Admiral Kirby Buys a Farm

Uncle Volodya says, "Far better to be hurt by the truth than to be comforted with a lie.”

Uncle Volodya says, “Far better to be hurt by the truth than to be comforted with a lie.”

The British navy was involved in some peacetime maneuvers at sea, involving a column of cruisers. They were steaming along in formation when a signal was given to execute a ninety-degree turn. The maneuver went off flawlessly, except for one cruiser, whose captain missed the signal. The ship almost collided with the one in front, and when it swerved to avoid a collision, the whole convoy was thrown into confusion. Only some very skillful seamanship by the other captains prevented a serious accident.

When some order had been regained, the Admiral on the flagship sent a message to the captain who had caused all the trouble; “Sir, what are your intentions?” Immediately, the reply came back, “Sir, I plan to buy a farm.” He knew without being told that one missed signal had terminated his naval career.”

From, “Hearts of Iron, Feet of Clay; Practical and Contemporary Lessons From the Book of Judges“, by Gary Inrig

Former Rear-Admiral John Kirby currently serves as the spokesman for the United States Department of State, replacing colourful and ditzy airheads Jen Psaki and Marie Harf. Known affectionately on this forum as Psakipath and Harfwit, their…ummm…moving on to greener pastures was likely precipitated by their comic confusion under the relentless cross-examination of Matthew Lee – reporter for the Associated Press – during those press conferences the State Department regularly hosts for international journalists. Perhaps the State Department thought the presence of a dignified and experienced former military professional would offer a change of course from the hilarious Roman circuses those pressers were becoming, as the spokespersons regularly found themselves pinned like a butterfly to a collection card by questions they could not answer honestly. After all, it worked for CNN.

That’s just a guess on my part, but if their reasoning was something like that, it was a success like the Hindenburg. Driven into a corner by determined questioning from RT’s Gayane Chichakayan (thanks for the link, Tim!), Kirby spontaneously combusted and burned up like a gasbag zeppelin.

Let’s take it from the top. Mr. Kirby is plainly bracing himself for an unwelcome or unpleasant experience; his hand gestures and the sigh before he says, “Okay, go ahead” suggest he is only putting up with this because he is such a nice guy. Start the clock. When she says “concerns”, click stop. 41 seconds. Knock off 5, because she begins to frame her question at the 5-second mark. That’s 36 seconds to deliver the entire question, and subsequent attempts are all shorter than that. Yet Mr. Kirby moans and grumbles about “another 10-minute question, and I’m supposed to get the grain…get the grain out of that”. I certainly hope when he was in uniform, he was better at making a time appreciation than this performance indicates. There are occasional situations in military service – such as, “How long do I hold this thing after I pull the pin before I throw it?” – where if you were off by 564 seconds, it could have some consequences.

Let’s get back to the question. Ms. Chichakayan sets the background to the question thus;

  1. The USA’s official position is that it is up to Turkey and Iraq to sort out the situation with the uninvited Turkish troops;
  2. The USA assumes unto itself, without invitation from the Iraqi government, the right to invite other countries into Iraq to participate in the fight against ISIL (that seems to be the consensus acronym, at least for now);
  3. U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter (I refuse to refer to him as “Ash”, as if we were old buddies, like everyone else seems to do) reported to Congress that he had personally reached out to other countries to invite them to commit Special Operations forces to the battle in Iraq; and
  4. Iraq has announced a review of the defense security agreement with the United States, with some lawmakers calling for its cancellation.

She then asks the question, which is “What does the US do to address their concerns?”

