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. yalensis says:

    Here is more on that Ukies vs. Facebook story:

    As noted above, a group has been formed on Facebook to boycott Facebook.
    Ukies upset by Mark Zuckerberg telling them they cannot post hate speech on their Facebook accounts, have formed this apparently English-speaking group on Facebook, here is their credo:

    Mark Zuckerberg has sent inadequate response at Townhall Q&A on May 14 to the top question from Ukrainian users. More than 50 thousands of Ukrainian users asked him to revise Facebook Reporting Process due to false mass bans of Ukrainian Top Thought Leaders on Facebook.

    OUR GOAL is to show solidarity with Ukrainian top think tanks and feel how it is to be out of Faceebook for several days. Is there any life out of Facebook?

    TODO: On May 18 go to “Settings > Security” and click “Deactivate your account”. In comments you may indicate the reason: “Facebook 2 Days Warning Boycott (18-19.05)”. Then set “Auto reactivate” option “Automatically reactivate my account in 2 days”.

    TECHNICAL REASON: Thousands of deactivated accounts from Ukraine in 1-2 days will create precedent to Facebook Administration and Media. For FB administration it will become the Problem #1, much more worse than FB downtime.


    1) Mark Zuckerberg should address his public apologies to Ukrainian users for poor and inadequate response to their question.

    2) FB should propose some technical solutions to prevent hacks of the social engineering run by fake accounts. For example: verified accounts for top bloggers, top bloggers white lists.

    3) FB should propose clear and public appeal process of banned accounts and content. FB should invite third-party non-profit organizations or independent supervisory board. Guys from FB, you are not who have to decide what is right or not!

    This is really lame. They are only leaving Facebook for 2 days! That’s like declaring a hunger strike that only lasts until suppertime.

    Instead, I suggest these people get off FB altogether and transfer their accounts to “V Kontakte”.
    The Russian version of Facebook apparently does not employ any type of censorship whatsoever.
    In fact, Vita Zaverukha still hosts her account there , with all the Nazi imagery; and the Kentucky-Fried Colorado beetles, and all the other nasty stuff that Zuckerberg won’t allow them to post on HIS product!

    • kat kan says:

      So out of 1.23 BILLION accounts they are removing 50,000? who is going to notice that? what problem will it be for the admins, seeing it is all automated?

      At least they are not mentioning the First Amendment.

    • james says:

      yalensis – it is pretty funny actually! thanks for the ongoing posts on this topic… these ukee folks are crazier then i thought.. anyone who takes fakebook seriously ought to give their head a shake..

      • Tim Owen says:

        I would modify this slightly: only people dumb enough to fall for ultranationalist BS could be dumb enough to think that Facebook would care about 50 k users in comparison with their reputation and a potential scandal.

  2. Fern says:

    I owe an apology to one or more of the denizens of this place – when it was reported that Ban Kon me-to-kiss-US-ass aka Ban Ki-moon had made an extraordinary comment along the lines that he’d originally assumed the Parade of the Immortal Regiment was an anti-government rally, I thought it must have been an exaggeration. Even such an inept diplomat wouldn’t make such a statement would he? Would he? Turns out he would. This is the Kremlin’s report on his meeting with Putin:-

    70 years after, today I was able to witness myself the proud faces and the strong commitment for peace by not only soldiers who participated in it, but by people who were watching and were a part of this event. Congratulations for your leadership and vision.
    After this parade I saw hundreds of thousands people still in the street. I thought they were demonstrating against government, but they were supporting your leadership, they were very proud citizens. And they were waving hands to the United Nations, so I was also honoured. I think you deserve all this pride of your people.

    I marvel, I really do, at Putin’s self control.

  3. Fern says:

    I’m posting this as another bit of evidence that possibly, just possibly, the west IS tiring of Ukraine. Poroshenko was being interviewed on the German TV station ZDF when the interviewer clearly got irritated by Mr P’s vacuousness leading to this exchange:-

    “But you, Mr. Poroshenko, yourself, poured gas on the fire when insisting that you want to capture Donetsk, and this statement has brought on strong irritation even to the German government.”

    At this, Poroshenko, managing the smile of an innocent child, answered “I am very grateful to you for this comment, but I would simply wish to advise you not to read the Russian newspapers. They are the only source where you can find such nonsense. I am the president of peace, and Ukraine is a solid supporter of the Minsk accords. We withdrew our weaponry and we do not see a resolution of the conflict by means of arms.”

    However, the German interviewer was unconvinced and did not let him off: “In the west, not everyone believes that you represent the “good side.” Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, and in the matter of constitutional change, there is no progress in sight.  In Kiev, they speak the language of hardline nationalism. When will it stop?

    Poroshenko’s answer was without thought, as empty as the earlier replica and consisted of the tirade about the “decisive struggle with corruption” etc, etc.

    This must be one of the first times that there has been any western criticism of Poroshenko and gallant little Ukraine fighting the behemoth Bear. Interesting.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Re; Porky’s German interview.

      Below is the original ZDF interview embedded in the linked ZDF article, which I posted and translated the other day. At 01:47, having listened to Porky state that the Russians have violated the Minsk agreement because in the buffer zone there are weapons which the Russians clearly must have provided, the interviewer says: “Aber ich muss sagen, dass Sie auch, Herr Präsident, Öl ins Feuer gießen…” [But I have to say, Mr. President, that you too are also pouring oil into the fire…].

      The Fort Ross translator uses the US English term “gas” for “gasoline”, whereas I would say “oil”, as do the Germans. I do not think pouring petrol on a fire is a practical way to increase a conflagration, though squirting oil on a fire – paraffin [kerosene] is, which is what I do when I’m firing up at the dacha during the shashlyk season.

      Poroschenko: Kämpfen “bis zum letzten Blutstropfen”

      Poroshenko: Fight “to the last drop of blood”

      Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko has accused Russia of increasing its military presence in his country, saying that 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 was 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.”

      He said that the situation was similar to that experienced in WWII, but at that time the threat came from the West. Today he saw 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 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, he stated. 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, stating: “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 had been 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.

      • marknesop says:

        I realize he is speaking figuratively, but just in the interests of quieting his overblown clacking, it is not possible to fight to the last drop of blood. It is not even possible to fight to the last pint – long before that point a human would be near unconsciousness. When a person is declared exsanguinated, quite a bit of blood remains in the body and death usually occurs before you are down to about a third. Poroshenko is just blathering battle slogans – somebody put a pair of those tall Cossack wings on him and get him on a horse. If I were Ukrainian, I would be embarrassed to have such a slow-witted leader.

        Zero tolerance in the fight against corruption, says the once and present owner of Roshen Candy, which he promised to give up if he became president and never did, instead using his clout for advantage. I’m surprised he doesn’t work an advert into his interviews; “We will never let the Donbas be taken. We shall fight to the last gram of our super-tasty, low-low-priced Roshen chocolate – don’t forget Mom’s birthday, special discount if you say the IMF sent you and you loan the government more than a million dollars”.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Porky has not only been a member of every political party in the Ukraine that has been in existence since he decided to become a “political figure”, which is what Yukie criminals due to secure their interests, but he also, when serving as a minister in Yanukovych’s ministry, took part in negotiations with the EU that resulted in favourable tariffs for the exportation of confectionery from the Ukraine to the EU. Furthermore, his promises to sell off his confectionary business interests to the contrary, having become president of a regime whose legality is questionable, he still has sizable interests in the Yukie confectionery industry. However, the Ukraine, according to him in the ZDF interview above, is not as corrupt as it was before he became president.

  4. Jen says:

    As a bit of light relief, I thought would post something about Ed Snowden’s life in Russia since he took refuge in the country in 2013. Here is what he has to say about working in Russia which would interest most people here at KS, because of what it implies about current Russian and American attitudes towards work and getting the necessary education, qualifications and experience to do the work that he does:

    ‘ … “The fact is I was getting paid an extraordinary amount of money for very little work [at the NSA] with very little in the way of qualifications,” Snowden said via satellite link during an event at Stanford University on Friday.

    In Russia, “that’s changed significantly,” the former NSA contractor, who revealed the agency’s vast and controversial surveillance activities in the US and abroad, said.

    “I have to work a lot harder to do the same thing. The difference is that, even though I’ve lost a lot, I have a tremendous sense of satisfaction,” the whistleblower said, as cited by Business Insider …’

    • james says:

      thanks jen..
      i liked this isolated quote “You have to have a greater commitment to justice than a fear of the law,” Snowden added.”

      even if the law makes an ass of itself by being based on justice turned on its head (and why is that?) the end result of having lost it’s moral compass, i would say this is especially so in the usa today.. one has to have a greater commitment to justice then a fear of the law..

  5. Moscow Exile says:

    Rail connection between Russia and Estonia shut down!

    Russia isolated!

    Россия и Эстония прерывают железнодорожное сообщение

    The service between Moscow and Tallinn had been operated for very many years (since 1991, I’m sure) by a private company (the company runs the trains and pays a tariff to Estonian and Russian Railways for use of their permanent way). However, with Russian tourism in Estonia falling by 43% in recent months, the company has thrown in the towel because of the losses involved.

    I’m really pleased that I stopped commuting to Tallinn in 2001, something that I had to do each year in order to get a new visa, and decided to apply for a full Russian residency permit for a foreign citizen.

    Negotiations are now underway between Russian and Estonian state railways in order to cobble up a new Tallinn-St.Petersburg-Moscow service.

    I wouldn’t be arsed if I were the russian transport minister.

  6. Moscow Exile says:



    • Moscow Exile says:

      Thrashed 6-0!

      Canada world champs.

      It’s all Putin’s fault!

      • Moscow Exile says:

        These people will be made up though!

      • apc27 says:

        Russian Hockey Team has become depressingly similar to English Football Team. Same past glory and occasional flashes of current brilliance giving rise to hopes… but only so that they can be crashed into a pulp, as the team completely screws it up in the one match that actually matters.

        • marknesop says:

          Well, the team changes frequently, and sometimes there are stars and sometimes there are not. The Canadian team was favoured to win 3-2 anyway, although they must just pull that guess out of their butt because it was not even close to the actual score, and there are so many things to factor in – Ovechkin’s fatigue, injuries, number of practices each team had, personal rivalries on each team, and so on. The post-game critiques I find are usually the most valuable, because they are based on actual observation of performance, although they are frequently somewhat partisan. Those critiques said the Russians are tough and strong, but they are not fast. That’s not always true – the Russian Olympic team in 2010 was extremely fast – but it was true this time.

    • marknesop says:

      And look how that turned out. I’m sorry, actually; I was cheering for Russia. But they deserved to lose; their performance was lacklustre, they were outshot in every period and Ovechkin must have been so jet-lagged he could barely think straight. If all the action is down your end, all the time, sooner or later the puck will go in no matter how good the goalie.

  7. Moscow Exile says:

  8. et Al says:

    Some May Day airborne parade titillation for fellow airnerds:

    It seems to me that most of the air force have coffee grinders on board. I guess pilots like the real stuff!

