we been able to confirm that? Have we seen any evidence that that’s happening and do we have a response?

    ADM. KIRBY: No, I don’t have any independent operational reporting that would be able to confirm that report that these formations have crossed the border. What we do see is a continued presence of significantly capable and ready battalion tactical groups, Russian battalion tactical groups, right across that border. And they’re close.

    And they are very capable. And they are doing nothing to decrease the tension in the region. So, not helpful. Continue to say that it’s not been helpful. But I have no independent operational reporting that tells me they’ve crossed the border.

    Enter NATO Commander Philip Breedlove

    November 12, 2014:

    NATO: Yes, Russian Troops Are Pouring Into Ukraine

    Then, on November 26, 2014, Breedlove warns</i of a Russian military incursion:

    NATO military chief Breedlove warns of Russian incursion

    However, when pressed about giving details about these invaders, Breedlove becomes somewhat vague in his statements:

    US Air Force General Philip Breedlove, who is the commander of the US European Command and NATO Allied Command Operations, said at a press conference during his Ukrainian visit on Wednesday [November 26, 2014] that a “comprehensive” plan has been developed…

    …The top military official [Breedlove] has had a number of meetings with Ukraine’s political and military leaders, including the country’s president and defence minister. Stating that the partnership is important under “severe challenges,” the general failed to elaborate on the alleged Russian military presence in Ukraine.

    “The numbers that we have been using for some weeks haven’t really changed much – between eight to ten battalion task groups on the border, but that’s not the important part,” Breedlove said, stating that what concerns the US is “the capability that is there.”

    “It’s less about the exact number, it’s more about the fact that there is a great force there that can be exerted if it’s required,” the US general said, adding that Russians inside Ukraine are “involved primarily in training, advising, assisting and helping” forces in the east of the country.

    [My emphasis.]

    See: NATO top commander vague about ‘Russian threat’ while pledging more military aid to Kiev

    Breedlove’s a USAF general.

    So was Curtis LeMay, he who in 1949 called for the dropping of 133 atomic bombs on 70 cities in the USSR within 30 days. Air power strategists called this type of premptive strike, “killing a nation”.


    General Curtis E. LeMay


    General Philip Breedlove, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe

    Like two peas in a pod?

    • dany8538 says:

      Honestly,all this talk coming from NATO is just useless I just wanna see if they have the insanity and the balls to actually put those tanks they sent to ukraine into action. If that happens it will not matter what this or any other NATO moron is saying.

    • et Al says:

      Didn’t General Curtis LeMay also wnat to nuke North Korea in 1953? I think that ultimately is what got him fired from his job.

      • Paul says:

        ‘Bombs away’ LeMay was his nickname.

        • et Al says:

          We learn something new every day, even if we don’t notice it at the time!!!!

          Not only did I get the wrong person, I got the wrong year too! I was thinking of President Truman who fired General MacArthur in 1951 who threatened to spread the Korean war to China. Poor memory and not checking!

          http://www.trumanlibrary.org/trivia/macarth.htm
          “In 1951, President Truman and his advisors were preparing to engage North Korea and China in peace negotiations, in an attempt to resolve the ongoing conflict. General Douglas MacArthur, the commander of the U.N. forces in Korea, issued an unauthorized statement containing a veiled threat to expand the war into China if the Communist side refused to come to terms. When MacArthur continued to support an expansion of the war, communicating directly with a like-minded Republican congressman, Truman, with the backing of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the Secretaries of State and Defense, felt they had no alternative but to replace MacArthur with a military commander who would act in concert with the administration�s foreign policy. On April 11, 1951, President Truman relieved MacArthur of his command….

          …Later historians, such as Robert Smith, contend that, “[c]rudely, deliberately, with complete understanding of what would ensue, MacArthur undertook to sabotage Truman�s effort, in March 1951, to open peace negotiations with the Chinese � (and that) no one not blinded by hero worship could overlook the arrogance and contempt with which MacArthur deliberately flouted Truman�s directive.” (MacArthur in Korea, 1982, p 155)….”

          &

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dismissal_of_General_Douglas_MacArthur#Nuclear_weapons

          “MacArthur did not advocate the use of nuclear weapons to recover the situation.[81][82] In his testimony before the Senate Inquiry, he said that he had never recommended their use.[83] In 1960, MacArthur challenged a statement by Truman that he had wanted to use nuclear weapons, and Truman issued a retraction, stating that he had no documentary evidence of this claim; it was merely his personal opinion.”

  3. Moscow Exile says:

    German foreign minister Steinmeyer his Yukie counterpart Pavlo Klimkin

    Nobody had told the German minister about how offensive the colour of his tie might be to the Banderites.

  4. Moscow Exile says:

    Column of Ukrainian armour on the road to the Donbass

    Below the Youtube clip are Yukie comments in Yukie stating Glory to the Ukraine etc:

    Я из Крыма русский ! Молодцы Украинцы давите сепаратистов-террористов-колорадов !!! Остался последний парад !!! Слава Украине !!! Севастополь центральное кольцо ул.Б Морская – ул Ленина – ул Нахимова

    [I’m a Crimea Russian! Good lads, you Ukrainians! Give it to the separatist-terrorist-colorados!!! There only remaiins the final parade!!! Glory to the Ukraine!!! Sevastopol, Central Ring Rd.,Great Morskaya St./Lenin St./ Nakhimov St.]

  5. Ruble crashed about 10% against the dollar today. Things are not looking good for the Russian economy. Economic problems will limit Russia’s ability to fight against the West in Ukraine, because Russia knows that the West has not yet used all of its economic weapons against Russia. Economic realities were the reason why Russia has not taken a more active role in Novorossiya.

    2015 will a tough year. Since Russian economy is still hopelessly dependent of the oil price Russia has no other choice than to hope they the oil price will rebound soon. Latest news from the Gulf region suggest that the Arabs may be willing to drop the oil price to $40 and keep it low for many years.

    This will be a big test for Putin’s government, the biggest in Putin’s career. Since now Putin has had a good fortune of high energy prices. If the prices stay low for a long time then we will see what Russia and Putin are made of.

    • james says:

      the financial war on russia is fairly obvious… most folks including myself are unaware of how finances work.. however i am smart enough to know we are subservient to a financial system that favours the west since the advent of the bretton woods agreement.. russian central bank is a back door for controlling the russian economy given this same financial pyramid scheme.. i am sure putin and company are working on finding a method to get rid of it, as it isn’t serving it’s purpose, unless one acknowledges it’s purpose is one of control over the host country by these same financial forces making war on russia at present..

      • You are putting all the blame on the West. It does not work like that. Russia is responsible for its own economy, not anyone else. Of course the sanctions are hurting, but the biggest threat to Russian economy is the low oil price.

        Russia’s dependency to oil has been known for decades. Why has Russia not been able to get rid of this dependence? Because the West is evil?

        • patient observer says:

          Lots of people more in the know than you or I indicate that Russia has greatly reduced its dependence of oil/gas revenue over the years. I leave it as home work assignment for you to find the various analyses (its not hard at all). Its only the Western media that repeats that claim. That is not to say Russia could have done a better job but to deny their progress is dishonest.

          The reason for the West’s histrionics is the realization that if they do not act now, Russia will be to strong to ever challenge again. The West failed to prevent Russia’s escape from the 90’s black hole. Then they hoped Russia would then fall from internal issues (terrorism for example) or make serious missteps (didn’t happen).

          Like in WW I and WW II, the West again realizes it must strike now or watch Russia and the other like-minded countries (China or likely India) chart an independent course that the West can not alter. The more the West threatens the worse their prospects are to win this one.

        • james says:

          karl – the financial world is set up to favour the us since after the 2nd world war.. all the financial institutions, including even the most basic form of trade of oil – is done with US$.. if you are unable to see how this world financial system is built up and around the US$, i am afraid no amount of me saying something to you will be of any help.. financial matters are intentionally opaque.. i find your questions derogatory and not worth responding to.

