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. Warren says:

  2. Warren says:

    The People’s Court of Eastern Ukraine

    Is rebel field commander Alexei Mozgovoi a social revolutionary or a power-hungry facilitator of mob rule?

    One afternoon in late October, Kalashnikov-armed pro-Russian separatists led two accused rapists into the House of Culture in Alchevsk in the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic for a “people’s court,” twisting their arms behind their backs so they were forced to bend over as they walked. One read out the evidence gathered against the first man by the rebels’ military police unit, arguing the 37-year-old had threatened a 15-year-old girl until she agreed to have sex with him. Then he asked the 340 local citizens and rebels assembled in the hall to vote to sentence him “to the highest form of punishment according to the laws of wartime, death by firing squad.”

    The crowd voted to send the first man to redeem himself on the front line, where rebels continue to clash with government forces. It sentenced the second man, accused of at least three rapes since 2008, to death. A video of the people’s court caused an uproar in the Ukrainian and Russian media, especially one fragment in which Mozgovoi suggested that women should “sit at home and cross-stitch” and ordered that “any girl who goes to a bar will be arrested.”

    But while critics have accused Mozgovoi of facilitating mob rule, communist and Marxist commentators have cited his outspoken opposition to the corrupt, oligarchic government that has plagued Ukraine as proof that he is the best hope to turn the pro-Russian rebellion into a social revolution. Although the armed seizure of buildings in eastern Ukraine in April was accompanied by frequent calls for a social welfare state, communist and other left-wing activists have been marginalized by pro-Russian activists who are more nationalist in their rhetoric. The Communist Party wasn’t allowed to run in last month’s rebel parliamentary elections and in the end was given a meager 3 seats out of 100 by the ruling coalition, its leader recently told The Nation. Many left-wing activists have said the uprising has turned toward Russian chauvinism rather than social reform…

    http://www.thenation.com/article/193409/peoples-court-eastern-ukraine#

    • katkan says:

      Social revolutionary.

      He later said the sentenced man has a right to appeal, so has not been executed, and “it is a greater punishment to never know which day is your last, than to be killed”.

      The “any girl who goes to a bar will be arrested.” was sarcastic, addressed to the victim’s father, who suggested his daughter was partly to blame for the rape for having gone to the bar where she met the rapist.

      His theory is a mob “driven in off the street” jury cannot be corrupted, because nobody knows in advance who they will be, therefore it is a fairer way to run a court than with corruptible small juries or only judges.

      Sorry can’t give links, was in a couple of video interviews.

  3. ThatJ says:

    Ruble Rallies 34% After Biggest Russian Intervention In 5 Years

    Since the Russian Ruble troughed at almost 80 RUB/USD, it has rallied an impressive 34% erasing most of the dramatic devaluation of December. However, as The CBR just announced, this ‘strength’ came at a price. Russia burned through $15.7 billion of reserves in the week ending Dec 19th – the biggest percentage weekly drop in reserves since Jan 2009, leaving reserves below $400 billion (still a significant amount) for the first time since Aug 2009. While CBR explained much of this will come back as repo trades mature, Vladimir Putin turned inward, blaming the government for “defects” in restructuring the economy.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-25/ruble-rallies-34-after-biggest-russian-intervention-5-years

    Saxo Bank CIO:”Writing Off Russia Would Be Unwise”

    • Russia’s failure to reform made crisis inevitable
    • Ukraine détente imperative for Russian revival
    • Writing off Russia would be unwise

    Russia’s years of neglecting to invest and reform pointed to an inevitable crisis. In 2014, that crisis came on two fronts, first in the confrontation over Ukraine from early this year and the resulting sanctions, and then followed by the incredible collapse in oil prices over the last few months.

    Russia and its citizens have been here before and know the drill. Everything looks terrible at the moment, but as the old saying goes, times of crisis are also times of maximum opportunity to chart a new course.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-23/saxo-bank-ciowriting-russia-would-be-unwise

    T. Boone Pickens Rages On CNBC: “I Am The Expert, Not You”, Says Oil Down Due To “Weak Demand”

    Narrative, we have a problem! No lesser oil-man than T. Boone Pickens made quite an appearance on CNBC this morning – stunning the cheerleaders into first defense then silence as he broke the facts on oil’s collapse to them. Oil is down “mainly due to weak demand,” he explains… the anchors deny, “I am the expert, not you” Pickens rages as he warns drilling rigs will be laid down on a very wide scale (just as we have noted previously). Arguing over ‘peak oil’, he calls CNBC chatter “bullshit” and laid out a rather dismal short- to medium-term outlook for the oil & gas sector – not what the cheerleading tax-cut slurping media narrative wants to hear at all…

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-23/t-boone-pickens-rages-cnbc-i-am-expert-not-you-says-oil-down-due-weak-demand

    Former Airline CEO Claims US Military Shot Down MH370 Near Diego Garcia

    A second senior airline industry source has revealed his belief that there is some sort of conspiracy behind the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. As The Herald Sun reports, Emirates president and CEO Sir Tim Clark made world headlines in October when he revealed his doubts about the fate of the missing plane, which disappeared early in the morning of March 8 this year. Now a second senior airline industry source has voiced his doubts about the fate of the plane, with the even wilder claim that the Boeing 777 may have been shot down by US military personnel who were fearing a September 11-style attack on the US Navy base on Diego Garcia.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-22/former-airline-ceo-claims-us-military-shot-down-mh370-near-diego-garcia

    Pepe Escobar On Blowback After Blowback For The “Empire Of Chaos”

    At present, the choice between the two available models on the planet seems stark indeed: Eurasian integration or a spreading empire of chaos. China and Russia know what they want, and so, it seems, does Washington. The question is: What will the other moving parts of Eurasia choose to do? All these interlocked developments suggest a geopolitical tectonic shift in Eurasia that the American media simply hasn’t begun to grasp. Which doesn’t mean that no one notices anything. You can smell the incipient panic in the air in the Washington establishment. So long to the unipolar moment… 2015 is “going to be a real hardcore year.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-23/pepe-escobar-blowback-after-blowback-empire-chaos

    “Peak” American Dream?

    More than 80% of Chinese believe today’s youth will have a better life than their parents…

    More than 80% of Americans do not believe today’s youth will have a better life than their parents…

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-23/peak-american-dream

  4. ThatJ says:

    Happy Holidays Hollande: French Joblessness Surges To Another New Record High

    Having proclaimed the creation of jobs-jobs-jobs as his mandate when elected in 2012, Francois Hollande has so far overseen the loss of nearly 600,000 French jobs. At 3.488 million, French joblessness has never been higher (and French bond yields never lower) and has ben rising – practically unabated – for the 31 straight months since his ‘raise taxes on the wealth’ election (and 42 months straight overall).

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-24/happy-holidays-hollande-french-joblessness-surges-another-new-record-high

    Did The Saudis And The US Collude In Dropping Oil Prices?

    (Submitted by Andrew Topf via OilPrice.com)

    The oil price drop that has dominated the headlines in recent weeks has been framed almost exclusively in terms of oil market economics, with most media outlets blaming Saudi Arabia, through its OPEC Trojan horse, for driving down the price, thus causing serious damage to the world’s major oil exporters – most notably Russia.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-24/did-saudis-and-us-collude-dropping-oil-prices

    Russia Says It Has Evidence From Ukraine Military Defector Kiev Was Responsible For MH-17 Crash

    Back in July it was all everyone could talk about: who shot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17 flying over east Ukraine? A hurriedly-prepared official report (by Western authorities) quickly put the blame on Russia, ignoring any suggestion the downing may have been the result of a Ukraine fighter jet, and said the catastrophe was the result of a Russian-made missile shot by Russian separatists. Then the story promptly disappeared. Russia, however, continued digging, and overnight, Russia’s Investigative Committee says it has uncovered evidence Ukraine was involved in the crash citing a military defector from the Ukraine.

    The RIC said, as summarized by Bloomberg, that it interrogated a Ukraine military defector who has evidence the Boeing jet shot down in July may have been targeted by Ukrainian military SU-25 plane, according to website statement. The witness claims to have spoken to SU-25’s pilot, according to whom the SU-25 in question was carrying R-60 air-to-air missiles. The SU-25 returned to base after flight without its missiles. The pilot summarized that “MH-17 was in wrong place at wrong time.” Tell that to the families of over two hundred innocent casualties of war.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-24/russia-says-it-has-evidence-ukraine-military-defector-kiev-was-responsible-mh-17-cra

    ISIS Shoots Down US-Led ‘Coalition’ Jet, Captures Jordanian Pilot

    Fighters from Islamic State (ISIS) claim to have shot down a US-led coalition warplane in northern Syria and taken the Jordanian pilot captive, according to The Times. The Jordanian army confirmed that one of its planes had crashed and the pilot had been captured, and said: “Jordan holds the group and its supporters responsible for the safety of the pilot and his life”. As The NY Times reports, the strike and capture signals the harshest blow yet to the coalition and could affect the resolve of the Arab nations that have joined the United States in its air campaign.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-24/isis-shoots-down-us-led-coalition-jet-captures-jordanian-pilot

    Russia says NATO turning Ukraine into ‘frontline of confrontation’

    (Reuters) – Russia said on Wednesday NATO was turning Ukraine into a “frontline of confrontation” and threatened to sever remaining ties with the Atlantic military alliance if Ukraine’s hopes of joining it were realized.

    The Kiev parliament’s renunciation of Ukraine’s neutral status on Tuesday in pursuit of NATO membership has outraged Moscow and deepened the worst confrontation between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War.

    “NATO countries pushed Kiev to this counterproductive decision, trying to turn Ukraine into a front line of confrontation with Russia,” Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov told the Russian news agency Interfax.

    […]

    It is likely to take years for Ukraine to meet the technical criteria for accession to NATO and, even then, there is no certainty that the alliance is ready to take on such a political hot potato.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/24/us-ukraine-crisis-russia-nato-idUSKBN0K20J920141224

    [ThatJ: Here I disagree with the Reuters journalist. Maidan was but a first step towards NATO membership. Merkel & Co may say they are against Ukraine joining NATO, but they will be coerced (if they are not lying to deceive Russia) by Uncle Shlomo in the end.]

    18-Year-Old Black Teen Who Drew Gun Shot Dead By Police In St. Louis Gas Station

    Just days after two NYPD officers were brutally executed in broad daylight in what is said to be a retaliation for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, overnight, amazingly, just miles away from the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson where Michael Brown was shot in August, an 18 year-old black man was shot and killed by police at a gas station in the St. Louis suburb of Berkley late on Tuesday, in a development that is certain to inflame racial, and local police department, tensions even further beyond their breaking point.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-24/here-we-go-again18-year-old-black-teen-shot-dead-police-st-louis-gas-station

  5. Lukashenko is sensing Russia’s weakness and it distancing himself from Russia. Customs are back in Russia-Belarus border and the trade between Belarus and Russia is in US dollars.

    • marknesop says:

      Merry Christmas, Karl! I don’t think Russia is really as weak as you say – otherwise, NATO would make a move on it, as it obviously would love to do but dares not. It is certainly not going to be weaker in 2015 than it is now, so what stops NATO from striking?

      Lukashenko and Putin dislike one another personally, much as Putin and Yanukoych did. But Lukashenko would be wise to watch his own six – he has zero friends in the west and they have already tried to have him overthrown and will try again.

      • Russia has nukes. I have never believed that NATO will strike Russia directly. At least not until they believe that they have managed to reach a total nuclear supremacy over Russia. This is why I wanted Russia to directly intervene in Donbass last April. And I believe I was right in my opinion then. NATO would not have attacked Russia, the sanctions would be about the same as they are now, and Donbass would have been spared from war. And Slavyansk, Kramatorsk and possibly even Mariupol would be part of Novorossiya.

        The idea is to destroy Russia economically and prevent it from building its Eurasian Union. Ukraine has been permanently split away from Russia. Belarus is distancing itself from Russia. Kazakhstan is still in Russia’s camp, but Kazakhstan does not have much of a choice since it is a landlocked country and is fully dependent on Russia’s railways for transport. Kazakhstan will always be close to Russia due to geographic reasons. Ukraine and Belarus can be stripped away from Russia, because they are directly connected to Europe. Russia has done a lousy job of keeping these countries in Russia’s sphere of influence since 1991, as evidenced by two successful revolutions in Ukraine (in 2004 and 2014) and generally making Ukrainians hate Russia even if they are basically the same ethnicity.

        Russia did the right thing by taking back Crimea, but it should have went even further and establish a land route to Crimea. It would have been possible in April when Ukraine basically lacked an army, but now it is much more difficult, if not impossible. Ukraine cut electricity and water supply for Crimea again today and they will keep doing it as long as they can. Kiev will continue to blackmail Russia over Crimean energy and water supplies and force Russia to make concessions.

        • “and generally making Ukrainians hate Russia even if they are basically the same ethnicity.”

          I actually did not mean that Russians have made Ukrainians hate them, but Russia has allowed the current situation to develop without managing to start a counter movement that could have prevented Maidan or at least managed to start a serious counter revolution in Kharkov, Odessa and Dnepropetrovsk.

          • Southern Cross says:

            Do Ukrainians, on the whole, hate Russia anymore than before?

            Or has the new regime created that impression by silencing most of the contrary voices? Ukrainians certainly aren’t volunteering en masse to fight for Ukraine.

        • yalensis says:

          Dear Karl:
          I agree with you, from a strategic POV, Russia should have just taken Donbass at the same time as Crimea. Russian army literally would have been greeted with flowers by majority of people in Donbass.
          Alternatively, in August, they should have taken Mariupol during Ilovaisk offensive. This would have secured Azov Sea and Crimea.
          Otherwise, without land bridge to Crimea, the latter peninsula will have a very rough time of it. I think they will survive nonetheless, but it won’t be easy going, being depedent on their fiercest enemy for water and electricity.
          Also, as you mention, NATO has made good use of the reprieve and is digging in, all of Ukraine is swarming with NATO troops and heavy equipment now. So, the fight, when it comes, will not be a cakewalk.

          Russia has stated the reason why they didn’t just take Donbass at the time was, because they could not find a single legal justification to do that in international law.
          Personally, I think they could have just made something up, like the Americans do, or they could have recognized the local referendums. But they didn’t, and it is what it is. Instead of dwelling on the past and “what might have been”, we should try to cock our brains into thinking up some good ideas, how to proceed from this sorry state.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            They didn’t enter Lugansk and Donetsk provinces because they knew they would not have had full support there.

            There may indeed have been a majority support for Russian intervention in the province capitals, and perhaps even a slight majority tthroughout both provinces, but too slight a majority to warrant an intervention.

            Earlier this year I came across several ethnic Russian Ukrainians from Donbas who live and work here but have family in East Ukraine, and although they despise the Banderites, at the time 6 months ago, they thought that many of the separatist leaders were little better than bandits who were responsible for bringing death and misery to East Ukraine.

            • yalensis says:

              Yeah, it’s true that some of the Seps warlords were little better than bandits.
              That’s why the majority of people would have welcomed the actual Russian ARMY with candy and flowers!

    • The Western project of distancing the three Eastern Slavic nations from each other is going according to the plan. Ukrainians hate Russians (even if undeservingly) and Belarus is backing off from the Customs Union.

      Hillary Clinton has deserved her glass of champagne.

      • marknesop says:

        It is curious that in each such scenario, you are willing to make the assumption that the west will prevail. Is there anything about its regime-change successes that leads you to this faith? Does the west have a long history of successful regime-change efforts that I am not aware of?

        The west’s signal success was Serbia and Kosovo. Since then, each of their regime-change efforts has been a flash in the pan. Let’s recall that all such projects were designed to make the target country a grateful and prosperous satellite of the west. Where has that been the case since Kosovo?

        • The West has already prevailed in Ukraine. 90% of Ukraine’s territory is controlled by an anti-Russian government and a chance for a pro-Russian “Maidan” is non-existent.

          I believe Ukraine will continue to struggle economically, but at the same time it will become more radical and anti-Russian. The Western goal is to keep from Russia and Ukraine integrating, and they have succeeded. If the Ukrainian people suffer it does not matter. Ukraine and Russia, and their people and resources, will be divided for our lifetimes. And Ukraine will likely host a NATO base at some point in the future. The new regime has managed to secure its power base and made any counter revolution impossible. There will be no counter-Maidan in Kiev, not in Odessa, not in Kharkov. This is all that matters.

          The Maidan coup and revolution was an extremely successful and well executed operation by the West and its puppets in Kiev.

          • marknesop says:

            Maybe now. But the west cannot hold it without coming through on all its promises of prosperity for everyone. And it is not willing to do that, while Ukrainians expect to be showered with free money and backslapped into NATO. The west was not as well-prepared as you think, because the fiscal collapse of Ukraine was not foreseen, Russia’s supposed helplessness to do anything but bankroll Ukraine was totally misread and the rise of western-Ukrainian Banderite Naziism was not planned for. The west cannot afford to dump the kind of money into it that it would take to bring it into the fold, and has decided instead to plunder it and leave it as a liability for Russia – you’ll see. But that will only work once. People have long memories.

          • patient observer says:

            Your basic problem is that no matter what the West does, you call it a success.
            • They wreck the Ukraine but lose the only thing strategically important to Russia (hint – Crimea) and Hilary is sipping champagne!
            • The EU economy is crumbling – all according to plan!
            • South stream dies – perfect!
            • Syria fights off the US sponsored terrorists – couldn’t be going better!
            • China supports Russia financially – more good news for the West!
            • 800 billion dollar gas deal with China – perfect!
            • India tilts even more to Russia – poor Putin!
            Anymore good news like that and the West should just shoot itself.

          • Paul says:

            Karl,
            May I ask if you play a game such as go or chess? Russia has taken a defensive posture, which was totally reasonable. There are things like supply lines to consider, along with the issue that the Donbass had a high percentage of Russian support, which would be less in Kharkov or Odessa. Anyway, the idea is a counterattack. But, first, Novorossiya needs a functioning army and the rest of the country can benefit from a 50% unemployment rate. And Putin needed some time to get the economy oriented toward Eurasia more.

            As for the impossibility of a pro-Russian Maidan, who said that was the goal? Most of the Ukraine needs Russian help and business to survive and remotely prosper. They are going to discover that the EU will help them the same way they helped the Libyans who thought they could turn into Dubai. If you consider the new regime secure, I think you are not being objective. The economy is going to go off a cliff, and the oligarchs hate one another, and the US may want a failed state anyhow. So warlords, not a secure regime.

            By the way, while I disagree with you regarding the current situation in the Ukraine, we might agree on the strategies the Kremlin has taken over the last 15 years or so. It seems that everything has been based on the convenience of various oligarchical groups, with a real indifference to the other factors inside the Ukraine.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              And I say it again: Russia needs the Eastern Ukraine provinces like it needs a hole in the head!

              The Crimea is another matter.

              Donetsk airport is not of the same strategic value as is Sevastopol.

              However, certain persons in East Ukraine, took it upon themselves to foment separation of the Donetsk and Lugansk provinces, believing that if the Crimea had chosen to be re-united with Russia, then East Ukraine would do so as well.

              These separatists did this off their own bat – much against he wishes of he majority of East Ukraine citizens at the time, I am sure. And so was the Kremlin.

              Thei sepeartists’ former prima-donna has even stated that he personally was the trigger for the insurrection and not the Evil One in his Kremlin lair.

              The jackal Western MSM immediately latched on to Putin’s mentioning of the term “Novorossia” during one of his broadcast Q&A sessions – a live broadcast – in which he stated that there was once historically a region known as “Novorossia”. He made this statement simply to point out the long and very close historic relationship between Russia – Greater Russia as it was once called – and that part of “Little Russia” once known as “The Wild Fields” and then “Novorossia”.

              He made no statement whatsoever of any intention of reclaiming “Novorossia” as an integral part of the Russian Federation: he just stated a historical fact – about which very few, I am sure, of those hacks present knew anything – and the jackals began to circle and snarl, making out that this was yet another instance of the Evil One stating that Russian expansion was his goal.

              Just like they misquote almost on a weekly basis, it seems, a statement made by Putin on April 24th 2005, namely that he, allegedly, stated that the collapse of the Soviet union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century – ergo, he regrets the end of the USSR and desires that it be resurrected.