  9. Lyttenburgh says:

    Ahhh! It’s good to be back! 🙂

    Mr. Chapman, you probably don’t remember me, but I was one of your earliest commenters waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in 2010 using a different nick (the joke about someone’s head being empty as “eunuch’s underpants”? that’s me!). And, of course, I remember the “old crew” of kovane, Jalensis, Jen, sinotibetian, cartman, Moscow Exile and many other bright folks in your comments’ section. Just imagine! When I had due to a number of life events abandon watching your postings back in 2012 there were hardly more that occasional 300+ comments to each post. Now, it seems like “over 9000”.

    I hope to “catch up” with the new pace of commenting spree here. It’s really good to see, that even years after you are still as funny, as witty and as merciless to all that is deserving scathing in the world of the so-called “professional Russia-watching”.

    And, immediately, I have a proposition to you, Mr. DaRussophile :). What about making “Russophobes – Rogues’ Gallery” the Redux? What have happened to those esteemed personages since 2012? Who are new rising stars in the world of Rusophobia? What are the newest trends?

    Perosnally, I’d immediately nominate “VICE”‘s very own Simon Ostrovkiy. He wasn’t exactly a paragon of balanced and independent journalism before, but his star really shined during the Ukrainian crisis. For me the moment of “crossing the event horizon” for Ostrovkiy happened when he called a full jar of salo sent by the Ukrainian volunteers to the NatzGuard battalion “this shit”. Really, I can’t respect a person, who call’s salo “shit” – even if this salo has been sent to the NatzGuards!

    Speaking of which – what if your general opinion about this hipster/gonzo “totally independent, duuuuude!” outlet which his “VICE” News? How about picking one their stories and dissecting it somewhere in the future?

    Remain sincerely yours – Lyttenburgh.

  10. Warren says:

    • marknesop says:

      Ogorek is such a doll. There should be a swimsuit contest as part of the Polish presidential election, and you would see her ratings skyrocket then. Seriously, she probably does not have the experience needed for the position, but I would take someone inexperienced with a good attitude over the usual cavalcade of clowns and their NATO ass-kissing.

    • Warren says:

      It gets worse!

      • marknesop says:

        Hmmmm….the Saudi dancers are waving rainbow pom-poms, and Bush is walking around holding hands with the King.

      • Jen says:

        If then-VP Dick Cheney had been dancing the sword-dance with the Saudi royals, I shudder to think at the piles of heads he would have left in his bloodstained wake.

        • marknesop says:

          I notice the spectators in this clip were remaining well clear of the arm Dubya was not using to fondle Abdullah, just in case he choked on a pretzel or had some sort of spasm for some other reason, and put someone’s eye out with his ceremonial blade.

    • Jen says:

      You see in the 3rd photo down the king’s bodyguard is glaring hard at David Cameron’s neck, imagining where the dotted lines would go and wondering how much fat blubber his sword would have to cleave through.

  11. yalensis says:

    This piece is proposing a bit of a conspiracy theory; but also making a solid prediction, that can proved or disproved in the short term.

    The theory is this:
    One of Vickie Nuland’s tasks, in her recent trip to Kiev, was to groom a man named Sergei Levochkin for the Prime Minister job. (to replace Yats).

    Levochkin is a former Party of Regions type who was in Yanukovych government. Now he is head of the so-called “Opposition Bloc”.

    Levochkin confirmed that, yes, he met with Nuland; and, yes, they discussed regulation of the crisis in Donbass.

    The theory is that Americans have not placed all their eggs in one basket; and that Opp Bloc of former Regions is being groomed to take over Ukie government, since Porky & Co have failed miserably. Nuland is said to be auditioning replacements for both Porky and Yats.

    Again, this is all provable/disprovable, we just wait to see if it happens.
    The more interesting aspect is: What will Russia do? Is Kremlin in on this conspiracy to throw Porky under the bus (if indeed such a conspiracy exists)?
    Everybody knows that Russia wasted years of time supporting Yanukovych government, and in fact it was Russia that put all its eggs in Party of Regions basket. Will Russia now accept the return of a basically Regions government; and if so, will they throw independent Donbass under the bus? These are all questions that we await eagerly to see the answers.

    • cartman says:

      It’s heartening that this budding democracy has its leaders all pre-selected (by a woman who has never run for public office, no less)

    • Fern says:

      The observation that the US does not place all its eggs in one basket is perfectly sound. What matters most to the US is that it is present at and in a position to control or, at the very least, influence, ‘moments of transition’. The Obama administration may have recognised that a military defeat of the eastern rebels/separatists/federalists/what-you-will/ isn’t going to happen so the next best thing is for the US to become ‘involved’ in – as in taking over and manipulating outcomes to its own advantage – the Minsk process. That will ensure that whatever happens with the breakaway regions, the US has a seat front and centre and the opportunity to plant itself at the heart of either both parts of a federalised Ukraine or a frozen conflict or the birth of a new state.

      The puzzle, at least to me, is why Russia is permitting the US to take this role.

      • james says:

        aside from wanting to emphasize cartman’s observation, i would say the usa is going to play a role whether russia wants it or not.. it’s largely self interest on the part of the usa (and whatever they apparently represent) to make a mess out of the ukraine to leave on russia’s doorstep while landing in europes backyard as well.. they will not be content to skip sabotaging or destroying the minsk 11 agreement if they can possibly help it..

        the question and answer period with usa’s press secretary demonstrate the one sided propaganda that always paints russia and the eastern separatists as the bad guys, while leaving porko and his gang of fascist thugs unmentioned in regards who is upholding the minsk 11 requirements.. i doubt this will change.. i would love to be positive but there is nothing in any of this past 2 years of usa action that is positive… as soon as the usa has any part to play (and russia is wise to include them as shunning them can be done inwardly while they entertain them outwardly) they will find a way to make a mess of it or destroy it..

  12. et Al says:

    I herewith enter in to evidence the following ‘article’ by Neuters written with excruciating spin.

    Neuters: Analysis – West clings to fraying Ukraine peace deal despite Kiev doubts

    Western powers are clinging to a fraying peace deal in Ukraine and forcing Kiev to follow suit, even though Russian President Vladimir Putin shows no sign of wavering and NATO is warning that Moscow may be preparing for a new offensive.

    Western powers are clinging to a fraying peace deal in Ukraine and forcing Kiev to follow suit, even though Russian President Vladimir Putin shows no sign of wavering and NATO is warning that Moscow may be preparing for a new offensive.

    The United States and European Union are still backing the three-month old ceasefire, despite a growing feeling that it is in its death throes, telling Putin that sanctions will remain if he does not honor his promises…


    While it has been sickly from birth, no-one wants to administer the last rites on the ceasefire….

    …Some commentators detected a softer tone when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Putin last week…

    …Any new Russian-backed thrust is likely to focus on the coastal city of Mariupol. If it fell, the rebels might be able to open a land corridor to Crimea, which Russia annexed last year…

    …”The simple reason why the political agenda of Minsk-2 has gone nowhere very fast is that the agenda ratifies Russian strategic gains and therefore runs counter to the national goals set by the Ukrainian government,” Christopher Granville, managing director of London-based consultancy Trusted Sources, wrote in a note…

    …It is not in Putin’s nature to “blink”. He cannot afford to back down on Ukraine as he would lose popularity at home and looking weak is not an option….

    The article is all over the place. The author fails to ascribe blame on Russia and Putin outright but strongly alludes to it by use of ‘anal-ysis’ (Volodymyr Fesenko, Christopher Granville and the usual unnamed sources, Grubby Kegs & MakeLove. It’s very badly written too. Well done Baron von Balmforth! This article is truly a massive piece of journalistic SHITE! Neuters should be embarrassed.

    So, considering what we have all discussed above, it looks like there has been a shift of some kind and the Pork Pie News Networks are scrambling to catch up.

    Christopher Granville

    …He is a former diplomat, having worked in the Political Section of the British Embassy in Moscow from 1995 to 1999, and previously at the Foreign Service of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office between 1990 and 1995.[6] He is a Quondam (former) Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford and graduate of New College, Oxford.[7]…

    Excuse me, but the above screams of SPOOK, recruited at Oxford… It’s so cliché!

  13. Warren says:

    • james says:

      thanks warren..valentina lisitsa is one strong minded lady who won’t be silenced.. and she is using fakebook too, lol..

  14. yalensis says:

    In opera news:
    National Opera House of Lviv is upset because 35 artists received draft notices. This includes opera singers, ballet dancers, members of the orchestra and choir, including soloists.
    Here is the Russian version of the story.
    Here is the English version of the story. Theater management have issued an appeal, saying the mobilization will harm the theater and its repertoire.

    The appeal reads: “We the artists are dumbfounded by such a massive intake of qualified cadre from our theater. We stress that for our theater, this far-reaching mobilization will ultimately result in the cancelation of many of our performances, and may lead to the complete breakdown of the theater’s work.” The appeal also points out the pointlessness of conscripting artists who have spent between 12-16 years on their education and countless years more working in their field.

    Here is the website of the theater.
    Looks like they have a very full, and very impressive repertoire of operas and ballets planned for the summer. Among the operas scheduled are such perennial classics as Verdi’s “Rigoletto”, Bizet’s “Carmen”, and Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”, along with many others.
    Ballets in their summer repertoire include “Giselle”, “Coppelia”, “Romeo and Juliette” and “Swan Lake”, along with many others.

    Would be a shame indeed if these talented artists were to be drafted into Porky’s army and come home in a box.

    • yalensis says:

      And after I posted this story about the Lviv opera, I noticed that Valentina Lisitsa is covering this story too in her Twitter feed.
      Moreover, Val and other posters are implying that the “punishment” of Lviv Opera/Ballet Theater (=receiving so many draft notices all at once) might have something to do with a comment on their recent Facebook page, in which somebody at the opera theater expresses the following sentiments about Victory Day:

      Holy Victory Day!
      For our people this is the most sacred day because we, together with other peoples from the Soviet Union, broke the back of Nazism!
      In Europe they call it a day of conciliation, because they are weaklings and were defeated within one month (France), whereas we in Kiev kept on fighting for 72 days!
      They have nothing to celebrate, whereas we are VICTORS!
      Eternal memory to those who gave their lives for our freedom!

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        Are you sure these people are from Lvov?

        • james says:

          yalensis, i am reading down the thread for a change.. warren linked to valentina lisitsa’s facebook post of this up above yours… she linked to the Lviv National Opera theatre facebook page which had a photo of the appeal.. they are artists and this is typically what many artists do – address bullshit when it gets too intense.. at least i would like to think so..

          • yalensis says:

            James, Pavlo, Warren:
            My apologies to Warren, I didn’t see his tweet, I was reading several threads in the wrong order, and Warren clearly scooped me on this story.