          • patient observer says:

            Karl admires the West and considers their values superior to all others; especially so compared to the Slavic Orthodox. His approval of Russia is proportional to the degree that he thinks they emulate Western values. He seems to be a much less toxic version of genocide-is-good AP in my opinion.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              By the way, I shouldn’t want to disappoint some folk, but the oil price tanking to $40 also has a negative effect on Western economies – although few seem to wish to talk about that.

              RT does in the clip below, though – but RT would, wouldn’t it, because it’s a Kremlin mouthpiece and always lies, doesn’t it?

              Infested with gleeful troll comments of course:

              LOL R.I.P Russian economy.
              Next time don’t invade Ukraine illegally and maybe the rest of the world won’t shun you…

              Pukin Putin got his now the rest go hungry.

              And it all went to Putrid Pukin Putins personal Swiss accounts

              lol russia is fucked. hahahaha

              lolololloolololollo well im not the one losing my life savings right now hahaha. kill all russians.

              I really do think obnoxious children or retarded adults with a mental age of 9 years who have too much time on their hands and too much money are the source of many of these comments. In between writing such childish and insulting jibes that do not hide from the fact that they think that the whole population of Russia should be wiped out (the “Russians” in their ignoramus fantasies), I imagine they’re hard at it playing “Modern Warfare” and the like, wherein they kill Russians, the eternal enemy, of course; when they get fed up of that, they find a suitable site to gaze upon whilst pulling furiously away at their plonkers.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                What bugs me especially is the line that the RT corresponent in the UK comes out with above, namely at £1 a litre, petrol prices have never been so low for years. (And what’s with this “litre” crap? That’s over £4 a gallon! Do they order litres of beer in British pubs now and litres of petrol at filling stations?)

                So, motorists are chuffed at the fall in the price of oil: many others, Im sure, are not.

                It’s that old selfish nature of the individual that Adam Smith went on about, which selfishness is balanced out by the “invisible hand” of the “free market”.

                But there is no “free market”, and Smith’s idea of market mechanics was only a model of a “perfect” market.

                And then you get this shit that the fall in petrol prices will lead to a fall in transportation costs, which in its turn will lead to an increase in profitability that will be passed down to the consumer – so everybody will be happy!

                Passed on down to the consumer?

                My arse!

                In any case, companies are legally obliged to maximise shareholders’ dividends – and the fat-cat directors always need more cream.

                So goody-goody! Together with petrol prices at filling stations, other prices are due to fall – I don’t think!

                • colliemum says:

                  Petrol prices will fall by a tiny amount, because the Cameron government tells the bad oil companies to do so. After all, there’s an election coming, dontcha know!
                  However, this is nothing but Kabuki Theatre, because this same government profits from high petrol prices because it rakes in 61% of the petrol price in excise duty and VAT. So a lower petrol price is detrimental to the economy as seen from the Treasury.

                  But let me reassure you – beer and lager are still sold in pints in the (ever fewer) pubs in the UK!

          • yalensis says:

            I don’t think that is quite fair to Karl.
            Remember that he is subject to Finnish media 24-7, some of their propaganda is bound to sink in; also, Karl IS Finnish, and they have a different way of thinking and looking at the world. However, despite all that Karl became pro-Russian. He wants Russia to succeed, which is completely different from AP, who just expects (or hopes) Russia to die.

            • patient observer says:

              Karl wants Russia to become a US of A clone or at least a “normal” western European country, That would be a colossal setback for humanity as Russia seems to be the most capable nation to fight the United Sociopaths of America.. His assertions about damaged Russian DNA does not set right with me as well.

              On the other hand, for a Finn apparently raised in Finland, Karl seems to have successfully overcome a lot of nonsense in his journey toward reality.

    • marknesop says:

      They’ll have to – about two years according to most analyses, because it will take at least two years for Russia to run through its reserves. Think that’s going to happen? I don’t. And I’ll bet Chevron and Exxon-Mobil don’t, either. As I’ve pointed out before, although the west chortles that half of Russia’s top ten companies are energy companies, that is equally true of the USA. Are its massive energy companies going to complacently sit by and watch the Ay-rabs drive oil down to $40.00 a barrel for 2 years? I don’t think so.

      • astabada says:

        To me it’s not obvious that the slump in oil prices is a conspiracy against Russia.

        If somebody can prove otherwise, I’m willing to listen. But if the only argument is cui prodest, then there are many plausible alternative explanations. For instance, the Saudis dumping American oil industry, after having realised that the US in turn has dumped their plans for regime change in Syria.

        • Oreb says:

          The idea that the oil price drop is some kind of a planned event illustrates the so-called “illusion of control bias”. It’s far more likely that we’re seeing fairly normal price fluctuations. It’s a fact that in recent years, supply rose far more quickly than demand: increased production in the United States (and in Russia), decreased demand due to economic problems of various severity all over the world (EU, China). It would be very odd if oil prices did not fall in this situation.

          Russia’s production costs tend to be relatively low, so it’s well-positioned to ride out this slump. The worst hits will be taken by the high cost producers in the US and Canada (shale, tar sands, etc). But even this is temporary — the commodity price cycle will roll around again, and eventually even this higher cost production will become profitable again.

          • patient observer says:

            My understanding is that oil prices are relatively inelastic meaning a small surplus or a small shortage can have dramatic impact on pricing. Perhaps a 10% reduction by OPEC cancels out shale oil production and would keep prices in the $100/barrel range resulting in much higher net revenue for oil exporters. The invisible hand of the oil market is likely connected to the wrist of Uncle Sam. This seems especially so as Saudi Arabia is the culprit in the oil flood and has many reasons to drive down the price – to punish Iran, to hurt Russia and to hurt oil frackers. 2 out of 3 satisfies the US just fine.

          • colliemum says:

            Lemme offer another CT about the shrinking oil price!

            Lower oil prices mean that other energy sources, especially the famous ‘renewables’, but also shale gas, become increasingly more expensive in comparison, and even outright unprofitable.
            So perhaps this is a conspiracy against all the Greens of the world, and their ‘climate change’ mantra?
            The truth is out there …

          • yalensis says:

            The RT correspondent mentioned that the sheiks were all a-muttery and grumpy when they entered the meeting (“We must to do something about these damned low oil prices!”), but then came out of the meeting with completely different countenance (“Everything is cool. We continue as is and do nothing.”)
            So, obviously, somebody made some persuasive speech at the meeting that turned all their heads. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall….

        • kirill says:

          I would subscribe to the “no conspiracy” theory but for one detail. How come the oil price has dropped so hard even though the world is not in a 2008 type meltdown? Recall that the oil price collapsed to values quite similar to those we see now.

          The only source of new global oil supply is the USA.

        • colliemum says:

          That seems a reasonable assumption, as some of the OPEC oil ministers (can’t remember which sheikdom, nor did I bookmark the piece) said they’d not reduce their oil production to push up prices, as they usually did before.
          Countries which suffer far more are e.g. Venezuela and Nigeria.
          And hasn’t someone here on this site pointed out that while the oil price is low, and the rouble is low, Putin gets more roubles for the $$$ he earns not just from oil exports?
          Can’t remember who wrote it – please stand up to be applauded!

    • kirill says:

      The exchange rate of the ruble is determined by the perceptions of the foreigners who make up the forex market. They all think that Russia is a one commodity banana republic. So you see a very tight coupling of the oil price and the ruble exchange rate.

      The oil price has fallen from the mid $60 range to the mid $50 range. The ruble has “collapsed” from the low-mid 50:1 range to 62:1 range. See a pattern?

      But the lunatics at the CBR have jacked up a key interest rate to 17%.

      http://cbr.ru/press/pr.aspx?file=16122014_004533dkp2014-12-16T00_39_23.htm

      They think that they can steer the global market by controlling ruble liquidity. In the process they are killing Russian businesses.

      • marknesop says:

        But of course this is Putin’s fault.

      • cartman says:

        Sweden has the record of a 500% interest rate back in 1992. It was ineffective and they had to devalue almost immediately.