              No matter that the Evil One did not say that, he is still presented as someone who wishes to venture on a programme of conquest.

              The impudence of the man!

              And in the “American Century” as well!!

              • Paul says:

                re: “And I say it again: Russia needs the Eastern Ukraine provinces like it needs a hole in the head! The Crimea is another matter.”

                Depends upon what you mean by “needs”. Russia needs the Eastern Ukraine to not have bombs flying across towards Russia every day. Russia needs a few of the people to stay there and not all flee to Russia or be killed. Russia needs the gas pipelines to pass through the Eastern Ukraine. And a few more needs if we contemplate things.

                And the US needs the Eastern Ukraine to either turn into Somalia or Himmler’s Dream. So the question is how the US should go about getting her needs, and how Russia should go about getting hers. Politics is the art of the possible, even geopolitics.

                For what it’s worth, I have doubts about your take on the early days of the struggle in the Donbass, as I doubt the Kremlin would have been so stupid as to not work hard to stop an uprising there before it got past the point of no return. They could have sold it down the river at a much lower cost back then, and the blood lust wasn’t nearly as high.

                Still have serious respect for your observations and opinions that you express here. I’m just a cynical type and see the Donbass as a card for Russia to play. Nothing personal; it’s just geopolitics.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  By “Russia needs” I meant “has a desire to possesss” Eastern Ukraine – as in “annexation”, such as the Western MSM constantly states has happened to the Crimea.

                  Russia advised the East Ukrainian insurrectionists not to hold a referendum whilst a Ukrainian “government” was about to be elected; Russia proposed that the Eastern Ukrainian provinces enjoy special status within the Ukraine; Russia proposed that the Ukraine become a federalized state: Russia has never stated a desire that the Eastern provinces of the Ukraine, a territory once known 300 years ago as Novorossia, become part of the Russian Federation.

                  However, what Putin once stated was that Russia could not stand by and watch ethnic Russian citizens in East Ukraine (somebody whom Karl regularly refers to as Russians’ fellow countrymen: they are not) be massacred by their own “fellow countrymen” (they are), and asked his legislature for permission to take measures, if need be, to prevent this from happening.

                  Putin later publicly rescinded that request after the Western MSM played the line that Russia was intent on “liberating” Russian minorities anywhere and everywhere (read: the Baltic States), drawing parallels with Hitler’s policy as regards ethnic Germans living in the Czechoslovakian region of the Sudetenland.

                  Russia does not want those Eastern Ukrainian provinces now in insurrection against the central Ukrainian government to part of the Russian Federation.

                  However, that is what Western MSM says is the gameplan of Russian imperialists, Soviet Union resurrectionists, Stalinists or what you will.

                  And that’s what the prima donna Gurkin also wants, for he is, after all, a Russian monarchist and, I dare say, a Russian imperialist to boot.

                • marknesop says:

                  However, in that scenario, the U.S. will believe itself to be sitting in the catbird seat, because if Russia fails to make the east into a viable place for eastern Ukrainians to live comfortably and autonomously, problem solved. If Russia succeeds, the U.S. will have its covert operatives in there, trying to destabilize it and seize it for Ukraine.

            • marknesop says:

              Now that’s what I call analysis! We’re lucky to get it for free.

              • Paul says:

                Exile,

                I suspect most here know what you were thinking – basically, what you wrote in the follow-up. However, the question is how the Kremlin should go about achieving its desires. One can make the case that the indifference they have shown to Russian ethnics in the ex-USSR states has been a mistake. For one thing, they had no organizations of value inside the Ukraine to rely on.

                Anyway, the question is how Russia could get as much of the current Ukraine as possible to not be used for destructive ends against Russia. Can this be done without occupation? Probably. Can it be done without creating a powerful enough Novorossiyan army to overthrow the Kiev junta? Perhaps.

                I think you are being too harsh on Strelkov. Things might be a lot worse if he hadn’t been in the game. He feels that Russia is under attack, and the elite are full of traitors. To him, the current borders are criminal, created by, and supported by, criminals. At least he understands those classic lines from Bob Dylan:

                Democracy don’t rule the world
                You’d better get that in your head
                This world is ruled by violence
                But I guess that’s better left unsaid

                • yalensis says:

                  I also admire Strelkov and what he did; which is kind of odd, since I am a “Red” (and from a “red” family), whereas Strelkov is a “white”. And I thought at the time that Strelkov might be able to accomplish what Putin could not, which was to reconcile reds and whites in the new era. Each side would have to give a little: Whites have to give up their allegiance to capitalism and accept nationalizations of major properties, especially in Donbass; whereas Reds have to give up some of their nostalgia for the past.

                  On the other hand, my respect for Strelkov did go down a couple of notches when he continued to shoot his mouth off and express continued bitterness after his dismissal. When an officer is unfairly sidelined, I think he should just let himself boil in silence, and maintain a manly and Sparta-type silence. Instead, Strelkov allowed himself to become Mr. Disgruntlement all over the blogosphere. Which is not helpful to his cause.

                  On the third hand, I think it would be highly apropos, when Slavyansk is finally liberated, to have Strelkov be the one to march in at the head and officially liberate the town. It would be symbolic, to say the least.

        • colliemum says:

          German and Japan …
          /sarc

      • Southern Cross says:

        Belarus is doing nothing except exploiting the situation to make a profit. And Ukrainians are fickle beasts who will praise God and curse Satan one day, and curse God and praise Satan the next.

        • You may be right, but the fact that Belarus has returned border customs and started to use the dollar as trade currency should speak volumes. The Eurasian Union is not going well right now. Russia will have to correct its internal troubles first.

          • marknesop says:

            If it speaks volumes, why isn’t the west supporting Lukashenko?

            • yalensis says:

              If I were pro-NATO strategist, I would be all over Lukashenko and giving him blow-jobs from here to eternity, in the hope of culling him away from Russia.

              The fact that Obama’s neo-cons are NOT doing just that with Lukashenko, only speaks to the fact that these people are stupid, and rigid in their thinking. They believe that Lukashenko is a “dictator”, therefore they won’t give him the time of day, even though he controls a juicily strategic piece of real estate.

              In other words, the current crop of U.S. “thinkers” don’t even have half the brain that, say, a Nixon had, when he made his sudden turn to China.

              • marknesop says:

                And knowing Lukashenko, he would lie back with his head on his folded arms and enjoy it, while making no plans to change his ways in the slightest. Lukashenko knows well that he will always be regarded as untrustworthy by the west because he is not an ideologue, and that if they were able to co-opt him they would quickly replace him. He knows they’ve tried; a primer on colour revolutions I cited in an article a year or two ago mentioned how cleverly Lukashenko had wrong-footed the west. Seeing the signs that a colour revolution was in the making, Lukashenko called snap elections before they were ready, and they had no time to build up their template – any complaints after Lukashenko won (again) were regarded as sour-grapes bitching and were disregarded rather than mobilizing a wave of public indignation.

                He knows they will try again.

          • katkan says:

            Customs is just sharing the load with the Russian side. Belarus imports of some European products, mostly agricultural, have increased 400% in 3 months. They are re-branding a lot of things and selling them to Russia as their own. This has caused long delays on the Russian side. They have been asked nicely (politely) to reduce this sanction-breaking trade. In a similar vein, Kazakhstan cancelled a coal sale to Ukraine, suddenly “discovering” it was not the grade the Ukies needed.

            Both these countries have agreed to join Russia in the Eurasian Economic Union, together with Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. The union starts on January 1 and should allow free trade between them. This may be an issue with these sanction breakers but they’ll work something out for sure, as overall it should be beneficial to them. Putin is probably also expecting European sanctions to ease up soon, when he can also drop the revenge sanctions…..or maybe drop them as “humanitarian aid” to Europe, which will be suffering a lot more next year.

            • marknesop says:

              You’re probably right – on the whole, the sanctions against Russia have kick-started a domestic revival for some products. Dairy has done particularly well, and Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev says meat production is picking up as well and will continue to increase in 2015. But there is a definite subtext that while sanctions between the USA and Russia will last decades, the ones between Europe and Russia are considerably more squishy.

              That message will not be lost on Washington, either, so look for a new year starting with whip-cracking by Washington and stern warnings to get the snivelers belowdecks.

            • marknesop says:

              Where are you getting this stuff? Would you be interested in doing a post on it or something of your choice? I like to share the forum with other writers, and you seem to have some well-sourced material that is far from common knowledge. The ladies have been particularly successful here with guest posts, and you not only seem to have some very good sources, you have a talent for interpreting what you read.

              • katkan says:

                You can see I often don’t give links…because I get things from mentally combining dribs and drabs from numerous sources. Some not English. Some in languages I don’t actually know.. It’s fun.
                I once worked with a young ethnic Russian guy who was a tank driver in Tajekistan. He gave me a very good anti-tank Molotov cocktail recipe (that he’d once been the victim of). I might look at Russia’s relationships with the Stans, that we don’t usually hear about unless they’re having a war.

          • palmtoptiger says:

            customs is because of a sly Lukashenko approach with repackaging Polish apples (sanctioned by Russia, as we know) in Belorussian boxes and exporting them to Russia. this is really typical Lukashenko – trying to make some small profit everywhere.

            essentially same thing with his weird-ass idea to switch to dollars (tbh I dont think this will even get implemented in reality – RUB will return back to a stable level around 50 or so before then).

            what you probably dont quite realize is that Lukashenko, politically, is not going anywhere at all. all his pirouettes and barrell rolls are basically just negotiating some slightly better deals for Belarus, nothing more. strategically he’s still 100% aligned with Putin, and he has NO other options.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Acting like the former state-farm manager that he was.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Mr. 50% Lazarenko was a former state-farm tractor driver as well.

                Never made it to director, though.

                Would have made it to Acatraz, though, if they hadn’t already closed it when he was sent down in San Francisco.

            • yalensis says:

              Dear palmtoptiger: What a great reply!

              Luckily, I was able to find this video illustrating your point; it shows Lukashenko in his youth, when he was learning to do pirouettes and barrel rolls.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                That’s the first time I’ve seen a dancing teacher teaching how to do barrel rolls whilst appearing to have a barrel stuck up his shirt!

                Well, more of a firkin, actually.

                • yalensis says:

                  Oooooo you are mean!
                  Everybody knows that former dancers and gymnasts tend to put on weight the moment they retire from competition and shows. It’s like, all those years of starvation and deprivation, and their body suddenly cries out: “Feed me!”

                  At that point, they have a choice: They can either start a different career, or they can use their painfully acquired knowledge to instruct the youth.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  I remember being graced many years ago with an invitation to a Bolshoi theatre ballet company post-opening night performance piss up by an afficionado of that art form, a businessman of the Roaring ’90s. Attending the party were many members of the Bolshoi chorus. The amazing thing about them was that they, the small statured, lithe girls of the Bolshoi ballet company, slugged back the vodka like it was going out of fashion. I commented upon this a few days later to my party host, who told me that in his experience most ballet chorus girls knock it back with such determination after a first-night performance: it was their way of winding down after the tension of performing. They never seemed to put weight on though. I suppose you usually don’t with hard liquor. And any case, they’d burn the calories out of their sytem leaping around the rehearsal rooms the following week, I suppose.

                • yalensis says:

                  Another dirty little secret about ballet dancers (both male and female) is that THEY SMOKE!

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Oh yeah! I forgot about that: they were smoking like bloody chimneys while they were knocking back the rocket fuel. I remember thinking at the time that they must be smoking to keep their weight down. I reckon a lot of girls do that.

                • marknesop says:

                  It worked for me. Between the ages of 19 and 44 – when I quit for good – I probably did not eat breakfast once in every 6 days; just coffee and a cigarette or two.

                • marknesop says:

                  Kind of a keglet. Mind you, you don’t need to be able to demonstrate in order to teach (for many things) the same as you don’t need to speak Korean to teach English in Korea.

            • marknesop says:

              I disapprove chiefly because such practices will cause the Poles to clap one another on the back and congratulate themselves on having found a clever subterfuge by which to sell their products to the dumb, unsuspecting Russians even though they are under sanction. the Poles are so Russophobic that they don’t deserve to have a market in Russia at all, never mind one they think they have arrived upon through craft and trickery.

              The ruble is at 51.05 today, having inched downward a tenth of a point since yesterday. I agree Lukashenko knows which side his bread is buttered, but he is such a natural grifter he cannot help himself from trying to make a little something for Lukashenko from every circumstance. He is, though, well aware that if he sucked up to the west his reward would be to be deposed and replaced by their liberal choice.

    • Oreb says:

      Lukashenko’s primary interest is Lukashenko. He has mastered the art of playing both sides over the past 2.5 decades. He is merely seeking advantage in his dealings with Russia. He does this sort of thing every couple of years, so unless he was also sensing weakness in 2006 and 2009 (and if he was, his weakness sensors might be a bit off), we can pretty much discount that as the reason for his latest games.

  6. Fern says:

    A powerful report on the humanitarian disaster in the Donbas by an American guy, G H Eliason, who lives in Eastern Ukraine. It is an utterly shaming piece, EU leaders, particularly – step forward Frau Merkel, Señor Barosso and Mrs Catherine Ashton – should be eternally condemned for colluding with what is happening there. As, of course, should the MSM which has ignored, obfuscated or blatantly falsified events in Ukraine.

    In Pervomaisk today conditions are so bad that people are given ¼ of a loaf of bread per day to live on. Many areas are not even getting this. Starvation deaths in different cities now number 20 or 30 weekly. Within 20 days deaths from starvation and exposure/ freezing in Donbass is going to jump exponentially. The most vulnerable which includes the children and chronically ill will be hit the hardest.

    Pensions and benefits to the elderly and disabled were also cut off in mid summer. State and oligarch owned businesses functioning and reaping profits stopped paying salaries. By early July retirees across the countryside were surviving on leftovers from the last harvest, unripened fruit, and help from their neighbors.
    In August I started hearing about the starvation among the most vulnerable people which were the shut-ins. People that were bed ridden or because of disabilities could no longer leave their apartments died of starvation and thirst………

    Beginning in the late spring the Ukrainian army set landmines across the grain fields needed to support the area for human and livestock consumption. The landmines set in grain fields aren’t in contested areas. They are not marked and the locals weren’t told to stay away by the Ukrainian army. These are the fields where farmers make their living and produce the grain needed for bread. One of my neighbors hit a mine trying to harvest his wheat. It destroyed his tractor and he was lucky to be thrown clear. He woke to see his tractor burning. In early summer another neighbor on his tractor was used for sniper practice.
    The Ukrainian army burnt grain and corn fields that were under their control. This continued throughout most of the summer as noted across many articles.
    The scorched earth policy was geared at creating the current situation which will soon be mass starvation and the sicknesses associated with it. Tens of thousands of acres could not be harvested.
    To make the point a few short weeks ago Kiev’s appointed Governor in the occupied Lugansk region stated bluntly that Kiev’s humanitarian blockade of Lugansk and Donetsk was geared to reproduce the effects of the Soviet Union’s 1932-33 famine in which millions across central and southeast Ukraine perished from starvation and sickness.

    http://www.ukrainewar.info/kiev-forcing-death-starvation-relocation-donbass/

    • marknesop says:

      What a disgrace. Western leaders who make kissy-face with the Kiev junta should be tried for humanitarian crimes. Don’t forget Stephen Harper, who is among the junta’s most enthusiastic boosters, thanks to the large and activist Ukrainian diaspora living in western Canada. Sickening.

      I hope that Russia – which can no longer be stopped from freely traveling over the border to eastern Ukraine – will provide generous food aid, or there will be an intensifying refugee flow across the border to Russia and Ukraine will succeed in emptying the east as it wanted. I hope the desperate situation blows back upon the rest of Ukraine a hundredfold.

    • Had Russia intervened in April none of this would have happened.

      The West and its Kiev puppets are criminals and to blame for this, but Russia was the one that enabled the war and suffering to occur by not intervening.

      Even if Donbass residents are Ukrainian citizens they are ethnically and culturally Russians. Most of them are more loyal to Moscow than they are to Kiev. In a cynical way it is understandable why Kiev regime wants to get rid of them (while keeping their land).

      But as I said in MP.net there is only one entity in the world that will protect Russian people: the Russian government. If Russian government fails to do it then nobody else is going to do it.

      • btw, I’m not saying that Russia has done nothing. Russia’s humanitarian aid to Donbass has been important for the local citizens and Russia should be respected for its efforts. And Russia’s military aid to Donbass rebels did play a big role in preventing Kiev from capturing Donetsk and Lugansk.

        However, the war would have been avoidable in last Spring if Russia had given formal military backing for Donbass and Novorossiya.

        • marknesop says:

          However, the war would have been avoidable in last Spring if Russia had given formal military backing for Donbass and Novorossiya.

          Yes, in retrospect that would be a fair observation. But NATO had the upper hand then, with its fresh PR campaign and almost 99% credibility worldwide with its story that Russia was destabilizing Ukraine in an attempt to hold it within its orbit. At that time it was not known how seriously NATO would fight to hold on to its prize, and it might have escalated into an immensely destructive European war. That looks much less likely now, while Ukraine is looking less like a prize and more like a liability.

          • patient observer says:

            I would like to be a little more specific on one reason among many why Karl is wrong. BTW, I’m not picking on Karl but he rarely advances any arguments that does not reduce to that Russia is stupid, cowardly and greedy.

            Russia likely has had China, India and others in mind from day one. Russia could be viewed by these countries as reckless, short sighted and prone to violate contracts and law if they did a Karl in Ukraine.

            Looking at it now, I think that the need to adhere to law and contract more than any other single factor guides Russia. Beyond the Zen of living a sane life, they need China and India to have confidence in Russian commitments and contracts over the long haul. Conversely China and India need Russian military power, high technology and balls. Lets face it, Russian has handed the West its ass more than once, something no one else has done in the last few centuries (with honorable mention to Vietnam).

            I think that Russia is truly moving toward the rule of law and principle since Putin has arrived on the scene (of course its far more than just him). This is a revolution in international relationships and something the West fears.

            • yalensis says:

              This is a good point. I agree that considerations like “What will China think?” and “What would my new friend India do?” played a huge role in Putin’s decision-making. Even though I personally think Putin made the wrong decision (back then, not to intervene), I also believe that he took top advice and thought the whole thing through many times. It wasn’t, like, “Oh, I have my dough in western banks, so screw the people of Donbass!” as the anti-Putler stereotypers would have it.

        • katkan says:

          Donbass has to win this for themselves. It’s between them and Ukraine, not between Ukraine and Russia..

          The only one who ever dreamed of early Russian help, and still feels betrayed that it didn’t happen, is Igor Strelkov. Who is not even a local, but an adventurer who never got over being early retired from the interesting FSU job that had paid him to adventure for decades.
          Many powerful business interests, in Russia and Ukraine both, were hoping the rebels would get quickly beaten and it would be all over and back to normal..The right negotiations early on would have let them go back, with some autonomy.. After Odessa it was too late.
          Certainly Russia was not going to set the world against themselves, doing an intervention that was unnecessary and unwanted at that time. There was no developed idea of independence among the people, back in April. It was still just a protest movement. Any “help” then would have been an invasion.

          After Odessa it became a demand for partial autonomy. Refusal to rejoin with Ukraine didn’t become an aim until late July early August, when they were getting beaten back, and started to discover what the storm troopers were doing in the towns they’d had to abandon. All the Russian citizen “leaders” got kicked out, locals took over, and they got a little voentorg help in the run-up to the September talks, just enough to protect their southern flank for the expected ceasefire hostilities.

          Russia needed the Minsk talks, because Ukraine needed some pretence of peace to qualify for the IMF loan that paid half their gas arrears. This let Russia avoid freezing everyone to death without being 8 billion out of pocket on it, at a time they could see themselves forking out 4 billion for the refugees (400,000 at one stage) and humanitarian convoys. They also looked far enough ahead to start re-opening a gas pipeline unused for 26 years, and running high voltage lines to Donbass, both finished by late November..