            Pavlo: Yeah, I kinda couldn’t believe my eyes either when I saw that pro-Victory tweet on the Lviv opera page. I tried to obtain some background, who wrote it, what is the context, etc., but to my knowledge, that’s all there is. Seems unlikely that such a patriotic sentiment would be the “official” position of anybody in Banderite Lviv, so I am just guessing that the tweet was posted by some individual associated with the opera management.
            Not sure, though. Maybe there will be some clarifications. Possibly there is a “nest” of political anti-war sentiment among the artists themselves, and not just because they are draft dodgers who fear for their own skins. I do know that Western Ukraine, counter-intuitively, has been at the core of the anti-draft movement.

            James: There is also the implication (which I didn’t catch on at first, but is hinted at by Lisitsa) that artists of the opera are being singled out and punished. I wonder if specific individuals are being singled out for the draft because they are known to the Kiev regime as being political opponents; or because they were lustrated in social media?

            Not knowing the people or the context, I am only speculating; but I will continue to follow this story, as best I can.

            • james says:

              yalensis – thanks all your posts… i think you are on right track in your last 2 paragraphs.. that makes perfect sense to me and i believe as you that this is the likely reason..

    • marknesop says:

      And here’s Lisitsa’s translation of the comment that made top comment on Lviv Opera’s Facebook page, by Vladimir Rozhansky:

      Wipe up your runny noses and go fight for a year or so, you stinkers. Pardon my rudeness, you think that if you are a singer, an artist, you owe your contry less than load porters. Who needs your stinking culture when Russian cattle will be crawling over your opera theatre?”

      He seems to have some degree of confusion over the locomotion typical of cattle, but quite apart from that, he foresees the war going on for at least another year, and if they do not conscript artists they will lose. Kind of the same rationale that would have Italy melting down its Ferraris to make gun barrels of them. Quite a departure from the heady early days of the ATO, what, when the Ukie army was going to barrel into Donetsk like a friendship train and flatten the place, all be over by suppertime, Mum.

      I should laugh, considering this is allegedly taking place in Lviv, the city I find most revolting in all of Ukraine because of its fascist torchlight parades and its strutting Naziism and its eager volunteers to bus into Kiev and protest in favour of anything so long as it’s European. Terror comes to Lviv at last, in the guise of its own government. How much will these people take before they revolt?

      But I’m not laughing, and it gives me nothing like the vindictive enjoyment I thought it would.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        The police in Lvov have previously reacted strongly to protests that run contrary to the Kiev line though. A long time ago they very publicly broke up a demonstration in central Lvov and arrested many of those protesting against joining the EU – not that joining the EU is going to happen any time soon, but that’s what the Banderites like to believe is going to happen.

        The protesters were Uniate Catholics and many of them were nuns. They object to joining “Europe” because of what they perceive as its immorality, specifically tolerance of public manifestations of homosexuality, homosexual “marriges”, female clergy and so on.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “who have spent between 12-16 years on their education and countless years more working in their field.”

      Pardon my ignorance, but this make the potential draftees how old?

      IMHO – too old.

      • yalensis says:

        Not if they started their studies when they were five!

        Seriously, though, if you look at the mugs of the ballet soloists , the boys on the bottom row look to be fine young cannon fodder material.
        Like somebody said, they are in superb shape physically, once they see the Givi and Motorola coming at them, they can turn and leap over fences in their eagerness to get away.

        • yalensis says:

          Lviv ballet performance from 2 weeks ago:

          The Adagio from “Giselle”. The usual ratio of women to men (something like 10:1), and not draftable material, from the looks of it. Although that skinny prince charming is stronger than he looks, check out the effortless lifts, that takes a lot of upper-body strength The girl might be light as a feather, but 40 kilos is still 40 kilos. You try to lift 40 kg up above your head!

          Nice dancing. Like it or not, the Soviet heritage shows!

          • Jen says:

            How much would a fully loaded portable rocket launcher weigh compared to a ballerina? At least RPGs come with their own self-propulsion. On the other hand, the ballerina doesn’t have recoil (unless she’s married to or living with the male dancer).

            • marknesop says:

              The Carl Gustav M3 we used to use (perhaps we still do, that’s Army stuff and not my field) weighed 18 pounds, and it’s usually carried by a team of two; one carries the launcher and the other a half-dozen rounds of ammunition. Funny you should mention that, because a classmate of mine brought that up in a lecture we had during leadership training, for which the guest speaker was the Chief of the Defense Staff. He had a real bee in his bonnet about women in the military, and went on and on about it. My classmate – who was at Meaford at the time, which is a training facility – stood during question period and said “Sir, the Carl Gustav weighs 18 pounds. A guy who weighs 230 pounds will be so tired after carrying it all day he can barely stand. There is to date no way to make that weapon weigh 8 pounds for a girl who weighs 110 pounds. I don’t need anyone in my squad who can’t carry it.” After a long moment, “Sir”. I had to hide a snicker behind my hand, lest the CDS incinerate me with his laser eyes.

              As far as I know, Ukraine is still using the RPG 7, which weighs 15 pounds without a rocket in it.

    • marknesop says:

      Pretty impressive. I suppose they will send some of the hard men around now to lump him up for knowing what reality is.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      He left out Italy.

      The interviewer shows an amazing ignorance concerning the Axis forces that invaded the USSR in 1941, sneeringly suggesting that the man being interviewed deserve a Nobel Prize in history for making this startlingl revelation.

      And she’s certainly trying to have him nailed by trying to get him give his real name.

      He mentions the French “Charlemagne” Waffen-SS unit. Few know that amongst the very last that fought to the end in the Battle of Berlin,1945 were members of the 33rd “Charlemagne” SS division, some of whom took part in the defence of the Reichstag.

      • marknesop says:

        I didn’t even know it existed; never heard of it. I tell you, the things you learn. Why would we imagine people are any less duplicitous and rotten to the core today than they were then?

        There was a Russian SS Division as well; I forget the unit number, but Ukies always bring it up when I prod them about the SS Galizien.

        • Warren says:

          The Russian SS Division you a thinking of was the 29th Waffen SS RONA. Andrei Valsov’s ROA also fought alongside the NAZIs against the USSR.

          The difference between Ukrainians that served the Reich and Russians that served the Reich, is that the former are eulogised and made into national heroes; whereas the latter are soundly condemned and viewed as traitors.

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          Don’t know whether this is actually contemporary, but it purports to be the Kaminsky Brigade’s anthem:

          Не быть нам рабами! На битву с врагами
          Готовы и ночью и днем.
          Сквозь тучи и пламя народное знамя
          Мы твердой рукой понесем.
          Дорогой открытой, печалью повитой,
          В дыму и огне батарей,
          В походе и битве с одною молитвой
          О счастье России своей.’

          The Poles, incidentally, recovered and published a diary from one of Kaminsky’s men who died in battle outside Warsaw some time after the unit was withdrawn from the city.

          The trooper’s name?

          Ivan Vashenko.

  15. Fern says:

    It’s confirmed, the Russians ARE nuts. It seems one of the reasons Kerry visited Lavrov and Putin was to argue for a larger role for the US in the Minsk process. Moscow is hosting Nuland ostensibly because of this:-

    On Saturday, Nuland visited Kiev where she told journalists Washington planned to expand its participation in ensuring the implementation of the Minsk agreements jointly with the European Union and the Normandy Four countries (Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine).

    This is just classic USA – always key for them is the management of ‘moments of transition’ as they seek to control and shape outcomes to their own political advantage. How can Russia have permitted this? The US is clearly distressed that Europe/Russia/Ukraine have managed to work something out without the indispensable nation that, however imperfectly, is holding. Do Lavrov and Putin for one moment believe that the US will act as anything other than a spoiler here? No situation ever entirely mirrors another but I can’t help thinking of all the potential peace prospects in the various Yugoslavian conflicts that were scuppered by the tag-team of the US and Europe. Not good. Not good at all.

    • marknesop says:

      Maybe they want the USA to spoil it. The Minsk Accord will not lead to any discernible solution, but it is at least a break in the violence, and Russia negotiated it. But whither from here? If the Ukie army loses one more big battle it is finished, if they’re down to drafting opera contraltos now. A peace that leaves what remains of Ukraine outside the Donbas to Europe – although Europe likely doesn’t want it – would not be in Russia’s interests. Everything the USA does now alienates it further from Europeans. Maybe it’s just part of the Russian long game.

      • james says:

        thanks fern and mark.. confirms my view point completely here..

      • kat kan says:

        Now that USA is taking responsibility, they can not keep blaming Russia for not keeping to the agreement. Now THEY have to keep to it.

        It would be a useful first step for them to actually READ IT.

        This is her talking BS as usual….
        “…So we talked very, very specifically about concrete things that need to happen to measure Minsk implementation. For example, in the security area, the fighting has to stop across the line, we have to get full ceasefires in these key strategic places like Shyrokyne. [not strategic, just a place Pravy Sector likes to shell]

        We talked very specifically about how the OSCE can play an enhanced role in protecting Shyrokyne, while ensuring that the Ukrainian side can continue to defend Mariupol. [which is not under attack]

        We talked very specifically about how to use the humanitarian working group of the Normandy trilateral contact group to get more humanitarian assistance to the people of Donbas.[stop blocking food trucks going in unless they pay huge bribes]

        We talked about the absolute necessity of ensuring that Minsk is fully implemented on the border, which means that the OSCE should be allowed access all along the border,[not one word in Minsk about this, borders only come into play AFTER the Constitutional re-wriete which was meant to be one month after the signing, ie by end of latest and any cargo coming into Ukraine should be fully inspected. again not a word in Minsk about this

        And we talked about how to use the political working group, involving OSCE standards, to test what the conditions need to be before there can be a free, fair election in the east that meets the standards of the Ukrainian constitution which first has to be altered to allow special status BEFORE elections are held and meets the standards of international monitoring.”

        Oh and all that talk of trilateral contact groups? that is the working groups between Kiev, Russia and the republics. “Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has told TASS that the United States is showing interest not only in the “Normandy Four” format, but also in the Contact Group on Ukraine. However, the Russian Foreign Ministry sees no point in that.” in another story. Russia sees no point, it won’t be happening.

        Or of course USA can go stick its nose in there and have the Republics tell them what is really going on.

    • et Al says:

      …but I can’t help thinking of all the potential peace prospects in the various Yugoslavian conflicts that were scuppered by the tag-team of the US and Europe…

      Oh, yes!

      1: Cease-fire
      2: Insert under-resourced ‘neutral’ UN/OSCE/whatever who are under orders to run away the moment its gets funky
      3: Create an incident, ‘neutrals’ disappear
      4: West backs escalation by their favorites going on to the offensive.

      It’s just dumb to repeat the same old strategy again and again, but the US is desperate. This is Plan B from Outerspace.