        The hike by Elvira seems to have moved it back to last week’s value. Maybe it will stay, maybe it will have to devalue. She might have fudged up by giving billions of rubles to Rosneft recently, which is apparently what sent the price to go crazy. Anyway, Medvedev might get the blame for that because Kudrin is gunning for his job.

  6. et Al says:

    I’m a bit surprised by this article (my emphasis):

    Daily Toilet Barf: Russia denies military aircraft ‘near miss’ with Swedish passenger jet
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/11292846/Russia-denies-military-aircraft-near-miss-with-Swedish-passenger-jet.html
    Russia, which has increased its military presence in the Baltic Sea area following row with Nato over Ukraine, admits its aircraft was in area but denies planes nearly collided.

    A war of words has erupted between Sweden and Russia over claims that Moscow’s military aircraft have been endangering civilian aircraft over the Baltic Sea for the second time this year. ..

    …Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, a defence ministry spokesman, said the aircraft had followed safety rules by staying a safe distance from routes used by civilian aircraft and that the two aircraft had never come closer than 42 miles.

    “There were no prerequisites for an air accident,” he said, in comments carried by Russian news agencies.

    He added that Nato aircraft were flying between the airliner and the Russian aircraft at the time.

    Scandinavian Airlines, the flight operator, also said the Russian aircraft had maintained a safe distance and that the incident had been “blown out of proportion.”
    ###

    Maybe someone at SAS will be in trouble for not following the NATO talking points on Baltic overflights…. It looks like the NATO arschlocher’s have gone too far on this one, not that it would bother them, but if SAS says ‘no worries’ then it is abundantly clear NATO bullshit.

    Meanwhile, the poison is spilling from the Brussels based media.

    Estonian ‘foreign affairs and defence advisor in the European Parliament.’ Paertel-Peeter Pere:

    EU Observer: Russia needs its Vergangenheitsbewaeltigung
    http://euobserver.com/opinion/126917
    It is clear that Russia under the current leadership keeps pushing the envelope and it will not stop until stopped.

    In the short and medium term, European countries can be protected from Russian incursions, pardon invasions, if only there is political will from the West.

    As certain countries continue to demonstrate, it cannot be considered anything granted. Borrowing from the second president of Estonia, Lennart Meri, there is a danger of “liberte, egalite, port-monnaie”.

    These European anomalies are compounded with Russia’s emphasis on propaganda or “alternative truths” as the sinister euphemism has it.

    Their Sputnik channel, an extension of RT (Russia Today), will in several countries tap even further into a general dissatisfaction and resentment of the status quo in the West. …
    ###

    What an absolutely poisonous little shit (говнук)! Every possible cliché, meme and stereotype is included. Not that his opinion actually matters at all but it underlines the hysterical paranoia sweeping the West that has caught up people in supposedly responsible professions to a point that they are so ready to rant and rage their eurobigotry in public. At any other time they would have been laughed at. On the plus side, once published it will always be there and can be brandished forever more as evidence of their anti-european values.

    I posted a long time ago, the five stages of grief (and have reposted it infrequently since):

    1: Denial
    2: Anger
    3: Bargaining
    4: Depression
    5: Acceptance

    It seems that we are somewhere between 1-3, the 3 being the EU asking Moscow not to call in Kiev’s loans and holding off any proper sanctions despite intense and continued pressure for months and months from the Euro-atlantic hail marys.

    The good news is all the noise not being matched with equivalent action. Despite the anti-Russian bill passed by both the US Senate and Congress, it is still quite limited and had to drop more contentious demands* before it could gain enough support to pass. In essence, it could have been much, much worse. Obama will surely use the threat to sign it as a means to pressure Putin but that won’t work. If he does sign it, then he looses whatever little leverage he has and shows not only that he is being pushed around by the GOP but also that whatever the consequences of signing on, he will be as responsible as the bill’s sponsors.

    * Upgrading Ukraine, Georgia * Moldova to ‘major non-NATO allies’.

    Meanwhile, very limited reporting by the western media outlets (aka, the Pork Pie News Networks PPNN) on the fake cell phone towers around the Norwegian Parliament and Presidency. With Norway being such a significant member of NATO and being spied on so extensively by a supposed ally (i.e. the US), this is a massive own goal by Washington’s spooks. The question is ‘will this be kept behind closed doors or will it spiral out in to the public domain’ – Norway is also signed on to but the F-35 ‘Turkey’…

    And then there’s this I spotted:

    ABC Nudes: Denmark Claims North Pole Via Greenland Ridge Link
    http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/denmark-claims-north-pole-greenland-ridge-link-27593082
    Scientific data shows Greenland’s continental shelf is connected to a ridge beneath the Arctic Ocean, giving Danes a claim to the North Pole and any potential energy resources beneath it, Denmark’s foreign minister said.

    Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said Denmark will deliver a claim on Monday to a United Nations panel in New York that will eventually decide control of the area, which Russia and Canada are also coveting.

    The five Arctic countries ? the United States, Russia, Norway, Canada and Denmark ? all have areas surrounding the North Pole, but only Canada and Russia had indicated an interest in it before Denmark’s claim….

    http://arcticcontroversy.weebly.com/lomonosov-ridge.html

  7. peter says:

    • patient observer says:

      Very cool! thanks for sharing.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        There’s another Kremlin tower at Alexander Gardens all shrouded over and undergoing major structural repairs – so they say – but we know what they’re up to!

        I’ll send a picture of it to you to scare you all.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          It’s this tower, the Middle Arsenal Tower, that’s shrouded:

          Scary!

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Pity I’m not on Twitter – then I could post a picture of the shrouded tower undergoing “repairs” and then it could be reposted so as to frighten you all, proving a point that Russians are <evil!

            • marknesop says:

              And then it would “go viral” (God, I hate that expression). Probably they are installing some sort of mind-control device in there, because they heard there was a tiny shoot of freedom trying to grow somewhere in the streets and they have to find it so they can root it up and trample it.

  8. peter says:

  9. peter says:

  10. peter says:

  11. yalensis says:

    Daily Fail reports sensational juicy murder that is celebrity-heavy and with possible Russian twist. This one should keep the conspiracy folks going for a long time!

    Long story short: English strip-club sleaze-bag David West was brutally murdered, allegedly by his son.
    West owns the strip club at which Litvinenko was allegedly poisoned by polonium.
    And a tangential “witness” to the murder was none other than Jeeves himself, Russophobe Stephen Fry.
    Does it get more juicy than that?

  12. Warren says:

    Estonian Intelligence Charges Double Agent with Treason After Spying for Russia for 15 Years

    Estonian police are charging a former agent of the state’s security services (CAPO) for treason, after the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) unveiled that he had been working as a double agent for Moscow since 1996 on the Russian state broadcaster NTV on Sunday.

    Uno Puusepp who retired from the Estonian CAPO and moved to Moscow three years ago, appeared in an NTV documentary entitled ‘Our Man In Tallinn’, retelling the story of how he came to join Russia’s FSB and how he worked to undermine international operations in Estonia including the CIA, MI5, MI6 and the German BND.

    “After 20 years of knowing you can be found out and taken away, you get used to the pressure slowly and quietly,” Puusepp told NTV, recounting his exploits as a mole for Moscow which “upset the U.S. terribly”.

    According to former KGB operative Nikolai Yermakov, who enrolled Puusepp into the service of the FSB and with whom Puusepp cooperated on much of his activity, the CAPO agent was not motivated by money but rather he disliked working for the Estonian establishment.

    “In the years since Uno [Puusepp] was working for us, Estonian intelligence activity against Russia has been reduced by 80%,” says Yermankov in the documentary.

    After Estonia’s entry into NATO, Puusepp and Yermankov admitted to collaborating in foiling U.S. initiatives to use CAPO in order to eavesdrop on Moscow.

    Puusepp, a native Estonian, met Yermankov while working for Estonia’s KGB while his country was still part of the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Puusepp was a wiretapping and bugging expert and after the collapse of the USSR he was hired by Tallinn’s new CAPO intelligence service, though it was not long before he covertly switched back to working for Russia.