          Zakharchenko and Plotnitsky have been to Moscow. Putin knows “Nazi” is not a propaganda word; he has the evidence of the atrocities. He understands they cannot capitulate into certain death. “We will not let it happen” he said,.But the prevention still may not be military, or not openly so, unless NATO help gets so that he has to declare a no-fly zone over Donbass.

      • patient observer says:

        Had the Russians intervened in April, no one including you could have predicted the results. It is easy to propose a dozen scenarios worse than what we have today including serious harm to Russia and its own people far beyond what has happened so far,

        Your consistent message is to blame the victims. Actually the problem is the GD MF psychopaths that populate Western leadership positions. Most everyone on this blog understands this but for you its always the Russians – just like that other GD MF AP.

        • I have not “blamed the victims”. The victims of this war are the Donbass people. I have blamed the West and Kiev puppets for their aggression and Russia for not providing enough defense for Donbass, and that Russia hesitated too much before the “voentorg” started, allowing Kiev military to attack, kill people and destroy infrastructure.

          You keep playing with scenarios too much. It is quite simple actually. Ukraine lacked an army in April. Kiev was still training the national guard and volunteer battalions. Had Russia intervened the Kiev regime would not have been able to offer much resistance. The only option to stop Russian intervention would have been a direct “counter-intervention” by NATO. That would have meant full blown war between NATO and Russia, and the West would not have risked London and New York for Ukraine.

          The demonizing of Russia would of course have been more severe. Putin would have been called a “new Hitler” even more openly by the MSM. And sanctions may have been a bit tougher. But Russia would have reached two important goals: Donbass war would have been prevented and a land connection to Crimea established.

          • patient observer says:

            I had no idea whatsoever it would be that simple! if only Putin and Lavrov had your clarity of thought. BTW, you do indeed blame Russia at every turn – if it isn’t their stupid genome, its their greed and incompetence.

            Russia would have been facing far more than more demonetization had it done what you suggested. China, India, Brazil and other countries may have held back if Russia showed recklessness and flagrant disregard for law and agreements. Russia’s forbearance proved themselves as a principled player and a reliable partner while the West has shown itself to be a poorly controlled juggernaut hell-bent on domination and destruction of those who resist.

            Russia can not win against the West on its own but will win in partnership with China, India and others. Simple enough actually.

            • marknesop says:

              Yes, that’s a good point, too – Russia wins respect from its major international partners by adhering to international law and norms. It will never win respect from the west no matter what it does, so it makes sense to direct its international efforts in such a manner as to win the cooperation of present and future allies. And it is unquestionably working – the west was smacking its lips when the ruble spiked, confident that collapse was imminent. China stepped up, much to the west’s dismay, and even though its help was not needed it was a tremendous confidence booster. I think you’re right that that would have been less likely to happen if Russia had been acting like a marauding bandit, as the west does, with no regard for any earthly authority except its own wants and needs.

          • Jen says:

            Karl, you say the West would not have risked London and New York for Ukraine. But it would have risked other cities for Ukraine: all major Ukrainian cities including Kyiv, Lviv and Odessa for a start, and others besides in former Soviet states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, all being turned into NATO front-line shock-troop states) and cities in Belarus and Poland.

            Your assertion that Russia should have invaded Donbass early in 2014 to save the region would have Russia fall right into where NATO wanted it to fall. The Russians know from hard experience how that scenario would turned out. I have said in a previous comment here that in 1979 the US under Jimmy Carter and Secretary of State Zbigniew Brzezinski determined to draw the USSR into its own debilitating Vietnam war, one that lasted nearly 10 years in Afghanistan. Knowing what that war did to the Soviet Union, why should Russia repeat that mistake?

            Also the war in Ukraine is not only a physical war, it is a propaganda war to win people’s hearts and minds, not only of those people who have a direct stake in the war but of those everywhere else in the world – because the US has embarked on a hydra-like project of waging war across the planet. Syria, Ukraine, North Korea and ultimately Iran, China and Russia are all in the US’s target sights. West Africa is another developing front-line because of oil resources in the maritime territories of Sierra Leone and neighbouring countries. In this kind of war, those who abide by amoral dog-eat-dog ethics and whose behaviour follows suit are those who will never win; the winners are those who refuse to play such grubby games and who follow principles based on respect, justice and fair play.

          • Paul says:

            Karl,

            America’s strategy would have been to support a resistance, and to have a PR campaign around the world about the Russian menace. This would have been very ugly. Do you remember 1980? Make it ten times worse. Perhaps Russia should have invaded and put Yanukovich back, however, this had all kinds of problems, and may have failed. Actually, there are various rumors that Russia wanted to, but couldn’t get enough oligarchical support inside the Ukraine. It would have required some governors/oligarchs to provide the police or what have you to be the “vanguard of the people” who would provide the numbers. Russia had very little organizational support within the country, so it might have required much more Russian manpower.

            It is a big question as to why the Kremlin didn’t provide more and better muscle to the Donbass sooner. Hard to say, but it is clear that any big successes by the rebels would have been heralded worldwide as a front for a Russian army success.

            • marknesop says:

              Russia’s objective was always to provide enough aid to Donbass that it would not be overrun and taken by the Ukies, not to provide it with a military force that would march on Kiev. It was always intended to be defensive. You could argue that the losses to the civilian population were horrific, but the Ukie Army took horrific losses as well although they are generally not publicized.

      • Paul says:

        If Russia had invaded in April, different bad things would have happened. Like serious sanctions, not the minor ones now. And a significant percentage of both the Ukrainian and Russian population would have believed in their fantasies, which might be that Kiev and America meant well. Also, Putin might have only 50% support within the Russian elite, instead of perhaps 70% for taking a hard line. (This is debatable, of course, but one can make a much stronger case now that the Anglo-American establishment wants Russia defanged and likely broken up and depopulated than one could in April.)

        So, why not make a list of the pros and cons? Waiting has had a lot of pros.

        My question is why Russia didn’t give more and better aid to the rebels.

      • palmtoptiger says:

        The West and its Kiev puppets are criminals and to blame for this, but Russia was the one that enabled the war and suffering to occur by not intervening.

        That sounds rather like “Hitler and his Nazi puppets are criminals and to blame for the 2nd World War, but the USSR was the one that enabled the war and suffering to occur by not intervening.”

        i.e. a shameless lie.

        aggressors and murderers are to blame for aggression and murder, not its victims or bystanders.

    • colliemum says:

      Thank you very much for that link.
      Unsurprisingly, these news don’t make it into the Western MSM.

      • marknesop says:

        Yes, that was a powerful piece. The west’s behavior is unforgivable, and although there is no hope of acknowledgement in our lifetimes, I hope history will reflect the true duplicitous nature of this unlovely episode.

        • colliemum says:

          Oh, I dunno – I think there are far too many people in the West who are aware of both what their governments do ‘in their name’, to which they’ve never agreed, have never been asked, and of what is really going on which their MSM are never telling them about. There are now too many alternative ways for ordinary people to find out and disseminate what they find.
          So I believe these crimes will come out in our lifetimes.
          The rumblings you’re hearing are the precursors of a mighty earthquake. IMHO.

    • katkan says:

      The stormtroopers are preventing 4 large convoys of aid from the Akhmetov Foundation from going through (guess he’ll start buying in Russia from now on, too) for fear the aid will end up with the rebels. Towns which used to be in rebel hands but have been back with the government for months are still listed as not in their control, so nobody gets pensions there, but fall outside the Novorossiya aid distributions. Red Cross won’t help them or with supervising the convoys.
      The tV stations, owned by Poroshenko and Kolomoisky, tell lies 24/7 and nobody knows what is really happening. Nor do they dare ask very loudly, with the Bandera enforcers roaming. But there are protests already over doubled electricity prices for power which keeps getting cut.. With nothing growing, and imports being hit with 20% duties, food prices will go through the roof any day now.

      • marknesop says:

        Yeah, I saw a Voltairenet piece on Voloshin – actually, it’s another translation, a fairly choppy one, of the interview with the mystery defector – and he too said the atmosphere is very Nazi-like (although he didn’t use those words) in which the slightest slip can get you denounced as a traitor and Russia-lover which will result in the roving Bandera Welcome Wagon paying you a visit that will have you spitting Chiclets.

        • katkan says:

          The reality is, in the IMF austerity plans, 90% of industry has to be closed down, scrapped (literally). About 7-10 million people in Donbass are surplus to requirements, and have shown themselves unlikely to tolerate hunger and unemployment well..They will always be trouble. The major buyer of their products was Russia. Even autonomous in a federal state they’d be selling to Russia. This messes up the whole IMF plan, which involves mining and fracking most of those lands, or planting it with GMO, or just stripping off and exporting the phenomenal black soil ($900 million worth a year is illegally exported even now).

          A federated Novorossiya keeping the old industries and selling to Russia would make Western Ukraine totally unviable on the current plans. A unified Ukraine can survive, oligarchs removed, if it continues to trade with Russia. OR slowly build up to viability, after a lot of austerity, with Donbass emptied out and stripped. Donbass keeping existing industries + Western going to Europe just does not add up.

          So it is useless Russia “invading” to help create a separate Novorossiya. Everyone needs a united Ukraine that doesn’t join Europe, and that cannot be done with military force. That can only be done with economic force. Not on Ukraine but on their current backers. They may need to smack down some military force, but that is not the main weapon here.

    • yalensis says:

      I read Eliason’s piece in full, and decided to fact-check his assertion that many Ukrainian nationalists learned their history from David Duke . I was dubious couldn’t envision some provincial Grand Kukol (or whatever they call it in the Klan) like Duke travelling to other countries.

      Turns out to be true, though. According to this piece from the ADL , Duke toured Russia and Ukraine, but this was back in 2005-2006. This would have been at the height of Yushchenko’s reign, when Ukies were rewriting all their history books to promote the Banderite view of events. Duke lectured at a Ukie college called MAUP, where he was awarded a (presumably honorary) doctorate in history. It’s because of this Ukie treat that Duke gets to call himself “Doctor”.

      According to ADL (the bit relevant to Ukraine): “Duke argues that the alleged mass killing of Ukraini­ans by Jews far exceeded the Holo­caust. Invok­ing clas­si­cal anti-Semitic myths, he claims that the pub­lic focuses on the Holo­caust and not the Ukraine because Jews con­trol the media, acad­e­mia, gov­ern­ments and Hollywood.”

  7. patient observer says:

    Per http://russianspaceweb.com/resurs_p.html#2 on the Russian Resurs-P No. 2 remote sensing satellite:

    “The main payload included Geoton-L optical-electronic telescope and a pair of wide-angle multispectral cameras collectively known as KShMSA. The Hyperspectral Photographics Hardware, GSA, would also be re-flown on the second Resurs. … wide range of imaging sensors onboard Resurs-P2 represents a unique feature for a remote-sensing satellite.”

    The satellite was successfully launched today capping off a very successful past several weeks for Russian space technology. The total cost of the satellite was 753.5 million rubles or about $20 million (pick your conversion rate). By comparison, the latest US Landsat remote sensing satellite cost per http://www.cbsnews.com/news/nasa-launches-855-million-landsat-mission/:

    “A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket blasted off from California and safely boosted a new Earth-watching Landsat into a polar orbit Monday [Feb 2013] to kick off an $855 million mission, the latest chapter in a 40-year program to monitor the planet’s resources, land use and environmental changes.”

    Sure, the costs could be like comparing apples and oranges. Even after removing launch cost for the Landsat, its cost is likely in the $600 million range. Its unclear if the Landsat cost including operating costs over its lifetime, In any event it seems that two roughly equivalent pieces of space technology have a 20-30 times difference in costs as an accountant would view it. BTW, the Landsat was launched by an Atlas 5 using Russia RD-180 engines.

    So, what does this mean for Russian versus US GDP data or defense spending? I suspect that purchasing power parity adjustments do not come close to properly account for the difference in these areas. Much of the cost difference could be accounted by lower wages for Russian scientists, engineering and production teams (assuming equal productivity with their American counterparts) but it seems there must be other efficiencies as well. Perhaps they have lower quality control costs, not from a lack of capability but rather from the results of a cost analysis. For example, a cost analysis could suggest that an increases risk of failure by 10% from lessened QC costs could lead to a gain 2 of or 3 times more capability. Note that when success is absolutely paramount as for example with manned launches, the Russians are unmatched by anyone. Or it could be something else.

    • katkan says:

      At a guess, Russian procurement costs go through fewer middlemen companies; some things the oligarchs are not able to stick their fingers into. There also seems to be a tendency to decide what they want, then design and build it. USA seems to go for “buying solutions”.

      • marknesop says:

        It’s an interesting idea, but if accurate, it could describe why Russia is so regularly viewed as a military and authoritarian model – because that is the core of military procurement. A panel of capable people in various areas of expertise gets together and discusses what the new tank/plane/frigate must be able to do, how fast it has to be able to go and how far without replenishment, and what kind of trade-off the weapon load will be for those characteristics, and they hammer out a list of requirements as well as a secondary list of nice-to-haves if possible, and then it is turned over to the designers.

        I’ve never done business to speak of in Russia, but have heard no end of complaints from westerners that those in business must struggle with an endless list of regulations, and each step completed has to receive an inspection from a different agency, all of whom need to be paid and most of whom need to be bribed. Our chief such complainant here – haven’t heard anything of him in a couple of years – was a construction engineer in the oil business, probably still is. He complained that construction standards were terrible in Russia, had no idea what kept the buildings from falling down straightaway after they were opened, yet there was a blizzard of regulations and intrusive inspections which slowed down even the glacial pace of construction in Russia because you couldn’t proceed with the wiring, say, until the framing had been inspected and passed.

        It was often contrasted with whiz-kid Georgia under Saakashvili, using yet another western-designed and sponsored measurement tool, the Ease Of Doing Business Index. The ratings were developed by – surprise – survey responses from western businessmen and reports from supposedly-impartial businesses within the country which were, in Georgia’s case, almost uniformly state-run. Of course, Georgia was allowed to get away with that. The index bragged that it took only five simple steps to start a new business in Georgia. It did not mention that the government would be around in a couple of weeks looking for its cut, and that you would have to figure out how you could make a profit and still pay the government a generous kickback in addition to whatever taxes you had to pay.

        • patient observer says:

          Something that afflicts Americans (including me) is blindness to our problems and hypersensitivity to problems in other countries especially regarding Russia. I recall walking through an airport in Moscow back in 1980 (my only visit to Russia) and was aghast at various “sloppy” repair work being done in a concourse. I saw similar if not a worse mess returning home at a US airport – of course here its just a minor inconvenience and it hardly registers.

          Its utterly weird, I am very sympathetic toward Russia yet the deep programming received through public schools (hate to think what a Catholic school does to malleable minds) and the mass media trumped my rational views. So, I suspect other American obliviously operate with a similar double standard.

          I may be wrong but I believe that the percentage of government employees at all levels (national, regional and local) in Russia is significantly smaller than in the US. Likewise the total governmental budgets are a smaller fraction of the GDP as well. So it would seem that there is a myth regarding endless Russian bureaucracy.

          The idea of fewer middlemen and more clearly defined specs as an explanation for the higher cost-effectiveness of Russian aerospace makes sense (hope to have more on this topic later).

          • colliemum says:

            There’s less ‘pork’ in Russian military procurement, as opposed to the US one, for one thing.
            They are also less prone to what the German military used to describe as wanting and designing the ‘eierlegende Wollmilchsau’, i.e. the egg-laying, woolly, milk-giving pig … still the best description for what a military commissioning board wants from a new weapons system they commission.

            • patient observer says:

              Sounds like the perfect description of the F-35. Does everything equally mediocre. Too slow and with flight characteristics of a brick to have a chance in a dog fight, emits infrared like an active volcano, very limited weapons stores, compromised stealth, ultra expensive and on and on. Current Russian Flankers can knock them down and the T-50, well, it would not be sporting at all.

            • marknesop says:

              Ha, ha!!! That’s the first time I’ve heard that! It’s brilliant, that is!

    • patient observer says:

      Forgot another obvious reason for the more efficient Russian aerospace sector. Their engineers and scientists are simply smarter/better than ours.

  8. et Al says:

    The beginning of the end:

    crAP: Saudi to dig into reserves for 2015 budget
    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/saudi-dig-reserves-2015-budget-134850025–finance.html
    Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet on Thursday endorsed a 2015 budget that projects a slight increase in spending and a significant drop in revenues due to sliding oil prices, resulting in a nearly $39 billion deficit.

    In a sign of mounting financial pressure, the Finance Ministry said the government would try to cut back on salaries, wages and allowances, which “contribute to about 50 percent of total budgeted expenditures.” That could stir resentment among the kingdom’s youth, who make up a majority of the population and are increasingly struggling to find affordable housing and salaries that cover their cost of living.

    The price of oil— the backbone of Saudi Arabia’s economy — has fallen by about a half since the summer…
    ###

    My antennae have been telling me for a while that the Gulf’s days are numbered. The Islamo Nutters (IS) have not only declared that they are targeting the US’s loyal allies, Jordan, but Saudi Arabia too. The latter is a house of cards and the West will be called upon to protect it after decades of buying western weapons. Jordan might be a tougher proposition, but the stars are aligning for some serious trouble. IS doesn’t need to do a lot to cause panic in the Gulf and substantial blowback in the West. Russia has the staying power, the current Western system is creaking at the seams (hence the noise and little action). This is one of the reasons that the US is so desperate for the TTIP to be signed and its Asian equivalent. The US needs the trade injection far more than the EU or Asia. Unfortunately that makes the US far more dangerous – the proverbial 800 pound gorilla. That, is everyone’s enemy.

    I would make the analogy that (and I hope haven’t stolen it off one of the Kremlin Stooge’s fine posters), the US is like a tired old magician who’s tricks with smoke and mirrors are so over used and outdated that it is more like a bad comedy. It’s allies are too polite to point this out. It’s the long game that counts. The losers and fools cheer the short game, unfortunately there are quite a few of them and most of them work for the Porkie Pie News Networks.

  9. ThatJ says:

    Russia launches ‘wartime government’ HQ in major military upgrade

    Russia is launching a new national defense facility, which is meant to monitor threats to national security in peacetime, but would take control of the entire country in case of war.

    The new top-security, fortified facility in Moscow includes several large war rooms, a brand new supercomputer in the heart of a state-of-the-art data processing center, underground facilities, secret transport routes for emergency evacuation and a helicopter pad, which was deployed for the first time on Nov. 24 on the Moscow River. The Defense Ministry won’t disclose the price tag for the site, but it is estimated at the equivalent of several billion dollars.

    The new National Defense Control Center (NDCC) is a major upgrade on what was previously called the Central Command of the General Staff, a unit tasked with round-the-clock monitoring of military threats against Russia, particularly ballistic missile launches, and deployment of strategic nuclear weapons. It was roughly a counterpart to the US National Military Command Center, the Pentagon’s principal command and control site.

    http://rt.com/news/210307-russia-national-defence-center/

    • Moscow Exile says:

      By the way, that building pictured above and apparently situated on the Moscow river bank does not exist: it is a computer generated image.
      This is the main building of the Russian MoD, situated near the Arbat:

      which establishment is, of course, considerably smaller than this one:

      because freedom and democracy all over the world needs a whole lotta defending!

  10. ThatJ says:

    Interesting article about politics in Sweden. Not everything is going well in the bastion of liberasty, which is not surprising given the stupidity of its current and past governments. The rise of nationalism and the troubles in the political sphere are both consequences of Sweden’s inhumanism, or “pseudo-humanism”: as a liberast, your ego demands that people from other continents be “helped”, but you as a person do nothing to “help” them, so you have to submit the unwilling majority (with their collective “belongings”), so to speak, to do the dirty work for you, and if they refuse, you have a whip (hostile media, laws, mob violence) ready for use to keep your slaves compliant. I said previously, on more than one occasion, that this is the culture favored by the Zionists (as opposed to nationalism, which they punish from various angles [except for the shabbos goyim in Ukraine who are of temporary use]) in post-WWII NATO Europe. Eastern and Central European countries that only recently joined NATO are some 3 decades behind, but they will eventually catch up with the rest of the Zionist colonies (Israel is exempt from having to enforce this pathological culture by the “Anglo”-Zionists in the diaspora). Hence my opposition to Ukrainian “nationalism” — there is none!

