The Southern Gas Corridor is a Blind Alley

Uncle Volodya says, "In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control, and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.”

Uncle Volodya says, “In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get control, and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.”

Subsequent to Moscow’s abrupt cancellation of the South Stream pipeline, there has been a mad scramble on the part of the EU. And the miracle solution they have hit upon is called the Southern Gas Corridor. The hype currently being devoted to it suggests it is a clever new idea by Brussels which has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

I wouldn’t want anyone to go on thinking that.

The Southern Gas Corridor Project has actually been ongoing since 2003, in that lackadaisical way European projects have of consuming money without really yielding any tangible results – let’s recall, we live in an age when consultancy is a growth industry. Three different pipeline projects started off competing for what Brussels euphemistically terms its initiative to diversify its energy supplies: one of them was Nabucco, which until recently was as dead as Thomas Jefferson, although now would be a perfect opportunity for the dithering Europeans to revive it so they could talk about it for another 11 years without building anything.

Back then, the Europeans liked to strut about and flap their arms and say that Russia was wasting its time building South Stream, because Nabucco was going to render it as useless as a chocolate teapot. As recently as Spring 2010, hopefuls still reported that Nabucco was “on track to meet its target date for first deliveries in 2014.” Well, I mustn’t be a pessimist – they still have about a week and a half to lay around 3,800 km of pipeline, considering not so much as a meter of it was ever built.

I really wanted to leave the part that makes me laugh the most until later; you know, for flow and stuff, so the post wouldn’t seem jerky. But since I have been described as jerky myself on occasion, and because I am just a child at heart and have no self-discipline, I have to let you in on it right now – do you know where this gas is coming from, the gas that the EU figures is going to put the whip in its hand so it can bring Russia firmly in line whenever it gets uppity? Azerbaijan. No, I am not fucking with you. Seriously. The partner that Brussels is courting, that will free it from the grasping energy-as-a-weapon talons of the craaaazy dictator, Vladimir “Bad Vlad” Putin (for the hip western journalists who don’t know the diminutive for “Vladimir” is “Vova” and not Vlad), is Azerbaijan. Back then, its President was Ilham Aliyev. And I be go to hell if he isn’t still the President; apparently the awarding of the title “Most Corrupt Person of 2012” by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project was not discouraging enough for Azeris to vote him out. So Brussels, in its eagerness to buy gas from anyone but Vladimir Putin, is pinning its hopes upon an individual who, together with his family, has been “systematically grabbing shares of the most profitable businesses in Azerbaijan for many years”. Well, never mind – maybe Billions in gas revenues will not be profitable enough to attract his attention. Ha, ha, ha…sorry, I couldn’t help it. Anyway, Romania was the one who pulled a Bulgaria on Nabucco and kilt it stone dead. Fed up with the endless debating and wrangling that characterizes EU projects in which everyone has to be made to feel important so they’re not guilt-stricken about taking full per diem and staying in fancy hotels, Romania pulled the plug and opted out. Why? Because the EU had to fund Nabucco – no nice Gazprom to build it for them at its own expense – and it was horribly expensive, they couldn’t count on getting enough gas through it to make it worthwhile, TANAP (the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline) was much cheaper and more practical, and China strolled in whilst the EU was arguing with itself and kicked them in the goolies, sealing a deal for Turkmen gas which precluded Nabucco hooking up at Baku to boost the volume with additional supplies. Another triumph for bureaucracy.

How much money was wasted on Nabucco? Hard to say; you have to figure in the costs of all the meetings and fact-finding missions, tenders that were put out for competition but never let, consultations, more meetings, briefs and working papers that had to be prepared. The principals have kept their expenditures very close to the chest, and I’d love to know, but I’d be willing to bet a couple of hundred million Euros got spent. And in the end…zip. Nothing. So when we speak now of the Southern Gas Corridor, we’re talking about TANAP. And probably a couple of other modifications Brussels is kicking around or auditioning. And Brussels is still very, very interested in a different pipeline, although it is kicking itself for the smug way it kept trying to back Moscow into a corner until Putin just gave up on the whole idea. Well, not publicly, but it pretended to be surprised that Russia would react that way, and quickly became the soul of cooperation and held a flurry of meetings on South Stream which were perfectly useless, since Russia didn’t show up.

Why is it so important to Europe that it rely on anyone else for energy but Russia? Several reasons, according to The European Commission’s Policy Towards the Southern Gas Corridor: Between National Interests and Economic Fundamentals, by Nicolo Sartori, January 2012 (not linkable, but you can look it up by that title). Apart from the possibility that it could inspire greater EU loyalty in East-European members who are currently very dependent on Russia, natural gas is the fossil fuel whose consumption is expected to grow at the fastest pace globally. Although indigenous supply still constitutes the bulk of the EU’s gas market, that is projected to change dramatically over the next two decades as both Dutch and British North Sea reserves deplete at an accelerated pace.  The EU’s imported supplies come from just three sources: Russia, Norway, and Algeria. The decline of the Norwegian energy industry was the talk of 2014. Russia is by far the largest foreign supplier. The Fukushima nuclear disaster scared both Germany and Italy white, and both energy-hungry nations are forecast to build no new nuclear power plants while Germany will close all its existing stations by 2022.

Here, from Sartori’s paper I already cited, are the two projects thought to still have a fighting chance, since Nabucco was really always just a pipe dream (see what I did there?). Remember, TAP and TANAP are not the same thing; TAP is the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, which would be a part of the overall effort.

ITGI is a project led by the Franco-Italian energy firm Edison and the Greek state-owned gas company DEPA. The project comprises the already operational Interconnector Turkey-Greece pipeline (ITG), which has a transport capacity of about 11.5 bcm per year, and the proposed 800km long Interconnector Greece-Italy pipeline (IGI). The latter, expected to have a transport capacity of about 10 bcm a year, will be composed of two sections: a 600km onshore pipeline crossing Greek territory, and the 200km Poseidon pipeline running across the Ionian seabed. According to the consortium, the project’s capacity could be upgraded to 20 bcm in case of further supplies from the Caspian region. Estimated realization costs vary between 1.5 and 2 billion dollars.

TAP, proposed by the Swiss firm EGL in collaboration with the German E.ON and the Norwegian national energy company Statoil, will link Greece to Italy’s southern coasts, near the port city of Brindisi. The pipeline’s 680km onshore section will pass through Greece and then Albania, while the 105km offshore part will cross the Adriatic Sea in its shallowest and shortest stretch. The initial capacity of the pipeline is expected to be about 10 bcm a year – expandable to 20 bcm – with a reverse flow capacity of up to 8.5 bcm to supply Albania and Greece in case of need. TAP realization costs are officially estimated to be around 1.5 billion dollars.

As you can see, both these projects propose a maximum capacity of 20 bcm (Billion Cubic Meters) per year. Nabucco, along with its other grand flights of fancy, was projected to carry 31 bcm per year. A couple of problems with that, though: one, it was not expected by its designers to be able to do that – through phased capacity increases – until 2020. Two, it was not expected to be able to do that ever by anyone else, because that amount exceeds the Shah Deniz field’s capacity. Initial flows for Gazprom’s South Stream were projected to be 15.7 bcm per year, with full capacity of 63 bcm to be reached by 2019. So as the people pulling down the big paycheques bat ideas around – on the unforgiving doorstep of what promises to be a cold winter – the plan slowly emerging is to go ahead with the BP-led project for a 3,500 km pipeline which will supply – at least initially – one-sixth the gas that South Stream would have provided.

If you were starting to think that the lengths to which Brussels and the EU Commission will go to avoid buying gas from Putin are…a little…crazy, we are singing from the same song sheet. For starters, it is a given that the costs of the vaunted Southern Gas Corridor are grossly underestimated, since the public will never support that kind of outlay if it knows the true costs, especially since the alternative was paying nothing and getting six times as much gas. Similarly, the completion dates will be wildly optimistic, in view of the fact it took them 11 years of arguing over a pipeline which would take nearly the identical route and they built none of it (although, to be fair, some on the European end is existing pipeline which needs only to be linked to the source), because Europeans are apt to get a little swivelly over the idea of dealing with inadequate gas supplies for a decade or so. And, probably neither last nor least, the public will have to be told some truly monumental, Texas-sized lies to prevent them being worried by the fact that their source supplier was rated the most corrupt leader in the world only 3 years ago by one of their own pet NGO’s.

The EU threw stumbling-blocks under Gazprom’s feet until it got its way, and made Putin give up on the construction of South Stream, with its ridiculous insistence that Gazprom’s pipeline could not be owned by Gazprom (European pipelines which carry gas from offshore fields are given the special exemption of “field pipes” and the companies which provide the gas also own the pipelines) and that it must reserve half its capacity for the use of competitors. Then it blamed Putin for cancelling without giving it reasonable warning, and its latest stage of denial is to optimistically propose that it can still be built, Russia just needs to come back to the bargaining table. If I lived in Europe, I would be looking for sales on sweaters and blankets.

I always loved John Steinbeck for his ability to reach through muddy layers and pluck out, like a shining bauble, that perfect quote which summed up the situation in a manner that made the senseless make sense. Can you do it for us now, John? “Sometimes a man wants to be stupid if it lets him do a thing his cleverness forbids.”

I knew you could.

This entry was posted in Corruption, Economy, Europe, Government, Investment, Military, Politics, Russia, Strategy, Trade, Vladimir Putin and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1,033 Responses to The Southern Gas Corridor is a Blind Alley

  1. ThatJ says:

    Putin: It Is Time To Play Your Ace In The Hole

    You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
    Know when to fold ’em
    Know when to walk away
    And know when to run
    You never count your money
    When you’re sittin’ at the table
    There’ll be time enough for countin’
    When the dealin’s done.

    “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers

    The entire world is watching Putin play poker with the Western politicians lead by Obama and followed by Washington quislings in London, Brussels and Berlin. America’s goal since the end of the Cold War has been to weaken by financial, economic and, if necessary, military means any real competition to its global financial and resource domination through the petrodollar and dollar world reserve currency status.

    The current trade and economic sanctions against Russia and Iran follow this time-tested action that is never successful on its own, as we know from the 50-plus-year blockade of Cuba. But this strategy can lead to opposition nations retaliating by military means, often their only alternative to end blockades etc., which are an act of war and allow the US and other democracies to bring their ultimate superior military power to bare against the offending sovereign state. This worked for Lincoln against the Confederate States of America, by Woodrow Wilson against the Central Powers before World War One, against the Japanese Empire before World War Two, Iraq, Libya – the list is endless.

    Recently the US has created the oil price collapse, working closely with its client state Saudi Arabia, in order to weaken the economic power of both Iran and Russia, the two main nations opposing US hegemony, foreign policy and petrodollar policy. Yes, this will play havoc with the US shale oil industry as well as London’s North Sea oil industry but oil profits pale in comparison to the importance of maintaining Western power over Russia and China.

    I hope Putin realizes the US is not playing games here, as this is a financial and strategic game to the death for Washington and it’s Western allies that have foolishly followed the Goldman Sachs/central banking cartel’s deadly sovereign debt recipe and for growth and prosperity. The time is up; the debts can never be repaid and sooner or later must be repudiated one way or the other.

    China is waiting in the wings as the new world economic power and while it is too big to challenge, US strategy is to take out its top two allies, Iran and Russia, to buy time for Wall Street and Washington. The strategy might be a competitive economic course of action but the risk of military consequences and even a third world war loom on the horizon and no country has ever defeated Russia in a land attack. This is risky brinkmanship just to protect our banking and Wall Street elites and their profits at the expense of the American people, I might add, but the US has done this before.

    Is This Just a Repeat of the Versailles Treaty, Russian-style?

    This has all happened before. It’s the same old game with different players. I fear we are watching a repeat of the Versailles Treaty, Russian-style. If you look closely at real history rather than the establishment-directed propaganda dished out to the public, you’ll realize that the Western financial elites and central banking cartel seldom change tactics. Why should they? Their financial empires continue to grow during all major wars and financial crises and if they should guess wrong, then they get taxpayers to bail them out.

    The Goldman Sachs, Rothschild and Soros types control the Western democracies as well as the financial markets and use paid or blackmailed cheerleaders and front men to advance their best interests to the populace as acceptable economic or political policies.

    Full text:

    • yalensis says:

      And what about these parasites?
      Oh wait! they’re not Jewish, so I guess they’re okay….

      And by the way, they are worth a heckuva lot more than a paltry billion.
      But they have learned over the centuries to hide their assets well…

  2. Warren says:

    Is The Economist Staffed by Braindead Shysters? Experts Say “Yes”
    Season’s greetings from Edward Lucas!

    Ho Ho Ho! Merry Edward Lucas is an idiot. What did “Anne Applebaum with a wiener” do this time? We are going to use our Internet Time Machine to take you back to March 2014, when Edward Lucas participated in a fun debate, “Is Russia a Marginal Power?” Edward Lucas certainly seems to think so. So what country is a “non-marginal power”? An audience member asks this question to Edward, and his answer might not surprise you! Let’s see what happens:

  3. Warren says:

    Published on 29 Dec 2014
    Larry Wilkerson and Paul Jay discuss the “tactical strength and strategic weakness” of Putin in Ukraine and whether the West is trying to turn Russia into another “Greece”
    News & Politics
    Standard YouTube Licence

  4. ThatJ says:

    Huffington Post is the heartland of liberasty, so I wasn’t surprised at all by the venom spewed by the readership. There is very, very little pro-Russian sentiment among liberasts. Moscow Exile made this post two days ago:

    American sociologist: Russian creative youth is patriotic, conservative and alien to liberal values

    This means only one thing, and the enemies of Russia understand it in their guts: liberasts stand at the extreme opposite of the ideological compass, and therefore, as with matter and antimatter, liberasts and Russians cannot allow the ‘worldview’ of the other to gain terrain (acceptability) in their own turf, because by allowing the propagation of the other’s ‘values’, a kulturkampf will ensue, from which there will be only one winner. The battle for cultural supremacy is likely to be fought on the courts, too. Today’s patriotic Russians will be taught guilt, shame and their beliefs will be outlawed as hate speech. Of course, it will never come down to this, or so I hope. I’m just highlighting the incompatibility between the pathological Western suicide cult and Russian culture.

    The author of that piece is Nataliya Vasilyeva, she works for the Associated Press, i.e. she’s an asset of Western soft power:

    Is she Ukrainian by chance? A fan of Russia she is not, even though she resides in Moscow.

    • PaulR says:

      Plotnitsky (leader of the Lugansk People’s Republic, LPR) says ‘LPR’s return into Ukraine is impossible’. ‘The course to integration with Russia continues’, he adds.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Nataliya Vasilyeva:

      Former hack for MT:

      now Moscow correspondent for AP.

      Her nationality?

      From Linked In:

      Nataliya Vasilyeva

      Business Reporter at Associated Press
      Russian Federation/Writing and Editing

      American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, Freelance writer, Kommersant Publishing House

      The London School of Journalism

      British? Russian emigrée? Russian? Lard Eater?