    In 1996 he sought the help of Yermankov who still lived in Estonia but often travelled to Russia and had strong links with Moscow, to connect him with the KGB’s successor organisation, the FSB.

    In one case purportedly constituting a “small part” of Puusepp’s contribution to Russian intelligence, the Estonian got wind of a CIA-led initiative to build a wiretapping facility in a bunker in the northern Estonian town of Aegviidu which was planned to intercept signals from Russian diplomatic and intelligence sources.

    After Puusepp informed Yermankov about the operation, the Russian government ceased communicating through the tapped lines.

    U.S. and Western intelligence had been aware of a double agent in CAPO, however not Puusepp, but his former KGB colleague Vladimir Weitman was arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison instead.

    According to Newsweek’s Europe correspondent Elisabeth Braw, who recently wrote a story on the return of Cold War espionage, the Puusepp case will not be the last instance of Russian spy activity in Estonia.

    “Puusepp’s long career as a Russian double agent shows that the Estonian authorities weren’t exaggerating when in the 1990s, even until the Ukraine conflict, they were among very few people to warn of a Russian threat,” she says.

    “Estonia is well-known for its spy-catching skills, but as the Puusepp case shows, despite domestic turmoil Russia is still an espionage superpower,” she adds

    According to Igor Korotchenko, editor of Russian newspaper National Defence, who also appeared in the NTV report on Puusepp, the case is “very rare” but has delivered “brilliant results”.

    “For 15 years practically everything that landed on the desk of the Estonian security service’s director, also landed on the desk of the FSB,” he told Estonian news agency Delfi.

    According to Korotchenko, unveiling Puusepp would not have been done against his will and he is likely to be given a hero’s medal from the Kremlin for his services.

    Another former Estonian intelligence operative Karl Pax is suspected of working with Puusepp after appearing on the NTV programme, however according to Delfi, local authorities will not yet comment on whether Pax has been arrested or not.

    http://www.newsweek.com/estonian-intelligence-charges-double-agent-treason-after-spying-russia-15-291960

    Edward Lucas is interviewed on this story, and predictably engages in conspiracy theories as to what Russia’s motives are.

    Edward Lucas “Aktuaalsele kaamerale”: endised KGB-lased oleks pidanud varem kapost lahkuma

    http://uudised.err.ee/v/eesti/4725b39f-2e1b-4fee-9c17-3d5c5a7afa62

    For those of you that understand Russian, here is the documentary “Our Man in Tallinn”. I will wait for someone to add English subtitles.

  13. patient observer says:

    According to:
    http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=17231
    Russian crude oil provides about 50% of their hydrocarbon exports and about 33% of their total exports in 2013. Refined oil products provide a revenue equal to 62% of the crude oil revenue. Refined products have, of course, added value relative to crude oil and will likely have less of a fall in revenue (I did not realize the size of the Russian refining capacity!). Gas exports accounted for 20% of hydrocarbon export revenue and pricing may remain relatively high. So, the net fall in hydrocarbon export revenue will be significantly less than the fall in crude oil prices. I would estimate that the fall in export revenue is on the order of about $100 billion annually or about 5% of the GDP. The weak ruble will increase export revenue offsetting some of the loss.

    Gas exports to China will reach $70 billion or more annually from the two announced gas pipelines which largely offsets loss revenue from the fall in crude oil. The revenue will be some years off but it provides a means for Russia to escape as a hostage to Western manipulations of crude oil prices. Of course it is highly likely oil prices will rebound before the pipelines are in production giving Russia more immediate relief.

    China needs Russia as Russia knows the international ropes and can project its power far more effectively than China. It seems likely that China would use its vast financial reserves to help Russia survive the Western onslaught when the time is appropriate. The price that Russia would pay for Chinese assistance could be high but the Chinese do not think like the zero-sum gamers of the West so the price would nevertheless be fair and sustainable for Russia. That is my hope.

  14. ucgsblog says:

    Hey guys, it’s your friendly Californian. First, I’d like to apologize for our Congress. They seem to be doing everything to distract from the failure that is CRomnibus. Stay tuned for the second part on February! I should start a betting pool on how badly that will fail.

    Second, finally some good news, proof that America’s business community is sane. This was the most discussed, (and generally praised,) article on Forbes today: http://www.forbes.com/sites/dougbandow/2014/12/15/how-many-enemies-does-america-want-congress-sacrifices-u-s-security-with-new-sanctions-against-russia/

    Please ignore all of the “oh noes, he’s my opponent, ergo he’s Hitler” comments. Even Forbes has trolls. Anyways, from the article: Congress appears determined to turn an adversary into a forthright enemy and encourage retaliation against more significant American interests. Observed my Cato Institute colleague Emma Ashford: “the provisions in this bill will make it all the more difficult to find a negotiated settlement to the Ukraine crisis, or to find a way to salvage any form of productive U.S.-Russia relationship. No wonder Congress didn’t want to debate it openly.”

    “Despite the lack of any direct interest in Ukraine’s status, Washington openly intervened in Kiev’s political struggles, including through taxpayer-funded NGOs. The U.S. backed Viktor Yushchenko in the so-called Orange Revolution in 2005. He proved to be querulous and ineffective and was trounced in the 2010 race by the man he had earlier defeated, Viktor Yanukovich.

    The egregiously corrupt Yanukovich in turn was ousted by protests backed by rabid and sometimes violent nationalists. The U.S. and Europe flaunted their support for the opposition. Indeed, American officials openly discussed their investment in Yanukovich’s overthrow and who should take power after his ouster. That Moscow would be unhappy at what looked like a Western-orchestrated putsch against a friendly (and even elected!) president in a nation considered vital to Russia’s security should have surprised no one.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin still was not justified in dismembering Ukraine, but America would have reacted badly had Moscow helped overthrow a Washington-friendly government in Mexico. Putin acted to defend what he saw as Russian interests, not to challenge U.S. security. It might shock some Americans, especially those on Capitol Hill, but not everything that happens in the world is about the U.S. Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine was all about Russia.”

    “Of course, President Putin is an unpleasant autocrat who doesn’t much like America. But Russia is not the Soviet Union. Like the old Russian Empire, Moscow today wants respect and border security. Washington has no reason to deny the first or challenge the second… There is plenty of tension between Russia and the People’s Republic of China, but one factor could unite them: U.S. threats. Legislators appear to have forgotten that one of the most fundamental objectives of U.S. foreign policy, going back to Richard Nixon’s opening to Beijing, was to keep the two apart. Now America is acting the part of the Soviet Union while Putin is playing Nixon.”

    “Upping aid to Kiev will work little better. Ukraine is a financial black hole. Corruption and illiberal policies long have held the country back economically. Foreign financial transfers will offer little benefit without reform, which continues to lag. The cost of war, including the disruption of commerce, is equally high. Without peace, Ukraine will remain economically backward and financially dependent on others. Washington cannot afford to take on another bankrupt client state… The situation isn’t fair, but Congress can’t change geopolitical reality.”

    “The U.S. desperately needs foreign policy leadership. That is, leaders willing to set priorities and able to distinguish between vital and minor interests. Leaders willing to eschew cheap attempts to win votes and focus on advancing Americans’ welfare. Leaders willing to acknowledge their failings and America’s limitations. Leaders who obviously don’t exist in the White House or Congress today.”

    Ouch. Talk about a vote of no confidence.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      As regards the above linked Forbes article:

      Ukraine has suffered through a tortured history. It was ruled by Moscow, both the Russian Empire and Soviet Union, for centuries.

      About 2 centuries, as a matter of fact, and certainly not the whole of that territory that now likes to call itself “Ukraine” and which consists of the former territory of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (created 1922) minus that appenage known as the Crimea that was handed over to the UkSSR in 1954: from 1701, when Peter I founded the Russian Empire until 1917. Then there was the brief hiatus of Polish invasion and civil war until 1922.

      Before 1701, most of what likes to call itself “Ukraine” was from the 13th century overlorded by Poles, Lithuanians, Germans, Austrians, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Rumanians, and Ottomans (together with their Crimea Tatar underlings) – but not by those perfidious Tatar-Mongol-Finno-Ugric Moskali.

