Is It Too Early To Just Call The Game For Putin?

Uncle Volodya says,

Uncle Volodya says, “Hey, John; I had a dream about you. We were racing to see who could be the slowest person on earth. You were winning.”

“…Except in a very few matches, usually with world-class performers, there is a point in every match (and in some cases it’s right at the beginning) when the loser decides he’s going to lose. And after that, everything he does will be aimed at providing an explanation of why he will have lost. He may throw himself at the ball (so he will be able to say he’s done his best against a superior opponent). He may dispute calls (so he will be able to say he’s been robbed). He may swear at himself and throw his racket (so he can say it was apparent all along he wasn’t in top form). His energies go not into winning but into producing an explanation, an excuse, a justification for losing.”

C. Terry Warner, from “Bonds That Make Us Free

You know what makes a good loser? Practice“.

Ernest Hemingway

What’s the state of play in The Great Wreck The Russian Economy Invitational, hosted by the United States with support from Europe (especially the UK), Australia and Canada, having been in play since Euromaidan? Let’s look. Are sanctions having the desired effect?

They are not. In fact, consensus looks to be that sanctions are a dismal failure at everything except causing the income of ordinary Russians to fall for the first time since Putin took over the job of running the country. It’s hard to imagine that results could have been otherwise, given the effort the west put into it. But reducing the incomes of ordinary Russians was not an end in itself. No; they were supposed to blame Putin for their troubles, and rise up in revolution to throw him out. A new revolution in Russia is something the west wants so badly it makes its mouth water. It can almost taste it.

But the sanctions have had the opposite effect.

According to Ivan Nechepurenko, a staff writer for The Moscow Times – no friend of Putin – Putin is as popular among his voters now as he has been since 2008. Rather than blaming Putin for economic upset directed against Russia with a view to pushing its behavior in a direction the west wants it to take, civil society has instead rallied around national pride; “The logic was that as the country’s economic situation worsens, ordinary Russians will direct their anger at the government and at Putin himself, forcing him to withdraw his support for the pro-Moscow insurgents in Ukraine…When 85% of Russians say they approve Putin’s actions as Russia’s president, what they mean is that they approve and support the Russian state as such. According to leading sociologists from the independent Levada Center public opinion organization, by absorbing Crimea last March, Putin has made himself a symbolic figure who is viewed as not directly responsible for the economic perils of the country.”

Who do the Russians blame for their problems? Blame goes squarely where it belongs, to the EU and the United States.  But those entities are unprepared for how deep and how lasting that blame, and its attendant acrimony, will be. Anti-Americanism is at its highest levels ever in the Russian Federation, higher than those seen in the Soviet Union; a fact acknowledged by the Washington Post even as it pooh-poohs the sentiment as groundless and undeserved, since America is not doing anything to Russia and its interference in Ukraine is all in Russians’ heads. Hostility in Russia toward the EU’s leadership is hardly better, down to a paltry 6% approval in summer 2014 and doubtless scraping negative territory by now.

Western sanctions have had the effect of cementing Vladimir Putin’s position as the most powerful leader of his time, with over 85% approval ratings and an electorate among which 74% would vote for him. The efforts to ruin Russia have been blamed on the United States and European Union. What does that mean?

To the United States, not much at present. It now has, as the Washington Post described it, a shrinking pool of friendly faces in Russia, so its ability to influence policy in Moscow is now severely curtailed as being pro-American is viewed with suspicion and hostility. But it means much more to the European Union, which did a lot of trade with Russia and remains dependent upon it for energy supplies. And the EU, too, will come to blame America for the soured relationship with Russia that hurts it directly, which will make it that much harder for the USA to push Europe into a land war with Russia.

The USA’s trade with Russia has worked out to about the same as before, considering it regularly runs a trade deficit with Russia; both exports and imports have fallen steadily since 2011, but the USA continues to have little exposure to Russia. Not so the EU.

In the Eurozone, projected growth of .5% for the quarter is greeted with feverish excitement, the fastest growth in four years. Not only does this signal “the brightest spring in years”, and “a solid pace of expansion”, it will outpace quarterly growth in the USA, which eked out a miserable .1%. That staggering leap in European growth comes on the heels of ECB head Mario Draghi’s committing to a € 1.1 Trillion Quantitative Easing program which will flood Europe with cheap money as the bank prints more euros and buys up its own debt. You can see how well that worked in the USA. Well, maybe you can see it, but the mantra in European financial circles is “trust Mario”.

Is everyone satisfied that they understand what Quantitative Easing, or QE, actually is? No? Well, it’s printing money. No more complicated than that. Typically countries with a strong currency finance their operations by sales of government bonds to other countries, which is another way of saying, “borrowing from other countries”. But when your financial habits begin to get too embarrassing, other countries won’t buy your bonds. So the government just loans money to itself, by printing more. Have you seen that happen before? Yes, you have. And those who have come to know QE better than anyone else say it’s very easy to start, and unbelievably difficult to stop.

There are a couple of lessons there – one, the USA cannot engineer an economic war against Russia without affecting development, and subsequently the pace of economic activity, everywhere. Flooding the world with oil so as to drive down the price has had the effect of paralyzing the American shale extraction industry, which is expensive and not cost-effective in an atmosphere of low prices. Two, the west is in a singularly bad position to launch an economic war at all, considering the western “recovery” from the subprime meltdown is more a matter of inference than substance.

Speaking of recovery, how’s that spunky little star in the Euro-Crown, Ukraine, doing?Oooohh…not good, I am afraid. This BBC article takes a lot of words to say that Ukraine is doomed to living on international handouts for as far as the eye can see unless it (a) gets control of the eastern region, which now hates the Kiev government after months of shelling civilian population centres  and will never accept its rule, and (b) restores its trade with Russia. More cash from the IMF depends on reasserting Kiev’s control over the east, because it is the center of Ukrainian industry and grant money cannot be spent on war, while the EU has already made clear it is not in a position to buy Ukrainian goods which it formerly sold to Russia. The Kiev government has made zero progress against corruption and little progress on the reforms the IMF demands before it approves more grant money, although it has raised the price of gas what it reports as 50% even as the national currency tanks. Good times. But the west continues stubbornly trying to do it without Russia, because it is all about taking Ukraine away from Russia. Which will not be possible unless Russia helps, because the west can’t afford it. What are the chances?

Another unecessarily unanticipated effect of the west’s crusade against Russia has been the cementing of a powerful alliance between Russia and China. There is no way the alliance of the world’s second-largest economy and the world’s largest energy producer can bode well for a west bent on forcing the latter to submit to its will. The Russian and Chinese navies kicked off 10 days of war games in the Mediterranean yesterday, making the LA Times so excited that it forgot Russia and China agreed to a gas price last winter; saying instead that they had not yet agreed on a price, and that this means bad news for Russia because it is in a weak negotiating position. If it were true that they have not agreed on a price – which it isn’t – how would that indicate Russian weakness? Wouldn’t they just take whatever they could get, if their position was weak?

Russia has agreed to two major pipeline deals with China – the “Power of Siberia” line and the “Altai” western route. Between them they will eventually deliver 68 Bcm of gas to China, nearly half what Russia supplies to Europe. That also seemed to excite the LA Times into error, as they announced confidently that there was no way Putin would be able to begin supplying gas to China by the end of 2017. Probably not – good thing the contract, to which the LA Times is somehow not a signatory, says 2019. But you can see why the Times is excited; Gazprom supplied Europe with 161 Bcm of gas in 2013. How does Europe foresee replacing that supply, considering it is insistent it will wean itself off of Russian gas? Not from any suppliers they have identified thus far; not even close. Of the other sources from which Europe currently receives gas, mostly its own member states, only the UK, Poland, Italy and Germany have significantly increased delivery, while most others have declined markedly since 2005, some by nearly half.

Let’s summarize what we have concluded so far: (1) The western sanctions against Russia have failed to mobilize the Russian electorate, and have instead spurred patriotism, disempowered internationalists and made Putin more popular than he has been in the last 7 years; (2) The west is in a poor position to sustain an economic war against Russia, as the Eurozone is experiencing anemic growth – and even that appears to be due to false optimism over Quantitative Easing – while American growth is stagnant for the first quarter; (3) Europe is increasing its debt load markedly by embarking on a program of simply printing and circulating more money, while it will probably hurt the currency in the medium term; (4) Ukraine’s economy is imploding, while the west has insisted on taking responsibility for it although it remains unable to pull it out of its power dive. Kiev has not regained control over Ukraine’s eastern regions, which hate it more than ever. Ukraine will not be able to recover unless it regains access to its Russian markets; (5) The western sanctions have resulted in large-scale market replacement of European goods, and those markets are likely to remain closed to Europe for a generation at least, perhaps forever. Meanwhile, (6) Russia has been pushed into a powerful alliance with China, and has proactively negotiated new markets for its energy exports that depend far less on Europe’s tantrums and foibles. The knock-on effects of economic warfare between Russia and Europe have hurt European economies and resulted in European anger against the USA, making it more difficult for Washington to secure European cooperation.

The west is not winning. Since both sides can not be simultaneously losing, Putin must be winning.

How does the west react to losing? I’m glad you asked. Like this. The Telegraph chuckles uproariously at the antics of Russian soldiers attempting to load a tank onto the back of a flatbed truck. On the third attempt, the vehicle ends up too far to the right, and capsizes onto its roof as it falls off the truck. Oh, those Russians! Probably drunk, as usual.

Except the vehicle is not a tank, it is a self-propelled howitzer, an artillery piece. The source clearly identifies the operation as depicting a Ukrainian unit, and if you look just behind the three guys watching just as the howitzer falls off the truck, you will see an oil drum with a Ukrainian flag standing in it.

The first principle of Gambling For Idiots – when you’re losing, double down.

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

1,718 Responses to Is It Too Early To Just Call The Game For Putin?

  1. Moscow Exile says:

    The Exile town house, Moscow, 11:05, May 9, 2015:

  2. et Al says:

    Butter. Melt. Mouth. Wouldn’t. Your.

    AFP via Space Daily: ‘Critical’ for Putin to implement Ukraine truce: NATO
    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Critical_for_Putin_to_implement_Ukraine_truce_NATO_999.html

    NATO leaders on Wednesday warned President Vladimir Putin to waste no time in implementing a fragile peace deal to end the fighting in Ukraine, after the Russian strongman’s meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry raised hopes of a slackening in tensions.

    Kerry said at the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in the southern Turkish city of Antalya — hours after talking with Putin in Russia — that now was a “critical” time for Moscow to fulfil the obligations in the ceasefire agreed in Minsk earlier this year….
    ####

    Would that be the Minsk Agreement from last year that you have only just endorsed darling Senator Kerry? To misquote a classic line from Blazing Saddles: “Blow it out your ass Kerry!”

    &

    Space Daily: NATO worried by ‘wide-ranging’ Russia Crimea build-up
    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/NATO_worried_by_wide-ranging_Russia_Crimea_build-up_999.html

    NATO on Wednesday expressed alarm over a “wide-ranging” military build-up by Russia in Crimea, as well as talk that Moscow could even install nuclear weapons on the annexed Black Sea peninsula.

    A statement issued during two days of talks by the military alliance’s top diplomats, in the Turkish resort of Antalya, said “we do not and will not” recognise Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine…..
    ####

    Doctor’s advice to NATO. Take two laxatives a day with a glass of water and don’t stray far from the can.

    Really NATO? When the US is going to ‘upgrade’ its 200 or so free fall B61 nuclear bombs to stand-off missiles and then re-deploy them back to Europe? Stoltenberg would do well to shove TWO Stollen cakes up his own ass, at least as many as needed to STFU.

    • et Al says:

      Oh ffs, tags!

    • marknesop says:

      “…we do not and will not recognise Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine”.

      Oh, jolly good, then. Get yourself a visa for Ukraine, and then show up at the border with Crimea in your swim togs with your duckie ring around your waist, and insist on being given access to the nearest Ukrainian beach. It’s quite a hike to Odesssa, but perhaps during it the scales will fall from your eyes, like Saul on the road to Damascus.

    • kirill says:

      These clowns haven’t caught on that neither Russia nor the rest of the world needs them. They can huff and puff all they want.

    • kat kan says:

      “…Putin to waste no time in implementing a fragile peace deal to end the fighting…”
      So, they insist on a FRAGILE peace deal? a solid permanent one wouldn’t do?

      “…“critical” time for Moscow to fulfil the obligations in the ceasefire…” right, so Putin has to write a new Constitution for Ukraine? Putin has to remove the roadblocks to let the food trucks get to Donbass? Putin has to arrange the next elections in Novorossiya ?

      If they are not very careful HE WILL.

      • marknesop says:

        A good Mercouris article on Russia Insider, discussing the “confederal” solution Moscow proposed further back than most Ukrainians and Americans can remember – but far enough back that they likely would not have lost so much territory if they had agreed to it – featuring a map which shows a “pro-Russian protests” region that takes in pretty much everything all the way to Odessa.

    • yalensis says:

      Now they are calling Putin a “strong man” ?
      Is that a step up or down from being a “autocrat” or “dictator” ??

      • marknesop says:

        It’s almost like the difference between “oligarch” and “tycoon”. I think it’s a step down; an attempt to preserve an air of overall disapproval, but more like he is naughty than ebil.

  3. Northern Star says:

    “What was it a fully confident Pham Van Dong had told Harrison Salisbury of the New York Times in December 1966 in Hanoi: “And how long do you Americans want to fight, Mr. Salisbury ? One year? Two years? Three years? Five years? Ten years? Twenty years? We will be glad to accommodate you.”

    The members of the American/Brussels 2015 leadership cadre -for lack of a better term-were in junior high in 1966…
    They simply don’t get that the above determined and ruthless commitment is what they are up against in their attempts to subjugate the Russian people……….

    • astabada says:

      The natural unit of measure for the attention span of Western policy-makers is the trimester.

      This is not an inherent deciciency, it is just a bias deriving from their education.

  4. astabada says:

    This article appeared on Russia Insider. It features gems such as:

    Even in the nuclear power sector, Russia is keen to maintain control over its customers. Long after Rosatom has installed its plants, sovereign clients will still be wedded to Moscow, as Russian nuclear plants are powered by a specific type of molybdenum only produced at home. […] And why? “Because Russia likes to wield influence over the countries it does deal with.”

    See, don’t strike agreements with Ebol Russia. Everyone knows Areva and Westinghouse provide you with Nuclear Power Stations AND Enrichment facilities. In particular, the fact that you are bound to use their fuel is not because the West likes to wield influence over the countries it does deal with, but just out of practical necessitites.

    The general impression is that Russians are shady business figures who will try to entice you with an offer too good to be true, only to ensnare you in a business partnership. Except when it’s Russia a partnership is called “influence”, “maintaining control”, “wedding”, “energy pacts” and so on.

