Comment Thread

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1,179 Responses to Comment Thread

  1. Warren says:

    Mogherini seen as proposing ‘business as usual’ with Russia

    The EU foreign service has proposed lifting sanctions and restarting the full spectrum of Russia co-operation if it stops “destabilising” east Ukraine.
    The ideas come in a four-page paper circulated by foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini to member states on Wednesday (14 January) ahead of “strategic” talks by foreign ministers next Monday.

    It suggests EU sanctions should be bundled into two packages: measures related to the annexation of Crimea and others linked to “destabilisation of eastern Ukraine”.

    It notes the Crimea sanctions – blacklists of low-level officials and a ban on EU investments – should “remain in force as long as the annexation persists”.

    But it says economic sanctions, on Russian banks and energy firms, could be “scaled down” if Russia complies with last year’s Minsk ceasefire agreement, stops interfering in EU-Ukraine ties, and keeps gas flowing to Europe.

    The Minsk accords envisage a full-scale Russian pull-back from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

    But Mogehrini’s paper is wishy-washy on the extent of compliance that would merit an EU reaction.

    At one point, it mentions “full implementation” of the Minsk deal as a condition. But in other parts it speaks of a “selective and gradual” sanctions roll-back “commensurate with the degree to which Russia responds”, or in line with “effective and verifiable steps”.

    https://euobserver.com/foreign/127204?fb_ref=Default&fb_source=message

    • Moscow Exile says:

      As long as annexation persists?

      She means as long as a majority of citizens in the Crimea do not overturn their democratic decision not to be governed by psychopaths in Kiev?

    • marknesop says:

      And what’s in it for Russia? Another promise from NATO that it will not expand any further toward Russia’s borders, and they will consider withdrawing some of the sanctions from among the whole package that should not have been applied in the first place? Stick your deal up your chuff, Federica. I’m sure the Russians will not actually say that – I failed diplomacy – but I hope the substance of what they do say is pretty much that.

  2. peter says:

    • Moscow Exile says:

      So what do you think, Peter? What is your prognosis? Do you agree with the comments uttered on these numerous Tweets that you continue to post?

      Now I don’t want any simple “yes” or “no” such as you are wont to demand off us idiots on here because monosyllabic answers to such a complex issue are really unsatisfactory.

      So what do you think?

    • Max says:

      Good time to invest.

      • yalensis says:

        Jesus saves.
        Moses invests.

      • palmtoptiger says:

        yep. I’ve been eyeing Gazprom for quite a while. the only thing holding me back is that the Ukies will definitely relaunch the war sometime this year, which will very likely lead to another drop in Russian stock prices. but the second that the Ukrainian situation is resolved one way or other, Gazprom will become a very hot buy.

  3. Warren says:

    Al Murray’s Pub Landlord to stand against Nigel Farage

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-30819779

  4. Warren says:

    I have posted this Canadian state-owned propaganda programme already, however one question/aspect that bugs me and I can’t figure out – is what is the deal between Anatoly Sobchak and Vova? Why did Sobchak select Putin to be his number 2 at St Petersburg in 90/91? Did the two have history? Yes I am aware Sobchak was Putin’s lecturer at Uni, but so what? Sobchak would have had hundreds if not thousands of former students/pupils in his career as an academic. Sobchak was one of the architects of the new 1993 Russian constitution, a “founding father” of modern Russia as it were. When Sobchak was facing criminal charges, Putin intervened, but why? What would Putin gain from intervening? Was Putin motivated by a sense of loyalty to Sobchak? Essentially what I’m asking is what’s the deal between Anatoly Sobchak and V.V. Putin, can anyone please enlighten me? Thank you in advance.

    Yes I’m aware Sobchak’s daughter is Ksenia, I was going to post a video of her but I changed my mind.

    • davidt says:

      Here are two references that I recently gave about Putin’s time with Sobchak in St Petersburg. They are worth reading as I think that they are representative of what American businessmen thought of him at the time.
      The first is from a guy named Graham Evans:
      http://www.fpri.org/articles/2000/01/vladimir-vladimrovich-putin-1994-personal-recollection
      and the second gives the opinion of John Evans, who was the US Consul General to St Petersburg at that time:
      http://rbth.com/articles/2012/09/12/putin_and_russians_need_a_break_18207.html
      I certainly read other articles by Americans that were very consistent with these two but alas…
      Perhaps 8-10 years ago Putin gave quite a long and informative interview about his time with Sobchak. Remember that Putin already had an official position at the University as a KGB officer, though it was not advertised as such. In fact, Putin (improperly) confessed this to Sobchak when Sobchak offered him the job, Unfortunately, my wife seems to have tossed out the backup CD that contained this interview and I couldn’t find it recently by using a Google search. In any case, Putin thought most highly of Sobchak and I recall him saying how hostile public meetings were at that time. Putin said that initially he tried to protect Sobchak from the most aggressive questioning, but that he quickly learnt that it was best to let Sobchak answer them honestly. He claimed that this was Sobchak’s great strength. He saw Sobchak’s downfall as a classic Machiavellian plot common at that time. He was especially loyal to Sobchak and resigned his position when Sobchak was voted out. “I would rather be hanged for loyalty than rewarded for treason.”

      • Warren says:

        Thank you for the two links, it paints a very different picture from what Karen Dawisha paints in her book, and the usual claptrap spewed by Edward Lucas, Anne Applebaum, David Satter, etc. Contrary to the propaganda disseminated in the Western media, Putin was not a corrupt gangster bureaucrat/politician, instead foreign diplomats and businessmen saw Putin as a reliable, competent and non-corrupt official they could do legitimate business with.

        I found the below paragraph particularly interesting, as it comes closest to answering the question I had posed.

        “Most of the U.S. press coverage of Vladimir Putin ignores his ten or more years in St. Petersburg, from the time he left the KGB in East Germany to return to St. Petersburg Law School for a degree in International Law and to become Assistant on External Affairs to the Principal of Leningrad State University. His mentor was Professor Sobchak who recruited his recent graduates for his Mayoralty campaign. During that campaign Putin was an economic advisor to the candidate and then became First Deputy Mayor. Eight years later, when Yakovlev was elected Mayor (now called Governor), Putin left the administration. He was then appointed Head of the Chief Auditing Department of the President of the Federation. In the spring of 1998, he became the First Deputy of the Head of the Administrative Office of the President. Soon after, he was appointed Director of the Federal Security Service, the former KGB.”

        • davidt says:

          There are one or two comments in here that might interest you:
          http://www.hectorsfriends.com/RichardTorrenceBio.htm#Gray_Eminence

          • Warren says:

            Thank you for the link, learnt something new:

            He also headed the St. Petersburg chapter of Our Home Is Russia, a party begun in 1995 to support Yeltsin’s allies in the parliamentary elections. Afterward Putin was called to Moscow, where he joined other members of Yeltsin’s St. Petersburg team, among them Anatoly B. Chubais, the former chief of Russia’s privatization program.

            However the NT article undermines itself in its physical description of Putin.

            In a television interview Monday night, Putin — a tall man with icy blue eyes and a deadpan expression — was more cautious than informative, tying up his answers in tight knots.

            The article mentions that Putin is very loyal to Sobchak, however it does not explain why Putin is so loyal to him, and why Sobchak picked him in its movement and then Mayor’s office.

            Nevertheless the quotes from Richard Torrance confirm what other have said of Putin, that he was competent, efficient and not corrupt. Again this completely contradicts the allegations hurled at Putin by the likes of Dawisha, Belkovsky, etc. Who alleged Putin was some sort of St Peterburgh mafia crime boss at his time at City Hall.

        • peter says:

          “Most of the U.S. press coverage of Vladimir Putin ignores his ten or more years in St. Petersburg, from the time he left the KGB in East Germany to return to St. Petersburg Law School for a degree in International Law and to become Assistant on External Affairs to the Principal of Leningrad State University. His mentor was Professor Sobchak who recruited his recent graduates for his Mayoralty campaign…

          Every word here is bollocks, including “and” and “the”. Even wikipedia is better than this.

    • Spartacus says:

      I don’t know if it helps, but I found this piece (linked below) about Putin’s political career. It was written in 2007, well before this whole mess started and contains some paragraphs dedicated to the Sobchak – Putin connection.

      http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB119820263246543973

      • davidt says:

        Thanks, interesting enough.

      • Warren says:

        Spartacus,

        Thanks for the link, the most interesting aspect about that it – was learning that Putin had confided in Sobchak that he was a KGB agent (Putin left the service in 1991), and despite that Sobchak recruited Putin to his campaign team and city administration. This debunks the theory peddled by Putin bashers that Putin’s job was to monitor and infiltrate Sobchak’s movement in St Petersburg.

        Mr. Putin soon found permanent work with one of the leading politicians of Russia’s nascent democracy movement. Anatoly Sobchak, Mr. Putin’s former law professor, had vaulted to prominence with stinging attacks on the Communist elite. Mr. Sobchak had been elected a deputy of the Leningrad council, and then its chairman.

        “I put the team together based on old acquaintances. I needed people,” Mr. Sobchak, who died in 2000 while campaigning for Mr. Putin, said in a newspaper interview shortly before his death. Mr. Putin spoke German and some English, and had a good recommendation from the dean. “I knew him as a good student,” Mr. Sobchak said.

        In the book of interviews, Mr. Putin said he was looking for a backup in case his KGB career didn’t pan out. He watched Mr. Sobchak’s rise with interest but wasn’t an enthusiastic supporter. “I didn’t like everything, but he got my respect,” Mr. Putin said.

        Mr. Sobchak offered Mr. Putin a position as an aide. Mr. Putin warned his former professor that he was a KGB agent. Mr. Sobchak hired him anyway.

  5. Max says:

    Putin and Maduro are in a huddle. Putin should sound out Maduro on building a space launch platform. The lower latitudes are ideal for that sort of thing. Win-win. Whose got Volodya’s ear?

  6. Oddlots says:

    Ladies and Gentleman,

    The inimitable Dmitry Orlov’s latest:

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.ca/2015/01/peculiarities-of-russian-national.html

    I particularly appreciated Point 3 and the Two paras following “If you think…”

    • Max says:

      Western nations have emerged in an environment of limited resources and relentless population pressure, and this has to a large degree determined the way in which they respond when they are offended.

      He can’t mean the US which gained a great swathe of temperate goodness for the price of a few bullets and infectious blankets. Unlike Europe, over which marauding armies have ebbed and flowed for centuries.

      A standard way of ridding a Russian village house of vermin is simply to not heat it; a few days at 40 below or better and the cockroaches…

      This works a treat. Once had an infestation of cockroaches under the fridge. Of course if you move the fridge to get at them they quickly disperse. Or even if you spray ’em in situ. So I waited until one night was well below freezing, opened all the windows, turned off the furnace and went out for a bite. When I got back the little buggers could only squirm slightly though they weren’t quite dead. I dumped a can of Raid on ’em and that fixed the problem permanently.

      • marknesop says:

        Something Dmitry omitted to mention in his wrap-up – perhaps because he thought it was self-evident – was China’s step forward to bolster the Russian economy if it asked for help. A nice fallback; China has the world’s largest reserves, and attempts to demonize it will just be laughed off while attempts to colour-revolutionize it would be even funnier. Even if Russia is unsuccessful in fighting off this currency attack alone – which I personally believe will not be the case – it isn’t really alone, is it?

    • marknesop says:

      I am speechless. Bravo.