      Funny that doesn’t get a mention, isn’t it?

      • Southern Cross says:

        Without Moscow’s ‘torture’, the last Ukrainian would have been found on a Turkish auction block sometime in the early 18th century.

    • marknesop says:

      Good to see you back, UCG!!

  15. Moscow Exile says:

    The enemy within: Russian Liberasts show their true colours.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The headline says: For Sanctions and Europe.

      The sub-headline reads:

      Russian liberals have called on those of like-mind in the EU for a strengthening of sanctions against Russia

      One cannot get straighter than that, now, can one?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Another thing: those traitors at RTR-Parnas seem to think that Russians will vote for them and their policies, notwithstanding the fact that the majority of Russians support the government’s policies and recognize that the country’s troubles have been manufactured by the USA and EU.

        RTR-Parnas clearly thinks that the Crimea should not have been allowed to re-unify with Russia, meaning that RTR-Parnas would have had nothing against Sevastopol becoming a NATO base, which is as sure as shit what would have happened if Russia had just sat back and watched the Banderite Khokhli perform their banderlog act.

  16. Moscow Exile says:

    «Черный понедельник» ушел в историю

    Black Monday Is Now History

    At the opening of trading the ruble had returned to its previous position.

    A special decision of the Central Bank to increase the key rate up to 17% had the desired effect. Even at night the ruble began to be established on the Forex. But all waited for the opening of trading on the “real” exchange, and in the first minutes of the course gained six rubles – that is exactly as much as he eased on Monday. So far, the dollar give 58,1 ruble per Euro slightly less than 73 rubles. Good news, considering that in some places in Russia banks have time in the morning to sell euros for 99 rubles.

  17. The Russia`s Central Bank interest rates were just raised from 10.5% to 17%. This will strangle the economy even further. No investments, no growth.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      On Tuesday afternoon, December 16, the ruble continued its decline. And in the morning courses of the dollar and the Euro fell by six rubles.

      12:15 GMT dollar cost 65,1995 ruble, that is 75 cents more expensive than on Monday.

      Thus, increasing the key rate of the Central Bank up to 17% has not helped the ruble.

      http://www.kp.ru/daily/26320/3200730/

      • yalensis says:

        Question for people in the know:
        Should the Russian term Ключевая ставка be translated as “Interest rate” ??

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Got that feel-good feeling now?

      • Why should I feel good about this?

        I have supported Russia and continue to do so, but things are not going well for it now economically. And most of it is due to internal factors. A country with 145 million citizens should not be this dependent on the oil price.

        Someone previously said that Russia’s dependency on oil has decreased. Maybe so, but the decrease must not have been that big. The Ruble is still entirely a petro-currency. Oil goes up, Ruble goes up. Oil goes down, Ruble goes down.

        As there are no short term solutions to get out of this mess (since the diversification of the economy has not happened) Russia’s only hope is that oil price will rebound soon due to increased demand. If not, Russia will be for a rough ride for several years.

        • patient observer says:

          It was me! I said that Russia’s economic dependency on oil has markedly decreased over the years. Russia is not just facing falling oil prices but facing increasing harsh financial sanctions and trade embargoes of various types plus every international financial institution and soft power asset owned by the west aimed against Russia. Its ECONOMIC WAR (sorry for the caps but wanted Karl to remember that point). The claim its only about oil shows a profound lack of awareness of the forces in play.

          Russia’s only hope? Oil? Was that what saved Russia from the oligarchs? From Western backed terrorism? From every other Western idiocy such as Syria? Was it oil that made Putin, Lavrov and other Russian leaders patriotic, smart and capable?

          What has oil done for the general populations of the Middle East, for Nigeria? Compared to what oil has done for the Russian population and its vast technical achievements?

        • marknesop says:

          How can you say most of it is due to internal factors? Where are you getting that? Do you think the Russian people are stupid? Do you think their government is stupid?

          Imagine you are given two commodities in abundance – oil, and cabbages. Oil is a hot property, everybody wants it (because not everybody has it), while people could not give a shit for cabbages, any dunce can grow a cabbage. If your aim is to realize large profits, which industry do you want to focus on? Oil, or cabbages? Russia is merely putting weight on a most profitable industry, which realizes large profits in a free market. Moreover, in a free-market situation such as the United States is always yapping about, unnatural occurrences such as artificial depression of prices in a commodity by deliberate overproduction do not happen. That is corporate warfare, which theoretically does not happen in harmonious free markets.

          If Russia does not sell oil in large amounts – hiding its light under a bushel, as it were, so as to be modest about its good fortune – while diversifying into wheelbarrow handles and shopping carts on a fear of being too dependent on energy exports, what will happen? Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, whose fortunes likewise are almost exclusively in energy, will reap huge profits while snickering up their sleeves at the stupid Russians, all that oil and trying to make their fortunes in shopping carts.

          Saudi Arabia relies on energy exports in excess of 85% for its GDP – by your measure, its government is so incompetent as to be worthy of immediate assassination. The fall in the price of oil, in theory, halves its per-capita GDP. Yet it does not suffer the constant yapping and ridicule of Russia which is much, much less dependent on energy exports. Why? Because it is complicit, or at least it started out that way, in a cooperative effort with its American partners to strangle the Russian economy by reducing its income while its Big Brother convinced and arm-twisted as many countries as possible to stop doing business with it.

      • marknesop says:

        Currency wars are legitimate – after all, Russia is trying to take down the dollar, almost single-handed thus far. The USA could hardly be expected to not react, given how rapidly it has moved to crush every country in the recent past which voiced similar desires. What will happen if China makes its weight felt? Brazil? Africa? It’s a confidence game, and I think several influential players are sitting it out until they see which way it will break. Every day the USA fails to crush Russia, as it is so plainly trying to do, demystifies it; rubs away a little more of that exceptionalism and swagger.

        Russia needs a way to reassure ordinary Americans that their way of life is not going to be endangered if they are no longer top dog – the USA will always be a wealthy and powerful country. It will just lose its ability to dictate to others, and will have to form and re-form alliances cooperatively as everyone else does. But having failed to panic Europe into a war with Russia in Ukraine, the USA is next going to have to panic its own electorate into supporting such an initiative led by the USA. And as we have seen many times before, the American electorate is easily spooked into supporting things that are against its own interests, usually by some catalytic event such as 9-11 or the shootdown of MH-17. The former worked – the latter should have worked but didn’t.

    • yalensis says:

      I think it’s supposed to be just temporary, not a permanent thing to strangle investment for all time.

      I don’t understand banking, but I think these bankers are doing some temporary gymnastics according to their playbook, thinking these techniques will help the situation.

      Like, if you were a firefighter, and small fires keep breaking out, and sometimes you do this thing, and sometimes you do that thing. And it doesn’t always work, but you use the techniques that you have learned in school, or know from experience.

      I think that’s what is going on with the Central Bank.
      Investment and small business will no doubt suffer for a while. That was the whole point of the sanctions, to cause harm.
      If somebody is beating you up furiously, sometimes you just have to put your hands up and weather it out, with the occasional dodge or poke.

      • yalensis says:

        P.S. – in the KP piece, Central Bank Director Nabiullina is standing her ground.
        Once again, I don’t know if she is right or not, I never studied capitalist economics.
        But it does sound a bit dubious to me that the fall of the ruble would be a good thing and stimulate enterpreneurs. That sounds like dogma to me, from whatever school Nabiullina studied in. I know that the eventual goal is to stimulate small business in Russia, and I don’t object to that. However, small business is really for niche products, operates on fragile margins, and I doubt if it is powerful enough to sustain an entire national infrastructure. Anyhow, here is the quote:

        Между тем, глава Банка России Эльвира Набиуллина уже нашла плюсы в падении курса российской валюты. По ее мнению, слабый рубль дает шанс российскому производителю. Председатель ЦБ заявила, что в настоявшее время основная задача – сделать российскую экономику менее зависимой от цены на нефть и того, что происходит на внешних рынках.

