Oh Lord, Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

Uncle Volodya says, "The liar was the hottest to defend his veracity, the coward his courage, the ill-bred his gentlemanliness, and the cad his honor."

Uncle Volodya says, “The liar was the hottest to defend his veracity, the coward his courage, the ill-bred his gentlemanliness, and the cad his honor.”

Baby, do you understand me now?
Sometimes I feel a little mad
But don’t you know that no one alive can always be an angel
When things go wrong I feel so bad.

I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood

Nina Simone

Michael McFaul wants you to know that he is hurt. The Russian outlook has not been so anti-American (and anti-EU) since before 1990 – perhaps since never (thanks for the graphic, Kirill). The United States of America is hated – hated – in Russia in a way it probably was not even during the cold war. And why? Well, because of Putin, of course. Putin the paranoid nutjob, who believes the United States government is trying to overthrow his government and replace it with some supplicant liberal who will allow America a free hand to dabble and meddle to its heart’s content. Which America could not be less interested in doing – that’s all in Putin’s head. Quoth McFaul; “But the more I listen to him directly and the more I saw the activities of his government – they have a paranoid view about American intentions. They believe that President Obama and the CIA want to overthrow Putin’s regime and want to weaken Russia and some would even say, dismember Russia. It’s totally crazy. I want to emphasize that. There is no policy of regime change in Russia. Unfortunately, however, I think that is Putin’s view.” (Thanks for the link, Peter)

A paranoid view about American intentions. There is no policy of regime change in Russia. Hmmm. Forgive me if I find that a little hard to believe.

Probably because it’s…what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh, yeah – horseshit.

Michael McFaul is an educated man, and the educated man has a weakness – he can seldom resist being seduced into showing off his worldly education, the payback for those years with his nose in the books instead of going fishing, chasing skirt or hanging out down at the pool hall. Michael McFaul is not made of wood, and when he is asked to give the folks back home in Teaneck, New Jersey or Boring, Oregon or Cranky Corner, Louisiana the benefit of his worldly experience and that fine Oxford schoolin’, why, he sings like a canary.

Such as: “And, as before, the current regime must be isolated. The strategy of seeking to change Kremlin behavior through engagement, integration and rhetoric is over for now. No more membership in the Group of 8, accession to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development or missile defense talks. Instead there must be sanctions, including against those people and entities — propagandists, state-owned enterprises, Kremlin-tied bankers — that act as instruments of Mr. Putin’s coercive power. Conversely, individuals and companies not connected to the government must be supported, including those seeking to take assets out of Russia or emigrate…Mr. Putin’s Russia has no real allies. We must keep it that way. Nurturing Chinese distance from a revisionist Russia is especially important, as is fostering the independence of states in Central Asia and the Caucasus.”

Even, some would say, dismember Russia. Wasn’t that what you just said, above, in tones of “do you believe anyone could think something so crazy?” No sanctions on individuals and companies not connected to the government, including those “seeking to take assets out of Russia, or emigrate”. Those must be supported. Meanwhile, “fostering the independence of states in Central Asia and the Caucasus” is “especially important”. Who says so? Michael McFaul, in whose innocent mouth butter would not melt, said so, not even a year ago.

The United States, Mr. McFaul will have you know, is just misunderstood. The more it tries to help people – well, certain people, anyway, such as those receptive to American global leadership – the more it is accused of low-down, sneakin’, backstabbing regime change. The injustice of it!! Why can’t the world just accept that American motives are guileless and straightforward, and that America means Russia no harm?

Gee, I don’t know…maybe because of stuff like this: “American Efforts at Promoting Regime Change in the Soviet Union and then Russia: Lessons Learned“, by Michael A. McFaul. How ’bout that, Michael? Cat got your tongue? Want to take a look inside? Oh, let’s do.

Well, we’re off to a great start. “For much longer and with much greater capacity than Saddam Hussein’s regime, the Soviet regime threatened the United States. The destruction of the Soviet regime and the construction of a pro-Western, democratic regime in its place, therefore, was a major objective of America foreign policy. Some presidents pursued this goal more vigorously than others: Nixon cared less, Reagan more. Yet, even during the height of Nixonian realism, Senator Jackson and Congressman Vanik made sure that the human rights of Soviet citizens were not ignored.

Mmmm…interesting. The Jackson-Vanik Amendment – which was actually signed into law by President Ford, after President Nixon was taillights, so that it was never in effect during “the height of Nixonian realism” unless we presume it outlived his presidency and carried on after he was gone – pertained only to Soviet Jews. In that context, “making sure the rights of Soviet citizens were not ignored” is painting with a little bit of a broad brush, it seems to me.

At the time the whole argument – replete as usual with sound and fury – was going on about repealing the Jackson-Vanik Amendment so that Russia could join the WTO and maintain the same trading relationship with the USA it would maintain with other members, it escalated into a bitter partisan battle by groups who did not know the first thing about it, only that the honour of Old Glory was at stake. In fact the amendment was inserted into the Soviet-American Comprehensive Trade Agreement, and basically gutted it unless the Soviet Union allowed free emigration to its Jews. Among that group were many who had received a free superior education at a state school of higher learning, and who wished to take it with them to America or Israel to make a pile of money. The Soviet Union said sure, you can go – just as soon as you pay back the state for your education, which is only free if you are going to use it to benefit the state that gave it to you. Unreasonable? You tell me.

The Soviet Union sent a delegation to the USA, to explain its position to the business community; implementing the amendment, it said, would elevate anti-semitism in the Soviet Union, and the 90% of Soviet Jews who did not want to leave would suffer for American meddling, as the rest of the Soviet Union’s citizens perceived American favouritism. And it almost worked. Enter Soviet Jewish activists, like the kreakly of today, the group America has never been able to resist – they’re just so smart. And they swayed opinion back the other way, and the amendment passed. And stayed in effect until Obama repealed it in 2012, long after it had outlived its usefulness and just in time for it to be replaced by the Magnitsky Act so the United States could go on treating Russia differently than it treated every other nation on the planet, and have a law that said it could.

For the record, Nixon preferred to take the path of “quiet diplomacy” where the Jackson-Vanik Amendment was concerned, and was satisfied with Moscow’s concession that it would not implement the “diploma tax”. You could call that “Nixonian realism”, if you want, but it sounds like “we got what we asked for – why be jerks?” So more or less everything McFaul tells you there about the Jackson-Vanik Amendment is self-serving blather, bullshit and boilerplate.

As to the “capacity with which the Soviet Union threatened the United States”, a study prepared by George Washington University’s National Security Archive and released in 2009 revealed that the Pentagon and others deliberately exaggerated the Soviet threat out of all proportion, departing on wild flights of fancy to justify ever-larger defense budgets and ever-more-costly weapons systems; “as recently as 1986, the CIA reported that the per capita income of East Germany was ahead of West Germany and that the national income per capita was higher in the Soviet Union than in Italy. Several years later, the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact collapsed, and former CIA director Stansfield Turner wrote that the “corporate view” at the CIA “missed by a mile.” So, less writing and more reading for you, Mr. McFaul, if you don’t mind a bit of free advice.

Although the United States is the most powerful hegemon in recent history and maybe ever, the U.S. government has seemed ineffective, weak, and unable to foster democratic development in Russia. This apparent impotence is especially striking when one remembers the strategic importance of democratic development in this country still armed with tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. It was democratic regime change inside the Soviet Union that ended the Cold War and made the United States more secure. It will be autocratic regime change that will once again animate a more confrontational relationship between the United States and Russia. And yet, the United States government has not developed an effective strategy either to foster Russian democracy or to help it survive.”

It sure sounds to me like you are advocating regime change there, Mr. McFaul.

What should come first, founding elections or a constitution? Which is better for Russia, presidentialism or parliamentary system? What should be the strategy for dealing with communists and their NGOs—engagement or destruction?”

Uhhhh…were you planning to ask the Russian government about any of this? Or was it just going to be between you and the excited business and cultural elitny who always thought the running of the country should have fallen to them? The elitny who, not to put too fine a point on it, would throw their shoulders against the great wheel of American global hegemony?

At times, however, officials representing the U.S. government and representatives from the non-governmental organizations clashed regarding appropriate engagement with Russia’s “revolutionaries.” These American NGOs vigorously defended their independence from the U.S. government and occasionally engaged in domestic“meddling” inside the U.S.S.R. that contradicted Bush’s pledge of noninterference. Most of the time, under the steady stewardship of Ambassador Matlock, these nongovernmental worked closely with local U.S. officials. Matlock himself was an active promoter of engagement with Russia’s revolutionaries. He hosted dinners and discussion groups with these anti-Soviet leaders and groups at Spaso House, the ambassador’s residence in Moscow, including a luncheon with human rights activists with Ronald Reagan in May 1988. These events gave symbolic but important recognition to these new political leaders.”

Certainly must have been inspirational, because Ambassador McFaul did just the same thing as soon as he arrived in Russia in 2012 – he had barely presented his credentials before he was hobnobbing with opposition leaders, many of whom had well-documented ties to the U.S. State Department, including Evgeniya Chirikova (NED -funded “Strategy 31”), Lilia Shevtsova (NED-funded GOLOS) and Lev Ponomaryov (NED-funded Moscow-Helsinki Group). Mr McFaul was incensed at the criticism he received from the Russian government and Russian social media for it – regime change? Perish the thought – this is just a meeting of friends, and meeting with the opposition is routine, harmless. Just keep eye contact and continue talking in a soothing, low voice, and the rubes will fall for it, every time. Given the opinions expressed in the referenced text, can there be any doubt that the objective was to pave the way for revolution?

Michael McFaul is as two-faced as a halibut; when he shakes your hand, check to see if you still have your wristwatch when you get your hand back, and it might not be a bad idea to count your fingers. When he says the government he represents is not interested in regime change in your country, a wise man would inspect all the riot-control equipment and get it laid out so it is ready to hand.

The USA never speaks in a conciliatory fashion when it is winning – ever notice that? It’s too busy waving the flag and trumpeting about exceptionalism and feats of can-do. Therefore, when it does speak in a conciliatory fashion, it is possible it has realized it is losing. And it doesn’t do losing well. A word to the wise is sufficient.

 

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1,868 Responses to Oh Lord, Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

  1. Tim Owen says:

    This strikes me as very good big picture analysis.

    “So there are two ways by which the current stand-off will play out. The first one, and arguably the less likely one, is that Russia backs down and ultimately, under continued economic pressure, agrees to privatize its national monopolies or even sell them directly to Western firms, and thus become a sort of Saudi Arabia of the North. The second one is that Russia fends off this latest Western encroachment, forcing the West to re-examine the structure of its post-Cold War political economy. With economic expansion no longer on the table, the West will have a choice of rediscovering the benefits of redistributive policies, or embark on exclusionary policies that would have to be backed by a police state.”

    http://fortruss.blogspot.ca/2015/03/the-end-of-history-third-way-and.html

    • cartman says:

      If the MSM will ignore and blatantly lie about the nature of the regime the West is backing, then Western governments will take what they have learned from the junta and apply them to their own societies.

    • Fern says:

      Tim, thanks for posting the ‘fortruss’ article by J Hawk – a very good analysis. FWIW, my own thoughts are that it is absolutely essential for the EU and the West generally that Crimea does not prosper. i would go so far as to say that, to a large extent, the future of the neo-liberal economic order depends on Crimea becoming an economic disaster zone. For what has happened as a result of its reunification with Russia, almost an accidental bi-product, you might say, is that the world and its wife has the opportunity to watch two different development models in action, literally side by side. In Ukraine, there’s the IMF ‘austerity’ model – privatisation, asset stripping, foreign ownership of key parts of the economy, cutting back the role of the state to the bare minimum, poverty for much of the population etc. In Crimea’s there’s a different model, one that sees a role for the state as well as private enterprise – much like the mixed economies of the west in the 1970’s before the neo-liberals grabbed control – and where’s there’s genuine job-creating, value-adding investment in infrastructure planned and already happening.

      If Crimea delivers a much higher standard of living for its people than is achieved in Ukraine, then what price neo-liberalism, what lessons might Greece, Spain, Portugal etc learn? Crimea cannot be allowed to succeed, the threat of a good example is too dangerous.

      • marknesop says:

        An excellent point, Fern, and that might make a good subject for a post in the not-too-distant future.

      • Oddlots says:

        I think you are dead right. The stakes could barely be higher.

        It’s funny, Russian politics kind of reminds me of Canada in the 70s under Trudeau. Before the southern strategy and the radical “government is the problem, not the solution” ideology of Reagan, Thatcher etc. it was still possible in the west to voice a common purpose that roughly mapped onto government initiative. After 30 years of this pro-oligarchy drivel we can barely conceive of a common purpose. The parasite has taken over the host’s mind.

      • james says:

        tim, thanks for sharing the article which i finally got round to reading..
        fern, i like how you have framed things here..
        i have been a bit mystified by the term ‘neo-liberalism’ so i read up on it.. i discovered another term whose meaning i was unfamiliar with – financialization.. there is a page on wikipedia that gives an overview on it for anyone interested..
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financialization

        it seems like this captures a lot of what is happening at present financially.. i am not sure how it all ends, but if the bank bailouts of 2008 is any indication, it doesn’t bode well for western societies, or other societies that buy into this change in economics based on financialization.