    And another pearl:

    Perhaps more jarringly, Russia has attempted to inject renewed vigour into its faded alliance with North Korea, another unpopular regime

    Notice that this is more jarring, implying that the gas deal with China (topic of the previous paragraph) is a jarring deal. And, even less subtle: who on earth is the other unpopular regime? This is not explained, but it can only be either China or Russia itself.

    Luckily this rubbish is mixed with objective statements like:

    [the Russian Nuclear Power industry] still boasts technology that’s as good and as cheap — if not cheaper — than any rival can hope to offer.”

    Nuclear power in Russia is (drums rolling) as good as in the West. Wow, well done Russia, not every monkey can imitate men so well as to be as good. This is the maximum Western analysts can concede when something Russian clearly and unambiguously outclasses its Western competitors.

    • kirill says:

      Russian nuclear technology and know how is well ahead of the west. In 2015 the design for the BN-1200 will be finalized and it will be built by the early 2020s as the commercial version of the BN-800, the most advanced sodium cooled fast neutron reactor in the world. This is not hyperbole this is fact. But what is most important is that Russia is the absolute leader in nuclear fuel reprocessing technology required to make fast neutron breeder reactors commercially feasible and this is what the USA simply does not have since it was “banned” by itself in the 1970s. That 40 year gap is not going to be overcome with some vapid propaganda smear aimed at Russia.

      If the US is this super duper world leader in every field, then Westinghouse should have had an easy time providing Ukraine with fuel assemblies to run its Soviet built nuclear power plants. Instead it has been flailing and badly. I hear nonsense such as the supposed mismatch in simple geometry of the fuel bundles. This drivel designed for mass market consumption. Trivial details like this are clearly not the issue. The issue are the nuclear resonance properties of the fuel assemblies. This is a much more sophisticated physics problem then *any* western media coverage will let on.

      I have been reading this racist, anti-Russian drivel ever since I moved to Canada long ago. It is drilled into the head of every western mass media consumer that Russians are untermenschen who have no scientific and technological capability that counts. You can see this primitive, tribal western excrement on the CBC web page where a Progress cargo module is used as a picture for an article on space debris. Canadian chicken hawks and chest beaters should just shut the fuck up. Canada is a Mickey Mouse country with hand me down scientific and technological capacity. Where the grand Pasha in Ottawa can micromanage the life of every researcher even in supposedly independent universities. Yapping about “Russian junk” by clowns who can’t build it themselves really takes the chauvinist cake.

      If I sound unhinged it is because the information being fed to western media consumers is totally unhinged and demented.

      • yalensis says:

        Dear Kirill:

        Being forced to live among Canuckian chicken hawks, it is only natural to become unhinged.

      • et Al says:

        The issue are the nuclear resonance properties of the fuel assemblies.

        Can you expand on this a little bit kirill? I’m curious and I think I might understand. Thanks.

        • kirill says:

          I meant neutron resonance. The rods are subcritical nuclear devices. There is an emission flux of neutrons that is not sufficient to trigger a cascade but is still significant. This flux depends on the chemical composition of the fuel rods and on their volume distribution (geometry) which affects how the neutrons scatter internally. Once the rods, in the fuel assemblies, are placed in the reactor core the neutron flux is affected as well. Here is where it gets interesting, since the wrong rod specifications can result in too much neutron flux resulting in overheating of the assemblies (this is bad) or too little flux which hits the performance of the reactor.

          The reactor from the rods to the assemblies to the core is part of a single design. Mixing and matching parts from different reactors is not as easy as swapping wheels and tires on a car. It’s more like swapping the pistons, which is not so easy but even that is not a proper analogy.

          • et Al says:

            Thanks kirill! So without the full specs and details of making the fuel and assemblies, the Ukraine is taking quite some risk, even if Westinghouse (owned by Japan’s Toshiba) has nuclear expertise, it certainly isn’t anywhere near in depth as the Russians for these designs. I would guess that Westinghouse would have studied in detail spent/removed rods and tried to create an identical copy.

      • kat kan says:

        USA banned research on this type of fast breeder technology because it has to be part of the power station. Therefore anyone who has such a power station has this technology. It very briefly degrades the nuclear fuel into plutonium… which is what the bombs are made of.

        However, for bomb making, they use a process which gives plutonium as the end result. In the sodium reactors, it is just a phase the material passes through for a few moments and in such a way that it cannot be separated out and removed. It’s like, you can heat water so eventually all of it is 87 degrees. But while heating a large pot of water different spots are different temperature, and you cannot just remove the 87 degree droplets. Nor can you get the lot to 90 degrees without passing it through 87.

        Anyway the point of these sodium reactors is, the associated fast breeding uses up existing left-over “spent” nuclear fuels by converting to other isotopes on the fly making its own fuel as it goes along. This is THE KEY to safely destroying the enormously dangerous world stockpiles of spent fuel. It is also why Russia has always taken back the spent fuel from its customers, whereas USA leaves them with the headache of disposal.

        So Russia is saving the world from nuclear contamination while USA is again thinking about doing a bit of bombing.

        • et Al says:

          Thanks for that. What I did/do understand about sodium based reactors is that they are much safer than the regular 7Up ones, i.e. when functioning, the sodium is actually a liquid that is highly efficient at absorbing heat & neutron energy. If for some reason the sodium cannot be kept liquid, it defaults to its natural state as a solid (?) and unlike (pressurized) water cooled rectors, will not leak and throw radioactive water particulates in to the air to be carried far and wide, so you don’t need such an expensive containment vessels as is usually required. OTOH, it is fairly a good idea to design reactors to withstand flying a large aircraft in to it.

          Now I’ve actually looked it up, the downside is that sodium has an explosive reaction with water and burns in air. Hmm.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium-cooled_fast_reactor

          Apparently the US had a sodium research reactor that ran for some years but they did bugger all with it. The scientists apparently would just turn it off on Friday and come back Monday.

          • Jen says:

            Japan has a sodium-based fast breeder reactor that started operating in its western Kansai region in 1993 or 1994. In December 1995, that reactor suffered a terrible accident in which I think 2 workers died. One senior executive who had to face the press over this accident committed suicide not long after he gave the interview. The reactor was closed down for a long time afterwards. It was started up again in 2010 but then shut down again. There was then talk of starting it up again but after the Fukushima incident, talk has turned to decommissioning it.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monju_Nuclear_Power_Plant

            • kirill says:

              This design is peculiar in that it is a type of conversion of existing water cooled designs. The French Superphenix opened the door to the proper design: unpressurized molten metal vats. The passive cooling capacity is sufficient to exclude almost all risk of accidental meltdowns. The problem for the adoption of fast neutron breeder reactors has been specifically the reprocessing of the spent fuel. It looks like Russia is the only country that has a created commercial reprocessing capability. This makes breeder reactors economical and allows them to live up to their potential.

        • kirill says:

          The bomb making reprocessing is not all that advanced and has not evolved much. Bomb production is primarily about enrichment and not multi-cycle extraction of spent fuel constituents and reformation via pyrochemistry into new fuel rods. Russia has spent an enormous amount of effort developing a commercial technology. This includes fundamental research into nitride based uranium and plutonium compounds for fuel rods. The USA shutdown the commercial development together with the moratorium on new reactors since the 1970s. It is a long way from competing with Russia in regards to fast breeder reactor closed fuel cycle technology.

          • kat kan says:

            Not a long way from, but permanently shut themselves off. Now they don’t have the money to try catching up. Meanwhile Russia has small versions — they’ve done a lot of small reactors, having 12 or more nuclear civilian ships (mostly Arctic ones) as well as nuclear subs. Now they’re working on barge-mounted reactors that can be quickly moved into place, either for emergency power or to run desalination plants. The molten salt design would be good for that.

            • marknesop says:

              I’ve read that the reactors in the icebreakers were very hot, leaking radiation like a colander, and that extra pay given to the crew who manned them was known colloquially as “childlessness pay”. Mind you, I read that in a western reference many years ago, back when I still believed western writers told the truth about most things and that there was no reason to disbelieve it. It might have been written by somebody in New York who would not recognize an icebreaker if it was in the middle of the employee parking lot when he came to work. And extra wages for duty in harsh environments or for dangerous work is common.

              • kirill says:

                This cannot refer to the lead-bismuth reactors. It dates back to the sixties with the pressurized water reactors. The problems on one Soviet sub were made into a movie with Harrison Ford.

                I was discussing the reprocessing cycle that is basically half of the the operational process of fast neutron breeder reactors. Many countries built prototype breeders but not many built the capacity to close the fuel cycle.

                • marknesop says:

                  Yes, the incident to which you refer was a real one, aboard an ECHO II class submarine (that’s what NATO calls it); K-56, in June of 1973. Reports say 27 crewmen died, and it was definitely a reactor-related incident, but reports do not specify how all the men died. I believe there was also a fire, and some may have died of smoke inhalation. Whatever the case, there were several reactor accidents, one of them aboard an ALFA class with its revolutionary liquid-metal reactor. As I believe I have mentioned before, the ALFA Class (Russia called it the Akula) was so fast that it could outrun a torpedo if it had time to accelerate between launch and impact. Early Soviet submarines were noisy, though. The west smirked and giggled about that until the KILO came out, and then everybody stopped laughing. Few mentioned the submarine accident in which a VICTOR Class nuke boat – which was also fairly noisy – still managed to get into the middle of KITTY HAWK’s Carrier Screen and actually hit the bottom of the carrier, leaving one of its screw blades embedded in the hull. Modern Russian submarines are extremely quiet and quite sophisticated.

                  While official reports say reactor accidents have never sunk U.S. ships or submarines, both USS SCORPION and USS THRESHER were lost at sea, both nuke boats. The wreckage of both was located and investigated using remotely-piloted vehicles, but the condition of the reactors was never released to the public. THRESHER’s wreckage was scattered over a wide area, suggesting an explosion although there could have been other explanations, but the damage was not characteristic of a submarine which sank below its crush depth and imploded, and both might have been operating in waters where that was not a danger, I don’t recall. THRESHER had a trials crew aboard which included civilians, she had just completed a refit.

                  The USN used nothing but Pressurized-Water Reactors (PWR’s), because the USS SEAWOLF, second nuclear submarine after USS NAUTILUS, experienced persistent problems with her sodium reactor, and Admiral Rickover decided the U.S. Navy would go with the PWR.

                • et Al says:

                  If I recall properly (via Sherry Sontag’s ‘Blind Man’s Bluff’*) which in the case of the Scorpion, they claim it was a torpedo that started running ‘hot’, and went off. But as you pointed out, we only can go on what we are told…

                  * http://www.amazon.com/Blind-Mans-Bluff-Submarine-Espionage-ebook/dp/B0089EMLGK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431814456&sr=8-1&keywords=sherry+sontag+-+blind+man%27s+bluff

                  I do wonder though. We know that military aircraft only use standard radar capabilities in peace-time, but would it not make sense to have something similar for subs? I don’t doubt that soviet subs were more noisy than western ones but was that really down to the philosophy of quantity having a quality all of its own? If soviet subs really were that noisy, they they would have rarely tracked western subs unless those subs let them. If such occurrences were so rare, then wouldn’t that tell the officers something about what they were up against and give them an idea of how they matched up?

                • marknesop says:

                  A torpedo cannot arm until it is a safe distance away from the ship that launched it, to preclude the possibility that the submarine that launched it is still within its acquisition envelope. That doesn’t mean the propellant could not explode, of course, and that is what was said to have happened to the KURSK. Her torpedoes used a hydrogen peroxide fuel, and the USN did experiment with that as well, long ago, so it is plausible.

  5. astabada says:

    This article is from Sputnik News.

    Six months ago, OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, announced a surprising decision to counter rivals’ energy production. Instead of cutting back on oil production to match global demand, member states would hold steady.

    […] by flooding the market, global prices would plunge, and more high-priced competitors would be forced to respond. The main target, US shale companies, would hopefully collapse as they were forced to cut spending.

    Six months later, the plan seems to be working.

    Well done Saudi Arabia, well done. Except oil is a finite resource, so US oil (and Venezuelan, Russian, Iranian oil, …) are still there, and eventully will get sold at even higher prices.
    Dumping works if you destroy, buy or otherwise acquire control on your competitors.

    If you had ten canvas from van Gogh, would you sell them at half price to prevent your competitors from selling theirs?
    If you answered yes to the above question, congratulations! You are eligible to be Oil Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia! Contact us immediately (please outside lunch hours).

  6. astabada says:

    Sorry I swear this is the last article I’ll link today. This time from Business Insider in beloved Australia.

    Apparently things are pretty bad for Russians right now:

    According to Russian business news site RBC, 55% of Russians are now being forced to save for clothes with 48% saying they are reducing the money they plan to spend on vacations.

    Probably some of you will look at these figures with suspicion, but you should not, because they come from RBC, which is as free a news source as you can get in Putin’s Russia. Imagine, it is so free and independent, that freedom champions like CNBC and CNN did not disdain collaborating with it.

    Moral of the story: Russia got Crimea and Ukraine is a wreck, but sanctions hit so hard they are starving. Another day, another victory!
    Neeeeext!

  7. Moscow Exile says:

    Porky has said that they will fight to the last drop of blood (their blood, I presume, not his):

    “We will fight until the last drop of blood,” he says in the German ZDF heute journal TV programme:

    Poroschenko: Kämpfen “bis zum letzten Blutstropfen”

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has accused Russia of increasing its military presence in his country and the people will defend themselves and the city of Mariupol had to be defended. “We will fight until the last drop of blood”, he said in ZDF heute journal.

    The number of Russian troops in the occupied Ukrainian territories is growing, Poroshenko said in the Interview. He feared that the separatists, at the behest of Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, wanted to fight for an overland route in the direction of the Crimea. In particular, around the East Ukraine city of Mariupol, the number of Russian soldiers was growing, despite the Minsk agreement. “That is why our first priority is defence”, said Poroshenko. “We will not allow anyone with weapons to come and conquer us.”

    The situation is similar to that experienced in WWII, but at that time the threat came from the West. Today I see the same aggression coming from the East. For this reason, one should defend oneself in such dangerous circumstances: “We are going to fight for our country down to the last drop of our blood”, said Poroshenko. “This is our land, this is our Fatherland.”

    Poroshenko calls the Minsk agreement a “pseudo-peace”

    During the interview Poroshenko guaranteed at the same time that his country would stick to the Minsk Agreement. “We are for the Minsk agreement. We see no military solution to the conflict”. His country had proposed a cease fire. “We shall only get peace through the re-integration of the occupied areas, through peaceful talks, and the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Ukrainian regions”, said Poroshenko. In addition, the Russian border should be closed and OSCE observers would have to control it.

    Poroshenko criticized the Minsk agreement, however, as being a “pseudo-peace”, for which his country was paying a high price. “Eighty-three heroes” had already died fighting “the aggressor” in the Ukraine since the signing of the agreement. His alleged statement of intent to recapture Donetsk Poroshenko called “nonsense” that one one could only read in Russian newspapers. He himself had seen in Donetsk “the latest Russian weapons”, whose presence was in violation of the Minsk agreements.