      Who knows?

      Try as I might, I cannot find any link to her nationality (in my research, I have seen how others are bemused by this question and have, so far, found no answer to it), but I am pretty sure she is a Russian national.

      This is her available bio “in detail” – no place of birth, no nationality stated; under education, just LSJ mentioned, where she studied for 1 year: no mention of her higher education in Russia, if, indeed, she is Russian and studied there.

      One year in London: recruitment by the dark side; back to Mordor.


      Business Reporter
      Associated Press
      June 2008 – Present (6 years 7 months)

      American Chamber of Commerce in Russia
      Assistant Editor
      American Chamber of Commerce in Russia
      March 2008 – June 2008 (4 months)

      Freelance Journalist
      Freelance writer
      November 2007 – June 2008 (8 months)

      Kommersant Publishing House
      English translator
      Kommersant Publishing House
      March 2005 – January 2008 (2 years 11 months)
      Features translation and news stories writing

      2004 – 2005 (1 year)
      British fiction translation

      The London School of Journalism
      General Journalism
      2007 – 2007

      So what was she doing before her first employment in Moscow (as listed above) in 2004?

      All her employment has been in Moscow.

      She graduated – in Russia, very likely, and most probably in English – and started at Eskmo in 2004 as a translator, she says. She became a “freelance writer” in 2007, she says, after her 1 year spent at LSJ. She freelanced for MT.

      Returned from London on her mission?

      Whatever – she is clearly in the employ of the Dark Side as a Russian, a Kreakly who hates Russia so much that she is loathe to state publicly that she is a Russian, it seems, and whose vocation is to fight for truth, freedom, democracy and justice, as evidenced here:

      A crumbling Sochi hides behind Olympic facades

      This is, very likely, from her dainty hand, as well:

      Putin foe Alexei Navalny found guilty of fraud

      Another suspended sentence for the charlatan! His brother Oleg, however, was sent down.

    • yalensis says:

      Natalia Vasilieva is ethnic Russian.
      The Brothers Navalny are mostly ethnic Russian, with some Ukrainian, but otherwise pure Aryan.
      (Just look at that handsome blonde head, the piercing blue eyes, the firm Aryan jaw, if you don’t believe me!)

      No Jewish blood in any of them. You can tell from the shape of their heads, noses, and their upper lips.

      In conclusion, these are your type of people, ThatJ, Aryans and pure Slavs to boot, you should be liking them.
      It doesn’t matter if they have some liberal opinions, it’s really the composition of the blood and the shape of the lip that counts. Right?

      • ThatJ says:

        Ancestry does matter to me — as do good politics. I never questioned Vasilyeva’s ethnicity, but I did question her nationality.

        Btw, Navalny may be a quisling (though we never know how he would act once in power, see Yeltsin-appointed Putin, for example), but years ago, well before the Ukrainian crisis began, he did state his view that Ukraine and Russia are “one nation”:

        Early in 2012 Navalny stated on Ukrainian TV that “Russian foreign policy should be maximally directed at integration with Ukraine and Belarus… In fact, we’re one nation. We should enhance integration.” During the same broadcast Navalny said that he did not intend “to prove that the Ukrainian nation doesn’t exist. God willing, it does.” He added, “No one wants to make an attempt to limit Ukraine’s sovereignty”. In October 2014 Navalny stated “I don’t see any kind of difference at all between Russians and Ukrainians”, he admitted that his views might provoke “horrible indignation” in Ukraine.

        I’m more concerned with the Jews in the opposition than I’m with Navalny. You see, the Russian elite’s enemy (= opposition) is nationalist instead of liberal (in a Western/Trotskyite sense). So the profile of the opposition in Russia is constructed as pro-Russian and lacking of the self-hating ideologies that permeate the Western suicide cult. In other words, you have the patriot Russian government and in opposition to it, the fierce nationalist Navalny, as the most recognised figure. Interesting, no? And he never goes to prison…

        • yalensis says:

          Well, it’s what I have been trying to tell you: You really need to start supporting Navalny.
          He’s exactly your kind of people., and he deserves your support.
          Don’t worry about the Jews, like Nemtsov. Navalny doesn’t like ’em either.
          He just has to pretend to, for the sake of his CIA handlers!

  5. patient observer says:

    My Naval historian/expert has provided more info pertaining to the to relative efficiencies of the Russian military/industrial complex versus the Western MIC.

    Per Wikipedia articles on UK Navy and Russian navy, nominally, UK has larger GPD 2.3 trillion vs Russian 2.1 trillion, but the Russian Navy is 4 times as large.

    UK Navy has 19 surface combatants, a figure which will remain unchanged for next 5-6 years as new ships replace obsolete on a one-for-one basis. Meanwhile Russians are rebuilding their Kirov nuclear battlecruisers (3), will build 16 major (8 nuclear, 8 gas turbine) Leader class cruisers, 30 Admiral Gorshkov destroyers, 7 more Borei class SSBM, 9 more Yasen class SSN and dozens of frigates as well as diesel and air-independent non-nuclear subs. By 2020, the Russian navy will have over 400 combat ships of over 1,000 tons displacement and will more total ships than US navy, but not quite as many blue water ships. Russian intentions for aircraft carriers are still not clear. Rogozin says they will build 6 nuclear carriers, but have to build new large hull ship yard first, which is underway. I think the 8 nuclear cruisers are for arctic operations.

    The US Naval Institute Proceedings discusses the unaffordability of Trident (Ohio) class SSBM replacement . Cost for per boat is $12 billion. Russia new SSBM, (Borei class) superior to Ohio in all parameters cost $890million, less than 1/12. The 1/10 to1/12 ratio seems to hold true across the board for aerospace projects as indicated earlier regarding a comparison in remote sensing satellites.

    So a Borei class SSBM costs slightly less than a Mistral class amphibious assault carrier. Other than 1) dirty dealing, 2) a desire to build commercial relationships for geopolitical reasons or 3) a short term ship building bottleneck it would seem that Russia would/should have built its own version.

    The Bulava missile despite its early QC problems is cutting edge technology in all respects. Independently maneuverable warheads and an accuracy to within 150 feet (assuming its the same as the Yars) is simply unprecedented (the Minuteman LGM has an accuracy of about 700 feet and the Trident at around 350 feet per Wikipedia.).

    The Western bean-counters and politicians take comfort in their GDP figures and similarly inflated defense spending advantage. However, I would guess that the Russia MIC is perhaps in terms of effectiveness at least 50-70% of the US MIC yet with a nominal cost of 88 billion USD annually versus 640 billion USD for the US. This would represent nearly a 5 to 1 superior cost effectiveness. It also suggests the absurdity of GDP as an indicator of the physical economy.

    Including the fighting spirit/bravery of the Russian military and I suspect that at would be an even match between the US and Russia all other things being equal. Ongoing developments would favor an increasing advantage of the Russian MIC over the US in years to come.

    • marknesop says:

      Gee – considering that in Russia, nearly 30% of the cost of every major project is lost to corruption, nest-feathering and thieving, that really means Russia can build a Borei Class boat for about $700 Million. Their construction process must be awesome!! Oh, or the corruption formula is a lie. Because you’d sort of expect, you know, that if that level of stealing were going on, things would cost more to build in Russia than they do in the west.

      • kirill says:

        These stories about Russian corruption are for the uninformed. The western media keeps them that way so they are easy to feed BS at critical moments to further the agendas of western elites.

        I always thought that the US itself should be subjected to a PPP GDP evaluation. The $16 trillion GDP is grossly out of line with what actual people in the USA have in terms of standard of living. A typical family of three does not make $170,000 per year. They are lucky to see $70,000. Canadian incomes are similar.

        It looks to me like the PPP evaluations of Russia’s GDP are highly flawed. These evaluations are based on consumer-centric metrics and typically compare baskets of consumer goods in different countries to adjust for meaningless price differences. However, submarines and tanks are not included in these baskets. I could be wrong but from what I have read I never see any discussion of how industrial capacity is compared.

        Patient observer’s figure of 1:5 for the military industry is very close to the mark. Russia can build six Project 636.3 diesel-electric submarines for the price of one Japanese boat of the same class. The Japanese prices are normal for NATO. So it looks like Russia’s PPP GDP should be about $500 billion higher using US prices. The question is how much of the rest of Russia’s industry is grossly underestimated.

        Much of the US GDP is the so-called financial industry. I believe it is about 50%. This is a fictitious industry that produces no goods and only services of dubious merit. It looks like accounting tricks to me. Along the lines of foreign borrowing, which is considered a plus for the GDP even though the loans have to be repaid with interest in the long run.

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, I was being sarcastic. But there are parallel narratives there that simply never harmonize – that a huge percentage of every major Russian ;project is lost to thievery and corruption, yet military platforms that are world-class and capable of going head-to-head with their American counterparts are built in Russia for a fifth the cost of NATO platforms. Russian wages are not a fifth of American wages for shipyard workers.

          • kirill says:

            I got your sarcasm and this subject needs it by the bucket full. There are western accusations of Russian corruption. There is no proof of Russian corruption from the accusers. Using the Project 636.3 boats as an example, they will be delivered over a period of less than 3 years. All six of them.

            One of the characteristics of corruption is project delays. We have seen the Sochi venues finished on time and in good shape. The toilet photo proves the latter since that is all they could find. I would bet that corruption levels for big projects in Russia are no worse than in NATO. There is still two bit corruption especially in small towns, but Russia is now light years ahead of Ukraine in terms of corruption. Ukrainian corruption is not a topic of interest these days for the western media.

          • patient observer says:

            Perhaps the most general definition is being paid far more than the value of your work (a form of stealing). When bonds traders can make hundreds of millions of dollars for picking their noses and flicking snot across the room, is that not corruption regardless of the “legality”? Based on that definition, the US and EU would be the most corrupt societies in the history of societies.

            • patient observer says:

              Perhaps the general definition of corruption is….
              Also, this comment was meant to be in response to Mark’s comment above. Oh well.

    • et Al says:

      I’ve seen some interesting arguments vis-a-vis the relevance of aircraft carriers.

      One one side, they are big fat targets that require support from multiple other ships and submarines and usually travel in a battle group $$$. There’s been much hyping of the Chinese threat using nuclear tipped missiles to attack such groups.

      On the other, some say that building much smaller carriers of around 50-60,000 tons means you have much more flexibility, can have more ships to mix and match as is fit and makes rotations and servicing much more straightforward without effecting operational deployability significantly. I think that would make much more sense for Russia.

      The US is addicted to their gigantic flat-tops, the only real innovations being that the reactor will no longer need refueling over the life of the ship and being more electric with toys like electromagnetic catapult launchers. They still have no other offensive capabilities apart from their aircraft which is a bit odd considering the fashion in the West is for multirole (like the F-35 ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’). The good news is that continuing to build these $$$ ships means less money for other projects and is a continued drain on the US defense budget.

  6. Paul says:

    An article that goes into the supposed reasons that Moscow didn’t do a better job of preparing for Crimean blackmail. Things like the business clans involved in supplying the Crimea with electricity didn’t want competition.

  7. Fern says:

    RT reported earlier this evening that Poroshenko had announced he had agreed or expected to agree within the next five months, a visa-free travel regime between Ukraine and the EU. A couple of analysts interviewed by RT felt that he would not have made this announcement if there were not at least some substance to it. If true – and I’ve checked on a few sites and not found any corroboration – it’s difficult to measure the fathomless depths of EU cynicism. No money for Ukraine but what Team Kiev gets to do is export much of their unemployed surplus population to neighbouring states where they become illegal migrants beefing up the black economy and helping to undercut local labour rates. I hope millions head to the twin paradises of Poland and the Baltics.

    • kirill says:

      If they are allowing this then the EU leadership is indeed beyond hope. There is no capacity in the eastern region of the EU to absorb a flood of cheap labour. Poland and Bulgaria were lucky that they managed to get toilet cleaner jobs in the UK for a few years. Now this lucrative employment opportunity is drying up and the Ukrop morons are a day late to the party.

    • cartman says:

      Yushchenko unilaterally gave the EU visa free access a number of years ago. I don’t think the Ukrainians will get it, since Bulgaria and Romania still do not have it. The last thing EU needs is more workers to compete with its own unemployed.

      • marknesop says:

        I agree. I think Porkoshenko was probably urged to dangle it as a possibility without committing to an implementation date, to keep the proles quiet and allow the Ukies to say Yurrup was doing something for them. I’m sure they fantasize about the high-paying jobs they are going to score in Yurrup as hedge-fund managers and young urban professionals with Armani suits and BMW’s.

      • Spartacus says:

        Romanians and Bulgarians do have visa free access to EU. They are still not part of Schengen, but they can travel freely through the EU using only their Identity Card. No passport required.

        • yalensis says:

          “they can travel freely”

          As tourists?
          Is there a time limit on their entry?
          Can they use their ID to get a job, or is it just for travel?

          • Spartacus says:

            As tourists, I don’t think there are any limitations. If you want to get a job, from what I know, there were limitations that have been lifted as of January 1st 2014.
            As a personal example, I have three friends, Romanians like myself, automotive engineers by trade, that are working in Germany. One is working in Munich and the other two are working in Ingolstadt. And the wife of one of the AUDI guys is also working in Germany as a medical doctor. They just went to the job interviews, got the positions and moved out. Once in Germany they had to find a place to live, then go to register at the City Hall and sign up for medical insurance. From what they told me, the main thing is to find a place to work. The rest is easy.

            For further info, I found this:

            • yalensis says:

              Wow! Good for them. Nice to know that some people can still find good jobs.

              • Spartacus says:

                Yeah, but the not so nice part is that all that education paid by the Romanian tax payer is put to use in the service of the german economy. Meanwhile, Romania was turned into a fringe EU colony with no prospects of developing a real economy. Capitalism sure turned out to be a success story. Oh well…such is life…maybe people will one day see trough “West brings prosperity” propaganda. Or maybe not…

    • ThatJ says:


      I think the story is probably true. It’s a sort of soft power: “come to us, oh poor Ukrainians, and feel what prosperity tastes like!”

      This is in contrast to that buffoon, Medvedev, who recently outlined a plan to make it hard for Ukrainians to work in Russia, with the exception of highly-qualified professionals. I suspect his intentions are not good.

      On the other hand, having free access to the EU was perhaps the main cause which filled the Maidanites with enthusiasm for joining the union, therefore, we can speculate that after the new visa regime is in place, EU membership itself will be less of a priority, considering that this segment of the population can simply pack their belongings and move to another country.

      Oh, and I don’t think the Ukies will go to neighbouring countries. The UK, Germany, Austria, France, Spain and Italy are the most likely destiny.