    • et Al says:

      I would quibble with this:

      However, while Globalization was marketed as a win-win proposition for both the global North and South, in reality the developing states have gotten the losing side of the bargain.

      The smaller southern states have been picked off but are fighting back, as we see in Ecuador, Venezuela, Boliva. The ‘Developing World’ successfully stopped the Doha round of globalization talks because the North wanted full liberalization of their markets at drop of a hat so that they can waltz in and buy anything worthwhile. Brazil has refused this, India has (for example its textile and other industries) and Africa was mostly ignored because the North is racist and thinks they have nothing to offer except South Africa and a few northern bits (which is blatantly wrong as China has been the trailblazing investor in Africa with serious money, development and actually building roads, hospitals and infrastructure – followed eventually by Japan, India & the US).

      I think that maybe the North’s dismissing of Africa may well be part of its undoing.

      As for the rest of it, I can agree, but I am weary of being presented with such a limited number of outcomes.

      • rymlianin says:

        Noam Chomsky agrees . Free markets are for the third world, so that 1st world countries can easily get rid of their excess products.

  2. yalensis says:

    Here we go again!
    At first I thought this item was from a few days ago, but it’s from today.
    Then I thought it was GroundHog Day!
    Because Kolomoisky has done it again, and his guys (maybe not him personally) have invaded a different oil company, this time UkrNafta (not to be confused with UrkTransNafta, which is a different company). Benny’s guys have barricaded themselves inside the company HQ, at Nesterovsky Street in Kiev.
    A spokesperson says this siege is a continuation of the story (explained by Jen, in comment above) whereby the rules were changed for what constitutes a quorum among shareholders.

    The Ukrainian government owns (50% + 1) share of UkrNafta. Now, just like the previous case, the government wants to put in its own management, while expelling Benny’s henchmen from the big boardroom.
    The article states that Benny must not have listened to Pyatt’s warnings.
    [yalensis: I mentioned in comment, above, that Benny is a proud and stubborn man, who listens to nobody.]

    • james says:

      thanks for these kolowonky updates… what i find fascinating is a guy being allowed to have a goon squad and parading around ukraine with the goon squad doing these kinds of acts.. what would happen if he had some competition and goon squads started to lock themselves into privatbank locations? how do ordinary citizens of ukraine view this guy? there are no parallels in western societies that i am aware of!

      • james says:

        article today suggests that my question from earlier is being answered here – http://fortruss.blogspot.ca/2015/03/kolomoisky-vs-poroshenko-kiev-junta.html

        2. Poroshenko ordered to disarm all armed guards near the office of “Ukrnafta”.

        3. Continuing the theme, Poroshenko said:

        “Territorial defense will obey the clear military vertical of power and no Governor will be allowed to have his own pocket UAF (armed forces of Ukraine).

        see the article for more..

        • marknesop says:

          He is setting himself up for a mini civil war in Kiev if he thinks to order Benny to disperse his private army now, because they are loyal to their employer – Benny, who pays them directly, when they know all too clearly they are not going to be allowed to have this much fun roughing up and killing people ever again while getting paid for it – and the time to do it was the second it became known Benny was doing it, because the constitution forbids it and Porky always knew that. He let him get away with it because it was useful, and there is no use in his attempting to stand on the law now: funny how when you trample on the law every day and only obey what suits you, how difficult it is to get back to the world of law when you need to. And what else does Porky have but the moral high ground he is attempting to claim? Would the Ukie army obey him if he ordered them to wipe out Benny and his boys? Glad it’s not my decision. If you run for it now, Porky, you might avoid being turned into bacon. Yes, I said it. Bacon.

            • marknesop says:

              Kolomoisky is out of control – before any of those too-rich-to-give-a-fuck oligarchs start thinking about an armed takeover, they should consider how their plan meshes with the west’s plan. because if they are in competition rather than harmony, that oligarch will be squashed. And Benny is embarrassing – it was already inconceivable that Ukraine would be accepted for membership in the European Union, the west just wants to use it as a “stone frigate” against Russia, but how much more inconceivable is it now, with Benny’s antics? Besides, he did not even make Nuland’s “A” list, so obviously the notion of his being the rebel King of Ukraine was never entertained. Nuland wants Yats, who is watching with interest to see who will emerge victorious from this street fight.

              On a totally unrelated subject, I just picked up Mrs. Stooge from the Ferry home; she spoke glowingly of your handsomeness, enviable bearing and manner. Mrs. Exile will have to keep you on a short leash, you lady-killer. For the prizewinners Jen and James, I have acquired perhaps the only set of metal Novorossiyan soldiers in Canada. I haven’t seen them yet, the missus just dropped me off at work and headed home without even taking her suitcase out of the car, but I will get about the business of sending them forthwith. I think I will save Strelkov for last or for the 100,00th comment, but once I have a look at them I will describe the others for the winners’ choice – Jen first, and then James.

          • yalensis says:

            VZGLIAD is taking online poll as people place their bets on their cock-fight.

            Results so far (of 11609 people voting):
            64.6% think Benny will win the fight
            15.7% think Porky will win.
            19.7% say it will end in draw

            I explained my reasons in above comment, I placed my bets on Porky, and I went ALL IN!
            (or “va bank” as the Russians say!)

            • Moscow Exile says:

              The Germans also use the expression “Va banque“ – sometimes spelt “Vabanque“.

              A well known usage of this term allegedly took place during a conversation between Hermann Göring und Adolf Hitler on their hearing of the British declaration of war against Germany on September 3rd, something which they had not expected to happen as a result of the German invasion of Poland two days earlier and had therefore considered that invasion a risk worth taking.

              Apparently, Göring said to Hitler:

              “Wir wollen doch das Vabanque-Spiel lassen“, worauf Hitler antwortete: „Ich habe in meinem Leben immer Vabanque gespielt.

              “We should go for broke”, whereupon Hitler answered: “I have my whole life always gone for broke”.

              It means to play against the bank, to lay all your stakes against what the bank has; if you win, you win big time: if you lose, you lose everything.

              The vulgar expression where I come from is “shit or bust”.

              So rephrasing Hermann and Adolf’s little exchange above:

              – Well, it looks like it’s shit or bust.

              – All my life it’s been shit or bust with me.

              Only thing is, Adolf didn’t use dirty language.

              And he liked dogs as well.

              And he was a veggie.

              • yalensis says:

                Sounds like Hitler was a terrible card player!
                I don’t know much about card games, but I do know that real (professional) card players do not ALWAYS go va banque. They play with the probabilities. Sometimes they hold ’em, and sometimes they fold ’em. Like the song says.

                If Hitler was an irresponsible gambler, then no wonder he was also a superstitious type who listened to astrologers. Those types of irrationality (belief in “luck” or “fortune”, etc.) go together.

                Like that OTHER song (Carmina Burana) says: “Send me more tuna!”

              • yalensis says:

                You asked for roasted swan, you get roasted swan.
                Kenneth Tarver is my favorite for roasted swan songs, he’s really good!

  3. yalensis says:

    Roman Bochkala, Ukrainian journalist and patriot.

    Four months ago: We must not surrender the airport to the Separatists!”

    Two days ago: Ukraine has plunged into poverty .

    TRANSLATION (of piece done by Bochkala on Ukrainian TV)

    The (Ukrainian) people are suffering real poverty. Here is just one sad example:
    Yesterday I happened to be in Zaporozhie. We popped into a deli. Ahead of me in the queue was a young girl and an old woman. And some very basic products on the belt. The girl was purchasing yogurt, some hot dogs, margarine, and eggs. All this came to around 70 or so.
    When she was ready to pay, she studied the receipt, and discovered that the real price was higher than what was marked (on the products). “What you have on the price tags is lower than this,” she told the check-out clerk. She said this matter-of-factly, not like she was disputing the price, just complaining about it.

    “We didn’t have time to change the price tags. Sorry,” the young clerk apologized. I concluded that the young girl had calculated in her head how much she would pay, when selecting her products. In other words, for her this was a serious sum. She doesn’t have the option of just buying yogurt, without factoring in the price. Then my attention was turned to the sound of coins clanking.

    The old woman was pouring out of a cellophane (baggie) a small heap of coins, of varying denominations. “That’s all I have,” she said. “I don’t have any more money.” The old woman was neatly dressed, but looked hopeless.

    The clerk methodically moved the coins from one heap to another (while counting them). “You need 27.5 but you only have 25,” he concluded, counting the money again. It became an issue (for her): what should she put back, the bread, or the flour?
    I took out 200 hryvnas and gave it to the woman. She looked at me, with the look of a dog who has been many times abused and deceived.
    Then she burst out crying.

    And such people are ever more numerous in Ukraine.

  4. Moscow Exile says:

    Igor Mosiychuk heads a meeting in mourning for and dedicated to the victims of the Holodomor.

    • kirill says:

      I should take this opportunity to point out, once again, that the western Ukraine did not live through Holodmor. All of western Ukraine not just some part of it. But the Donbas did live through Stalin’s forced collectivization famines.

      So we have the Nazi allied Bandera vermin using the deaths of people in the Donbas as a pretext to kill people in the Donbas. Sick.

      But they have the following logic: Before the Holodomor the Donbas was populated by virgin ethnic Ukrs. The residents of the Donbas after the famine are all Russian squatters. My relatives believe this SHIT. I need to stop treating them as my relatives.

      Some facts about the Donbas:

      1) There are many Ukrainians living there, which is inconsistent with the genocide claim. Genocides totally remove demographic traces. You can see this in western Ukraine where there are no longer Poles and Jews in regions they previously populated in large numbers.

      2) There are Serbs and Greeks still living in eastern Ukraine. Did Stalin settle them there?

      3) We should ask the current residents of the Donbas who tend to graves going back into the 1800s what they think about the Banderite claims.

    • marknesop says:

      I don’t suppose he sees any irony at all in commemorating an event in which people starved to death when he himself displaces roughly as much water as a Buick Skylark.

      • kirill says:

        To be fair, he likely has a thyroid disorder and insulin resistence. Obesity is not simply due to stuffing your face and it is a fact that thin people can consume more calories than obese people. This applies to the insulin resistant who instead of turning glucose into heat (as “normal” people do) turn it into fat. Calorie restriction for insulin resistant metabolism types is guaranteed to fail. They need high fat, low carbohydrate type diets.

        • Jen says:

          Symptoms of iodine deficiency include obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes. They go together in a vicious circle and teasing out which causes which almost amounts to time-wasting Titanic deckchair rearrangements.

    • Max says:

      Not so fast…

      https://robertlindsay.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/more-on-the-fake-holodomor/

      The 7 million figure was invented after World War 2 by Ukrainian nationalists, many of whom had fought with the Nazis and killed many Jews by participating in the Holocaust. The 7 million figure was invented by these people to be higher than the 6 million Jews killed by Hitler in the Holocaust. In other words, Stalin was worse than Hitler, and Hitler was right to go to war against Judeo-Bolshevism. Get it?

      • yalensis says:

        Seven million people? Peanuts!

        More like TWO HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE! Killed by commies, yeh!

        • yalensis says:

          Interesting footnote, which I saw in above wiki piece. (To be specific: footnote #12 – the word “Crimea” caught my eye”).
          Here is lini to footnote:

          So, one year after George W. Bush dedicated the monument, designed to exasperate the Chinese government, then the first anniversary of this exercise in extreme hypocrisy, was held in Crimea, with Tatars playing the role of “victims du jour”.

          The event organizers had selected Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony as the background music. This well-known symphony is regarded a symbol of both the beginning and the end of Communism in Eastern Europe. In 1918, the top Communist leaders, including Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky, participated in the first anniversary celebrations of the October Revolution by attending a performance at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. Seventy-one years later, shortly after the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein conducted the Ninth Symphony on Christmas Day in West Berlin.
          It was very touching to see more than 20 wreaths lined up in the grassy area adjacent to the Memorial site waiting to be presented at the ceremony. They were in alphabetical order, starting with Afghanistan and ending with Ukraine.

          (……)

          The Crimean Tatar wreath was presented in the name of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis (Assembly), Simferopol, by the International Committee for Crimea (ICC), Washington, DC. The inscription on one of the ribbons read: “Honoring the memory of more than 200,000 victims of famine, deportation and political repression.” I had the honor of presenting the Crimean Tatar wreath in person. We are grateful to the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation for providing a platform where we can link to other people of different national, ethnic, religious or cultural backgrounds, who were victimized by Communist authorities. Together we can support the Foundation and work toward the common goal of educating the public about Communism’s crimes against humanity.

          Plus ça change, plus ça la même chose!

          • yalensis says:

            P.P.S. –
            one link leads to another .
            ICC still exists, and still sobbing about violated Tatars rights.
            Meanwhile, in reality Tatars have more rights now, in Russian Crimea, than they ever had in Ukie Crimea.

            ICC logo appears to be a Ukie trident flipped upside down and ready to sink into the Black Sea…
            Maybe like a sinking boat?