        TRANSLATION
        Meanwhile, the head of the Central Bank of Russia, Elvira Nabiullina, has already found pluses in the fall of the course of Russian currency. In her opinion, a weak ruble gives a chance to the Russian entrepreneur. The Chairman of the CB declared, that in the current period the main job is to make the Russian economy less dependent on the price of oil, or on what happens in external markets.

        • ThatJ says:

          However, small business is really for niche products, operates on fragile margins, and I doubt if it is powerful enough to sustain an entire national infrastructure.

          In Germany small or family business is considered sacred. There’s a word in German that describes this capitalist model, but I don’t remember it.

          A small business can also grow and become a big corporation… or go broke. Anyway, I agree with the German model. It takes the heat off the central government from having to run everything, micromanaging the society. The exception should be made for natural resources — ores, gas, oil, coal, which ought to be owned by the central government and their revenues used to fund said government and its projects.

      • The interest rates was probably raised to protect the Ruble. I don’t understand much from banking either, but I don’t see this as anything but a desperation move.

        Right now Russia is unable to do anything to counter the fall of Ruble. Using the foreign currency reserves to buy Rubles would be foolish. The other option is to raise the interest rate, but raising it to 17% for a long period of time will stop all investments n Russia.

        The third option is to let the Ruble fall continue, but it could potentially crash the whole economy if people lose trust to the currency and start panic selling all the Rubles that they have.

        The base problem is the dependency to oil. Russia’s current economy and relatively high prosperity (compared to the 1990’s) is dependent on the fact that the oil price is high. If oil price falls a lot and stays down for a long period of time, then Russia cannot continue to have this prosperity level because it is based on the high oil price.

        Russia needs industries other than oil and gas to generate prosperity for its citizens. This is the only thing that will work. Relying on oil will leave Russia vulnerable to price fluctuations and outside manipulation.

        • astabada says:

          Could it be that the hike in interest rates is to prevent short selling?

          I would say that investors can short sell Rubles (or assets in Rubles) and buy Rubles later. If the Ruble went down in the meanwhile, they make a profit.
          If the CBR makes the Ruble more expensive, this sort of game becomes riskier.

          It is just a suggestion, as I’m no expert

          • I think it is exactly like you say.

            The Central Bank of Russia is trying to prevent the Ruble fall by making it more expensive to short shelling Rubles.

            This will only work if it is done for a short period of time. Leaving interest rates to 17% for a long period of time will kill off the economy, because nobody will be able to invest.

            And decreasing the interest rate while the oil price is still low could potentially cause a big storm of short selling the Rubles right after the decrease of interest rates was made, which makes the whole thing very risky.

            The only hope for Russia is that the oil price will go up again and soon. Otherwise there will be some very hard times for Russian economy and average Russian citizens.

            The diversification and overall increase of competitiveness and productivity of the Russian economy however is the only option if Russia ever wants to be a true economic powerhouse like the US, Japan and Germany are.

            Russia should be a country that benefits from a decrease of the oil price, not a country whose economy depends on a high oil price.

            • cartman says:

              They could put a tax on those transactions. The ruble has been convertible for only a few years and it is the only one of the BRICS with no capital controls.

            • astabada says:

              @cartman

              It is unlikely that these transactions take place in Russia.

            • marknesop says:

              What would happen, Karl, if Russia was dependent on the export of cameras, and made the best camera in the world? Could the United States convince all its allies and client-states and slaves to buy German cameras instead, and strangle Russia’s trade? Yes, it could. Would it? Yes, it would, because the United States regards itself as the rightful leader of the world and it will entertain no back-talk from anyone – when it says “jump”, you say “how high?”. In fact, energy exports are just about the hardest commodity to focus on in an economic war, because they are stateless and the USA has had to arm-twist and cajole to lower energy prices worldwide just to get at Russia; consequently, world energy producers are hurting and not just Russia. If Russia made cameras and four other things and had no oil, and those five things together made up 100% of its GDP, the USA would just methodically go through them and strangle them, all, and then you would be holding your head and moaning how Russians could be so stupid as to focus on just those five things and not diversify more. Don’t you get it? The USA hates Russia and cannot abide its existence, and means to make it vanish from the face of the earth as an independent nation with its own voice. And as others have described, it is now or never. If it is unsuccessful, it is likely the opportunity will not arise again. If it is successful, past experience suggests it will use the new weapon to subdue and stifle any sign of independence in any country which is not its pledged vassal.

              Of course, other countries never think of that. It never occurs to them that anyone would do such a thing to them, just because no country ever has.

              • ThatJ says:

                This is a good point: other produced goods would have been more easily targeted than oil and gas. Oil and gas are vital and harder to replace, other stuff, less so.

                I think that Russia being such a resource-rich country could use its own resources to produce more of the things it consumes, so the fall of the ruble would have less of an impact since the country doesn’t need many imports to begin with.

                This dependence on fossil fuel exportation without producing much (today is already different from the 90s, as stated many times here, but there’s still a long way to go) native goods can be damaging because as can be seen now, if you are too dependent on imports and your currency is losing its value, the living standard goes down big time because you cannot buy what you used to.

                So in my view fossil fuels are just as important as native businesses that produce things the society needs.

                • marknesop says:

                  I don’t think you’ll see as much of that any more. Russia really did put up with a lot, in hopes the west would stop slanging it all the time and settle into a partnership. As other authors have suggested, Russia will never forgive the west no matter what it says about “colleagues” and “partners”, and you will not likely ever see a dependence on western goods. On the whole that is much better for Russia. You’ll still be able to get French cheese if you want, one day soon – but you’ll never see France owning the cheese business in Russia.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Could it be that the hike in interest rates is to prevent short selling?

            Well, I’ve just come back from the Raiffeisen Moscow HQ, a newly built tower block situated alongside other newly built ones for other banks at “PortPlaza”, which is a new development area – a new metro station between Avtozavodskaya and Kolomenskaya stations is now being constructed for the new banking plaza -, where I overheard an Austrian voicing exactly the same opinion to his Russian colleague.

        • marknesop says:

          You can only panic-sell all the rubles you have if someone will buy them. If the ruble crashes completely, it will only magnify a problem Russians have already shouldered – no more foreign vacations, no more BMW’s, no more foreign products because they are just too expensive. Back to domestic products for as long as necessary to ride it out, and there should be state intervention and re-imposition of price controls as necessary to ensure speculators are not deliberately jacking up the price of staples. Under those conditions, a ruble within Russia will still buy almost as much as it ever did, of Russian-made products. Under those conditions, a lot of western companies which were considering moving production to Russia to get around sanctions would face a clear choice – continue, and keep your prices low and stick with it knowing the aggressors’ resources are limited as well – or pull up stakes and get out, probably forever. Don’t forget that China has still to weigh in, and I think it will not allow the Russian economy to collapse, because it would not likely be able to negotiate such favourable terms with the conquerors. But the more Russia continues to decouple itself from the western economies, the better off it will be, and I think that is going to be a permanent change. If China throws its weight behind Russia, it’s game over, western troublemakers. Look at the exchange rate for the Yuan. China entering the currency war on Russia’s side would be a hammer-blow the west could not sustain.

    • Ruble is crashing at record speed.

      In the last five hours the difference has gone from 58 to 73 rubles/dollar and from 72 to 92 rubles/euro.

      Soon I can buy 100 rubles with one euro. Now would be a good time to make a trip to Russia. Food, hotel rooms etc. must be cheap there.

  18. Moscow Exile says:

    Barely disguised rapture amongst the Grauniad russophobes today.

    An idea of their ignorance of Russian life can be seen here in this comment:

    What about all those Russians paying back Ruble or Dollar mortgages today? Most will default.

    Another, more knowledgable, commenter points out:

    Few Russians have mortgages, and even fewer in foreign currencies. Unlike in America, there isn’t much of a housing bubble.

    My wife and I own 2 flats in Moscow and a country cottage.

    No mortgage.

    No foreign currency accounts.

    All paid for in rubles and owned by us (her really) lock, stock and barrel.