    “Zero tolerance” in the fight against corruption

    Poroshenko countered criticism that he himself through the use of nationalistic utterances was only pouring oil onto the fire by saying: “Only a few people worldwide would call me and my government nationalistic”. He conceded that the Ukraine had been one of the most corrupt countries in the world – at least, it was when he became president. However, since that time major reforms had been undertaken and that there were now taking place many anti-corruption legal proceedings against ministers or representatives of the security services. “Today, the Ukraine has zero tolerance for corruption”, said Poroshenko.

    So Porky says that you can only read in the lying Russian press about his saying that he would recapture Donetsk airport?

    As I always say: if you are going to be a liar, make sure you have a good memory.

    So who is this (below) addressing his “heroes” in a Kiev cinema on the 11th of May, 2015?

    Porky must have sobered up by the time he did that ZDF interview in Berlin and couldn’t remember what he had said in the cinema to his surviving “Cyborg” heroes.

    • et Al says:

      Porky has said that they will fight to the last drop of blood (their blood, I presume, not his):

      The irony of the article being in German is not lost…

    • marknesop says:

      I don’t know why leaders nowadays say these silly dramatic things, “We will fight to the last drop of our blood” and such; it only makes them look foolish later when their patron – in this case Washington – tells them what they are going to do. Besides, why would you, only sentences later, agree that there is “no military solution” if you intend to fight to the last drop of your blood? Who are you going to fight with?

      Poroshenko is caught in the trap of trying to generate pleasing statements to two different camps. He has to appease his Nazi militias with tough fight talk, and his political allies with soothing blather. And all of it is just blather. He couldn’t fight when Washington was urging him to restart the war and talking about supplying him with weapons, he has stipulated there is no military solution so he cannot mean to attack them – since that is an effort to impose a military solution – so the only position that remains is Ukraine fighting to the last drop of its blood against an imaginary invasion from the easterners, backed by Russia. He has had zero success thus far proving that, and since he has fought a series of losing actions and is on the verge of complete capitulation, why would they invade now? Especially knowing his own people will turn on him if he does not pull off the impossible?

  8. Moscow Exile says:

    Further on the “fake” event , the “Immortal Regiment”:

    Штаб «Бессмертного Полка»: проясняется ситуация с «брошенными» портретами

    Staff of the “Immortal regiment”: the situation as regards the thrown away portraits cleared up

    As stated on his page on Facebook, the coordinator of the Council MIPOD “Immortal regiment” Sergey Larenkov, the interregional historical and patriotic movement “Immortal regiment” has addressed the General Prosecutor and the Moscow Prosecutor with a request to check whether these photographs were taken on May 9, 2015 in Moscow, and if so, under what circumstances.

    The coordinators of the regiment have been able to establish that one of the photos was actually taken on May 9 in the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Moreover, this information has been confirmed by a letter to the headquarters of the “Immortal regiment”:

    “Good day!
    My name is Vladimir. I was one of the organizers of the Immortal Regiment in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. There was posted on the social network a photo of thrown away placards with pictures on them. I just want to put you in the picture and, in this respect, from a primary source. After the rally on May 9, 80 placards with pictures that had been carried by members of the Patriotic Youth [a non-profit public organization engaged in the patriotic education of youth in preparation for service in the armed forces – a military kind of Boy Scouts – ME] were stacked near a building on the square. Because the roads had been blocked to traffic, there was no possibility of having them transported away, but within an hour they had been moved to safe place. So as not to allow this matter to be used as a provocation, I have decided to inform you about this matter. Thank you for understanding”.

    In comments received in a telephone conversation, it has been explained to the regiment council that on the placards were pictures of veterans that had no relatives who could could carry their portraits in the regiment. [Not surprising, in view of the fact that the youngest veterans are now in their very late 80s and are mostly 90-year-olds: their offspring might well have died years ago when one takes into account the high mortality rate of Soviet times, and their grand- and great-grandchildren will have in many cases been scattered to the winds.] Therefore, the banners were carried by members of the regional Patriotic Youth movement.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Italics should have been opened below the photograph.

      Liberasts, it seems, are ever on the prowl, looking for evidence to besmirch Russian patriots, who are anathema to them, as they, the thinking, creative, liberal elite despise all things Russian and all Russians who are not kreakly, namely they despise the Vatniki and Gopniki, whom they view as a blight on the civilized world.

      A monstrous Vatnik:

      Two beautiful, patriotic Vatniki:

      The term comes from the Russian word for a kapok-filled quilted military jacket that is also often worn by workers – because it’s warm, dumb-arses! Of course, Kreakli don’t work outside in the fields, on farms or on construction sites.

      Gopniki in their typical squatting position having a gargle:

    • yalensis says:

      It’s a tempest in a teapot.
      The “Immortal Regiment” movement is huge and genuinely grass-roots. It took the kreakles and Fifth Columnists by surprise, so they have no choice but to nitpick.

      There are certain material realities about organizing mass events: signs, placards, ribbons, sometimes even toilets, etc., these things don’t spring out of the air when Merlin waves his magic wands. People, objects, everything has to be organized, preferably with attention to detail.

      Then, after every event, there is clean-up involved, there is trash to collect, etc.
      I have no doubt in my head that some placards and even photographs might have been carelessly discarded; this happens after every demonstration or mass event.
      I also don’t doubt that some of the placards were put together by volunteers at HQ: you can tell by looking at the photographs of the parade that some of the photos are uniform in size and shape. I am guessing people scanned in family photos and printed out on a computer, to make the same size. Maybe. Absolutely nothing wrong with that.

      And none of this (signs and portents that the event actually had organizers – god forbid!) detracts from the fact that this patriotic movement has mass support.
      Again, the Russian kreakles are simply nit-picking and trying to denigrate, because this phenomenon caught them by surprise.

      • kat kan says:

        Some were carrying large heavy-framed pictures, as removed straight from the living room wall. Many would not have any such pictures. How many lost their houses and everything in them? So I can see some of the placards could have had faces blown up from ancient group photos of regiments, which descendants may not even be aware of.

        Certainly placards being carried by unrelated volunteers could be put away to be used again next year. And nothing wrong with this. It’s not a parade of descendants. It’s a parade of the Immortals, so does not matter if they are carried by strangers. They are all of the one nation.

      • kirill says:

        This is Sochi Olympics style smear. A clear attempt to diminish the magnitude of the event with patent nonsense. Then it was kissing gays sent to the gulag, now it is “all those photos of dead people” are fake.

        These liberast vermin that the equivalent of Holocaust deniers. Every last one of them. If you follow their “logic” to its conclusion, all those people in the procession could not have had real photos. Therefore, 27 million people did not die during WWII. Revisionist, denier scum.

        • kat kan says:

          Well it could have been 10 (or 100) copies of each real photo. Did YOU see all of them, to be able to compare and check for duplicates?

          I didn’t see any photos of women or kids, so no civilians died, either.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Clearly another fake photograph held by a fake relative.

            How much did he get paid to pose for this fake picture?

            Who paid him?

            These questions must be answered and the whole exercise exposed as the sham it was!

            • marknesop says:

              It’s always saddest of all when Putin co-opts the elderly to participate in his mad propaganda efforts, considering they barely get enough to eat to keep them alive. If they were allowed to have any money they might use it to escape.

          • yalensis says:

            If I had been in Moscow that day (which I wasn’t, obviously), I could have carried a photo myself, of a particular person from my family. And it would have been completely legitimate and authentic photo.
            But, for starters, I would have had to ask my sister to scan the photo and print out from her computer. Then I would have had to either find, or buy, a frame for it. And then possibly attach a stick. In other words, exhibit some forethought and organization.

            In my family, my sister is the family archivist, she keeps albums of all those old photos. I never bothered myself. But the photos are very small and grainy, which is why they would have to be blown up and possibly cleaned up in photoshop in order to fit in a frame. This is why I think the event in Russia shows signs of organization and not just utter lemming-like spontaneity. Which I suppose is what the critics demand.

            As for why the photos are all of men, I am not sure, but I think the movement is mostly about soldiers who fell in battle against the Horde. In any case, that is a valid criticism, IMHO.

            • kirill says:

              Are Russians incapable of organization that is not Sauron-like hand of evil mediated? I would think that most Russians would have known the 70th anniversary is this year. They had likely several years to prepare. That liberast 5th columnists did not catch on just highlights how self-isolated they are from the rest of Russian society. They should all bugger on off to Canada, USA or UK.

          • kirill says:

            If you are going to nitpick, then try harder. There weren’t 10 million people out on the streets carrying photos. That is how many Soviet soldiers died during WWII. I can exclude all the Ukrainians, Russians and Belorussians living outside of Russia and this would not change anything. Looking for civilians is just silly. “Immortal Regiment” did not have Kirusha and Pavlik pre-teens as members. And how do you know there were no photographs of women KIA/MIA. I saw some people carrying more than one photo.

            The UK and USA both lost less than 500,000 people. I will treat any criticism of Russians from these two locations with total contempt. The chances of any smarmy critic from there having any dead WWII relatives are vastly smaller.

  9. yalensis says:

    Follow-up to the Poroshenko/Facebook story:

    SUMMARY AND PARTIAL TRANSLATION
    Poroshenko had tried to implicate Facebook in being too pro-Russian, but his attempt failed.
    Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, vigorously defended himself against Poroshenko’s accusation. Zuckerberg pointed out, that Facebook doesn’t even have representation in Russia.
    And Mark also pointed out, that some Ukrainian posters had attempted to post murderous hate speech on his beloved Facebook.

    Back story:
    Poroshenko had confronted Zuckerberg, demanding that he appoint a Facebook representative for Ukraine, and that he stop deleting Ukrainian commenters from the forums.

    On Thursday 14 May (Yesterday), Zuckerberg convened a session to answer questions of Facebook users. A Facebook user named Grigory Kupershmidt asked a question, why are Ukrainian accounts blocked when the forum discussion turns towards events in Ukraine; and why is Mark allowing Russian representatives to block the Ukrainian accounts. Kupershmidt’s online question generated the most “likes”, including a “me likey” from Poroshenko.

    Zuckerberg responded as follows, and NOW I AM SWITCHING OVER TO ENGLISH-LANGUAGE SOURCE TO FINISH THE STORY:

    Zuckerberg said some of the Ukrainian posts in question did contain content that violated Facebook’s community standards, namely the rule against “hate speech,” though he did not give specific examples.

    We don’t allow content that is overtly hateful, contains ethnic slurs, or incites violence. There were a few posts that tripped that rule, and I think we did the right thing according to our policies by taking down that content.

    Acknowledging the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Facebook’s founder also addressed the “meme” perpetuated by many Ukrainian users that the content of the Ukrainian segment was moderated from a Russian office by “Russians who were anti-Ukrainian.” He reiterated what other Facebook representatives had previously confirmed: that Facebook has no Russian office, and that the reported content for the Ukrainian segment is reviewed by an international team speaking different languages based in the Dublin office.

    Zuckerberg admitted to the Facebook team making one mistake when reported content from Ukrainians was being taken down.

    We did make one mistake. When we reached out to people to tell them why we took stuff down, there was a bug in the software: the reason [for blocking] content was given as ‘nudity’ instead of ‘hate speech.'[…] But we fixed that and apologized. And we’ll try not do this again.

    In conclusion:
    Petro Poroshenko picked a fight with skinny billionaire nerd Mark Zuckerberg.
    Zuckerberg won.
    Full Fail and Faceplant for Poroshenko.

    • yalensis says:

      P.S.
      Ukie trolls are still up in arms about Facebook, their major cause célèbre is this photo, which is one of the pics that were taken down for “content reasons”.
      Agree the photo is innocuous, it shows a sweet little Ukrainian girl being given a medal for her papa who died in Poroshenko’s ATO.

      I can’t say for sure, but I wonder if one of the automated bots that searches photos for bad content might have gotten confused and thought the picture was violent. The little girl is wearing a necklace, and I admit when I first saw the photo, I flinched, thinking that the soldier standing behind her had cut her throat. Just shows where my mind is at. But maybe that was the reason, I don’t know.

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        I love this. The worthless primitives are finding out firsthand just how little the world cares about them. When Ukrainians are dropping off like Ethiopians, nobody is going to be organising famine relief, or singing mawkish ballads in their memory. Those who even remember that Ukraine exists will be laughing and laughing because the superhuman creators of European civilisation can’t feed themselves, can’t heat their homes and can’t stop their power plants blowing up.

        Die, Ukraine. Die and die hard.

        • marknesop says:

          I would not wish any suffering on Ukrainians who did not support Maidan or agitate for being part of “Yurrup”, and who do not express any animosity toward Russia, and I suspect this is a substantial number, probably some even in the west. I don’t really blame them for not rising up and throwing out the fat oligarchic pig Poroshenko and the Ichabod Crane bloodsucker Yatsenyuk and all the Nazi-lovers, because at first they probably could not grasp what was happening. It is the nature of Washington’s regime-change efforts that they develop rapid and unstoppable momentum, because as soon as that momentum is lost, they fail and fall over.

          However, so long as they allow Poroshenko the ludicrous moralizing lard-muncher to be their public voice, they probably have harder times ahead. And the discouragement value in seeing themselves abandoned by the west should not be understated.

          But there must absolutely not be a financial rescue by Russia. There is no reason the Russian government should squander public money to clean up Washington’s mess, and I hope that was the message Kerry took home loud and clear.

          • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

            I’m certain that financial rescue by Russia will happen in the end – but not before the Maidan regime is defeated, the Ukrainian economy has completely tanked, and the remaining Ukrainians accept their status as Tajikistan-on-the-Black-Sea. Once Ukrainians lower their expectations down from ‘European salaries’ to ‘not freezing in the dark or digging up plant roots for extra nutrition’, then it will be worthwhile and cost effective to help them.

            • kirill says:

              The trick is for the average salo eating Ukr to really feel the pain. A few winters of discontent may wake them up. A quick solution is not good since then the Ukrs don’t learn their lesson.

            • marknesop says:

              Maybe, but the west should not be able to just come in and stir things up and egg the fascist nuts on to smash it and trample it and shit on it and wreck it beyond recognition, running up a staggering bill in the process, and then have Russia come in and throw money at it and fix the mess at its own expense. Once again, I’m not running Russia and it’s probably just as well for them, but at a minimum before I would fix the west’s mess, I would stir up movements in the west of Ukraine and then react to them, saying it was shameful that Europe would not help them, after all their bold words. I would make Europe take the western provinces, as a protectorate if nothing else, and then I would start a purge in the rest of Ukraine that would make the decision-makers in the ATO as well as all the mouthy nationalists flee to those provinces in fear of their lives.

              Then Europe could have the Nazis it admires, and they could all be cozy friends together.

              • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

                Abandoning the Trident lands to NATO has never been a workable option. One, that means letting NATO have several million habitual Russophobes it can freely employ as spies and terrorists because of their connection to the Russian world. They can still try to do that if the region is under Russian control, but it would much easier if the region were held by a NATO puppet government giving every little Volodmyr and Olena their ‘Education for Death’. Two, while Lvov, Ternopol and Ivano-Frankovsk are heavily Nazified, Transcarpathia isn’t, and there’s no practical way to take Transcarpathia and leave the other three far western regions. Three, if you’re feeling sentimental, it’s all historic Rus’ and in memory of Prince Daniel of Galicia (imagine trying to explain the tenets of Ukrainian nationalism to him. He’d look at you like you were mad) historic Rus’ must be made whole.

                The Russian position is that they want all of Ukraine. They won’t pay for it if they don’t own it, and they won’t take ownership of it until it has been so utterly ruined that the inhabitants’ expectations are manageably low.

                Ukrainians who still dream of the European future or the 140,000 year Reich… can be offered the choice between Canada or the grave.

                I personally would take the grave.

                • marknesop says:

                  I would not say Canada is as bad as all that – there are some neigbourhoods in Victoria where the government forces do not shell us for weeks at a time. And you can ask Paul; the climate in Ottawa is certainly no worse than that in Kiev. Most major cities in Canada have several Kentucky Fried Chicken Restaurants and plenty of cannabis dealers, both of which commodities I have read New Zealanders consume at a greater rate than anywhere else in the world. That might be just anti-New-Zealand propaganda, though.

                • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

                  I can assure you that any hostile stories you’ve heard about New Zealand are probably true. For one thing, people here are really, really damned fat.

                  Don’t take things amiss – our idea of the brotherhood of English-speaking nations is to dump on Australia. I feel it’s time we branched out and developed a noisy, stupid rivalry with Canada as well.

                • marknesop says:

                  Ha, ha! No offense taken, I assure you. I visited your homeland some time back, I think it must have been 1995; I was with HMCS VANCOUVER, we visited Auckland and Wellington. I remember I saw one of the worst bands that had the nerve to perform in public at a pub in Wellington – they were called “Slow Fire”, and the name was deeply symbolic, because it’s what they should have been roasted over. They were a trio, and the drummer had just a little trap set with a bass drum, a snare and a cymbal, no high-hat or anything, and he was standing rather than sitting on a stool. He made up in enthusiasm what he lacked in talent, stomping and thrashing away with gusto. All three sang, but since they apparently could not agree who would sing the melody, all three sang it and harmony was for gays and chumps. I swear I did not think it was possible for a band to play “Proud Mary” in such a fashion that a listener would not know the song they were playing, but they were well past halfway through it before the lyrics gave it away for me.

                  The place was otherwise lovely, though, and I would have liked to see more of it. I did not see any hobbits, sadly, but since that was well before the release of “Lord Of The Rings”, perhaps I just did not know what to look for, and imagined children in New Zealand were somewhat hairy.

                  Talking of HMCS VANCOUVER – and yes, that would have been WESTPLOY 95, Brian Matthews was the CO then, and a finer Captain there never was – until I googled that reference up I did not know Mark McLean was dead; he apparently died last year. He was crew when I was there, as was Gilles Duquette (that was a very sad suicide owing to a bad family situation). Brian Matthews left during that trip, maybe even from New Zealand, I can’t remember, and Mark “Sandy” Bellows took over.

                • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

                  Auckland ’95? A couple of years too soon for the Auckland dicktower. I do encourage you make a proper visit of New Zealand someday – just give it a year or two at least, so you don’t have to experience the obnoxious Hobbit-themed safety video our national airline currently uses.

                  We had a Russian warship visit Wellington either that year or the year after. Some dingbats protested the visit for some dingbat reason.

                • marknesop says:

                  Indeed, there was no dicktower, but even as jaded as I am, I was inspired to look that up. And I agree with this author – it does not look at all dick-like. It looks like a rocket, something like that. This, now, this looks like a dick (you have to click on the photo in the article so you can see the whole thing). If you can believe it, it’s supposed to be a “sculpture of a cloud”. Also in Auckland. The artist says he is confident people will embrace the design once neon lights in the forms are hooked up. So that it can be a lit-up dick visible from deep space, not to put too fine a point on it. Art is always controversial, ha, ha, my, yes; it is.

                  Echoing that theme is our own beautiful “Pavilion, Rock and Shell” piece – so identified so that nearby residents will stop calling Public Works and reporting that somebody has bulldozed some scrap metal into a pile in front of the arena, and will they please come take it away. “Brought a rather negative reaction from the public” is, I think, an understatement on the order of suggesting the Elephant Man was a little puffy around the eyes. What the hell is wrong with people? Is the objective to make the finished piece look as far as possible from what it is supposed to be, so that a casual observer would never, never guess, like designing a marble bowling ball and calling it “Horse With Samurai”?

                  Anyway, it sounds like we both have our crosses to bear, but my enthusiasm to visit is undiminished, and I mean to do it one day; I was only there for 3 days the last visit and that really wasn’t time enough to see anything.

                  There was a British warship, HMS MONMOUTH, one of the DUKE class, who followed us around to almost all our port visits in Australia and New Zealand that year (we also visited Sydney twice and Brisbane), about a week behind us in each port. Her presence at the time was remarkable because she had no CCS (Combat Control System), the electronic brain that connects all the sensors and weapons and makes them talk to one another, as well as presenting sensor data on operations room displays so you can see where you are and who else is near you and whether or not they might be a threat. She had a single little nav radar which was accessible from the bridge display, and that and charts was how they were getting around, and their INS (Inertial Navigation System) was probably working as well. The new system was designed by Plessey, I think, although I can’t recall for certain. Anyway, it suffered so many malfunctions that an exasperated defense department told the contractor to get down there are take that piece of shit out, and don’t come back until it’s working, just a week or two before they were due to sail.

              • Jen says:

                I can assure you that any hostile stories you’ve heard about New Zealand are probably true. For one thing, people here are really, really damned fat.

                Except of course hostile stories emanating from Australia about New Zealanders and sheep, as in “What do you call a New Zealand man with a hundred girlfriends? A shepherd”, “Why are New Zealand race horses so fast? Because they’ve seen what Kiwis do to the sheep”, and so on.

                • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

                  No, those are 100% true – Sheep rape is what holds this country together.

                  And the molested produce we export to Britain – our revoltingly delicious revenge for joining the Common Market in 1973 and depriving us of our former trade privileges, bequeathing us twenty years of economic and political crisis.

                  God Defend New Zealand – we put our meat in your meat.

                • marknesop says:

                  Now if we can only isolate the sires who produce the sweetest and juiciest lambs – I must confess I am fond of lamb, although we don’t have it often, and I’ve experienced a wide variety of quality – we can pay them some sort of stipend so they do not tire themselves with work, but can occupy themselves in a warm barn somewhere, playing uckers, until it’s time for them to stand at stud once again and do their duty for God and Country.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        A picture of another sweet little girl who idolized her papa:

        Here’s a photograph of her with him:

        She’s still alive (85 – 86 in August) and well and lives in Munich, where she runs a charity foundation for veterans of WWII. It’s called “Stille Hilfe” – “Silent Help”.

        Stille Hilfe provides support for former SS-officers.

        Nice motor!

      • marknesop says:

        What a beautiful child; it makes me sad whenever anything bad happens to children, and I just wish they could all make it at least to adulthood before having to suffer terrible sorrow – childhood, at least, should be carefree and happy. I wonder if perhaps somebody inserted a little editorializing along with the picture, to the effect that the child’s father was murdered by the Moskali pigs or something similar. There seems to be nothing offensive about the picture itself.

        • Jen says:

          The girl’s father committed suicide while in British custody by biting down on a hidden cyanide tablet in his mouth while being examined by doctor. By then Gudrun Himmler, for that was her name then, was at least 15 years old.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gudrun_Burwitz

          Another photo of Gudrun as a little girl:

          A more recent photo of Gudrun:

          • yalensis says:

            Well, Gudrun was obviously a monstrous little brat.

            But I don’t think she should be compared with the little Ukrainian girl in the Facebook photo. The father of the latter child may not have been a war criminal, just some ordinary soldier who was drafted and sent off to the ATO. In any case, you can see the difference in personality just in the eyes. Gudrun even as a child looks to be dominant, confident, self-aware of her superiority. The Ukrainian child just looks to be sorrowful and lost.

          • marknesop says:

            Oh, that is so cute – he took her to visit concentration camps! If there’s anything that tugs the heartstrings, it’s parents taking their kiddies to work with them for the day, so they can see what daddy does for a living. Most children come home believing daddy must be not far from shooting himself every day because his employment is soooooo boring – and many of them would be right – but I’ll bet that wasn’t the case with young Gudrun. Always something new, coupled with the satisfaction of doing something that needed to be done, what?

    • marknesop says:

      Thanks for that, Yalensis; very informative and interesting.

  10. et Al says:

    Neuters: U.S. Marines look to nurture integrated Asia-Pacific amphibious forces, China excluded
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/14/us-usa-marines-asia-idUSKBN0NZ07J20150514

    The U.S. Marine Corps is bringing together foreign commanders from amphibious forces deployed mostly in the Asia-Pacific for a conference aimed at taking steps to integrate operations, with China excluded from the event, according to officials and planning documents.

    The effort centers on a first-of-its-kind conference between the Marine Corps and military officials from 23 countries that opens in Hawaii on Monday. More than half the nations attending are from Asia, including some embroiled in territorial disputes with China such as Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam….
    #####

    Surrounding China will have the same result as surrounding Russia. Trouble and instability.

    You have to give it to the US, they don’t give up once they hit a rich stream of failure. They just keep going in hope of reaching the other side at some point in the distant future!

    • marknesop says:

      Gee, that sounded quite a lot like near-dead Fred Thompson’s unofficial 2008 U.S. presidential campaign slogan. Something borderline incoherent, like “We hitch up our pants and come out the other side”. The other side of what? Sometimes there’s so much wackiness in the world that it’s hard to remember for a short while, Fred Thompson was the front-runner for the Republican nomination.

    • marknesop says:

      They claim to be concentrating on disaster-relief and search and rescue activities, but it is significant that other countries are beginning to get interested in developing or improving their own marine capability.

      Can’t blame them for trying, I guess. But typically beach assaults cannot take place while a high risk of the landing ships being engaged from ashore remains, and China would be a tough nut to crack. In addition to some staggering leaps in standoff missile capability from coastal bateries, China has a fairly large fleet of littoral-combat fast missile boats that would worry me if I were in charge of such an operation against China. And the west could forget about an extensive suppression campaign by air before a beach landing; the Chinese would just love that, while the western public has become accustomed to easy walkovers against basically defenseless countries, and is unprepared for its forces to sustain heavy casualties. Which they…ummm….would.

      • et Al says:

        What we do know is that the USN has been mapping the seabed of the South China sea in high resolution using a United States Geographic Survey (USGS) catamaran, the USNS T-AGOS-23 Impeccable* back in 2009. Not that I know much, but I know that sub-hunting in shallow (brown) water is much more difficult than in deep (blue) water. Having a digital terrain map of the seabed will help USN subs and anti-submarine units against the PLN. Now that the US has announce it is going to regularly stick its oar in the South China Sea, we can see that in fact it has been preparing for this for quite some time!

        * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USNS_Impeccable_%28T-AGOS-23%29

        • marknesop says:

          The US regularly maps the seabed with sidescan sonar and other sensors wherever and whenever it gets a chance, because it can compare returns in wartime and see if what it is interested in is an old wreck on the bottom whose position is known, or there’s nothing for miles around and the contact might be a submarine sitting quiet on the bottom. Brownwater subhunting gives some advantages to the hunters that are not present in bluewater conditions – for one thing, under good conditions and if it is shallow enough, you can actually see a submarine from the air. For another, close in like that it is easier to lay a sonobuoy field. But it’s typically a noisier environment than out in the open sea, and coastal traffic helps the submarine stay hidden.

          I don’t know why a TAGOS ship would be an advantage; they were made to monitor the underwater environment in deeper water, where their “tail” (Towed-Array Sonar) would be advantageous. They have a huge array, a long, long cable with hydrophones the whole length. When they find a temperature inversion, or thermal layer – which, as we’ve discussed before, generally prevents direct-path contact with a submarine – they just slow down a little, and the array sinks below the layer, and presto! contact restored. No good in brown water; you run a huge risk of dragging the tail over a sand bar and breaking it off.

          But the TAGOS ships have a lot of money in listening equipment aboard, and they might have been using sidescan sonar or maybe towing a sled.

  11. et Al says:

    Neuters: Baltic military chiefs to call for permanent NATO presence
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/14/us-nato-baltic-russia-idUSKBN0NZ0T220150514

    …In reaction to the security situation in the region, as a measure of deterrence, chiefs of defense of the Baltic states will apply officially to Supreme NATO Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) about permanent stationing of a brigade-sized NATO unit in the Baltic States,” Lithuanian Army spokesman Mindaugas Neimontas said.

    The Baltic states would ask, in a joint letter, for the brigade to consist of battalion-sized deployments of NATO troops in each of the countries, which would rotate on a NATO-approved schedule.

    A NATO brigade typically numbers between 3,000 and 5,000 troops and is made up of several battalions….
    ####

    I think I mentioned this a day or so ago. I don’t quite understand the Frigid Chihuahuas though. They want a permanent presence but one that rotates? It is contradictory and currently the same policy as NATO with its very expensive non-permanent six month rotations to the Baltics. The only difference seems to be that the Baltic plan is announced asin perpuitam whereas the current plan isn’t. The weird thing is that it is rotational, i.e. the Frigid Chihuahuas recognize that a non-rotational presence would breach the terms of the Conventional Forces Europe (CFE) Treaty which NATO and the West clearly believes is still strongly in its favor, otherwise it would have dropped it long ago like a hot potato.

    All this speaking of rotations and hot potatoes along with the image of Salma Hayek at the Cannes film festival accompanying the piece above has suddenly made me very horny. I’ll just go and lock the girlfriend’s cat safely in another room until I recover…

    • marknesop says:

      What are NATO troops – that typically means soldiers – going to do against “increased Russian air and naval activity”? Jump, and swim? And what might that “countering” consist of, considering the aircraft and naval units discussed remain in international air and water space? Go out and attack them? What for?

      The Baltics seem to have sensed that NATO is looking for an Article 5 situation which will allow it to say it must defend itself against a Ruassian attack, and are attempting to respond to that suggestion. I don’t expect it to change Russia’s behaviour at all. But Jens Stoltenberg is turning out to be almost as much of a spinny-headed hawk as Radek Sikorski would have been in his place.

    • Tim Owen says:

      Where’s the link.

    • kirill says:

      Russia should apply permanent sanctions, like the US to Cuba, to these virulent chihuahuas. They can suck NATO’s military teat for sustenance.

      So, no more “Metallins”, etc.

    • Jen says:

      … I don’t quite understand the Frigid Chihuahuas though. They want a permanent presence but one that rotates?...”