    • yalensis says:

      Thanks for link, Oddlots.
      I like this part, because it is a point I have been trying to make multiple times in my debates against a certain anti-immigrant person who wants to idealize Russia as the white-skinned Aryan nation of his dreams:

      Over the centuries, Russia has absorbed numerous immigrants: from Germany during the 30 years’ war; from France after the French revolution. More recent influxes have been from Vietnam, Korea, China and Central Asia. Last year Russia absorbed more immigrants than any other country except for the United States, which is dealing with an influx from countries on its southern border, whose populations its policies have done much to impoverish. Moreover, the Russians are absorbing this major influx, which includes close to a million from war-torn Ukraine, without much complaint. Russia is a nation of immigrants to a greater extent than most others, and is more of a melting pot than the United States.

      And add to that list: Jews, Africans (since the time of Pushkin, but especially during Soviet times), Caucasians, and lots more. To my knowledge (a historian can correct me if I am wrong), Russia has never turned down any particuilar TYPE of person, in regard to ethnic background, skin colour, religion, etc etc. (I’m sure they have turned down individual persons for whatever reason.)

      • Southern Cross says:

        Not strictly on point, but wasn’t the Uniate Church banned at point?

      • ThatJ says:

        Anna R commented:

        As others have remarked, your detailed analysis and summary are very good. Thank you!

        The only assertion I recognize as erroneous is this: Russia is a nation of immigrants to a greater extent than most others, and is more of a melting pot than the United States.

        The United States is nothing but a “melting pot.” Only 1.6% of its population self-identifies as Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, or American Indian. There is no such creature as an ethnic United-Statesian among the remainder of the ~313 million people who live there. Nearly every resident is a hyphenate, and every element of U.S. culture is an amalgam of its melting-pot residents’ original ethnic and racial influences.

        On the other hand, there most certainly is a distinctly Russian people, a distinctly Russian language, and a (long and rich) distinctly Russian culture. So of course Russia is not more of a “melting pot” than the U.S.

        http://cluborlov.blogspot.ca/2015/01/peculiarities-of-russian-national.html

        ***
        I should add that Orlov is Jewish so this is a sensitive issue for him. I agree with Anna, saying that there isn’t a core Russian ethnicity is false. Likewise, American identity used to be Anglo-Saxon or Northern European Protestant with sprinkling of other ethnicities, mostly European. The melting pot became the official ideology in the 60s with the passage of the Immigration Act. To say that the US is a nation of immigrants is to lie by omission.

        And using Pushkin in order to prove that Russia has had a significant African immigrant population for centuries is risible to say the least. Pushkin’s “African” ancestry could have been the more Caucasoid elements of Northern Africa for all we know.

        Here’s an anthropology forum with pictures of “ethnic Russians”:

        http://s1.zetaboards.com/anthroscape/topic/5094592/1/

        It’s hard to tell if those people have German, French or Ukrainian influence. If they had Sub-Saharan or Eastern Asian ancestry, on the other hand…

        Let’s be honest here, yalensis. The massive influx of aliens from the Caucasus and Central Asia (not to say from the non-Russian republics within RF) is recent: no more than 2 decades old. And furthermore, only a minority of them settle in Russia permanently, most just work temporarily and then return to their countries of origin. Remember the statistics we saw here on this blog, in the comment section, about Russians “immigrating” to former SU countries, which made no sense at all? The conversation began when someone posted an article from a Western outlet about the “brain drain” that Russia was supposedly suffering. Someone found the statistics which detailed to where, exactly, these immigrants where moving. It turns out most of them were seeking a better life in the former SU countries! The obvious conclusion that a commenter here drew is that these were workers going back to their homelands. The pattern of immigration to the US and Russia is not equal, and numbers alone can be misleading. Russia may make use of their labour, but have little interest in having them live in the country permanently. In the US, half of the media loves the idea of Central and South Americans coming en masse, legally or otherwise, and settling in the US permanently, and no party wants to deport 20 million illegal aliens. On the contrary, the Democrats want an amnesty in order to encourage even more aliens, and the Republicans have their rich donors who make extensive use of Hispanic labour.

  7. kirill says:

    Very good news. The US needs to eat its worthless fiat.

    • kirill says:

      BTW, note the minima in the above curve. There is one in 1997 (this is not inflation adjusted dollars), 2000, 2008 and 2014. This pretty much confirms that there is a recession as of last year. But you would never know it from the media coverage.

    • colliemum says:

      Heh – with my eyes half-open (or half-shut) thanks to a still too low level of caffeine in my system, I read the caption as “The US needs to eat its worthless fat.” Yay – that woke me up chortling …!

    • marknesop says:

      That…ummm….sort of paints a picture of a country in trouble, wouldn’t you say? Where did that 5% GDP growth come from in the last quarter of 2014?

  8. et Al says:

    RTT News: European Court Extends Backing To ECB’s Bond-buying Plan
    http://www.rttnews.com/story.aspx?Id=2441668
    An earlier bond-buying programme announced by the European Central Bank won a crucial legal backing from the top EU court on Wednesday, giving boost to speculation that the central bank may opt for full blown quantitative easing as early as this month, which could include government debt purchases, as it battles the threat of deflation in the euro area….

    …The ECB bond-buying scheme was challenged in the German Federal Constitutional Court by some including politicians and academics, who alleged that the central bank was acting beyond its mandate in its move to buy state debt. Subsequently, the German Court referred the case to the ECJ, questioning the legality of the OMT programme.

    Cruz Villalon said the OMT was “an unconventional monetary policy measure”. He also stressed that the central bank must be afforded “a broad discretion for the purpose of framing and implementing” the EU’s monetary policy.

    “The Courts, when reviewing the ECB’s activity, must therefore avoid the risk of supplanting the Bank, by venturing into a highly technical terrain in which it is necessary to have an expertise and experience which, according to the Treaties, devolves solely upon the ECB. Therefore, the intensity of judicial review of the ECB’s activity, its mandatory nature aside, must be characterized by a considerable degree of caution,” he said. ..
    ###

    The mighty European economy gets to print even more money legally! With stunning economics such as this there is absolutely nothing to fear. Print, print, print my darlings!

    • marknesop says:

      When it was going full steam in the USA, the Fed was dumping $80 Billion a month into the economy, buying its own debt. What could go wrong with that? And when the government announced it was going to stop, the Dow took a dive. it’s amazing how fast people get used to floods of cheap money and an interest rate of zero. And I guess you don’t have to worry about it not being a moneymaker, because you can always just print more. The luxury of a fiat currency – just so long as people don’t stop believing in it, because it’s backed by nothing. I hope Russia sticks to a policy of insisting on oil purchases being in rubles, because the west can keep its currency high forever simply by printing more money.

      But counterfeiting, for some reason, is a crime. Pretty much like everything else in law – when the government does it, it is not illegal.

      • et Al says:

        Maybe the ECB should have its own theme song based on the hit from Frozen for the rivers of new money? They could call it ‘Let it Flow’. It will bring back some nice memories for the Germans too!

        Now I know who to ask for €20, €50 etc. templates to print off at home.

        We should pity those stoopid Russkies with their very low debt, huge financial reserves, all the resources they need coming out of their own ground. It’s an abomination!

        • Tim Owen says:

          Argh. It worries me this:.our faith that somehow “honest” money / debt-free behaviour will be rewarded. Where’s the evidence?

          The US flipped from the worlds largest creditor to it’s largest debtor nation in our lifetime with almost no political price to pay for this phase change.

          That’s remarkable.

          What do they know that would have facilitated a transition from breathing air to breathing (under) water almost overnight.

          We ain’t got this figured out to my mind.

          • astabada says:

            I don’t know if it will be the same for the EU as it has been for the US. After all the Dollar and the Euro have two very different places in the world economy, as evidenced by the fact that the Dollar was never subject to speculation, unlike the Euro. This despite the fact – as you evidenced, that exceptional nation has a towering debt much like certain Mediterranean countries.

            The EU put itself in the place of the poodle, but with all this barking at inferior Russia Bruxelles might have forgot that quod licet dollari non licet euri.

          • marknesop says:

            Probably because that is the model for individuals – not high-rolling speculators with their borrow a dollar, the bank owns you, borrow a million dollars and you own the bank rap, but regular middle class wage-earners. Pay as you go, save for what you want and let no man be your master.

            The U.S. can be an enormous debtor because it holds the world’s reserve currency, and when it needs more money it just prints more. There’s never a problem getting it into circulation, whereas if Russia tried to print its way out of a crisis it would just be left with tons of rubles it couldn’t do anything with. Several sources have pointed out that the USA has been allowed to extend its debt far, far beyond what any other country would be permitted, because it owns the world’s reserve currency in which virtually all international business is conducted.

            It’s a fiat currency, but everyone has always just assumed the USA is telling the truth when it says it has the world’s largest gold reserves by far. What if the recent whisperings are true, and the USA has almost no gold left? Then the dollar is just paper, backed by nothing but a promise to pay from a government that has such an accumulated total of lies that it would take all day to hack your way through them.

          • et Al says:

            Argh. It worries me this:.our faith that somehow “honest” money / debt-free behaviour will be rewarded. Where’s the evidence?

            I caught an Al Beeb report where one of their journalists went around asking German in the street if they had a credit card. Almost all of them said ‘no’ and that they only buy what they could afford.

            Germany is dead set on balancing its budget within the next few years. It is the new dogma. I suppose it is to prove to the rest of Europe that it is possible to have a decent economy that doesn’t rely on debt.

            The downside is that like quite a few other major countries, national infrastructure has only been moderately (or barely) maintained since it was originally built. It’s reaching its shelf-life and needs to be replaced. This is particularly true of the US of everything from their highway system to bridges, tunnels etc. which was highlighted in a report by one of the big accountancy firms a few years ago who costed rebuilding around $1 trillion (if I am not mistaken).

            This is what the ‘Report Card’ for America’s infrastructure by the American Society of Infrastructure Engineers says:

            http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/

            D+ & $3.6 trillion by 2020

            Germany is also reported to be in need of replacement infrastructure, but as they will not even take on debt at these historically low interest rates. It’s still early days but so far it looks like dogma bests investment in their own country!

            What’s German for ‘cutting one’s nose off despite one’s face’???

            http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/low-german-infrastructure-investment-worries-experts-a-990903.html

            Despite its shiny façade, the German economy is crumbling at its core. That, at least, is how Marcel Fratzscher sees it. With the country’s infrastructure becoming obsolete and companies preferring to invest abroad, the government advisor argues that German prosperity is faltering.

            When Fratzscher, the head of the German Institute for Economic Research, gives a talk these days, he likes to pose a question to his audience: “Which country is this?” He then describes a place that has seen less growth than the average among euro-zone countries since the turn of the millenium, where productivity has only increased slightly and where two out of three employees earn less today than they did in 2000…

            http://www.bdi.eu/bdi_english/infrastructure_investment.htm

        • marknesop says:

          Or “Let It Grow“, from “The Lorax”.