    Björn Söder, Swedish Jews, and Multiculturalism

    By Andrew Joyce


    Björn Söder

    Of all the accusations commonly leveled against a Jews as a group, perhaps the one they find most frightening is the accusation that they are disloyal, or aren’t ‘quite’ like the rest of us. Arguably, a large part of the Jewish evolutionary strategy consists of maintaining a pose, or pretence, to be fully in and of the nation and its people. In this context, accusations of disloyalty, or even gentle reminders that Jews have an unassimilated separate ‘identity,’ disturb the strategy in such a fundamental manner that the entire Jewish ‘game’ seems to be in jeopardy. Since the era of Jewish ‘emancipation,’ the pursuance and success of the strategy has been highly dependent on the rest of society granting Jews citizenship on equal terms, and failing to note that Jews have a different agenda and aren’t playing by the same rules. Jews therefore jealously censor discussion of their loyalty, citizenship, identity, and place within the nation.

    Given these realities, I wasn’t surprised this week when Jewish leaders in Sweden got a little hot under the collar after Björn Söder, secretary of the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats (SD) and deputy speaker in Parliament, went on record with some fairly innocuous comments about citizenship and identity which, disturbingly for the Hebrews, happened to mention Jews.

    Full text: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2014/12/bjorn-soder-swedish-jews-and-multiculturalism/

    • yalensis says:

      “Hence my opposition to Ukrainian “nationalism” — there is none!”

      There you are wrong, my little neo-nazi friend!
      Ukrainian nationalism is a real thing, it consists of being a Banderite and killing everybody who disagrees with you. Banderites believe they are the true Aryans, because their blood is more pure and Slavic than, say, Russians. They believe (and it is actually true) that Russian blood is tainted by inter-breeding with various Mongol/mongrel races.
      In conclusion, Russians are half-breeds, at best, and Ukies are, if not pure-blooded, well at least not quite so tainted. Also, Ukie nationalists killed TONS of Jews, back in the day; whereas Russians tried to save as many Jews as possible.

      Therefore, you should be supporting the Ukie side in this dog-fight. Just sayin’

  11. marknesop says:

    A sampling of western analysts tells Sputnik that Putin’s plan for economic recovery within two years is feasible, and one points out Putin was arguing diversification in the Russian economy before he became President. To suggestions that while Russia can probably find alternative markets for most products affected by sanctions, it must have access to western technology and capital, George Mason University professor Mark Katz says piffle: Putin has access to all of Asia.

  12. marknesop says:

    Things come full circle again, and Gorbachev praises Putin’s “historical” role in saving Russia from disintegration, agrees Washington is behind the current agitation and says more western leaders need to stand up and put the brakes on before things go too far.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      No more birthday jamborees in the Royal Albert Hall, London for the traitor, then?

      • marknesop says:

        I suspect not. He has committed the unpardonable sin of Speaking Moderately Of Putin. Unless he can make a case that Putin was under the table, burning his bare leg with a cigarette and making him recite saccharine falsehoods to which he definitely did not subscribe, I suspect he has been feted for the last time.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Nah! Won’t work – he has also spoken ill of the great dissident, the Nelson Mandela of Russia, that lovable, cuddly, humanitarian and philosopher Khodorkovsky. Even said he would have been banged up for much longer in the USA had he tried to pull off the same stunt there as he did in the Empire of Evil.

  13. marknesop says:

    Another prisoner exchange between the Ukies and the DPR – the biggest one so far.

    Ref. Crimea, it looks as if the Ukies are cutting off services just before the holidays in hopes it will inspire an upheaval of discontent and longing to return to the bosom of Mother Ukraine.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      “..it looks as if the Ukies are cutting off services just before the holidays” likewise the closing down of Visa etc. banking services in the Crimea. And remember, these services are private enterprises that are legally obliged to maximise dividendends for their shareholders, yet they hold the interests off freedom and democracy as a priority and are, therefore, willing to lose custom, to defend these noble values.

      So Happy New Year, all you evil Moskali occupants of the Crimea peninsula who have stolen that territory off the noble Crimean Tatars: you will no longer be able to withdraw your money using our banking service in order to shower gifts on your nearest and dearest!

      Enjoy your fish heads and old cabbage at your festive meal on New Year’s Eve!

    • Southern Cross says:

      Mother Ukraine’s a whore who burns her children with cigarettes and steals their pocket money, while she has an endless string of men round the home every evening and makes the kids call them all ‘uncle’.

    • katkan says:

      Sure, Crimea would lurv to go back to the one that is deliberately switching them off. There is a roaring trade in generators and uninterruptible power supplies.

      Well, if Crimea is not going to get power anyway, Russia just might stop the power it is selling Ukraine…on condition they do not turn off Crimea.

      Oh and they have to do rolling blackouts in their own towns, but Kiev still has street lights and all the advertising signs lit up. Priorities.There’s already been a protest threatening to break the windows and lights on big stores that leave lights on all night.

      • marknesop says:

        I had read that Russia had already threatened that; that future coal and gas deliveries were conditional on keeping the electricity going to Crimea. But Kiev considers such little rebellions a part of its glorious victory, a way to show Russia that it won’t be told what to do by cutting the power after it receives a delivery. Actually, if I had to describe the Ukrainian leadership in one word, I would struggle with a choice of “venal” and “childish”.

        Naturally if Russia refused a delivery on that basis, it would promptly be accused by the west of “using energy as a weapon”, with no regard whatsoever being paid to the complaint that Ukraine is using exactly the same weapon on Crimea. The sooner Russia has power and gas and water supplies laid to Crimea so that it does not need to depend on the unibrowed cave people in Kiev, the better.

  14. Moscow Exile says:

    From German Economic News:

    Ungarn will sich nicht am Kalten Krieg gegen Russland beteiligen

    Translation:

    Hungary Will Not Take Part in a Cold War Against Russia

    Hungary premier Vikor Orban distances himself from the EU and accuses the US government of stoking up a new cold war against Russia. Hungary will not be part of this.


    EU president Jean-Claude Juncker views the convergence of Hungary’s Vikor Orban’s (right) with discomfort. Orban accuses the Americans of using their influence in Europe in order to further their desire to start up a new Cold War.

    The dispute between the Hungarian government and the US continues to escalate. Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Tuesday that the US Government has made corruption allegations against senior Hungarian officials an excuse for expanding US influence in Europe. As regards the Ukraine crisis, he has also accused the USA of trying to draw the EU into the conflict. “Between the US and Russia there has developed such an attitude as there was during the Cold War. We do not want to become involved in this”, Orban said.

    In October the US placed several Hungarian officials on a blacklist and banned their entry. The [US] government has accused them of corruption. Amongst those affected is the head of the tax authority, Ildiko Vida. She has rejected the allegations that have been made against her.

    The US and other Western NATO member states are looking upon the closer relations between Hungary and Russia with disapproval, such as the Orban government construction of two nuclear reactors using technology and money from Russia.

    End of translation

    • marknesop says:

      The U.S. views any relationship between any other country and Russia with discomfort unless it is adversarial, because ideally it wants Russia to be isolated and alone, surrounded by nations which condemn its existence. Keep an eye on western NGO’s in Hungary, because they are sure to start ringing those ol’ regime-change bells in an effort to replace Orban. And every country contains an opposition figure who can be bought for a relatively low price so long as he or she is coddled and feted by the west as brilliant natural leadership material.

      • katkan says:

        Orban is already keeping an eye on those NGOs. Tax audits etc. That is part of the complaints against him….evidence of authoritarian and undemocratic behaviour….

  15. Moscow Exile says:

    RUSSIA…………………………………………THE UKRAINE

    Repaired in 20 days…………………….Still not repaired after one year

    They’ve got a huge “skin” draped on the Yukie building, though, with the usual “patriotic” claptrap emblazoned on it.

    On the other hand, on the side of the Moscow “White House”, pictured shrouded whilst under renovation, there is simply an ad for “Printing House”.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I presume “Printing House” made the “skin”.

    • Drutten says:

      The Russian building is the printing house in Grozny that was attacked by a bunch of ISIS-allied jihadists from the Caucasian Emirate organization (also known as freedom fighters or whatever in Western MSM) not long ago. They repaired it incredibly fast after the attack.

      Actually, the coverage of that attack really pissed me off because a bunch of high-profile outlets went great lengths to obscure the nature of the attackers, instead implying that it’s just poor oppressed Chechens rebelling against evil Moscow.

  16. Warren says:

    • Ali Cat says:

      My russian is not on advanced level but are they saying: They want a maidan in Russia

      • yalensis says:

        Yup.
        These are the people Lev Shcharansky calls the “kreakly” (“creacls” = “creative class”)
        Each of them claims to be “creative”, “dynamic”, “progressive”, “own my own business”, and have an IQ of 160.

        As if!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      That lippy bugger to the right, Chirikova, said she would leave Russia if nothing soon changed the way she wanted it to.

      She’s still here.

      She’s still a businesswoman and her husband a businessman. (In Soviet times, the term “biznesmen” was a pejorative.)

      Navalny’s going down soon. And his brother as well.

      Yavlinsky is going to die soon. (He stepped out of politics, really, a long while ago after having suffered a serious heart attack.)

      Sob-Check has found her Mr.Right, got wed and ditched her revolutionary boyfriend.

      • Southern Cross says:

        The Navalny brothers at work:

      • Moscow Exile says:

        There are four key players missing in the picture above though: Nemtsov, who was overheard saying something very impolite on the telephone about Chirikova – I think he said she was a stupid bitch or something similar – and they had to do a TV-show kiss and cuddle and let’s make it up stunt; the Ponomarevy father and son duo; and Marxist Revolutionary Udaltsov, who, like Navalny, is nowunder house arrest because of his asociation with that Jabba-the-Georgian-Hut character.

        I forget who the bloke to the left is though.

    • kirill says:

      If they want a Maidan (that includes the Right Sector of some form) then they should eat lead.

    • katkan says:

      SO? this was already a fake in early October. Someone emailed it to the TV station and they put it on. It was never suggested it’s an official Russian opinion.

      StopFake is a Kiev propaganda organization dedicated to discovering “fake” or propaganda against Glorious Ukraine. Kiev can’t afford to fund them, so must be their backers. It is registered through a “Privacy” cut-out registrar (in Kiev strangely). It is run by people from the Kyiv Mphyla School of Journalism, which is chock full of Ukrainians with good degrees, and lengthy careers in the USA including at some Soros organizations. I am sure they are totally independent and funded entirely by reader donations.

      • Warren says:

        The irony of NATO accusing Russia of propaganda is hilarious, NATO actually thinks its information is not propaganda. Of course only the nasty Asiatic Russians engage in propaganda not NATO or its minions!

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I got a letter the other day from a very old acquaintance whom I haven’t seen for over 40 years, most of which having been spent by him and his family in Australia. He was very interested to hear my version of events here, because he knew that I wouldn’t be influenced by all the Russian propaganda that I must hear all the time.

          I couldn’t be arsed in writing a lengthy reply.

          • katkan says:

            Have a heart. OZ Prime Minister is as rabid as Obama, threaten to “shirtfront” Putin at the G20 but of course didn’t, but outright demanded he pay compensation for shooting down MH17. Our Tony doesn’t read apparently, or didn’t get the memo about it being the Ukrops that dunnit. So your friend only “knows” one side and is reaching out to you for the truth.

  17. Moscow Exile says:

    Американские социологи: Российская креативная молодежь патриотична, консервативна и чужда либеральным ценностям

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

    Americans disappointed with the “Putin generation

    A well-known American politologist, Sarah Mendelson, an employee of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, has experienced a terrible shock. So serious is this shock, that she has immediately shared it in “Foreign Affairs”, a hefty and serious journal for the American foreign policy elite . The article is called “Putin’s Generation”.

    So, some 20 years ago, during the era of Yeltsin the Blessed, when she was working in Russia with the National Democratic Institute, young peoples’ eyes were, according to her, simply ablaze with all their democratic values and liberal hopes. Fifteen years later, however, having returned to Putin’s Russia, which had gone through numerous financial crises, two Chechen wars, etc., she participated in a series of sociological research activities amongst the well educated and not so poor youth: she was terribly disappointed. “In General, respondents had mixed feelings towards democracy as an alternative to strong power, and often doubted whether liberalism of the Western type was the most appropriate system for Russia”.

    “A nostalgia for Soviet times that is being promoted by the Kremlin is perceived with pleasure by the Putin generation”, lamented Mandelson. A generation to which sanctified gay marriages are alien! “And even worse: the better educated young Russian citizens are, then amongst them are more widespread anti-American views”. Further:

    “When they reach positions of power in Russia, nothing will change: it is a generation that at best will become successful technocrats, unable and unwilling to change the established order of things”, grieves Sarah.

    One certainly cannot doubt her conclusions, for in addition to her own observations, Mandelson bases her argument on those presented in the book: “Without illusions: voices of the future leaders of Russia”, whose author is Ellen Mickiewicz, a classical empirical sociologist who is totally familiar with our country. Moreover, the study included students at leading Russian universities – Moscow State University, MGIMO-University and the Higher school of Economics; that is to say “kreakly*”, those whom, from the American point of view, God himself has commanded to be Pro-Western liberals.

    Any normal person would say of this: “Well, let them live as they like”, and then they will calm themselves down – but not an American politologist, who is, in addition, a former employee of the National Democratic Institute, a hotbed of colour revolutions. From her point of view, if people do not accept American values, then the problem is with the people, not the values.

    That is why the final conclusion of the article frankly sounds ominous: A change in this situation will only come about through a serious shock to the system, one much more serious than can be undertaken by today’s opposition in Russia and its leaders.

    Well, whatever! We shall be ready – together with the youth!

    *Kreakly

    Kreakly – representatives of the creative class. The term has its roots in ancient mythology.
    The word “kreakl” sounds to Russians a little like the Russian name of the hero of Greek mythology Hercules, the term suggesting, therefore, a mental strength of the creative class that is equal to the physical strength of Hercules.

    The word “kreakl” appeared for the first time in February 2012 in the comments made by Lev Sharansky. However the now widely spread Runet usage of this term started only a year later, in early 2013.

    It should be noted that in the Western tradition the term “creative class” refers to those in Russia who are called the “intelligentsia”: scientists, engineers and artists. In Russia, however, the term “creative class” is directed only at the rotten part of the “intelligentsia”, which manifests itself as “activists” who participate in anti-government rallies and other opposition street shows.

    See also: Except for the Coffee Shop Crowd, Putin’s Support for 2015 Is Solid

    • katkan says:

      More and more AMERICANS are not accepting “American values”. What gives with them?

    • marknesop says:

      Oddly enough, in every other single field of endeavor – excepting politics – experience is prized and a lengthy term in the same employ is presumed to make one better at the profession through practice and learning. Too, in every other field of endeavor if you are still no good at it after a reasonable time to have learned it, you are moved on to something else. But politics is unique, and a leader is no more than installed before some element or other is restless for “change”; as if a new administration, rather than feeling its way and bustling about establishing its own semi-permanent nest, is instead going to solve all the society’s problems regardless the assets or lack thereof it is given. Everyone must be given a chance to lead, whereas if everyone demanded the chance to drive a Formula One race car or blow hot glass into goblets, the professionals would look at you as if you were off your twig. Even if a leader is capable and good for the country, there is always an opposition element which wants the Big Chair, and is agitating for “change”. However, in the case of the west and its interventions, it is perfectly possible for a leader to be kept in power virtually his whole life even though his people loathe and despise him, because he is an apt facilitator of western policy. Hosni Mubarak stands as a sterling example, kept in power in Egypt essentially through western intervention for 30 years, during which time his subjects tried 6 times to assassinate him. When he finally outlived his usefulness, they let him fall, but they got their money’s worth out of him.

      It also goes a long way toward explaining why the politicians most often come from among the wealthy – nobody else could afford to be off work for years campaigning for office, and if they were dropped they would straightaway have to take up work again rather than lounging around in the opposition for years.

    • kirill says:

      These arrogant pinhead American fucks can go eat shit. They had something going for them when they were against the system in the case of the USSR. Now they have nothing but being against *the people of Russia*.

      American imperialist turds will lose this time around.

      The fact that these self-righteous “manifest destiny” freaks have to resort to attack the Russian people proves they have no argument against Russia’s system. They are not happy that a sovereign country dares follow a sovereign course following the democratic voice of its people. All must bow before the American Empire.

      Bite me, bite us America.

      • colliemum says:

        The funny thing is that this “Russia is the enemy” meme in the US has never really gone away, but was pooh-pooh’d by the metro-elites.
        Remember the TV debates between Obama and Romney for the 2012 Presidential elections? Romney was trying to say that Russia was the most important geopolitical problem, and Obama laughed at that, as did all the MSM the next day: Romney was just too stupid to become president, Russia was no enemy …
        While one can easily recognise the difference between democrats (‘we heart Russia’) and republicans (‘Russia bad, always bad’), one does have to wonder how come Obama and the democrats, MSM included, did that 180º turn in regard to Russia, literally within the space of one year.

    • ThatJ says:

      Sarah Mendelson is shocked that Russia is not a liberast cesspool like the US is becoming, though considering her name and surname, I suppose Israel will not earn her scorn as Russia does.

  18. katkan says:

    US funded Azerbaijan “free press” radio station raided by anti-foreign-NGO cops. Look at the difference between the two illustrations. The BBC one seems to be a generic file photo, but, as they say, a picture is worth 1000 lies.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30606466
    http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/Azerbaijan-s-station-raided-by-police-5979396.php

    • marknesop says:

      The Broadcasting Board of Governors is another CIA diffusion front for agitation money; Jeffrey Shell was previously president of the FOX Cable Networks Group, and BBG “supports United States national interests through its mission to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. In accordance with the International Broadcasting Act of 1994 (as amended), the BBG manages and oversees all U.S. civilian international broadcasting, including the Voice of America (VOA), the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) , and grantee organizations RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Asia (RFA), and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc. (MBN)…The BBG serves as a journalistic catalyst in the support of democracy, civil society, and transparent institutions around the world. All BBG broadcast services adhere to the highest standards of journalistic independence, ethics, and objectivity. We provide an ongoing antidote to censored news. We offer life-saving information during humanitarian emergencies. We develop and direct technologies to penetrate restrictive information firewalls. And when events dictate, the BBG reacts quickly to crises with temporary surges in broadcasting.”

      American activist NGO’s have already made a joke of the words “freedom” and “democracy” worldwide, as other countries correctly perceive they are just buzzwords used to enable U.S. meddling, and at this rate it will not be long before they have done the same for the words “civil society”.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        My15-year-old son and14-year-old daughter regularly make fun of that “freedom and democracy” meme so beloved by apologists for the Great Hegemon. They are certainly not “anti-American” though, and communicate with US boys and girls on the Internet. My son even said to me the other day that he thought Franklin D. Roosevelt was the greatest US president ever. I begged to differ, but in any case we both agreed that the present US president is a walking disaster area.

  19. Warren says:

    People have asked how is that Germans are so brainwashed or stultified? The obvious being that German media is under the control of Atlanticists, i.e. people who serve US hegemony. But another reason is that politicians that are controversial and go off the reservation die mysteriously.

    I can think of two controversial Germanic politicians one from Germany (Mollermann) and another from Austria (Haider) – who died because of an accident.

    Let us not forget when Merkel was showing reluctance to bail out Greece and other EU states, there was this incident.

    German leader’s narrow escape after her helicopter falls 3300ft following an engine failure

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1368093/Merkel-narrowly-escapes-helicopter-crash-engines-fail-mid-air.html#ixzz3N6ZhiYHI
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    • patient observer says:

      “People have asked how is that Germans are so brainwashed or stultified? ”
      I think it involves saying what the German population want to hear. Playing to myths of superiority (PC adjusted of course nowadays) is a sure-fire winner. I think the guy with the funny mustache back in the 30’s used that trick with great results.

    • marknesop says:

      “All new helicopters must demonstrate this capability by law.”

      Ha, ha, ha!! Yes, by the law of physics! How stupid does the Mail think people are? All helicopters autorotate when they are falling or they would be unable to achieve lift under power.