      The Chihuahuas can organise themselves so they all live in one massive circular housing project and a NATO watch-tower can spin around watching them all. Or they can all spin around the watch-tower until they all fall over giddy.

      A full-size actual building of the type I speak of:

      Inside the building itself, with the watch-tower in the centre:

      It’s the Presidio Modelo prison in Cuba and it is built on the 18th-century British philosopher Jeremy Bentham’s idea of how a prison should be built so that an observer can watch the prisoners without the prisoners knowing if at any time they are being watched so they must assume they are being watched all the time.

      ” … The general ideas of [the panopticon] are: The building is circular, the apartments of the prisoners occupy the circumference. You may call them, if you please, the cells and these cells are divided from one another, and the prisoners by that means secluded from all communication with each other, by partitions in the form of radii issuing from the circumference towards the centre, and extending as many feet as shall be thought necessary to form the largest dimension of the cell […] Though perhaps it is the most important point is that the persons to be inspected should always feel themselves as if under inspection, at least as standing a great chance of being so, yet it is not by any means the only one …”
      https://dprbcn.wordpress.com/2009/10/21/presidio-modelo-in-cuba-and-the-panopticon-idea/

  12. Moscow Exile says:

    Two of the new dynamic advisors to the Yukie government:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CE5vC_gVIAAMb0-.jpg:large

  13. Moscow Exile says:

    McFaul showing why he was appointed US Ambassador to Russia:

    That man is supposed to be intelligent?

    • Warren says:

      I presume Dr McFaul is boasting how Apple Iphone and Microsoft Windows are American products and invention, and that Russia has nothing to match.

      • yalensis says:

        Yeah, but Russia has ROCKET SHIPS! Heh heh…

      • kirill says:

        More of the same old retarded tribalist nonsense. There was a New Scientist article very long ago that pointed out that Soviet materials science was key to the shrinkage of certain power devices and hence allowed portable cell phones to come into existence. At the same time I recall depictions of a “Soviet cell phone” as being some grotesque oversized device. Pathetic ego stroking hilarity.

    • et Al says:

      I think he has a serious medical problem. The alternative may be that he has his dick stuck in his zipper and he is subtly trying to free willy.

  14. Moscow Exile says:

    Does anyone think that the wheels have already started turning and that the Khokhly are going to be slowly persuaded to accept the inevitable?

  15. Warren says:

    Russia to prosecute ‘undesirable’ foreign organisations

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-32751797

    • Moscow Exile says:

      They should start with the US Embassy.

      • james says:

        how many soros funded ngos operate in russia anyway aside from ‘open russia’?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          450,000 NGOs in Russia

          The sheer number of organizations described as NGOs and the number receiving foreign funding is staggering. Since 1991 and the collapse of the Soviet Union, hundreds of thousands of NGOs have sprung up in Russia. Members of the Russian Duma say over 450,000 NGOs operate in Russia today [Feb. 6, 2006]. The Yale Center for the Study of Globalization puts the number even higher, saying that “There are at least 600,000 registered non-governmental, non-commercial organizations operating in Russia. At least as many may be working in the country without official registration”.

          • kirill says:

            Time to regulate this “industry”. NGO’s should be required to have an active full time staff of 100. That should reduce this number to a few dozen.

    • marknesop says:

      “Pavel Chikov, head of a human rights umbrella group called Agora, said: “Simply declaring someone ‘undesirable, we don’t want to see him on our territory’ will be a violation of international law and general legal principles, and of the civil legal code.”

      Oh, now this human rights toad is concerned about international law and general legal principles. Where were you while the Ukie Army’s artillery smashed Slaviansk to rubble and killed hundreds of civilians, you worthless fucker?

  16. Warren says:

    ‘Crucified Putin’: Latvian artist nails Russian president’s effigy to cross

    http://rt.com/news/258985-crucified-putin-latvia-art/#.VVYNGREZCus.twitter

  17. Moscow Exile says:

    In Kerch work has begun on the construction of a bridge across the strait.

  18. Warren says:

  19. Warren says:

    Putin’s Russian image change: Action man to Mr Ordinary

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-32741458

  20. Warren says:

  21. Warren says:

    Snowden cost US control of ‘geopolitical narrative’ – former NSA official

    http://rt.com/usa/259101-nsa-counsel-snowden-secrets/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

    • marknesop says:

      For one thing, this sounds an awful lot like an official admission that the USA did something wrong rather than Snowden. For another, it is important to remember that the “control of the geopolitical narrative” he speaks of was based on lying and secret snooping, and there is no reason to believe the USA would ever have stopped doing it on its own, or taken steps to admit it was doing it, so long as secret intelligence continued to keep them on top.

  22. Warren says:

    Moscow Secretly Delighted By Anti-Kremlin Cameron Re-election

    Former Labour leader Ed Miliband disturbs Moscow with his erratic tendencies, while Camerons return allows the Kremlin to put relations on hold for now

    http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/britains-tory-victory-no-cause-kremlin-blues/ri6914

  23. Warren says:

    As I said yesterday or the day before, we need to monitor the West media for a sudden splurge of negative Ukrainian stories. This would indicate the US and the West are tiring of Ukrainian intransigence and America’s rapprochement, as seen by John Kerry’s visit to Moscow is “genuine” for the time being.

    • yalensis says:

      The OUN was founded in 1929 as a revolutionary organization designed to liberate Ukraine from Soviet rule and create an independent Ukrainian state. Many OUN leaders were trained in Nazi Germany, and the group’s philosophy was influenced by Nazi racial theorists such as Alfred Rosenberg. OUN literature, for example, declared the need to “combat Jews as supporters of the Muscovite-Bolshevik regime… Death to the Muscovite-Jewish commune! Beat the commune, save Ukraine!”
      (…)
      Starting with a pogrom in Lviv shortly after the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, OUN militias — with the support of the Nazis — embarked on a killing spree in Western Ukraine that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Jews. After the Nazis dissolved these militias, many of their members joined the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police in German service, where they received weapons-training and became one of the most important instruments of the Holocaust in Belarus and Western Ukraine.
      (…)
      More recently, radical nationalists played a key role as “shock troops” on the Maidan, and the anti-government camp was full of OUN-UPA flags and cries of “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!” — chants that originated with the OUN. Currently, a number of OUN-UPA apologists occupy important government positions, including the minister of education, the head of the Security Service of Ukraine and the director of the Ukrainian government’s Institute of National Memory. Even Poroshenko has gotten into the act, laying a wreath in honor of the OUN at Babi Yar last year.

      Western pundits just suddenly discovered this history?
      When “pro-Russia” commenters were saying exactly the same thing, they called us liars.

      Oi veh….

      • Warren says:

        Yalensis,

        If you are interested in OUN history and the death of OUN leaders Konovalets, Bandera, and other Ukrainian nationalist figures such as Petlura from a Ukrainian Nationalist perspective check out:

        MURDERED BY MOSCOW
        PETLURA – KONOVALETS – BANDERA
        Three leaders of the Ukrainian National Liberation Movement
        assassinated at the orders of Stalin and Khrushchov

        http://www.exlibris.org.ua/murders/index.html

  24. Warren says:

  25. yalensis says:

    Continuation of that Facebook story. Watch the short video which sets the scene (=Zuckerberg making his deus ex machina appearance to answer questions from his customers.)

    Facebook audience giggles when the announcers says: “Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, actually sent in a question.”

    Shows how Porky is a total joke.
    Porky is one of the Ukie kreakles who worships at the altar of Facebook. It is a Western institution. These types are convinced that Facebook, along with other Western institutions, are supposed to be totally on their side and will help them to fight against evil Russians. Porky’s demand was that Facebook set up an office in Ukraine that will allow junta supporters to post whatever filth they want, without going through “community standards” filters.

    Meanwhile, Zuckerberg and his posse are completely laughing their asses off at Porky’s impertinence.

    More seriously, nobody should ever think that Zuckerberg is an idiot who doesn’t know what is going on in the world. This is apparently a very shrewd guy. He is not some absent executive who doesn’t know what his underlings are doing. He was in the loop, he knew exactly what Porky was talking about, in relation to the deleted posts (from rabid Ukie commenters), and he deftly justified the actions of his censors.

  26. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    http://fortruss.blogspot.co.nz/2015/05/yatsenyuk-acknowledges-perpetrating.html

    Yatsenyuk’s just not very clever, is he? It’s not as if didn’t understand the question – he speaks English well enough, albeit with the usual Eastern European potatohead delivery.

    • marknesop says:

      Indeed, the vaunted Ukrainian-western unity is beginning to crumble. If the neoconservatives in the USA are not able to get a rope on this runaway, it just might be the end of Porky. After all, one of the few things that keep him in power – to say nothing of alive in a country where life is cheap – is the impression that he has his hand on the spigot of western largesse and that there will be no aid without him. If it becomes clear that aid will be limited to disaster relief even if they make a cat president, I don’t like Porky’s chances. Mmmmmm…..bacon.

    • yalensis says:

      Rat speak English with thick accent like Fearless Leader!

  27. Another failure of Proton-launch in Baikonur today. It seems that these failures are becoming more and more commonplace. What is happening in Russia’s space industry? Have the capable engineers already retired and the young engineers are not as good?

    • Ali Cat says:

      Or maybe sabotage?

      • Why do you think it is a sabotage?

        • Drutten says:

          Some five-six years ago seemed like it was always upper stage rockets that acted up when it came to Russian launch issues, with especially the Breeze and Block stages misfiring on numerous occasions for a variety of reasons. Statistically, Russian launch systems performed fine however and failures were rare and in line with that of other countries (or better even, contrary to what you might think from the reporting that finds it way westward), but the way that these issues tend to “cluster” is quite curious indeed.

          Then when these upper-stage things were apparently rectified, some inexplicable “manufacturing defects” of other rocket parts started showing up instead. For instance the wrongly installed sensors discovered when the spectacular first stage Proton failure occured in 2013, which immediately raised concerns about actual sabotage since the “installation” was akin to somebody having forced the cube shaped block into the star shaped hole on one of those classic toddler toys. Basically, it had to be deliberate sabotage, since not even a delirious drunk would pull that one off.

          They conducted an investigation into it and I seem to recall that the findings gave them a lot of valid reasons to suspect sabotage by Khrunichev employees, and some people were singled out I think. Just a little while ago, a routine check of another Proton rocket slated to to launch this year revealed heaps of metallic powder showed into the rocket’s piping… Glad they caught that one in time…

          Now, todays Proton launch went fine until orbital insertion, about half-way into the flight, when telemetry suddenly stopped being received. Seems like the upper stage issues came back again after their little hiatus…

          The Progress launch a few weeks ago also had some rather strange issues (the Progress-Soyuz combo is extremely reliable usually, and this total fuck-up of multiple onboard systems is just incredibly unlikely). Earlier today a scheduled burn by one of the already docked Progress ships, intended to raise the ISS’s orbit a few miles, failed to materialize due to some sudden inexplicable issues with the Progress-ISS interface too. That has never happened before, I think.

          Roscosmos and many Russian space industry subcontractors have a number of problems, way too low salaries being one of the most glaring ones. This issue unfortunately also opens up for the possibility paid sabotage, and indeed there are lots of indications (and motives…) that this isn’t all that far fetched.

          • Seems feasible. Low-paid professionals are easier to bribe high-paid professionals. But why are the salaries in Russian space industry so low? The country has dozens of billionaires and thousand of millionaires. Russia should really pay more to these people.

          • et Al says:

            It is extremely odd and I’m not one for conspiracy theories. The same thing happened about a year ago and from what I have just read, they introduced stringent new checks as a result. Since then of course, a rationalisation of the Russian space industry has been announced (and a 30b ruble cut) so can well imagine that there would be disgruntled workers available for nefarious ends. If I were devious and were not worried about getting caught (all the evidence assumed to have burned up), damaging the reputation of Russian rockets would be on my list of non-linear things to do – untraceable asymmetric warfare – something that a clever American would have little trouble convincing his superiors to follow up. We know the US does spite.

            http://sputniknews.com/science/20150516/1022211582.html

            …“Telemetry of Proton rocket was lost about a minute before the detachment of the Mexican satellite from the third stage of Proton, at 8:56 Moscow time [5:56 GMT]. The Mexican satellite did not detach from the third stage and will likely be declared lost as it will not be able to fulfill its functions…” the source told RIA Novosti….

            ….“The analysis of the telemetry allows for supposing that there was a failure in one of the third stage’s steering engines. This is now considered as one of the main reasons,” Russian media is quoting one of the experts as saying.

            The expert added that following the investigation into the cause of the crash last year, all the rocket equipment has undergone a thorough inspection…

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Clearly evidence of Western, specifically US, superiority, know-how etc. which has been engendered by Western freedoms and democracy, in that folk in the West are not afraid of thinking out of the envelope and challenging the system, as opposed to which Russian doltishness, backwardness, general inferiority, both social and intellectual, if one dare even use the term “intellectual” when speaking of Russians, who are barely higher than apes in the order of things, results in classic failures that happen with alarming regularity in Putin’s Russia – and not only in his post Soviet Mafia State: it was ever thus in Russia.

      • kirill says:

        Indeed.

        The fixation on specific failures is total BS. I want to see the evidence in the reliability statistics. How can anyone discuss this subject without producing any actual numbers? It’s retarded.

  28. ucgsblog says:

    Nice Article Mark! I’m just going to leave this here: http://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=RUB&to=UAH&view=1Y

    That’s a chart showing how the Ruble pwnd the Hryvna. In spite of mismanagement, (at the beginning, it’s now fixed,) Ruble’s close tie to falling oil prices, anti-Ruble currency speculation, (thanks to all those who speculated when exchange rate was above 1 to 80 from my wallet,) lack of diversification, and deliberate attempts to lower the Ruble from within, (makes sense for exporters,) the Ruble kicked the Hryvna’s butt in a contest where the Ruble wasn’t even trying.

    Furthermore, a new investor’s report was released on Ukraine. Who gets blamed by the US Investing Community:

    1. Poroshenko’s inability to fight corruption, (listed as main, i.e. major, reason for not investing)
    2. War in Donetsk and Lugansk
    3. Instability within Ukraine

    No one’s buying propaganda that it’s all Putin’s fault, although Putin might face tough questions as to what Russia’s policy in Donetsk and Lugansk is going to be. Still, the number one reason is corruption. Not Putin.

    And let’s not forget that IMF Is about to be challenged, so its investment into Ukraine will be limited. I heard rumors about IMF not allowed to help countries at war, (or was it WB,) can someone clarify that?

    “LA Times so excited that it forgot Russia and China agreed to a gas price last winter; saying instead that they had not yet agreed on a price, and that this means bad news for Russia because it is in a weak negotiating position. If it were true that they have not agreed on a price – which it isn’t – how would that indicate Russian weakness? Wouldn’t they just take whatever they could get, if their position was weak?”