      • colliemum says:

        Apparently, the bankers who now advise governments and the EU to print-print-print have not read a very good book, called “When Money dies”, by Alexander Fergusson. This book is about the hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic, which has been haunting Germans ever since, and for which all the modern print-print-printers have kept abusing them – and which btw was one reason the French did not want on nay account to have Bundebankers run the ECB.
        That book describes how the hyperinflation didn’t happen suddenly, like some sort of natural catastrophe, but was some years in the making, and yep, printing was one major reason.
        Ah well, it is always, ahem, interesting to note that the saying about what happens to those who do not learn from history still applies …

        • Tim Owen says:

          What I’m trying to say is well described here by Evans-Pritchard:

          http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100026028/frances-aa-hollande-pays-price-for-kowtowing-to-emu-deflation-madness/?fb

          “This is the nub of the matter. The central tenet of EMU doctrine is that countries will not reform unless they face a crisis, and their feet are held to the fire. There is a near religious belief in Berlin – evangelised by Brussels, and the EMU gang of five – that any let up in austerity, any recourse to stimulus, let alone a new deal, is a gift to shirkers who want to dodge reform.

          It is an elemental misjudgement. Yes, there may be small countries where this applies. They can hope to export their way out of trouble, if they have a high enough trade gearing. They may be able to overcome the debt deflation shock if their debt levels are low enough. If not, they can go to the IMF for a package of reform cushioned by debt relief, devaluation, and cheap IMF bridging loans.

          None of this applies in southern Europe or to the quasi-EMU states in trouble in central Europe and the Balkans. If a region holding 300 million people tries to retrench at once, it causes a self-feeding downward slide for the whole system. That is exactly what we are seeing.”

          Re: Weimar he writes:

          “Let me be clear. The quarrel is not with the German nation, but with the 1930s policies being enforced on Europe by Angela Merkel and German political establishment. (Have they all forgotten – or never learned – that it was the Bruning deflation of 1930-1932 that destroyed Weimar?)”

      • yalensis says:

        This was probably posted before , but Zero is saying that Russia is dumping billions of American dollars, and converting into rubles, in order to shore up (Russian) economy.
        As Bloomberg reports Russia “may unseal its $88 billion Reserve Fund and convert some of its foreign-currency holdings into rubles, the latest government effort to prop up an economy veering into its worst slump since 2009.”

        These are dollars which Russia would have otherwise recycled into US denominated assets. Instead, Russia will purchase even more Rubles and use the proceeds for FX and economic stabilization purposes.

        “Together with the central bank, we are selling a part of our foreign-currency reserves,” Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said in Moscow today. “We’ll get rubles and place them in deposits for banks, giving liquidity to the economy.”

        Call it less than amicable divorce, call it what you will: what it is, is Russia violently leaving the ranks of countries that exchange crude [oil – yalensis] for US paper.

        Yup, this smells like a divorce. You know a divorce is happening when both parties start to separate their bank accounts and tally up the assets.

  9. kirill says:

    http://www.customs.ru/index2.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=20358&Itemid=1978

    January-November 2014 Russian exports were US$459.4 billion and were 3.8% lower than in 2013.

    According to the western media, the price of oil should have devastated Russian exports. Before some clown chimes in, December cannot physically produce a ten fold loss in 2014 exports.

  10. Tim Owen says:

    Gotta disagree with you there honestly. Though QE is entirely flawed because it, figuratively speaking, loads (let’s call it “monee”) into the top of the hopper – the banks – while there’s almost no transmission mechanism to get it out of the banks hands and into the hands that will spend it.

    All the QE in the US has just a) reflated asset prices b) “foamed the runways” for the banks by trading out their shitty assets for “money good” assets – tbills – and so allowed for pretend and extend. To some extent it has reflated insecure debt markets, but that’s terrible as well as there is a concomitant rise in personal debt levels that will later, again have a deflationary effect.

    BUT what it does show is that the ECB might be on the way to throwing off the – to my mind – insane self-imposed constraints it has been labouring under.

    It’s a problem of insufficient demand. If the private sector wants to delever there is no alternative but for the public sector to spend. There is literally no alternative.

    The hang up is to think that nations are households and operate, like households, with something like a “budget” in the household sense. (They don’t. Government spending is not constrained by tax revenues.) Bill Mitchell suggests calling it a government’s

    fiscal position. Regardless, the point is that the function of FIAT money is more akin to the circulation of blood between parts of the body or, in this case, mainly between the private and public sectors. The point being: no one wonders whether they have to “pay” the blood back when they get an infusion; the restoration of adequate supply is enough.

    Here’s an example of the above distinction correctly applied along with the proper regulatory philosophy: the Swedish banking crisis in the early 90s. The banks balance sheets were full of crap and the market cottoned on. The government stepped in, nationalized the banks, fired the managers who had f’ed up, split their asset into good and bad banks, sold the good portion back to the market so that normal credit markets could be revived and kept the bad assets as government liabilities until they could be reasonably valued after the self-reinforcing credit crunch that the shitty managers had brought on had passed.

    That is the proper role of a central bank: to avert the overshoot of pessimism brought on by banking euphoria / IBG-YBG phenomenon.

    The second hang up I think is to conflate the mechanism of the dollar regime system with the “scourge of debt” itself. It’s appealing I know, but I think it’s confusion and I think it partially actually elucidates how the EU went so wrong.

    The point of the Swedish bank example above shows that in a crash debts good and bad get washed down the drain. The role of a central bank is to save assets mis-priced in this extreme context, quarantine them from the bad assets causing the problem and resume normal lending (while punishing management and, by extension, equity holders by firing them / wiping them out, thus extinguishing moral hazard.)

    Implicit in this is: the central bank has the power to make bad assets good. They OWN the measuring stick by which this is judged.

    Note that it does not follow from this that any bad asset can be monetized by the central bank. The central bank is there to retrieve the wounded, pick up the dead and provision for the next assault. They have the monopoly on public credit which is, ironically, the linchpin that keeps private credit markets functional.

    • et Al says:

      It’s a problem of insufficient demand. If the private sector wants to delever there is no alternative but for the public sector to spend. There is literally no alternative.

      A thought that springs to mind is isn’t that one of the things the TTIP is supposed to address? I.e. allowing foreign countries to buy up whole swathes of others and charge whatever they like to citizens? Imagine all those $$$ being used to buy (the rapidly value) €€€? In such a case, couldn’t the US get some real bargains in Europe and actually extend US control on continental Europe (as NATO clearly sucks ass big time)?

      • Tim Owen says:

        Michael Hudson makes the point that part of the dollar regime’s power – the exorbitant privilege – is that it allows foreign assets to be purchased in a currency that the purchaser itself issues and that any reciprocal purchases of American companies / infrastructure etc. is severely limited, forcing those who want access to American consumers to rely even more on treasury purchases, which of course further funds the penetration of the dollar into their home markets as described above. This also means that the US military is largely being funded by those it protects (cough.)

        This is the insight I believe behind what Reagan said: “Deficits don’t matter.” No kidding. To put it even more strongly: the deficits are actually an indicator to what degree the US currently exacting tribute from the world. And when Cheney said: “The American way of life is not up for negotiation” I think what he really meant was the system as described above will be defended tooth and nail.

  11. davidt says:

    According to the Saker, and other sources, Russia has decided to stop delivering Europe gas through the Ukraine. In stead European countries wanting Russian gas will have to invest in their own pipelines from Turkey. This seems to have caught more than one or two people off balance. Interesting.
    http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2015/01/breaking-news-russia-will-completely.html

  12. Moscow Exile says:

    Bloomberg:

    Russia to Shift Ukraine Gas Transit to Turkey as EU Cries Foul

    (from Russsia Insider)

    We are diversifying and eliminating the risks of unreliable countries that caused problems in past years, including for European consumers” – Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, January 14, 2015.

    The EU energy chief says that Russia’s reputation would be hurt as a supplier.

    No mention, of course, of the Ukraine’s invidious reputation as a payer.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Ход конем “Газпрома”!

      Knight’s move Gazprom!

    • et Al says:

      What beautiful timing, with a bit of luck thrown in! Just when the Eunuch Parliament is going to vote on their non-binding resolution on the Ukraine etc.

      To say this to the Eurotwats who have come over to Moscow to lay down Brussels ‘law’ is simply too delicious!

    • kirill says:

      Note the 1984 drivel-speak of the EU-tard mouthpieces. In their inverted “logic” it makes sense for Russia to ship its gas through a country which routinely over the last 24 years has siphoned transit gas in vast amounts and is openly hostile to Russia. These retarded monkeys really should keep their traps shut. People hear this spew in Russia and it becomes clearer every day what a stinking POS is the EU.

  13. davidt says:

    Not sure about this since no Russian outlet is carrying it, but Zerohedge is claiming Russia has cut gas back through Ukraine already:
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-14/russia-cuts-ukraine-gas-supply-6-european-countries

    • Moscow Exile says:

      According to a comment in Saker, Zerohedge has used the UK Daily Mail as his source, which states that the cut-off is immediate (of course, they would say that!) whereas Gazprom has said the cut-off will occur after few years – clearly, because the Turkish pipeline has not even been started yet

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Here’s the Saker anonymous comment:

        Anonymous said…

        [from Blue]

        It’s not clear to me what the story is.

        There is this, suggesting that several sources may have jumped the gun some, and Daily Mail may have screwed it up royally. Still, it’s major news, and Russia can cut off gas at any time. But perhaps not quite yet.

        It is a problem when the MSM is an echo chamber.

        http://itar-tass.com/en/economy/771204

        MOSCOW, January 14. /TASS/. The Turkish Stream gas pipeline project is the sole route for Russia’s future supplies of 63 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe currently delivered via Ukraine, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said on Wednesday.

        The Gazprom head made this statement in response to a question about the fate of Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline project.

        “The project is closed. The Turkish Stream is the sole route, which can deliver 63 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas transited across Ukraine so far. There are no other options,” Miller said.

        Gazprom has notified its European partners about its Turkish Stream gas pipe plans and now their task is to create the necessary gas transport infrastructure from the border of Turkey and Greece, the Gazprom head said.

        “They have a maximum of several years for this. This is a very tight schedule. To comply with it, work for the construction of new trunk gas pipelines should be started in EU countries right now. Otherwise, these gas volumes may be redirected to other markets,” the Gazprom head said.

        15 January, 2015 04:10

        • marknesop says:

          Well, for what it’s worth, Bloomberg has it, too. That’s not a guarantee of accuracy, of course. But what made me laugh out loud was Sefcovic’s contention that such a decision would “hurt Russia’s reputation as a supplier”!! Dear God, can you imagine? A group of countries that has yammered for years that it wants to wean itself off Russian gas unless it can control it itself and pay what it thinks is fair, and who cobbled together regulations to stop construction of the pipeline that would save them in favour of a creaky system going through a country populated by thieves, psychopaths and murderers, now is acting hurt because their gas supplier is fed up with their shenanigans and is making alternative arrangements. Where’s your “Russia needs Europe more than Europe needs Russia” now??

          Europe does not give a fuck about Russia’s “reputation as a supplier” so long as it makes it sell gas through Ukraine, which is a demonstrable crook. Sources I trust have said the biggest contribution to failure of the west’s plan for Ukraine is that Vladimir Putin refused to fund Ukraine as a western project. And this would be a quantum escalation that could actually inspire panic.

          • et Al says:

            As you, me and everyone else who has been following this bollox for far too long, the EU only wanted Russia to effectively continue to subsidize the Ukraine via transit fees until the EU was ready with their alternate supplies and networks.

            That was one element of the whole sanctions on Russia gambit. We remove (some) sanctions, you continue to deliver through the Ukraine.

            Another EU epic fail.

      • davidt says:

        Yes, Zerohedge relies on a Daily Mail article that is a few years old- Putin is Prime Minister. I wonder how Zerohedge got that wrong. (The Daily Mail article claims that the gas was cut back because the Ukrainians were siphoning.) Nevertheless, Gazprom’s intention to cut Ukraine completely out of the loop is interesting.