            • colliemum says:

              It’s how things work: once a group of people has become a designated ‘victim group’, they can do no wrong in the eyes of the MSM and of course their supporters in the West. It doesn’t matter if these designated ‘victim groups’ are in foreign countries or actually living on the soil of a Western country.
              I have no idea how the process of selecting a ‘victim group’ works. For example, in the UK Pakistani and Bangladeshi muslims are ‘victims’ – Kurds, who’ve been persecuted by various Turkish regimes, are not. And it’s not about skin colour either, because neither Sikhs nor Hindus are ‘victim groups’ …
              I think someone ought to do a bit of research into this!
              (Not me – I’m pounding the pavements and doing other electioneering, until May 7th)

  5. Moscow Exile says:

    Referring back to the previous posting concerning Psaki’s replacement, Rathke, and Harfe and how Matt Lee tackles these double-talking spokespersons for the State Department:

  6. james says:

    comments section of all the moon of alabama threads are closed.. not sure what is going on with that.. maybe too many annoying posters that b was getting tired of dealing with..

  7. Warren says:

    Published on 22 Mar 2015
    MORE DOCUMENTARIES HERE: http://www.youtube.com/RTDocumentaries/

    Miguel Francis, a Los Angeles film school graduate, travels to Crimea to discover how life there has changed since it was reunited with Russia. He explores the beautiful peninsula’s history and cultural heritage, as well as taking in some of Crimea’s tourist attractions while talking to locals about their attitudes to becoming Russian citizens.

  8. davidt says:

    For a change of pace and emphasis, the American University in Moscow website has a nice, and interesting, interview with Charles Bausman, of Russia Insider fame.
    http://us-russia.org/3032-orthodox-american-crowdfunds-a-major-volunteer-media-watchdog-site.html
    I think it’s worth reading.

  9. Warren says:

  10. Warren says:

  11. Warren says:

    RIP Lee Kuan Yew, what Singapore has achieved since its independence/separation has been remarkable.

    Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew dies at 91

    http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-32012346

    Maintaining the Singapore theme, I think this BBC documentary on the fall of Singapore and Japanese espionage pre-WW2 might interest some people here.

  12. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    http://ria.ru/world/20150322/1053911387.html

    Benny admits DNR and LNR defacto authorities in Donbass.

    http://www.politnavigator.net/nachinaetsya-kolomojjskijj-potreboval-finansovojj-federalizacii.html

    Benny wants 90% of regions’ tax take to stay with regional authorities.

    So much for the champion of edina Ukraina.

    • kat kan says:

      He’d love them to stay separate. With 90% of taxes? he has a racket worked out already for taking it off them. Whereas they’re of a bent to nationalise things they believe were illegally obtained.

  13. yalensis says:

    American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine fires its president , most probably for his “pro-Russian” views.

    Namely, Bernard Casey was outspoken in his views against Maidan as a violent coup, and felt that Crimea should return to Russia.
    KievPost “exposed” Casey; after their expose, he was toast, and then he got fired from his job.

    Casey apparently hails from San Jose California [yalensis: I have been there, it’s actually a lovely place, the local inhabitants keep their property in perfect shape, almost obsessively landscaping their yards], anyhow Casey’s expertise is small business and start-up companies.
    Nothing in Casey’s bio that suggests that he is a rebel, or even anything “ethnic” going on there…
    Maybe he is simply an honorable man who tells the truth as he sees it, and pays the consequences for that?

    • kirill says:

      He is definitely a heretic. NATO is even going to establish rapid internet reaction forces to stop the spread of Russian false narratives. We are back in the era of the crusades.

      • marknesop says:

        Because everyone knows the people are too stupid and unwordly to know for themselves that they are being fed bullshit. In fact, NATO’s successful transmission of its own narrative depends on it.

        • james says:

          thanks yalensis.. the kiev post is an interesting american publication, or at least that is what it looks like to me! reading the article on caseys views which were also published in the kiev post confirms the fact he was looking for objectivity in an atmosphere which was opposed to it..i am surprised the kiev post let his thoughts be known! http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/chamber-disavows-ex-presidents-remarks-supporting-russias-annexation-of-crimea-384197.html

          • yalensis says:

            KievPost has the WORST commenters, bunch of low-IQ, prejudiced Banderite diaspora trash.

            Like this one, for example:
            A commenter called “OlenaG” makes gratuitous attack not only against Mr. Casey but entire San Jose State University, which is actually a component of the California State University system (which is highly respected educational system, even internationally):

            “He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the San Jose State University and an MBA degree at Santa Clara University.”

            Anyone that knows the reputation of San Jose State as a “Party College” (rated by U.S. News and World Report in its annual College ratings) and knows the Political Correctness of Santa Clara County both in California and in South San Francisco Bay would know to not have hired Casey.

            (….)

            Talk about ad hominem attacks! This idiot has no proof whatsoever that Mr. Casey spent his time partying instead of studying electrical engineering; and moreover, the very fact that Mr. Casey joined the Chamber of Commerce probably indicates that he was NOT politically correct at all!

  14. yalensis says:

    More on Kolomoisky’s antics.
    Linked piece is entitled: “Kolomoisky goes va-banque”, which is a Russian phrase (actually French), meaning, as Americans would say, in a poker game, “all in”.

    In other words, Benny continues to occupy the UkrNafta company offices in Kiev.
    (Not to be confused with the other oil company, UkrTransNafta, which Benny had to cede.)

    To beef up the ranks of his goons, Benny sent his personal battalion “Dnepr-1”. Leaving the war zone of the “Anti-Terrorist Operation”, this battalion arrived back in Kiev to seize UkrNafta.

    Benny has explained that his military operation against UkrNafta is necessary to thwart the “raider” attempt by his (Benny’s) arch-enemy, Igor Eremeev. Eremeev is a fellow oligarch and also a member of Ukrainian Parliament.
    This exciting event is all happening on Monday, March 23.
    There was a confrontation when one of Porky’s allies, the deputy named Mustafu Nayem, attempted to enter the building. Benny’s goons would not allow Mustafu inside. Ukrainskaya Pravda reported that Mustafu was beaten up. (see the video)
    Mustafu elucidated on his Facebook that he was roughed up, but not badly beaten.
    According to the description of the video (which I have not had time to watch), Mustafu asked Benny: “What are you doing here, Igor Valeryevich?”
    To which Benny replied: “I came to see a Parliamentary Deputy. And who are you, a journalist or a deputy?”
    Mustafu replied that within 2 months, UkrNafta will be a nationalized company belonging to the state.
    Benny shot back, that this will not happen, because UkrNafta is a private company, and that he himself (=Benny) owns 42% of it.

    And on and on… lots more… but the thrust of the article is that things are getting serious now.

    • james says:

      yalensis, i am confused by these actions. in most countries where the rule of law supposedly operates, the police would come and evict these squatters… why isn’t this happening here? or is this the type of system they have where oligarchs goon squads can do whatever their goon demands they do without any legal ramifications?

  15. davidt says:

    Alastair Crooke has posted two new articles at Conflicts Forum. The first discusses a possible Iran agreement. To quote from the article:
    “Iran has already dropped the dollar as a means of trading. And as the non-dollar economic system expands with a SWIFT financial clearing system already launched, with Central Bank non-dollar currency swaps in place and a putative non-dollar jurisdiction banking system under construction by China and Russia, Iranians are now seeing the alternative, and getting fed up with hanging on the eternal “will they/won’t they” lift sanctions hiatus.”
    http://www.conflictsforum.org/2015/how-would-an-iran-agreement-impact-on-irans-geo-political-situation/

  16. davidt says:

    The second of Alastair Crooke’s posts considers Greece’s travails with the EU “system”, which he sees as similar to Russia’s conflict with the global “system”.
    http://www.conflictsforum.org/2015/widening-geo-political-linkages-and-the-middle-east/

  17. et Al says:

    Have you lot seen this?

    It is curious that a TV program has ‘definitive proof’ when the actual investigation is kept tightly wrapped up with nothing coming out of them. This looks like it is an attempt to lead the outcome of the investigation. BTW, I still think it was a BUK, but probably a Ukrainian one – and an accident.

    • Jeremn says:

      I’d agree, probably one of these refurbished Ukrainian BUKs

      http://112.ua/obshchestvo/vozdushnye-sily-ukrainy-poluchili-posle-remonta-raketnyy-kompleks-buk-m1-72582.html

      As seen deployed in this interview on Ukrainian TV the day before the plane came down

    • marknesop says:

      I can’t see videos at work – what’s it say, summarized?

      • et Al says:

        Not much audio, but it shows Ukrainian BUKs deployed to the ATO zone. The text reads:

        Вiйськовоcлужбовцi ЗС УкраÏни партрулюють мiсцевiсть у зонi АТО

        • marknesop says:

          I hope I’m not being a pain, but who is drawing conclusions from this, and what are those conclusions?

          I still think an SU-25 was somehow involved. The damage to the cockpit is too concentrated to have been an SA-11, considering no other recovered portion of the wreckage shows such a hit distribution. If a large SAM detonated the way it is supposed to, in the vicinity of the target and slightly leading it, it is reasonable to assume the cockpit would be hit but the plane does not appear to have been hit anywhere else and the damage is concentrated – as if aimed or directed – rather than distributed over the fuselage and leading edges of the wings. There might also be damage to the engines, but they burned pretty badly and there did not appear to be any visible clues; it looked like the rest of the plane just tore apart, but large portions of the skin are intact and unmarked. And I believe the Russian evidence that there was an SU-25 in the vicinity of the Boeing when it went off the screens. They have consistently stuck to that, while the SU-25 is not ideally suited to that role, it is a ground attack fighter maximized for anti-armor. Russia has to know that, they built it, and they would have abandoned the story a long time ago unless they were sure. They also must have known the west would ridicule and attempt to discredit it, which also suggests to me that they would not have offered it along with the rest of their evidence package unless they believed they could substantiate it.

    • davidt says:

      Yes, I had seen it. The waters are being well and truly muddied- after all Colonel Cassad posted a report some weeks ago that a rod from an air to air missile R-60M was found among the wreckage of MH17. (In fact if you look hard enough then you might just see a trace of copper from the cannon shells around some holes on the wreckage.) Here’s the link:
      http://cassad-eng.livejournal.com/133434.html
      You will see that it’s a serious piece of work- Mr Akkermans is acknowledged in the text- and the comments are interesting. (However, at the end of the day I was none the wiser.)
      “Dutch”, at Deep Resource, is an interesting cove and sometimes he’s a bit of an embarrassment. Here’s his take from a few days ago on Akkermans- I think he has a point that Akkermans is not a disinterested party.
      https://deepresource.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/dutch-media-jumping-on-conclusions-jeroen-akkermans/
      (By the way, I understood that it was accepted that Russia did not use cluster bombs in Georgia, and that the civilian deaths caused by them were due to Georgian munitions falling short.)
      My own view on MH17 is that there was a jet near the Boeing- I think Mercouris even says there is good, arguable evidence of this. (The fact that the Russians said that this plane was probably an Su-25 and didn’t say “or Mig-29” strengthens their testimony. I also think that many of the “eye witnesses” were convinced that they saw such a plane, and I don’t think that there is any hard evidence that a Buk missile was seen being fired.) But independent of this, I strongly believe that it must be relatively easy to decide what brought the plane from the damage that the plane received, and I wonder why, after 8 months, that there is nothing definitive on this. (Amongst other things, I also wonder why US intelligence has been so quiet.) Of course, if it is the case that a Buk brought the Boeing down it is another matter to determine who fired it.

      • et Al says:

        It’s quite possible that Ukrainian BUK units assumed it was a Russian plane as the Ukrainian airforce barely flew or had any serviceable aircraft. More specifically, if the BUK unit thought it was a Mi-29 and the UAF don’t have any flying, then they could we;; have assumed it was Russian, hence the shooting down. Sometimes the most simple explanations are the best ones.

      • Jen says:

        At least Deep Resource reports that the Dutch Openbaar Ministrie has admitted to the existence of the non-disclosure agreement made by Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ukraine which prevents them from revealing any information about the MH17 investigation and gives all parties to the agreement the right to veto disclosure of any such information by any of the signatories.
        https://deepresource.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/the-netherlands-admits-existence-mh17-investigation-agreement/

        A Dutch magazine tried to obtain a copy of the agreement under Dutch FOI laws and was told its request was refused because it “could endanger the relations with other countries involved.”

        Australian attempts to obtain copies of the non-disclosure agreement under Australian FOI laws end up with the Australian Federal Police.
        http://gumshoenews.com/2014/09/04/will-the-mh17-investigation-be-compromised/

        From James O’Neill’s Counterpunch.org article:

        ” … On 2 December 2014 the Australian Federal Police finally gave their decision on [O’Neill’s] FOI request. It was declined on the basis that disclosure of the document (which they acknowledged existed) under section 33 would, or could reasonably be expected to, cause damage to:

        (i) the security of the Commonwealth; or

        (ii) the defence of the Commonwealth; or

        (iii) the international relations of the Commonwealth.

        The refusal also relied upon section 37(1)(a) of the Act which exempts a document if it could reasonably be said to prejudice the conduct of an investigation.

        Thirdly, the Federal Police relied upon section 37(1) (c) where disclosure could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of a person.