      Are you sure Romanians and Bulgarians are not allowed free access, including to the job market, in Western EU countries? I think they are allowed. There is no immigration restriction between EU countries. Angela Merkel went bonkers on Cameron when this liar tried to woo UKIP supporters with a plan to cap immigration from the EU. She said that the free movement of people is not up for negotiation.

      What was (or is) being discussed is the so-called “benefit tourism”, and there’s this important EU country, not sure if it was England or Germany, that was considering the possibility of deportation if a citizen from another EU country fails to get a job within some months.

    • Jen says:

      Poroshenko’s announcement of a visa-free travel regime is linked to the construction a barrier between Ukraine and Russia presumably to stem the flow of refugees and skilled migrants to the latter country. It could be just another desperate PR stunt on Poroshenko’s part to shore up local support for his regime and to pressure the EU to support Ukraine financially. In any case the EU will have to examine what Kyiv has done to fulfill the requirements for a visa-free travel regime that works both ways (ie for Ukrainians and EU citizens) as per the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement when its leaders meet in Riga next May to discuss the issue among others. It’s likely to find Kyiv hasn’t done enough so any agreement on a visa-free travel scheme is likely to be deferred indefinitely.

      Even if a visa-free travel regime were to be installed, it’s likely to be abused by Kyiv anyway to deny most Ukrainians the right to travel freely and restrict its benefits to those who can pay. So this could be an extra tax imposed on the lap-dancers and prostitutes it will have to export.

      • ThatJ says:

        Did Ukraine start with the construction of the wall or it’s only in the paper for now? I recall trenches were being dug when the invasion scare was high, but I didn’t hear anything about walls being erected.

        Medvedev wants to make it tougher for Ukrainians to work in Russia, meanwhile, the EU and the Kiev junta hope to implement a visa-free regime.

        As long as Ukrainians can travel freely to Russia, they who do — and are mostly from the southeastern half of the country — can be a source of pro-Russian sentiment.

        If in the future, say 10 years from now, the Ukrainians are cut from contact with Russia (in accord with Yats’ wall proposal) and all the contact that they have is with the EU, then it’s bad news for Russia.

        In my view, the visa-free regime with Russia must continue, and the EU visa scheme fail. But with the Medvedev plan announced this month and the talks between EU and Ukraine on the visa project scheduled for the next year, I won’t hold my breath.

        • Jen says:

          ” … [Medvedev] said that beginning on 1 January 2015, Ukrainian citizens, who make up the majority of foreigners coming to Russia for employment, will not be able to work without a labor patent. “They won’t be allowed to stay in our country more than 90 days and it will be strictly controlled during a period of six months. They were previously able to stay in Russia for three months, then leave and come back to work without any problem. It won’t be so from now on. Our border-guards will keep a special eye on “travelers” coming from Ukraine to work without a patent,” he said …”

          Medvedev appears to be subjecting Ukrainians to the same visa travel restrictions that other foreigners are restricted to if they want to work in Russia. That would be rational if all other EU nationals are subject to the same restrictions. If Ukraine wants to be part of the EU and NATO, its citizens will be treated the same as other citizens of EU/NATO countries by Russia.

          Not all Ukrainians who might enter Russia necessarily support Putin and his government. The restrictions would weed out those Ukrainians who might give financial support to Navalny, Khodorkovsky and their supporters.

    • kirill says:

      The west, making Orwell’s nightmare a reality.

    • yalensis says:

      WSJ presents this as a matter of pure censorship, on the part of Chinese government.
      There may be a little of that, but it is more probably Chinese govt protecting itself against NSA. Now that everybody knows, that Google and gmail in particular are completely instruments of NSA. Anybody who doesn’t want to be surveilled by American security state must swear off Google/gmail and choose a different platform for their communication.

  8. Moscow Exile says:

    Having problems with those links above. It’s the etensions after .jpg, no doubt, that are to blame and also non-jpg format.

    Perhaps this one will link:

  9. Moscow Exile says:

    Oh I am so pleased!

    Nay, overjoyed, positively in raptures!

    Earlier, because of my abject failure, I was cut to the quick, totally dismayed, bereft of joy, sad, inconsolable, overwhelmed with a sense of uselesness, incompetence, idiocy, and felt no further reason to suffer such misery in this vale of tears: but now …..

    Love it!

    For more of this scurrilous and deplorable misrepresentation of the great and the good, see:
    The naked truth 2015 from Andrew Budaeva

  10. ThatJ says:

    “Hookers & Blow” Lift Britain Over France As World’s 5th Largest Economy

    Britain has inched out France as the world’s fifth-largest economy thanks to what The Telegraph calls “a shake-up” of the national accounts this summer.

    UK gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to total $2.828 trillion (£1.816 trillion) this year, compared with French GDP of $2.827 trillion, as The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said Britain’s acceleration was boosted by the inclusion of sex and drugs to UK growth (as part of new pan-European accounting standards). Official estimates show prostitution added about £5.7bn to the UK economy in 2013, while illegal drugs were worth about £6.62bn. One question – how did they estimate it?

    Brazil’s Economy Just Imploded

    China may have mastered the art of fabricating economic data to a level unmatched by anyone except the US Department of Labor, but its derivative countries have much to learn. And none other more so than one of China’s favorite sources of commodities over the past decade: Brazil. It is here that things are going from worse to catastrophic, as disclosed in today’s update of Brazil’s fiscal picture.

    Here are the disturbing facts showing that behind the world’s propaganda growth facade, it is all hollow: Brazil’s consolidated public sector primary fiscal balance, which posted a significantly worse than expected R$8.1bn primary deficit in November driven by the R$6.7bn deficit of the Central Government, dipped into negative territory: -0.18% of GDP, driven by the significant deterioration of the Central Government finances.

    North Korea Trolls Obama: Compares US President To “A Monkey In A Tropical Jungle”

    …[A]ll that changed overnight when in its first official statement since its Internet went dark – something which if indeed North Korea did not hack Sony, as it claims, would be seen as a clear act of war if it were to happen to any other “developed” country – North Korea finally lost it and decided that the time to troll the US president has finally arrived, when, as the TV anchor says beginning 1:10 minutes in the clip blow, “Obama always goes reckless in speech and action like a monkey in a tropical jungle.”

    Disappeared AirAsia Plane Likely “At Bottom Of Sea”; No Signal Detected

    One would have thought that more than half a year after the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia flight MH-370 airlines would have taken precautions to keep track of airplanes at any given moment. One would be wrong, and as the latest mystery surrounding AirAsia’s missing jet deepens, it has become clear that like with its Malaysian predecessor, nobody has any clue where the plane may be, so the speculation begins. Cue Reuters, which reports that the plane “could be at the bottom of the sea after it was presumed to have crashed off the Indonesian coast, an official said on Monday, as countries around Asia sent ships and planes to help in the search effort.”

    ISIS Claims 2nd Fighter Jet Downed Near Baghdad, Pilot Captured

    While the US-led coalition claims that the first fighter jet was “not downed” by ISIS, the fact that ISIS is now claiming to have downed a 2nd fighter jet in Balad (north of Baghdad) and captured the pilot, suggests the west may not be being entirely honest (two ‘crashes’ in a week is perhaps more worrisome than 2 ‘shot down’ in a week). What is even more disturbing is the fact that ISIS has taken to social media to ask how the first captured Jordanian pilot should die…

  11. ThatJ says:

    Greece In Turmoil After Third Failed Presidential Vote Means January 25 Snap Elections

    It appears that with a few short days left in the year, the Santa rally is finally over, if only in Greece where both bonds and stock are tumbling after the third vote for PM Samaras’ appointed presidential appointee Stavros Dimas concluded as many had expected: in failure, with 168 Greek lawmakers voting in favor of Dimas, well short of the 180-vote threshold needed. 132 voted against Mr. Dimas. This means that the “worst case” scenario – at least as described by Goldman – is now on deck: a snap general election that could bring the anti-bailout Syriza party to power. And speaking of Syriza, and its triumphant leader Samaras, moments ago he announced that the now inevitable Greek elections will take place on January 25: pencil that date in for even more turmoil.

    ThatJ: Syriza leaders were in the United States in a recent year (2011 or 2012, can’t recall) cozying up with the Zionists there, which Golden Dawn denounced. I strongly suspect that Syriza are a bunch of sellouts. They are very illegal-alien friendly — a prerequisite if you expect the support of the Zionists in DC. Soros could be helping the poor Greeks, but instead he decided to build a facility in Greece to house illegal aliens flooding from the Middle East. Golden Dawn is not pro-Zionist and has never sought an alliance (subservience) with the Jewish diaspora, hence, unlike in Ukraine, which has a very particular history, the Greek nationalists are despised and the good goyim in Syriza are preferable if the population is becoming ‘radical’. You gotta need a manageable opposition! Oh, and elected Golden Dawn MPs are jailed because “democracy” has no time for dissidents. A tale of two countries: Ukraine, where the goyim are free to do whatever it takes to abolish any and all friendship/friendly relations with Russia, and Greece, where real patriots looking after their country and naming the real enemies are made political prisoners, without a peep from the “Anglo”-Zionists.

    Here’s an useful blog for those interested in Greek politics, from a nationalist PoV:

    Golden Dawn in Moscow: We set the foundations of Greek-Russian cooperation

    Note: The author exaggerates the status of Dugin within Russian politics. He has many contacts — Strelkov and Gubarev among them — but is not a powerful figure like many foreigners believe.

    Golden Dawn Statement on Developments in the Ukraine and Persecution of Orthodox Christians

    Traditional Russia pushes to ban abnormal public display of homosexual behavior! Bravo Russia!

    Ukrainian “Neo-Nazis” Meet With Israeli Ambassadors, World Jewry Mysteriously Silent

    Regional Elections: SYRIZA’s Poorly Attended Events VS Golden Dawn’s Full House

    • ThatJ says:

      Zionists Fawn Over Samaras, Venizelos, and Tsipras: Thanks For Uniting Against Golden Dawn

      The Greek media took painstaking efforts to hide a recent visit from Jewish supremacist David Harris with his contacts in Greece (because they wish to hide this from the Greek people), but fortunately the KIS (Central Jewish Council of Greece) could not help to remind us that Greece is a colony of global Zionism.

      This last meeting was very much newsworthy. This closed door conference with the American Jewish Committee did not just include Venizelos and the local Zionist fifth column, but also half the cabinet, Antonis Samaras, (controlled) “opposition” SYRIZA’s Alexis Tsipras, his closest Leftist advisors, and half the parliament.
      Here is the big revelation on the Zionist KISE website…

      VIDEO: Samaras Goes Psycho and Begs for Salvation: “It’s either Stavros Dimas or Golden Dawn”

      …[D]imas is not your typical old Greek man, even among other Greek politicians few have more deep zionist connections and training in New York than Dimas. Born in Greece, in the 1960’s he studied at New York University and received a masters degree in law, from the late 1960’s on he worked on Wall Street and with the World Bank. In 1975 he was sent back to Greece and has been involved in undermining Greek sovereignty ever since. More recently he was placed as minister of foreign affairs along with another “American” educated banker, Lucas Papademos to run Greece’s interim government back in 2012.

  12. Moscow Exile says:

    How many more suspended sentences is he going to be given?

    Russia is weak!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I like the way she says that the charlatan gobshite Navalny is “indeed quite a popular figure in the country”.

      Is he really?

      I should have thought that the popularity of the Russian president, with, according to Levada, a popularity rating of 85% this month (December 2014), should take some beating and would cast the so-called popularity of “opposition figures” very much in the shade.

      Navalny’s Popularity Takes a Dive, Poll Says

      Navalny’s website — on which his supporters can post his commentaries — attracts 1.4 million readers a month, compared with 2 million for his blog, which was banned for extremism in March and was the most popular in Russia. His Twitter account has 792,000 followers.

      See: Putin’s Colossus Will Crumble, Kremlin Foe Navalny Says

      Navalny’s blog the most popular in Russia?

      Check out Live Journal: you can see a rating of bloggers right on the front page.

      I should imagine at present in Russia that this figure is considerably more popular than Navalny is:

      • Moscow Exile says:

        This is how the Evil One controls the sheeple:

        Не поверите — водка подешевеет!

        You won’t believe it – vodka is going to be cheaper!

        For the first time it has been decided that the price of a “pint” of vodka at New Year will not be raised but lowered.

        It has already become a tradition that following the New Year a new minimum price is set for spirits, which price is usually revised upwards. However, this year the Russia Alcohol Regulatory Body has prepared a surprise: from February 1, 2015, the minimum price… will be reduced. On this date the retail price of a half-litre of vodka should cost no more than 185 rubles. It used to be 220 rubles. The corresponding decree has been signed, registered at the Ministry of Justice and is already posted on the official website of the Russia Alcohol Regulatory Body.
        Minimum prices for brandy and cognac will remain the same: 322 rubles per 0.5 liter of cognac and 293 rubles per 0.5 liter brandy (retail).
        Experts are linking this unexpected decision concerning vodka with an announcement made by Vladimir Putin at a recent joint meeting of the State Council and the Council for Culture and the Arts, where the president said that raising the price of alcohol had only contributed to the growing consumption of surrogate products.

        • katkan says:

          Few years ago I saw an interview with a Russian heroin addict, who said he started because it was half the price of getting drunk on vodka (he named the actual prices).

          I wonder if they’ll try to make low alcohol vodka, as they did with beer?

          • kirill says:

            An example proving that addiction has nothing to do with the system and society and everything to do with losers desperately trying to be losers.

    • Russia probably feared that sanctions would be increased. Hence the light sentence on Navalny.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Russia “feared”?


        • Of course Russia did not fear. Putin again showed his good heart and how big a man he is by showing leniency for his arch enemy. Just like he did before to Ukraine by agreeing to prove them with cheap coal and gas without pre-payment.

          I hope Navalny and Kiev junta like Putin and Russia more now.

          • marknesop says:

            Oh, did Putin actually pass sentence? He must be a busy man – probably he has a set of judicial robes in every phone booth in Moscow, in case he needs to quickly change to pronounce a verdict. They really should pay him more, considering he is simultaneously president, prime minister, policeman, air defense operator and judge.

            Is that what you really think? (a) that Putin is actually responsible for all judicial decisions in Russia, and (b) that he gave Navalny a light sentence because he wants Navalny to like him?

            You don’t suppose it might be that Navalny, like Boris Nemtsov before him, wants to be a martyr and wants to do time for petty crimes so that his legend can grow large while he is in jail, which of course everyone knows is because he is a political threat rather than because he is actually a criminal?

            If this actually were a strategy, just suppose, would it be working or failing, do you think? Would you say sympathy for Russia and Putin is building, or receding? Do you see more articles advocating easing up on Russia, or demanding that it be crushed?

          • Jen says:

            Karl, Navalny was sentenced to a 5-year prison sentence for property embezzlement while employed by a timber company, supposedly as a consultant. He wasn’t charged with anything else. What else do you think he should have been charged with and jailed for? If you know of anything else Navalny has done, and can present enough evidence for police to press charges against him and for him to be brought before a court again, you should tell us now.