She says the Turkish troops are univited. Is that so? Yes, it is. Who says so? AL Monitor‘s “Turkey Pulse” says so. Where’s it based? Washington, DC. She says the United States gub’mint invited other countries to come to Iraq to fight ISIL. Is that true? Why, yes; it is – here’s Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in the very hearing Ms. Chichakayan describes in her question, recounting for all who wish to listen that he spent part of the week “reaching out” to 40 countries to press them to do more… in some cases, much more. Remember that.  He says he solicited Special Forces, strike aircraft, munitions and support. He does not say this was done at the behest of the Iraqi government, and in the case of at least one supporting nation, Australia, it reportedly “responded to a request from the United States“. Interestingly, CNN references not only acknowledge air strikes in Syria “may be illegal without Assad’s agreement or unless he requests assistance of a western nation” – although this will not stop a Washington that claims a right to “take the fight to ISIL wherever it appears”, it merely means it will not work with Assad – they report that Washington heavyweights have been putting serious pressure on Turkey to do more against ISIL.

Is it not possible Erdogan perceives this as a green light to move his forces into Mosul? It certainly sounds like it to me, and for his part, Erdogan still declines to withdraw his troops and tanks. If I were a suspicious man, I might speculate that is because the nation that claims to be coordinating this whole Global War On ISIL told him to stay put, whatever the Iraqi government says. If you were not yet suspicious, I invite you to go “hmmmm…” along with me at the announcement that Turkey will partake in a trilateral meeting on December 21st with Northern Iraq Kurdish leaders and US officials. It was the Kurdish regional authority – which is not a nation, they are part of Iraq – who allegedly invited Erdogan’s forces in. Erdogan continues to insist his forces are there only to act as “instructors”. He has already thought ahead to say he needs his tanks there, too, to protect his instructors from ISIL, because the armored forces of Turkey and Iraq are in no way the same – don’t have a single type in common, in fact – which would beg the question of why the Turkish tanks are necessary. To instruct the Kurds in the operation and tactics of a tank they don’t have?

Finally, Ms. Chichakayan avers that Iraq has ordered a review of the defense security agreement with the United States, and that some lawmakers have called for its cancellation. That true? Uh huh, it is.  Everything Ms. Chichakayan purported in her question as fact, is fact.

It is not known whether the USA’s invitation to other countries to come on in to Iraq was negotiated with the participation and at the behest of the Iraqi government. But Ms. Chichakayan never introduced that line of inquiry – Mr. Kirby did. Apparently not content with merely muffing his own role, he appeared to take over hers, and go on a rant about what she might be implying. Cha-ching! said RT, I’ll bet – give Gayane Chichakayan a raise; she sure as hell earned it, the State Department spokeshole is falling apart in glowing cinders right before our very eyes.

For the record,. because everyone has probably forgotten by now, but the “grain” that Mr. Kirby was unable to extract from a 36-second question was, “What does the US do to address their concerns?”

Fuck-all, apparently, because the deadline for Ankara to withdraw has come and gone without Erdogan budging, which he insists he will not, and the furious Iraqis have gone over their “security partner’s” head and petitioned the UN to order the removal of the Turkish troops. That likely will be to no avail, since Washington controls the UN through the clownish invertebrate Ban Ki-Moon. But the significance of the December 21st snuggle between the US, Ankara and the Northern Region Kurdish administration should be lost on no one. Meanwhile, Erdogan – never one for keeping his head down – has moved on from that provocation and begun signing gas deals with the regional Kurdish administration as well. Washington’s strategy is laid bare at last, and what is going to be the result of it, if everyone is not very, very careful, is a civil war in Iraq as the central government reminds the Kurds that they do not have their own state within the borders of Iraq. I thought Washington was all about the sanctity of regional borders, but apparently that only applies to Ukraine.

It seems pretty clear that Washington is flying by the seat of its pants here, and is working some sort of Plan B. It is unlikely Erdogan would not only up the ante – considering the shitstorm he caused to blow up by shooting down a Russian fighter in Syria – but when ordered out by a sovereign government, would refuse to leave…unless he knew that somebody who swings a lot of weight was in his corner. Washington is plainly not listening at all to Iraq’s increasingly-frantic calls for Turkey to get out, and if it has been approached by the Iraqis to facilitate Erdogan’s removal it has, equally plainly, declined to act. Gayane Chichakayan and RT were right on the money; Washington and Ankara are up to something, and if they are allowed to normalize the presence of a thousand or so Turkish troops in the area of Mosul, their needs and infrastructure will only grow and grow. We may well be looking at a lunge for a Kurdish state, brokered by Turkey and the United States and guaranteed by a Turkish military presence. Why? Because Turkey can act as a gas hub for Europe, only pumping gas from Kurdistan. Has American control over Europe’s energy supply been a Washington dream since forever? Why, yes; yes, it has.