        The fourth ground of refusal was under section 37(2)(b) which exempts disclosure where it might reasonably be expected to prejudice an investigation by disclosing methods of investigation or detection of unlawful activity … ”

        http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/19/why-the-secrecy-on-the-mh17-investigation/

        In both the Dutch and Australian cases, the reason given for the refusal of the request was that among other things it endangers the Netherlands and Australia’s relations with Ukraine (and by implication the US).

        So if anyone is wondering why after 8 months there is still silence as to what the Dutch investigation has found so far, wonder no more.

        • davidt says:

          Yes, I bookmarked “Deep Resource” because he keeps good records on MH17 (He also thinks Putin is a comparable figure with De Gaulle, which is something that I agree with.) I don’t know much about O’Neill- do you?

    • yalensis says:

      Yeah, but there is no valid chain of evidence:
      That fragment could have been placed in the wreckage by anyone, at any time.
      Because the crime scene was not properly secured.

      • kirill says:

        The notion that finding Buk missile fragments will prove who did it is breathtakingly retarded. There were Ukr regime Buk systems in range of the airliner. I guess Kiev would never do something bad since it has Washington’s stamp of approval…

      • davidt says:

        I agree with both your points about chain of evidence here. But will some one help me. The Russians say that they have plots of a mysterious plane from at least two, probably three, radars for four minutes. (The confusion about the number is simply because of my confusion- I am not sure as to whether the data off a Rostov radar was being reported twice.) What weight should we put on this evidence? No one has come close to seriously challenging it as far as I know. I think that was a second jet. (And, as Kirill comments, they provided hard evidence of the placement of Ukrainian Buk systems.) Let’s leave the jet “hanging there” and just admit that many “simple” scenarios of what happened then go out the window.
        Now let me just pick up just one further event that I don’t understand. Three serious Russian media outlets, RT, Itar-Tass and Sputnik, reported, in detail, the accusations that a Ukrainian pilot, Vladislav Voloshin, shot the plane down. (Fort Russ still highlights a photograph of Voloshin.) At the time I thought that the evidence against Voloshin was weak and I expected a dramatic Western response. I didn’t see any, whereas there had been a wide debunking of the photograph of the Su-27 shooting down the Boeing. (RT, Tass and Sputnik were careful not to run with the original of this story.) But with Voloshin there was effectively nothing, other than a statement from the Ukrainian defense ministry that he hadn’t flown that day. There is a propaganda war taking place, so why wasn’t Voloshin trotted out in the full glare of the international media if he knew nothing. If I were Voloshin then I would have been busting to tell my story and to convince people of my innocence. Why didn’t this occur?

        • yalensis says:

          Dear David:
          Yes, it is very peculiar how these “leaks” appear from time to time, and are followed by either a furious troll war, or complete silence.
          I also think that whoever autopsied the pilots bodies knows exactly who or what killed them (be it bullets of BUKs), and that all of the other evidence is probably extraneous. It would be like the shortest episode ever of a CSI show. Especially if it turned out that the pilots bodies were riddled with bullets. In which case, there is no need to spend the next 10 years meticulously reconstructing the plane in a giant hanger somewhere and placing all those laser lights to show angles of impact, etc., like they do on TV crime shows.

          In other words, I think this weird alternation of trolling and silence can only be explained, that the powers-that-be (on both sides of the war) know exactly who dunnit and why, but for reasons known only to themselves, they allow this public kabuki to continue.

          • davidt says:

            Yes, I agree, the autopsy reports on the pilots were supposed to be released many months ago, but nothing. (By the way, they didn’t even bother taking all the wreckage to Holland.) I guess nothing is being released because the West doesn’t want to upset Russia. However, I don’t agree that it is likely that both sides “know” in the sense can “prove” what happened. Otherwise, why wouldn’t the innocent party release the “proof”.

        • marknesop says:

          Several analyses have postulated that there was a second aircraft, and that the Boeing was attacked from both sides. Personally, I think that is a bit of a stretch – prior to the war, the Ukrainian Air Force got very little practice in coordinated strikes, they would be up against an aircraft faster than they were and so shaping courses which would bring them all together semi-simultaneously would have been a fairly complicated air-traffic control problem, and to the best of my understanding they must have relied on a pre-plan because nobody heard any authority speaking to the fighter or fighters, vectoring them to the target. Much or all of the mission, if there was one, must have been conducted visually. I would know more if I knew what the Russians relied upon for their evidence – whether they tracked the fighter on radar, whether they had an intercept of the fighter’s radar transmitting (some SU-25’s do have radar) or whether they tracked it by IFF. I tend to think it was one of the latter two, because if they simply had a radar contact I don’t know how they would be able to identify the aircraft type with such confidence.

          The Ukrainians’ go-to solution seems to be to have any controversial individual who might make them look bad removed so they cannot be interviewed or questioned, and I would not be surprised to learn Voloshin had had an accident or been kiled in action. It was remarkable to me that the Ukrainians would even admit he existed.

          • Jen says:

            There is the opinion of the Romanian military expert and former pilot Valentin Vasilescu that a pilot of Polish citizenship and flying a MiG-29 brought down MH17.

            ‘ …The Romanian expert noted that Polish military pilots are best trained in south-eastern Europe and have many hours of flight time (180-200 hours per year). “They are familiar with the airspace of Ukraine, they took part in all exercises that Ukrainian Air Force has organized in the last four or five years. Polish Air Force has 31 MiG-29 jets, 16 of which were re-equipped by specialists of Israel Aerospace Industries. The planes received new avionics (multifunction color displays (MFCD), GPS-guided weapons, data-link support, UHF / VHF RT-8200 Rockwell Collins radio station and MDP video technology, etc.). Polish pilots were trained by Israeli instructors who have extensive experience in destroying a variety of air targets, concluded Valentin Vasilescu.’
            http://ukrainereferendum.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/romanian-military-expert-pilot-mh17.html

            If Vasilescu is right, then Polish pilots would have the experience, knowledge and skill needed to co-ordinate an attack on MH17. Perhaps a Polish pilot and a Ukrainian pilot both carried out the attack if we assume two military jets were involved. The one weakness with Vasilescu’s opinion is that the Polish pilot would have seen that the passenger jet he was attacking had the Malaysia Airlines logo on the tail and the name on the body of the jet, and was not the Russian Presidential jet returning from Brazil, and he would have (presumably) thought twice about firing at the Malaysian flight crew.

            • marknesop says:

              Even a little cloud cover could be enough to hide the plane’s true identity from anything but point-blank range. For me, what argues most strongly against such a complicated scenario is coordination, which would have to be done either over a voice net or by data link. I’m pretty confident Ukraine and Poland would not share the same data-link or secure voice channels, and any communications in clear voice would have been heard and probably recorded. It would be a huge risk.

              Something that shoots the Putin’s-plane theory in the foot, too, for me is that the Russian presidential plane would never allow itself to be vectored directly over the war zone and even reduce altitude, on the orders of Dnepropetrovsk control. Russians would know exactly where it was.

      • marknesop says:

        One of those Uke government pricks, I forget which one, blithely availed himself of just that defense when suspicion first began to turn toward a deliberate shoot-down. I’ll have to paraphrase because I don’t have the actual quote, although I did cite it somewhere – something tells me it was Avakov – “So what if there are 30mm holes in the wreckage? There has been a battle going on for days and no doubt some ground weapons that fire 30mm ammunition have hit it several times”.

        • Jen says:

          Ground weapons that fire 30 mm ammunition can hit a plane travelling hundreds of km per hour at 10,000 metres or 30,000 ft high in the sky?

          • marknesop says:

            No, of course not. He meant that military formations exchanging fire could have hit the wreckage after it was on the ground. He was laying early groundwork for explaining 30mm cannon holes in the wreckage by implying they had occurred post-crash.

            • Jen says:

              What the spokesman said did occur to me also but it would be odd for both sides to be using the wreckage for target practice or as cover when they can see it for what it is. If the wreckage was being hit post-crash, then the targeting must surely be deliberate, in order to cover up culpability.

              • marknesop says:

                Well, not target practice, but both sides were more or less just shooting in one another’s direction. He was trying to make the point that the site was not secured, it was in a combat zone and there are weapons in use that fire 30mm rounds. Very likely the damage that occurred which is allegedly done by 30mm cannon fire was done in the air, but he is just trying to advance the view that it could have happened on the ground and so introduce reasonable doubt.

  18. et Al says:

    The Stack: ‘Create unrest’: Canada’s CSE agency includes ‘false flag’ operations as part of newly-revealed cyberwarfare scope
    http://thestack.com/communications-security-establishment-canada-nsa-snowden2-230315

    Documents obtained from Edward Snowden reveal the extent of the cyberwarfare techniques used by Canada’s Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) – including the capacity and will to perform ‘false flag’ operations, where responsibility for cyberattacks, counterattacks or other intelligence-related activity is misattributed to individuals, groups or nation states.

    The Intercept, in collaboration with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), has published limited details of CSEC’s cyberwarfare capabilities and disposition just as Canada’s C-51 bill – draft anti-terrorism legislation currently under criticism for its potential to silence legitimate protest – is under fierce debate in Canada’s House of Commons….
    ####

    Have cake. Have eaten.

    • marknesop says:

      And just in case they are unsatisfied with the extent of private information that is provided for free under “close cooperation”, we bought almost all of our secure telephones and crypto cards for government use directly from the agency whose unofficial motto is “You Can Never Know Too Much”.

  19. marknesop says:

    Hard to know what is going on in Konstantinovka now; a live Twitter update has nothing later than the 18th, and one update reported the town had been cut off from communication. The most recent I could find was this report that the journalist who took and produced the photographs of the accident scene, where the BMP ran over the mother and her children, has been abducted and nobody has heard anything from him since. Anybody see anything in foreign-language networks?

  20. Warren says:

    Monster US warship anchors off Portsmouth, defense chiefs downplay British shrinkage

    At more than 100,000 tons, laden with warplanes and missiles and with 5,000 men and women aboard, the American Nimitz Class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt anchored at Portsmouth has British defense chiefs talking down military cuts.

    The Roosevelt – known to her crew as Big Stick – is currently moored off Portsmouth because she is simply too big to dock in the port.

    Serving alongside the thousands of US sailors and marines, as part of an exchange program, are six aircraft handlers and a navigator from the Royal Navy.

    In a statement on the Ministry of Defence (MoD) website, Britain’s First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambrellas, lauded the US-UK defense relationship.

    “It is excellent to see US Navy carrier steel in Portsmouth.

    “And in barely two years we will see UK carrier steel here too,” he said, referring to the UK’s two carriers, HMS Queen Elisabeth and the planned HMS Prince of Wales

    http://rt.com/uk/243157-carrier-us-uk-defence/

    • colliemum says:

      What the First Sea Lord didn’t say – but which is common knowledge – is that we have no planes to put on those fabulous new UK carriers. Shame, innit.
      (No, it’s not April 1st …)

  21. et Al says:

    RT OpEd: Anti-Russian propaganda is ‘unconvincing’, because Western narrative is false
    http://rt.com/op-edge/243237-eu-russia-propaganda-counter-war/
    ###

    Neil Clark doesn’t mess about and it is not complicated. The West’s response to the failure of the general public to swallow hook, line and sinker its bs line on Ukraine is because it is bs an people know it. Their strategy to counter ‘Russian propaganda’ is nothing more than shouting louder. Now how retarded is that? As I posted from an earlier piece from euractiv, Brussels would like a return on this investment! That’s Planet Brussels for you!

    • marknesop says:

      In other news, there was no protest in Odessa yesterday, it was all a faked, crappy provocation by a Kremlin-sponsored TV station that provided not only the phony protesters, but phony Right Sektor goons to attack them. Totally phony, from the word “Go”. Nothing to see here, return to your homes.

  22. Moscow Exile says:

    By way of Russia Insider by A. Karlin:

    The Moor Has Done His Duty*

    Freedom! Don’t ya’ll just love the sound of that word!

    Freedom of speech, freedom of the press! You just cannot get enough of it in the Land of the Free.

    From a comment to the above:

    I even think that Putin, where [sic] he a sane man, could have obtained the return of Crimea peacefully had he not been a psychotic killer.

    Another Internet clinical psychiatrist, I presume.

    * “The Moor has done his duty, the Moor can go” .

    From Schiller’s “Die Verschwörung des Fiesco zu Genua” [Fiesco’s Conspiracy at Genoa]: Der Mohr hat seine Schuldigkeit getan, der Mohr kann gehen, meaning “once you have served your purpose, you are no longer needed”.

    • yalensis says:

      Wow!
      That is amazing that Babitsky told the truth.

    • Warren says:

      The West has no respect for Russian liberals or kreaklies. The moment a Russian liberal or kreakly steps out of line or fails to sing from the same hymn sheet they will be ostracised and labelled a Putin/Kremlin lackey.

      To be a Russian liberal or kreakly is to be a member of a religion, to be a believer in “Westernism” as Karlin coins it. Russian liberal or kreakly is a lay person who has no right to question or challenge the high priests of Westernism, to do so is heresy and will condemn you to become a benighted undemocratic uncivilised Russian heathen again.

      The treat of Gorbachev and Solzhenitsyn by the Western media is evidence that the West has no respect for any Russian political figure or dissident that goes off message and goes off the reservation.