    LA Times’ job is not to make sense about Russia. They’re doing it rather well.

    “The west is in a poor position to sustain an economic war against Russia, as the Eurozone is experiencing anemic growth – and even that appears to be due to false optimism over Quantitative Easing – while American growth is stagnant for the first quarter;”

    Don’t forget Greece. Since the EU cannot sustain Greece and fight Russia, the pro-US leaders of German government, spearheaded by Schauble, are trying to kick Greece out of the EU. Not just the Eurozone, but the EU.

    “How does the west react to losing? I’m glad you asked. Like this. The Daily Mail, which some of my commenters refer to as the Daily Fail, chuckles uproariously at the antics of Russian soldiers attempting to load a tank onto the back of a flatbed truck. On the third attempt, the vehicle ends up too far to the right, and capsizes onto its roof as it falls off the truck. Oh, those Russians! Probably drunk, as usual. Except the vehicle is not a tank, it is a self-propelled howitzer, an artillery piece. The source clearly identifies the operation as depicting a Ukrainian unit, and if you look just behind the three guys watching just as the howitzer falls off the truck, you will see an oil drum with a Ukrainian flag standing in it. The first principle of Gambling For Idiots – when you’re losing, double down.”

    Nice!

    Also guys, have you heard about the Democratic revolt against Obama on the issue of the Trans Pacific Partnership? Apparently Democrats don’t want to completely alienate their base, who knew? Speaking of Congressional approval rating: http://www.gallup.com/poll/1600/congress-public.aspx

    • marknesop says:

      Hi, UCG! Good to hear from you, and what a lot of info in a single comment. As regards the IMF being forbidden from lending to the state in a country embroiled in a civil war – yes, and no. The most authoritative source I saw was John Helmer, who proclaimed that the IMF’s lending to Kiev while it was at war with one of its regions was a violation of its charter (Article 1). However, if you look at it you will see it lays out instruction on the IMF’s principles and what it must be mindful of when lending – not what it is forbidden to do. Even a halfway-capable lawyer could argue that lending to Kiev with the understanding it would almost certainly divert some or all of the funds to supporting its military campaign violates the spirit of the charter. But since it does not spell out what the IMF may not do, an argument might be made – just off the top of my head – that Kiev felt it necessary to attack the eastern region and subdue it in order to protect its currency, which would surely collapse without access to its main industrial belt, a la paragraph iii: “To promote exchange stability, to maintain orderly exchange arrangements among members, and to avoid competitive exchange depreciation.

      I had not heard about domestic opposition to TPP, but if it is as riddled with advantageous loopholes for Washington to manipulate and control foreign governments as the TTIP with the EU, I devoutly hope it fails.

      On your mention of Greece, it seems your analysis is spot on – I read something just yesterday in which the article was smoothing the way for a Greek exit and telling everyone it would not be really a bad thing at all, as well as a strikingly similar article which paved the way for Scotland to leave the UK without any blame accruing to Dave, saying the same stuff about how it really wouldn’t matter too much to the UK at all, there would be niggling little difficulties but they were all surmountable.

      Sounds a far cry from the confident strut about western unity from just a few months back, doesn’t it?

      • Jen says:

        TPP is analogous with TTIP especially with respect to corporate redress to private tribunals that corporations can call upon if they do not like government legislation or other rules that impinge on their freedom to act (investor-state arbitration). They can nominate where these tribunals are to be held, what laws their grievance falls under, they can nominate who the judges will be and who will be their lawyers to defend them. Defendant governments and others have to accept as their legal defence people drawn from a pool of lawyers and judges pre-selected by corporations themselves. Companies could have the power to stop governments from spending tax dollars as they see fit or direct governments to tax individuals, households and small business more heavily, and corporations less so.

        Australia got an early taste of TPP-style lawsuits some years ago when Phillip Morris took the Australian government to court in Hong Kong (using a 1993 Hong Kong trade treaty with Australia to back its stance ) over forcing cigarette companies to use plain packaging when selling cigarettes.
        http://www.smh.com.au/national/australia-wins-first-battle-in-plain-packaging-trade-dispute-20140703-zst8d.html
        http://www.ag.gov.au/tobaccoplainpackaging

  29. Warren says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Zhovti_Vody

  30. yalensis says:

    Zakharchenko commentary on Porky yesterday signing of the “de-communization” law:

    “When the law mandates that people who hung children to telegraph poles with barbed wire, and who murdered tens of thousands of Poles – that these people must be regarded as heroes… What do you think? Can such a nation have a future? No, it cannot have a future. Only partition and chaos await such a nation. When butchers are declared to be heroes.

    “In Donetsk, we will not allow this. We have our own path, and we are not ashamed of it.”

  31. Moscow Exile says:

    По Крещатику прошло шествие против повышения тарифов ЖКХ

    В центре Киева собрались не менее 5 тысяч человек

    Along the Khreschatyk has passed a protest march against the increase of tariffs on housing and communal services

    In the centre of Kiev have gathered no fewer than 5 thousand people

    On Saturday, May 16, in the centre of the Ukrainian capital a protest march has started.

    At 10 am no fewer than five thousand people with different slogans gathered on the Khreschatyk, which at weekends becomes a pedestrian area.

    The main message of the campaign is a protest against an increase in utility tariffs. At the same time, protesters have posters with a variety of messages: “Yatsenyuk means poverty for the Ukraine” and “For Ukrainians – a Ukrainian government”, “Not able to work – go work as a shop assistant at “Roshen” (this slogan is directed at President Poroshenko – ed.)

    People are carrying national flags. The protesters are behaving calmly and are not shouting.

    According to the “Vesti” correspondent, some people are apparently from the regions and arrived by bus early this morning at the metro station “Leo Tolstoy”; some of the protesters are residents of the capital.

    The procession is moving from the Bessarabian Market along the Khreschatyk and on to Europe Square.

    • kirill says:

      This is the only thing these idiots will respond to. Their personal pocketbook pain. Having their country stolen from them and operated by foreign sponsored lunatic killers is clearly not a problem for them.

  32. yalensis says:

    Very good, but also very lengthy piece on the failure of the shale gas revolution in Ukraine. I only have time for quick summary:

    SUMMARY
    Poland, Great Britain, EU as a whole are disappointed by a wave of news (just reaching them) that the “shale-gas revolution” on the continent has been postponed indefinitely.
    Back to face hard reality that they depend on Russia for their gas needs.

    Europeans had believed American tall tales about the rosy future of shale gas on the continent. However, they just got a dose of reality from Bloomberg this past week. [yalensis: not sure which Bloomberg link they are talking about but it might be this one.]

    For example, British company Cuadrilla Resources has tried and failed for 6 years to open so much as one gas well in Poland. And Poland was supposed to be the European country best endowed with shale gas, so they were supposed to be the poster child.
    But now everybody is bailing out: Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, Total and Marathon OIl have all bailed out of Poland.
    All of this history partially pre-determined Ukraine role as sacrificial lamb. In 2010, Exxon Mobil and Shell obtained licenses to scout for shale gas in Ukraine. In fall of 2012, Shell began drilling in Kharkov region.
    At the same time, Naftogaz began negotiations with American firms. Yanukovych government concluded all kinds of secret deals with foreign companies. Which the piece compares to American Indians selling their natural resources for beads and mirrors.
    These secret deals would have literally given Ukrainian underground mineral resources as private property to these European and American investors. (Point #37.1 in the secret deal with Shell.)
    These deals encoded a type of “eminent domain” situation, which would deed over the land itself to the companies drilling for shale gas. Even if that land belonged to somebody else.

    With these deals, Yanukovych and the Azarov government were willfully serfing Ukraine into bondage to these foreign corporations for the next 55 years. Until the very moment when he fled the country, Yanukovych was completely devoted to his “shale gas” project that would have sold the Ukrainian people into slavery. And the Americans were always there, behind the scenes, this was part of their strategic vision to replace Russian gas with Ukrainian gas, for Europe.
    [yalensis: Azarov also emerges in this piece as a villain, on the same level as Yanukovych.]

    After the Maidan revolution, nothing changed substantially. Some of the same players, and the same oligarchs (such as Sergei Taruta), who formerly accused (rightfully) Yanukovych of betraying the national interest; were now involved in exactly the same deal-making with Western companies.
    In fact, the project now steamed ahead full on steroids, now that America has a pliant puppet government in Kiev.
    As shown by the appearance of Hunter Biden and Burisma Holdings, etc. Along with Hunter, another key figure in Burisma is John Kerry’s family friend Devon Archer.

    Then came the civil war in Donbass. The plan was to use heavy artillery and destruction of infrastructure to drive out the native population; once the land was cleared of the pesky humans, then the gas companies could drill to their heart’s content, without worrying about people and eminent domain, etc. This was tried and true method, employed by European colonists in America, etc.

    Everything was going as planned, but then in the middle of August (2014), the “gas revolution” suddenly started to collapse of its own volition, and the investors began to bail out. Having wasted billions of dollars on a project that did not bear any fruits. But at least the investors knew not to throw good money in after bad.
    So, they have left.
    But first having destroyed Ukraine and left the country in tatters.

    • marknesop says:

      Great exposé, Yalensis! Given that the present government in Kiev is so vile, there’s always a temptation to exalt Yanukovych, but maybe there’s an opportunity here to inspire a bit of sympathy for ordinary Ukrainians who were desperate to have him gone because they believed – quite rightly it seems – that he was a thieving bag of shit. How were they to know that a self-enriching thief (and he couldn’t have been too far along with any such plan, because the much-ballyhooed international hunt for his stolen billions has turned up zip) would be replaced by Nazi-worshiping ideologues?

      Poor Ukrainians – they get fucked over by every leadership no matter who they choose. You just have to love democracy, right? Choose Thief A or Thief B.

      I didn’t really buy the war as a coherent plan to drive the regional inhabitants fleeing to surrounding countries so as to empty it for exploitation, but it is starting to look more plausible. If true, it was a grotesque failure on two counts; they reckoned without the inhabitants’ determination to hold onto their towns even when they were just loose piles of bricks, and there were never enough recoverable resources there to justify such a purely-evil scheme in the first place. There isn’t a gallows big enough for all those who deserve to be hung.

  33. Moscow Exile says:

    As for why the photos are all of men, I am not sure, but I think the movement is mostly about soldiers who fell in battle against the Horde. In any case, that is a valid criticism, IMHO.

    Further to Yalensis’ comment quoted above, and posted here because of the narrowing of the thread above:

    Pictures taken by Elena Denisovna whilst participating in the “Immortal Regiment” march, Moscow, May 9, 2015:

    If you look carefully, the portraits of some women are discernible. In fact, in the second of the above photographs, a “fake” participant is proudly holding high a woman’s portrait by means of the longest placard handle that I have seen amongst the very, very many pictures of the event.

    Elena Denisovna bore on that day a photograph of her great-great uncle, Aleksandr Stepanovich, who fell in battle in 1942 whilst serving in the Red Army infantry some 58 years before his great-great niece was born.

    My elder daughter, Elena, is immensely proud of the fact that her great-great uncle fell in battle whilst defending his Motherland.

    Kreakly, of course, and other such Russia-hating “progressives”, would ridicule such pride that my daughter bears.

    And they would label her a “fake”, I presume.

    • kirill says:

      Since they have photos that have been magnified and put on placards this must have been organized. Since it was organized, it must have been Putin’s doing. Therefore this is nothing but artificial propaganda theater.

      The above is the retarded logic I am seeing. It is actually beyond retarded. People who spout it in Russia need to be chased down, beaten severely and then put on the next plane for their promised land in NATO.

    • marknesop says:

      It is impossible for the western media to disguise the fact that the Parade of the Immortal Regiment was a game-changing event, a physical expression of nationalist pride that should leave the hopes of those who believe they can break Russia’s will as ashes in their mouths. Sanctions which were intended to make the Russian people suffer so that they would blame their leader and turn against him have failed spectacularly in more ways than one – they have failed because they did not achieve their goal, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. They failed because they showed the west to the Russian people as it really is, and buried any hope of an eventual fruitful partnership if Russia would just bend a little more, accept a little less, give up something else. Russia should thank the west for the sanctions regime, because it did more to disarm and render harmless the precious kreakly than any other single action could have done short of war. And in fact the failure of sanctions may prevent the latter.

  34. Warren says:

    • kirill says:

      It is the Spanish conquista model. The missionaries were the foot soldiers of the invasion. The USA is using the same tricks against Ukrainians. Well, they deserve it.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I think the Ukraine has more Baptist congregations than there are in Russia, and there are plenty of them here. I have worked with a few Russian Baptists.

        The Sky Pilot is in the Ukraine, in the “former Soviet Union” as he repeatedly says, and he is at a place where the leaders of Russian ministries have gathered, he says, “to talk about new crises that have taken place within their culture”, such as HIV, which is rampant in what the speaker describes as “this Russian culture, predominantly”.

        That was in 2008.

        Again from 2008:

        Catch ’em young!

      • Warren says:

        It makes sense for the US perspective the predominance of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine and Russia is an obstacle to US power. It is no coincidence the strongest support for the West and the most hostile towards Russia, is in Western Ukraine/Galicia. This can be attributed to the fact the people in Western Ukraine/Galicia are overwhelming Catholic, Ukrainian Catholic/Uniate.

        By proselytizing Ukrainians, converting them from Orthodoxy to a Protestant denomination you can undermine and break the bonds Ukrainians have with Russia.

        The next step is to change the Cyrillic alphabet to a Latin Alphabet, this will complete Ukraine Civilisation transformation and pivot from Eastern Orthodoxy to Western Europe.

        Calls for Latinization of Ukrainian Alphabet On ‘Civilizational Grounds’ Anger Russians

        http://www.interpretermag.com/calls-for-latinization-of-ukrainian-alphabet-on-civilizational-grounds-anger-russians/

        Game plan for the West to permanent conquer Ukraine:

        1. Replace Eastern Orthodoxy with Protestantism and Catholicism.
        2. Replace the Cyrillic alphabet with the Latin alphabet.

        • cartman says:

          Turchita is also a Baptist. (And Yats is a member of that other cult – Scientology.)

          What evangelicals do cannot conceivably be called Christianity, though. Most worship chaos as a means of bringing about the end times.

          • PaulR says:

            One of my Soviet room-mates in Minsk took me along to a Baptist service there, though I left before the end because it was very long (though not as long as the interminable Orthodox services). Anyway, the point is that the Baptists have been active in that part of the world for quite a while, even in Soviet times.

            • yalensis says:

              Russian diaspora in Western Massachussets area contains a lot of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
              They are fairly innocuous, as far as I can see; apolitical, for the most part.
              Since I don’t understand religion, I give them a pass.

              • Jen says:

                Hmm … I see something in Ukraine adopting the JW religion as its state religion. The Banderites would have to kick out Red Cross as accepting blood transfusions is against the Watchtower principles.