  16. kirill says:

    Note how RT repeats the NATO propaganda lie that Gazprom shut off the gas in 2006 and 2009. Gazprom hired Switzerland based SGS to monitor flows but Ukraine refused the observers access. Gazprom has always denied cutting off Ukraine and EU transit flow. Yet RT is spreading NATO lies. Liz Wahl is not the only problem at RT. It looks like RT is more infested with NATO 5th columnists than English RIAN. This is really sad.

  17. james says:

    regarding kerrys visit to sochi, here is another interesting theory..
    “The only way the elite US unit could have operated without fear of being cut down by massive ground-to-air missile fire from Syrian forces close to the scene was if prior directives were handed down to the Syrian and Russian air defense units to hold their fire. […]

    It is more than likely that this arrangement was secretly set up when US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on May 12. It may be assumed that the Russian leader quietly approved the operation and acceded to Kerry’s request to give Damascus a heads-up.” see full article here. it’s another speculative theory to throw into the hopper..

    • Erebus says:

      james, thanks for this link.
      I re-linked it on the third pg of comments of Saker’s “Huge Diplomatic Victory” post. Further up that page, I postulated that the official statements from Sochi were too weak to justify Sochi’s high level participants and the apparent urgency. I allowed as to what I thought may have been the deeper, unspoken subject of the meetings.
      The Debka article doesn’t make my musings obsolete, but rather indicates that there are many more vectors than are thought of in my philosophy interacting in the geo-political dance.

      • marknesop says:

        I would be suspicious of any information posted on Debka anyway, unless it reflects analysis which can be substantiated elsewhere. A lot of their stuff during the standoff between the USA and Syria was plainly wacky.

  18. james says:

    does anyone think that minsk 11 is holding, or that it can’t be rationalized very easily by the usa/nato that it is invalid on the basis of the past few months? reading wikipedia ( i know – another propaganda site essentially ) it sure looks like it will be very easy for the usa/nato to blow it off when they want and to claim it was never lived up to by russia and the separatists..

    see the section on reactions –

    • kat kan says:

      Sadly for that theory, the ONLY section that depends on the separatists/Russia is the withdrawal of weapons (THEIRS, not Kiev’s — they were also supposed to remove their own and even OSCE is now saying they have not withdrawn a lot of it).

      A lot of sections were entirely for Kiev to do on their own. And not only have they not done it, but they’ve actually made a number of laws to the exact contrary of the Minsk requirements.

      There is also a UN resolution to say Minsk is the way to go to get peace in Ukraine.

      • Jeremn says:

        The Ukrainians are simply bluffing, saying this when they know they are involved in the on-going fighting:

        “Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has said that a dialogue on the organization of local elections in Donbas will be only possible after a full ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy weaponry is verified by the OSCE.”

        It is almost as though they can’t stop fighting in case they disappear from the headlines.

        • et Al says:

          The OSCE apparently has their Swiss origin camcopters operating 24/7 so I would assume recording in & outgoing, along with arty that is back in place, but we hear nothing about this evidence apart from anodyne official statements.

          • kat kan says:

            Actually they don’t use the drones much. They keep losing them when they do. A few have been shot at and holed, one at least downed, and they regularly get jammed. They run them along contested parts of the line when it is quiet, and always find a small number of howitzers or tanks on both sides. Where they keep seeing the same tanks every day on the Ukie side, they never go to check if they’re dead ones or dug-in ambush ones.

            They have high-point observation posts, from which they claim to recognise the size of munitions used by the sound, but the same sound can’t tell them what direction it is being shot from.

            Refusal of entry, long delays, documents checks and vehicle searches are 3:1 Ukie:Reb but they never stress that it’s the Ukie side that’s apparently hiding something. They flatly refuse to stay overnight at Shirokino, where the shelling is always timed to be when OSCE is gone. Next day they “can’t tell” what direction the shells came from, even in the latest small village that’s been blasted to pieces, even though there is not a single NAF person there and never has been.

            • james says:

              thanks for this info… and how are the 2 soldiers or policemen that have been captured and taken to kiev rolled into the osce observations on who is doing what? seems to me there is lots of action on the ground with osce around for very little to any of it..

    • marknesop says:

      The USA would make even more of a fool of itself than is customary from its admission that it gets its evidence of Russian “armored incursions” into Ukraine from social media and British journalists if it admitted its evidence of non-adherence to Minsk II came from Wikipedia. Of course I am biased toward the Donetsk rebels and want them to succeed in their endeavors, but it is easy to see that the supposed violations – which are more or less constant – come from the Ukie Army firing on DPR/LPR positions, and those entities firing back in self-defense. Even OSCE monitors on-scene would have a difficult time sorting out who fired first and who was simply returning fire. Neither side has really withdrawn its heavy artillery; the Kiev side because its objective – to subdue the rebellion and crush the rebels – is unchanged, and the DPR/LPR because they know Kiev still maintains heavy artillery on site and because withdrawing all their own would mean in places they would have to pull it back almost to the Russian border. Kiev still has the means to destroy unguarded artillery pieces in the open from the air, while the rebels have not. The difference is that if the defending forces stopped firing back at the Ukie Army, it would begin to inch forward and soon enough it would be in Donestsk and Lugansk themselves. If the Ukie Army stopped firing at the DPR/LPR positions, soon enough the DPR/LPR would not know where they were. But most of it boils down to why the Ukie Army stays in position in the first place. If Kiev truly wanted peace, it could pull its forces well back out of artillery range. But its excuse is that if it pulls back, the rebels will attack and take more towns.

      And Mariupol is their excuse. And if the Ukie Army pulled out, the rebels probably would take it, because it was a rebel town before, only the Ukie Army re-took it and the fascist battalions moved in to re-Ukrainize it. They have assembled some quislings and a few deluded fools who are willing to go along with anything to maintain “Ukrainian unity”, and they parade them before journalists as evidence that Mariupol is firmly in the Kiev camp. But it isn’t, and if the rebels could take it, it would be a major strategic gain. So the fighting goes on. Minsk is just a fig leaf, and nobody is adhering to the letter of the law – however, it has the effect of precluding full-scale armored assaults, because you couldn’t hide those from the OSCE. But a full-scale armored assault would not be needed to take Mariupol.

      But the idea that if Kiev’s forces pulled back, the rebels would march on major Ukrainian cities like Dnepropetrovsk is ridiculous. If cities like Dnepropetrovsk and Odessa fall to the rebels, it will be because of internal resistance movements. But Kiev does not want that to happen because there would be no way to pass it off as “Russian aggression”.

  19. Moscow Exile says:

    Those whom the “liberals” and kreakly love to hate…

    “Katyusha”, Moscow metro station Park Podedy (Victory Park), May 9, 2015

    Russian cattle! Each one paid 300 rubles by Putin.

    Typical Russian propaganda!

    By the way, at 91 yards (84 metres) underground, this is the deepest station in Moscow. It also has the longest escalators in Europe (each one is 137 yards [126 metres] long). The ride to the surface takes approximately three minutes.

    Mosaic at Park Pobedy m/s:

    • marknesop says:

      A couple of really good voices there; the man who leads it off sings well, and you can hear a female voice that is at least an octave above him with excellent pitch and control.

  20. Moscow Exile says:

    Russian Obscenities: An Intense Course For Speakers Of English

    Lesson 1, part 1:

    Shirokino, 14th May, 2015: destruction of a Ukrainian tank

  21. Moscow Exile says:

    News from the Madhouse:

    В России заканчивается еда
    [In Russia there is no more food]

    Ah well! I had better head off to the city dump and see what I can scavenge.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Literal translation of above clip title: In Russia is ending food.

      A better translation would perhaps be: In Russia, food supplies are coming to an end.

      • moscowexile says:


        Ukraine GDP Annual Growth Rate 2000-2015

        Look! Look over there at what’s happening in Russia!


        • marknesop says:

          Congratulations, Washington and Brussels!! Just when Yanukovych was starting to show a profit. Now if you adjust the date range you want to see, back as far as it will go (2000), you will see the last time Ukraine took this deep a dive into the toilet – the presidency of pineapple-face Yushchenko and the heady days of the Orange Revolution. Granted, he also drove Ukrainian growth to record highs, probably on loan euphoria from the IMF. But he ultimately could not sustain it.

  22. Warren says:

  23. Jeremn says:

    So Poroshenko has signed the law recognising the UPA as national heroes (one of the reasons he took part in the election last year, according to this).

    “I came here today with a feeling that I had fulfilled my duty. Several days ago, I did what I needed to do, what was a reason why I took part in the presidential elections last year – I signed laws on de-communization, on the recognition of heroes of the struggle for national liberation and some other laws which modernized the policy of national memory and freed it from imperial features,” the president said in his speech dedicated to the Day of Remembrance of Political Repression Victims.”

    The Poles should be shocked, but they are probably loving the de-communisation bombast.

    • marknesop says:

      And will Washington back him still, although he is idolizing Nazi murderers? Yes, it will. Because it never gave a shit about Ukraine itself, and they can all die for all Washington cares, just so long as the country ends up under the umbrella of the EU and snatched away from Russia, or so wrecked that nobody can make anything of it.

      At the same time, the EU is “saddened” because the authorities in Simferopol will not allow a monument to the deportation of the Crimean Tatars. Russia must admit publicly that it was wrong about everything it has ever done, including fighting against Naziism.

    • Tim Owen says:

      Ukraine freed from “imperial features”:

      It’s clearly platonic.

  24. Jeremn says:

    I heard a new conspiracy theory yesterday.

    Given the trouble over South Stream and now Macedonia, what if it was Germany that wanted to disrupt the supply of Russian gas in the south so that Germany could play middle-man. It has North Stream, set to expand, and would be in a very nice position as a European gas hub.

    Is that realistic?

    • et Al says:

      No idea, but we can pose some questions that might help.

      1: What does Germany have to lose if it turns out that this is true?
      2: Does this kind of risk sit well with current German policy, i.e. is it in or out of character?
      3: Will Germany submit to the Commission on how it distributes its energy and its contracts?
      4: What would the European Commission have to say about Germany having an effective stranglehold over energy supplies when its policy is a diversification of supplies and pipelines open to all?
      5: How would such a plan affect the agreement with Russia to double Nord Stream capacity?

      For me, it doesn’t seem impossible but considering the quick questions above, I don’t see it. Very messy and risky all round and certainly not in character. It would be worth far more trouble than the supposed benefits, let alone if such ‘benefits’ can be attained and kept. Then again, they’d want you to think that… 😉

    • marknesop says:

      I suppose it’s possible, but the EU has been yapping that it wants to wean itself off of Russian gas altogether, and would happily pay much more for gas from somebody it likes if only that somebody had enough of it. Germany would still be flogging Russian gas. And North Stream alone will not supply anywhere near the amount Europe was taking when relations were more cordial, even working flat-out.

      Europe wants complete control over its gas supply. It would like to have Ukraine, and for Ukraine to still be a transit country as well, because every time Russia raised the gas price, Brussels would raise the transit fees. If Russia would be willing to just sell Gazprom to Europe, why, that’d be ideal – but let’s not get too deep into Dreamland.