      • This reminds me how the Tsarist government in Russia treated the revolutionary extremists a hundred or more years ago. Even proven terrorists were given light sentences instead of being hanged. Tsarist government could (and should!) have hanged those terrorists Lenin and Trotsky when they had a chance, but they showed leniency. Lenin and Trotsky showed none when they got power.

        Hopefully Putin and his gang realizes what Navalny and the rest of his mob would do to them if they ever get the power.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          So the Russian president has a “gang”?

          You’ll be talking of the Putin “regime” next!

          Navalny’s “mob”?

          If the 2 million hits claimed for that gobshite’s blog all come from his supporters, then such support that he enjoys consists of a mere 0.013% of the Russian population.

          If you take 50,000 as a very, very liberal estimate of the maximum number that attended an anti-Putin “protest” demonstration in Moscow last year and that all those demonstrating were Navalny supporters, then that 50,000 would represent about 0.003% of the population of the Russian capital.

          Meanwhile, Putin enjoys 85% of the support of Russians according to the Levada Centre – and Levada is no “Kremlin controlled” agency:

          Lilia Shevtsova, an analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center (established by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) who used VTsIOM statistics in her recent book “Putin’s Russia”, said she was pleased Levada was trying to maintain the independence of its research

          Lilia who?….

          Shown 2010.

          Nice one Aussie TV!

          • Warren says:

            Lilia Shevtsova was born in Lvov 1949 – I wonder if that can explain her political views?

            • Moscow Exile says:

              I think her employers and the salary she receives off them are the major factor as regards this matter.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              How he [Carnegie] got his name on an imperialist think tank I’ll never know.”

              I used to wonder that. I found out at an early age who Carnegie was because of the Carnegie library that I frequented as a child. I do believe Adrew Carnegie was a good, rich man. Carnegie’s philanthropy is also the exception that proves the scurrilous English rule that all Scots are tight-fisted, anti-social misfits.

              Here’s what happened to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace that he founded to promote the supremacy of international law in the furtherance of maintaining world peace – the US always excepted, I presume, though I’m sure Carnegie didn’t:

              In 1963, the Carnegie Endowment reconstituted its International Law Program in order to address several emerging international issues: the increase in significance and impact of international organizations; the technological revolution that facilitated the production of new military weaponry; the spread of Communism; the surge in newly independent states; and the challenges of new forms of economic activity, including global corporations and intergovernmental associations.

              “In 1991, Morton Abramowitz was named the seventh president of the Endowment. Abramowitz, previously a State Department official, focused the Endowment’s attention on Russia in the post-Soviet era. In this spirit, the Carnegie Endowment opened the Carnegie Moscow Center in 1994 as a home of Russian scholar-commentators.

              “In 1993, the Endowment launched the Carnegie Moscow Center, with the belief that ‘in today’s world a think tank whose mission is to contribute to global security, stability, and prosperity requires a permanent presence and a multinational outlook at the core of its operations’.

              “The Center’s stated goals are to embody and promote the concepts of disinterested social science research and the dissemination of its results in post-Soviet Russia and Eurasia; to provide a free and open forum for the discussion and debate of critical national, regional and global issues; and to further cooperation and strengthen relations between Russia and the United States by explaining the interests, objectives and policies of each.

              “From 2006 until December 2008, the Center was led by current United States Assistant Secretary of State for Verification, Compliance, and Implementation Rose Gottemoeller. The Center is currently headed by Dmitri Trenin, its first Russian director.

              Source: Wiki


          • Bolsheviks were also a rather small group at the beginning.

            I don’t believe Navalny and his like have a chance to grab the power under the current circumstances, but if Russia enters a big catastrophe (like it did in 1914-1917) anything can happen.

            Nicholas II’s government probably also considered Lenin and Trotsky harmless in 1910.

            • yalensis says:

              Not after the 1905 Revolution, it didn’t! Nuh uh….

            • Moscow Exile says:

              The Bolsheviks were extremely well organized and also well led. Unlike the Kreakly, the bourgeoise boulevard café liberast social reformers that comment on Navalny’s blog and who believe that the Crimea was illegally annexed by Russia, by 1905 62% of the Bolsheviks were industrial workers – the proletariat- and 38% were uprooted peasants.

              And they were poor; they were exploited; they were hungry; they were tough and they meant business: they had had enough!

              They were nothing like those soft-arse, boulevard guitar-strumming, pampered dickheads that associate with Navalny and his ilk, whose short lived meetings of the “shadow government” in Moscow cafés were risable and simply served for altercations between those with different agenda and which were luridly described by one of those attending, the erstwhile “Stalinist” Udaltsov, as “Wankers’ Conventions”.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Oh yes: and the Bolsheviks were totally invested by Okhrana double agents: the cops knew of their every move.

                The Bolshies still undertook a successful putsch though. WWI had more than a little to do with that.

            • marknesop says:

              What about Navalny, do you think, would inspire a majority of the Russian people to think he could could get them out of a jam that Putin could not? Perhaps the current one, which is entirely artificial and instigated by the United States. But for that to work, Navalny would have to convince Russians not only that he would be the choice of Americans – that would not be hard – but that the United States’ intentions for Russia were entirely benign and beneficial for Russia and Russians.

              Forgive me if I see that as being a bit of a hard sell.

      • yalensis says:

        I don’t think it was that, Karl.
        I think the reason Navalny got off lightly, is because, he still has a couple of friends in high places! It is maddening, but he has some guardian angel who always looks over him, no matter what pickles this rake gets himself into!

        Recall that, over the years, Navalny set himself up on the board of several large firms, including Aeroflot, where he could get access to sensitive personnel data.
        He also had spies (mostly impressionable young women) placed in major international auditing firms, who forwarded him confidential data, because they naively believed that he was fighting against “corruption”.
        From this information, Navalny developed the ability to influence and blackmail important people.

        ONE MAN, however, was never intimidated or cowed by this crook.
        Ladies and gentlemen, meet my personal hero (drumroll)… Judge Sergei Blinov!

        • So what you are saying is that there is still some “hidden hand” in the Kremlin who works for the enemy? It is strange that Putin has not been able to clean it out in spite of being in charge for 16 years now.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          A hanging judge, if ever I saw one!

          Which reminds me of one of the Wild West tombstones in theTombstone “Boothill” graveyard that I always find so poignant:

          George. Johnson
          Hanged by Mistake

          Here lies George Johnson.
          Hanged by mistake, 1882.

          “He was right, we was wrong, but we strung him up and now he’s gone.”

          Apparently, Mr. Johnson bought a stolen horse that he didn’t know had been stolen, so they mistakenly strung him up for being a horse thief.

          Well, at least they said they had been mistaken.

      • marknesop says:

        It’s hard to say who they are more frightened of – America and its red-white-and-blue Sanctions Of Truth, or Navalny. I heard that Putin is actually quite scared of Navalny, too.

        • yalensis says:

          Putin is terrified of Navalny’s piercing blue eyes. Navalny is like Wolverine with a white ribbon and an ankle bracelet.

          Putin is also superstitiously fearful of the dreadful numerology that KIROVLES spells a palindrome.

          Here is another palidrone I saw today:

          GMO? OMG!

  13. davidt says:

    PaulR’s article “Putin’s Philosophy”, which was published in The American Conservative in 2012, always seemed to me as required reading for anyone wanting to make sense of Putin. Here is another article that, I think, is well worth reading:
    There is a shortened version of the article in Russia Insider

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Thomas Neuwirth is striving to “make sense of Putin” as well: in his mother tongue, he wishes to be a “Putin versteher”:

      Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst wants to visit Russia, hopes to ‘understand Putin’

      For my part, I find it hard to be a “Thomas Neuwirth versteher”.

      • yalensis says:

        Conchita says she wants to spend a week with Putin.
        The second photo down (in the piece) shows Putin’s reaction to Conchita’s proposition.

        Having said that, I am going to make a bold prediction:
        That Conchita will, in fact, visit Russia and have a brief, but lucrative concert tour there.
        Why? Because Conchita has enough fans in Russia to make a successful concert; and because there is money to be made by the impresarios.

      • davidt says:

        Come on. ME, Putin must puzzle you a bit. I, for one, find it very hard to fathom the religious mind and I confess to musing to what extent Putin spends his time contemplating issues related to gay rights etc.(I would think very little.) It didn’t seem to be a concern until a few years ago, and seemed to partly arise as a reaction to the Pussy Riot propaganda campaign that emanated in the west. I assume that is Thomas’s photograph on the wall.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          That is certainly not Neuwirth’s photograph on the wall!

          That is the delectable Frau Wagenknecht of the German party Die Linke.

          Sarah Wagenknecht is a woman – 100%: that’s the kind I like!

          And here she is giving Frau Kanzler Merkel a good going over:

          Merkel studiously ignores her during the debate.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I’m pretty sure he doesn’t consider the question of “gay rights” much. He knows the law: he knows that consenting adults have the right to do in private that which they enjoy doing so long as it doesn’t endanger their own or public health or upset the horses.

          As regards his religiosity: Westerners think that being a member of the CP or employed by a Soviet government agency precluded having any religious belief, that the Soviet Union was an atheistic state in which religious practices were illegal.

          That’s the distorted representation so beloved of Western propagandists who liked to beat the religious drum. For them, morality comes from divine revelation: God tells us what is right and what is wrong via the “Good Book” or whatever, ergo those not professing a religious faith are immoral or amoral, i.e. Commies have no sense of morality.

          Well, my wife was born in he USSR in 1965. She became a “Little Octobrist”, then a “Pioneer”, then a “Komsomol” member and then a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which last membership lasted for only 3 or 4 years before the CP was made illegal by Boris the Drunk.

          Not long after my wife’s birth, she was christened in a Russian Eastern Orthodox church that is situated on the street where she lived as a child in central Moscow: the church is on Bolshaya Ordynka, but a stone’s throw from the Kremlin walls. It has the curious name “The Church of the Icon of Our Lady, Joy of All Who Grieve” (Храм Иконы Божией Матери Всех Скорбящих Радость). The church is still there and still well attended:

          My wife’s parents were also Orthodox Christians, as were her grandparents, They all wore Orthodox crosses – always, as does my wife (and all the other Natashas in my life). And the strange thing though – for Westerners at least – is that one her grandfathers was even a member of the Red Guard in Petrograd in 1917.

          So I don’t really find it unusual that Putin – the “proud KGB man” as la Russophobe was fond of calling him – also professes to be a Christian.

          We’ve got to have something to believe in, mostly about what happens after we die, otherwise our lives will be pointless: that’s what many folk think. It’s the human condition: we experience beginnings and ends, births and deaths; everything has got to have a cause, a “reason”, and there is a method behind all that we witness, a divine plan, and a great divine architect of all that we behold.

          Putin possibly thinks that way: I know my wife does.

          I don’t.

    • ThatJ says:

      “Perhaps it is no coincidence that many of the present-day Neocon publicists descend from immigrant Jewish Labour Zionists and inhabitants of the Russian “pale of settlement,” who experienced tsarist pogroms in the late 19 th century and who later formed the vanguard of Marxist efforts to overthrow the tsar and establish a socialist state?”

      Oy vey, the audacity!

      • yalensis says:

        Oy vey, the crass ignorance on display every time ThatJ opens his mouth!

        • ThatJ says:

          That quote was from davidt’s linked article. The owner of the website where it was published is Ron Unz, who is Jewish, and a very agreeable fellow.

          As for myself, I can’t argue with the author. He did a good job as far as my knowledge about Russia goes.

    • The tourism business in Lappeenranta is almost entirely built to serve Russian tourists. Many people there got rich during the good years (from about 2005 to 2013) but now it looks bleak for them. Russian economy is not doing good and the collapse of Ruble has taken away the purchasing power of the Russian middle class. Probably some businesses in Lappeenranta will have to close now.

      • Warren says:

        I was under the impression that many Finns despise Russians? Is not unpatriotic to profit from Russian tourists/trade?

        Do Finns travel to Russia (St Peters, Vyborg & Karelia) for holidays? Or Finns by and large avoid Russia completely for vacations?

        • Common people in Lappeenranta do not like Russians much but the businessmen there love the money that Russians bring to their wallets.

          Finns do travel to St.Petersburgh, I don’t know the exact numbers but the scale is likely lower than Finnish tourism to Estonia. With collapsed Ruble going to Russia is very cheap even for lower middle class Fnns now, so tourism might pick up. Then again the media propaganda against Russia has been so hard in recent months that many Finns want to avoid traveling to Russia.

          In my work place there is a guy who plays drums in a band. His band performed in St.Petersburgh a couple of months ago. Many people here in the office were saying him things like “don’t go” or “hopefully you will come back alive” etc. This is how people see Russia in Finland today.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Do Finns travel to Russia (St Peters, Vyborg & Karelia)

          Don’t they just!

          They go there to get pissed out of shape.

          Every year for about 10 years I used to go to Tallinn, Estonia, to get a new visa. My overnight train from Moscow used to arive at 09:00, after which time I had to wait until the Russian consulate opened at 10:00, when I handed in there my documentation. I returned at 15:00 to get my new multi-entry visa valid for one year, and then waited for the Moscow train, which left Tallinn at 17:00.

          Over the years I got to know Tallinn Old Town very well. And every year when I was in Tallinn, I used to see groups of Finns hanging around the Old Town centre as they waited for the bars to open at 11:00. The Finns used to come from Helsinki to Tallinn on a fast hydrofoil service.

          As soon as the bar doors opened, the Finns vanished as if by magic. I used to continue my tramping around the ancient narrow streets and lanes of the walled city. By 14:00 the Finns could be heard as well as seen again as they rolled from one bar to another. By late afternoon, when I was waiting for my train to depart for Mother Russia, I used to see some of the Finns out cold.

          I used to see this same performance every year at he end of April.

          Then I got my full residency permit for a foreign citizen in the Empire of Evil.

    • marknesop says:

      They’re such a sentimental people, really, aren’t they? Overcome with joy at their own bravery as they march bravely into the furnace. Of course they know the IMF wants to see all these spending cuts actually happen before they get a big pile of loot, right? Not just passing a budget? And I personally doubt the IMF will give them anything like the piles of money they see dancing in their dreams, because they have become a beggar nation that exists on handouts, and there is no larger nation in the wings waiting to “loan” them the money to pay back the IMF. Therefore the IMF’s formulas for calculating earning potential will tell them that if they give Ukraine, say, $20 Billion, they will never in a million years get it back, while it cannot become a NATO member unless it renounces all claims to disputed territory and redraws its borders. If it does that, the IMF will realize that what remains is essentially an agrarian economy, and farmers just don’t make $20 Billion. Ever.