    • yalensis says:

      That might also explain why Poland once again halted the “reverse gas flow” to Ukraine, which I read about somewhere the day before yesterday. Any Euro countries which have some gas, need to start hoarding it now, for their own needs.

      • et Al says:

        Athos, Portos, Arami: “All for one…”

        D’Artagnan: “Fk this for a box of frogs! I’m off! LOSERS!”

          • Moscow Exile says:

            I have never had this satisfactorily explained, even by French acquaintances: If they’re musketeers, where are their muskets and why don’t they use them instead of arsing around with rapiers?

            • colliemum says:

              Dunno – but my guess is they were noblemen and thus officers, and were thus exempt from slogging about with muskets on their backs – that was for the low soldiers they commanded. Rapiers were reserved for officers only, of course …
              😉

  14. Terje says:

    Amnesty, HRW plotted to set up for regime change in Eritrea, a small African country that is on the US death list.
    The same rules applies to Eritrea as to the other countries the US is hostile to (star examples North Korea, Venezuela, Russia): Journalists can write anything they like about it as long as it fits the narrative. If lacking ideas for stories they can be supplied by the CIA.

    For the full article :
    http://www.blackagendareport.com/node/14610
    “For the first time Amnesty International and HRW are caught in writing accepting ‘a reasonable grant’ from the US State Department to do its dirty work.”
    Secret internal correspondence from Amnesty International has been published detailing a plan to instigate regime change in the small east African country of Eritrea funded by a grant from the US State Department under then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
    “Our intended goal is that by December of this year [2011] the regime of [Eritrean President] Issayas Aferwerki should be shaking and ready to fall.”

    This was going to be done thanks to a “reasonable grant from the US State Department” to “bring about [regime] change…as has happened in other African and Arab countries”…
    The letter goes on to say “Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch…have received a reasonable grant from the US State Department…” and that “the main aim therefore of this Mission to Eritrea is to provide funding and to help in setting up websites and computer centers…”.
    Deja Vu? Cuba and Venezuela watchers will be reminded of similar programs funded by the US State Department to destabilize the governments of those countries with the goal of “regime change.”
    The bombshell this letter drops is that for the first time Amnesty International and HRW are caught in writing accepting “a reasonable grant” from the US State Department to do its dirty work.
    Amnesty International and HRW are major corporations, with HRW being funded for several years now to the tune of $100 million a year by George Soros who has a long history of working with the US intel community in former Soviet Union republics, for example, the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia. Neither organization is “democratic” or transparent. The Board of Directors of both organizations elect themselves and answer only to the handful of 1%ers that fund their enormous budgets. No one can really tell you just how much and from where these human rights corporations get their funding. Has anyone ever seen an in depth audit of either of these outfits multi million dollar operations budgets?”
    by Thomas C. Mountain

  15. Moscow Exile says:

    Zhirinovsky’s latest attention grabbing wizard wheeze:

    Госдума предложила сократить новогодние каникулы

    State Duma proposes reduction in the New Year’s holidays

    All the troubles that Russia has are, of course, blamed on the long New Year’s holidays, and on them only. How else can one explain why the State Duma is once again trying to rid the Russians of them? This time, the initiative has been made by deputy Alexei Didenko of the Liberal Democratic Party. His idea is simple: time off from December 31 – January 3, plus Christmas on 7 January. That’s it.
    .
    The arguments are well known: people drink, no one works, the economy suffers. However, some new factors have been added: the risk of hypothermia and high prices for tickets that tour operators fix, so there’s nowhere you can go to in any case and you have to stay in Russia and become too cold.

  16. Moscow Exile says:

    Во Владивостоке появилась морковь по 2,5 тысячи рублей за килограмм

    In Vladivostok there have appeared carrots on sale for 2.5 thousand rubles a kilogramme

    The story says that outraged buyers complained to a price-monitoring organization about this, stating that in the same shop where these imported from South Africa 2,500 rubles a kilo carrots were, were also on sale carrots for 20 rubles a kilo.

    The authorities decided to do nothing.

    The customers will decide, for sure: that’s the invisible hand of the market at work, isn’t it?

    Anyway, as I mentioned above, side by side in my local supermarket are spuds, unwashed and you pick the ones you want and put them into a plastic bag, for 22 rubles a kilo, and washed and packed imported potatoes for 99.99 rubles a kilo.

    Now which ones to buy?

    It’s a difficult choice…

    Still no shortage of sausages, as gleefully reported in the Pork Pie news last week.

  17. Moscow Exile says:

    Oil price crash threatens the future of the North Sea oilfields

    Worry not, Sweaties! The power of righteousness is on your side, in that your sacrifices will contribute to the fall of the Empire of Evil, which in its turn will greatly benefit the Exceptional Nation.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      BP job losses: Oil giant to brief 15,000 UK employees on staff cuts and ‘restructuring’ plans

      Up to Christmas 2014 I had been working at BP, Moscow.

      They closed the contract. Needed to economize.

      I have just been offered another contract. Got the offer 2 hours ago.

      Off Rosneft.

      • yalensis says:

        Congratulations on your new gig.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Thanks. I have mixed feelings about working at Rosneft, though. I had already been working at TNK-BP for several years when Rosneft took over. Rosneft then closed all TNK-BP contracts, including mine, and many TNK-BP also chose to terminate their employment – not simply because there was a new pecking order, though that must have largely been part of the reason, they didn’t like the management style: too “Soviet” they said.

          I noticed that the day after the takeover when I was winding up shop there: the place was crawling with security men; every lift hall had security men on duty – all wearing shades – and it was like getting into Fort Knox.

          At first, I thought the Evil One was paying a visit, hence the clampdown on security – but no, it was just the Rosneft way.

          It might have changed by now though.

          I start next Monday.

          • Warren says:

            TNK-BP spat of 2007/08 and Shell being forced to sell its shares in Sakhalin I/II in 2005 were the main reasons why UK-Russia relations deteriorated. Well done on your new job.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Yes, I was at TNK-BP then. They were located in a new building at the Arbat Square end of the Arbat and suddenly the tax inspectors appeared, seized the books and then all foreign employees’ documents were checked out and many of them were not legit: work permit issues and so forth. So the foreign employees there were given marching orders and they had to leave Mother Russia.

              Never touched me though, because I’m an FSB undercover agent, traitorous to the core. Mrs. Exile’s old uncle fixed that up when I got wed. My contract was temporarily ended though.

              Anyway, it all blew over almost as quickly as it had happened. Within a month I was back at work there and all the expats had returned.

              TNK-BP then moved from its Arbat offices to a new office block a couple of kilometres out of the centre, but far more conveniently located for me as it is right next to a metro station on “my” line.

              The name of the block is strange though: “Moscow Nordstar Tower Business Center”, a curious mixture of German and English.

          • Jen says:

            Evil Lord Sauron must have thought it important that your salary keeps making monthly Visa payments to train your Valkyrja sprog in remote control fighting for the day when her services are called upon to fight the golden youth of Ukraine. That is why he personally directed Rosneft to employ you. Otherwise you’d have had to pull her out of school and send her to work down the mines or in the places where the Moscow Times copies are to be found.

            Congratulations on your new job and don’t forget to make the appropriate sacrifice to Woden next time you commune with him in your forest grove.

            Waes hael!

        • et Al says:

          Seconded!

  18. astabada says:

    Hello, can anyone assert whether this is authentic?

    It is purported to be an admission of guilt by Pravii Sektor for the recent bus killings.

    • yalensis says:

      Hi, astabada,
      I saw these tweets, and they are also included in the Colonel Cassad piece Anatomy of a Provocation, which I summarized, above, for Spartacus.

      I don’t know if these tweets are authentic, they have been posted a lot, and I don’t recall that anybody has disputed their authenticity. The tweets are (allegedly) from the Right Sektor, and are dated 10 minutes apart. The earlier one (“23 minutes ago”) exults in the attack on a “bus full of terrorists”, then 10 minutes later (“13 minutes ago”), another tweet excoriates the DPR for blowing up a passenger bus.

      Even if the tweets are authentic, I don’t really think they prove anything. Right Sektor could be innocent (of this particular crime), maybe they heard something and shot their mouths off, thinking that it was a certain result, then a few minutes later they got more info, and instantly twisted the same news a different way.
      It happens when people shoot their mouths off before getting more facts.

      As for Cassad’s piece, I believe his overall argument is that the bus was probably destroyed by an anti-personnel mine.

      • astabada says:

        Thanks for clarifying – I hadn’t seen your comment on this tweet.

      • kat kan says:

        Right Sector most likely control that checkpoint; they control most of that area in and approaching Mariupol.

        Wounded interviewed in hospital state they were 3rd or 4th bus in a queue to go through the checkpoint, waited there a long time, then BANG. Then they show their injuries (arms/hands) and describe others falling down. They are not asked and don’t volunteer what it sounded like, how many bangs there were etc.

        Strange, Ukrops have been telling this as being near an abandoned checkpoint. Perhaps hoping it’s easier to pin it on others if they were nowhere near to be prime suspects.

        Land mine still seems likeliest. In fact, if there was lengthy waiting, it could have been a mine set off by someone going off the road to relieve himself.

  19. yalensis says:

    According to this , Ukrainian government trying to clip Kolomoisky’s claws, in regard to UkrNafta oil company.

    If I am understanding correctly:
    UkrNafta is a joint stock company, the state owns 50% (+ 1 stock), Kolomoisky (=Privat Group) owns most of the rest.
    Due to quorum rules (60% of shareholders needed to be present at the meeting) Kolo was able to block rules he didn’t like, for example, changing the interest rate.
    To fix this, Ukrainian Rada passed amendment (Bill #1310) to change the definition of a quorum.
    Under the new definition, they’ll be able to pass rules even if Kolo doesn’t show up to the meeting.

    • kat kan says:

      The definition applies to all companies. It also means Mr. K can do what he wants with other companies, where other shareholders cannot attend, for whatever reason. It seems more a law to help any half-owner.

  20. yalensis says:

    Reuters on Ukie debt crisis .

    From reading this, the date to watch is January 29, that is the deadline for IMF to decide if they are going to give the Schnorrers some more $$$$$.

    • marknesop says:

      George Soros is suddenly very, very worried about Ukraine, isn’t he?

      • colliemum says:

        LOL – I hope he has some sleepless nights!
        But look at the date: January 29th. On January 25th, there are elections in Greece, with the distinct possibility that the left-wing party Syriza might get in. They’ve been talking about servicing their debts and other such things which have sent shivers down the spine of the money men, especially since Merkel has been thinking out loud that a GREXIT would be bearable, and her finance minister has been hinting that of course one might prolong the time for debt repayment …
        So the other one very worried now should be The Orange One who runs the IMF.

        Btw – where are the articles about how the Euro-Zone is on its collective economic knees, with the € tumbling thanks to the Swiss Bank removing the peg to the Swiss Franc? No?
        Tumbling currency only bad when it’s the rouble …

  21. peter says:

  22. peter says:

  23. Moscow Exile says:

    Klaipeda, Lithuania, January 8, 2015.

    Arrival of US 2nd Cavalry

    The place used to be called Memel.

    As in:

    Von der Maas bis an die Memel,
    Von der Etsch bis an den Belt,
    Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
    Über alles in der Welt!