      It’s really difficult to puzzle out the story in English newspapers because half of it is just creamy fluff for dunderheads. Interesting, though, because I did not hear of this incident when it happened. Also curious to see them rule out sabotage before the investigation is complete or even in fact completely underway. Perhaps they mean the helicopter is always under police guard and all the police are completely trustworthy. I still wouldn’t rule anything out until the investigation has been done.

    • Jen says:

      Don’t forget that the former editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Udo Ulfkotte, did say publicly that the CIA bribes journalists on all major mainstream news media outlets in Germany, and goes so far as to dictate to journalists what to write and say.
      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-10-09/german-journalist-blows-whistle-how-cia-controls-media

      BTW were the brakes on that car that Jorg Haider had been driving when he had the fatal accident ever checked? The car was a government car and it was only 3 months old. He died early in the morning as well. The official story is that he had been speeding and that his blood alcohol level was 3 times over the legal limit. There were claims also that he’d been at a gay bar before his death but they were never proved and his widow has gone on record saying Haider was not gay. The circumstances surrounding his death and the proof offered (which proof of course could always be suspect – the blood alcohol readings could have been subject to a swap) seem whiffy.

      I looked over the Wikipedia account and other accounts of Haider’s death for the mystery car that was coming from the opposite direction and which flashed a strobe light at Haider, disorienting him and sending him down the embankment. Of course, I didn’t find it and readers will say well of course I didn’t find it because such a car didn’t exist but absence of presence doesn’t always mean presence of absence and the context was perfect for a ghost car to turn up.

      Incidentally Slobodan Milosevic was supposed to have been the target of an MI6 staged car crash assassination plot.
      http://www.inside-news.ch/shayler/!milosev.htm

  20. Warren says:

    Brazilian oil company Petrobras sued by US city

    The US city of Providence, Rhode Island is suing the Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras over investor losses due to a corruption scandal.

    Unlike other class actions, some of the company’s senior executives have also been named as defendants.

    Providence alleges that Petrobras made false statements to investors that inflated the company’s value.

    Its lawyers say that when the corruption scandal broke, the city’s investments plummeted.

    So far, 39 people in Brazil have been indicted on charges that include corruption, money laundering and racketeering.

    They have been accused of forming a cartel to drive up the prices of major Petrobras infrastructure projects and of channelling money into a kickback scheme at Petrobras to pay politicians.

    The executives could face sentences of more than 20 years in jail.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-30607403

    • katkan says:

      Good. They can offer to pay compensation out of their prison pay, which would be about 79 cents a day.

      Stupid city should not be gambling on the stock exchange with citizen’s school fees and road taxes.

      • Warren says:

        I think this law suit is a provocation against Brazil, the US made no secret of its disappointment at Dilam Rosseff’s re-election. The US wants to break Brazil away from the BRICS alliance. Russian Minister for defence technology Dmitry Rogozin was in Brazil last week, to promote cooperation between the two states.

    • colliemum says:

      Interesting.
      I seem to remember some reports from a few years ago that money meant to ‘stimulate’ the US economy went to support Petrobras, because some of these executives were Obama cronies.

    • et Al says:

      This is the US making friends.

      Well when things really hits the fan, this is what America will do. Blame everyone one else except themselves and probably requisition foreign assets on American soil. No wonder the Netherlands and others are bringing their gold home from the US. It’s gonna be ugly.

  21. Warren says:

    I wonder if the Indians have paid attention to the Mistral saga, and fall into the same trap of being reliant on France to fulfill its contractual obligations?

    I can envisage a scenario in the future when US and Indian interests collide, and the US pressurises France not sell sensitive military and technology to India.

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, so can I; were India to start holding joint naval exercises with the Russian navy, for instance, I can see the USA pushing France to hold up construction of LPD’s. That, however, is in all probability why India insists it build the ships in India. But the USA might pressure France – which, face it, is a marshmallow when confronted with American-style determination – to hold up the transfer of critical systems which are made in France and installed afterward, such as the navigation suite.

      The more immediate question, of course, is will India follow through with its expected commitment to buy Rafale fighters from France rather than develop the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) project with Sukhoi and Russia? The west has cast India’s most likely enemy as China, and consequently might not interfere in a French deal to supply fighters, reasoning that a check against China might be to their advantage. However, Hollande has demonstrated that he will cave in to U.S. pressure on weapons deals in which the USA is not in any way involved, and France is consequently an unreliable partner in international arms deals. The FGFA is a PAK-FA derivative and therefore likely a far better aircraft anyway, and if India perceives building in India as a desirable situation, it would find Russia a much more willing partner there as well.

  22. patient observer says:

    Lest we forget – the American Kreakly

    BTW, the purported “creative” class has simply confused self-absorption and narcissism with creativity.

  23. Just a random question. Crimea has been part of Russia for 9 months now. Why is Crimea still dependent of Ukraine on electricity? I’m no expert but building a grid line from Russia via the straight of Kerch should not take more than 9 months.

    • Have they even started to build a grid line via Kerch straight yet?

      • yalensis says:

        I hope so, but I don’t know anything about electrical grid.
        Will they have to build the cable under the water?
        I have the impression that the Russian authorites have been just playing it by ear, without a solid plan.
        Even Russia’s decision to deliver coal to Ukraine (without prepayment) is said to be a response to Ukrainian blackmail, when they shut down electricity to Crimea.

        • I know that Finland will build an undersea electricity cable to Estonia via gulf of Finland. And gulf of Finland is a lot wider than the straight of Kerch.

          This should be a top priority for Russia. I agree that Russia’s decision (=concession) to provide Ukraine with cheap coal and electricity WITHOUT PRE-PAYMENT is directly linked to Ukraine’s ability to cut Crimea from electricity.

          I have not read about Russia building an undersea cable to Crimea, but it would seem like a very logical and beneficial thing to do. If Russia has not yet started to build the cable then I don’t know what they are thinking in Moscow.

          • marknesop says:

            As I said earlier, a cable is pretty useless without a power source at one end. You can’t just plug it into a wall socket in the nearest Russian house.

            • Hmmm. Russia exports electricity to Ukraine that exports electricity back to Russia (Crimea). Ukraine is an unneeded middleman in between. Undersea cable would solve the problem.

              • marknesop says:

                Does Russia export electricity to Ukraine from a power plant on the other side of the Kerch Strait from Crimea? If so, yes, they could simply stop supplying Ukraine and supply Crimea instead. Cable-laying by ship does not take long; the vessel simply steams along slowly, reeling out cable as it goes, after a seabed survey has determined the location is safe for cable-laying. Seabed cabling that is laid in waters shallower than 50m (none of the Kerch Strait is that deep) must be buried, so the ship has to deploy a plow to dig a trench into which the cable is laid, so it’s not as fast as cable-laying in the deep oceans, but still it does not take months.

              • patient observer says:

                Hey, had a great idea! Why doesn’t the EU string up some power lines and cut the Russians out totally! No middleman! No money to the evil Russians! How hard can it be? Poland, Romania, etc. certainly must have an advance infrastructure and plenty of EU know how. Should just take a few months. What’s the holdup?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        The buff coloured lines show electrical power supply cables.

        Новороссийск поделится электричеством с Крымом

        Novorossiisk will share electricity with Crimea

        For the supply of electricity to the Crimea there is to be built in Novorossiisk a gas-fired power plant whose capacity will be 600 megawatts, stated the newspaper Vedomosti on April 23, citing a ministry source. According to the publication, calculations and plans for the project have been completed by the “Energonetproject” and “System Operator” institutes.

        For supplying the Crimea with electricity there is going to be built in Novorossiisk a gas-fired power plant whose capacity will be 600 megawatts, , writes the newspaper Vedomosti on April 23, citing a ministry source. According to the publication, calculations and plans for the project have been completed at the institutes “Energonetprojekt” and “System Operator”.

        This is what has been assumed In Novorossiisk, anyway, concerning the provision of electrical power generation. The fact is, though, that the city is situated in the south-western power system area of the Krasnodar region. The “2009-2013 Scheme and Programme for the Development of Electrical Power Stations in Russia” has projected a power deficit that will be supplemented by the construction of new facilities or the delivery of electricity from areas of energy surplus, for example, from the Rostov power station.

        Experts who have responded to the publication’s enquiries concerning this matter have estimated the cost of a thermal power plant in Novorossiisk to be between 20 and 30 billion rubles, that of a submarine cable to be 20 billion rubles and that of a transmission lineto be10 billion rubles. Another 10-15 billion rubles will be required for the modernization of distribution networks. According to sources, the ministry would prefer to conclude a contract with a foreign company, as this would be cheaper and faster than using domestic, state-owned companies. This work in the Crimea is fraught with political risks that scare off a large part of foreign investors.

        As alternatives, the agency has considered the construction of a 1,320 megawatt generating capacity in the Crimea, or cabling across the Kerch Strait. A third option would have been an intermediate one, wherein on the peninsula there would be a power station with a capacity of 500-600 MW, the rest of the power demand being transmitted by an underwater cable.

        The Crimea is experiencing a shortage of electricity and on the peninsula there is being generated only 10% to 30% of its power requirement, which is estimated to be 1,400 megawatts. The shortage of electricity in the Crimea is being made up by supplies from the Ukraine.

        After the Crimea had been annexed by Russia, according to those in power on the peninsula, the Ukrainian national power supply company “Ukrenergo” reduced the power supply by half. It was then announced later in Kiev that the power cut had taken place because of repair work on electrical power lines.

        ————————————————————————————————————————
        Clearly, Russia is weak and can never overcome the might of the West!

        The above article is from RBK (РБК) – “Russian Business Consulting”

        That business rag likes to talk about Russian annexation of the Ukraine and “those in power on the peninsula”.

        I have noticed how in recent months freebie copies of РБК have been replacing the ever diminishing numbers of that arse-wipe “The Moscow Times” at various distribution ponts in the capital that I am forced to frequent, namely major Western corporation reception areas, hotels, strip clubs, gay bars, whorehouses and the like.

        • katkan says:

          “According to sources, the ministry would prefer to conclude a contract with a foreign company, as this would be cheaper and faster than using domestic, state-owned companies. This work in the Crimea is fraught with political risks that scare off a large part of foreign investors.”

          Gotcha Gotcha.

          Only the WEST is up to saving Russia with this important scheme. But silly Russia has made this impossible by being SCARY. So sad.

          Actually they might get China to help, as they no doubt have parts ready made for some power scheme of their own that can be easily put off for a few months. These don’t have to be “designed” — the way China is electrifying, 800MW plants are mass produced commodity items.

        • marknesop says:

          You are forced to frequent gay bars and whorehouses? Jeez – what kind of work do you do? Do they have any openings? I’ll make you a bargain – get me a job there, and you can do all the gay bar visits! Think how progressive that will make you! I’ll do the others.

          • Jen says:

            You do realise that in the Moscow where Moscow Exile lives, all clubs, restaurants and hotels (even the so-called 5-star hotels for Westerners) must multi-task as gay bars, pole-dancing / lap-dancing venues, brothels, Hell-fire BDSM dungeons, pick-up joints and the like simply to survive. That is the reality of life in the Land of Mordor.

    • marknesop says:

      Just a guess, but I imagine the power supply in the region is not adequate for taking on another 2 million customers. Russia would likely have to build a new power plant first, plus a distribution network on the Crimean side of the strait, then link the two. And the power plant itself would need a source; either coal-fired like in Ukraine, or hydroelectric (I don’t know of any source in that region which would supply a hydroelectric plant) or gas-fired. So the infrastructure for the new plant has to be created as well.

      • There is enough electricity generation in Russia to export electricity to Ukraine. So I think it would be possible to supply Crimea directly without having to export electricity to Ukraine first.

      • Jen says:

        There is a hydroelectric station at Volgograd which supplies electricity to the Donbass via a powerline so one option would be to build a power-line through Rostov and Krasnodar oblasts and through the Kerch Strait.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HVDC_Volgograd%E2%80%93Donbass
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volga_Hydroelectric_Station

        The station would have to be upgraded to supply electricity to Crimea if it’s already operating at full capacity because it supplies to Moscow as well.

        • katkan says:

          It took them about 4 or 5 months to build cables from Volgograd to feed Donbass. Overland this involves building towers as well, which an undersea cable doesn’t need…but it needs waterproofed cable which also has to be made first.

          Donbass also has other supplies and is much smaller than Crimea. So it comes back down to generation capacity. Some of what goes to Crimea is (theoretically) generated by other Ukrainian stations. Let’s forget where it comes from. It gets down to Crimea is fed X amount from Ukraine therefore owes for X amount. Russia “pays” for Crimea power by sending coal or ready-made electricity. Simple. So taking delivery but not sending it on to Crimea is STEALING. What else is new?

          There is an unfinished nuclear power station at Shcholkine in the Crimea. Last worked on in the 1980;s this is unlikely to be revived. The building is now privately owned and used a bit as a minor tourist attraction. There is a tiny wind and solar industry, meeting about 6% of regional needs. There are 3 thermal station in Crimea but these are not enough to meet all needs. The Simferopol station had to be closed down earlier in the week due to an overheating problem but is now back up. They also have between 900 and 14000 mobile generators (sources vary on the count) but they use 1/2 ton of diesel each a day, and that also has to come from somewhere. These are not hooked to the grid, either, but tend to be running hospitals and communications.

  24. Russia playing nice guy again. From Sputnik News.

    Russia has agreed on a new deal to supply coal and electricity to Ukraine, which is struggling with a lack of raw fuel for power plants due to a separatist conflict in the industrial east, Russian officials said on Saturday.

    The move comes a day after Kiev said it would suspend train and bus services to Crimea, effectively creating a transportation blockade to and from the region annexed by Moscow in March this year. Kiev has briefly cut off electricity to Crimea before.
    Russia will supply coal and electricity to Kiev without advance payment as a goodwill gesture from President Vladimir Putin, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS news agency.
    “Putin made a decision to start these supplies due to the critical situation with energy supplies and despite a lack of prepayment,” Peskov said.
    Russia plans to supply 500,000 tonnes of coal to Ukraine per month, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak told Rossiya 24 television. It is ready to supply another 500,000 tonnes per month if an additional agreement is reached, he added.
    Ukraine’s coal reserves stand at 1.5 million tonnes compared with normal winter stocks of 4-5 million tonnes, according to energy ministry data.
    The country used to be self-sufficient in electricity, but months of fighting a pro-Russian uprising has disrupted coal supplies to thermal power plants, which had generated around 40 percent of its power.
    Last week Ukraine’s energy minister, Voldymyr Demchyshyn, said he was holding talks with Russia’s energy ministry on coal and power supplies. Earlier attempts to import Russian coal have been hampered by supplies being held up at the border.
    Supplies will come at Russian domestic prices, Kozak said, adding that he hoped the move would help ensure reliable energy supplies to Crimea.
    He did not say whether the transportation hold-ups at the border had been resolved.
    Russia will also supply electricity to Ukraine, Kozak said, without giving supply volumes.
    Kiev’s pro-Western government has accused Russia of orchestrating the rebellion in Ukraine’s east, a charge Moscow denies.

    • “Russia will supply coal and electricity to Kiev without advance payment as a goodwill gesture from President Vladimir Putin,”

      How nice of Russia.

      • yalensis says:

        Yeah, like I said above, it’s response to Ukie blackmail.

      • patient observer says:

        Fear, vengefulness or arrogance would justify a different response. Russia has none of these.

        If Russia were a business it would be doing well in the market by building a great reputation for customer service and warranty support. Their less-than-ethical competition would respond by smear campaigns and dirty tricks.

        Even if the management of the competition had a come-toJesus moment, it would make no difference because their employees have no experience, no processes, no procedures to operate differently. Essentially, their corporate culture, vision and mission consigns them to unethical and “dirty” behavior until the doors are closed, the lights turned off and the “out of business” sign hung from the chain link fence.

        If I were responsible for seeking a supplier, a company acting like Russia would have a considerable advantage over the better known but unethical competition.

        Business analogies can be quite useful at times and this is one of them.

        • So you really see this as a goodwill move against Ukraine, and not something that Russia just had to do because of Ukraine’s blackmail over Crimea’s energy supplies?

          But if we pretend that you are right then Russia should have at least demanded pre-payment for its coal and electricity.

          • patient observer says:

            If Russia were to withhold electricity or coal imports to Ukraine, the damage to Ukraine would be orders of magnitude more devastating than a Ukraine blockade of Crimean energy imports. Their economic “kill ratio” would be 10:1 figuratively so if they wanted merely to cause damage to millions of civilians, they should not sell coal or electricity.

            So what is motivating Russia? Try this – Russia does not want a country with tens of millions of destitute people on its border regardless of their political or religious beliefs. Heck, they don’t want Novarussia for that matter. Russia is offering the energy at a fair price which is to my mind fully justifiable on business as well as longer term objectives.

            Russia needed Crimea and they got it in the most humane, adroit and fair way possible. They had no interest in the rest of Ukraine.

            While you consistently attack Putin, note that the Russia population seems to be solidly behind him regarding Ukraine. They do not want to ride to the rescue.They support easing the suffering and seeking a peaceful resolution but do not want to invade much less take ownership of that mess. By your reckoning that makes the majority of Russians stupid and/or greedy and/or fearful as you seem to recognize no other human motivation in your world. How dismal.

            Regarding your question of prepayment, I don’t have the information to make a judgement. A company or country always has recourse for those who do not pay their bills.

          • Fern says:

            Karl, I wonder if you’re not getting unnecessarily wound up here. If Russia has made this coal offer in response to Ukrainian blackmail, isn’t it likely to be a short-term pragmatic solution to the problem of ensuring continuation of the power supply to Crimea? Russians are not exactly dumbos when it comes to engineering projects so sorting out Crimea’s utilities must be more complicated than it seems. Sometimes a situation has to be tolerated until it can be ultimately resolved and eliminated. As with gas transit, Russia has put up with endless Ukrainian shenanigans for years but Gazprom has made it clear that its ultimate goal is to take Ukraine out of the game.

            There’s another issue which is a kind of spin off from the points patient observer makes below. I’ve long suspected that Kiev wants large-scale deaths from the cold which can be laid at Russia’s door thus cranking up the propaganda and sanctions machines. The coal transports head that off at the pass as well as, hopefully, making more Ukrainians think about who is actually offering real, practical help – the EU that prates about values non-stop but is actually absent of any or Russia.

            • patient observer says:

              Yes, that is a good extrapolation of what I was trying to say. Russia is not interested in revenge or body counts (that sort of focus is something quite Western where death becomes another metric in its “success”).

            • ThatJ says:

              “I’ve long suspected that Kiev wants large-scale deaths from the cold which can be laid at Russia’s door thus cranking up the propaganda and sanctions machines. The coal transports head that off at the pass as well as, hopefully, making more Ukrainians think about who is actually offering real, practical help – the EU that prates about values non-stop but is actually absent of any or Russia.”

              You make a good point, but I have a minor disagreement: if it was up to me, I would have waited perhaps two weeks before stating that I will supply the coal, so that the Ukies can feel the cold up and close. This idea rests on the assumption that the gesture of goodwill by Russia will be more impacting when Ukrainians are most in need.

              • marknesop says:

                I would have supplied assistance only to eastern Ukraine for a month or two, so that rump Ukrainians could have simultaneously been cold and shivering while the eastern cities were warm and toasty and well-fed. That would make the point and also cut the easterners a break for a change while the rest of Ukraine was worse off, which I’m sure would not be lost on them.

                Which just suggests neither of us is particularly visionary and that neither of us would make a very good national leader.

          • Paul says:

            Not that it is worth much, but various reports on Twitter had a deal being worked out by the usual suspects, such as Medvedchuk. Simply due to the Crimea. A loser for Putin, perhaps, as morale is damaged by helping what is seen as the enemy. Of course, a big problem with paying blackmail is that it can get worse quickly.