  25. yalensis says:

    So, yesterday (Sunday) Nudelmann arrived in Moscow and immediately she and John Tefft headed to the latter’s favorite eatin’ place, for a delicious dinner of dumplings in sour cream.

    Today (Monday), even as we speak, Vickie is continuing her visit; on the agenda is a meeting with old Soviet dissident Liudmila Alexeevna. Hopefully Liudmila will impress into Vickie’s head that she (the U.S.) must NEVER UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES betray their old friend, Porky-Pie.

    After receiving this dire warning, Vickie will continue on for her cloak-and-dagger back-room smoked-filled-room wheeling and dealing with Lavrov and the others, and tossings of their friends under the bus.

    • yalensis says:

      And P.S. – one tiny hint of what is going on and the possible betrayals afoot:
      Along with Vickie Nuland, almost slipping into Moscow unnoticed, according to the VZGLIAD piece, is a guy named David Rubenstein, who is American advisor on Syrian affairs! I can’t find a wiki or photo of this Rubenstein character, it is such a common name, and there are many people with this name.

      • Jeremn says:

        I wonder if she also came to talk about keeping NATO supply lines to Afghanistan open? The agreement with Russia seems to be expiring?

      • marknesop says:

        That’s because you’re looking for David Rubenstein, and his name is actually Daniel.

        • yalensis says:

          Помимо Виктории Нуланд в Москву прибыл и спецпредставитель США по Сирии Дэвид Рубинстайн.

          I cannot possibly be blamed for repeating factual errors made by others…

    • Moscow Exile says:


      It’s pelmeny that they’re eating!

      (Food picture especially for james 🙂 )

      Can’t see no smetana though. It should be dripping off the wrapped in pasta meatballs and whoever dished out the pelmeny in the picture above is a tight-arse as regards ladling out the smetana

      My kids would go mad if their mum gave them so little.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Here’s a picture of my favourite type of Russian “dumpling”:

        They’re calledхинкали [khinkali] – sort of mega-pelmeny.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          They’re Georgian, actually, but pelmeni are from the Far East as well. All Russians say that.

          Marco Polo fetched dumplings back – or their recipe, at least – from Cathay as well and the Eyeties now call them ravioli. I think the idea originated in China.

          Some Dim Sum, chum?…

          • james says:

            thanks me! that is very dim sum looking on the bottom.. those russian dumpliings – khinkali – look like some type of exotic mushrooms! is that some type of cilantro on the side? pelmeny looks especially delicious!!! i am getting fat just thinking of all this food!

            • moscowexile says:

              Yes, it’s кинза – coriander – and there’s probably tarragon and parsley there. Georgians nearly always have such herbs with their dishes, as do Russians, as well as parsley and dill. We grow them all in our country garden.

              • james says:

                thanks me… we grow these kinds of herbs here in our backyard too.. thyme ( in a protected area, but doing well), parsley (grows like a weed here), basil ( harder to grow as it relies strongly on sun and higher temperatures), garlic( we use this a lot with about 100 head coming due in the next month or less) onions, shallots, leek, kale – now i am moving away from basic herbs to veggies, lol..coriander we grow, but sometimes it bolts too soon.. dill we have difficulty with.. fennel grows like a weed here on vancouver island – great herb though.. no sage, and a number of other herbs as the climate isn’t conducive for a number of herbs, but we get a fair amount and the climate here is temperate and favourable for a number of herbs, veggies and fruit.. tarragon – we might have.. my wife is the one who is more on top of this then me.

                • james says:

                  i meant rosemary, not thyme! the rosemary is under the overhang on the roof and is doing great.. i will see about sharing pics of our garden.. not sure how to do that without putting on my personal website, which i can do..

                • moscowexile says:

                  I upload to panoramio and the stick the URLs on here, thus:

                  21 June, 2011

                • james says:

                  panoramio looks like a google thing.. i don’t do google.. nice pic.. is that your place?

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Its the entrance to our dacha photographed from the veranda of our kitchen. The kitchens at country cottages are always separate from the house as a fire precaution. Nearly everything in the country is timber-frame built or mostly timber built, and very often log built, though the houses are usually raised on brick or concrete piles to help keep the cold out in winter.

                You cannot see the bricks on which our house sits, nor the timber structure because we cladded the bottom with asbestos sheet and had plastic lining boards put on the house 6 years ago with a fibreglass layer behind the lining with a view to living there at New year, but we’ve not done that yet.

                Here’s a view of the kitchen:

                the greenhouse:

                and this was taken on 8 December, 2013:

            • Jen says:

              Those are steamed beef buns up the top left-hand corner, pork and prawn siumai in the bottom left-hand corner, steamed king prawns in ricepaper wrap (hargau) in the bottom right-hand corner and the remaining dish looks like braised pork pieces in black bean sauce.

              I believe khinkali are very common across the Caucasus region and nearly every culture there has some form of khinkali dumpling made with lamb or goat meat and eaten on their own and/or in soups and stews. I recommend folks peruse Robert Chenciner’s book “Tattooed Mountain Women and Spoon Boxes of Daghestan: Magic Medicine Symbols in silk, stone, wood and flesh” for pictures of people scoffing khinkali in one form or another either with hands and wooden spoons.

            • marknesop says:

              Next time you’re down to the Big Smoke to play, let me know a bit in advance and bring the missus; the two of you can come here to supper and I’ll get my Mom-in Law to make pelmeny; she makes delicious ones. I help sometimes, and I think I could probably do it on my own except I don’t know how to make the dough. But I’m sure it’s not hard; I’ve just never asked.

          • Tim Owen says:

            Hey ME, you are supposed to go deep when you bury your Kremlin pot-o-gold. You let the side down here.

          • marknesop says:

            What we refer to here as “dumplings” would be called “galushki” in Russia; little fragments of dough left to steam on top of a soup or stew. That’s the closest I can come, anyway; a dumpling is not a dough wrapper with meat in it (although Korean “pot stickers” are just like pelmeni). I have my Gran’s recipe for dumplings, and they are the size of a child’s fist and light and airy, but moist – great with a thick, rich beef or chicken stew. But I would not have been able to make them in Russia, because I could not find baking powder and don’t know what Russians use to make something like a dumpling rise; baking soda would make it too salty, and yeast would just be wrong.

      • yalensis says:

        Well, I only ever eat Polish pierogy, and I cannot possibly be blamed for confusing raviolis with dumplings.

      • Jen says:

        There is smetana on top of the pelmeni, it must have been popped there a second before the photo was taken.

        • Tim Owen says:

          God I love dim sum. There was a place in my home town called Lah Wah Heen and – in its hey-day – it consistently produced the best, most inventive and subtle food I’ve ever tasted. Miss it badly.

  26. et Al says:

    For the navy guys, have you seen this?

    Toilet Barf: Navy whistleblower claims Trident is disaster waiting to happen

    Able Seaman William McNeilly, who is on the run, publishes a damning expose of security and safety concerns…

    …Able Seaman William McNeilly, a weapons engineer, has published a damning expose of security and safety concerns surrounding Britain’s nuclear Trident submarines.

    He warned that ID cards were rarely checked, bags could easily be taken on board without being searched and it was harder to get in to a nightclub…

    What I take away from this is a) lack of properly trained personnel and fasttracking can’t be good; b) Vanguard is a bit of a turkey but I think that is because it is the first boat in the class where all the mistakes were made and hopefully less in the follow up subs; c) a cavalier attitude to safety – sure, I know such things go on but this is supposedly the gold plated nuclear deterrence that the UK depends upon – either do it properly and pay for it properly or don’t do it at all. It all rather smacks of the British make do attitude of trying to make the money stretch as far as possible and try and play with the big boys…

    • marknesop says:

      It sounds more like someone who has a grudge against the navy and is getting his own back – an Able Seaman is the second-lowest rating in the navy, and you would think if there were any real danger, senior ratings would have noticed. That’s not to say everything is perfect and nothing could be tightened up, and perhaps morale is low in that particular unit. But McNeilly looks and sounds like a fussy little twat, and many of the faults he lists are common. Physical-fitness equipment is squeezed in anywhere it will fit on a warship, because everyone has to pass a physical-fitness test every year and if you can’t you go on remedial PT. It is a valid defense to say, “When did I have the opportunity to exercise? We were at sea 335 days last year”. So a rack of weights and a treadmill might be temporarily secured in a missile compartment – so what? When I was on the tanker and we were not carrying helicopters, the entire hangar was used as a gym. Yes, alarms that go off frequently and whose thresholds cannot be adjusted are frequently silenced. It’s exciting the first couple of times the CIWS Tracking Alarm goes off when the gun is in stow/safe and not loaded, but you soon get tired of it. Brow staff rarely check ID cards for crew members they know well, since that trick of skinning someone’s face and putting it on only happens in Texas chainsaw massacres and not in real life. There is a warning sign at the gangway that says anyone coming aboard is liable to physical search, but I have never seen it done once. Contractors are thoroughly vetted and hold a security clearance higher than some of the sailors aboard, since they are privy to technical knowledge many sailors are not – the idea they should all be “patted down” and some rating nose through their toolboxes when he might not even know what he was looking at is just foolish. McNeilly is just suffering from Delusions of Snowdon, and is making a big noise because the navy is not the Bond film he thought it was when he joined. And the press, God bless it, is enabling him, because it knows even less about the navy than McNeilly does, but it sounds like a good story. No wonder the military in every civilized country despises the media.

  27. et Al says:

    EU Observer: US to vote on pro-Israeli provisions in EU free trade

    The US Senate will on Tuesday (12 May) begin voting on legislation which could tie EU-US free trade to prevention of EU action on Israeli settlements.

    One of the two items, the Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act, instructs the US Trade Representative, to “utilise free trade negotiations to discourage potential trade partners from participating in or promoting politically motivated acts of BDS [boycotts, divestment, and sanctions] against Israel”. …

    …It’s being tied to Congressional approval of the Trade Promotion Authority bill, which allows the White House to fast-track passage of the EU-US free trade treaty, also known as TTIP.

    A source in Washington, who asked not to be named, told EUobserver, the initiatives were set in motion “following reports that European countries are considering additional labelling of West Bank settlement products”. ..

    Just when you think US politicians can’t be any more stupid than they already are… Still, this is good news. Anything that delays or stops the TTIP should be commended. I suspect though that even this measure will only put a bump in the road.

    • marknesop says:

      If nothing else shouts “Dump This Agreement Right Now” loud enough, this should. It’s supposed to be a fucking trade agreement, not a loyalty program, but the Americans are notorious for larding trade bills with political tiger pits. This one states up front, loud and proud, that the USA gives itself license to impose trade sanctions on anyone who speaks out against Israel, in spite of Washington’s lip-service support of a two-state solution. If it gets its way, the Palestinians will get their own state when four of them can stand at the border compass points and still shake hands with each other. What an irredeemable, self-absorbed, tunnel-vision entitled robber state the USA is. Why anyone would willingly partner with it, knowing what they must know about its motives and modus operandi, is beyond me.