    🙂

  24. peter says:

  25. Spartacus says:

    If anybody is interested, linked below you have a Marxist’s view of current events…

    https://critiqueofcrisistheory.wordpress.com/russia-oil-the-strong-dollar-and-the-economic-conjuncture/

    Although I don’t necessarily agree with his whole analysis because, for example, I think Russia is a lot more stronger than he thinks it is, this piece shows, in broad strokes, what the attitude of the left should be vis-a-vis the events that are currently unfolding. The author is not some sissy politically correct lefty, au contraire, he is what I would call a proper Commie…

  26. Moscow Exile says:

    I’m back from Germany. Brothers! You wouldn’t envy Merkel! Communicating with Germans, I heard a lot of things about her, the nicest being that she’s an old pro-American whore who sucks Obama’s cock…. She cannot go outside because they would spit at her!
    Frankly, I never expected this from the Germans. Their anti-American feelings are going crazy, whilst Putin’s prestige is sky high! One German political scientist said to me: You know what is expected of Putin? – The liberation of Germany from US occupation. Here’s an interesting detail: If German elections were held now, Putin would beat Merkel 70/30!

    Alexander Zhilin is a retired Russian army colonel.

    Alexander Zhilin: There will be no truce!

    Published December 11, 2014

    • palmtoptiger says:

      I don’t want to sound like a spoil, but that is not a realistic assessment of the situation. I’ve just been in Germany myself as well over the Xmas-New Year holidays (my parents live there) for around 2 weeks, and, basically, the Durchschnittsbürger is as ignorant and misinformed as ever. if there was a vote tomorrow, 60-70% would still vote Merkel. yes, she’s faceless, spineless, and nobody can name even one positive thing she did. but hardly anyone can name anything negative she did either, or rather, as Volker Pispers pointed out with his usual wit, “the government” and “Merkel” are just separate entities in their heads – the government is bad, and Merkel (aka “Mutti”) is good. and since anyone who seriously tries to oppose Merkel’s servile pro-US course – like the PEGIDA guys, Elsässer, Sarrazin, to a lesser extent Linke – is tirelessly smeared and discredited in the MSM, the Durchschnittsbürger doesn’t really have any alternative to Merkel either.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Yeah, it doesn’t sound like what I’ve heard about present-day Germany either. It all depends on whom you talk to though. However, I don’t doubt that those whom Zhilin knocks around with over there have voiced such opinions.

        It’s the same with reports that Tintin used to send back from here when he was the Grauniad’s “Man in Moscow”, and Shawn Walker still does: namely, they send back the opinions of the “kreakly” here, who are members of their own class, albeit that on very rare occasions Tintin once, allegedly, ventured into the country, where he found a pensioner, a village drunkard, whom he rather disrespectfully called “Sasha” (he seems rather fond of that diminutive of Aleksander). The old man then waxed lyrical about what a shit existence he led and how inadequate his state pension was – and blamed Putin, of course, for all his woes, which is just what Lukey-boy wished to report back to the money laundering capital of the world.

        Old “Sasha” then tried to bum a wet off Harding. The Grauniad’s Man in Moscow never divulged whether he bought the alky a drink.

        • Jen says:

          Wouldn’t Tintin get an allowance from his employers to buy the old sot a drink? All part of work and if the old fellow got really drunk, he could have told Tintin more.

    • Spartacus says:

      Yeah, unfortunately, I think palmtoptiger is right. Back in December I travelled to Germany for a training I needed to do. I was there for about 6 days and in the evenings, with nothing better to do, I tried watching some TV. Every German TV channel was filled with Russophobic news reports and talkshows. It was really distasteful. I was lucky the hotel also had WiFi and I could dispense with the “zombiebox”.

  27. peter says:

  28. peter says:

    • Warren says:

      Snoop Dogg now goes by the alias Snoop Lion can you believe that?

      • yalensis says:

        Snoop is maybe the only rapper I like. I like Snoop quite a lot, but I hate the other rappers.
        Well, maybe I like CeeLo Green too (is he considered a rapper, or just a regular song-writer?)

        • Warren says:

          I’m very much Old Skool, I only listen to 90s Hip Hop & RnB.

          Modern Hip Hop & RnB can’t compare to these nineties classics.

          Warren G “Regulate” – Soundtrack for Above the Rim (1994)

          112 Ft Biggie & Mase “Only You” (1996)

  29. peter says:

    • Drutten says:

      What an incredibly stupid article. Most of these architectural things and construction projects have zilch to do with Vladimir Putin.

      First of all, the eye-catching skyscraper pictured is the Lakhta Center in St. Petersburg, an Alexei Miller (Gazprom) initiative with its design inspired by a Swedish watchtower that guarded the Swedish eastern settlement and military outpost of Nyen (long before St. Petersburg was even conceived). If anything it’s an ambitious yet humble homage to the regional history…

      Furthermore, the international business center in Moscow with its many skyscrapers were drawn up in the 1990’s, before Putin even set foot in the Kremlin.. Also apropos “nationalism”; in fact the one “patriotic” skyscraper they thought of building there – namely the massive “Russia Tower” – was cancelled altogether. Also, most buildings there are built by foreign firms and designed by foreign architects. A Scot designed the cool, twisting “Evolution Tower” I believe. At any rate, it’s all commercial and Putin has nothing to do with it, nor does any “strong central authority” or whatever.

      The Sochi thing is also missing the point entirely. The reason the newly built “Mountain Cluster” (i.e. Krasnaya Polyana/Roza Khutor) looks the way it does is because it’s modeled after the classic architecture in downtown Sochi, in order to fit in and not clash with the picturesque surroundings all too much. Hell, even the clock tower is near-identical to the one in central Sochi. This is common, say why do newly built alpine villages in Switzerland still look so 1800’s?

      Now compare this to the “Coastal Cluster” where everything is built in a clean and modern style. Well, apart from the hotel in the Adler fantasy theme park which is reminiscent of a fairy tale castle. No, I don’t think that’s one of Putins outrageous ideas either…

      Also say hello to some nice plans for Stockholm, Sweden in the Year of our Lord 1927:

      We were neither communist or nazi back then, nor did we feel that we had to assert ourselves internationally. Our central authority wasn’t particularly strong either…

      It was just an architect’s wet dream, inspired by the inherent coolness of NYC’s Manhattan. It was going to be commercial as well – alas he (Thor Thörnblad) wasn’t able to attract investors (it was bound to be mighty expensive) but he kept on pushing for it for decades.

  30. cartman says:

    Mark, would you please ban this person who is just here to make noise and screw with everyone whose browsers cannot take excessive tweets and videos?

    • kirill says:

      I second the motion.

    • Spartacus says:

      Come on guys, what got you so upset? Don’t you appreciate the flawless logic of his arguments, his wit, his fine sense of humor and his razor sharp analysis? I think you are all just haters who just can’t stand being exposed to the rays of knowledge projected by this giant supernova.

    • patient observer says:

      Peter is practicing a sort of asymmetrical warfare. He is unwilling or unable to engage in an exchange of arguments so he resorts to a barrage of low quality “diversionary attacks”. He does an concessional ambush with characteristic arrogance and pointless nastiness.

      Contrarians can have an important role in an organization by forcing an examination of assumptions and “common knowledge”. Peter does not seek that role. Rather his motivation seems to simply vex and annoy.

      “It is an excellent rule to be observed in all disputes, that men should give soft words and hard arguments; that they should not so much strive to vex as to convince each other.” Peter fails this standard.

  31. et Al says:

    Already covered by some of you, but it really shows the shock:

    EU Observer:
    https://euobserver.com/news/127216
    “…Sefcovic – who was on his first visit to Russia to meet with Miller, Russia’s deputy minister Arkady Vladimirovich Dvorkovich, and energy minister Alexander Novak – reacted frostily to the news.

    “I believe we can find a better solution,” he said.

    “We don’t work like this … the trading system and trading habits – how we do it today – are different”.
    ###

    Well that’s the level of total loser that is employed by the EU. No doubt he (they) had been reassured by their own experts and certain member states that Russia was simply bluffing, but what should one really expect from such pen pushers? Every now and then they are allowed out of the sandpit to do the work publicly that certain member states would rather not do face to face, and then they take the can when it goes catastrophically wrong. Here’s looking at you van Rompuy, Barroso and others who thought they’d nailed Russia & got Yanukovic to blow them off in public and ask for it! Fail, fail and fail again.

    On the plus side, the catastrophic performance of such people and the institutions really does make the european citizen doubt even more (is that possible?) the eurocrats dreams of federalizing Europe. There’s really no argument when incompetence like this is on show. It certainly makes it very easy for anyone to point this out as a proper reason not to do so.

    In other Euroturd news, this very brief one:

    EU Obserrver: ECJ risks ‘serious conflict’ with German court, says AfD leader
    https://euobserver.com/tickers/127215

    The lo-land of Po-land on the defensive over their behavior of non invitations to the Auschwiz commemoration:

    EU Observer: Putin to stay away from Holocaust memorials
    https://euobserver.com/foreign/127217
    Poland has denied any suggestion that Russia’s Vladimir Putin was not invited to a Holocaust memorial along with EU leaders for political reasons. ..

    …But some EU diplomats are equally worried Russian propaganda will portray Putin’s absence as Western denigration of Russia’s role in the war. ..
    ###

    Not really worth posting except for the prominence of Poland’s denial as the first item in the article. It’s a subtle way of of not buying the Polish line and politicizing this.

    Then this:
    EU Observer: Eurozone in danger of permanent stagnation, World Bank says
    https://euobserver.com/news/127203
    …“Weak consumption, anaemic investment and low inflation could feed on each other in a deflationary spiral,” across the single currency bloc, states the Global Economic Prospects report by the World Bank published on Wednesday (14 January).

    After growing by an estimated 2.6 percent in 2014, the global economy is projected to expand by 3 percent this year, far higher than the sluggish 1.1 percent forecast for the eurozone in 2015. The currency bloc saw a mere 0.8 percent growth rate in 2014….

    …The global economy is still struggling to gain momentum as many high-income countries continue to grapple with the legacies of the global financial crisis and emerging economies are less dynamic than in the past,” said Kaushik Basu, the World Bank’s chief economist.

    “Worryingly, the stalled recovery in some high-income economies and even some middle-income countries may be a symptom of deeper structural malaise,” he noted, adding that “as population growth has slowed in many countries, the pool of younger workers is smaller, putting strains on productivity.”…

    …However, such a step is viewed by economists and market analysts as the ECB’s option of last resort, and several members of the ECB’s governing council, including German representatives Sabine Lautenschlager and Jens Wiedmann, remain deeply sceptical.

    Finishing off with:
    euractiv: Mogherini suggests détente with Russia
    http://www.euractiv.com/sections/global-europe/mogherini-suggests-detente-russia-311288
    …A discussion paper seen by Reuters that was distributed to governments ahead of a meeting of the 28 EU foreign ministers in Brussels next Monday said the bloc might consider reviving joint efforts with Moscow in tackling problems with Syria and Iraq, Libya, Iran, North Korea as well as Ebola and the Palestinian issue.

    Lamenting “negative spillover” from Ukraine into many areas of cooperation with Russia, and noting recent EU threats to step up penalties on Moscow, the paper suggested complementing that sanctions strategy with “a more proactive approach” to get Russia to change tack on Ukraine – a carrot as well as a stick…

    ..The four page document takes pains to stress that it does not mean “business as usual” with Moscow, against which the EU levied economic sanctions last year for its annexation of Crimea and over the actions of pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine…

    ..The paper noted a common, long-term aim of free trade from “Lisbon to Vladivostok” and said the EU might study expanding trade with Russia and its Eurasian Economic Union of ex-Soviet states. ..