            • marknesop says:

              I can’t imagine too many people will see it as blackmail, and that Ukraine is turning the screw on a gasping, frightened Russia, because it would probably be cheaper in the long run for Russia to buy and ship a million generators plus fuel for them to Crimea and give Ukraine nothing. It’s not as if there are no alternatives but to give in to the junta, while it is fairly obvious the motive is pity for ordinary Ukrainians and understanding that not everyone feels as the Banderites do. It is well-known that kindness pays dividends, and the USA used to exercise this sort of soft power all the time. They sort of drifted away from it since Madeleine Albright pointed out the advantages of using their great big powerful military instead, to force people to do as Americans want them to do. I don’t recall that on the occasions they used to deploy foreign aid, people used to snicker that they were being blackmailed by the country that was the recipient of assistance.

      • marknesop says:

        It might pay off, you never know. As others have pointed out, the only side with a percentage in preaching Russian hate round the clock is the Banderites, and their ally is the European Union. What’s the EU doing for Ukrainians? I’m sure they’re not so dumb that they don’t notice; that’s what soft power is. You probably don’t recognize it because the west has gradually gone out of the soft-power business, replacing it with the regime-change business.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The Crimea was not annexed by Moscow.

  25. yalensis says:

    For those interested:
    Here is link to Anatoly Wasserman’s show from 26 December.

  26. yalensis says:

    Ultimate Cage fighter Alexei Oleynik explains why he wore a Putin T-shirt to his Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight match. And he doesn’t pull any punches (pun intended):

    «Почти все мои родственники и по линии отца, и по линии матери живут на Украине, и все они поддержали меня в этом решении. Но мало того, мне пришла, наверное, тысяча сообщений в соцсетях и от незнакомых людей с Украины, и почти все они писали: «Донбасс с тобой!», «Киев с тобой!», «Запорожье с тобой!». То есть люди позитивно отреагировали на то, что я выразил свою гражданскую позицию. Выйдя в футболке с Путиным, я выразил свое одобрение и к Владимиру Владимировичу, и к той политике, которую проводит Россия в его лице. Но были и два-три сообщения, где мне написали, что я продался», – рассказал Олейник.

    TRANSLATION
    “Almost all my relatives, both on my father’s side and on my mother’s side, live in Ukraine; and they all supported me in this decision [to wear a Putin T-shirt]. Not only that, but I received probably a thousand messages on social media and from people I don’t even know in Ukraine, and almost all of them wrote: “Donbass is with you.” “Kiev is with you.” “Zaporozhie is with you.” That is to say, people reacted positively to my expressing my political position. Coming out wearing the Putin T-shirt, I expressed my support for Vladimir Vladimirovich, and for that policy which Russia is conducting under his leadership. Admittedly, there were 2 or 3 messages where they wrote to me, that I was a traitor.”

  27. yalensis says:

    Also in sports news:
    Russian national figure skating championships just finished in Sochi, and here are the results .

    Ladies individual:
    Gold = Elena Radionova
    Silver = Elizaveta Tuktamysheva
    Bronze = Evgenia Medvedeeva

    Mens individual:
    Gold = Maxim Kovtun [Kovtun is a serving member of Russian armed forces]
    Silver = Sergei Voronov
    Bronze = Adian Pitkeev

    Pairs:
    Gold = Ksenia Stolbovaya/Fedor Klimov
    Silver = Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov
    Bronze = Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov

    Ice Dance:
    Gold = Elena Ilyinykh/Ruslan Zhiganshin
    Silver = Ksenia Mon’ko/Kirill Khalyavin
    Bronze = Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin

    The videos of the performances are not yet up on youtube.
    But here is slightly older clip of men’s individual bronze medalist Adian Pitkeev, showing off one of his short programs:

    • colliemum says:

      Aww – what happened to Yulia Lipnitskaya?

      • Drutten says:

        She’s had a rather bad season since the Olympics, instead it’s been Elena Radionova and perhaps most strikingly, Liza Tuktamysheva (who won the world Grand Prix finals in Barcelona a few weeks ago) that have impressed. Liza broke her foot not long ago and did poorly at the Russian Grand Prix, but then came back with a vengeance.

        Yes, I am a bit of a figure skating buff. That, ice hockey and curling. I guess as long as it’s on ice, me likey.

        • Drutten says:

          Here is her short program, perfect execution:

          • colliemum says:

            Thanks – very nice, but what do I know …. I still like little Yulia better …

            😉

            • Drutten says:

              Little Yulia has her charm, of course, and I think the reason she had such a tough year was because of all the crazy presssure. I’m sure she’ll come back too.

              I myself was very impressed by Alyona Leonova at the Japanese Grand Prix (NHK Trophy), though unfortunately she didn’t make it to the GP finals. Her Chaplin-esque SP performance was a tad unconventional but undoubtedly delightful:

          • marknesop says:

            While we’re on the subject of sport, has anyone seen a credible refutation of German ARD’s explosive accusation that 99% of Russia athletes won their titles because of doping? When I mentioned to my son that a member of the Russian Federation’s Olympic team had been here for breakfast a couple of weeks ago, his response was to inquire if she had brought a big bag for all her syringes, and to lecture me on Russia’s scandalous doping record. I was so angry for most of the day I could barely see straight, and I wanted to throw things – my whole family is obviously not Russophilic, and my son is very pro-American; you see what I have to deal with. I would very much like to see this ridiculous accusation thrown back in ARD’s face.

            • Jen says:

              Apparently the World Anti-Doping Authority, RUSADA (the Russian Anti-Doping Agency) and the International Association of Athletics Federations are carrying out investigations into the allegations. I should think though that the figure of 99% is so extreme that people would be laughing that off. How many sports are there that people can use performance-enhancing drugs in ways that organisers of major international sports events like the Olympics and world championships are failing to pick up? If 99% of Russian athletes have won their titles because of doping, then a considerable percentage of Western athletes have done the same and the relevant sports regulation agencies and the laboratories used to test blood and urine samples are not doing their job but simply waiving penalties and punishments.

              The only Russian athletes so far who I’ve heard of who have been busted for taking drugs are the marathon runner Lidia Shobukhova, the race walker Yulia Lashmanova and the discus thrower Evgenia Pecherina. In at least one of these cases (Shobukhova), the athlete was caught by Russian authorities themselves. The fact that a number of Russian athletes have been exposed in recent years might suggest that the Russian sports authorities are now serious about cleaning up their respective sports as opposed to sports authorities in other countries. The US runner Marion Jones was exposed as a drug cheat by sports journalists, not by US athletics officials.

        • colliemum says:

          Thanks for the info!
          I’m no buff at all, but do watch these things when it’s the Winter Olympics, and was impressed by her as well as that Japanese boy who got the Gold.
          Curling – ah well, that’s what our Scottish friends do … here in Wales, it’s the oval ball which is more important than anything else.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I guess as long as it’s on ice, me likey.

          You’re not telling me you like doing this, are you?

          The above person is a Yukie, by the way, fishing on the Dnieper.

          Although I must say this kettle of fish looks tasty:

          Again, in Ukropia.

          Hell’s bells! This must be the most uncomfortable and mind numbing activity in the world!

          Above photograph taken in Mother Russia, in Yekaterinburg to be exact.

          • Drutten says:

            I do like ice fishing. The mild winters as of late has made it difficult down here (Stockholm area) with very short seasons or no season at all, but when I can I go up north. Another plus is the joy of snowmobiling up there, in order to get to the best mountain lakes where trout and arctic char is plentiful.

            On the topic of skating though, I am terrible. My father tried to get me to play bandy (big here and in Russia but pretty much nowhere else) when I was a little kid, but he eventually gave up. I have no talent for that kind of thing, but I still enjoy watching anything skatey. No, skiing (cross-country) is more my cup of tea.

            • james says:

              i used to ice fish as a kid growing up in ontario. and i am still a good skater having done a great amount of that when young as well.. they are both pleasurable activities in spite of how it might look rather cold and foreboding..

  28. Moscow Exile says:

    The truth will out?

    From US Today:

    Retirees starve in rebel-held eastern Ukraine

    This would not be happening now had Russia not been so weak!

    This is all Putin’s fault!

    (sarc)

    • katkan says:

      Well it IS their fault. Whoever heard of only sending ONE food convoy a week?

      Akhmetov’s convoys, that he filled up in Ukraine thus helping the local economy, are being held up by Dnepr-1, but only because they are either full of armaments or because “Russian” fighters wear nappies and eat baby food.

  29. ThatJ says:

    Oh, the claims or should I say propaganda that Russian athletes are a bunch of undeserving cheaters are not new. Recall that in Rocky IV, there’s a scene of the Soviet boxer Ivan Drago receiving a dope shot.

    Advance to 2:44 to see the scene.

    Meanwhile, Rocky is all natural. No crazy scientists or computers aiding him.

    • Drutten says:

      It’s kinda funny in a way, the actor who played “Ivan Drago” – Dolph Lundgren – is Swedish, and he has detailed his exercise program for “Rocky IV” in a number of Swedish publications. So when he got the part, Stallone told him he needed to bulk up and he did, a lot. In fact, his strict eating and exercise regime made him so huge and powerful that he easily knocked Stallone out in real life during filming. Then again Lundgren had a predisposed advantage in terms of stature too, he is 194 centimeters tall, compared to Stallones measly 175.

      Anyway, Hollywood is rife with propaganda as we all know and that particular flick really showcases it well too. You have the slab-faced, doped-up, indoctrinated and generally artificial Russian monster versus the jolly, all-natural Americans. In the movie you got the James Brown “Livin’ In America” number too, the sad death of Apollo Creed after the aforementioned Russian totally disregarded the rules of sportsmanship, the glorious return of Rocky as he goes to a snow-covered Russia and beats the Russians at exercising the Russian way (while being constantly monitored by evil KGB guys) and at the very end you have the Russian crowds realizing the superiority of America and beginning to root for Rocky.

      It’s quite hilarious, really. But anyway, while I’m positive that both Sly and Dolph have used performance-enhancing drugs at some point, the difference in physical attributes in the film is a far less sensational affair.

      • Jen says:

        Dolph Lundgren used to work part-time as a nightclub bouncer in Sydney while he was studying for a postgraduate degree in chemical engineering at Sydney University. That was how he met Grace Jones (she was touring Australia at the time, spotted him at the club where he worked and decided to hire him as a bodyguard; they later became a couple) and she was the one who encouraged him to go into modelling and then into the movies. So he was already quite fit before he began his acting career.

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, I know, but this claim suggests doping on such a massive scale that those who do not are a sliver minority, whilst self-centered British athletes are demanding to be awarded higher medals from competitions long past, on the grounds their Russian opponents were probably taking performance-enhancing drugs. It is fairly obvious that the aim is to exclude Russian athletes from international competition altogether, probably brought about by the United States through its German toadies.

  30. Warren says:

    Georgians seem to have adopted the Ukrainian approach to parliamentary debate.

    • yalensis says:

      The “opposition” are the Saakashvili minions, by the way.

      To quote Hans Sachs, after a similar brawl in the town of Nürnberg, and this lament goes even more for a Banderite than for a Gruzian Opp:

      Wahn, Wahn, überall Wahn!
      In Flucht geschlagen, wähnt er zu jagen.
      Hört nicht sein eigen Schmerzgekreisch.
      Wenn er sich wühlt ins eig’ne Fleisch, wähnt Lust sich zu erzeigen!

      Madness, madness, everywhere madness!
      Driven into flight, he thinks that he is the hunter.
      He does not hear his own cry of pain.
      When he rips his own flesh, he thinks he is pleasuring himself!

    • marknesop says:

      You can just imagine how they would have been characterized as hooting monkeys if it had taken place in Russia. To the credit of the media that screened it, the commentator does seem appalled, although he has to get in the dig that the Georgian government is perceived to have been acting out of “pro-Russian” motives. It seems these days that you are either “pro-Russian”, or behaving sensibly.

    • james says:

      it’s so becoming of those who like wearing ”suit jackets” and shaving, lol..

  31. Warren says:

    Just when you thought Edward Lucas could not be more ridiculous.

    • Warren says:

      I kindly pointed out this map to Edward Lucas to explain why his argument is faulty.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I should imagine that the vast majority of those 2 million Ukrainians living in Russia have Russian as their mother tongue.

      Seventeen years ago my house dvornik (yard sweeper) was a Ukrainian. She spoke Russian with a Ukrainian accent and told my wife about a bloody awful foreigner that lived in our house and who lobbed his empty beer bottles out of the window on the 2nd floor where he lived. She told my wife she’d seen him do this many times. She said that the miscreant was a Swede. My wife asked her what he looked like.

      Guess whose description she gave her?

      God Jul och ett Gott nyår!

      I blame the salo and the low iodine content of their diet.

      🙂

      By the way, the dvorniki round here have long beenTadzhiks – for at least 10 years, I reckon. They’re all right. This time of year they’re up well before the crack of dawn at about 06:00, sweeping the snow away – dawn being about 08:45 tomorow and the temperature forecast at minus 15C (5F).

      They don’t think I’m Swedish.

  32. Warren says:

    A CONVERSATION WITH ESTONIA’S PRESIDENT
    “We Have Allowed Aggression to Stand”
    DAVID J. KRAMER
    The Transatlantic community paved the way for Russian aggression well before the Ukraine crisis. says Estonia’s President, Toomas Ilves.

    In late November, David J. Kramer, currently senior director for human rights and democracy at the McCain Institute and former president of Freedom House, met with Estonian President Toomas Ilves at the Halifax International Security Forum to discuss Russian aggression, corruption, and the collapse of the post-Cold War security order.

    David J. Kramer: Mr. President, thanks very much for doing this. Let’s start with a question about the security environment you face. How safe and secure do you feel in light of the situation in Ukraine? Your country was the target of a cyber attack in 2007, so this is not the first time Russia has posed a threat in the region.

    Toomas Ilves: Well, I don’t think in regional terms, although there are regional manifestations of the deterioration. Since the invasion and annexation of Crimea, we’ve seen the collapse of the Transatlantic security environment as we’ve known it. We could start with the UN charter, which forbids aggression, but in the Transatlantic space the basis for security has been the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, which specifically forbids a change in borders through force or threat of force. That no longer holds…

    http://www.the-american-interest.com/2014/12/22/we-have-allowed-aggression-to-stand/

    • katkan says:

      What planet are they on?
      ” As we saw in the Maidan, they’re willing to freeze for months on end, even to die, to be free.People want to be free. As we saw in the Maidan, they’re willing to freeze for months on end, even to die, to be free. It was not a cynical, manipulative game, as people like John Mearsheimer would have you believe. Shouldn’t Ukrainians, too, have the right to decide their future?”

      Change “Maidan” and “Ukrainian” to “Donbass” and it is the same story, can’t they see that? This darned exceptionalism must be highly contagious.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        It was only cold one week on the Maidan earlier this year, when there were sub-zero Celsius temperatures. The rest of the winter in Kiev was unseasonably mild with above zero Celsius temperatures throughout. Check out the You Tube videos of the peaceful protests.

    • marknesop says:

      Interesting that he highlights the UN Charter’s forbidding of aggression, yet seems not to notice that Ukraine moved against the eastern civilian population with its entire army, except what they kept back for Victory Day parades in the capital. That would not be tolerated anywhere else, and in fact Yanukovych’s deployment of only riot police in Kiev was sufficient to send Lady Ashton into fits of protestation. This demonstrates louder than words that the principal western powers – the USA and UK – have complete control of the UN and can muzzle it when they choose to do so. The UN is not an impartial international arbiter and its rulings can be safely ignored.

    • Fern says:

      President Toomas seems remarkably ill-informed for a person in his position since he professes to believe that Russia was the aggressor in Georgia in 2008 and that the EU Association Agreement with Ukraine is really about non-contentious issues such as teacher exchange programmes. Is there anybody in the Baltics capable of talking sense?

  33. yalensis says:

    Watch this commentary by Shariy as he takes apart a youtube video about an event that happened a couple of days ago in Vinnytsia, Ukraine.

    The basic plot: A group of masked boys (who appear to be around 15 years old) led by an 18-year-old girl named Vita Zaverukha . Vita is known to be (a) a hard-core Nazi, and (b) mentally retarded.
    Vita leads her youthful troop of “ATO” warriors into the office of a local business called “Stroi Market Domofon”. (A company which produces home security devices — from what I can tell, they ARE majority Russian company, but with branches in Ukraine.)
    Vita accuses them of being a Russian company and thus funding Separatists. The woman office manager replies that the firm is not Russian-owned, it is registered in Vinnytsia, employs local staff, and pays taxes to the city of Vinnytsia. Vita continues to threaten the woman. The woman eventually pushes the alarm button and calls the security guard. The bouncer arrives, he challenges the masked newcomers. He debates with the clearly mentally deficient girl. She attacks him with her purse. (6:50 minutes in.)

    This act of violence triggers the fight that ends with the security guard being hustled outside by the masked boys. (Nobody knows what happened to him after that.) The police then arrive. Vita demands that they fire the woman officer manager. The police see the boys wearing masks, they act stupid and waffle, while they try to figure out which way the wind is blowing. Watch at 9:05 in, a very telling moment. One of the masked boys offscreen complains, “THEY started it!” and the cop nods understandingly.
    Vita shows them her party card (10:40), proving that she is a member of “Aidar” Battalion. She tells them that she is on a special “mission” to root out terrorists and separatists (in Vinnytsia! – fully government-controlled Wester Ukraine!)
    The police back off, clearly intimidated by this mentally retarded 18-year-old. They make it clear to her that they are on her side, she is free to do whatever she likes. Invade any business she pleases. Beat up anybody who stands in her way.

    Shariy provides horrified but also funny (in a horrific way) commentary on the events as they transpire. The look on Shariy’s face is priceless, especially in the section where Vita flirts with the chief cop (11:08), as she complains about the firm and its ties to the Separatists.

    Shariy follows the video with background material on the girl (13:13), she is shown shooting and posing with Aidar Battalion, wearing a swastika T-shirt (13:54), heiling and zigging (14:26), etc. etc..

    Shariy ends his monologue with 4 questions:
    (1) Who gave this retard a gun?
    (2) When all the firms in Vinnytsia are closed, and everybody is unemployed, then who will fund the local budget?
    (3) Who is going to want to invest in a country where any business can be shut down by a group of retards at their whim, and the police won’t protect private property?
    (4) Is this what you were fighting for out on the Maidan (for those who were) ?

    Here is shorter version of the incident, just showing the first part, before the police arrive:

    • kirill says:

      This is all that Ukraine and its NATO puppet masters have. A collection of violent retards.

      It is vital for Russia to not throw these vermin any rope of assistance. I completely disagree with those that argue that Russia should not want a country of millions of destitute on its border. No. Russia should exactly want to have Ukraine breakdown to its roots and start from scratch. Consolidating the current situation would be a massive crime all by itself.

      • yalensis says:

        I made the mistake of actually studying Vita’s VKontakte page , in the hopes of “getting to know her” better. I scrolled all the way down to her early 2013 entries, before I gave up in horror.

        I have to change my opinion of Vita, however, when I said that she is “retarded”. She is not mentally retarded. I think she is more like schizophrenic. Sometimes on medication, sometimes not. She apparently went to school, studied web design, and shows a modicum of creativity in her posts and choice of material. On the other hand, some serious lapses of judgement in what she displays of herself to the world (including a very ponographic selfie).

        The one thing about her that is completely consistent, dating back to her earliest youth, is her ideology: racism, anti-Semitism, admiration of Hitler and Bandera, Ukrainian nationalism, and hatred of Moskali.

        As a sidebar, is it just me? or do other people see the illogic in the Banderites complaint; when they admire Hitler, but at the same time, use “Hitler” as a pejorative term when applied to Putin? If Putin = Hitler, then, logically, should they not like Putin?

        This is the part I don’t get!

        • Warren says:

          Isn’t VK a “Russian owned business”, ergo financing “separatists”? Surely Vita should engage in direct action against VK too?

        • Isn’t vKontakte Russian? I wonder why a Ukrainian far right nationalist would use a Russian social media.

          • marknesop says:

            And write in Russian rather than Ukrainian.

            • Southern Cross says:

              Igor Bezler can speak Ukrainian, incidentally.

              I mean, just reflect on that. Frigging Bezler can speak Ukrainian, but most Ukrainian nationalists can’t.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Yarosh can’t.