      Russian liberals and kreaklies only function is to denigrate their own country and people incessantly. If a Russian liberal or kreaklies, dares to defend the Russian perspective or interests, then they cease being a liberal or a kreakly.

      To be a Russian liberal or kreakly to have a fanatical belief that the West is right all the time and on everything.

  23. marknesop says:

    The latest from Shaun Of The Dead in the Grauniad, all the titillation you can handle and then some, celebrity titties page 5, has it that Yanukovych’s son is dead, drowned in Lake Baikal where he may have been driving a van on the ice. He was the only one of a van-load of people not to make it out. I suppose it could be true, although there’s a lot of “alleged” and “reportedly”.

    Not about the Presidential family’s theft of Ukrainian property, though; Shaun rolls that around in his mouth lovingly, savouring the taste. Ain’t nothin’ but a fact, baby; Shaun was there, close enough to smell the fear-sweat.

    “Viktor Yanukovych Sr fled Kiev with his family during the Maidan revolution, loading lorries with tonnes of gold, cash and other valuables from his massive estate outside the capital. Protesters later looked in awe upon the palatial residence and vast grounds of the former president, turning it into a kind of corruption theme park where families go for a day out.”

    Further down,

    “Viktor Yanukovych Jr became an MP after the 2012 parliamentary elections and helped pass a law giving favourable status to the Russian language in Ukraine.”

    What is “favourable”, exactly? Permission to use it in your daily dealings because more than 30% of your population speaks it as a native language, whiler literacy in it is higher than Ukrainian?

  24. marknesop says:

    Is Israel a democracy? Most would agree it is. Let me ask you this – is this how the voting process is done in a democracy?

    An Israeli soldier is pictured here – in a photo sufficiently iconic that The Grauniad ran it as one of its “The 20 Photos of the Week” for last week – voting in the Israeli elections to the Knesset, casting his ballot in a box on top of a picnic table, no security, not another soul around. Well, it is billed as a “mobile voting booth” which is transported on a truck, so presumably there are other people there who shuttle it from place to place. Amazingly – yes, I was being sarcastic – Bibi and the Likud Roadshow won a smashing victory, guaranteeing that Israeli foreign and domestic policy will continue to be about as flexible as the door to a bank vault and that we will see much more “It’s all about ME” histrionics in the international press.

    Mobile voting booth or no, I want you to just picture the type of coverage that would result – in the Grauniad and others – if that had been a Russian soldier voting in Duma elections in Kavaliereva. That twitching little stoat Shaun Walker would have achieved geosynchronous orbit on the strength of his outrage, freaking out that there was no OSCE observer there to check his passport and make sure he was even a resident, never mind verifying he had not already voted 5 times. No problems for Israel, though – they can be trusted. Except for those dirty Arabs, of course.

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      Well, Israel is not as popular in western capitals as it used to be.

      The other Benny might justly feel aggrieved at what Ukraine has been allowed to do without even the mild western criticism Israel attracts.

    • Jen says:

      How people vote in Israel:

      This is what the soldier would see in the voting booth:

      Another view of the ballot cards in a voting booth:

      The voter picks up the card of the preferred party (people vote for parties, they don’t vote for individuals), puts it into an envelope and pops the envelope into the ballot box.

      When the elections are done, the seats in the Knesset are allocated among the parties that received votes (provided that the total number of votes each party gets meets or exceeds a minimum threshold) and at this point parties may form coalitions to reach the threshold. After all the seats are allocated to the parties, in the proportion that reflects the total numbers of votes the parties received, the parties then choose which of their members will represent the electorates that the parties won. This means some electorates might end up with representatives they might not like.

      • colliemum says:

        Thank you for that excellent information – I had no idea that one can do elections without ticking a box on a ballot paper.
        I can’t say I think that the parties determine who is getting a seat after the elections is particularly democratic – but then again, I suppose in such a small country everybody knows everybody else, and who will be selected afterwards.

        I learn something new every day thanks to all you stooges!
        🙂

      • yalensis says:

        Hm….
        So, each one of those slots in the blue tray is a stack of cards for a particular party?
        So, say I am a voter and I enter the booth. [well, right off the bat, I can’t read Hebrew letters, so that is not going to work for me], but anyhow, suppose I CAN read the cards, but then I can also see at a glance how things are trending, at least in this particular voting booth. (by the sizes of the various stacks). So, I can see that Party A is winning, and Party B has not gotten any votes so far. Will that not affect the way I vote?

        Unless the poll workers try to keep all the stacks filled up to equal levels, so the other voters can’t guess who is winning?

        • james says:

          that was something i was also thinking reading jens post.. thanks jen.. very interesting..

          • Jen says:

            Eh, no hay problema, happy to post those pictures of the Israeli voting booths … I made sure to include a photo with some J*****z to keep up the radioactivity level around here or whatever it is that’s been keeping wot-zis-name away recently.

            In that top photo I posted, the boxes are being refilled so I assume that during polling, the workers go around from time to time making sure the boxes are full enough so voters can’t guess who is winning.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        The German system is better as there one votes for a party and for a candidate that one prefers. However, the system is complex – with good reason: they do not want a repeat performance of the 1930s.

        See: Germany’s Voting System Explained

        A little sleight of hand there, though, in the above linked Der Spiegel article:

        It only recently became completely fair. Germany’s Constitutional Court ruled in 2009 that the voting system used up through the 2009 general election was actually unconstitutional. Then the first fix offered up by the Bundestag was thrown out as well. It was only in February of this year that the country finally got a new system that conforms with the country’s constitution, the Basic Law.

        Ever wondered why the German “constitution” is called “The Basic Law” (Grundgesetz)?

        No?

        Never entered your mind, or just not bothered?

        Well, I shall tell you anyway:

        You see, independent sovereign states have constitutions, do they not? – apart from the UK and three other sovereign states, or so I have been led to believe.

        The UK has a constitution, they say, but if you ask to see a copy of it, they say there isn’t one, because it is an unwritten constitution – which sounds like a bit of a swizz to me – whilst here, in the Police State that everyone knows as Russia, I can go to any news kiosk or bookshop and buy a copy of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

        But I digress: the Federal Republic of Germany has no constitution (Verfassung) because some maintain that it is an occupied country and has been so since 1945.

        The German “Basic Law” was imposed on the Germans by the victorious allied occupying forces in 1949 and differs from a constitution that has been created by a sovereign people.

        In the day to day functioning of the German state, the Grundgesetz functions, of course, as a Verfassung, so every Fritz and Freda is happy – I think.

        The fact remains, however, that the allied forces imposed the original Grundgesetz on the Germans (at the point of a Lee-Enfield .303 or M1 carbine as the case may be and as Call-Me-Dave might have said if he had been around at that time), and the Germans, of course, had no choice but to accept the Grundgesetz, though some at the time of its imposition did object to their conquerors’ demand because they were good Germans and not Nazis – though they had known plenty who were – and felt that they were perfectly capable of drafting their own Verfassung.

        It is also a fact that since the allied imposition of the Grundgesetz, the German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) has had occasion to change and make adjustments to parts of the Grundgesetz as regards the EU and the former German Democratic Republic, which the West Germans always called Die Sowjetische Besatzungszone (The Soviet Occupation Zone) before it became re-united with the rest of Germany, namely with the US, British and French occupation zones of Germany.

        One could argue, therefore, that the changing of the Grundgesetz by the German Constitutional Court shows that it had the sovereign right to do so and that Germany is, indeed, a sovereign state that treats its Grundgesetz as though it were a Verfassung. Furthermore, that august and supreme judicial authority based in Karlsruhe is indeed called the the German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) and not the German Basic Law Court (Bundesgrundgesetzgericht) – so Germany does indeed have a constitution QED.

        Yes, and the EU has a parliament in Strasbourg – but it ain’t no parliament!

        But get this:

        Grundgesetz (not, may I remind you once again, Verfasssung) article 146.

        “This Basic Law, which since the achievement of the unity and freedom of Germany applies to the entire German people, shall cease to apply on the day on which a constitution freely adopted by the German people takes effect”.

        See, the Basic Law recognises that there is no German constitution yet.

        This very fact that Germany still has no Verfassung, or a document that they dare call one, may also indicate that Germans still do not enjoy full freedom in self-determination – which is a human right, goddamit!!!!!

        🙂

        A constitution is based upon a sovereign people. In Germany, however, there exists “The Basic Law” that was imposed upon the German people by its conquerors in 1949 following the unconditional surrender of the German state in 1945. Since “the unity and freedom of Germany” was achieved with the signing of the Treaty of Moscow in 1990, why have the Germans not changed the Basic law into a Constitution drawn up by a sovereign nation?

        The Treaty of Moscow 1990 states in article 7:

        “(1) The French Republic, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America hereby terminate their rights and responsibilities relating to Berlin and to Germany as a whole. As a result, the corresponding, related quadripartite agreements, decisions and practices are terminated and all related Four Power institutions are dissolved. (2) The United Germany shall have accordingly full sovereignty over its internal and external affairs”.

        Alles klar?

        So why no Deutsche Verfassung?

        There have been some suggestions that the Treaty of Moscow notwithstanding, there may well be another hidden agreement between the USA and Germany that exists apart from an agreement between the former WWII allies, a secret agreement that infringes upon German sovereignty and blocks the possibility of adopting a Verfassung.

        In 2007, Gerd-Helmut Komossa, a former head of the “German CIA” – the Bundesnachtrichtendienst (BND) – published the book “Die deutsche Karte (The German Card), stating that there was such a treaty in 1949.

        Did you hear that at the end?

        Germany’s biggest bookseller has refused to offer the book for sale.”

        Freedom of expression anyone?

        It has been published in Russia though: must seek it out!

        Found it!

        You can download a torrent file for a PDF Russian translation here: Немецкая карта. Тайная игра секретных служб.Бывший глава Службы военной контрразведки рассказывает…

        (Just downloaded it!)

        Clearly, the fact remains that no matter what label one chooses to use, be it Grundgesetz or Verfassung, Germany has a functioning, written constitution and a Constitutional Court. However, it certainly would not be amiss if Bundeskanzlerin Merkel and President Obama confirm, when next she is beckoned to Washington, that there is no such secret treaty of 1949 had been made and that would still apply after 1990, namely after the partial re-unification of Germany. (There still remain large parts of Poland, to say nothing of the Kaliningrad Oblast’ of the Russian Federation, that are Verlorene Länder (lost German lands).

        Somehow, I do not think this will happen.

  25. Northern Star says:

    More than a little irony here….If you’ve got a spare hour..it’s worth a look
    http://video.pbs.org/video/2365239980/

  26. et Al says:

    Curious. On the last page I posted a comment from euractiv that said if no agreement is made in the June summit on sanction that they will automatically be extended:

    https://marknesop.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/oh-lord-please-dont-let-me-be-misunderstood/comment-page-4/#comment-100155

    But there is this posted a bit later from EU Observer: EU to keep Russia sanctions until next year
    https://euobserver.com/foreign/128083

    EU leaders have decided to maintain economic sanctions on Russia until the end of the year.

    They said in a joint statement on Thursday (19 March) in Brussels the “restrictive measures against the Russian Federation … should be clearly linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements, bearing in mind that this is only foreseen by 31 December 2015”.

    The Minsk accords, negotiated by France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine last month, envisage 13 measures over the next nine months.

    They include – crucially – restoring Ukraine’s control of its border with Russia under international monitoring.

    EU leaders noted that “necessary decisions” – the legal acts needed to extend the sanctions regime – “will be taken in the coming months”.

    They added: “The European Council stands ready to take further measures if necessary”….
    ####

    So if anything, there has been a hardening of position against Russia and there will be no (substantive) relaxation of sanctions. I wonder if this is related to getting a good deal from Russia for Ukraine’s future gas? Something is awry here as it simply doesn’t make sense to say no decision will be made until June and then state sanctions until the end of 2015. Either way, every day sanctions remain makes it a day less likely that EU producers will get back anything like the market share they had. Dimwits.

    • kirill says:

      They are retards indeed. They actually believe that these sanctions are hurting Russia. The concept that Russia is in full bore import substitution mode that is boosting its GDP simply escapes these exceptionalist bubble headed rejects.

    • marknesop says:

      Good. Too bad for them. The market dictates that if you are not expanding you are dying, and shutting themselves off from a large emerging market sounds suspiciously unlike expanding. Although perhaps we are over-dramatizing sanctions a little bit anyway, since the only ones that hurt at all are those which deny Russia access to lending capital. Once Russia and China are on a different transactions hub and Russia’s transactions can no longer be monitored by the west, all but theoretical barriers are down, while even if they remained in place it would be possible through China. The west will never again have the commercial foothold in Russia it had.