    The flat my wife was brought up in and where we lived for 4 years after our marriage was given to her by the state. We bought our present flat with cash on the nose.

    Our neighbours did the same long ago. Our closest neighbours, in fact, bought a dacha on our dacha territory that was up for sale last summer and which my wife told them about.

    My neighbours are most definitely not “New Russians”: those latter live in London and other similar shitholes of Mammon.

    Most of London is owned by Saudis now, I believe, those descendants of former camel herders having more property in Moskva-na-Temze than does the Crown Estate.

  19. peter says:

    • And the West will benefit from the low oil prices as well. They kill two birds with one shot: punish Russia and get economic benefits for themselves.

      The American shale oil producers will naturally take a hit and many will go bankrupt, but the shale oil itself will not go anywhere. The US will import cheap oil and leave their own oil for the use of the future generations. It is a win-win for them.

      Russia on the other hand will be forced to increase oil drilling to get more profits from oil sales to cover the budget costs. This will deplete Russia’s oil reserves faster than it would with a higher oil price. Russians will be drilling faster while the Americans will leave their oil under ground for a future use.

      • marknesop says:

        That was never the plan, though – the abundance of oil and gas the USA supposedly enjoys relies heavily on shale, which is not competitive price-wise with regular reservoirs since the lifespan of a shale well is so short – returns begin to diminish in about a year, often less, necessitating constant drilling of new wells. Transport by LNG tanker is not as economical as that by pipeline either, and although the USA does not currently have any export terminals, it remains to be seen if the logistic chain would even be possible if they did – vastly increased tanker traffic through any of the world’s waterways, including the tricky Northwest Passage, would be a recipe for environmental disaster.

        The American plan – more of a dream, actually – was to replace Russian energy supplies with supply from the United States, to become a massive energy exporter and glom onto all that money Russia has been getting all this time, squeeze them out of production by way of selective sanctions, and keep energy trades denominated in the greenback. All America’s problems solved, in a single multi-targeted strike.

        Also, you keep overlooking – perhaps deliberately – Russia’s cash reserves, while the USA has none. Russia can afford to cruise on idle for even a couple of years, while the USA cannot. It must increase its power, or wither. Russia has also been buying gold against this eventuality, while nobody really knows what the USA has done with its gold and the reserves of other countries that it has been holding. Speculation says it is almost all gone. It’s possibly the most interesting mystery of the last couple of decades.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Sorry to piss on your gleeful parade, but that’s not what I was told at BP this afternooon.

      • marknesop says:

        What’s going to happen to American consumption rates? Here’s a hint. How much of the massive shale boom which was forecast to be in decline by 2020 by its own Energy Administration – while the forecasts are less optimistic from other analysts – is going to be left for export? Europe’s energy appetite is hardly going to decline either – here are world consumption rates.

        Who’s really in charge of energy prices, Karl? Whoever has it, and has the resources to withstand no income from it for a short time. America had better hope that Russia does just as you say, beavering away for smaller and smaller returns and chasing income. Because there’s an alternative. Russia could cease production altogether, not a drop, and just curl into a ball and live off its reserves. It couldn’t keep that up for long, probably not more than 6 months, because the 2-year figure is assuming Russia will still have some, albeit diminished, energy income. The world is currently awash in cheap oil, but it is also using all of it that is produced. Yurrup could not get alternative supplies from Saudi Arabia or from America – it would be almost completely cut off from energy supplies during a cold winter, with just trickles coming in from alternative sources.

    • marknesop says:

      Ummmm….who’s Charlie Peach? Does calling yourself “PoliticsPeach” somehow grace you with breathtaking political insight? It certainly does not seem to have had a liberalizing effect on her racial views. I still don’t see how America is controlling the world oil price, given that the price drop is obliterating its shale industry, and rock-bottom energy prices cannot be doing American energy share prices any good. Sure enough, they’re not – although both Chevron and Exxon-Mobil show gains for this session over yesterday, the latter half of this year has been one long slide for both. Non-energy shares such as Wal-Mart, however, and Apple, show considerably more stability. Since September 12th of this year, a benchmark for all in this application, Chevron has lost $21.00 a share, Exxon-Mobil has lost $9.00 a share, Wal-Mart is up $8.00 a share and Apple is up $7.00 a share. Of course that’s oversimplifying, the market is a complicated place with its own ebbs and flows – but there is no disputing that among America’s most profitable companies, energy companies are doing poorly, and it is hard to imagine they are making willing sacrifices upon the assurance that they will receive their reward when Russia is destroyed. By that time they may have lost their place in American corporate structure for a decade.

      Even if the USA is successful in annihilating the ruble to the point it costs a million of them for a pound of butter, the effort will fail, because the effort is predicated on destroying the country’s faith in its leader and causing him to be overthrown in a popular revolution. America’s hand was forced, and where such an effort might have enjoyed some success closer to an election, this is too early, while Putin has enjoyed success of his own in convincing the Russian people that this is a move not against him, but against them. The USA has no choice, however, but to play out the string as best it can, because it has so thoroughly wrecked the relationship between Russia and itself that the two are once more every bit the ideological cold-war enemies they once were.

  20. yalensis says:

    Speaking of banking:
    In Luhansk, the LPR (Luhansk Peoples Republic) was forced to nationalize all banks operating in the province.

    This was after Kiev cut off all electronic transactions to the banks operating within territory controlled by DPR/LPR militias.

    Evgeny Manuilov, Minister of Finances for LPR, announced that the local banks will be nationalized, and plastic (ATM) cards will be issued to the existing customers.
    Also, LPR and DPR banks will cooperate between themselves and recognize electronic transactions (безналичный расчет) between themselves.
    Small businesses and enterprises in LPR will be able to open accounts in the banks starting January 2015.

    • yalensis says:

      P.S. –
      I am sure that ThatJ will rush to point out that “Manuilov” sounds like a Jewish name. (From “Manuel”.) Therefore, this is probably some Jewish plot to give control over Luhansk banks (along with their small holdings – a hryvna here, a hryvna there) over to the parasitical Zionists. [sarcasm]

      Personally, I don’t know if Evgeny Manuilov is Jewish or not, it is very likely that he is. If you were a struggling little People’s Republic, and wanted to hire somebody to handle your finances, whom would you hire? A smart Jew, or an Idiot [insert the name of some ethnic group you don’t like] who would promptly lose all your money due to incompetence if not ill will??

      • marknesop says:

        I would hire an American, preferably one who has been implicated before in shady financial dealings and is tight with the U.S. State Department, and who had helped spend $5 Billion to destabilize my country. And I would give her citizenship so the proles in my country could not complain she is not a Ukrainian. Oops, I mean a citizen of my struggling little republic.

      • Jen says:

        Yalensis, you forgot multiple-choice option C: all of the above.

    • aussiekay says:

      Kiev said all enterprises must move out, take OR DESTROY what you can’t take. Supposedly one bank in Luhansk was going to destroy around $3.2 million (USD) so they felt obliged to “take it into care” a few weeks ago. Apparently there was some secret separatist staff to tip them off. Makes sense to keep the buildings. and all the infrastructure.

      Naturally DPR banks will cooperate. Those are already hooked to the Russian system, too. Every business has to get a licence, and a bank account there, and pay taxes into it every month. These banks already paid some partial pensions, with the pension “office” set up in the actual bank to speed up the processing.

      I don’t think they see it as “nationalising”. As with half the coal mines, they see it as, it belonged to the State, WE are now the State so it is ours.

      In DPR they are allowing any abandoned business to be taken over by its former employees, if they can elect one of them capable of running it. This is to get jobs going again. It has to be properly registered with the Government. Because they got the city buildings intact, they found all records going back to 1991, so they know what was privatised and on what conditions. If the former owner of such a co-op business comes back, he may apply to the court, and they will see if “he deserves it”.

      • Jen says:

        These abandoned businesses are likely to be run as worker co-operatives, similar to what was done in Argentina in the early 2000s when businesses there failed in the wake of the 1998 financial meltdown and workers took them over to keep them running and to keep themselves employed.