                Nor could Timoshenko until she decided to polish up her school Ukrainian, having decided to cease being a “businesswoman” and become a “politician”.

              • katkan says:

                Bezler was born in Simferperol to a Ukrainian mother and an ethnic German father; They moved to mainland Russia when he was a kid and he lived there most of his life, “returning” to Ukraine in retirement. He considers himself Russian. So it’s more nurture and soul than blood. Being Hungarian despite 12 different nationality great grandparents, I can fully understand this.

        • katkan says:

          They don’t really admire Hitler. And they know the whole world thinks he was bad, so it is ok to use the name for Putin.

          They admire Bandera and the nazi ideal — being exclusive, being the only real people (others being assorted bugs, colorados and subhuman). Russians in particular as they are to blame for Holodomor (which none of these kids nor their ancestors were in, as nobody survived to have descendants, remember?) and most of the population today is descended either from people who back then were in POLAND, or from people moved in by Stalin to repopulate the region. .At the same time they are the real Kiev Rus’ and therefore the ancestors of the Russians before they got polluted by Tatar Mongol and other eastern subhumanity.

          In a way they’ve also inherited Bandera’s vacillation and inconsistency, too. He changed his mind 3 times about who is the enemy. That is why he has a part of his history they can point to as being righteous (and conveniently forget the rest of it).

          Vita is not retarded. She was probably on something. Otherwise she’s a spoiled entitled psychopath with an attitude that makes your palm itch to smack that smirk off her face.

  34. yalensis says:

    Another view on why Russia is helping Ukraine by shipping in massive amounts of coal (and generously charging Russian internal prices, money which they may not even see anyhow).

    Why would they do this? It’s not about altruism, nor about Crimea; nor is this even a “PCP” (=Putin’s Cunning Plan).

    Rather, it’s all about the base. That is to say, nuclear power. Without electricity, Ukies may not be able to properly shut down their nuke power plants. Russia is scared of another Chernobyl. And if a Ukie nuke station blows up, then Crimea will be harmed, as well. Therefore, Russia is scared of what might happen and feels the need to keep Ukie electrical infrastructure up and running.

    This is one theory. As political pundit Irina Alksnis has written:
    “It’s simply the case that the svidomites have jumped their last jump, in just half a year they have ruined their own nuclear power infrastructure. (….) In just a year, a completely European country has been brought down to the level of a monkey wielding a grenade…”

    • katkan says:

      Well the Ukies are too proud and hating to buy Russian nuclear fuel, Russia won’t give them that sort of value on credit, they will keep using the Westinghouse stuff until THEY won’t give on credit either (ie early next year) and then EU, thank heavens, will FORCE them to “upgrade to EU security standards” so they will HAVE to shut them down. Just another one of their tricks for sending a country broke — Slovakia had to borrow more from IMF for their upgrade, PLUS more for importing electricity in the interim (several years). They sensibly still use Russian fuel. .

      But contrary to statements all over the place, nuclear only provides about 17% of Ukie power now, they’ve run them down and had to shut a few…Biggest NPP in Europe, Zaporozhye, only runs 3 of the 6 units, I think, not sure, it’s a fuel shortage thing.

    • katkan says:

      As for the coal, there is a strong possibility that Donbass coal is going for a scenic trip.

      Think about it. Three weeks ago Donbass was trying to force a deal with Kiev, Russia offered to sell some to Kiev, Novorossiya publicly told Russia not to wreck their business chances, they can’t publicly back down on one of their conditions (“stop shooting us”). but they need the income to pay the pensions (and miner’s wages) with.

      So an internal price is fair anyway. They will have to pay, it is one thing IMF does let them buy and it is cheaper than buying electricity from Russia. Suddenly Novorossiya is definitely staying on hyrvnia currency, too.

      They are already selling, for COD, to the two power stations that supply their oblasts, (Schastye and Slvayansk) so the people in the Ukie-occupied sections also get enough power (and those stations are not necessarily hooked to the national grid). I think these are actually from Akhmetov mines so his miners get paid, and he has to pay tax to the “state”.

      “Russian” coal can leave “towards Rostov”, go north along the border, re-enter north of Podpesochnoe Lake in occupied Luhansk.

      • Fern says:

        katkan, the ‘Kiev Post’ agrees with you although it phrases it slightly differently – in its version, Moscow is selling back to Kiev its own ‘stolen’ coal. Apparently OSCE observers (not that I place great weight on these guys and gals since they usually see, hear and speak whatever the West wants) have reported seeing a large number of coal trucks shuttling backwards and forwards over the border.

        http://www.kyivpost.com/content/kyiv-post-plus/moscow-offers-to-sell-kyiv-stolen-coal-as-nuclear-shutdown-adds-to-ukraines-energy-woes-376304.html

        • katkan says:

          I’ve seen their reports, and also numerous videos of quite impressive coal trains.

          The republics just decided, very reasonably IMHO, that if the coal was State owned, and they are now the State, it is now theirs. Zakharchenko doubled down on this yesterday by officially decreeing “nationalizing” all State-owned assets, including partial shares in some.

          Russia meanwhile knows better than us how bad that nuclear problem is and is not embarrassing them by mentioning it….stupid Kyiv Post chooses this moment to decide on a real-news style headline.

    • james says:

      that quote from irina alksnis is good ” In just a year, a completely European country has been brought down to the level of a monkey wielding a grenade…”

  35. et Al says:

    I am glad to read that Russia’s new defense posture now explicitly cites NATO a threat. It also relaxes the criteria for action in a way that would, as I interpret it, allows Russia to respond against states that are trying regime change in Russia.

    It is a logical follow up to the new Russian law on Foreign Agents that targets foreign sponsored ‘NGOs’ that that have been used in all the western sponsored en couleur (because it buggers up the the countries involved) revolutions, that is analogous to the US FARA Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.

    Either way, the message is clear: The backer/s of an NGO sponsored revolution will face action from Russia. This is clearly ‘push back’ and upping the risk considerably for such backers. In effect, this is to drive a terminal stake in to the color revolution vampire.

  36. Warren says:

    Sanctioned: Visa, MasterCard suspend servicing Russian banks in Crimea

    MasterCard and Visa have suspended service for Russian banks in Crimea, saying the decision complies with US sanctions.

    “According to the US sanctions imposed against Crimea on December 19, 2014, Visa currently cannot provide services and offer their products in the Crimea. This means that we can no longer issue or accept bank cards in Crimea, and service them in ATMs,” the company has confirmed to TASS.

    “As for the time period, these limitations will last until the sanctions are lifted from Crimea. At the moment it is unclear when this will happen; it will depend on the development of the political and diplomatic situation. VISA continues to follow closely the events and will provide you with the information as soon as it appears,”a statement to journalists added.

    The Central Bank of Russia has promptly responded saying Crimea banks continue to operate as usual, TASS says.

    “Russian credit institutions operating in the territory of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol work as usual, including the opening of bank accounts, transferring funds, and deposits and withdrawals of funds,” said the Central Bank.

    As of December 16, about 31 banks were operating in Crimea.

    Last week US President Barack Obama authorized individual and sectoral sanctions against Crimea. This included a ban on the export and import of goods, technology, and services, as well as new investment in the peninsula.

    The head of the Duma financial markets committee, Natalya Burykina, has said the move isn’t new and plastic cards haven’t been working in Crimea since March.

    “Visa did not provide a card service in Crimea,” Burykina said, as cited by RIA Novosti.

    She explained the cards in use since March had been issued by Russia’s Sberbank, and were part of their inner payment system.

    “This happened after Crimea joined Russia,” she said, adding that it’s the same with MasterCard.

    READ MORE: Obama authorizes ‘economic embargo’ on Russia’s Crimea

    In March Visa and MasterCard temporarily stopped servicing clients of blacklisted Russian banks, which triggered concerns in Russia over the excessive reliance on the Western financial system.

    Since then the Central Bank and economic ministers have accelerated efforts to develop a self-sufficient and independent financial system in Russia.

    On Friday, the CBR launched its domestic alternative to the SWIFT global system for banking transactions.

    READ MORE: CBR launches SWIFT alternative for domestic payments

    In mid-December, Russia’s sanctioned Rossiya and SMP banks started testing the country’s own payment system.

    Kiev cuts electricity, transportation
    On Friday, Ukraine also cut off electricity and train services to Crimea. It is the second time in a week that Crimea has been hit by blackouts because, according to the Ukrainian energy ministry, the peninsula failed to curb consumption as required.

    “There remains an energy deficit in Ukraine and they [Crimea] exceeded their limit and therefore electricity supplies were switched off. As soon as they return to the limit, they’ll be reconnected,” an energy ministry spokesman said.

    Ukraine’s state rail company has also ceased operating its Crimean service for an uncertain time, including both passenger and cargo trains to the Black Sea peninsula.

    “In order to ensure the safety of passengers … [the railway] will cut the route to Crimea off at Novooleksiyvka and Kherson,” the company said in a statement.

    http://rt.com/business/217867-visa-russia-banks-crimea/

    • PaulR says:

      What are people using for hotels, car rentals etc?

      The latest round of sanctions v. Crimea rather baffle me, as I can’t see what they are meant to achieve: https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2014/12/28/the-sanctions-puzzle/

      I would welcome enlightenment.

      • Jen says:

        PaulR: I have left a comment over on Paul’s article that you can read, as it’s fairly detailed, in which I suggest that the US’s use of sanctions against Iraq and Iran amount to imposing austerity programs on their people, and that the results of sanctioning and austerity are the same. In both cases, the economy is run down, mass unemployment and impoverishment result, and people have the choice of either capitulating to invasion (or accepting US / NATO military bases) or leaving as emigrants or refugees.

        • james says:

          the western banksters mafioso members visa and mastercard decide to join in the sanction fun.. no surprise their.. i hope no one was expecting anything different. expect more of the same.. sanctions aren’t based on anything rational, just like bullying isn’t based on anything rational, but bullying out of a sense of powerlessness and weakness.. it is up to russia to build a different system to say no to the bully.

  37. katkan says:

    Well either I was wrong about it, or they turned them back on again, or they’re not beng totally truthful about it, but seems Zaporozhye nuclear station DID have all 6 reactors running. Until one of them turned itself off again.
    http://rt.com/news/218199-ukraine-nuclear-reactor-shut/
    They say No.6 is running at 40% but “disconnected from the system” because of a fault. Odd. If it’s not producing electricity (ie steam ) then what is it running at 40% for? why don’t they turn it off? it’s on with Russian fuel rods, won’t bend if they try moving them.

    Story says 2 others are due for 30-year maintenance in February, I suspect they will declare it safe to extend that until spring. They were only built for 30 years so that is a total major overhaul. And going to be done by??? Americans? Japanese? more likely left off forever? although Westinghouse is working on some expensive “improved safety” , maybe for these two?? still going to be problem of paying for it, too.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The power station might just be running to produce steam for the district heating system that is evident in former soviet republics. It’s -7C (19.4F) in Kiev and minus 15C (5F) in Moscow as I now write at 09:00, 29th December, 2014.

      All power plants pump hot water that results from the condensation of the steam from the final-stage, low-pressure turbines in the generator hall around the area where the electricity is generated in order to heat buildings and there are further booster pumpng stations for each half-a-dozen or so blocks in the district to be heated.

      The central heating for buildings is turned on in October and off in May. Each summer the whole system is shut down for testing, repairing etc. – that’s when there’s no running hot water for a week or so, much to the delight of Western hacks, who dutifully report this prophylactic procedure every year, using this absence of hot water as an indication of the third-world nature of Russia. The Moscow Times always has a big article each year about this social scandal.

    • et Al says:

      Until one of them turned itself off again.

      Maybe they were following instructions from tech support?

      This clip can never be posted enough…

  38. yalensis says:

    Doug Bandow piece in Forbes : U.S. must not allow Ukraine to join NATO.

    Lively debate in comments section.

  39. patient observer says:

    Here is a very good and remarkably open video on the Angara launcher and the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. Nigeria with snow is it? Or Russia doesn’t make anything?

    • kirill says:

      The western trash talk against Russia just shows the inadequacy of the yaps. But it also serves to keep the western sheeple in line. Their egos are stroked about the superiority of their tribe.

  40. katkan says:

    DAMN DAMN DAMN DAMN

    THEY LIED …it was an actual NUCLEAR accident. Radiation about 14 times the normal permitted amount.

    IDIOTS.

    http://rusvesna.su/news/1419795639&usg=ALkJrhip0FU7Mf5KwKLNDZOYnfJ6oYKXLA
    New Chernobyl in Zaporozhye: in DNR report radiation leaks at the largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine | Russian Spring

    Even now there is a significant excess of the level of radiation in the region of Zaporizhzhya NPP. This is stated in a release sent to “Interfax” reported Deputy Chairman of the National Council of the People’s Republic of Donetsk Denis Pushilin.

    “Currently in the area of Zaporizhzhya background radiation exceeds the permissible level of 14 times. According to reports, the main reason for this is to stop November 28 the third power station, which occurred after a failed attempt to replace the core units of Russian-made products to the US company Western house ».

    Recall that in late November at the Zaporizhzhya really was an accident. There shut down the third power unit. However, as assured in the Ukrainian “Energoatom”, this event was not “neither nuclear nor any other accident” and did not result in any “radiological consequences.” And today it was reported that at Zaporizhzhya because of damage to the transformer disconnected sixth unit. His promise to launch in a few days.

    Pushilin warned that Ukraine’s refusal to cooperate with Russia in the field of nuclear technology may lead to a real catastrophe – the “second Chernobyl in the center of Europe.” He said, the Russian side has repeatedly stated its readiness to continue to supply spare parts for maintenance of Ukrainian NPPs, but Kiev authorities prefer to stop working.

    • patient observer says:

      RT had a brief article about one of the reactors tripping but stated radiation levels were normal background:
      http://rt.com/news/218199-ukraine-nuclear-reactor-shut/
      … and the anti-nuke MSM is strangely silent.

      • katkan says:

        RT has the official lying statement from the plant.

        MSM has nothing. I had to find more originally from a Bulgarian blog. Now I’m going to check the hobbyists, there are a few bloggers who check world radiation meters daily, as a hobby.

        • patient observer says:

          Interesting… the potential of this story is enormous.

        • katkan says:

          The late November one nobody had any readings for.

          8 or 10 days ago 3 airports were shut down and Hercules transports kept coming in.They were believed to be the USA armaments just voted. One definitely included a big batch of armoured SVUs, later proudly photographed.

          Zaporozhye airport was closed for 3 days, and some of the imports included demonstrable housing, which was set up not too far away, but not near existing buildings.

          Now I’m thinking it might have been a Westinghouse nuclear team coming to repair/replace the fuel rods. Which may have been damaged in November although the said they had that section back working by December 5. But they are due for replacement. So this latest accident might have happened while they try to do that. Trouble is they are using square rods in hexagonal frames. And they’re using them mixed. And they have to somehow remove all.

          What a great bargain Vicky Nuland bought for %5.9 million.

          • patient observer says:

            If radioactive material were released to the atmosphere, it should be easily detected anywhere downwind. Certainly Russia has the means to closely monitor radiation levels as well as determine which reactors are operating simply from satellite infrared data. What they do with that info is another matter.

            If these reactors needs to be shutdown this winter then Ukraine would indeed have an enormous catastrophe simply keeping its population from freezing.

            One would think that Ukraine would be reasonably integrated with the electrical grids of other surrounding nations but apparently not if Russia represents their savior for electrical power.

            If these reactors go down hell will freeze over.

            • marknesop says:

              This is six hours time-late, from The Independent. Mostly full of reassuring noises. But the press might be waking up.

              Curiously, it was a control-rod accident at Chernobyl as well – they were doing an experiment to see if waste heat from a reactor in shutdown mode could be salvaged to generate power even though the reactor itself was shut down. The experiment involved – and no matter how many times I repeat this, a thrill of horror always comes over me at the unparalleled idiocy of it – bypassing all the safety interlocks which would have stopped the runaway (but also not allowed the experiment to proceed) and were running the plant in hand control. A temperature spike blew the bricks off the inside of the containment, and by the time the crew could react, the control rods were too deformed to fit back into the vessel and stop the reaction.

              • kirill says:

                Chernobyl was beyond criminal negligence. Only certifiable retards would assume they could react to microsecond transitions manually. Or it was malicious. It takes a significant part of a second for humans to react to impulses.

                • marknesop says:

                  Exactly – the computer-controlled-and-monitored safeties were installed because humans are incredibly slow-witted by comparison, and the computer would have had the rods constantly in play, except it would never have allowed the kind of experiment they were attempting. And I think the reason is pretty obvious – it wasn’t safe.

                  The one area in which the Ukrainians shone – and perhaps it was not only Ukrainians but Soviet people from all over the Soviet Union – was courage in fighting the subsequent fires and on the part of the pilots who flew helicopters directly into the steam plume to dump sand right into the core; all water dumped into the hot core instantly flashed into highly-radioactive steam. As far as I’m aware, all those people died because of inadequate protection from radiation; some were wearing only waterproof canary suits with no breathing apparatus whatsoever. That’s why it staggers the imagination that the idiots at Fukushima stored hot used cores at sea level, and tried to flush the runaway reactor with seawater. Didn’t they learn anything? In the end they dumped sand on the area, like they should have from the beginning.

              • katkan says:

                As befits a nuclear disaster, the Westinghouse rods are BORN deformed. Square rods in hexagonal frames. Banned in every country that’s tried them. Ukraine too, decided to never use it, then 6 months ago fired the last guy who objected, and signed the contract with Westinghouse…which also hopes to build a fuel enrichment plant (in Donbass of course) after the one Russia was going to build got cancelled.

              • yalensis says:

                It’s cute, how the Independent piece still manages to insinuate, that it was “pro-Russian rebels” who damaged the Zaporozhie plant, as they describe the efforts of the valiant Right Sektor activists to purge the plant of pro-Russian elements.
                If these Right Sektor types were anything like Vita Zaverukha and her pals, they probably stormed into a functioning nuclear plant, beat up the staff, fired the engineers, and attempted to place the American fuel rods themselves.

                I want to start a new hashtag: “#MonkeysWithGrenades”

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Remember how in the very early days some Yukie nationalist enforcer, wearing his skateboard accoutrements, flak jacket and Yukie army tin hat and who looked as though he’d just turned 20, strolled into the ministry of energy or whatever in Kiev with his team of knuckleheads and told the minister that they were taking over? The minister told him where to go – and he did

          • marknesop says:

            According to the plant’s own website, all 6 reactors are back up and generating power, and the background radiation is normal. No telling, of course, if that is true.

            “December 28, 2014 22 hours 35 minutes №6 of Zaporizhzhya NPP unit is connected to the network after resolution of the fault. Power is coming online. At the moment, all 6 units are operating. The radiation background at the site and in the buffer zone (the area around the nuclear power plant radius 2.5 km) – 8-12 micro-roentgen per hour, which corresponds to the natural radiation background at the location of the Zaporizhzhya NPP.”

            All the above information, by the bye, is in Russian and not Ukrainian.

      • katkan says:

        Good find, Cartman. I’ve seen that blog once before but could not find it again. I’ve written to him with the latest news. And now I’m thinking the latest trouble might be the SAME as last time, and they’ve just said a different one to worry us less??? so much easier i they’d tell the truth, lot less doublethink to do. .

        • @ katkan. You have written to me? I did not receive an email, nor comment.

          Did you see the pieces I found, put together in “Was there a causal link between the Nov 28 2014 Accident at the Zaporizhye Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine and recent Radiation Spikes in Latvia and Romania?” @ http://wp.me/puwO9-2UE ? A bit too much strangeness for “no radiation leak”, I find.

          Situation being discussed in comments on Zero hedge too @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-28/ukraines-largest-nuclear-power-plant-suffers-2nd-emergency-shutdown-3-weeks

          • katkan says:

            Michael how did you find me here??? Yes I left a comment, it said gone for moderation, then my browser crashed.
            Yes, I saw your spikes about the November one. Did you get any this time? I found some site with some tiny markers to click which showed Ukraine sensors all low but 3 in Germany high, but one of them them turned off. I didn’t think to look on ZH.