      • Warren says:

        It will be interesting to see how Maidanites react to IMF imposed austerity. I wonder how long, the Ukrainian people will accept IMF austerity and conditionalities for? So long as the EU membership bait is dangled before the Maidanites, they will grin and bear it, but when it becomes obvious Ukraine won’t be joining the EU anytime soon, tolerance for the IMF economic policies will soon evaporate.

  14. Russian economy contracted in November for the first time since 2009:

    Russia shows first sign of recession as GDP contracts

    The Russian economy contracted by 0.5% in November, the first fall in national output – Gross Domestic Product – since October 2009, official figures show.

    The Russian government expects a 0.8% decline in GDP next year, compared with 0.6% GDP growth in 2014 as a whole.

    The rouble fell to a rate of 57 to the dollar on Monday, a fall of more than 6%, after some gains last week.

    • It is sad that the Evil Empire that has a $17 trillion economy that is growing by 3% a year while the Russian economy is standing still and even contracting. Most of us are hoping that Russia can be one of the poles of the new multi-polar world, but for Russia the economy is (and has always been) the weakest link.

      We want the dollar to collapse. We want the US economy to go down. But the opposite is happening. Western dissidents have been preaching about the death of petrodollar and US hegemony for years, but a sad truth is that the US is the strongest economy in the world right now and shows no signs of collapsing, while Russia is still quite hopelessly dependent of the oil and gas sales and big price fluctuations of commodities have too big of an impact on the Russian economy.

      The West may be morally corrupt and decadent, but economically and militarily it is still by far the biggest global player.

      • Paul says:


        The US shows plenty of signs of collapsing. One is the tremendous increase in counting negatives as positives in GDP calculations. Most financial manipulations these days should be subtracted from the GDP, not bragged about. So all a 3% growth means is that American government officials and their handlers on Wall Street lie a lot more than the equivalents in Russia. Another huge sign of a collapsing empire is drumming up problems that you can try to take advantage of through military means. This is a loser because it forces everyone to join together against you, even if they otherwise would normally not even get along.

        And you are quite wrong if you think that the US is “still by far the biggest player economically”, unless you live in a world without China.

      • Max says:

        Russia is swapping jets for food. They have plenty of fuel and minerals to keep factories humming and homes warm. Plenty of willing hands to turn out products others will want. They’re good buds with large, contiguous China which has lots of cash and even greater human potential. I don’t see a problem.

      • cartman says:

        Why do you think they are wrong? If – as most are predicting – US growth is coming at the expense of emerging economies, then why should they accept that? There should be more than one reserve currency, or perhaps a basket of currencies to denominate goods and investments in. The present system was ready to be put to rest a few years ago, and it will never again reach the same level of stability it once had.

    • marknesop says:

      It’s at 55.7 today and was over 59 yesterday. It is somewhat unrealistic to expect Russia to avoid recession when it is in the middle of an economic war directed against it, and there is a global economic slowdown. But naturally this will be peddled as if only Russia is failing, while everyone else’s economy is hale and hearty.

  15. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, on the Coloured Revolution front:
    According to Radio Free Europe, the Moscow Maidan is scheduled to start approximiate 5 or 6 hours from now. They say 16K Navalny supporters on Facebook have pledged to swarm into the streets for unsanctioned rally this evening, which Western powers are hoping will turn into Maidan-type revolution to overthrow Putin regime so that they can finally hunt down and kill the dictator, Gaddafi-style.

    On the other side of the barricades:
    Police and authorities can use those techniques I posted above, in that piece about “How to bloodlessly stop a Maidan”. Oops, I just realized, that I never finished translating that piece into English, I was about halfway through, and then I stopped. That’s okay, though, fortunately the Russian police can read it in original Russian. Review of a few key points:

    -Use cellphone sniffers and triangulation to figure out where the leadership commands are coming from (surprise! surprise, it’s the American Embassy!)
    -Don’t allow unlicensed, uninspected food on the square
    -Don’t let the protesters put up porto-potties. If they shit in the streets, arrest them for violation
    -A few other timeless tricks too — so much to do – no time to summarize — well, just figure it out, boys!

    • yalensis says:

      Navalny quote from the Radio Free Europe piece
      “This regime has no right to exist. It must be destroyed. I call on everyone to take to the streets today.”

      Allons enfants!

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Clearly no sedition laws in Russia.

        They ditched such laws a few years ago in Merry England. No need for them. You just get your collar felt and are then banged up before appearing before a local magistrate for breach of Public Order. For serious offences you go to Crown Court.

        See: Public Order Act 1986

        I’m an acknowledged expert on such matters, especially those in Part 1, Section 1 of said act, receiving end thereof.

        Ten years or a fine or both for convictions under Part 1, Section 1.

        Been there: done it!

        And Kreakly think the UK is “liberal”?

      • kirill says:

        Good luck with that Banderite! Russians are in no mood to do some Maidan circus. Navalny’s Ukrainian links need to be highlighted and often.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      What dickheads! Don’t they know it’s party time?

      All I can see round Moscow now is folk buing festive food, presents and tons of booze.

      Her indoors has not stopped going back and forth to the shops.

  16. Warren says:

    USA Russia: Obama suggests Putin ‘not so smart’

    President Barack Obama has said Vladimir Putin made a “strategic mistake” when he annexed Crimea, in a move that was “not so smart”.

    Those thinking his Russian counterpart was a “genius” had been proven wrong by Russia’s economic crisis, he said.

    International sanctions had made Russia’s economy particularly vulnerable to changes in oil price, Mr Obama said.

    He also refused to rule out opening a US embassy in Iran soon.

    “I never say never but I think these things have to go in steps” he told NPR’s Steve Inskeep in the Oval Office.

    ‘Reliant on oil’
    Mr Obama was giving a wide-ranging interview with NPR shortly before leaving for Hawaii for his annual holiday.

    He criticised his political opponents who claimed he had been outdone by Russia’s president.

    “You’ll recall that three or four months ago, everybody in Washington was convinced that President Putin was a genius and he had outmanoeuvred all of us and he had bullied and strategised his way into expanding Russian power,” he said.

    “Today, I’d sense that at least outside of Russia, maybe some people are thinking what Putin did wasn’t so smart.”

    Mr Obama argued that sanctions had made the Russian economy vulnerable to “inevitable” disruptions in oil price which, when they came, led to “enormous difficulties”.

    “The big advantage we have with Russia is we’ve got a dynamic, vital economy, and they don’t,” he said. “They rely on oil. We rely on oil and iPads and movies and you name it.”

    Following a disputed referendum in Crimea, Russia unilaterally annexed the peninsula from Ukraine in March. It did so weeks after a revolution ousted Ukraine’s pro-Russian President, Viktor Yanukovych.

    The US, EU and other countries then implemented a series of economic sanctions against Russia.

    The Russian currency has since lost half its value against the dollar and the economy has begun to contract.

    Mr Obama also said that sending US troops to fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria would be counter-productive.

    “If we do for others what they need to do for themselves – if we come in and send the Marines in to fight ISIL [IS], and the Iraqis have no skin in the game, then it’s not going to last,” he said.

    • While taking back Crimea was the correct move from Russia it had some bad side-effects.

      1. It has enabled Western sanctions against Russia.
      2. It is a powerful propaganda tool against Russia in the mainsream media.
      3. It has given Kiev junta a better bargaining position against Russia since Kiev controls the electricity and water flow to Crimea.
      4. It will decrease Russia’s moral stand in a hypothetical situation where some region would want to secede from Russia in the future and Russia uses its military to suppress it.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      “They rely on oil. We rely on oil and iPads and movies and you name it.”

      Ooooh! Can’t wait for the latest Mutant Teenage Mutant Turtles blockbuster.

      “They rely on oil?”


      Bullshit! You rely on bullshit, O’Bummer! Or was there no teleprompter, so what you said was straight off the top of your laid back, cool and empty head?

      Obama ‘misinformed’ about Russia economy: Analyst

    • kirill says:

      Any scrap of respect I had for Obama has disappeared. He is a certifiable retard.

      • Southern Cross says:

        He’s a weak man with a mediocre intellect who has spent his entire life being fawned over. The result is a man with no aptitude for serious endeavours, because he can’t handle conflict, can’t or won’t learn about issues beyond the superficial level, and can’t deal with people who don’t fall in love with him on sight.

        He brings this to everything he does: his approach to politics is to start a fight (usually in some tepid way indicating he doesn’t even realise he’s headed for trouble) and then crumple once he meets sustained resistance, whether from House Republicans, Isrealis or the military.

        Soon he will be able to add ‘the Russians’ to his list of people who beat him down.

  17. Moscow Exile says:

    The Grauniad Guardianistas are going full steam ahead with their comments on the Navalny story, “show trial” and “daring to oppose Putin” being amongst their most popular turns of phrase. And Pussy Riot gets assorted mentions, and the “awful way they were treated in prison”, to which somone pesponds: “Were they waterboarded then, and rectally fed?”

    See: Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny gets suspended sentence but brother jailed

    • Moscow Exile says:

      PR were so badly treated in prison that one of them, upon her release under an amnesty, said that she would have refused her liberation if she could have, for the amnesty was all part of Putin propaganda ploy. However, she was not given the opportunity to refuse the release order and was just bundled out of prison as though she had no say in the matter.

      She is one of those who told her cooing admiresrs in London that if they could, they would make the Lubyanka into a Disneyworld.

      Fantastic idea! Yay!!!! All praise to the feminist punk-rock band heroines!

      Come again…?

      Her liberation, it seems, was yet another example of Putin’s authoritarianism.

      Strange, for when inside she twice appealed for parole so as to be with her child, which child she has seen precious little of since she began her world tour with her colleague, who also used to play the role of doting mother when in prison.

  18. PaulR says:

    Thanks to Davidt for the link to the article in the Unz Review, though I note that Unz isn’t the author. Rather it is Boyd D. Cathey, whose bio describes him as active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans!!

    • davidt says:

      Sorry, I did mean to say that the author was Cathey- missed the Sons of Confederate Veterans connection- I got it into my head that he was probably a “catholic intellectual”. (As I said, your article should be obligatory reading- I find it embarrassing that I have never read a book on current Russia and just rely on the web.)

  19. PaulR says:

    As far as Navalny and threats of a Moscow Maidan are concerned, I would suggest that anybody supporting such a thing needs their head examining. Were a Moscow Maidan ever to gather steam, and the state collapse, the modern-day Black Hundreds of Strelkov and co. would come out with their cudgels and start beating people up once they realized that the police weren’t going to do it. Any revolution in Russia would cause reactionary counter-revolution, and result in chaos which would make what’s happened in Ukraine look like a picnic. Fortunately, though, the odds of Navalny or anyone else repeating Maidan in Russia are extremely remote.

    • kirill says:

      The Ukrainian Maidan was the result of Ukraine’s peculiar national characteristics. An artificial country stitched together from the Polonized west which is one step away from turning Catholic and is already Unitate and a Russian speaking Orthodox part which in the Donbas is not even Ukrainian. The regional political and cultural schism in Ukraine was apparent from all the voting and polls taken over the last 15 years.

      There is simply no analogue of this in Russia. I really do not see Chechens, Tatars or other minorities staging a Maidan and taking over. Russians are not split like “Ukrainians”. Of course this does not stop attempts to stage some demonstration circus in Moscow as in late 2011 early 2012. Even of only 0.01% of Russia’s population turns out to demonstrate the west will give them the mandate to speak for the other 99.99%. This is why Russian police should be ready to enforce laws and prevent any camping attempts.

    • Erika says:

      Found this on Twitter: in Moscow at the protest

      Thugs (organized youth) are wearing orange ribbons.

      • Erika says:

        Another pic.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          But why are they there? It’s just a rather dark pedestrianized street between Tverskaya and Bolshaya Dmitrovka. There’s only restaurants and book shops on it and the Moscow Art Theatre at the Tverskaya end.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Here are the Kreakly at the Manezh, obeying their instructions off Navalny:

            From the faces of those visible, average age 20.

            They all want visas to visit Eurodisney?

            See: Полиция просит сторонников Алексея Навального разойтись с несанкционированного митинга на Манежной площади

            Police ask Navalny supporters to disperse from unauthorized meeting on Manezh Square

            If they’re wandering around Kamergersky pereulok, then they’ve been dispersed.

            Now wait for the wails concerning lack of freedom of assembly from the Guardianistas of the world.

            With that in mind, may I refer you once again tto the UK Public Order Act that I linked earlier above: Public Order Act 1986

            Part II
            Processions and Assemblies

            11 Advance notice of public processions.

            (1) Written notice shall be given in accordance with this section of any proposal to hold a public procession intended—

            (a) to demonstrate support for or opposition to the views or actions of any person or body of persons,

            (b) to publicise a cause or campaign, or

            (c) to mark or commemorate an event,

            unless it is not reasonably practicable to give any advance notice of the procession.
            (2) Subsection (1) does not apply where the procession is one commonly or customarily held in the police area (or areas) in which it is proposed to be held or is a funeral procession organised by a funeral director acting in the normal course of his business.

            (3) The notice must specify the date when it is intended to hold the procession, the time when it is intended to start it, its proposed route, and the name and address of the person (or of one of the persons) proposing to organise it.

            (4) Notice must be delivered to a police station—

            (a) in the police area in which it is proposed the procession will start, or

            (b) where it is proposed the procession will start in Scotland and cross into England, in the first police area in England on the proposed route.

            (5) If delivered not less than 6 clear days before the date when the procession is intended to be held, the notice may be delivered by post by the recorded delivery service; but section 7 of the M8Interpretation Act 1978 (under which a document sent by post is deemed to have been served when posted and to have been delivered in the ordinary course of post) does not apply.

            (6) If not delivered in accordance with subsection (5), the notice must be delivered by hand not less than 6 clear days before the date when the procession is intended to be held or, if that is not reasonably practicable, as soon as delivery is reasonably practicable.

            (7) Where a public procession is held, each of the persons organising it is guilty of an offence if—

            (a) the requirements of this section as to notice have not been satisfied, or

            (b)the date when it is held, the time when it starts, or its route, differs from the date, time or route specified in the notice.

            (8) It is a defence for the accused to prove that he did not know of, and neither suspected nor had reason to suspect, the failure to satisfy the requirements or (as the case may be) the difference of date, time or route.

            (9) To the extent that an alleged offence turns on a difference of date, time or route, it is a defence for the accused to prove that the difference arose from circumstances beyond his control or from something done with the agreement of a police officer or by his direction.

            (10) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (7) is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.


            • Moscow Exile says:

              Navalny was there and was arrested. He broke his house arrest conditions. Though given a suspended sentence after having been found guilty of fraud, he still had to remain under house arrest.

              He should be sent down and do his full time – no ifs and buts. That’s what he went to the Manezh for. Well let the bastard have what he wants.

              Perhaps Putin is too scared of doing this, for it is he, after all, who tells the juries what what the verdict should be and the judges what sentences to pass.

              Yeah, he must be scared of Obama and his sanctions.

              And Russia is weak.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              More Kreakly kids on Malaya Sadovaya 19:15 Moscow time.