      “The European Council stands ready to take further measures if necessary”. Oh? Like what? Making rude sounds? Pulling faces? Many western auto brands suspended sales in Russia or had to change their prices because of the devaluation of the ruble. Executives think the market will “stabilize eventually”, but what if it doesn’t? What if their market share has been absorbed by that time? Caterpillar, the very company that pleaded with the U.S. government to stop its arsing around and repeal Jackson-Vanik – pointing to sanctions against the USSR in the 80’s and the havoc it wreaked on Caterpillar, handing its market share to the Asians and ushering in a decade of hard work to get some of it back – saw its sales crater in the fourth quarter of 2014 and had to slash its growth forecasts for this year. Pretty hard to have growth when you’re on the wrong side of the zero line for 25 months. Boeing and General Electric were nervous this time last year – I doubt the outlook has improved much since then. American business heads’ fear then was that sanctions would proceed beyond targeted ones to a broad action which would prompt an equally broad retaliation, but even without that happening, American brands are losing popularity as Russians give them the cold shoulder – “In financial filings this year, well-known multinational companies such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever, PepsiCo. and Danone have either lowered their growth forecasts or blamed Russia for problems in their emerging market portfolios.” General Motors scrapped its Opel brand in Russia altogether, and pulled out – it may be a bellwether for fleeing American car companies. The Russian auto industry is a catastrophe, screams Business Insider, but who are they talking about? Volkswagen, whose sales in Russia fell 40% year-on-year in February. That is indeed a catastrophe – for Volkswagen. Meanwhile, Moscow is plowing $166 million into car-plant subsidies; although the photograph which accompanies the story features Opel and Chevrolet, I doubt they will be getting any subsidies from the Russian government. What’s that? Remains to be seen, but at this moment I would say smart is what that is – according to the Boston Consulting Group, Russian auto sales are projected to grow by an annual average rate of 6% through 2020, at which time Russia will have passed Germany and become the fifth-largest auto market in the world. The clincher – this forecast allows for the current weakness in the ruble and in worldwide auto markets. Know who won’t be part of that market? That’s right, I don’t need to tell you. American car brands, and probably many European brands as well. Smooth move, Obama.

      “We expect that Russia will still be a net importer of vehicles in 2020, but we also expect that exports will increase markedly as global producers manage their plant networks through the cycle. In 2012, Russia imported 15 passenger cars and 8 trucks for every vehicle it exported, and almost 90 percent of the exports went to neighboring CIS countries. Exports of auto parts were negligible.”

      Ring them changes, dickheads.

  27. et Al says:

    Who farted in the jacuzzi?

    EU Observer: EU leaders want Energy Union: but what do they mean?
    https://euobserver.com/energy/128093

    EU leaders agreed on Thursday (19 March) to construct an “Energy Union”, but it’s a fluid concept loosely defined by whoever happens to be speaking about it at the time.

    The term has been part of EU lingo for less than a year, coming into the Brussels consciousness via Donald Tusk, who, as Polish prime minister, suggested member states coordinate their purchasing of natural gas, largely supplied by Russia.

    “Europe should confront Russia’s monopolistic position with a single European body charged with buying its gas”, Tusk wrote in the FT on 21 April 2014.

    Three months later, Jean-Claude Juncker presented Energy Union as one of his ten political priorities as new head of the European Commission….

    …However, neither text states what criteria need to be fulfilled before it is possible to say that an Energy Union exists.

    Is there only an Energy Union if all fifteen action points are implemented in all the member states? Or can there be an Energy Union based on some of the action points? Or if some member states have fulfilled all action points?

    Nor has any deadline been set.

    A commission official told this website that Energy Union actually refers to a “process”.

    “You cannot say at some point in the future, this is the date the Energy Union will be established, it’s not like [border-free area] Schengen or when we introduced the euro. It is a process”, the official said.

    Such haziness makes it easy for EU leaders to endorse the strategy.

    As Austrian energy minister Reinhold Mitterlehner recently remarked, each member state interprets the Energy Union paper in his own way.

    Some focus on the internal energy market, others on the security of supply issue.

    “The commission proposal is largely uncontroversial, but obviously the devil is in the detail”, Polish deputy minister Rafal Trzaskowski (EU affairs) told journalists last week….
    ####

    So if it is clearly not a priority project, then it doesn’t have much to do with Russia, rather another power grab by Brussels. I guess that is why there was no agreement. For all the russophobic blathering coming out of the EU, no member state is going to sign up wily nily to another vague Brussels plan through a massively exaggerated fear of Russia.

    • marknesop says:

      Can you say “Nabucco”? Just like that project, which absorbed somewhere between 9 and 11 years of meetings and consultations and preparation of tenders and business junkets, yet never constructed anything at all. Another European debating club, Brussels is like a giant pink erection in the middle of Europe, so stiff and engorged with self-important blowhard fuck-sticks has it become. I wouldn’t show too much footage of revolts and revolution if I were them, because the only product I can think of that gives less value for money than Brussels would have to be the Baby Wipes Warmer. Unbelievable, the amount of money that goes into that inert mass of smug self-satisfied aristocrats.

  28. et Al says:

    Some comedy in this advertorial:

    euractiv: Westinghouse: Nuclear energy has a great future in Poland
    http://www.euractiv.com/sections/energy/westinghouse-nuclear-energy-has-great-future-poland-312988

    The biggest single market for nuclear energy in Eastern Europe is Poland, says Mike Kirst, an official at Westinghouse, the US multinational providing fuel, services and equipment for the nuclear industry. Polish authorities have spoken of potentially building up to 11 nuclear reactors by 2030, Kirst told EurActiv in an exclusive interview….
    ####

    The world’s shortest interview too!

    • colliemum says:

      But – weren’t we told that Poland had a great future as exporter of shale gas? I definitely remember that! And in ye olden days, Poland exported their coal (which nowadays is, of course, of the devil and mustn’t be used at all ….), to the detriment of other coal mining countries.
      I wonder what the EU Commissioners will have to say to that, given that they’re generally green to the tip of their fingers.

  29. et Al says:

    More comedy gold!

    euractiv: Ukraine plans to stop buying Russian gas
    http://www.euractiv.com/sections/energy/ukraine-plans-stop-buying-russian-gas-313178

    Ukraine plans to stop buying Russian gas from 1 April, Ukrainian Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn said in a briefing today (23 March). The European Commission, which was mediating to ensure gas supplies to Ukraine over the summer, said it was “taking note” of the announcement.

    “At the moment we don’t need to buy Russian gas. We will simply stop buying it,” Demchyshyn said, according to Reuters.

    On Saturday, the minister stated that Ukraine was confident Russia would have to lower the price it charges Kiev for gas, as increased imports from the European Union have greatly reduced Ukraine’s reliance on supplies from Gazprom…

    …A Commission official has explained last week that without Russian supplies the necessary 18-19 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas in the Ukraine underground storage facility of Ukraine could not be ensured…
    ####

    Is Russia playing ball to keep further sanctions in check? If they did lower the price then they would essentially be supporting EU sanctions against themselves. Bananas!

    • marknesop says:

      The Ukies think that they can rely on reverse-flow from the EU, specifically the lo-land of Po-land and Slovenia or Slovakia, I always get them mixed up and I don’t have time to look it up right now. They might be paying some pittance for it, but I think they plan to get it for free. Whatever the case, I guess they figure the EU is knitting it or something – it is probably coming from Russia as well. I am beginning to have serious doubts about the IQ of the Ukie government, there seem to have been a few neuron-deficient individuals slipped in there. If the EU countries that are cutting Ukraine a sweet deal want to continue paying regular prices for it and then selling it to Ukraine for cheap or just giving it to them, I suppose that’s their business. The happy arrangement will all end in tears in a couple of more years at best, when Ukraine is taken out of the transfer loop.

      I would be surprised if both Russia and the EU were not asking themselves right now – why did we ever want Ukraine, anyway: let them have it. The only one still burning with missionary zeal is the great matchmaker, the USA, because they don’t have to pay anything for it – just stitch it onto the EU so they can expand NATO some more, and let them figure it out.

  30. Terje says:

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=8a8_1427134092
    Ukrainian MP Andrew Denisenko [pravy sector] told about the existence of a “secret
    protocol” to the Minsk Agreement, in which Poroshenko promised Vladimir
    Putin to dismiss the governor of Dnipropetrovsk Igor Kolomoisky.

    He stated this at a press conference in Dnipropetrovsk. Also, according to
    People’s Deputy, in this document there is an agreement on the
    destruction of the, banned in Russia as extremist, organization “Right
    sector.”
    Denisenko called on the Ukrainian people to rebuff the
    president and meet on Wednesday at the People’s Veche (assembly) in the
    center of Dnepropetrovsk.

    “It is time to get People’s assembly
    in Dnepropetrovsk . I hope that it will be the people’s assembly for
    national unity against the degeneration of the democratic regime into
    the authoritarian and totalitarian regime, and revenge against attempts
    to split Ukraine by performing secret protocol of the Minsk
    arrangements. “

  31. Tim Owen says:

    Here’s a parlour game. Listen to the lecture below – if you can bear it – and then try and come up with the question you would ask the esteemed professor during the Q & A:

    I’d almost forgotten about professor Snyder and almost assumed he was laying low out of shame as things have turned nasty, brutish and short in Ukraine, to coin a phrase.

    Not so apparently.

    I LOVE the fact that he is deploying the “Putin is weaponizing relativism” meme recently seen in that Guardian editorial. This is really an amazingly vapid, content-less “charge.” (It actually makes me feel quite proud of my own “conspiracy” theories re. the sequence of events in Ukraine.) We are hard-nosed realists with an arsenal of facts compared to that pseudo-intellectual puffery.

    Anyway my question would simply be: “It strike me that you treat Ukraine as an undifferentiated whole. A single country as opposed to a polity that is riven with ethnic, linguistic and religious rifts. If this is indeed the picture you wish us to receive how can you account for post-1991 voting patterns in Ukraine which clearly show voting along regional lines. What, from the point of view of a historian, could justify your simply ignoring this reality?”

    And beyond that: “Shouldn’t you simply be “struck-off” for the propaganda you are spewing, Dr Snyder?”

    • kirill says:

      We had the US civil war of the 1860s based on primarily political differences and not ethnicity. Americans study this war extensively and I have never heard the BS that Snydie-baby is applying. In Ukraine not only is there a clear political schism there is also and ethnic component. Snydie-baby can go and shove is puffery where the sun don’t shine.

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      What I find more interesting are the two Ukrainian elections which didn’t have a straight northwest/southeast split.

      First, 1991 when every region but one (no prizes for guessing which) voted for Leonid Kravchuk against Vyacheslav Chornovil.

      Second, 1999 where Leonid Kuchma defeated Petro Symonenko. Here is where it gets really interesting:

      Symonenko won Lugansk but not Donetsk, he won Crimea but lost Odessa. The southeast was more or less split between Kuchma and Symonenko.

      Meanwhile, Symonenko won outright in five Ukrainian regions which are not part of historica Novorossiya and have usually voted with western Ukraine: Vinnitsa, Cherkassy, Kirovograd, Poltava and Chernigov. Kuchma’s lead in the far-western Khelmnitsi region was just shy of 51%.

      One wonders how things would have gone if Symonenko had managed to be elected somehow. He could hardly have been worse than any of the actual fools who sat in the President’s chair.

    • Warren says:

      Grover Furr an English Professor at Montclair State University challenges Snyder;s claims.

      Furr starts speaking from 13:30, thereby skipping all the communist/marxist backslapping.

      I didn’t know who the fuck Furr was until Yalensis posted some links regarding Furr’s research on Katyn last year.

  32. Tim Owen says:

    A handy field guide to neoliberalism, its memes, tropes and tics:

    “What we might call “the question of the state” — its nature, our experience of it, and its legitimacy, whether in particular or in general — has been coming up on the zeitgeist leaderboard lately; see the lively discussion at Naked Capitalism yesterday. And it does seem clear that since what Harvey labels “the neo-liberal turn” in the mid-70s — marked, if not defined, by the Powell Memo, the formation of the Business Roundtable, the advent of Thatcher and Reagan, and after which real wages were flattened and most gains from productivity necessarily accrued to the 1% and the 0.01% — the relationship of the citizen (now we say “consumer”) to the state changed. When, for example, I entered the labor market in the mid-70s, I had expectations for state provisioning of services that I no longer have (some measure of dignity with Social Security and Medicare) and assumptions about the limits of state power that I no longer hold (the Fourth Amendment). I know that readers who entered the labor market at later dates may not share the expecations and assumptions of my youthful self, but will perhaps consider expanding their sense of what was once possible, and could be again. Harvey’s book, then, is useful in understanding the neo-liberal turn, and may be useful in shaping what is to come next.”

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/03/comments-david-harveys-brief-history-neoliberalism.html

    • yalensis says:

      Seems like in America, post WWII, while stipulating that America ALL THE TIME engaged in brutal adventures abroad, overthrew democratic governments, established police states, etc., etc.
      At the same time DOMESTICALLY there was a trend (in the late 50’s and 60’s) to more constitutional rights. For example, “Miranda Law” and curbs on police, Supreme Court decisions about the need to obtain warrants before wiretaps, that sort of thing. This led to increased individual and personal liberties for American citizens. (while still murderous foreign policy abroad, it goes without saying)

      Not a coincidence that this “democratic” and “libertarian” trend “coincided” with the Civil Rights movement and the surge of the labour union movement. It is a historical fact that wherever labour movements are strong, then so is (domestic) democracy. One does not have to be Marxist to see the obvious connection.

      Then, in America, things seemed to take a turn for the worse starting around the mid-70’s, when Jimmy Carter was still in power (so it cannot all be blamed on Reagan, he just intensified the process). Since then the trend has been to degenerate more and more into an outright police state. Where one is observed, wiretapped, secret prisons, Gitmo, the whole 9 yards. In other words, what American government used to do only to people in foreign countries, they now do to their own citizens too.