  28. Warren says:

    • kirill says:

      WTF. There was no UN resolution authorizing any transport over Russia. It was “Putler” who authorized it out of good will.

      • et Al says:

        For reference!

        Document not available at the UN, but there’s a PDF at Purdue:

        Click to access 2001-12-20-UNSC-1386.pdf

        Resolution 1386 (2001)

        Adopted by the Security Council at its 4443rd meeting, on
        20 December 2001

        The Security Council,
        Reaffirming its previous resolutions on Afghanistan, in particular its resolutions 1378 (2001) of 14 November 2001 and 1383 (2001) of 6 December 2001,

        Supporting international efforts to root out terrorism, in keeping with the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming also its resolutions 1368 (2001) of 12 September 2001 and 1373 (2001) of 28 September 2001,

        Welcoming developments in Afghanistan that will allow for all Afghans to enjoy inalienable rights and freedom unfettered by oppression and terror,

        Recognizing that the responsibility for providing security and law and order throughout the country resides with the Afghan themselves,

        Reiterating its endorsement of the Agreement on provisional arrangements in Afghanistan pending the re-establishment of permanent government institutions,
        signed in Bonn on 5 December 2001 (S/2001/1154) (the Bonn Agreement),

        Taking note of the request to the Security Council in Annex 1, paragraph 3, to the Bonn Agreement to consider authorizing the early deployment to Afghanistan of an International security force, as well as the briefing on 14 December 2001 by the
        Special Representative of the Secretary-General on his contacts with the Afghan
        authorities in which they welcome the deployment to Afghanistan of a United
        Nations-authorized international security force,

        Taking note of the letter dated 19 December 2001 from Dr. Abdullah Abdullah to the President of the Security Council (S/2001/1223),

        Welcoming the letter from the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Secretary-General of 19 December 2001 (S/2001/1217), and taking note of the United Kingdom offer contained therein to take the lead in organizing and commanding an International Security Assistance Force,

        Stressing that all Afghan forces must adhere strictly to their obligations under human rights law, including respect for the rights of women, and under international humanitarian law,

        Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan,

        Determining that the situation in Afghanistan still constitutes a threat to international peace and security,

        Determined to ensure the full implementation of the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force, in consultation with the Afghan Interim Authority established by the Bonn Agreement,

        Acting for these reasons under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United

        1. Authorizes, as envisaged in Annex 1 to the Bonn Agreement, the establishment for 6 months of an International Security Assistance Force to assist the Afghan Interim Authority in the maintenance of security in Kabul and its surrounding areas, so that the Afghan Interim Authority as well as the personnel of the United Nations can operate in a secure environment;

        2. Calls upon Member States to contribute personnel, equipment and other resources to the International Security Assistance Force, and invites those Member States to inform the leadership of the Force and the Secretary-General;

        3. Authorizes the Member States participating in the International Security Assistance Force to take all necessary measures to fulfil its mandate;

        4. Calls upon the International Security Assistance Force to work in close consultation with the Afghan Interim Authority in the implementation of the force mandate, as well as with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General;

        5. Calls upon all Afghans to cooperate with the International Security Assistance Force and relevant international governmental and non-governmental organizations, and welcomes the commitment of the parties to the Bonn Agreement to do all within their means and influence to ensure security, including to ensure the safety, security and freedom of movement of all United Nations personnel and all other personnel of international governmental and non-governmental organizations deployed in Afghanistan;

        6. Takes note of the pledge made by the Afghan parties to the Bonn Agreement in Annex 1 to that Agreement to withdraw all military units from Kabul, and calls upon them to implement this pledge in cooperation with the International Security Assistance Force;

        7. Encourages neighbouring States and other Member States to provide to the International Security Assistance Force such necessary assistance as may be
        requested, including the provision of overflight clearances and transit;

        8. Stresses that the expenses of the International Security Assistance Force will be borne by the participating Member States concerned, requests the SecretaryGeneral to establish a trust fund through which contributions could be channelled to the Member States or operations concerned, and encourages Member States to contribute to such a fund;

        9. Requests the leadership of the International Security Assistance Force to provide periodic reports on progress towards the implementation of its mandate through the Secretary-General;

        10. Calls on Member States participating in the International Security Assistance Force to provide assistance to help the Afghan Interim Authority in the establishment and training of new Afghan security and armed forces;

        11. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

        Before I forget, this is a useful website to clean up your links if they look a mess:

        • kirill says:

          But authorization sounds like some sort of imposition. Acknowledgment of shipments through Russian territory in a UN resolution is *not* the same thing as an authorization of these shipments. Only the Russian government can authorize them.

      • kat kan says:

        And US could not put ex-Afghan tanks into Ukraine because Russia refused them over-fly rights for transports carrying tanks.

        Well, so that is the urgency for talks. Now if Russia were to say they can’t find a pen to renew the contracts with? who is isolated then? (and in a hostile foreign land at that?)

      • Warren says:

        Yes, he did! Moreover, Putin encouraged the Central Asian states to facilitate America’s “prosecution of the war in Afghanistan”.

        US went to build bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, both countries eventually asked the Americans to leave.

        Putin was a firm ally of Bush’s “War on Terror”, straight after the 9/11 attacks Putin was the first world leader to offer his condolences and cooperation.

        This is all ancient history now, and conveniently forgotten or ignored by Atlanticist media and journalists.

    • Jen says:

      If UN res. 1386 is allowed to lapse, that means street prices for heroin in Europe will rise to astronomical levels and junkies will need other drugs to replace it. Pharmacies better start hiding the cough medicines and codeine under lock and key.

      • kat kan says:


        Medvedev has signed a decree CANCELLING the transit of weapons altogether.

        They’re stuck in Afghanistan with no fresh weapons and very little food, as explained in detail here

        The last item there, the Georgian port Poti, is also at a total standstill because of illegal strikes organised, they think, by the famous Tie Eater, in an attempt to make trouble both for the current regime and for Russia’s Rosneft which supposedly has a share in the port.

        What tangled webs we weave……

        • yalensis says:

          A consummation what was devoutly wished…

        • yalensis says:

          The US is left with an unenviable choice: to lose face, breaking an international treaty with Afghanistan because of impossibility of fulfillment (maintaining a military contingent until the end of 2015); or to supply the troops through the troubled Southern route, losing military supplies to Taliban attacks.

          PS.: The termination of transit of foreign weapons to Afghanistan also makes it impossible to use the base in Ulyanovsk.

          There is still a route to Afghanistan via Georgia. But this route is, in fact, not operating.

          The Georgian port of Poti does not have sufficient logistics infrastructure for handling oversized equipment. In addition, from Georgia to the Turkish NATO base Incirlik the military transport C-130 aircraft will not make it wthout refueling and the ISAF has only three new S-5, with a range of up to 5 thousand kilometers.

          (ISAF – International Security Assistance Force – the NATO-led international forces, operating in Afghanistan)

          (quote from above piece)

          • yalensis says:

            P.S. – if I were Obama, I would pull my guys out of Afghanistan as soon as possible.
            They are actually kind of in danger there, sort of a cauldron type situation and now with no supplies coming in… sort of like Napoleon’s troops outside of Moscow…

            • Moscow Exile says:

              A more pertinent comparison would be with the fate of British East India Company troops and one British Army regiment that entered Afghanistan during the First Anglo-Afghan War, 1839-1842.

              On 1 January 1842 … an agreement was reached that provided for the safe exodus of the British garrison and its dependants from Afghanistan. Five days later, the withdrawal began. The departing British contingent numbered around 16,500, of which about 4,500 were military personnel, and over 12,000 were camp followers. The military force consisted mostly of Indian units and one British battalion, the 44th Regiment of Foot.

              They were attacked by Ghilzai warriors as they struggled through the snowbound passes. The evacuees were killed in huge numbers as they made their way down the 30 miles (48 km) of treacherous gorges and passes lying along the Kabul River between Kabul and Gandamak, and were massacred at the Gandamak pass before a survivor reached the besieged garrison at Jalalabad. The force had been reduced to fewer than forty men by a withdrawal from Kabul that had become, towards the end, a running battle through two feet of snow. The ground was frozen, the men had no shelter and had little food for weeks. Of the weapons remaining to the survivors, there were approximately a dozen working muskets, the officers’ pistols and a few swords. The remnants of the 44th were all killed except Captain James Souter, Sergeant Fair and seven soldiers who were taken prisoner. The only soldier to reach Jalalabad was Dr. William Brydon – Wiki.

              Remnants of an Army by Elizabeth Butler depicting the arrival of assistant surgeon, William Brydon, at Jalalabad on 13 January 1842.

  29. et Al says:

    CTV: Russian soldiers taken prisoner in eastern Ukraine transferred to Kyiv

    …The Russians were wounded and taken prisoner near the front line town of Shchastia in the Luhansk region on Sunday, Ukrainian officials reported….

    … The separatist mouthpiece Luhansk Information Center on Sunday said the men identified by Ukraine as Russian officers were in fact two policemen from Luhansk who had been taken prisoner near Shchastia.

    Vladislav Seleznev, spokesman for the Ukrainian General Staff, told The Associated Press on Monday that the two men are now being questioned by the Ukrainian Security Service and are on their way to Kyiv where they will face the media….

    … A video posted by a member of parliament on Sunday showed one man who said he was a Russian Army sergeant.

    The young man was shown lying in a hospital bed and introduced himself as Sgt. Alexander Alexandrov of the Russian Special Forces from the Volga River city of Togliatti. He said he was operating in the area in a group consisting of 14 men and had been based in the rebel stronghold Luhansk since March 6.

    He and his comrades had been rotating in and out of the area around Shchastia every four to five days, he said….

    … One man had been wounded in the shoulder and the other one in the right leg, said Maksimets, who works in intensive care. The men were caught by Ukrainian troops while on a reconnaissance mission around the power station, he said.

    The men both introduced themselves as Russian officers and were worried that the battalion’s doctors wanted to take their organs for sale, he added.

    “They asked not to be sedated because they were afraid we would take their organs,” Maksimets told the AP, adding their Russian commanders had warned them about this.

    Let’s see how this holds up. Place your bets!

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:


    • kirill says:

      CTV parrots Kiev regime statements as facts. We all know there are about 10,000 volunteers from Russia in the Donbas. Should I call every American volunteer around the world a US soldier?

      • et Al says:

        Maybe they’ll present passports again as ‘proof’ even though you all have pointed out that serving members of the armed forces don’t carry passports, only their dogtags and basic credentials. I would be just fascinated to see what they think they have got ‘right’ this time that they didn’t get right the last time.

        • et Al says:

          The Ukes have sworn off displaying the ‘Russian soldiers’ on tv as they don’t want to break international law! Well that’s a first…


          …But he appeared to backtrack from an earlier army promise to parade the wounded prisoners before international media crews.