    …Her paper stated: “There are significant interests on both sides, which may be conflicting, but could serve as a basis for trade-offs and could imply a give-and-take approach.”..
    ###

    To little, too late. A climb down if there ever was one, but sold as magnanimity in victory.

    • Fern says:

      Yes, I can see why ‘EU diplomats’ are worried about how Russian ‘propaganda’ will report the non-invite to the Auschwitz commemoration. Here’s how it was covered in more than one British newspapers, who, as we all know, are the very epitome of justice and fair play. The reports relayed how Poland had not invited Putin because of current Russian/western ‘tensions’ – not too bad, you might think. Except the headline of the articles ran “Putin snubs Auschwitz memorial”. Like what happened but different. Incidentally, I would hope survivors of the camp protest this childish exclusion. I’m somehow expecting a lachrymose speech by Poroshenko claiming Banderite liberation of the camp.

      • marknesop says:

        I think I remember that – I’m sure I saw a documentary on it. Stepan Bandera entered Auschwitz riding on a white mammoth, wearing a cartridge belt made of pork chops, while behind him goose-stepped his legions singing “Inclusiveness for all!! Glory to pragmatism!!” as they tossed handfuls of pirozhki to the cheering prisoners their gallantry had freed. But then Putin’s father made them all go back to their barracks and would not let them have any. Or perhaps I’m thinking of another parade like it.

        You’re probably right; Porky would know – or be told – how provocative suggestion that Putin had stayed away because he supports Naziism would be, and has probably been encouraged to say something like that. I just don’t know if he would have the brass to do it, considering he lives in NaziLand.

        • yalensis says:

          Bandera’s entry into Auschwitz on the mammoth might have created an etiquette situation, since his closest friends and relatives would have been working there as concentration-camp guards.

          Awkward!

        • Jen says:

          White mammoth?! – wouldn’t Bandera’s own followers have instinctively fought it and accidentally killed its rider?

          • marknesop says:

            Bandera tamed it and hand-fed it from a calf (although it looked more like a big piglet than a calf). He called it “Stan”, which is where the name “Banderastan” comes from. None of his followers would dare touch it, lest he shoot laser beams of pure thought from his eyes and crisp them to ash.

            • Jen says:

              Oh I see, something like this woolly worm, only a bit larger …

              • colliemum says:

                Heh.
                You are simply insinuating that you would’ve liked seen Bandera having come out in a fearsome, industrial strength rash, riding on a mammoth like that pretty caterpillar!
                I’m with you and support your wish.

                (Great photo by the way!)

  32. Warren says:

    Translation please.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      …and it won’t stop yet and there’ll be war. There’s no way we can quit defending ourselves because soldiers are dying at the terminal. As soon as the firing stops at the terminal, then we’ll stop shooting as well.

      – See that house? It’s my aunt’s. You’re saying your soldiers are dying there? Punishment squad goons are dying there. They’re filth! I’m telling you straight to your face … I’ll tell you one more time, I’ll fucking destroy everyone that goes on my land carrying a weapon.

      – My father’s house…

      – It’s my land. I was born here…

      – Around the bend is my father’s destroyed house …

      – By your soldiers! Do you understand?

      • Warren says:

        Wow, powerful stuff. Thank you for the translation.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Sad thing is, though, they’re both Ukrainian Russophones, and if not former neighbours, some of their family members still are, so they’re both from the same neck of the woods, which means the officer is certainly no rabid West Ukrainian Banderite.

          The Yukie officer is staying loyal to his oath and Zakharchenko is staying loyal to his hearth and home – “Blut und Boden” as it were.

          And if that is not evidence enough that a civil war is raging there, then I don’t know what is.

          • Warren says:

            West media decides what is or is not a civil war, terrorism, occupation, aggression, annexation, legal, illegal, legitimate, illegitimate, free & fair election, not a free & fair election, coup, not a coup, revolution, not a revolution, protest, not a protest, etc.

            • colliemum says:

              But of course!
              And if the Western MSM do not report on something, then it has not happened, even if you’ve watched it with your own eyes.

  33. Moscow Exile says:

    Blown up by a landmine and shot at says KP:

    Автобус под Волновахой подорвали миной и расстреляли

    In the article, the “expert” conclusion reads as follows:

    «Характер повреждений в корпусе автобуса по разлету осколков, высоте попадания и диаметру отверстий позволяет сделать вывод о его поражении штатным инженерным боеприпасом (направленного действия) типа МОН (мина противопехотная осколочная, направленного поражения), находящимся на вооружении общевойсковых подразделений вооруженных сил Украины.»

    The nature of the damage to the bodywork of the bus, the spread of fragments and the height and diametre of the contact holes allows one to conclude that it was hit by the regular engineered (directional) type ammunition of an MON-type mine (antipersonnel directional clustermine) as used with combined arms units of the armed forces of Ukraine

    МОН-50

    • dany8538 says:

      Did you at least join the Anti-Maidan rally today ?
      Those pitiful souls were out there supporting sauron and I am sure you were there along with them. How much were you paid by the way ? I need to know because I am thinking the rate should be 3 or 4 times higher for me to organize a similar rally in New York. Its just good business.🙂

  34. et Al says:

    Update.

    Vote Watch EU: Far left and nationalist parliamentarians fail to block a strong EU position on the crisis in Ukraine
    http://www.votewatch.eu/blog/far-left-and-nationalists-parliamentarians-fail-to-block-a-strong-eu-position-on-the-crisis-in-ukraine/
    Centrist groups have succeeded in reaching a common position to ask the European Union to send a strong signal of support for Ukraine’s European aspirations. EU Parliamentarians passed a resolution* condemning the acts of terrorism and criminal behavior of the separatists and other irregular forces in eastern Ukraine.

    The resolution also calls for the continuation of the current EU sanctions regime and takes positive note of the recently adopted additional sanctions on investment, services and trade regarding Crimea and Sevastopol. The text says that the EU won’t back down from sanctions until Russia changes its aggressive behaviour, stops supporting separatists and withdraws its troops.

    The recommendation points out that the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement (AA) does not constitute the final goal in EU-Ukraine relations. The text underlines that Ukraine has a European perspective and may apply to become a member of the European Union. To enter into force, the AA has to be ratified by the EU member states and newly adopted resolution urges the EU Member States to ratify the AA before the Riga summit.

    The communist GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament objected to EU having an active supportive stance towards Ukraine and objected particularly to the alleged criminalization of Ukrainian Communist Party and its ideology. Most of the nationalist Members also voted against EU’s support for Ukraine. However, the final text was carried by an overwhelming majority made up of the Christian-Democrat (EPP) group, the Socialists (S&D), the conservatives (ECR), the liberals (ALDE) and Greens/EFA group.

    Notably, a call for the repealing of the Association Agreement was supported, alongside with far left and nationalists, by a Slovakian socialist, a Greek conservative and a Latvian Greens/EFA Member (click here to see how each Member voted on this item). Similarly, a handful of MEPs from the S&D group, coming from Bulgaria, Poland, Latvia, Germany and the UK voted for lifting the EU sections against Russia, although the overwhelming majority of their colleagues opposed (click here to see how each Member voted on this item).

    Interestingly, 6 Italian EPP Members, including former EU commissioner for industry, Antonio Tajani, defected from their group’s position and showed support for the lifting of the EU sanctions, considering them as politically ineffective and counter-productive (click here to see how they voted).

    The main political groups disagreed on one point: the S&D group (along with the far left) asked that further financial assistance to Ukraine be conditioned by a set of measures such as the dissolution of the paramilitary forces fighting on government’s side and immediate democratic control over all security forces in the country. However, the EPP, ALDE and the Greens/EFA found this approach inopportune in the current context and voted down the conditionality. Three Italian socialist MEPs defected from the group line on this matter and also voted against conditionality (click here to see how they voted).

    Note: the final vote on the text of the resolution as a whole was not cast by roll-call vote, therefore there is no data to show on how each Member voted.

    * http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&reference=P8-RC-2015-0008&language=EN

    2. Condemns the acts of terrorism and criminal behaviour of the separatists and other irregular forces in eastern Ukraine;

    So no, does not declare the rebels ‘terrorists’ and does include Kiev’s neo-nazi battalions, but not expressly mentioned.

    • colliemum says:

      It is perhaps worth pointing out that this “overwhelming majority made up of the Christian-Democrat (EPP) group, the Socialists (S&D), the conservatives (ECR), the liberals (ALDE) and Greens/EFA group.” consists of exactly those parties which happen to be in power in the various EU countries, or were in power. So it should not come as a surprise that the transmission between national government policies in e.g. France and Germany in regard to the Ukraine, and their EU Parliamentarians works so seamlessly.

      Perhaps it also might be useful to know that generally, such laws are decided behind closed doors by the commissioners (unelected figureheads appointed by the governments of the EU countries -each country gets to have one …), pushed through the various committees of the EU Parliament where the flood of paper is so huge that they have barely time to nod through such proposals, and then presented to the EU Parliament where these things usually get the nod.
      If they don’t – it does happen occasionally – , the proposal goes back to the commission, the wording gets fiddled around with, and then it goes back down the same route, until the EU Parliament finally nods it through.

      The EU Parliament itself does not have the power to initiate legislation.

      • et Al says:

        That’s the beauty of the ‘Co-decision’ principle. Everyone ‘wins’ because no one likes to be the fat kid* who doesn’t even make it to the finishing line!

        * That’s not a slight on the fat kid but rather the so-called liberals eurotwats who need to be loved and feel included because Europe is all about consensus, even in rank stupidity.

        • colliemum says:

          Yep.
          Here’s a funny thing: these eurotwats should pray, on their bended knees, every day until May 7th, that Farage and his merry men and women win the seats they’re standing for, because that would mean no more Nigel in the EU Parliament to stir things up, contributing greatly to the gaiety of Nations with his speeches.
          But they’re so twattish, they don’t, they’d rather be saddled with him for years to come.

  35. Warren says:

    • Warren says:

      • Erika says:

        The presentation

        • marknesop says:

          Thanks very much for posting that, Erika! Mankoff is a terrible public speaker – he punctuates every couple of words with “ahh”, and when what you are saying is not arresting and compelling and making everyone sit on the edge of their seat, they are bored and more apt to notice and fixate on little tics in your mannerisms. Classes in public speaking usually record your speech and then play it back for you, revealing mannerisms you never knew you had, such as constantly jingling the change in your pockets (unless you’re a Russian, when you don’t have any change, ha, ha) or pushing your glasses up on your nose. But that’s as may be, because he only did the introduction. Even though Ponamarev’s English is a second language, he is still a better speaker, but like most if not all liberal intelligentsia, he is full of shit. It makes me laugh out loud when they confide smugly that Putin is supported by businesses and the siloviki, as if that were shameful, when there has not been an American president in 50 years about whom you could not say the same. And his touching dream that if only something would happen which would destroy stability for the Russian people, they would lose faith in Putin and punch their ballots for a western-friendly reformer who would promptly take orders from Washington and sell the country for a bowl of pottage is just that – a dream; one that makes me wonder what country he grew up in. The Russian people would only ditch Putin due to instability if they were convinced it was his fault due to a terrible decision he made. The west consequently keeps assaulting the ramparts in Russia, making it clear the trouble is entirely the fault of an external intervention by the usual suspects and making Putin a hero, so that he reaps the sympathy vote even as Russians harden their hearts toward the west. The philosophers in Obama’s advisory group are obviously pretty thin on the ground, while there is a disproportionate number of idiots.