  33. colliemum says:

    The German paper FAZ has a nice – relatively – article about President Putin and animals, here:
    http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/ausland/europa/inszenierung-der-macht-putin-und-die-tiere-13498304.html?printPagedArticle=true#pageIndex_2
    (It’s long, so use your machine translator!)
    What attracted me was of course the lead photo:http://media0.faz.net/ppmedia/aktuell/2901320546/1.3499124/article_multimedia_overview/so-spielen-echte-russen-putin.jpg

    Compare and contrast with another photo of ‘statesman in the snow with dogs’:

    See the difference?
    I’m sure you do – and can deduct which one I’d rather have at my side while tramping through snow!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      That big hound is what I thought was a St.Bernard when I first began to live in Empire of Evil, but it’s not: it’s a Moscow Watchdog, a cross between a Caucasian Sheepdog and a St. Bernard.

      And there’s this rascal as well: a Moscow Water Dog:

      They’re pretty common here and I often see them taking their owners for a drag around the park.

      • colliemum says:

        I think they’re wonderful! Wish I had one of them (either breed, no preference), but alas, my sofa isn’t big enough for them to share it with me – and I would draw the line of buying new furniture just to accommodate a giant dog!

        😉

      • james says:

        those black dogs look like large bouviers..

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I think it more likely that it is a Black Russian Terrier.

          They’re very doggy folk, are the Russkies, which is proof positive that they’re not a species of Orc as many would have you believe, for if they were Orcs, they would eat dogs.

          I presume somebody bought the stray pooch a ticket.

          They’re always feeding strays as well.

          • colliemum says:

            I remember a story in one of the papers, some time a go, about stray dogs in Moscow, and how one was living in the metro stations and riding the trains – the dog in your photos looks very similar to the one that story was about: some sort of Alsatian mix.
            Of course, in London that dog would’ve ended up in Battersea Dog Home in no time flat – and would’ve been re-homed p.d.q. Can’t have dogs roaming London – four-legged ones, that is…
            😉

          • colliemum says:

            And another thing!
            These piccies just go to show that dogs are very clever: they know that those things people sit on are far better for sleeping on than the floor!
            Dogs claim sofas and armchairs as their rightful place – it takes huge educational effort to keep them off it. 89% of dog owners have thrown in the towel and allow their dogs on the furniture. Mine is generally sleeping on the sofa next to me – she’s doing that right now.

            • james says:

              our dog – medium sized breaded collie looking but mutt – never sleeps on the furniture.. also here in canada stray dogs are picked up by the spca – society for prevention of cruelty to animals – and either lucky enough to get a new home, or euthanized.. i was surprised in our visit to athens to see a number of large stray dogs wandering around with no one looking after them.. i saw something similar in malaysia this past january, although not as pronounced.. i feel sorry for the stray dogs.. it would be a very tough life..

            • Moscow Exile says:

              The stray/feral dog population has been greatly reduced in numbers over recent years. When I first began to live here, there were great packs of them. They weren’t especially aggressive though – the feral ones that is. I suppose that’s because folk regularly left food out for them: they would shy away from you and only gobble it up if you backed away a couple of yards or so. They all looked pretty fit, though. I never saw any that were diseased.

              The strays are the ones, I suppose, who like going for a mooch on the metro. They’re not daft, because that’s where they go when it gets very cold. There was a story going round a few years ago of how an abandoned baby was kept warm by a wild dog before it was found.

              Come to think of it, a baby was found only a few weeks ago being kept warm by a bitch somewhere. It was in January sometime. The baby would have died but the bitch kept it warm.

              No, it wasn’t a dog that saved the baby recently; I’ve just checked: it was a cat.

              Below that clip is the comment:
              ————————————————————-
              Инокентий Смоктуновский 2 months ago

              THIS IS RUSSIA OF HUILO!
              ————————————————————–

              Got to shout, see, in case you missed his comment.

              huilo = хуйло = “fucker” = Putin

              If you check out on Google “dog saves abandoned baby” you will find a list of such stories. On the first page the incidents reported occured in Argentina, Kenya, the USA, the UK.

              These “huilo” seem to be everywhere.

      • marknesop says:

        Isn’t that Moscow Monster the gift he was given as a pup a couple of years ago? If so, he’s gotten a good return on his investment.

        • colliemum says:

          Thing is – those dogs obviously adore him, and he them. That little one is making a play-bow, meaning it’s desperate to play with him, while the big one either just gave him a face-lick or is going to do that within a nano-second, and Putin knows it. These three have fun together – as opposed to that dreadful Dave & Huskie photo, where the poor dog so obviously wishes he were somewhere else, without that horrid human hanging round his neck …

        • Jen says:

          Ahhh … that must have been the one that winked at the camera in that RT.com news segment.

  34. Warren says:

  35. et Al says:

    The Groping man catches up with the Blogosphere:

    The Groping Man: Ukraine’s former ruling party hit by spate of apparent suicides
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/23/ukraine-party-of-regions-members-apparent-suicides-viktor-yanukovych

    Four members of Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions have died within weeks as investigations into old regime officials mount up…

    …There is no evidence to back theories that there may be foul play involved in the spate of suicides, but opposition MPs say the trend points to a wave of intimidation at the very least.

    Members of the party who remain in Ukraine are feeling scared and reluctant to talk about the cases against them in public. “Everyone’s afraid. They don’t want to have to jump from windows, shoot themselves – or be helped,” said one former Party of Regions member who has moved to the Opposition Bloc.

    Another member of the Opposition Bloc said: “This is pressure with cases that have no bases, and cases are being fabricated like it’s 1937. This is why the weaker ones break up.”..
    ####

    Written by a Katya Gorchinskaya. The article was so bad that I looked her up, wondering where the hell they got her from. She’s ..he Kyiv Post’s deputy chief editor since 2009 and is a contributor to The Wall Street Journal and other publications…

    http://www.kyivpost.com/content/author/katya-gorchinskaya/

    Of course, the Groping Man does not think disclosing this basic information is relevant to the sheeple, i.e. chief editor of Kiev’s main propaganda rag.

    I guess that is how cheap the Groping Man is considering all the cuts they have made. They can now rely on cheap/free propaganda from low cost Ukraine. Slavery! Even if it is mutually beneficial.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Yeah, I noticed that article this morning. I have long stopped looking at that rag, but I just checked it out this morning as I had nothing better to do and saw the story. I had to keep checking the date. Three weeks have gone by, I’m sure, since these deaths began. I at first thought it was just a recap of events and some new development would be reported. Nothing of the sort: just the Grauniad’s Kiev hack hireling giving that arse-wipe dated copy.

  36. et Al says:

    The Krealies must hate her:

    Neuters: Tennis – My Russian heritage is non-negotiable, says Sharapova
    https://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/news/tennis-russian-heritage-non-negotiable-says-sharapova-162337262–ten.html

    Maria Sharapova’s life-changing move from Siberia to Florida as a seven-year-old propelled her on a path to fame and fortune but she says she would never turn her back on her mother country…

    …Yet, Sharapova baulks at the idea that she would want to trade her Russian passport for an American one, as former Czech Martina Navratilova did early in her glittering career.

    “I would have if I wanted to (change citizenships) but it’s never been actually a question in my family or in my team whether I wanted to change citizenships,” the Russian told CNBC in an interview to be screened on Wednesday….

    ..She said her Russian heritage moulded her instincts.

    “It is about the family environment, it is about the rich culture,” the 27-year-old said.

    “Just life experiences that I look back to and I know that for so many years I was shaped into the individual I was from those experiences.

    “And not necessarily simply the country, but the people, the mentality and the toughness and that never giving up attitude.”…
    ####

    Just like Novak Djokovic. You don’t have to take American citizenship to be a success.

    • marknesop says:

      La Russophobe, too; she had a thing about tennis, and used to slag Sharapova all the time, while she was a huge fan of the Williams sisters. On the rare occasion she had anything polite to say about Sharapova, it would be to point out that she became a success in the United States, which is adept at making even losers into great success stories.

  37. et Al says:

    A puffpiece – They’re only pretend Nazis (as you will discover from paragraph 26)!

    AP: Clashes rage in Ukrainian town, making mockery of truce
    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/clashes-rage-ukrainian-town-making-mockery-truce-154832255.html#7lMqiec

    …Many in the Azov Battalion have unabashed Ukrainian nationalist sympathies, prompting rebels to label them neo-fascists.

    From time to time, Azov fighters in Shyrokyne greeted one another with ironic Roman salutes and then grinned at their own humor. That kind of idle larking and the battalion’s flirtation with neo-Nazi symbolism is seized upon as confirmation of their critics’ worst fears.

    The infamy appears only partly deserved, however.

    Some embrace fervent Ukrainian nationalism as a repudiation of the heavily Russian-dominated Soviet legacy, all while serving with fighters from a wide array of political and ethnic backgrounds. Chit-chat switches casually from Ukrainian to Russian and back again…
    ###

    It is though an interesting piece. One, it give us an idea about paranoia on the ground at the front line vis Mariupol. So far it has been reported by Kiev, but this is by the Ukrainian Nazi themselves who are convinced that the NAF is willing to sacrifice themselves just for the Kremlin’s land bridge to the Crimea, coz obviously the bridge won’t be ready for years. Heard of a ferry?

    Two, despite itself, it does lay out how messy even the cease-fire is and that the Ukropy are also considered to be violating it and first hand report of a probable violation (as he was not allowed to see where the mortars were being fired from).

    Kiev would be on to a winner if they made soft toys in the shape of ‘volunteer fighters’ sporting their Nazi flags – something along the line of Meerkats. Every major western news outlet could have one displayed prominently in their reports…

    • marknesop says:

      Awwwww….this totally changes my view of them! All this time, I had no idea they were just being ironic! It’s all so clear to me now, I guess I failed to notice the ironic grins during those torchlight mass-irony events in Lvov.

  38. PaulR says:

    Ukrainian army is one of the five strongest in Europe, says Poroshenko: http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/poroshenko-ukrainian-army-among-five-strongest-in-europe-384256.html
    What does that make the rebel army? One of the four strongest?

    • marknesop says:

      Ha, ha, ha!!! I shouldn’t laugh, because a lot of people have been killed on both sides, but that was the kind of comment that would stop a TV interview cold!!

    • Jen says:

      Ukrainian army one of the five strongest in what, I’d like to know – spreading itself thin so that groups of soldiers end up being surrounded by the enemy in the fifth shortest space of time?

    • davidt says:

      Certainly I am skeptical about much in this linked article but the author ought know more than me. (For example, I suspect that Russian conventional forces are stronger than he recognizes… Russian rocketry is something that rational people ought avoid, and so on.) Perhaps Paul and others might care to comment.
      https://russiadefpolicy.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/how-the-third-world-war-begins/

        • marknesop says:

          I tend to agree that Russia’s conventional forces are far better prepared to fight a land war against NATO than NATO is to fight against Russia. Russia, after all, is the more realistic about the likelihood of it actually happening, while the west has to pretend to be the forces of peace. Also, NATO’s tactics rely heavily on NATO achieving air superiority within days of the commencement of hostilities thanks to the crushing power of American aviation. Russian air defense should make any ground-attack pilot think twice. And without control of the skies, NATO’s spearhead is its heavy armor and artillery, which might find itself unexpectedly harassed from the air while confronting a determined and well-armed enemy on the ground who has a much shorter logistical chain. Overall, I would say you would find “Attack Russia” by looking under “Mistake”.

          I can’t figure that Khodarenok out. On the one hand, he is cited by U.S. policy think tanks like The Jamestown Foundation, and frequently tells Americans what they like to hear – that nobody can stand against their military might. On the other, he sent that prancing traitorous assrocket Pavel Felgenhauer home with his nuts in his pocket, on the issue of MH-17. Said Felgenhauer the bootlicking toady, “This investigation will not be able to yield conclusive results, as the investigators must come to Russia to do an inquiry here too. Russia will deny its involvement, so we will only find out the truth once there is a regime change in Moscow”. Sort of covering all the bases, kind of cradling the testicles as he applies himself to his work.

          Said Khodarenok; “You can find out what kind of missile was used against a downed plane one day after it was crashed…Each missile type has its own shrapnel imprint. The shrapnel should have been preserved in the elements of the aircraft itself as well as in the bodies of the victims”.

          • davidt says:

            You did well regarding Khodarenok- I hadn’t come across him before and should have done a bit of “research”. My guess was that he was a bit of a contrarian who was unwilling to acknowledge changes in the Russian defense forces. Great to read your last paragraph- he’s clearly a genius like ourselves, Yalensis and many others.

        • Rublev says:

          Khodarenok seems to be of the self-deprecating-fool type. Peacetime strength and deployments of a national military are in no way an indicator of its full capabilities. More importantly even, political factors are central to a successful war effort, and in this respect Russia holds all the cards: willingness to inflict and sustain mass battlefield casualties without worry of civil unrest at home, political stability of the regime, unlimited natural resources, immense industrial capacity and resilience to enemy strategic bombing efforts. In the scenario of a major land war, most Western nations would crumble very quickly in a matter of weeks. Inequality, poverty and the failure of ethnic integration policies have created vast cracks in their social integrity, and an obviously unjust war would incite a catastrophe in the home front.