          Such a step would almost certainly outrage the Kremlin and potentially violate international treaties on the humane treatment of prisoners of war…

          • et Al says:

            Russia Insider: Kiev Announces Capture of Two ‘Russian War Criminals’, Wants to Swap for 400 Ukrainian POWs



            Forgive me for being a little bit dim, but isn’t it usually the case that the bad guys, i.e. the terrorists/whatever according to the Pork Pie News Networks. capture a couple of good guys and trade them off for dozens of their own? Al-Queda does this as well as a host of other groups.

            Can’t Kiev get anything right? Morons.

            • Jen says:

              “Can’t Kiev get anything right?” They just did: they value one Russian war criminal as being worth the lives of 200 Yukies.

              • kat kan says:

                SPOT ON.

                Problem is the 400 POWs they are missing are not there. These are ones who declined to be exchanged, or were just reported by NAF as “released and left the territory of DNR” without specifying in which direction.

          • marknesop says:

            They don’t have to “parade” or humiliate them; I thought one of them was interviewed in his sick bed – okay, let’s see that. Remember their earlier interviews, with the woman who said the NAF shelled her town, and the guy was coaching her and made her do several takes and her face bandage was a fake? Or the Buryat with the disappearing tattoo? I’m confident this is another fake, and somehow they have gotten a couple of Joes to swear they are Russian soldiers – easy in a country where nearly everyone can speak Russian – but they will also have to get the unit right and as soon as they show their faces the units in Russia will be checking.

            This is the government of a country that burned dozens of people to death and then showed fake Russian passports alleged to belong to them, which they found in Google images. A country that shot up downtown Lugansk with anti-tank ammunition from a ground-attack fighter. It’s a little hard to believe they have suddenly become sensitive to international law.

            • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

              If I recall correctly these geniuses were captured by apes from the Aidar Battalion. An Aidar prisoner normally goes to hell before he dies, so it would make sense for an ordinary rebel grunt captured by those sadists to claim he’s a Polite GRU Deathkommando so they have a reason to hand him over to ATO headquarters intact.

            • kat kan says:

              News story with interview, and Ukie video.
              In first they answer 2 or 3 questions, denying everything.

              English on both

    • Drutten says:

      The fact that they turned this into such a huge thing, with a dedicated “press conference” and their media going absolutely crazy with it would suggest to me that they’re pretty sure this time that these guys are Russian and so on. Compare to the heaps of earlier things that kinda just fizzled out. SBU must have announced the capture of hundreds of Russian GRU agents and elite commandos over the past year, yet nothing came out of any of that after the initial headlines. Bizarre.

      Anyway, when it boils down to the details (e.g. whether these young men are still enlisted as active RF personnel or not etc) it’ll probably get more difficult. They say they’re intelligence gatherers and that they operated independently from the rebels forces. The LPR folks say that they were enlisted as law enforcement officers there, which may well be true regardless if they’re Russian, soldiers/agents/whatever or not. Chances are that the ukies got it right this time and that these guys really were active on rebel territory on Russias behalf… But as Mr. Svolochenko said: “yawn

      So yeah, after about one year of “invasion” and >15,000 Russian troops allegedly flooding the place, they managed to find two guys whom they with reasonable certainty can say are somehow connected to the Russian Armed Forces… Do keep in mind that Kiev has probably taken thousands of separatist fighters (and random supporters) as POWs over the past year, so this ought to tell you something…

      Oh, I almost forgot – there was that dozen of confused Russian conscripts last summer that were captured by the border. They were returned to Russia without any fuss, in exchange for like a hundred Ukrainian National Guard militiamen who had been in Russia and gotten captured there. Guess people forgot about that detail…

      All in all, it’s kinda like that Nemtsov report again. Something entirely insignificant that’s getting hugely overblown. It’s at the stage where all Russian media outlets I’ve looked through have reprinted all these stories with no omissions of Kievs juicy details, and the Kremlins various replies. Hell, not even bothering to question anything from any side anymore, because it’s becoming farcical.

      Now, if these guys are Russian etc, they really must have made a huge mistake, something you simply cannot do that close to the frontline. The NATO intelligence officers and instructors, and most of the western volunteer mercenaries on the other side stay well away from the frontlines mostly, and are usually the first to evacuate if anybody even mentions the word encirclement etc.

      • Drutten says:

        Eeek! I must have fugged up the formatting.

        • james says:

          well see drutten. like so much of the reporting on everything inside of eastern ukraine 24/7 – the story gets a bit tiring..the fake passports didn’t help, but hey – they served the medias purpose for those with short attention spans.. this might be more of the same, or not…same story line regardless – which never changes..

    • kirill says:

      I guess this will be used as “proof” of Putin’s megalomania even though this was a private initiative.

      I think these private groups should ease off. They are not doing Russia or Putin any favours. Show your appreciation in a more humble way.

    • yalensis says:

      Dear Lyttenburg: Here you go, buddy:
      Read it.
      Learn it.
      Know it.

    • Jen says:

      @ Lyttenburgh: I don’t mind if you post the entire URL because what I do is just copy and paste it under another tab and this allows me to flick between two screens.

      • kat kan says:

        You can do that with a “hidden” link too…. use copy Link Location option.

        But just right click and chose Open in new Tab, saves you pasting etc.

    • marknesop says:

      Like this.

      Where it says “link here no spaces between the quotes”, copy and paste the url you want readers to arrive at, and make sure there are no spaces at the end or the beginning between the quotation marks. Where it says “your text to show as a hyperlink”, put what you want to write, such as “like this example”. It will be a bunch of code but after you hit “post”, your comment should come out with the words “like this example” showing in blue and when the reader clicks on it, they will be taken to the url you linked.

  30. et Al says:

    Sputnik: US Considering All Options for Arming Ukraine – Pentagon

    …The Pentagon is considering all the options for military assistance to Ukraine and no option is out, a senior Defense Department official said in a radio interview on Sunday.

    “We remain in constant contact through our embassy in Kiev with the Ukrainian military and political leadership. We are always aware of their priorities and needs. We estimate what kind of help we can provide. The Secretary of Defense is personally involved in this process and I can assure you that all options to provide weapons to Ukraine are being considered,” Evelyn Farkas, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia, said in an interview with the Ukrainian service of the Voice of America….

    I’m wondering about the timing of this. It is old news, so why now? What has changed? All I can see is the Sochi trip. I’m starting to suspect that the US made Russia an offer which if Russia doesn’t take up, the US will start directly supplying arms to Kiev – a very American kind of in/out plan. It is stupid of course because Kiev is not in its hole because of lack of arms, but because of lack of suitable cannonfodder and political situation.

    I think it goes to show that at least at the Pentagon, in public, they are still overestimating their own & Kiev’s strengths & underestimating the others. Are they still dreaming of repeating their mass war crime of ethnic cleansing of most of the Serbs (250k) from Croatia in 1995 in Operations Flash & Storm? I guess so. Germany even let Croatia in to the EU as a prize!

    • kirill says:

      So why are the Kharkov tank factories unable to churn out T-80 Oplot tanks by the hundreds? This is a critical question and shows the true state of affairs in Ukraine.

    • kirill says:

      I think American elites drink their own propaganda koolaid. They actually believe the Russian volunteers in Ukraine are the ultimate in Russian military capability. Of course in the real world, if the Russian army was actually in Ukraine the fighting would have been west of Lviv in April 2014.

    • marknesop says:

      It might be a form of pressure, but it did not work on Russia before and there is no reason to believe it will now. I think what is more likely is that it’s a reaction to all the speculation that the White House has shot its wad and is out of options, and has had to go to Russia to see if it can patch things up. But if so, it is likely intended for domestic consumption – that said, opponents of Obama’s supposed spinelessness would be quick to point out that the broadcast was not repeated in Ukraine. So it is.

    • et Al says:

      0:43 – Ukrainian howitzer on to low-loader epic failure that we have already covered when we saw the Toilet Barf clip clip claiming it was Russian.

      There’s something wrong with Nuland’s right eyebrow as it is permanently arched and her eye looks different. From 3:30 Enjoying watching her pretending not to eat humble pie.

      • Tim Owen says:

        I’m hoping that it’s registering her surprise at detecting the smell of toast which, in turn, is her reaction to everything going pear-shaped, a shape she has diligently tried to banish from her mind for obvious reasons.

      • Jen says:

        Having to wear human skin over her normal reptilian one must be causing an allergic reaction that affects the muscles around Victoria Cookie Monster’s eye.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Probably it was discussed already by you, folks, but here are my 2 kopecks worth of opinion on “Re: American training of the Ukrainian Army”.

      I’ve learned about early setbacks in this program via this article – “Ukraine troops in basic training — with U.S. instructors”

      The article in question is written in “ideologically correct” way. To demonstrate, how despicable and sub-human are those eastern “pro-Russian separatists/terrorists”, it even claims that during the (in)famous incident, when a crowd of ordinary unarmed people managed to block and then surrendered to them, these Easterners were, actually, “a crowd of local drunken men”. Because, you can’t claim that a Russian is truly a Russian if he is not drunk. Or in ushanka. Or has big brown bear.

      Anyway, this article allows itself some unforgivable slips, that cast quite a shadow on the Вэликая и Непероможная Ukrainian Military:

      Although this was a typical training exercise for raw recruits in an elemental soldierly skill, there was nothing typical about the scene. Far from enlistees, these soldiers were regulars in the Ukrainian national guard, presumably battle-hardened after months on the front lines in eastern Ukraine. And the trainer was a U.S. military instructor, drilling troops for battle with the United States’ former Cold War foe, Russia, and Russian-backed separatists.

      It’s always nice when someone is so honest! Really!

      In the first two weeks of training, the Americans found the Ukrainians’ soldierly skills lacking, and the group generally in need of instruction.

      “I came into it expecting them not to know much of the basics,” said Sgt. Michael Faranda, who is teaching maneuvers. He was correct. Things “every soldier should know,” he said, they did not. Some even forgot their helmets on the first day of exercises.


      Shaking his head, Faranda said he’d asked one group about the Ukrainian procedure for handling a dud grenade. He was told none existed. “They said, ‘We just put it in our pocket, or throw it away.’ ”

      So, to recap. American army elite unit will spend 2 months imparting basic knowledge on a significant number of NatzGuard battalions vets. It’s like… using a microscope to hammer in a nail.

      But, what else can these NATO troops do? They can’t teach their “students” how to operate some sensitive wunderwaffens, ’cause no one is willing to give any to the Ukraine. They can’t transform these crowds of obviously shell-shocked troopers into a bunch of John’s Fuckin’ Rambos in a span on 2 months. And, surely, they can’t teach their Ukrainian “colleagues” how to survive a winter without a steady supply of food, water, fuel, ammo, equipment, winter clothes and body armor, when your top brass consists of a bunch of incompetent buffoons, who’ve already written off your entire unit as “heroes of the Ukraine”.