              School’s out, see.

            • et Al says:

              What a bunch of morons. Of course it will fail, the signs are only in cyrillic! All good en couleur revolutionaries know that english is the lingua franca of these events.

              I agree that Navalny should be punished for breaking his house arrest conditions bhouth I would use sliding scale of punishments for breaking his bail conditions, starting with two weeks in the clink and then going exponential each time (or something).

              • marknesop says:

                The Russian government likely hopes with all its heart that Navalny remains the core celebrity of the “revolution”. He is easily manageable and I cannot conceive of the circumstances in which a majority of Russians would prefer to be led by him. In military terms, he is 2 I/C of a blank file.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I must be a thug too, though not by a long chalk am I a youth, for I too sport a colorado ribbon.

        I’ll have to get down there for a spot o’ bovvah, innit.

        • Erika says:

          They are labelled as thugs because they do not belong to the West, otherwise they would have been labelled as Freedom Fighters.

          What happened in Ukraine was bad, but I am now wondering if by having it take place in Ukraine, it woke up the Russian people, that they must defend themselves against a “Maidan” or colour revolution, and they cannot leave things to chance and let others become the “voice” of the people.

          The images that are coming out is that the pro-Kremlin supporters were out there, just as organized. They will not be silence. They will not be dictated by the west.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Strelkov and chums of like mind could very well call themselves “Sons of Russian Civil War White Guard Veterans”.

      Strelkov is just like those confederate re-enactors in the USA who would dearly like to fight the US Civil War again.

      Trouble is, those rebel re-enactors are mostly much too overweight to do so: all contemporary accounts of confederate soldiers, of the likes of Jackson’s “foot cavalry” etc., describe them as a lean, mean army of scarecrows. They were tough bastards though, and fought to the last against overwhelming military and economic odds. Fortunately for them , the Union officers were mostly crap; better said – sadly for them, for if the confederates had been quickly sorted out by competent union generalship, far fewer lives would have been lost on both sides.

      However, Strelkov, who liked dressing up in his spare time as a tsarist officer of the Imperial Russian army, has now had the chance to take part in a real shooting war against real live enemies of Russia and Russians.

      Not only does he like it, he’s good at it. And he’s not Ukrainian: he’s fighting for Russia and its empire, his life’s desire.

      He needed no orders from the Evil One to make use of the situation in Eastern Ukraine in order to fulfil his lifelong desire.

    • cartman says:

      I really don’t see many flags or signs here. There may be a lot of spectators.

    • dany8538 says:

      Oh goodness looks like at least 20 million on the streets. soon the whole country shall come out in defense of this saint !!!! 🙂

      • dany8538 says:

        Dont worry I learned how to count from the western media . Take what you see then multiply by as much as needed. Pure Math.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I’ve seen reports that there were as few as 500 there. The protesters claim, of course, that there were thousands there.

          It’s a cold night as well – minus 17C (1.4F), which is certain to deter many a boulevard revolutionary from performing.

          (Below) The work of hooligans in the pay of the Evil One?

          It says on the wall: No to a Maidan.

          I can’t fathom out which building that is. Perhaps it’s the recently reconstructed Hotel Moskva, now called the Radison Costa Fortune or something.

          Below is a shot taken from a window in the Hotel International looking across the Maidan towards Red Square. On the left is the Costa Fortune, in front of which are the police Black Marias, only they’re white. Plenty of cop cars around. The kiosks in front of Zhukov’s equestrian statue are part of a Christkindlmarkt. No demonstrators visible.

          I live about 2 miles from there and it’s silent as the tomb outside: no drunks, no shouting no police choppers thwacking overhead, no police sirens – no nothing.

          It’s 23:40 as I write, and many are abed because tomorrow is the big one, New Year’s Eve and all the last-minute crazy shopping has yet to be done before tomorrow night’s madness starts.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The usual traitorous shits were present:

  20. Moscow Exile says:

    Shouldn’t they be in prison?

    Start with me

  21. Ali Cat says:

    The place where the Navalny supporters gathered is the same place as this tweet? by the way the people in DC should be more careful not showing where they are, look like amateaurs.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Yes, the Manezh Square, Moscow is the same place as mentioned in the tweet. In the exhortation from Washington to assemble there, a diminutive is used – the inserted letter “k” – just to make it all sound a fun event.

      As a by-the-way as regards diminutives, that’s where you get the word “devushka” from: “deva” means “maid” but sounds old fashioned now and is sometimes used rudely, as in “staraya deva” – “old maid”, and “devushka” literally means “little maid”, namely “girl”.

      Compare the English “maid” with “maiden”.

      Manezh Square

      The Russian word манеж coming from the French “manège” – a building for exercising horses, which “manège” that gives the square its name being situated at one end of the square and now serves as an exhibition hall:

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Below the square, by the way, is a three-level underground shopping mall, just like every third-world country has, hence the glass cupulas, which funtion as roof lights for the first level.

        • Ali Cat says:

          I know, poor russians they have a dictator and they live in such an unciviliced country, American most help them blah blah blah

          Btw, Moscos is so pretty but Ive heard many say St Petersburg is better, meaning pretier, which one you prefer Mr. Exile?

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Moscow. When I first visited St. Petersburg (it was still Leningrad then), I didn’t feel as though I was in Russia: the city is more Swedish or North-European looking, in my opinion. Of course, it was planned to be a European city, and the architecture is wonderful. The proximity to the sea is felt all the time as well – but Moscow is the heart of Russia.

            Remember, when Buonaparte attacked Russia in 1812, his vast army didn’t head for St.Petersburg, the capital and seat of government: Buonaparte chose to strike at the heart of the nation, Moscow.

            And he got beat.

  22. peter says:

  23. et Al says:

    A quick splatter.

    First up:

    Sputnik via Plans to Create Russian National Orbital Station Confirmed
    …Ostapenko added that the high-altitude station is also being considered as a base for Russia’s lunar program. “There is also this variant, we are currently considering it,” he said….

    Roscosmos Will Decide on New Super-Heavy Rocket Design in January 2015
    Russia’s space agency Roscosmos will decide on the design of the country’s new super-heavy rocket in January 2015, Roscosmos chief Oleg Ostapenko said Monday…

    …Andrei Mazurin, who heads one of the space agency’s departments, told RIA Novosti in October the launch vehicle would be able to lift up to 80 tons of cargo into space. In the long term, a rocket capable of carrying 130 to 160 tons could be developed, he added.

    That’s some serious, serious cash. The Chinese have their own space station plans up and running and use modified space tech bought from Russia. A joint Russo-Chinese space station would be a very good idea, not only for technical cooperation, but to put the wind up the West who will squeal but then want to join once the ISS is decommissioned in the mid 2020s.

    RT: ‘Noah’s Ark’: Russia to build world first DNA databank of all living things
    Not quite the Biblical Noah’s Ark, but possibly the next best thing. Moscow State University has secured Russia’s largest-ever scientific grant to collect the DNA of every living and extinct creature for the world’s first database of its kind.

    “I call the project ‘Noah’s Ark.’ It will involve the creation of a depository – a databank for the storing of every living thing on Earth, including not only living, but disappearing and extinct organisms. This is the challenge we have set for ourselves,” MSU rector Viktor Sadivnichy told journalists.

    The gigantic ‘ark’, set to be completed by 2018, will be 430 sq km in size, built at one of the university’s central campuses. …


    Nude Scientist: Russia boasts best mental agility at World Mind Games
    The summer Olympics may be a distant memory, but the World Mind Games are something altogether different, seeing international memory athletes flock to China to compete with brain instead of brawn.

    This extravaganza of mental muscle finished in Beijing, China on 17 December, with Russia emerging as the big winner. The event saw 150 athletes from 27 countries competing in 14 variations of five sports, including chess, go, draughts, bridge and xiangqi – a Chinese game that resembles chess.

    Russia topped the medal table with six golds, five silvers and one bronze, with the Chinese team coming in a close second….

    Poor stupid and ignorant Russians! Maybe its a good thing that they don’t make anything. Borat Obama must be very pleased with himself!

    • marknesop says:

      I see the USA fell from sixth, precipitously, to lucky thirteen. Could it be a harbinger of things to come? Unsurprisingly, Canada is not even mentioned – I guess the donut-eating event was not weighted enough for our favour. I could not find full standings anywhere, although they must be known.

      None of Russia’s credit, of course, will reflect on Putin – he is only the face of Russia when it is being insulted.

    • colliemum says:

      Yeah well, if those poor stupid Russian wouldn’t waste their time playing all those games, they might produce something else besides oil and gas … like, Hollywood and iPads …


    • patient observer says:

      I can’t help but think of Karl and his conviction that Russians are damaged goods doomed to a life of knuckle-dragging imbecility. It may seem petty to remind him of his claims yet I felt it was nothing but a racist attack on Slavic peoples just like the GD MF sociopaths in Ukraine love to do.

  24. Warren says:

    Russian Luminaries ‘Tricked’ Into Filming Anti-Navalny Video

    When she agreed to record a video in support of Aleksei Navalny, celebrated Russian actress Lia Akhedzhakova thought she was helping the embattled opposition activist.

    Instead, the footage was trimmed and her words distorted to promote a website calling for Navalny’s imprisonment.

    Akhedzhakova is furious, and she is not alone. Opposition-minded journalist Leonid Parfyonov, anti-Kremlin environmental campaigner Yevgenia Chirikova, and rights activist Olga Romanova have also fallen victim to the apparent scam.

    “A certain Aleksei Bozhenov called me and asked what I thought of the Navalny trial,” Akhedzhakova says. “I said I was against it. He asked whether I would agree to say this on camera.”

    In the full footage, now available on YouTube, Akhedzhakova heaps praise on Navalny and urges judges to release him.

  25. Warren says:

    2014: Two Events that Shook the World

    The year 2014 has been a sensational year. It is the year that some hasten to bookmark as the year World War III began unobtrusively, stealthily, inexorably – involving as-yet indeterminate contestants. The tumultuous arrival of the Islamic Caliphate spearheaded by the Islamic State, the outbreak of the Ebola virus, kidnapping of 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram – the year has had its fair share of blood-curdling events.

    It has been the year that the US economy showed credible signs of recovery, but in which the US also admitted defeat in a half-century old campaign to bring the Cuban revolution down on its knees. Truly, the ascendancy of right-wing Hindu fundamentalism in India, a country of 1.3 billion people, makes it an important year for a turbulent region.

    All these are significant things to be noted in their own ways, but their enduring consequence to the world order remains unclear and the probability is that they may turn out to be ephemeral, although arresting at first sight for the present – ‘sound and fury signifying nothing’, in the ultimate analysis.

    However, it is two major international developments that form a cluster by itself because of their profound impact on the future trajectory of world order. They are: the crisis in Ukraine and the emergence of China as the world’s largest economy.

  26. Warren says:

    Russia Revises Military Doctrine and Upgrades Strategic Nuclear Forces

    This is the first substantial upgrade of Russia’s military doctrine published in February 2010. The document had to be revised by the end of 2014 in response to the growing pressure exerted on Russia by the West after Moscow refused to recognize the legitimacy of the coup in Ukraine. A military doctrine offers no spectrum of responses to isolated threats but rather provides guidance on countering the long-term trends undermining the country’s security. The revised version of the doctrine describes the following factors that pose threats to Russia:

    – the growing military potential of NATO and its expansion bringing the alliance’s military infrastructure close to the borders of the Russian Federation;

    – the deployment of foreign military contingents on the territories of the states adjacent to Russia;

    – the construction and deployment of strategic missile defense by the Pentagon undermining global stability, the implementation of Prompt Strike Concept and the plans to place weapons systems in space;

  27. Warren says:

    Китай – Европа: новый альянс? (I)

    Китай – Европа: новый альянс? (II)

  28. Warren says:

  29. Warren says:

    EXCLUSIVE: Falklands defence review after military deal between Russia and Argentina

    DEFENCES on the Falklands are being reviewed after it emerged Russia plans to offer Argentina long-range bombers.

    The aircraft, which Moscow will swap for beef and wheat, would be able to mount air patrols over Port Stanley.

    Ministry of Defence officials fear Buenos Aires would take delivery of the planes well before the deployment in 2020 of the Navy’s 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and its F-35B fighters, leaving a “real window of vulnerability”.

    Defence cuts have left the Falklands with just four RAF Typhoon fighters, Rapier surface-to-air missiles and fewer than 1,200 troops, supported by a naval warship that visits throughout the year.

    President Putin’s visit to Argentina in July laid the groundwork for exchanging Russian military hardware for wheat, beef and other goods Moscow needs due to EU food embargoes.

    The deal involves a lease/lend of 12 Sukhoi Su-24 supersonic, all-weather attack aircraft.

    They are ageing but Nato still regards what it codenames “Fencers” as “super-fighters”, with their 2,000-mile range and laser-guided missiles.

    Russia has been increasing its links with Argentina since 2010, when it provided two Mi17 assault helicopters which are in service with the 7th Air Force Brigade.

    Buenos Aires needs to replace its decrepit fighter fleet but its attempts over the past two years have failed so far.

    In October, defence minister Agustin Rossi announced the purchase of 24 Saab Gripen fighters, which were to be provided by Brazil, which has just purchased 36, but Whitehall squashed the deal as some of the jet’s parts are made in the UK Tensions over the islands resurfaced after exploratory seabed drilling revealed the promise of an oil bonanza.

    Last night Air Commodore Andrew Lambert, of the UK National Defence Association, said: “The Ministry of Defence should be worried.

    “It always trots out the mantra of reviewing force levels but the only real solution is to deploy a sizeable force of Typhoons, at least a squadron, to buy us time to formulate a proper reinforcement package.”

    A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “We regularly review force levels around the world, though we wouldn’t comment on the detail of this for obvious reasons.”

    • marknesop says:

      Of course the UK would love an excuse to build more Eurofighters; what’s not to like? However, it is rated by professional analysts to be no better than an upgraded F-15, only considerably lighter, although the radar is rated to be quite good.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      So no more military hardware for Argentina from the Frogs, then?

      Remember, it was a French Exocet missile that stonked HMS Sheffield, amongst others,during the Falklands War.

      The UK protested over the fact that French armourers were continuing their work in the Argentine, equipping military aircraft with Exocets after hostilities had broken out.

      The French snubbed the protests, saying they were bound under contract to equip the Argentine airforce with the missiles.

      How ironic!

      • Warren says:


        I’ve read the French were UK’s biggest allies in the Falklands War ’82, whereas Ronnie Reagan wanted the UK to “negotiate” with the dastardly swarthy Argies!

        How France helped us win Falklands war, by John Nott

        • Moscow Exile says:

          “Well he would say that, wouldn’t he!” to quote Mandy Rice Crispies, who died last week.

          I reckon Nott wrote that Telegraph article so as to quieten down anti-French sentiment in th UK at the time.