          • davidt says:

            An interesting response, though I think the last sentence is mistaken as plenty of unjust societies have fought unjust, prolonged wars. (This is especially true if its soldiers are not conscripted.) And I am not sure that I would say that “Russia holds all the cards”, just because it would be “willing” to fight to the end, though you certainly make your point. Anyway I think that anyone who has forgotten Montgomery’s maxim “never march on Moscow” should speak to you.

  39. Pingback: RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#58 table of contents with links :: Tuesday 24 March 2015 | Johnson's Russia List

  40. Max says:

    FYI (B)ernhard of MofA is having a problem with Typepad.

  41. Moscow Exile says:

    It’s fake time again!

    The Ukraine shitwits are as per usual trying primitive fakes to kill two birds with one stone: firstly, to hide their poverty and protests about this made by some Ukraine citizens; secondly, to discredit in their usual way Russian Crimea.

    Fake

    Link to fake: https://twitter.com/ShkvarkiUA/status/579124918283083777

    Original

    Link to original: http://emaidan.com.ua/17266-pensionery-mitinguyut-protiv-vvedeniya-novyx-nalogov/

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Forgot to add translations above:

      Fake picture placard reads:

      Putin promised Crimea pensioners a well-fed and worry-free life.

      It’s time to fork out, Russia, and fulfill your promises!

      Original picture placard reads:

      Yatsenyuk’s series of reforms mean genocide for the Ukrainian people.

      • james says:

        i am curious if any of the twitter folks challenge this bozo on it? i can’t translate the comments..

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Only one commenter asks why fake photos have been used; the rest all agree that Putin has deceived the Crimeans.

          The one that makes most comments calls himself “Crimea Banderite”.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            The one who says it is a fake is called Ksana and asks: “Why post a deliberate fake?” and gives the link to Euromaidan that I have given above and which shows the original picture taken in Kiev of Ukraine pensioners protesting against Yatsenyuk’s reforms.

            One smart arse just comments: “Well go round the corner and wait by the cemetery”.

            • james says:

              thanks me… glad to know someone on twitter challenges this bozo..

              • yalensis says:

                A couple of people challenge the fake. There are actually only a handful of comments altogether on this thread.
                First the twit @ShvarkiUA tweets his fake picture on 20 March 20:38.
                A couple of lame comments follow, include the one from Larisa Hilitsky (20 March, 22:50), which should better be translated: “There is a cemetery around the corner, go and wait there.” [speaking to the supposed Crimean pensioners who were betrayed by Putin]

                A couple more lame tweets , then Kiselev Mozga (21 March, 6:14) asks: “Alas, this appears to be a photoshop!”

                Then the tweet from ksana (21 March 6:15), “Why post a fake?” [with a link to the correct photo]

                Then “Krymsky Banderovets” (“Crimean Banderite”) thanks Porzia, who I believe is one and the same with Ksana, although I am not sure, because I find twitter awfully confusing. But, even though these 2 are political enemies, he seems to be thanking her for the clarification.

                Next, he informs “Kisel” and “ShvarkiUA” that he “gets it”.
                Next, 3 days later (24 March 4:24) is a comment by “Vladimir”, reaffirming that the pic is a fake.
                For which he gets verbally abused by the original twit, ShvarkiUA.

                God save us all from twitter…. this was truly invented by the devil, just to confuse us…

                • james says:

                  thanks yalensis.. yes about twitter.. they can take that and shove it up fakebooks ass for all i care..

                • colliemum says:

                  The only thing twitter is good for is to show others piccies of one’s dogs and/or cats, to admire other people’s dogs and cats, and to alert others to dogs and cats needing re-homing urgently.
                  Anything else on twitter is indeed of the devil.

                • Jen says:

                  @ colliemum: You ought to watch this RT.com news item where Putin is presented with a puppy, gives it a hug and a cuddle, and the puppy winks at the camera.

                • colliemum says:

                  Aaaahhhh! Sweeeeet!!
                  Thanks for that – I loved it.
                  It’s a simple fact of life: there are people who are regarded as ‘dog honoris causa‘ by other dogs and puppies. They’ll flock to them. Putin seems to be one of those ‘honorary dogs’.
                  🙂

                • marknesop says:

                  That’s the one I think has morphed into the Moscow Monster he was pictured with in Colliemum’s comment.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Note the sick comments off the deranged Russophobes below the clip above showing Putin accepting the gift of a puppy.

          • marknesop says:

            House Resolution 162, calling on Preznit Obama to arm and assist Ukraine to “restore its territorial integrity” comes to the floor in the House without even being assigned a bill number until it is up for floor vote, never mind being debated in the relevant committees. It passes 348-48. America wants war with Russia. Nothing like a major land war that leaves all of Europe shattered and devastated to catapult the undamaged USA back to Global Leader Of Choice. Check out the preamble;

            “Whereas the Russian Federation under President Vladimir Putin has engaged in relentless political, economic, and military aggression to subvert the independence and violate the territorial integrity of Ukraine;

            Whereas Russian aggression against Ukraine is but the most visible and recent manifestation of a revisionist Kremlin strategy to redraw international borders and impose its will on its neighbors, including NATO allies;”

            Hey, I know it was a few days ago, and things move fast, but remember when McFaul said Putin was just paranoid and crazy and that the United States had absolutely no plans for regime change in Russia?

            “Whereas the United States and its allies need a long-term strategy to expose and challenge Vladimir Putin’s corruption and repression at home and his aggression abroad;”

            Tell you what, Europe; if you don’t wake the fuck up, you’re going to be picking your way to the bomb shelter through cratered streets for the second time in far less than a century. I’m not even kidding here. And people of Ukraine, if you don’t wake the fuck up, there isn’t going to be enough left of your country to fit in a footlocker.

            • james says:

              last paragraph of yours is especially true..

              • dany8538 says:

                Like I keep saying, let them send weapons, stop talking already and send them ,come on!!! Regardless of anyone’s political belief everyone knows full well this move would not bring victory to Kiev.
                I believe that when Ukraine will look like the image below, then it will be time for Russia to come in and mop up but of course not before the feudal lords fight each other for territory.

                • marknesop says:

                  I feel I should point out that the bill specified not only arms, but assistance.

                • colliemum says:

                  Assistance as in: “we show you which triggers to pull and what buttons to push – aww, we’ll even do it for you, you uneducated oiks”?
                  Yeah, that sounds more like it, after all, we had that sort of set-up before, didn’t we.

            • Jen says:

              Woooh, losing Sevastopol naval base and the potential to control all of the Black Sea really hurt the US.

            • Max says:

              Other than the dry legalistic forumlae posted by this or that govt scribe there is very little about this on the web. “house resolution 162” brought up nothing when the search tools are told to link to blogs.

              • marknesop says:

                I’d like to think it is all a hoax – Ron Paul can be a little odd sometimes, especially on the subject of the gold standard – but if you google “HR 162 Ukraine” it does indeed come right up. The House Republicans are not shy, especially because they hope this will force Obama’s hand if they make him look like a weak sissy. You know President Rubio would do it.

  42. PaulR says:

    Ordered something called ‘Bandera bread’ from Boston Pizza the other day. Hadn’t heard of it before.

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      Looked at the recipe. Didn’t see any human flesh in it, so I’d guess it’s Mediterranean and not Pontic.

    • Jen says:

      No doubt once the Ukies hear about Bandera pizza bread, they’ll be concocting a story about how their mammoth-slaying, Black Sea-dredging ancestors hacked and slaughtered all the way to Italy, founded Rome, created an empire and gave the world pizza and spaghetti but somehow forgot to give us salo.

    • yalensis says:

      I googled it, and apparently there used to be chain of restaurants called either “Banderas” or “Bandera” which served several specialty bread and pizza-crust recipes.

      Later, another outfit called Houston’s bought up the Bandera(s) chain.

  43. marknesop says:

    Kolomoisky’s goons pull out of Odessa. Knowing that’s a trouble spot that bears watching, I wonder if all members of Benny’s Privatarmy are needed elsewhere? The plot thickens.

    • Warren says:

      With Kolomoisky’s goons departing it will be interesting to see if public dissent and opposition to the Kiev junta reemerges again in Odessa.

    • Jen says:

      If all his militias are pulling out of Odessa and other parts, I wonder how many people are actually serving in those organisations, that Kolomoisky needs so many to defend him while holed up at the UkrNafta headquarters. Is this for bluff or does he need so many to protect his extravagant hairstyle and lacquer?

    • james says:

      i assume poroshenko is getting advice directly from the usa.. anyone have any insight into who would be advising kolomoisky at this point? it seems to me some type of compromise has to be gotten, but i have noticed how one particular side isn’t interested in compromise.. i wonder if that is at work here as well.. my understanding is privat bank can squeeze ukraines privat parts given this special position it and as a consequence kolomoisky has..

      • marknesop says:

        Benny will not give up that easily – he would never have challenged Poroshenko directly if he had not already taken the local pulse and ascertained to his satisfaction that there was broad unhappiness with his leadership. He’s a prick, but he is a rich prick who did not get that way by being stupid. Poroshenko has upped the ante significantly (probably on American advice), but it remains to be seen if his decrees are enforceable if Benny chooses to ignore them.

        Also, I see Russia Insider has a slightly different story – that Kolomoisky tendered his resignation, and Poroshenko accepted it. Mind you, that’s from Aunty Beeb, who has a vested interest in downplaying dissent and making Porky look like he is in charge, because he’s all they’ve got. Well, except for Yats, who is strangely invisible these last few days. Perhaps he’s dead, or in a Swiss clinic having a baby.

        • james says:

          john helmer has an article up on kolowackjob here – http://johnhelmer.net/?p=12986

          • Jen says:

            Interesting to see that the Swiss have withdrawn Benny’s residency permit and because of that, he’s likely to lose his French residency permit as well. On top of that, his airlines are grounded due to bankruptcy problems. So where can he go (apart from Israel) if Poroshenko and Washington are coming after him? How loyal are his militias to him if he can’t pay them?

            • colliemum says:

              There are two possible scenarios, both of which will make for ‘interesting times’.
              1) Benny might use his militias to open a third war front and/or immure himself in some sort of ‘warlord’ territory. Wasn’t he the one who rejected that early, tentative ceasefire proposal last year, saying his people would fight on, no matter what Kiev said?
              2) He’ll flee to Israel, while his militia go on a revenge killing spree against all and sundry.

              Hot summer, anyone?

              • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

                He has Privat and he has his battalions. He’s suffered a defeat but he’s not out of the game.

                It was a mistake for him to accepted the governorship to begin with – the proper place for one such as him was behind the scenes,not on the podium. Akhmetov understood this, for all the good it did him.

                • marknesop says:

                  He’d better hope he’s not out of the game, because if he is it will be awfully easy to blame MH-17 on him. Mind you, it might have been him and he might deserve it.

              • marknesop says:

                Let’s not be too quick to count Benny out – he has the loyalty of quite a few very nasty folks, not only because he pays for them but because of his absolute ruthlessness. These are people who enjoy being unregulated and having the freedom to swagger about and terrify people because they know they could be shot and nothing would be done about it. Life without pots of money will be unacceptable to Benny, he might as well be dead. I suspect he feels the same about it.

                One thing I did notice – Ukraine and its “partners” were able to locate, isolate and confiscate Benny’s assets in about two days. How much of Yanukovych’s stolen billions have they been able to find, again?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          According to RT he was formally dismissed by Porky after Benny had decided to hand in his resignation. RT reports that news of this appeared on the Yukie Presidential website.

          I’ve searched for this news there and found nothing.

          Nice pictures of Porky in camo-gear handing out badges, though.

          See: Porky the USA Approved President of Banderastan Official Website



          How many Moskali babies has he killed. I wonder?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Here’s the RT report on Kolomoisky’s dismissal from office:

      Poroshenko fires oligarch governor amid oil company standoff

      Perhaps he’ll retire gracefully now to his home in Switzerland.

      If he does, I wonder what’s going to happen to his private army? Will its members be seeking similar employment elsewhere?

    • yalensis says:

      See, Porky won!
      I called it, and everybody owes me money.

      • yalensis says:

        P.S. – now Benny has no place to go, except Israel.
        They probably don’t want him either, but they HAVE to take him in.
        Due to the Law of Return established by the poet Robert Frost:

        Home is the place where, when you go there, they have to take you in.”

        • yalensis says:

          P.P.S. – for those who don’t know:
          Robert Frost is the most famous American poet of modern times.
          He was really really great.
          His most famous rhyming nature poem is this one:


          A Gift from a Crow

          The way a crow
          Shit down on me
          Along with snow
          From a hemlock tree

          Has engaged my wrist
          In change of mood
          ‘Cause I shook my fist:
          “That was bloody rude!”

      • colliemum says:

        I’ll send you the money later – I’m waiting with bated breath for the appearance of Gerald Warner’s column (“Warner Wednesday”) on BreitbartLondon.
        It’s hard work to haunt that site, waiting … waiting … waiting …

        😉

  44. Warren says:

  45. cartman says:

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