              • Jen says:

                These JW folks are not exactly innocuous: they are required by their religion to convert others to their faith. I used to know someone who grew up in a JW family, and this requirement caused her some stress, to the extent that she ran away from her husband (she was only 20 years old at the time) and the rest of her family, and ended up hiding with friends far from Sydney, although I think later on she reconciled with her folks. I think Michael Jackson also had some problem with this aspect of the JW religion and it may have cost him his marriage to Lisa Marie Presley (who incidentally is a Scientologist).

                The JW belief set is also an apocalyptic one: these people are taught to believe that the end-times are coming close, that there will be tremendous destruction and only 144,000 people, and true JW believers at that, will survive the end-times. Such a belief set induces passivity: these people are not likely to be peace campaigners if they believe that nuclear war is predetermined and nothing we can do will stop it.

                • yalensis says:

                  Where does that number of 144K people come from?

                • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

                  Revelation 7.

                • yalensis says:

                  Thanks, got it!
                  Yep, apparently they put a “seal” on people’s foreheads:

                  And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

                  2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,

                  3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

                  4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

                  So….
                  Each tribe contributes 12K people, and there are 12 tribes, so yessiree that adds up to 144K people with seals on their foreheads.
                  The math adds up.

                • marknesop says:

                  Yeah, my eldest daughter had a friend, a very pretty girl slightly older than her, who used to come around and work on her; she was a JW. I wasn’t crazy about it but we didn’t say anything because we didn’t want to obstruct her religious freedom (and because we knew the surest way to make something attractive to a teenager is to forbid it), and eventually she lost interest on her own. But she must have been a powerful attractant; she was attractive, drove a nice car and had fashionable clothes and projected an air of tolerant hipness. I went to one of their services once, with my daughter, and the atmosphere was one of giddy, slightly mad joy. I think I’m as joyful as the next person, but it sure wasn’t for me.

            • marknesop says:

              Yes, I went to an Orthodox christening once for an acquaintance’s child. I was completely unprepared for that singsong delivery and wondered what the hell was going on at first, and since I could not understand a word of it, it seemed even longer than it was. Which was long enough that I remarked quietly to my wife that they might just as well segue straight into the infant’s wedding. Perhaps even her funeral.

  35. kirill says:

    http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/gdp-decline-in-ukraine-accelerates-to-176-percent-in-q1-2015-statistics-388663.html

    So Ukraine’s GDP drop in 2015 is likely going to be over 20%. I recall Moody’s, etc forecasting a GDP drop of 2% for Ukraine and 6% for Russia. The 2% figure actually is looking more realistic for Russia this year and is total BS if applied to Ukraine.

  36. Hunter says:

    Hey all, very interesting discussions.

    Nice article Mark.

    I have an observation though and a question:

    First the observation – you suggest that the EU will come to blame America for the soured relationship with Russia.

    I think that’s a little bit too simplified to properly describe what might occur in Europe (I would imagine that only SOME EU members’ populations will come to blame America, others will blame Russia for the EU’s soured relationship with Russia) and it is a bit too much like the assumptions made by American and EU policy makers who originally thought that sanctions would get the Russian people to blame Putin. Just as how that assumption was faulty, the assumption that the EU will come to blame America could also probably be faulty and likely is given the deepset Russophobia in many parts of Europe.

    Secondly the question, With regards to the video (which is on the Telegraph website by the way, not the Daily Fail/Mail) you said that just behind the three guys watching at the moment the artillery piece falls off the truck there is an oil drum with a Ukrainian flag standing in it. At around that moment there are I believe two groups of three guys watching the loading operation. One group closer to the camera man and another group farther away. Is it the group that is farther away that you are referring to? Because the clip ends pretty quickly after the artillery piece topples from the truck and I haven’t spotted the oil drum with the flag yet (by the way, how does anyone spot anything in that video? The quality is pretty poor). Is there any possibility of doing a screenshot of the moment you are referring to?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The oil drum is further along the road in the upper left distance and beyond three men, who are standing middle-distance, left-centre.

      The blue and yellow Ukraine flag is visible through the foliage of trees that line the road to the left. Locate the oil drum, and above it you will catch glimpses of the flag.

      The flag is visible between 00:00 and 0018, after which time the camera zooms in to the flatbed truck upon which the men are attempting to load a self-propelled howitzer, not a tank..

    • marknesop says:

      Hi, Hunter; thanks! Yes, the flag is hard to see even in the best of clips, you can just catch it for a second or two as it flutters, but it is definitely the Ukrainian flag. Sorry I messed up the newspapers, it seems no matter how carefully I research, I always get something wrong. However, I would put the Daily Mail and the Telegraph roughly equal in their penchant for disinformation.

      I see Moscow Exile has provided guidance, and the information comes from his original assessment anyway; the men are also identified as part of a Ukrainian unit in other information which appeared with the clip they used as a source.

  37. Rublev says:

    Another launch failure in a Proton carrier.
    http://sputniknews.com/science/20150516/1022211582.html

    This is getting very suspicious.

    • marknesop says:

      Saturday’s launch was initially scheduled for April 29 but was postponed at Boeing’s request, as the company required additional time for satellite testing.

      Hmmmm…

  38. Moscow Exile says:

    It’s at 00:27 where the flag goes off the shot and where the cameraman’s finger can be seen.

    And there are not three men to the left, there are four (I think): one appears from behind of one of the other three.

    Here’s the clip as it appears on the Russian web:

    And it says in Russian:

    ВСУ неудачная погрузка САУ на трал ЖЕСТЬ

    ВСУ = Ukraine Armed Forces

    САУ = self-propelled artillery unit

    • Drutten says:

      Yes, that’s a Ukrainian flag alright, and the self-propelled gun is a 2S3 Akatsiya conspicuously painted in Ukrainian “ATO” colors at that.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        And the Telegraph still has this story, no corrections having been made since it appeared on May 7:

        How not to park a tank: Russian soldiers struggle to load armoured vehicle onto truck

        And it’s the same place, the same self-propelled howitzer and the same Yukie knobheads as in the clip on the Russian web, which is clearly titled (in Russian): Ukrainian army unsuccessfully loading a self-propelled artillery unit onto a flat-back truck.

        Here’s the Telegraph frozen frame from the clip above it, which has the first 20 seconds or so that is on the original removed, during which time the flag can be seen. And, of course, the Russian title of the clip has been removed:

        All of which points out to me, at least, that this is not a gaffe by the Telegraph, where nobody can read, let alone speak Russian: the deceitful bastards knew what they were doing.

  39. Drutten says:

    Roland Oliphant, the man behind one (or several?) “Russian invasion!” scoops in Ukraine (and who later couldn’t back anything up) has apparently authored this fantastic article for the Telegraph:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/11609783/Mapped-Just-how-many-incursions-into-Nato-airspace-has-Russian-military-made.html

    Words fail me… The article purports to show “Russian incursions” into “NATO airspace” and yet all it does is to show a number of Russian exercise flights in international airspace (i.e. no “incursions” whatsoever). It also shows few random submarine-related events, none of which have been proven to be about Russia by anybody (and several are actually entirely unconfirmed, and in a few of them the relevant authorities have actually stressed that no nationality can be determined). Oh, and it shows a few Russian ships transiting international waters off Britain, just like all other navies of the world do.

    The map also contains an outline claiming to show “UK airspace” that is seemingly entirely made-up. It doesn’t correspond to actual British airspace, it doesn’t correspond to territorial water boundaries, it doesn’t even correspond to the extended “exclusive economic zone” (which stretches into international waters and as such is free to sail in for anybody).

    • james says:

      sustained propaganda war on the part of the telegraph… hopefully someone calls bullshit on their work…

    • Moscow Exile says:

      An insight into the mindset of certain Telegraph readers, albeit that several have commented that Oliphant wrote nonsense about “NATO airspace” and that the MoD quietly concedes that no violation by the Russian armed forces of UK/EU – NATO? – territorial waters and/or airspace has taken place, as voiced in this readers’s letter:

      What a garbled piece of drivel this article is!

      Suspected incursions into Nato airspace? So Nato have now invaded and own international airspace?

      Not once have any Russian aircraft infringed UK airspace – grudgingly confirmed by the MoD
      .
      The submarine activity. The actual national identity of these submarines is suspected, never ever proven. Sheer speculation to ratchet-up the propaganda.

      If the DT are going to produce these primary school drawings – why not detail Nato flights and submarine activity close to Russian territorial limits.

      General Gerasimov (Chief of the General Staff) recently complained over increased Nato activity around his country – yet this doesn’t even get a mention!

      Enter idiot, who responds thus:

      Well presumably the good General is free to complain in the Moscow Times about the NATO activities, and their comment thread is likewise full of people with dodgy Google translate skills, defending the practice and b*tching about ratcheting up propaganda. As is the case here; the DT runs a story, lots of posters dog-pile in and a pleasant few hour of discussion is had by all. What’s not to like?

      The blithering ignoramus clearly thinks that the Moscow Times is a Russian newspaper of importance and which enjoys a sizable readership, whereas, in fact, it has no importance whatsoever for Russian society and that the last thing the Russian COGS would do would be to voice in that worthless propaganda rag his concern over any perceived NATO violation of Russian sovereignty.

      Furthermore, the Telegraph dolt seems unaware of the fact that readers’ comments to MT stopped quite a while ago. It is interesting, therefore, that he talks of the MT comment thread being “full of people with dodgy Google translate skills” who use MT to spout propaganda for the Empire of Evil.

      Does the idiot really believe that Putinbots write to MT to further the Evil One’s cause?

      And these dodgy language skills that the commenter sneeringly accuses his imagined MT Putinbots of and which force the Kremlin trolls to use Google Translate? I take it then that the sneering piece of shit that wrote that Telegraph comment speaks Russian fluently and has no need of dictionaries or machine translation programmes.

  40. Moscow Exile says:

    Can you see the flag?

    • kirill says:

      There is a double white stripe on the Acatsiya. It is Kiev regime equipment.

    • yalensis says:

      The Ukrainian flag is on the left on the oil drum, below the tree, and just to the left of the man.
      I saw this clip before, it is pretty clearly Ukie troops and equipment.

      • yalensis says:

        P.S. – even if it were Russian, it wouldn’t prove anything, except that some guys are idiots.
        Since it is Ukies, it STILL doesn’t prove anything, except that some guys are idiots.
        And that some newspapers are highly dishonest.

        • marknesop says:

          It is the latter that is most telling to me, and it suggests they just looked around until they found something in Cyrillic that had people acting stupidly, and punched it out there as Russians fucking up as usual.

      • Jen says:

        The Yukie flag could easily be mistaken as an opening in the tree’s foliage but once pointed out, it becomes unmistakably a flag.

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, you have to catch it as soon as it becomes visible, so that you can see the characteristic flutter and the colours, which are admittedly very faint and difficult to see. It’s not a good-quality clip.

  41. Moscow Exile says:

    Just posted on a Russian blog:

    It reads:

    Bandera and wife with Lake Geneva as a backdrop….

    If he’s your hero, then a I am sincerely sorry for you.

    • yalensis says:

      Wow! Bandera really put on a lot of weight after the war.
      Up until then, he was a skinny, ratty little bastard.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        They eat a lot of cream cakes and ice-cream in Munich. Bavarian grub is also very stodgy – loads of dumplings and pork and white sausages and beer.

        I lived in Munich for a while. I like Bavarian nosh. I like food anywhere. I’d draw the line at eating insects, as some do in South-East Asia, and I don’t think I’d be partial to dog either.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Bloody great big Kartoffel Knödel [potato dumplings] they eat, like these:

          I used to call them “Bavarian cannon-balls” – not that I ever turned them down – and stuff like this:

          .http://static.chefkoch-cdn.de/ck.de/rezepte/54/54404/659617-960×720-bayrische-semmelknoedel.jpg

          Bavarian Semmelknödel with red cabbage and goose or duck or whatever.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Here is Bavarian Semmelknödel with red cabbage and goose or duck or whatever

            That bloody vagrant full stop in front of the last previous link buggered it up.

            • james says:

              thanks for the food pics! i love food pics! red cabbage – my favourite!

              • marknesop says:

                My ex used to work occasionally at The Chanticleer, a classy restaurant in Victoria named after the rooster in “Canterbury Tales” and since then sold and turned into The Fireside Grill; it’s in what was once a heritage home near the Pat Bay highway (although of course the highway was not there then). Anyway, I used to pick her up there sometimes, and the chefs would make us supper in the back (she was entitled as an employee to eat there, and they just let me because of my good looks). One of the cooks there – he also used to work at The Herald Street Cafe, which was very good but it’s gone now – made this amazing red cabbage dish, just grated or chopped red cabbage lightly fried in oil with some brown sugar and cider vinegar. Delicious.

            • Jen says:

              Looks like duck from the look of the skin but isn’t it more likely to be goose? I thought people in that part of Europe (Bavaria, Austria, Czech lands) preferred geese over ducks for eating. Duck meat is very oily and though I’ve never eaten goose meat, I should think goose meat is similarly greasy, as ducks and geese are water-birds and the oil they secrete helps keep water away from the skin beneath the feathers so they don’t get hypothermia from all that swimming.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                It’ll be goose. I still eat goose here and it is popular in Eastern Europe. And Fritz eats a lot of it, as do the Czechs and Hungarians. It was a staple in England as well: it was the traditional Yuletide fowl eaten at the festive dinner. Hence the rhyme:

                Christmas is a-coming and the goose is getting fat,
                Please put a penny in an old man’s hat.
                If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do,
                And if you haven’t got ha’pence, then God bless you!

                Goose was only replaced in popularity by turkey when I was a child in the 50’s, thanks, no doubt, to Hollywood and the occupation of the UK starting 1942. Anyway, you get far more meat on a turkey, but I still buy a brace of geese at New Year.

                There’s loads of fat that comes of a goose when you cook it. You have to thoroughly prick its breast so as to get it out of the fowl. I reckon at least a litre of the stuff comes off a normal size bird. I pour it into a 2-litre jar and use it for cooking. It’s great for baked potatoes and for making gravy and rubbing on yer arse if you suffer from boils and the like there.

            • marknesop says:

              I could see it. Same picture. Looks delicious! They have some amazingly stinky cheeses, though. I ate a piece once by mistake, and it was like licking a sweaty foot that had not been washed for a couple of weeks. Or like I imagine that would be.

          • et Al says:

            Bloody great big Kartoffel Knödel [potato dumplings] they eat, like these:

            I hope they don’t come out like that! It would though explain a lot.

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        I always wondered why they only ever display that one photo of him.

        Mystery solved.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The Man and the Myth

      The statue is in Lviv.

      His remains are in Munich.

      • marknesop says:

        They must have run out of pig iron, and didn’t have enough to do the cheeks and the waist.

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        His statues are suspiciously like Lenin statues – similar attire, similar gestures.

        If I didn’t know better I’d swear that they’d just taken the head off a Lenin statue and put a Bandera head on top.