  36. yalensis says:

    On the war front:
    Donetsk insurgents claim they have “cleansed” the airport of all Ukies.
    Well, we have heard that one before.
    But this time the claim might actually be true.
    Evidence?
    OSCE is calling upon “all sides” to remove their heavy artillery and weapons from the airport. They suddenly discovered that these battles for the airport are damaging the infrastructure and threatening civilians living near the airport.
    When Ukie “cyborgs” were clinging to their little piece of airport and shelling residential neighbours of Donetsk, OSCE didn’t seem to have a problem with that.
    Typical story: When the “bad guys” start winning, then the peacemakers rush in to put a stop to the war.

  37. patient observer says:

    After consulting with my political oracle, I now have a much better understanding of the German deep state. First, Germany’s deep interest is accurately represented by Merkel. The deep folks want sanctions and every thing they can do to weaken Russia. The German industrialists not in the loop want sanctions lifted but they are a convenient minority that helps to obscure the fundamental hostility towards Russia.

    They want to a WW II redo, not in the military manner as they got chopped to pieces. This time, its more subtle no doubt inspired/directed by their overlords of the Anglo Empire. They want to own Russia, a power grab fought in board rooms and stock exchanges. They honed national takeovers in Serbia where they engineered purchases for pennies on the dollar. Russia is slipping away and they are furious.

    • kirill says:

      They missed their chance over the last 20 year. Thanks to the anti-Russian propaganda in the west, investment was limited. Serious investment would have allowed them to move into the Russian market and “take over”. As of late 2014, the access of NATO member states to the Russian market is disappearing. I do not see how western companies can take over anything in Russia today.

      The current attack on Russia is a pathetic attempt to weaken its economy. It’s a Hail Mary pass since there is no reason why Russia’s economy would collapse from such sanctions. In fact, there are solid reasons to conclude that Russia will develop and advance via import substitution. (BTW, this happened on a large scale in 1998 when the ruble devalued by a large fraction.)

      • patient observer says:

        Totally agree. And I too recall that the fiscal crisis of 1998 was the best thing to happen to Russia in a long time.

    • colliemum says:

      Well, they’ve got the rest of Europe under their boots already, with the help of the Vichy French, so they need to look for pastures new.
      Any similarities to what happened between 1939 and 1945 are of course totally accidental …😉

    • palmtoptiger says:

      I’d actually argue that there is really no “German deep state” in the full sense of the word, i.e. a real, independent, political elite that acts in the longterm interest of the German state.

      because there simply isn’t.

      Germany today is not a sovereign state. it’s tightly controlled by the US, through many channels and lots of “soft power” mechanisms, from transatlantic organisations through media control, economic pressure, etc, and runs a foreign policy which is completely contradicting German national interests – but serves American interests very well. I could publish a long and detailed paper on that, citing literally hundreds of cases and facts.. but then I’d go into some little black CIA/BND notebook, and I dont really want that🙂

      the last German politician who could have – with a lot of good will – been called a statesman, was Schröder. at first, in the 90s, he toed the line from Washington alright, bombed Serbia, etc. but then he actually tried to be sovereign – just a little bit – and declined to take part in the 2003 Iraq war. and that was his downfall – just a year later, he was ousted from power and since then Germany has the grey faceless Merkel muppet, who doesn’t even raise an eyebrow when she learns that the NSA has been listening to her phone calls for years – what’s the big deal, she doesn’t have any secrets from the US bosses anyway. heck, her private house in Berlin is immediately next to the HQ of the Trilaterale Kommission, a major US lobbyist NGO.

      and the others are just the same. Steinmeier is a total muppet, same goes for the comical von der Leyen and even more so for the ridiculous Grüne idiots, about whom I suspect that they’d ruin Germany even if they were left to reign entirely free of US influence.

      the AfD and Linke are trying to offer an alternative, but they’ll never get into federal power as long as the MSM are tightly US-controlled (which they are have been to an ever increasing degree in the last 10-15 years). the German MSM today are horrid, a blatant pro-American and anti-Russian propagandafest far beyond anything that existed in the Soviet Union (and I can compare, since I’ve lived there, too). and, much like Ukraine, there doesnt really seem to be any option of changing this, except for Russian tanks entering Berlin (or Kiev, respectedly).

      • colliemum says:

        You’re right – and that the German MSM are being controlled from across the Big Pond was stunningly evident when, literally overnight, no more readers’ comments were ‘allowed’ in any of the online papers on any report and opinion piece dealing with the Ukraine, Russia and Putin.
        The opinion of the readers was too obviously contrarian to what was published.
        Not that it’s any different here in the UK, where the ‘silencing’ has been extended to cover anything to do with islam, and of course UKIP. A few ‘public playgrounds’ on those subjects are permitted, once a week …

      • patient observer says:

        I think that there is a German deep state but ” ….inspired/directed by their overlords of the Anglo Empire.” Germany and most notably da Fuhrer himself admired and sought to emulate the British empire but within the confines on Europe/Russia. Germany seems satisfied in its role as the continental power in Europe and acquiescing the world to the (now) Anglo empire just as they hoped for in WW II.

        • palmtoptiger says:

          well, say what you want about the Führer, but he definitely wasn’t a “tiger you could ride” (c) Churchill, referring to Chamberlain’s appeasement attempts. V-2s on London were a good indicator of that. now, if Merkel ever gets anywhere near that level – then we can talk about German sovereignty🙂

          I’d argue there is no more “Germany”. the current German politesse are not statesmen at all in the Bismarckian-Churchillian sense of the word. far from caring about the next generation, they don’t even care all thaaat much about the next election, since they know that, with proper media assistance, you can twist facts and perceptions in the extreme – so that you’ll win literally even if you’ve just been destroying the country non-stop.

          what they care about is their own little personal agendas, and those are nearly always closely linked to US NGOs and interests – everyone else simply is filtered out by the system at levels below federal.

          in practice, this is a recipe for total disaster – which has been slowly but surely occurring in Germany in the last 10-15 years.

          • patient observer says:

            Must politely disagree with you regarding Hitler. He was most useful for the British and he did exactly what they wanted – attack the Soviet Union with 90+% of their military. The British were playing the US and Germany throughout the war. Once it became clear that the USSR was going to defeat Germany (despite British efforts to sabotage aid efforts for the USSR), the British decided to ride the American tiger as it were. Churchill was not a foe of fascism at all but simply a ruthless politician seeking to protect the British deep state (favorite term). Their comfort level with genocide and fascism has remained intact to this day (e.g. Ukraine).

            Various US military leaders voiced open disdain for the alleged British war effort against Germany including Eisenhower. They knew that the British were not particularly interested in defeating Germany as long as they were attacking Russia. The US military to their credit regarded the British as betrayers to the war effort.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Hitler was just misunderstood.

            • palmtoptiger says:

              I actually agree with most of what you’re saying. I just want to stress that Hitler, different from Merkel and all other contemporary German so-called politicians, in fact had a mind and initiative of his own. He was able to annex Sudetenland, and then, just a few months after making Chamberlain feel all warm and happy by promising to not move any further, annex the rest of Czechoslovakia too. Or openly challenge UK+France by staging Gleiwitz and then rapidly defeating Poland – which, hypothetically, the former were supposed to come help. Or defeat France in a classic Blitzkrieg. or even plan invading the UK (Operation Seelöwe). etc etc.

              yes, in the end the Brits managed to play him and make him attack the USSR first – a colossal mistake that Hitler himself in “Mein Kampf” wrote he would never make (he wrote that about Germany’s actions in WWI). but he was nowhere near being a UK-controlled puppet, like Merkel is today vis a vis the US.

              • patient observer says:

                Yes, it would be hard to imagine anyone more controlled than Merkel. She was the right person for the job. Her resume likely included “submissive slave”.

                • palmtoptiger says:

                  there are still some old youtube videos around from the Bundestag at Kohl time when she was just a junior gopher for the Kanzler. it’s really amusing to watch – subservience literally oozes from every movement of hers.

      • marknesop says:

        I would love it if you researched such an effort, and would be delighted to publish it here if you were so inclined, where it could be discussed immediately.

        • palmtoptiger says:

          well, I can think about it. I’ve got more than enough materials on all this piled up over the last 10 years, especially when I was still living in Germany. there are several issues, though:

          1) I don’t really have the time to invest into making it a solid academic paper, and don’t want to publish anything half-baked either

          2) *IF* i do make it a paper, odds are pretty high that it will attract a lot of attention and will cause me problems

          3) Thilo Sarrazin and Udo Ulfkotte largely did the work for me with their respective “Deutschland schafft sich ab” and “Gekaufte Journalisten” books (both bestsellers on German Amazon, Sarrazin’s book selling over 2 million copies after an initial print of just 25.000).

          • peter says:

            Один раз я даже управлял департаментом И странно: директор уехал, куда уехал – неизвестно. Ну, натурально пошли толки: как, что, кому занять место? Многие из генералов находились охотники и брались, но подойдут, бывало, — нет, мудрено. Кажется, и легко на вид, а рассмотришь — просто черт возьми! После видят, нечего делать, — ко мне. И в ту же минуту по улицам курьеры, курьеры курьеры… можете представить себе, тридцать пять тысяч одних курьеров! Каково положение, я спрашиваю?

            • palmtoptiger says:

              that’s deep… too deep for my simple and straightforward mind. i’ve tried to understand it for about 5 minutes, but gave up.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                “…that’s deep… too deep for my simple and straightforward mind

                Clue (as Peter would say): Gogol.

                Тридцать пять тысяч курьеров

                Из комедии «Ревизор» (1836) Н. В. Гоголя (1809-1852). Слова Хлестакова (действ. 3, явл. 6):

                «Один раз я даже управлял департаментом И странно: директор уехал, куда уехал – неизвестно. Ну, натурально пошли толки: как, что, кому занять место? Многие из генералов находились охотники и брались, но подойдут, бывало, — нет, мудрено. Кажется, и легко на вид, а рассмотришь — просто черт возьми! После видят, нечего делать, — ко мне. И в ту же минуту по улицам курьеры, курьеры курьеры… можете представить себе, тридцать пять тысяч одних курьеров! Каково положение, я спрашиваю?»

                Иногда встречаются версии, производные от оригинала: «сорок тысяч курьеров», «тридцать тысяч курьеров» и т. д.

                Фраза-символ хвастовства, преувеличения собственной значимости.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            For those of you that don’t know, the Russian text beginning: “Один раз я даже управлял департаментом…” [Once I even ran a department…] is taking the piss out of the perceived boasting of a previous commenter, someone who is considered to be exaggerating his own importance.

            The person at the receiving end of this mockery could, therefore, be one of the following: patient observer, kirill, colliemum, palmtoptiger, markensop and last but not least, myself.

            I do believe, however, that this barbed and scathing attack is directed at a Russian native speaker, at someone who is probably aware of the mocking nature contained within the phrase “тридцать пять тысяч курьеров” [thirty thousand couriers].

            (This information has been divulged only on strict condition that no retaliatory action be taken. Go in peace!)
            🙂

            • marknesop says:

              Not me. I ran a section of the combat department, which would be around 10 people of perhaps 60. But I never had anything to do with couriers, and am not a native Russian speaker.