    • ThatJ says:

      @yalensis

      Manuel may be Hebrew in origin, but I wouldn’t have made the association you did, no.

      Manuel is a fairly common name in Latin Europe, and probably Latin America.

      Regarding Hebrew (= Christian) names, there was this funny ‘controversy’ two years ago, in Sweden:
      http://mashable.com/2012/06/12/sweden-twitter/

      In a project called Curators of Sweden, the Swedish government is handing over the @sweden Twitter account to a different citizen each week, allowing them to tweet about whatever they’d like. Today, the person behind the account sent out several questionable tweets.

      The girl who posted the tweets was questioned about her surname, Abrahamsson, because of the things she said/asked about the Jews. Explaining the origins of her surname, she stated the obvious: it came with the Christianization of Scandinavia and from where she hails, there are no Jews.

      An interview with her:
      http://gizmodo.com/5921424/a-wonderfully-weird-interview-with-swedens-sonja-abrahamsson

      Btw, nothing of this changes the fundamentals: Jewish networking and influence in the US and the UK is still bad for Russia (and Europeans) because they pursue what are essentially Jewish interests, at the expense of what used to be Christian, Indo-European derived (or native) societies, destroying them in the process, literally. If the Russian elite didn’t pay attention, it would be swallowed as well.

  21. Some interesting words from Saker. He says that the greatest enemy of Russia is not in the West but inside Russia: http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.fi/2014/12/very-bad-news-out-of-russia-and.html

    ————————————————————————
    Quote: Yet again we see that the most formidable enemy or Russia is not in the USA or London, but inside Russia. I don’t see how Putin can take more of this without taking some kind of strong action. I don’t mean a coup, of course, but heads need to start rolling (figuratively, of course). The 5th column needs to be smacked down before or Putin will be in danger himself.
    ————————————————————————

    Saker is talking about the actions of Central Bank and how Russia is managing the situation in Novorossiya.

    • marknesop says:

      How can you censure bankers for acting like bankers? They are doing what would probably work if the financial problems were caused by normal economic forces and not a deliberate and focused attempt to destroy the economy. What should Russia do; say “This is a war”, and put the military in charge of the banks?

      • colliemum says:

        Anybody old enough to remember “Black Wednesday”, Sept 16th, 1992?
        Just look up what happened then … and who was involved … that same bloke is still alive and kicking, probably hoping to pull this off yet again, only this time with the might of the US behind him.

    • Jen says:

      Putin can’t sack the CBR management if there is no-one to replace them and Saker himself admits he does not know the full story behind the interest rate hike. The CBR folks likely have done that hike to keep the exchange rate steady and to help bring back Russian capital before the US decides on something else, like freezing all US assets owned by Russian nationals irrespective of whether they’re on the Magnitsky List or not, and then forcing EU countries and Switzerland to do the same. Unless you know the full context in which CBR raised the interest rates, you cannot say what they’re doing amounts to a betrayal of Putin.

  22. The US has passed a law that will put more sanctions on Gazprom if it fails to send gas to Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova: http://russia-insider.com/en/2014/12/15/1912

    • The way I understand this is that Gazprom will be sanctioned even if the customer does not pay and Gazprom halts the deliveries because of non-payment. The US requires Gazprom to send gas to Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova even if Gazprom receives no money from it.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      So? Let the bastards freeze and nice, kind Uncle Sam can send them their LNG free of charge.

      It should arrive there sometime before the end of this decade.

      • aussiekay says:

        Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova

        Nothing about Europe. They can cut off Europe anytime they like.

        ROFL.

        • marknesop says:

          They can cut off anyone any time they like – it’s their gas. The very idea that the U.S. government would have the side to order them to sell to Ukraine even though it regularly refers to Russia as “the enemy” and refuses to pay its past bills. I’m speechless at the unbridled arrogance. The united States has done itself a great disservice with this and other ultra-bonehead moves.

    • marknesop says:

      Anyone who doubts the United States of America has become drunk on itself and now believes it is the Emperor Caligula or something should doubt no more. The USA is edging closer and closer to a declaration of war by imposing conditions it knows Russia cannot and will not accept. American allies should be getting nervous, because they are sure to be dragged into it. America must sense that this is its moment, thanks to the dizzying fall of the ruble, and is pushing hard for Russian capitulation. What is it going to do when that doesn’t come? This makes as much sense as Russia passing a law that all Americans who are caught speeding in America will be shot – it is unenforceable – or the USA authorizing Ukraine to just cross the border into Russia and take whatever it wants without paying.

      Time to give all American businesses still in Russia 24 hours to get out.

      For anyone who missed it, this is an acknowledgement that Ukraine will collapse without Russian help, and that the west is unable to stop it from happening. If Ukraine is taken off the board as a transit country, it’s finished. And the USA can sanction away all it likes, it cannot force Russia to supply free gas to Ukraine. It has overreached.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Reminds me of the time when Buonaparte sat in Moscow thinking it was game, set and match to him and waited for the tsar to come and beg for terms. And all around the tyrant Moscow burned … and nothing happened: no delegation from the tsar, no nothing.

        And so the Corsican and his much depleted horde of hangers-on, sycophants, arse lickers, profiteers and many who had really only been fair-weather friends of his – Poles, Germans, Austrians, Italians who had until then enjoyed their master’s rule in Western Europe – had to up sticks and bugger of whence they came, having their arses kicked along the way by the Russian army and partisans.

        Napoleon waited for a month in Moscow before deciding to retreat, which event took place before the onset of winter. The retreat began in the middle of October 1812.

        It was not snowing. It was not cold.

        In fact, by Russian standards, the approaching winter of 1812/1813 is not noted as having been an exceptionally cold one.

        The first snowfalls were in late November. Then there was a thaw, the resulting morass impeding the retreating invaders further.

        The campaign effectively ended on 14 December 1812.

        So much for General Winter’s role in the retreat.

  23. peter says:

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Oh, here’s a strange thing I saw at about 5 o’clock this afternoon on the metro: at Ploshchad Revoliutsii metro station this old bloke with a rucksack on his back came into the carriage in which I was travelling. I was standing and after he’d shuffled past me, I noticed that dangling from the back of his rucksack were two long ribbons – one light blue, the other yellow. Nobody said bugger all.

      I think I’ll go down to Kiev with a long St. George ribbon dangling from my rucksack and see what happens…

  24. peter says:

  25. Moscow Exile says:

    Why is Saudi money and its economy not tanking?

    What do Saudis make, manufacture, produce in oder to create their wealth, apart from their extraction and sale of oil in unnecessary quantities to a world in economic recession?

    When did you last see Saudi products on your supermarket shelves?

    What is the basis of the Saudi economy?

    How does one one assess the level of democracy in Saudi Arabia?

    Do LGBT people enjoy freedom of rights in Saudi Arabia?

    Is there freedom of expression and assembly in Saudi Arabia?

    Are Saudis the ever faithful lickspittles of the Washington spittoon…?

    • cartman says:

      The Saudis are not pumping more oil. They are selling it at a deep discount. Coincidentally, they are selling at the same amount that ISIS is. Perhaps they are selling off another nation’s resources?

  26. Moscow Exile says:

    FUCK YOU, WASHINGTON!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The above video shows an example of some of the youth of a decadent, failed state populated by brain-washed, slavish sheeple.

      Here is an example of something that the Bastion of Democracy, the Shining City on the Hill, the Freest Country in the World has to offer the rest of the world in the field of culture:

      Note how the presenter feels it necessary to inform the viewers where Melbourne is.

      • katkan says:

        There is a Melbourne in Florida, you know. In US they always add the State or country name, to avoid confusion. As in “Paris, France” not to confuse with the at least 16 Parises scattered all over closer to home.

        Miley needs to be locked up for a while..

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Yeah, it’s a funny – to Europeans anyway – habit of US citizens to specify the country when naming a city.

          Paris, France, always sounds daft to me, as does London, England.

          Of course, I know there’s a London, Ontario but adding “England” to “London” seems superfluous to me.

          Same with Moscow, Russia.

          Moscow,Texas for sure – but Moscow,Russia?

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