      Like the late, forgotten and unlamented “Cyborgs”

      • yalensis says:

        Yeah, that piece makes it pretty obvious what is going on.
        Under the guise of selling a story to the rubes (“We American trainers go to primitive land and teach the monkeys the correct way to peel a banana…”) actually blurts out the reality, that they are there to train already battle-hardened Nazis.
        Even the commenter noted that the “remedial trainees” probably knew what they were doing, when they walked around with safeties off their guns.
        Americans are just lying, as usual. Their own hubris always gets in their way. That, plus the fact that they congenitally just cannot stop lying about everything, even when they don’t have to.

        • marknesop says:

          The battle-hardened Nazis are not actually soldiers at all, so the American trainers are trying to reverse-engineer civilian psychos and supernationalists into disciplined troops of the state. Normally you learn to march in formation and do close-order drill, the parts of the rifle and weapons-handling safety, elementary tactics at the squad and platoon level before they let you actually kill anybody. But then, the assumption is that you will be going up against trained soldiers of another nation rather than old women, children and assorted scared civilians, so I guess it all balances out.

      • marknesop says:

        The USA was training Georgian troops for more than a year, as best I recall, before the ill-fated lunge at Tskhinvali. Before actual hostilities commenced, the American instructors were full of praise for the Georgian troops, such fire-eaters, so proud and eager to learn. After they got waxed like a kitchen floor, their American instructors shook their heads sadly and said “No way were those guys ready to go into combat”. So whether you are any good at soldiering, apparently, comes down to when you try it, and whether you win or lose when you do. Because nobody wants to say you lost because of your training.

    • Tim Owen says:

      Listened to this earlier today. The Brookings guy did an excellent job of appearing reasonable and, actually I think he was quite reasonable. (FWIW I have read some good critical pieces from Brookings, for instance, this:

      … along with the regular dross.)

      But for god’s sake I wish someone would have followed up with which of Putin’s actions appeared “cynical” to his mind. It makes me feel very uncomfortable not being able to find a reasonable critique of Putin / Russia that is at least as well informed as his / its defenders.

  31. et Al says:


    Russia Insider: Kerry in Sochi: Better Relations Between Moscow and Washington – No Peace in Ukraine

    Putin Kerry Summit shows US now realises Russia holds the high cards in Ukraine and wants to de-escalate its confrontation with Moscow, but does not mean an end of US hostility towards Russia or peace in Ukraine..

    Skip on gaily to Russia Insider for the rest!

    Lots of points that we have all already covered at some point, but still, what does Russia get? We are simply not being told. Even if lifting all the sanctions and returning relations to normal over night was possible, Russia’s reforms and development of national food production needs to go ahead – it cannot just cut off such changes at the knees which if sanctions are dropped would allow the West to go and complain to the WTO that it’s not fair, not that it would get anywhere. I hope Russia has made it clear that a) the US and the West has to deliver, consistently; b) they’ll just have to wait until Russia is ready to let western companies back in; c) if at any point the West doesn’t toe the line, forget about it, no ifs, no buts…

    • james says:

      et al. i finally got round to reading this.. i think russia insider is being too generous in looking at the positive potential.. i am much more cynical here.. “”The tone of Kerry’s statements since his meeting with Putin in Sochi, and that of other U.S. officials, suggests that at least in private, the U.S. has grudgingly accepted this idea.”” i doubt this very much..

      or this “Tempting as it is to focus on punishing Mr. Putin, the greater objective must be to end the fighting so that Ukraine can finally undertake the arduous task of reforming and reviving its economy. Toward that end, the West must make clear to Mr. Putin that if a federation is his goal, the United States and its allies will actively use their good offices with Kiev to seek a workable arrangement.” that has a build in bias that think the usa is interested in peace and not war.. i don’t see it myself..

  32. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    The modern world is very confusing sometimes.

    Who would have imagined, 100 years ago, that one day you would see a crowd displaying both Serbian and VMRO flags?

    One can only wonder whether King Alexander or Vlado Chernozemski is spinning faster in his grave.

  33. Warren says:

    • Warren says:

      • Warren says:

        • Warren says:

          • james says:

            too bad they can’t address her content, but instead try for character assassination.. they are much like the western press in that regard which does the same with putin for example… don’t address the content, but attack the character.. says more about them and how vacuous they really are..

            • Warren says:

              Her critics can assassinate her character on the internet, however I strongly suspect her critics would assassinate her person if she was to return Kiev.

              • james says:

                i imagine she is in the kiev area now.. it would be extremely bad press for ukraine if this were to happen and would put a big spotlight on just how bad things are in ukraine where a person is not allowed to speak openly for fear of being murdered..

            • yalensis says:

              Lisitsa has proved herself to be a formidable ideological foe against the Kiev junta.
              I still find it amazing that an artist (who is basically a left-brain type) could also be so analytical. She is worth a hundred armies in this conflict.

              • Jen says:

                She’s a pianist, she uses both hands so both sides of her brain must be extremely well connected and synchronised. I have three nieces, all sisters, who started playing piano quite young – the youngest began copying the older girls when she was 4 years old and was reading sheet music before she knew how to read and write – and all three of them are as brainy as can be.

  34. Warren says:

    As I have said repeatedly we must look out for sudden deluge of negative stories and media reports on the Ukraine. This will signify that the West is very irritated with the Kiev junta or has finally lost patience with it, and so decided to abandon the Ukrainian project altogether.

    Lo and behold, Radio Free Europe of all places has published a story exposing corruption in the Poroshenko regime. Now, why would a US gov propaganda organ do such as RFE undermine a US ally/puppet such as Poroshenko? Dare I say the US is displeased with its ally/puppet?

    Shocker: Why Is Radio Free Europe Now Exposing Poroshenko Corruption?

    Questions Raised Over Poroshenko’s Role In Valuable Kyiv Land Deal

  35. Warren says:

  36. james says:

    another innocent civilian in donetsk dead that with pesky russian separatists bombing their own hometown again.. they just never stop do they? couldn’t have been ukrainian forces, as they are all such honourable good guys that are following in the footsteps of there glorious porkoshenko and company… watch how much the western msm covers this, lol..

  37. Jeremn says:

    A very interesting probe into the shadowy Legatum Institute.

    “In 2007, Chris Chandler, the billionaire behind Dubai’s Legatum Capital, launched the Legatum Institute, and staffed it with senior Bush Administration neocons. Legatum’s first leadership team was led by two former senior members of the Bush Administration’s National Security Council: William Inboden (who specialized in “counter-radicalization”) and Michael Magan, who also served as Special Assistant to President Bush. After Obama came to power, Legatum was headed by uber-neocon Jeffrey Gedmin, former director of the old CIA front Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (né “Radio Liberation from Bolshevism”), and one of the original signatories to the neocon heavyweight “Project for the New American Century” alongside Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and the rest of the Iraq war gang.

    Nowadays, Legatum tries to be a bit more discreet about its White House national security/neocon connections, although Anne Applebaum’s blinding presence on the Legatum staff alongside Pomerantsev somehow slipped through.

    Which brings me to the real heart of Pomerantsev’s work and agenda, the familiar, sleazy lobbying work he does, bridging the interests of global vulture capitalists like his boss Christopher Chandler with the interests of neocon regime-change groups like the National Endowment for Democracy, and more familiar neocon pro-war lobbyists like Michael Weiss.”

    • et Al says:

      Ames made a mistake. He said that Sikorski claimed that Putin made an offer to the Polish President who is now dead – in fact it was PM at the time, Donald Tusk, who is now President of the European Commission – his own referenced source material says this. I guess Ames had a very minor brain fart.

      Either way, even if the neocons have adapted, which is Ames big discovery, so what? They still have the same goals and they are still preaching to the converted.

      Those who aren’t converted are already deeply suspicious of the neocons and know about all the endless lies they have been peddling. It’s here on the Internet (verfied and distributed quickly and easily by social media), every reminder of the bs just a few clicks away to remind everyone in full technicolor the depths the US will go to get its way,

      The bad smell is still very strong and still there. Regardless of people like front-ends like Pomerantsev, even the GOP recognizes that in cannot go on as it has trampling around the world and trying to make it in its own image by blowing shit up. Sure, they still want the same result (and no different from the Democrats), but they understand that there has been a global shift and that the American voter is tired of endless war – there are less and less votes to be garnered from promising wars than fixing the economy and all the rest of the USA’s aliments.

      Is there a wiki that ties all these bs artists together in one place as an effective countermeasure (i.e. everyone know knows of wikileaks), i.e. starting with a brief summary of organization/personality followed by a much fuller description + link to the original. Maybe I’ve missed it (probably). There are many very good exposées that are spread far and wide over the Internet, including here, but they still require a bit of digging to get to and depend on search engine results.

      • Jen says:

        You could try for a start but I think even that is funded by George Soros so its usefulness might be limited.

  38. Jeremn says:

    NATO Parliamentary Assembly says

    ““We believe Ukraine has the right to choose its own future, absent from influence and occupation by Russia, and free from aggression. A democratic Ukraine isn’t a threat to anyone,” Turner told reporters at the Assembly’s Spring Session in Budapest. Earlier, Turner held bilateral talks with the head of Ukraine’s delegation, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze on the sidelines of the session.”

    Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze!? A Ukrainian-Georgian hybrid?

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      They get around – Givi and the late Gongadze, to name a couple more.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      So the Ukraine had not been a democracy before the mob threw out its elected president and a minority of the population elected the present claimant to the Ukraine oligarchic throne?

    • yalensis says:

      I found some photos of Ivanna on the internet, like this one.
      She does look like a typical Sovok-type hybrid, half Slavic and half Gruzian.
      Definitely not pure-race Aryan heh heh…

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, western diplomats at various times during Maidan made much the same remarks. The fact is, they did everything possible to ensure Ukraine’s “democratic choice” went the right way – their way – including all the smoke and mirrors we believe they did but can’t prove because the Ukrainians are in charge of the “investigations”, as well as the things we know they did such as threats regarding no future opportunities to join the EU if they did not vote that way now.

      And even then they meant Ukraine only had such a right if it chose with one voice. If some members chose otherwise, well, what the hell does that have to do with democracy??Bring them along, by whatever means necessary; freedom isn’t free, you know!

  39. yalensis says:

    After passing the law in Ukraine to ban all symbols of Communist/Soviet past, people are expecting a new orgy of vandalism: destruction of statues, monuments, etc.
    Leftist parties in the EU, including Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, are proposing to purchase the monuments and statues which are slated for demolition.
    This piece discusses the pros and cons of selling off Soviet heritage for money.

    Ukie Communists themselves are opposed to this plan. They say, let the Nazis go ahead and destroy everything, just like the Taliban. Eventually this dark night of totalitarianism will end, they (the Nazis) will be overthrown, and then the Commies will rebuild everything the way it was.

    • Jen says:

      From what I’ve just heard, the Yukie Nazis have pledged to destroy the memorials to Jewish and other victims of the Babi Yar massacres.

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