          I also remember when a big brawl broke out in Cherbourg after the war and following RN and French navy manouevres in the English Channel. Apparently, in the town’s bars the Frog matelots started taking the piss out of the Jolly Jack Tars, chanting “Exocet”.

          I presume the Frogs got a good twatting off the RN for that – as usual.


  30. yalensis says:

    For a recap of the day’s events, I picked GAZETA, which is softly-squishily pro-Kreakl. I don’t like them, but they usually do a decent job with the reporting and the chronology. Here is the basic chrono, per them:

    -The so-called “people’s gathering” (Russian “narodny skhod”, words deliberately picked to emulate the Ukrainian “Narodne Veche”) was originally scheduled for 15 January. But then the court tricked everybody by coming out with the verdict 2 weeks early. So Opps had to scramble to put together their protest.

    18:01 Alexei Navalny tweets that he plans to attend the demonstration, even though he is technically under house arrest. He is wearing an ankle bracelet.

    18:57 Navalny supporters start to gather on Manezh.

    19:12 Navalny approaches the crowd, wearing his ankle bracelet. They chant: “Navalny! Navalny!”

    19:16 Coppers detain Navalny.

    19:20 Coppers address crowd from loudspeaker: Respected Citizens, your gathering is unlawful!”

    19:30 Navalny’s press secretary confirms that he was detained by coppers.

    19:40 A group of around 20 Cossacks approaches, with signs reading: “NO MAIDAN!”

    19:41 Some kreakly are arrested, including Lev Ponomarev.

    19:45 More kreakly are ushered into the awaiting avtozeks.

    20:00 Scuffle breaks out between Cossacks and Kreakly.

    20:02 People wearing St. George Ribbons appear in the crowd. They are NOT Navalnyites. Laser image showing “NO MAIDAN” is projected onto the wall of one of the buildings. Meanwhile, coppers are arresting, even some people wearing St. George ribbons.

    20:17 A representative of law enforcement, Kristina Belousova, confirms that Navalny has not removed his electronic bracelet.

    20:20 Navalny is placed in an avtozek and driven to his home.

    20:23 Another scuffle breaks out between pro- and anti-Maidan people, with the latter shouting: “If you don’t like it here, then move to America!”

    20:25 There are reports that around 117 people have been arrested, so far.

    20:45 Coppers form a cordon and continue to request of crowd that they disperse.

    20:46 A GAZETA correspondent confirms that the nearby shop-front of Yves Rocher (on Tverskaya Street) has been defaced by Navalny stickers.

    20:52 Coppers (OMOH) start to push people off the square, urging them in the general direction of the metro station “Revolution Square”.

    21:18 Police publish their official estimate of the numerocity of the crowd: estimated 1,500 people.

    22:00 The demo fizzles out. Dispersing kreakly complain, that it is cold outside, and they need to prepare for New Year holiday.

  31. ThatJ says:

    Watch between 15:00 and 15:15 and hear what the Iron Lady says:

    Sounds familiar, no?

    • marknesop says:

      Yeah…orright when they’re British, innit? So long as there’s a substantial number of Brits in the population, their military can go halfway around the world to beat the bejesus out of anyone who threatens them, but Russians are supposed to tolerate the murder of ethnic Russians right across the border. There are differences, of course – both Britain and Argentina maintained the island belonged to them. However, Maggie’s choice of words is interesting – she did not insist on launching a counterstrike because there had been mass deaths (as best I can make out, there were no deaths on the British side in the attack on Port Stanley, and the Argentinians reported their orders were to take the port without killing anyone if possible) or because of Britain’s sovereignty claim, but because “those people are British”. In fact, they were not; they did not receive full British citizenship until after the war ended, and previous to that were restricted in entrance to the UK and the length of time they could remain there.

      The idea that Russia would intervene to protect ethnic Russians because “those people are Russians”, though, will never fly and is met by shrieks of rage. Ideally, Russia should close its border to fleeing refugees, and keep its eyes shut and its fingers in its ears until the Ukrainian state has had its way and won a victory.

      The USA also declined to intervene in the Falklands conflict, although an alleged British territory had been militarily attacked in strength and taken, owing to several treaties it had with Latin America. We see no such reluctance in Ukraine; although no territory associated with either the USA or UK or NATO is involved and there is considerable evidence it is a civil war with all the trained military on one side while the bulk of the defenders are civilians of the same nationality as the attackers, the USA is still keen to get into the game on the side of the state.

  32. kirill says:

    So it appears that western media liars are spreading a figure of 15,000 protestors. This is the same factor of 10 fluffing they did for the Maidan. The NYT claimed 700,000 demonstrated in a square that cannot even hold 190,000 people packed like sardines. So the real figure was closer to 70,000.

    I recall the same factor of 10 fluffing by the western media liars during the wars in ex-Yugoslavia during the 1990s. But applied to victim counts. Actually, they even inflated them by factors of 100 or more.

    • Jen says:

      A Serbian friend of mine says that with respect to the 1995 Srebrenica massacre body count, the original figure was 800 but every time the remains were brought out to be seen by various foreign dignitaries – because these casualties were supposedly “proof” of genocide and therefore a certain mystique was attached to them – they had to be counted and counted again. With each count, the figure kept inflating (by 800, I presume).

  33. yalensis says:

    An update on Vita Zaverukha, the Ukrainian “activist” and Aidar member made famous by Shariy’s video about the Vinnytsia action.
    In a case of intended feminism gone very wrong:

    Vita was featured in an article called “Une Guerre si Particulière” in French women’s magazine “Elle”. The article lauded strong female role models produced in Ukrainian conflict.
    Then somebody got hold of Vita’s VKontakte page, and pointed out to “Elle” that the girl is a total Nazi,complete with swastika T-shirts, hyper-sexual imagery, ziggery galore, and quite disgustingly racist/anti-Semitic cartoons and rants, etc. not to mention a pornographic selfie and increasing signs of mental illness…. for example this post from yesterday:
    Я пропогандую нацизм, терор, геноцид. При цьому всьому, я не є поганою людиною. Виправданням є “Війна заради миру”. Якщо піти не довівши діло до кінця, лише в цьому випадку, моїм діям виправдання не буде. Переможців не судять.

    After which, having this pointed out to them, yesterday (30 December) the magazine Elle printed a retraction and apologized to their readers for the misdirection. They claimed there was no way they could have known that Vita is a Nazi: “Rien ne laissait comprendre que cette jeune femme était néo-nazie”.

    Uh huh.

    • ThatJ says:

      I think she suffers from schizophrenia or another mental illness, which do not actually imply lowered intelligence. There are famous scientists who were/are schizos. Case in point: John Forbes Nash, Jr.

      Now, gentlemen, here is Vita’s leftist counterpart:

      • Tim Owen says:

        That is a devastating critique. But I’m cheered by the fact that you feel some responsibility for coming to the her defence and, thus, implicitly, claiming her as one of your own.

        Very honourable of you.

    • ThatJ says:

      Is this the pornographic selfie you mention? I used Google Translator and my understanding is that Vita denies being that nude girl. She says her detractors cannot even find someone of a similar appearance, “like this one”, i.e. the girl in that photo.

      But honestly, I would not be shocked at all to find out she did nudes or worse, recorded a porno video.

      • marknesop says:

        Nor would I, because there is indeed a lot of sexual imagery on her page – although some of her stuff is quite imaginative – and I agree that’s probably not her.

        • yalensis says:

          I honestly can’t tell if it’s her or not. I try to study the face, but my sinful eyes just keep wandering downstream…

          The photo was placed on Vita’s wall by a “friend” named Lera Firsova. Firsova added the caption: “Vita Zverukha [sic] from the Aidar Battalion”.
          To be sure, Vera denies that this is herself, but did not bother to take the pic down from her wall.

          My facial recognition skills are not that great, but I kind of think it IS her:
          Different hair, but same flared nose and crazy eyes.
          If you look at Vita’s history on her page, just in the past year, she has “matured” from a sweet-faced (albeit ultra-Nazi) teenage Ukrainian nymphet (who physically reminds me of Oksana Baiul when she was a child) to the coarser, puddin-nose gun-toting grinning schizo that we see on display in Shariy’s video.

  34. cartman says:

    I admit I don’t follow the Navalny stuff because I think its unimportant. I thought this was funny:

  35. Fern says:

    Congratulations is the wrong word in the (possibly quite grim) circumstances but katkan and Michael V.B. are due a hat-tip nod of acknowledgement for spotting that something serious may have gone wrong with a Ukrainian nuclear reactor. RT news broadcasts are leading with a report (admittedly not confirmed) of radiation levels around 17% higher than they should be in the vicinity of the plant. Setting aside the possibility of a second Chernobyl, the reactor produces around 50% of Ukraine’s electricity so it would be catastrophic if it was out of action for whatever reason.

    • katkan says:

      Michael runs a blog where he keeps track of world radiation readings. His major finding, confirmed by some others, is that when meters start to read high they suddenly get turned off “for maintenance” or the reading is put down to tests or calibration. This article of his has images of some obvious spikes around the first Ukraine admission

      “Everyone” has been watching this since about June/July when they signed the contract with Westinghouse again. People in the town where the reactors are keep a watch (and probably also the people officially in charge of the monitoring) and have their own channels for getting the “rumors” out in case the government wants to keep it quiet…as they normally would want to.

      The 50% figure is invented. There are 15 reactors in Ukraine spread over 4 sites. They never at best produced more than 40%. at least 2 are either off or running at very low capacitiy, being the victim of the original Westinghouse experiments, that cost over $170 million in repairs to the assembly frames, but still lead to huge problems in withdrawing the rods for replacement. This is what led to a LAW that only Russian fuel is to b used, a law overturned by the coup government before they signed the new deal. Currently not more than about 24% of Ukraine’s power would be from the nuclear generators.Let’s remember they also need power from other sources (grid or on site diesel generated) to keep the cooling water running, even if the reactors are OFF….as being under water is what keeps them off unless the rods are totally removed.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      And temperatures have noticeably dropped in the Ukraine these past few days: minus 11C [12.2F] in Kiev this morning.

      What was “Yats” saying the other day about the consequences of a noticeable drop in temperature?

      When he made his statement, it was 5C [41F] in Kiev.

      Oh yes! he said the lights would be going out – and for a very long time.

      Many lights were already out when he said that, but not the shop window lights in central Kiev, which annoyed some there.

      • marknesop says:

        He also has recently “come out” – just today, near as I can figure – as the living humanitarian bridge between Kiev and Crimea and the Donbass. Yes, you heard it here first: Yats has gone all squishy and soft like a plushie toy, and wants his friends in Crimea and the Donbass to know they have at least one good friend in Kiev. I saw it in the Kyiv Post, but it’s time for bed now and I’m too tired to link it. Easy to find, I think it might have been a feature story.

  36. Moscow Exile says:

    Два часа режим шатали. А потом они устали

    For two hours they shook the regime – and then they got tired

    An attempt to organize a revolution on the Manege Square in the centre of the capital lasted for 2 hours…

    Supporters of the oppositionist blogger decided as one to go to the square next to the Kremlin at 7 p.m. in order to voice their protest. At the very most, barely more than 2,000 people assembled there…

    Navalny supporters stood in admiration at the courage of their leader, who had fled his house arrest in order to be there – or rather, he tried to do that, conveniently arriving at the Pushkin Square metro station so as to make a procession surrounded by his supporters. However, at the beginning of Tverskaya Street, whilst on his way towards Manezh Square, within three seconds Navalny was very skillfully pulled by four police officers from the the squealing inner circle of his supporters and taken to a police bus. Neither Aleksei nor his escort group could offer any resistance. Personally, I even thought that Navalny craved such a development so as to be with his brother Oleg behind bars, thereby refreshing his badly tarnished aura of opposition martyrdom, especially now, after the result of his second trial, bearing in mind the result of the Bolotnaya Square case, when people got real time in a real prison, whilst Aleksei spends his suspended sentence in a cozy apartment with home cooking.

    Still awaiting the arrival of their leader, Navalny’s supporters clearly became confused. Here and there on the Manezh and at the beginning of Tverskaya St. there arose spontaneously insulting chants about Putin, demands for a fair trial (did they really want Aleksei to go to prison as well?) They even welcomed some Banderites, but it was all kind of awkwardly clumsy and a little pitiful. Onto the Manezh came Navalny’s opponents, chanting: “There shall be no Maidan!”. A couple of their opponents’ noses got flattened, and the Cossacks received some of their own medicine off the supporters of the revolution.

    All in all, it was very decent and peaceful. The cold led them to believe that they would become ice sculptures in the morning, which they didn’t want to happen, so they decided on their own account to go home, especially because it had almost immediately become clear that Alexei Navalny had again failed in his attempt to become a prisoner of the regime: the police had openly and politely led him to a warm bus that took him home to his warm appartment and his pre-holiday table, whence he continued to call on all his supporters to go to the Manezh Square and not to disperse. But how to do that and what to do when there remained unclear. If there were no secret instructions sent over secure channels, it turned out that they would just have to stand on the Manezh and get stupidly cold. Those who did not want to stand quietly and peacefully were gently taken away by policemen and escorted arm in arm by them to paddy wagons. They say that about 100 people were arrested.

    After half an hour of standing around, the police regretfully and absolutely correctly sectioned off the protesters into several groups and at 9 p.m. Moscow time gently coaxed them towards the metro entrance. Despite the hysteria of democratic journalists on the Internet that the OMON riot police were irresponsibly reacting and, allegedly, hurling themselves at the people, the whole operation of clearing the Manezh Square was undertaken in a completely polite fashion: no arms wielding rubber truncheons (popularly referred to as a regular clubs) were raised; no special equipment was used by the police.

    … Well, it’s New Year’s Eve tomorrow, time for “olivier” [favourite Russian New Year dish – a salad] and other tasty New Year morsels.

    Sorry, not now! Not before the revolution!

    And so, before the start of the festive season, for two precious hours they shook the regime.

    • marknesop says:

      I completely agree, and have said so, that Navalny wants to go to jail and that the parade of suspended sentences discredits him as a real dissident while weakening his clout as an opposition leader – it implies he is not even worth punishing as a criminal.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Re. Navalny’s latest “to the barricades” cry, get this for an insight into a Western liberal’s mind, someone who clearly feels for Russia and the Russians and wishes to help them.

        First, some background information.

        Saker fans have formed a translation circle so as to help remedy Russian officialdom’s tardiness in getting stuff translated into English. I volunteered my services and am also on a mailing list, whereby aricles etc. to be proofread/translated can be distributed.

        Yesterday I received this circular letter from one of the volunteer translators:

        All Russian online media are reporting this, I am unsure about the TV itself though because the television in the Russian Federation is somewhat selective about news it selects to report though it does not lie as blatantly as American television does. Nothing beats Fourth Reich’s propaganda.