            • Well, your comment attempt never even came through. Tx for letting me know. I can add it to the growing list of what appears to be “blog interference” (See also my Dec 5, 2014 “Access Denied” – Blog Blocking Confirmed ! @ http://wp.me/puwO9-2T4 )

              I haven’t been checking the public monitors lately. My inkling is that if there really is more going on than we’re being told, that the information flows re ZNPP got tightly controlled shortly after Nov 28, and the Eurdep public map would be included in such a panic-suppression campaign, regardless of the severity. (Since Fukushima, I consider those online monitors “basically useless” when it actually matters most, yet still find myself checking them sometimes.) I still think it’s a refueling gone bad, not a major meltdown, but nevertheless I’m more and more inclined to believe they lied and that there has been a significant release.

              How did I find you? I saw a couple blips of blog traffic coming from here, and thought I’d have a peek at this blog. Interesting conversations.

              • katkan says:

                Ahh, forgot about traffic. Don;’t get paranoid, this time it was just my browser due for a crash, way overloaded.

                Those demountables, IF associated with this, which they could be from the timing, would indicate a longer session, whether repair, containment or fuel replacement. There didn’t seem to be fewer blackouts after they allegedly fixed it, so I think this was still No 3 being fixed from last time. Two units have to stop for maintenance, I am sure they will try waiting with that until warmer weather or to exhaust the current fuel.

                • 🙂 Oh good.

                  Wait and see, eh. More will likely come to light.

                • marknesop says:

                  RFE/RL picked it up 15 minutes ago. Of course their tone is scornful and they make a lot of references to “so-called” leaders and “self-proclaimed” republics and make fun of Pushilin for referring to “Western House” rather than “Westinghouse” although that error did not originate with him, because they are a front for feelgood-democracy regime-change think tanks and CIA money. But at least it is being reported.

                • Nice. That’s something.

                  The “14 times permissible level” has moved into some news outlets now too. Seen earlier today: http://news.rin.ru/eng/news///80594/

                  tx for the h/t!

                • yalensis says:

                  According to Radio Free Europe:
                  Pushilin, the so-called deputy chairman of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, undermined the credibility of his claims by referring to the U.S. company as “Western house” instead of Westinghouse.

                  Uh huh. Pushilin made a typo. That destroys Pushilin’s entire argument and personal credibility.

                • marknesop says:

                  He’s probably just saying it the way he heard it. Like the editorial staff at RFE/RL are all literature majors or something.

                • kirill says:

                  That insinuation destroys the credibility of RFE. The accusers have to be subjected to basic standards of logic. Just because some western media spigot of BS spews something does not make it God’s Truth.

    • yalensis says:

      “U.S. company Western House” is a typo on the original piece, should read “Westinghouse”.

      Ukies fell for the bait and tried to switch off Russian cores for American (Westinghouse) cores, which don’t fit. So monkey try to bend them, to make them fit.
      This is probably what have led to the accident.

      This also (maybe) lends some credence to that (above-linked) theory that Russia decided to supply Ukraine with almost-free coal, out of fear that Ukies will contaminate (with radiation) all the surrounding nations, if they don’t get some other form of energy, fast.

      That’s the “monkeys with a grenade” theory about the coal.

      • yalensis says:

        Typo of my own: when I typed “cores”, I should have typed “rods”. Obviously.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Yukie volunteer for ATO

      • marknesop says:

        Yes, I know, and if you heard it mentioned in a phone conversation and were not familiar with the company – and English was not your first language – Westinghouse sounds a lot like “Western House”. But RFE/RL puts it in quotation marks to show what an unsophisticated country boy Pushilin is, he can’t even say “Westinghouse” properly the way that nice Mr. Poroshenko can. And if he doesn’t know that, what else is he saying that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about?

        You can’t bend core rods, they have to be perfectly straight; basically the vessel is like a big kettle, with regularly-spaced holes in which there are sleeves for the rods. The rods are inserted into the core, all controlled by a master mechanism so that they are all inserted or removed at the same time and to the same depth, to regulate the reaction. All the way in, minimum reaction or dead stop. All the way out, no regulation and risk of runaway if any condition changes suddenly. The overtemperature spike at Chernobyl deformed the rods so that they would not go back in, and thermal runaway was the result.

        The reactors at Zaporizhia are made with hexagonal ports for the control rods – and the material in the Westinghouse rods versus the Russian rods is more or less the same – while the Westinghouse rods are square.

  41. patient observer says:

    Beef for bombers:
    http://russia-insider.com/en/2014/12/28/2166
    And a US dollar nowhere to be seen.

  42. Erebus says:

    Hope all Stooges had/will have a great Christmas, and will also have a Happy New Year (whatever calendar they’re using).
    Dailymail is airing (however disparagingly) Russian media theories on MH17, naming new names, and even evidential photos.
    Summary:
    – MH17 ‘was shot down in botched bid to assassinate PUTIN’:
    – Pro-Kremlin media names Ukrainian air force pilot who they allege downed craft
    – Pro-Kremlin news claim MH17 was a botched assassination of Putin
    – Allege Ukrainian billionaire ordered it believing Putin would fly route
    – Russian paper also name Ukrainian Lt Col Dmitro Yakatsuts as guilty
    – Claim Yakatsuts and female air traffic controller ‘disappeared to Dubai’
    Other salient points:
    “… the cockpit of the aircraft was hit by a 30mm cannon shot from the Su-25 plane”.
    “Pieces of 30mm rounds were found in the bodies of the pilots, and that evidence of such a strike is visible in the nose fuselage of the Boeing…”
    “… oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi believed Putin would fly the route in his private jet, and ordered that the Russian President be assassinated…”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2862334/MH17-shot-botched-bid-assassinate-PUTIN-Pro-Kremlin-media-names-Ukrainian-air-force-pilot-allege-downed-craft.html

    The Commentariat leans about 60/40 to this being propaganda, but I didn’t do an exhaustive survey. IMHO any airing of alternative theories encourages debate and is a step forward.

    • marknesop says:

      That story sounds me like dog-whistle reassurance to Ukraine – we think the story is ridiculous, and it’s only those Kremlin nutjobs saying it – from the UK; don’t worry, boys, we’ve still got your back and we will spin, spin, spin the night away. It does mention, though, that 30mm ammo fragments were found in the cockpit crews’ bodies, and that is a huge development if true. It unfortunately does not say if that is based on actual intel or is just speculation.

      • katkan says:

        December 6 story. . Ancient history in the way this is developing. It is a retelling of a TV documentary from about a week before,which wasn’t good enough for anybody to translate it. Gave no proof of the existence of the pilot, the Putin’s Plane theory is very old, the Kolomoisky Ordered It is from that con-job Skype fake interview… which still does not seem right to me that he’d talk to a stranger and talk about this sort of thing. Mostly it has never been explained what anybody would benefit from Putin’s plane being shot down, and why a multi-billionaire, who owns the airport and the ATC system (and probably the people) would not be able to get EXACT details for the flight he was targetting. You don’t go taking pot shots at 3 random planes a day hoping to get one that has your opponent on it.

        And NO there have been NO autopsy results published — part of the secrecy agreement. The said (a) plane was struck by high energy objects (b) pieces of metal were found in the pilots. The doco just decided that if they think it was cannon then the bodies must have contained cannon shot. People holding the BUK theory believe the bodies were full of fragments. No actual result has been published.

        This doco never got much traction, partly because they didn’t translate it for a wider audience, partly because it was not cohesive enough. The latest one, with no embellishments, sounds a lot more realistic. Russia being interested to offer him witness protection is a plus, too, though of course an be a bluff.

        Another thing. The TV doco brought no “reply”, The latest pilot one immediately had a DUTCH site and paper try to drown it with a rehashed old BUK story. It was the oldest BUK theory disguised as brand new evidence…. with the photos of the plume, but “images not published because under investigation” ….BS… not published so we won’t recognise it’s the same old same old…. but easily found through their expert.

    • yalensis says:

      So now Russians are naming Lt Col Dmitro Yakatsuts as the shooter?
      What happened to Voloshin? Was he just (an eye witness) in accompanying jet?
      This is starting to read like a (good) detective novel!

      • yalensis says:

        P.S. – At this time, both captains of the doomed Boeing have been buried with honours, but presumably their autopsies were recorded.

        Many bloggers have speculated, that the moment the captain was autopsied, the truth would have been evident to all. No other evidence, not even the cockpit, let alone the rest of the plane, was really needed at that point. It was all redundant, once they extracted the bullets from the bodies.

        Which is why the autopsies have been kept in strict secrecy.

        • Erebus says:

          This thread is probably dead, but I might as well type out the last drips.
          My point was simply that Russia intends to move forward and expose MH17, and that this appeared to be an embellishment of the Voloshin story. Witness testimony, and the damage itself suggests the involvement of 2 planes. If Voloshin fired the missile, who blasted the cockpit?

          In any case, Lavrov made it clear on 12/25 that the gloves are coming off, and that MH17 is going to be exposed.
          “It is impossible to pretend ignorant on and on when very specific questions are asked again and again. We have opened a criminal case. It will be impossible to ignore this process. The questions will have to be answered,” he said.
          http://itar-tass.com/en/world/769260.

          Also, the “Kolomoscopy did it” meme comes not only from that rather odd interview, the Facebook hack of K’s adjutant was rather more damning, and never adequately refuted.

          Whatever the plan here was, the Western media’s attack on Putin personally indicates that he is a target. The only times I’ve seen something like it was the vilification Saddam and Qaddafi received prior to their assassinations. The West would simply have zero qualms knocking his plane out of the sky, and plenty of US pundits have called for taking him out. Here’s one from American Thinker…

          “Nor would we object to a bit of poetic justice…. For instance, if the next time Putin’s flying back to Moscow from yet another visit with his good friends in Cuba, or Venezuela, or Iran, his airplane gets blasted out of the sky by some murky para-military group that somehow, inexplicably, got its hands on a surface-to-air missile.”

          • marknesop says:

            I’m confident Ukraine was responsible, and I like Kolomoisky for it – he absolutely has that swaggering I-can-do-anything attitude that comes from being insulated from punishment because of money. I’m just suggesting that Ukraine in the dock is counter to western interests, and therefore a much higher standard of proof will be required at the same time as the west tries to bury the whole thing and make it go away.

            • davidt says:

              Suppose that Voloshin is totally innocent and knows nothing. He has been accused of a heinous crime.(It is apparent that more than two air to air missiles were fired at the Boeing.) Why wouldn’t he want to clear his name, and call some sort of media conference to put his case? He could boldly say that he is very willing to submit to an interview by the Malaysians and take a polygraph test if they so wanted. Why would the Ukrainian authorities want to stop him?
              By the way, Eric Zuesse had the Karaulov video translated and his translator asked him to include the following statement: “I have now read the Dailey Mail article for the first time- what a distortion of the facts of the documentary!!!” He gives some reasons.
              http://www.globalresearch.ca/another-mh17-cover-up-hiding-a-key-autopsy/5421386

    • Fern says:

      The fact that this story has appeared suggests to me there’s growing recognition the official line on MH!7 can’t be held – there’s too much evidence pointing in other directions to dismiss or obfuscate and the relatives and friends of those who died are starting to make noises. The key goal now for the US/EU/NATO is to stop the finger of blame being pointed at Kiev and, by default, those standing behind it. So, what to do? Perhaps dust off the Lone Wolf scenario which has worked well in the past. It was Kolmoisky after Putin, it was a disaffected group of Ukrainian misfits who thought they were shooting down a Russian fighter jet, it was a murder (adaptation of a collective noun that seems appropriate) of extreme Right Sector nutters who thought God knows what….it doesn’t much matter what names are in the frame as long as Kiev is distanced from the crime.

  43. marknesop says:

    Russia’s Federal Bailiffs’ Service seizes approximately $12 Million linked to PrivatBank, which is owned by Igor “Benny” Kolomoisky. By the look of it, he was spending about that much on his hair. Seriously, Benny – get a fucking haircut, you pouf; you look like your grandmother with a beard.

  44. marknesop says:

    Interesting story on Vera Graziadei’s site, on Crimea and some ambitious plans for it. These include but are not limited to a new airport and university in Evpatoria and a Silicon-Valley-style tech enclave in the triangle formed by Evpatoria, Simferopol and Sevastopol. The interviewee claims that some American IT specialists will be part of it despite the sanctions.

    The article also boasts an encouraging tone about unplugging from what they call “the Matrix”, and setting up alternative networks for everything which do not include the west. I know many of you share with me a desire to see Russia reduce its exposure to western meddling and a feeling that so long as the west has a power over you, it will use it to try and break your will and make you a servant. This is not to say, as I have reiterated on several occasions, that Russia must not ever do business with the west again, especially Europe; but in future it must be on Russia’s terms. Interesting reading.

    • katkan says:

      1) NO AMERICAN HELP especially on IT. When will they learn?
      2) idea is have a multi-polar world, not two disconnected isolated halves.
      What’s the point of building your own separate internet then letting in Americans to work on it?

    • yalensis says:

      I particularly liked this thought expressed by Alexei:

      We should stop putting on make-up to make someone else like us and start growing from within, spiritually. The ultimate nightmare of ‘anti-Russian liberals’ is that the reds will make a pact with the whites – if fans of pre-1917 Russia will join forces with fans of post-revolutionary Russia – because both of these groups love their country, they are all patriots. Then, when the metaphorical civil war between them will end, we will finally start dealing with ourselves and developing our own country.

      Yes! It is time people started studying the entire history of Russian art and culture, both pre- and post-revolution. The Russian liberals would like to blot out the entire 70 years of the Soviet period as if it didn’t exist, they despise it all because it isn’t up to their “modernistic standards”; yet, meanwhile, that was a time of great cultural innovations in art, literature, cinema, music, etc., and it was all done without investments from big capitalist class.

    • katkan says:

      Until very recently, Ukraine had free media, not a Ministry of Truth. Issues about the nuclear fuel were properly aired in the media, as they would be anywhere else. The Westinghouse failure in Soviet design reactors has been known for about 10 years. At least 3 other countries tried it, found problems, and went back to the Russian…which also comes with a useful free return-when-spent clause, saving the buyer longterm storage headaches.

      In Ukraine the issue was well canvassed in public, and they had made a law banning the non-Russian fuel. The new government fired the last scientist who objected, changed the law, and immediately signed with, and bought from, Westinghouse.

      I am quite sure several people near every Ukrainian reactor have Geiger counters or other measuring tools….they know after Chernobyl that the government can’t be trusted to tell them the truth, or to tell it in a timely fashion.

      There are many people in Zaporozhye area who are on the separatist side…that is how they also got information on what was being unloaded from the cargo planes.

      • What was being unloaded from the Cargo planes? Sorry missed that. Got a link with info?

        • katkan says:

          Airports in Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporozhye were closed on Dec 13 by order of the military, was all the official sources said.

          Only blogs then reported military cargo planes (Hercules) seen arriving.: Mostly they unloaded “boxes” and bulk containers, visible through the fences. Nobody is admitting to having seen too much inside the cargo areas. There were some armoured SUVs delivered, which were later lined up on display.

          While the other 2 re-opened next day, Zaporozhye airport was closed for 3 days. Many demountable buildings, about shipping-container sized, were unloaded and taken away from the airport by some roundabout route, ie not up to the main road.

          This can mean anything. The airport is on the eastern edge of Zaporozhye and the nuclear plant is actually about 100 km south west, at Energovar.

  45. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, on the Sports Front, there is a continuation of the Alexei Oleinyk story.
    Oleinyk, who is the heavyweight champion Ultimate Cage Fighter, has requested Russian citizenship.

    It is no accident that Oleinyk appeared in a Putin T-shirt for the weigh-in before his match against Jared Rosholt in Austin, Texas. Oleinyk not only wanted to show his political support for Putin and Russia, but he also wanted to switch teams and become a citizen of Russian Federation. (Currently Oleinyk holds Ukrainian citizenship, but has lived and trained in Russia for many years, and actually represented Russia in the match against Rosholt.)

    As President of Russian Federation, Putin has constitutional power to confer citizenship with a decree, and he has decided to grant Oleinyk’s wish. This decision was confirmed by sources exclusive to Izvestia. Oleinyk told Izvestia that the process of applying for citizenship has taken around 3 years. And now that he can speak more freely (and doesn’t have to worry about going back to Ukraine and being, say, torched alive by Right Sektor), he made the following political statement:

    — У большинства нормальных людей на Украине именно такое отношение — что Россия нам абсолютно не враг, а брат. Я как взрослый, состоявшийся человек высказал свое отношение ко всему этому — к политике США, Украины, России. Я показал, на чьей я стороне, показал, что поддерживаю нормальное, уважительное отношение к людям, а не тот беспредел, который сейчас происходит на Украине, — заявил он.

    TRANSLATION
    “Most normal people in Ukraine feel the same way I do. That Russia absolutely is not our enemy, but our brother. As an adult, normal-minded man, I expressed my opinions about all of this – about the politics of the USA, Ukraine, Russia. I demonstrated, which side I am on. I proved, that I support a normal, respectful attitude toward people, and not that horrid anarchy which is currently going on in Ukraine.”

    • marknesop says:

      I don’t think I would want to be among the first, say, ten guys in Right Sektor who tried to grab on to Oleinyk to teach him a patriotic lesson. That might be quite an experience.

  46. Moscow Exile says:

    From a survey made by Ekho Moskvy, the Kreakly favourite station and spouting ground for headbanger Latynina: Правильно ли, что Крым стал частью России?

    Is it right that the Crimea has become part of Russia?

    Answers online

    Yes – 34%

    No – 63%

    Find it difficult to answer: 3%

    Answers by telephone

    Yes – 19%

    No – 81%

    Find it difficult to answer: 0%

    Thus spake the “Kreakly”?

    • kirill says:

      I guess this indicates the IQ level of the audience for that liberast outlet.

    • marknesop says:

      That sounds like a pretty selective survey to me; I’d be checking into its methodology. Where was it conducted – in Ekho Moskvy’s staff lounge?

    • et Al says:

      As of now, 40,007 votes online, 54% yes, 44% no, 2% dimwits.

      The telephone poll sample is only 2,122

    • Jen says:

      If the question highlighted is an exact English-language translation of the Russian, the survey is not fair to respondents because the question is phrased so as to appear to be an issue of morality. The fact that the answers differ depending on the technology used might suggest as much: people answering online can answer anonymously whereas a phone poll is conducted by thumbing through phone books or databases or electoral rolls so interviewers know in advance who they’re talking to.

      • marknesop says:

        It is not going to convince many that there is a broad-based movement in Russia which believes the “annexation” of Crimea was unfair, and from which you might draw the conclusion that similar numbers favour returning it to Ukraine. Because quite the opposite is true – most Russians believe Crimea belongs to Russia and the Ukies can go and whistle for it, especially given their non-stop vitriol against Russia.

  47. Moscow Exile says:

    “Spouting ground” not “spoting ground”.

    This keyboard has been covered with jam or honey or smetana or whatever!

    • marknesop says:

      A likely story. We know all of Putler’s footsoldiers in Moscow are drunk all the time. You can’t fool us.

      • Jen says:

        Land of Mordor is living in dark days indeed when the brothels, seedy hotels, lap-dancing / pole-dancing parlours and Hellfire BDSM dungeons visited by our intrepid Moscow Exile must do double, triple and quadruple duty in masquerading as apiaries, jam makers and cheese-makers.
        🙂

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Being inquisitive by nature, I have a pressing need to vist such noisome establishments in my never ending desire to observe the human condition in all its guises.

          The jam, honey, smetana etc. is the result of my sprogs munching over the keyboard.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        A heinous accusation, old fruit: I am now entering my 8th year of total abstinence from that elixir of Satan known as ethyl alcohol.

        • dany8538 says:

          Hey you still alive over there or have you all been swallowed up in the human stampede to defend the holy saint navalnii? Probably best to leave Russia now since the american news outlets are telling me that a massive revolution is underway outside your window
          The whole city must be at the rally with the way they are describing it

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Not a sound to be heard outside: no choppers thwacking away overhead; no police sirens; no drunks even. 11 p.m. now. Eveyone is battening dawn in preparation for tomorrow’s madness.

            All quiet on the Eastern Front.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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