            • colliemum says:

              I’m obviously chuffed to bits to be included in the list of those outstanding posters!
              Are you sure this isn’t a mistake?🙂

            • peter says:

              … and last but not least, myself.

              I don’t recall you contemplating writing a solid (!) fully-baked (!!) world-shaking (!!!) academic (!!!!) paper (!!!!!). Did I miss something?

              • palmtoptiger says:

                you’re just full of bullshit, sorry, pal. I don’t like to mince my words, so there you have it black on white.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                The operative word is “could” in “The person at the receiving end of this mockery could, therefore, be one of the following: patient observer, kirill, colliemum, palmtoptiger, markensop and last but not least, myself“.

                That “could” is, in this context, the subjunctive I voice of the modal auxiliary
                verb “can”, and forms part of the apodosis of a truncated conditional sentence where the protasis, the condition, is unstated.

                In view of the fact that your comment was in a thread in which five others, including myself, took part, that comment of yours could have been directed at any of the thread participants if (here comes the unstated protasis) any of them had led you to believe that they were worthy of your scorn as a result of his/her exaggerating his/her own importance.

                Now that the reason for your mockery has been made evident, namely your perception that one of the commenters was “contemplating writing a solid (!) fully-baked (!!) world-shaking (!!!) academic (!!!!) paper (!!!!!)”, clearly I was not the object of your mockery, for I have never made such a claim.

                I rest my case.
                🙂

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Error:

                  not subjunctive I “voice”, old fellow, but “mood”, namely сослагательное наклонение, or, in that wondrous tongue of Pushkin, мог бы.

                  :- )

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Oh yes, and I’m not a native speaker of Russian, as well you know, and I did add the following rider after my truncated conditional statement:

                I do believe, however, that this barbed and scathing attack is directed at a Russian native speaker, at someone who is probably aware of the mocking nature contained within the phrase “тридцать пять тысяч курьеров” [thirty thousand couriers].

                So that whittled down the target of your scorn to possibly to two persons, did it not, myself not included?

              • marknesop says:

                Oh. That was probably Nils – remember him? He did translations for Russia Lite. Nils Van der Vegte.

                Why should the ambition to write a solid, world-shaking academic paper, or even the perception that one has written such a paper, be held against him and make him an object of mockery? People have different measures of personal success, and I’d rather see that metric than some fat shit who thinks he is better than me because he drives this year’s Ferrari.

                It must be awfully hard to hold on to a dream in your company, Peter. Don’t you have any yourself?

                Speaking of that, check out this rocket – it literally makes me drool. Nobody designs cars like the Italians.

            • palmtoptiger says:

              after much contemplation, I think he means me.

  38. yalensis says:

    Very angry and powerful essay by Israel Shamir.
    Shamir compares Putin’s recent symbolic actions with key moments of Russian history (1) when Vladimir adopted Christianity; (2) when Russian princes stopped paying tribute to the Horde, (3) the great stalemate on the Ugra River, which effectively ended the Tatar yoke.
    Shamir ties these historical events with Putin’s attending of a Christmas mass at a Voronezh church; and with NOT attending the Auschwitz Memorial (whither he was not invited, by the hypocritical Poles and other Europeans).

    “He is not going to Auschwitz, to swear allegiance to the Jewish-American Empire, which was constructed on the privatized triumphs of the Red Army. The Russians liberated Auschwitz, saved the prisoners, gave them back their lives. The Russian President has nothing to prove there. Let Yatsenuk go instead – after all, didn’t the Russians in 1945 invade and occupy, in his words, not only Nazi Germany, but also Yatsenuk’s Banderovshchina? The Russians prevented Yatsenuk’s papa from murdering the papa of the Israeli Prime Minister in Auschwitz. Let Bennie Kolomoisky go there, let him justify his support for the Nazis of “Aidar” and “Azov”. Let the French go there, they who shipped their own (French) Jews off to Auschwitz. Let the Americans go there, covering up their betrayal of former allies. They need to stand there and justify themselves. Russians don’t need to do that.

    “If the Poles and Jews do not stand up and demand of their rulers to invite the Russian ruler, the heir of their liberators — then he has no business going there.”

    • kirill says:

      The west is fully detached from reality. Wallowing in wishful thinking and believing it can create reality through the force of its media propaganda factory. Reality is much bigger than the tiny brained specimens that rule the west.

    • Southern Cross says:

      ‘The Russians prevented Yatsenuk’s papa from murdering the papa of the Israeli Prime Minister in Auschwitz’

      I take it that’s meant to symbolic, because Yatsenyuk is Jewish by ancestry, and Benzion Netanyahu spent the war in New York.

  39. marknesop says:

    On the probably-forgotten MISTRAL front, time is rapidly running out for Hollande. Russia has pressed France for an answer, in writing, and let it be known that legal action will follow in February once all the clauses have run out. This will be a blow to France’s economy, a double blow since the purpose-built ships are unlikely to attract a buyer at anything like the price Russia paid.

    Once I thought Hollande would cave in and deliver the ships, as it seems clear he wants to do. But he is hobbled by the U.S. State Department giving him his orders and guilting him by telling him that transatlantic unity is imperative and NATO must present a united front. So it will probably go to court, where France will try to make a case that a conflict which blew up long after the contract was signed, in which Russia allegedly is playing an unacceptable role of which there is no proof, should let them out of the contract. I don’t see that line of reasoning succeeding.

    • Paul says:

      You don’t subscribe to the theory that the EU is the good cop and the US the bad cop in the Western financial oligarchy’s domination plans? Anyway, the Anglo-Americans have worked tirelessly since the color revolution against De Gaulle. Heck, Sarkozy is even of that illustrious Langley family, the Wisners.

  40. cartman says:

    50% of Polish mortgages are in CHF, and all of the forex traders (probably the same ones shorting the ruble) lost big time. This is a lesson about smugness.

  41. peter says:

  42. peter says:

    • Moscow Exile says:

      BBC 28 July, 2014:

      Russia to appeal against $50bn Yukos shareholder payout

      If the finding is under appeal, how can the claimants impose penalties?

      • peter says:

        6.3 Appeal

        Awards are final and binding, and there is no right of appeal.

        6.4 Enforcement

        In agreeing to arbitration under the PCA Rules, the parties undertake to carry
        out the award without delay.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Несмотря на то, что Россия обжаловала решение Гаагского суда о выплате бывшим акционерам ЮКОСа $50 млрд…

          Despite the fact that Russia has appealed the decision of the Hague court…

          But Moscow is in no hurry to implement that decision….Russia does not recognize the debt, and hence the interest on it. Representatives of the two firms – Baker Botts and Cleary Gotlieb – that have been defending the interests of Russia, have also declined to comment.

          In November, Moscow appealed the court judgement and, within the framework of the review, a written procedure begins on January 28. But Russia has not asked for a postponement of the deadline and has not challenged the July decision, points out Ackerman. According to them, GML [ Group Menatep Limited] will continue to enforce this decision and, using the New York Convention, register it in different countries in order to start a legal process to seize non-diplomatic Russian state-owned assets that are in these countries. This procedure has already begun (GML had that right from the moment of publication of the decision on July 28). The first countries in which the company plans to seek the seizure of assets are the United States and in Western Europe. However, GML recognizes that this procedure may take at least a year.

          • peter says:

            As far as I understand, that’s not really an appeal:

            … All Moscow can do is to file for “setting aside”, i.e. overturning, the order, a procedure that would have to be handled in The Hague at the same tier of the international judiciary, he said.

            “Arbitral awards are final and binding, and the only remedy that is available is what is called the setting aside of an award (which is based on very limited grounds, and does not concern the merits of the case), to be distinguished from an appeal (which normally allows a higher court to review the full case including on the merits),” Banifatemi said.

            • marknesop says:

              Pssst! Russia!! You don’t have to pay any attention to rulings by the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Just say, “According to our reading of the law..there is no authority of this World Court to prohibit Russia from exercising the laws passed by our legislature”. That’s the magic bullet the state of Texas used in the case of Mexican citizens detained in the United States and under sentence of execution, in which the United States stood on the fairness of its own laws and refused to accept the judgment of the ICJ.

              Just last year, a little less than a year ago, in fact, the we-do-as-we-please State of Texas executed Edgar Tamayo, a Mexican citizen, despite an order from the ICJ to review the case. John Kerry also asked the State not to proceed because doing so might hurt international relations and endanger American abroad. It figuratively told him to go pound sand, and went ahead.

              To the best of my knowledge none of those protected by the order to stay the execution was executed, but the United States made it bclear that eas because it had decided not to do it on its own, and that it does not recognize the authority of the International Court of Justice in matters internal to the United States.

  43. Moscow Exile says:

    Vanya Voronov, 8 years of age, from Donetsk.

    Now in Moscow for treatment.

    Both legs amputated below the knee; right arm amputated.

    He was also almost totally blinded: his eyes only react to light.

    Doctors in Moscow are now trying to save his sight.

    His wounds were caused by an artillery barrage.

    He was wounded in his house yard. His brother and step father were with him. They both died.

    Poroshenko’s elder son, Oleksiy, 30 this year:

    Oleksiy Poroshenko has allegedly served as volunteer artillerist in the Donbass.

    “We are Ukrainians and ready to fight with danger, aggressor… And these are not only words – my son is also there. He voluntarily went to the ATO and now he commands an artillery unit there. Over the past three weeks four people from his troop have beenwounded”, said Poroshenko.

    “This is a very important signal which shows the feelings not only of the president, a citizen of the Ukraine, but of a father. There is an awareness of the danger of this process and the importance of bringing peace to these territories”, added the president.

    I’m not Charlie

    I’m Vanya from the Donbass

    I’m 8 years old

    And I should like to kill Poroshenko

    #I’m Vanya

    [Vanya= Jack, a diminutive of “Ivan” = John]

    Oleksiy Poroshenko is now a rada deputy.

    He has two arms, two legs and one head.

    • yalensis says:

      I am not Charlie.
      I am Vanya from Donbass.
      I am 8 years old.

      Poroshenko tried to kill me.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Sorry!

        That’s a result of burning the midnight oil.

        Actually, it’s “Poroshenko wanted to kill me”, which is different in meaning again: wanting to do something and trying to do something would, in law, be treated rather differently.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Looking at the cartoon again, it seems that for some reason or other I misread the next to last line and thought it read:

          И мне хотелось бы убить Поршенко.

          I really must get my eyes seen to. I’m serious about that. My eyesight really is on the wane.

  44. Moscow Exile says:

    From above:

    “….there are still some old youtube videos around from the Bundestag at Kohl time when she was just a junior gopher for the Kanzler.” – palmtoptiger

    On Merkel (too narrow above, so posted here):

    Her father’s side is Polish.

    Born Angela Dorothea Kasner, Hamburg, 1954.

    Father: Horst Kasner, formerly Horst Kaźmierczak, born Berlin 1926.

    Father of Horst Kaźmierczak – Ludwig Kaźmierczak, born Posen, German Empire, now Posnan, Poland: ethnic Pole. Served in German army inn WWI. Became POW in France. When a POW, enlisted in the French organized Polish “Blue” Army. Fought in Polish-Soviet War,1919 -1921, for Polish army that invaded the Ukraine and White Russia. Later emigrated to Germany, where he Germanified his name, converted from Roman Catholicism to Lutheran faith; became a German citizen and a Berlin cop.

    Mother: Herlind Jentzsch, born Danzig, now Gdansk, Poland, 1928.

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