        • Jen says:

          By golly, you’re right: Lenin statues usually feature the man in full business-suit attire and often an overcoat as well, and the way the statues are posed is often dramatic, like this Lenin statue in Volgograd:

          Excellent pick-up!

          Also if you Google “Stepan Bandera” and “statue”, you end up with lots of photos of statues with the same pose and overcoat with the flapping hem. These statues must have been mass produced.

          • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

            No doubt. But how is it that they managed to ape the Lenin style with every one? Are they just unimaginative dullards? Or did they deliberately model their statuary on Soviet designs? I don’t think he ever wore anything resembling a UPA uniform, but wouldn’t that have made more sense?

            • marknesop says:

              They certainly couldn’t have featured him in those shorts, with his breeder’s hips and Captain Pervy baseball cap. That was just creepy.

              • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

                I’ll say. He looks like the result of generations of inbreeding.

                And there’s this one, where he gives a convincing impression of Ralph Fiennes in the part of Lord Voldemort.

      • kirill says:

        He looks like he has brain damage in this photo. Seriously. Was he injured by some assassination attempt?

  42. Moscow Exile says:

    The Western presstitutes will love this!

      • yalensis says:

        Ha ha, that’s funny! NHL = “Night Hockey League”.
        (a bit of joke with catchy headline)

        They have these adult amateur hockey leagues in the U.S. too.
        “Adults” (i.e., people over 21 who learned to skate and/or play hockey only after reaching adulthood, not having opportunity as kids) now have the opportunity to take lessons, have coaches, play in leagues, etc.
        Is all very healthy pasttime. Putin should be commended for his endurance and devotion to sport, he never skated as a boy, and only learned to skate and play hockey well into middle age.

        This is good trend, and good that Russia is starting to sponsor “adult” leagues in various sports. In Soviet times this was unheard of.
        Until recently, Russians considered, that only children can engage in sports.
        Now is more recognition that sports and healthy lifestyle can start in adulthood too.

    • marknesop says:

      It must be some kind of joke – everyone is number 70 on both teams, so you can’t really tell who does what. Dictator hockey!! I think Putin just likes winding up the west and getting them all sweaty and earnest. But he did not badly from what I can tell, considering he only learned to skate a couple of years ago.

      Never mind; I am a halfwit. My missus has just pointed out to me that the 70 refers to Victory Day and is not the player’s number. This is just some kind of special event, just for fun.

      • Drutten says:

        It’s a “gala” game, so yeah. Bunch of celebrities messing about on both teams, and it’s just for fun (before you cue the “‘8 goals’ just like Kim Jong-Il’s ‘eighteen hole-in-ones'”).

        Basically, it’s supposed to draw attention to the Russian Amateur Hockey League, which in turn was created to promote sports and health in general (like yalensis points out above). Hockey is great fun and like all/most sports it greatly promotes healthier lifestyles and such. This amateur league has grown huge since its conception, no small thanks to Vladimir Putins very direct and sincere promotion of it and other similar sporting initiatives.

        By the way, Russia beat USA 4-0 a little while ago. Burrrrn. Furthermore, Russian dominance was secured by the domestic KHL people, rather than the hyped-up NHL folks (though both Malkin and Ovechkin too did shine towards the end). Looking at his and the previous games, it seems to me like KHL is pretty much equal to the NHL in terms of standards and what kind of players it nurtures. This is huge, no European league has ever come close to the NHL like this before, not even the defunct Russian Super League.

  43. yalensis says:

    Sorry, but I cannot leave this Facebook story alone, since it is so satisfying to me that Zuckerberg put Porky and other Ukie nationalists in their place.

    Zuckerberg said that he did some research and found that the Ukrainian posts taken down included elements of ethnic slurs and hate speech towards Russians. Posts with such content are not allowed on Facebook, he said.

    “I think we did the right thing according to our policies, in taking down those posts and I agree that we must not support hate speech,” said Zuckerberg.

    I like very much that
    (1) Zuckerberg defended the actions of his staff and did not throw them under the bus to service anti-Russian agenda of Washington. I really respect the guy for doing that.
    (2) that Zuckerberg put Ukrainians in their place: he made it clear they are not special people, he doesn’t care if their President appealed to him, he is not impressed by Porky’s power; and Ukies don’t have the right to post murderous hate speech if other people don’t have the same right.

    Having said that, Russia’s version of Facebook “V Kontakte”, is obviously more loosy-goosy than Zuckerberg’s Facebook, since they tolerate just about anything. In fact, they sponsor the page of Vita Zaverukha, with her swastikas galore and photos of murdered Odessans; and comparing the scorched bodies to Kentucky Fried Colorado Beetles, etc etc.

    Having said that, Zuckerberg’s Facebook enforces a code of conduct which excludes ethnic hate speech or calls to violence; and it is commendable that they actually enforced those rules even when the targets of the hate speech were the much-despised Russian ethnos.

    • yalensis says:

      The comment section to this piece is quite telling:

      “Czech Friend” who is some pro-Banderite troll calls Zuckerberg a kiss-up to totalitarian dictators, and then encourages every “freedom-loving” person to stop using Facebook.

      “puttypants”, who is pro-Banderite, pro-Fifth Column, agrees with this, and repeats the slander (as stated in the movie “Social Network”) that Zuckerberg is a plagiarist, who stole the Facebook idea from his college friends.

      “Mick Jones” then points out that he has seen examples of the kind of Ukie hate speech which call Russians “Mongols” (as if being a Mongol is a bad thing).

      “Calibra” replies to a comment that was deleted – I read the comment earlier, before it was deleted, I don’t remember the exact words, but the person said some mean things and then dropped the ultimate threat: To quit their Facebook account. “Calibra” replies: “O my god, i’m sure Mark [Zuckerberg] will not sleep tonight knowing you left, how could you.”

      Russ M. points out how Zuckerberg’s nerd brigade laughed their asses off when Porky sent in a question. God, how embarrassing, I would cringe if I were Ukrainian myself…
      Having such a joke for a President. Oh wait! Russians used to have Yeltsin…

      • Moscow Exile says:

        At least Yeltsin used to knock back the vodka and take a bite out of a salted gherkin like the true provincial muzhik he was, the bastard, and not sip at Frog cognac and nibble at ladies’ chocolate assortments as Porky Porosyonok does.

        🙂

  44. yalensis says:

    But wait there’s more!

    Regarding Ukraine’s epic fail on the Facebook front, get this:
    Ukrainian svidomites are so upset by Zuckerberg’s comments that they have decided to organize a boycott of Facebook.

    And how, pray tell, have they organized this boycott?
    Why, through social media, naturally.
    And which social media, you might ask?
    Why, on Facebook, of course!

    You can’t make this stuff up!

    As the author of this piece notes:
    Svidomites and Logic – 2 things that are completely incompatible, one with the other.

    • Fern says:

      Am I the only person who read the opening words of “Ukrainian svidomites” as “Ukrainian sodomites”? Memo to self, put glasses on before reading posts.

  45. james says:

    further to kerrys visit to sochi – Rathke: A critical moment for Russia & the separatists. 15 May 2015 – 3:44 video here..

    like i said before, i believe the warmongers are gearing up for more..

    • et Al says:

      Or, they need to make more noise to cover a retreat. Either way, the west needs to present any change in policy as a victory by them. Let’s just see what happens on the ground first, though you may well be right…

      • et Al says:

        Pluz, remember, ‘Snake lips‘ Rathke (watch how his tongue flicks in out and in over his bottom lip) is just a paid gobshite with no influence on policy in any way.

      • james says:

        i could be wrong too.. as you say.. we’ll have to wait and see..

    • marknesop says:

      This is just the USA pretending that it was not completely left out of the Minsk Accords, and acting instead like it wrote the agreement itself. The spokestool would not even be pinned down on whether there is a “red line” that, if crossed, will prompt the USA to send lethal weapons to Ukraine – he just keeps repeating that the U.S. government is constantly assessing its policy (although it is committed to a unitary Ukraine, including Crimea). The reporter offered him a hole big enough to drive a Kamaz through, but he wouldn’t take it.

  46. Moscow Exile says:

    And those lousy liberal bastards said and still say that those who took part were all fake and bussed into Moscow, that the pictures were carried by non-relatives and were dumped afterwards. Yes, and a blogger – a “bard”, a guitar strummer – said she had to be honest and say that the side streets were full of buses and …

    What pathetic, mean-spirited, unpatriotic shits they all are!

    And my daughter was there! And my wife!

    Just take a look again at half a million people – in Moscow alone! – walking down Tverskaysa to Red Square; take a look at the placards many made themselves and the pictures that they stuck on them, and remember: it was all a fake!!!!

    At the beginning of the clip it reads:

    Dedicated to our Great Forebears

    and at the end:

    The Spirit of the Great Victory Shall Live Forever in our Hearts

  47. Fern says:

    There are times when you think that “state of irony” is the only possible answer to the question “where do you live?”. There’s this gem for instance:-

    Moldova is awaiting the possible arrival of disgraced former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili to give its government lessons on fighting corruption. Local media has voiced its concerns with the fact that Saakashvili is wanted in his home country in connection with several large-scale embezzlement scandals.

    http://sputniknews.com/politics/20150516/1022225453.html

    The Cookie Monster, aka Victoria Nuland, is going to visit Russia for a couple of days ostensibly to discuss the Minsk agreements but also to meet with ‘civil society’. Uh-oh. Are the Russians nuts? Why on earth would they give the EU f****r house-room? What the hell are Lavrov and Putin thinking?

    http://sputniknews.com/politics/20150517/1022228426.html

    And the Nuland thing is even more baffling since the Russian foreign ministry has had no hesitation in seeing the recent problems in Macedonia as evidence the west is planning yet another colour revolution there.

    http://sputniknews.com/europe/20150516/1022221328.html

    • Moscow Exile says:

      She should be made persona non grata.

      Nuland to discuss implementation of Minsk accords in Moscow

      Wonder if she’ll take a walk down to Red Square and hand out a few buns?

      • james says:

        fern/me – nuland is the “assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs’… this is what her job is when she is not directly handing out cookies.. maybe she is going to russia to inform russia how things are developing in macedonia? maybe she is bringing some cookie recipes too for all we know.. i don’t have any respect for kerry either, but who else is going to meet and discuss the situation with lavrov?

        and in other news.. “Ukraine eyes strategic investors in sell-off of state-owned assets”
        Ukraine hopes to attract strategic investors with “long-term vision” with its planned sale of nearly 300 state-owned assets, the former Soviet republic’s economy minister said on Friday…..the former soviet republic’s economy minister said.. why not just say ‘ukraine economy minister? is there something more sinister to be gained from mentioning former soviet republic in the same article that shows ukraine going down the sink? it appears so..

        we can now refer to cookie queen nuland as the former british empire’s assistant secretary of state for european and eurasian affairs and hopefully wikipedia along with the western msm will adopt the idea, lol.. what am i supposed to expect from a former british empire newspaper anyway? lolol..

        • marknesop says:

          Nuland is allegedly in Russia to discuss the implementation of the Minsk Accords, in which the United States had no part whatsoever – it’s not the Normandy Four Plus The United States – but which it is eager to present as if the whole thing had been coordinated by American officials. Nuland will be bustling about importantly, throwing her considerable weight around, giving the Russkis the old do-this-do-that…it should be pretty comical, wish I could be there. Just remember, all she knows about the Minsk Accords is what she read, because America was specifically and conspicuously excluded. For good reason – because the American representation would have sabotaged the talks quicker than you can say “salo”.

          Speaking of salo, Porkoshenko must have nothing else keeping his ears from clapping together on the inside than a thick pad of pork lard. Here he is chunnering away that there is no alternative to the complete fulfillment of the Minsk Agreements. Lest we forget, this is only a couple of days after he promised to take back the Donetsk airport. I don’t know how he thought he was going to do that without violating the Minsk Agreement.

          His jowl-quivering insistence on complete adherence to the agreement, his corpulent finger raised in the air for emphasis – plus the sudden flurry of American diplomatic interest in the agreement – suggests he and his western partners believe they have found a loophole which will still allow them to get most of what they want.

        • marknesop says:

          Good one!! The former British Empire colony. I like it. So is Canada, a fact of which I seldom like to be reminded – especially by the British – but I still like that moniker for the USA.

      • kat kan says:

        With 450,000 NGOs in Russia, what faster way to sort out the most dangerous ones, than seeing which ones Nuland visits?

        As for Minsk — she was there at Sochi but probably kept out of some of the talks. She’d need to be told which points to make Poro give priority to. If they don’t want the federalisation, as they don’t, that can be put on the back burner, provided they start being serious about removing the blockade. Forget about letting in western “aid” groups though, as so far they’ve turned out to be spies.

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, that’s a good point; be pretty hard to argue they were not agents of a foreign power when they obviously have a conversational relationship with the U.S. State Department, what? Broadcasting that supposition in advance of the visit might shrink the guest list somewhat, too. Although that would defeat the purpose.

    • marknesop says:

      Perhaps they are devotees of the theory that one should keeps one’s friends close – and one’s enemies closer. But just off the cuff I would say it is a gesture of contempt. Come on over, Vickie – we know what you’re doing, and you’re wasting your time, but it’s yours to waste. If they barred her entry she would reap a propaganda windfall, spinning it that the Russian government was so afraid of the State Department’s message of freedom and joy that it denied her entry.

      Arguably, nobody could know more than Saakashvili about corruption. The toad who built himself a luxurious presidential palace – which the reference makes clear was not his only Georgian residence – and then refused to share office space with his Prime Minister (to be fair, Bidzina Ivanishvili, whose party defeated him and whom he hated) or even to turn off the palace lighting at night to save money, knows everything there is to know about corruption. Unfortunately Moldova claims to want to fight it, not exacerbate it.

      I had to laugh when Saakashvili said the palace cost “less than one-fifth of one percent of the Georgian budget for the last five years” to build, but unabashedly billed $482,000.00 annually for electricity. There are no pictures of the inside, although the New York Times lavishly covered Bidzina Ivanishvili’s personal residence – all paid for with his own funds – while it made it clear the United States did not care for the cut of Mr. Ivanishvili’s jib. There’s probably a good reason there are no pictures of the inside of Saakashvili’s modest digs – because of the ruthless coverage of the “disgusting opulence” of Yanukovych’s home, and the wonder of the Ukrainian yokels wandering around in his sinful den of iniquity. It’d look pretty funny hiring an adviser whose home made Yanukovych’s look like a third-floor walkup after that.

      • kirill says:

        The western media is obsessed with “Putin’s palaces” and it will not cover the gross excesses of any US-sponsored “leader”. Sucktievilli is the quintessential 3rd world El Corrupto banana republic comprador who acted like royalty. I have yet to see any information about Putin’s actual residence, but I am quite sure it is not opulent as he is nothing like the propaganda image the west tries to smear him with.

        The good thing is that the vast majority of Russians see through the west’s lies and malice. The west has lost the battle for hearts and minds in Russia.

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