        But Internet coverage of those protests is not massive (neither are the protests) though I don’t think anyone, not even state owned media, neglected to mention them:


        If you want to talk to participants or to hear what they’ve got to say I guess you would have to read their blogs, go to their vkontakte pages, their facebook pages, this kind of thing, beause I don’t know anyone who would have atteneded. Or rather I know quite a few people who would have participated in similar protests had they happened in St Petersburg over a year ago but the situation has changed so much in the last year (because of the Ukraine_ that I don’t know anyone who would have gone there, because, the the current attitude can be best expressed in “don’t rock the boat” sort of theme. And we don’t. In retrospective nothing strengthened Putin’s position as much as the CIA coup in Kiev and the reactive liberation of Crimea and unfortunately the war against population of Donbas (which I consider a part of Russia).

        I always thought that Navalny was an admirable figure who could energize a sizable section of the society and of course Punitist justice system is unjust instrument of targeted persecution (a bad thing really) but he is not on my agenda now.

        I reckon that if there was no Crimea, no CIA, no barbarians at the gates sort of (real) feeling, no war in what I consider is Russia, then those protests might have “attracted” ten times more people than they did yesterday plus if we are remember that today is the New Year’s Eve (Happy New Year, everyone) then the fact that so many people came (2000?) is also quite remarkable.

        The”detained fifth columnists” must be happy that they are going to be released without much further ado and not, God forbid, whisked off to some remote Guantanamo like location.

        I replied:

        “I always thought that Navalny was an admirable figure”

        The man is an agent of a foreign power.

        His support in Russia is minimal.

        “…whisked off to some remote Guantanamo like location.”

        Unlike the real Guantanamo location?

        Where are these Guantanamo like locations that you imagine?

        Have you ever been to Russia?

        As regards the “opposition” in Russia:

        If one takes 50,000 as being a very liberal average number that attended the “anti-Putin” demonstrations in Moscow last year, then that that figure would represent 0.003% of the Moscow population.

        If you take the 2 million hits that Navalny claims for his blog all come from his supporters, then that number represents 0.013% of the Russian population.

        Navalny claims that his blog is the most popular in Russia. To determine the truth of this statement, check out Live Journal, the front page of which displays statistics concerning bloggers’ popularity.

        The Western MSM constantly proclaims the popularity of its US agent in Russia, yet consistently ignores the popularity of the Russian president. According to Levada, Putin’s popularity now (December 2014) is at 85%. Levada is not “Kremlin controlled”.

        Yet Navalny is popular?

        Those that attended the Manezh assembly yesterday evening, all 1,500 or so of them, are “Kreakly”, boulevard café revolutionaries with nothing better to do with heir lives: they are despised by the vast majority of Russians, whom the “Kreakly” disparagingly refer to as “bydlo” – because they’re stupid, see: they can’t understand how evil Putin is.

        The “bydlo”, for their part, cannot understand why some Banderites were welcomed to yesterday’s meeting by some of the Navalny supporters.

        I then received the following:

        Oh Gosh, you sound like an angry agent of some foreign power!

        I was born in Russia and live there (for at least half of each year).

        Anyway, Navalny is an admirable man and a remarkable organizer who with limited resources has put together a public movement despite continuous harassment by henchmen of an oppressive and paranoid state. The idea that he was paid to do so and that all his supporters and volunteers are hirelings of the US Department of State and the CIA is as nonsensical and laughable as the claim that those who disagree with the Fourth Reich’s foreign policy are all paid Putin’s trolls.

        As far as I am concerned Navalny was exposing corruption that became/is endemic and on its own symbolizes a jarring disconnect between words and deeds (which I find are the absolute hallmark) of the Putinist state. Say Estonian Nazis were digging up graves of wartime dead, beating up protestors, imprisoning people, while those outrages were going on the Muscovite foreign ministry just talked and talked and did nothing while the (“self-made’) billionaire son of Putin appointed St. Petersburg mayor (there were no election, she was just handpicked), was negotiating a purchase of island of Estonia’s coast. That’s the sort of disconnect I mean. Corruption aside this disconnect between words and deeds is thorough and absolute – like America is bad but no country is more americanized than today’s Russian Federation, I guess it is more americanized than the UK, both culturally and in its petty symbolism – like the military buys Ford (!) cars, What? Why? Or new St. Petersburg airport has Starbucks coffee, Burger King, TJ Fridays, not a single Russian or other European restaurant, you would think you landed on a US air base. So besides phenomenal (and perhaps historically unprecedented) corruption, Navalny helped to expose those inconsistencies. Thank you, Navalny.

        Anyway, you cannot compare Navalny’s popularity, and I don’t care what it is, by the number of his Live Journal readers versus that of Putin. It would had made some sense if you compared Navalny’s Live Journal blog with that of Putin but because I don’t believe Putin maintains a blog, the comparison is impossible.

        Even among Internet users that would not be a good yardstick to measure one’s approval, for example I don’t read other people’s blogs, that does not mean I approve or disapprove of those people or of what they are writing.

        Putin’s approval rating may be high (now they are may be high), but the approval ratings of Putinist state are consistently very low. The approval rating of local governments, and their legitimacy, is all but non-existent.

        “If one takes 50,000 as being a very liberal average number that attended the “anti-Putin” demonstrations in Moscow last year, then that that figure would represent 0.003% of the Moscow population.”

        No, the population of Moscow in 2014 was (I am going to copy paste that was) 12 108 257, therefore 10% of Moscow’s population is 1 210 825 and 1% 121 000, 50 000 would make slightly under half a percent of population. 0.4 is not 0.003 by means and it is a remarkably high figure for Moscow and for society so thoroughly controlled by the state, and where most people depend on the relationship with both the state itself and with physical representatives of the authorities: be they college students or businessmen (you cannot do anything in Putin’s Russia unless you have access to so the called “administrative resource” in most cases that means you must know someone with whom you can share what you’ve got or you must know someone who knows that right someone) and obviously if you participate in unsanctioned protest activities you are going to lose all that and go to the proverbial (though not yet real) wall.

        By Guantanamo I meant Guantanamo, the real thing, because the Putinist state has been remarkably vegetarian in domestic matters though not nearly as toothless as it has been in foreign affairs.

        Why would you write creakly with a “k”, the root is obviously a Latin import, I guess the word in English would be Creacles, it’s a portmanteau construct of Creative and Class, the words themselves are a silly borrowing, but to a Russian ear that word sounds like Геракл or… Heracles, So it Heracles-like sounding Creacles, a figure that is pseudo-heroic and comical at the same time.

        On the other hand I absolutely detest the word bydlo, which is an unnecessary borrowing from the Russia Minor dialect, because the proper Great Russian word for “быдло” is “скот”

        Happy New Year.

        To which I replied:

        Happy New Year to you too.

        And I have lived in Russia for 22 years.

        I wonder what a “minor dialect” is?

        Does he mean the demotic language of the vast majority of Russians who are not “liberal” and who desperately need re-educating as regards this matter by him and his chums?

        He spends about half a year here each year he says.

        Is he slumming or what?

        See: When ‘Slumming’ Was the Thing to Do

        • katkan says:

          It’s not how long you’ve been there, it’s what language your education was in.

          I did a bit of 5-language etymology tracing on this. LOL this is funny.

          He didn’t say a minor Russian dialect. He said Russia Minor dialect. As in Malorussia.
          A proto-slavic word, bydlo has meant cattle in Polish since the 15th century, not surprising it somehow seeped into Malorussian and then up toward Moscow.

          If our correspondent looks down on it for not being a “real Russian” word, this is VERY funny. The preferred Great Russian “скот” comes from even further west, and is not even of Slavic origin. It seems it is from the Germanic “scaz” today used in German as schatz, something treasured or highly valued.

          I don’t know why cattle are considered stupid. The Hungarian “marha” meaning cattle is often used to mean “stupid” and even English will call someone a stupid cow. But the “bydlo” sense, dumb uneducated crowd, lumpenproletariat in earlier times, in English is now called sheeple.

        • katkan says:

          Now, for the rest of the message.

          I have not seen Navalny’s blog so I don’t know how much corruption he ever exposed. Nor did I follow the court case to be able to opine about the evidence. But I don’t believe one wipes out the other (in either direction). The concept of defining a person’s worth by a single incident is … strange… to say the least. This happens a lot in the Exceptionalist State….A simple small conviction can stop someone getting a decent job, or one at all. One drunk-driving conviction, one whiff of dope, one affair,and it’s a huge scandal that cuts a good person’s useful career dead. Hypocrisy.

          In fact some of the best information about corruption comes from people who are/were corrupt themselves, and turn whistleblower or State’s Evidence. Whatever Navalny did does not undo the truth of what he was saying, if it was true. Truth is in the message, not the messenger.

          But then I’d dispute the characterisation as being “the Putinist state”. Corruption has “always” been there. Certainly by all accounts (and from what I saw in immediate post-soviet Hungary) the corruption has been there at least since the USSR broke up;. In fact by all accounts it was embedded in the nomenklatura system, too, and that probably had its historic origins in aristocratic privilege in tsarist times. The only blame on Putin for it may be that he’s not gotten rid of it yet. But because it is deep seated and systemic, I can’t see any “opposition” government just snapping their magic fingers to achieve 100% honesty throughout society.

          The biggest problem would be the having to know somebody, because that affects people at all levels of life. Not so much that 10 people became multi-billionaires, but that every person has to know someone, and know what to give him, to get things done. That type of corruption is perhaps easier to get rid of, with streamlined and transparent bureaucracy, and high enough pay to the civil servants that they don’t NEED extras just to live. These lower levels should be easier to fix, too, as the people with the bested interest don’t have as much power as the billionaires do, to put a stop to it.

          My advice to Navalny would be, if people with fraud convictions are allowed to stand for election,. is to start in a smaller town and clean it up, to show that he can do it. Even I can sit here 12,000 miles away saying what “ought to be” done….without even doing it on my own blog. Let him prove himself on a small scale before getting presidential ambitions.
          Where I live there was perennial corruption in land zoning, building permits and inspections. The State fixed 90% of it with one simple rule — developers and construction companies are not allowed to donate to campaign funds in local government elections.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            The terms the “Putin state” and “Putinism” bug me though. I’ve lived in the Soviet Union and almost every year of the existence of the present Russian state, the legal inheritor of the USSR. I’ve lived through good times and bloody unbelievably awful criminal times. And I tell you when the good times began: exactly 15 years ago this very day, when Vladimir Putin was appointed president by Boris the Drunk.

            • katkan says:

              Yes. You can call a State or regime by the leader’s name if he is the one that made it that way. Not if he inherited it (whether he tries to change it or not). He’d be silly to purge everyone just because they stole a bit, if they are otherwise useful and knowledgeable. I think the recent money repatriations, amnesty and ruble business took down a few of the “right” people automatically, not just external speculators..

  37. katkan says:

    Happy and peaceful 2015 everyone!!!

  38. Moscow Exile says:

    Is Navalny right in the head?

    Tweeted by the now twice convicted Navalny after his having been apprehended on New Year’s Eve (he was already under house arrest when apprehended and the police kindly took him home after finding him wandering along Tverskaya on the evening of December 31, 2014 in the company of friends):

    Я был рад хоть пятнадцать минут быть той единицей без которой не соберутся миллионы.
    7:22 PM – 30 Dec 2014

    “I was happy to be a small part of something that makes it possible for millions to gather — if only for 15 minutes.”


    Is he talking like a schoolkid? You know, like: “Oh, I’ve done it millions of times!”

    According to reports, on Manezh Square on the evening of 31st December, 2014, there gathered about 1,500 people for no more than 2 hours.

    Or is he suggesting that part of the Russian population that is not satisfied with Putin support him, an obvious agent of a foreign power, that self-same power that is now openly engaged in economic warfare with Russia in order that the Russian population arise and overthrow the oppressive regime that rules over them?

    And stirring the coals, as usual, we have shite such as this spewing out of the US Embassy:


    Tweet from Natalya Vasileva:

    Crowd is mostly under 40, the atmosphere very tense, determined. These ppl risk spending New Year’s Eve in jail.
    8:38 PM – 30 Dec 2014

    Yeah, well they didn’t get thrown into a bridewell, did they Natalya? The vast majority of them were on their way home less than half an hour after you tweeted that.


    • Moscow Exile says:

      So glad that the US Embassy here makes it clear that it is referring to Moscow, Russia, in its bulletins.

      • katkan says:

        In case people in Moscow Idaho go crazy looking for those metro stations. Nice of them to advertise it for him though.

        The “millions” he’s talking about are his blog readers, who could all virtually participate. About 15 climbed into the big ball and were still there, frozen, when the morning shift of cops came by and took them away. Taxis must be expensive there, are they? that everyone is relying on the cops to give them a lift home?

    • marknesop says:

      Navalny’s wording is very careful – he says he was happy to be part of something that makes it possible for millions to gather, not that any millions in fact did so. But I can see his comment being picked up and amplified by the western media and, say, the State Department. They’re only fooling themselves.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Actually, that’s not my translation of what Navalny said: I think I got it from RFE/RL.

        There’s no mention of possibility in what Navalny wrote in Russian:

        Я был рад хоть пятнадцать минут быть той единицей без которой не соберутся миллионы.

        This is my translation:

        I was glad to be, if only for 15 minutes, a part of that number, without which millions would not be gathered.

        Navalny uses the future tense for the verb “to gather/assemble (onself)”, which reflexive verb form in Russian is often best rendered by using the passive voice in English, whereas English uses “future in the past”, which is what Russians like to call English past tense usage in reported speech.

        In Russian, you literally say, for example: “He told me on January 1 last year that he will meet me the next day, January 2nd, 2014”, because the action of “meet” is in future time from the speaker’s time of speaking; whereas in English you say: “He told me on January 1 last year that he would meet me the next day, January 2nd, 2014”, because, although the speaker’s action “meet” is, at the time of his speaking in the future, from the time of the reporter’s speaking, it was in the past.

        So Navalny’s tweet is a prediction that millions will gather (themselves)/be gathered/ be assembled as a result of that meeting on New Year’s Eve, of which, if only for 15 minutes, he was part: he’s saying that millions will gather as a result of that pathetic meeting – no possibility about it at all!

        And he wasn’t even part of the meeting! He was arrested on Tverskaya!

        • Moscow Exile says:

          In other words: bullshit!


        • marknesop says:

          Then I guess we have to fall back on Explanation B: he’s not right in the head.

          Really, though, Navalny would be the very worst sort of leader – he’s a preening popinjay with a tendency to blame someone else every time something goes wrong, and he is happy so long as he is surrounded by adulation no matter what the actual situation is for the country. His performance on the short term comedy, “The Coordinating Council” is exemplary.

    • marknesop says:

      What a joke – “atmosphere very tense, determined”. How to invest a non-event with drama. How does Natalya know the difference between tense and cold? Which was the greater threat – the Lubyanka, or freezing? What a ditz.

Leave a Reply

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

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

Google photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s