A lot of details would still have to be fleshed in, because the forecast supply was only 20 BCm by 2020, and that would nowhere near supply Europe’s gas markets. But it would be a foot in the door. It’s something to think about.

Still, I suppose it was mean of the State Department to push an innocent like John Kirby into the ring with a seasoned propagandist like RT, wasn’t it?

Not really. Not only was Kirby a Rear Admiral pulling down somewhere between $8,045.70 and $11,609.10 per month – plus a housing allowance if he lived off-base – when he was in uniform, he gave up maritime surface operations in favour of Public Affairs in the early 90’s; he was Public Affairs Officer in USS FORRESTAL (the same Carrier as the legendary John “Wet Start” McCain, in fact, although he would have served there much earlier, during the Vietnam War), and FORRESTAL was taken out of service in 1993. John Kirby was editor-in-chief for the US Navy’s flagship monthly magazine, All Hands, special assistant for Public Affairs to the Chief of Naval Operations, and Deputy Assistant secretary of Defense for Media Affairs before he was tapped to be State’s spokeshole. He was the US Navy’s Chief of Information and, as such, led a department of more than 2,700 active and reserve officer, enlisted and civilian communication professionals. He was the Pentagon’s Press Secretary. In short, John Kirby had about as much experience in media relations as it was possible for a military man to have, most of it acquired and practiced in the upper levels of government. The notion that he was unable to follow RT’s question because it was too complicated is ludicrous – he didn’t answer because in order to do so he would have had to lie, or give away information that the world has no business knowing because it is classified to a fare-thee-well. And the idea that he had not seen any reports about Iraqi concerns is frankly insulting – he eats, sleeps and breathes media and current events.

I don’t know how old Ms. Chichakayan is, but I would hazard a guess that she was not out of her teens when John Kirby was getting his start in Public Affairs. The advantage of media experience was weighted heavily in his favour. And he fell apart. You can bet they have their heads together at State, desperately looking for a way to yank RT’s license without looking too dictatorial, or at a minimum, an excuse to ban them from such press conferences.

I only mentioned how much money he makes so his fans will be comforted knowing he could easily afford even this magnificent farm in Florida, his home state. Because farming is shaping up like a good career choice for him.

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1,112 Responses to Admiral Kirby Buys a Farm

  1. marknesop says:

    I’ve added another new site to the blogroll; Fred Eidlin’s “Misperception and Reality“. Fred writes for an outfit called the Russia International Affairs Council. First I’ve heard of them, but it looks interesting, as do some of the posts. Stop over and check it out, see what you think. Welcome, Fred!

    • PaulR says:

      The premise of his blog – that a lot of bad decisions, including those of foreign policy, are the product of misperceptions and faulty assumptions, strikes me as bang on target.

      • marknesop says:

        I agree; I would go further, and stipulate that a lot of western foreign policy – not excluding that of this country – is built from the ground up on misperceptions and faulty assumptions. Government advisors frequently speculate what the target country will do in this or that circumstance, basing their evaluation of the target country on popular tropes and purely imaginary assessments. Governments are often so foolish as to accept their recommendations and put them into practice.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Instead of visiting my local Yeltsin Center (hey! It’s Friday!) I decided to read this blog instead.

      It’s… not bad. Even good. Well, these days we have Adomanis, Kovpak and Galeotti as the “moderate” and “non-mainstream Russia’s watchers” so… with bar so low, anything can be seen as an improvement.

      I particularly liked his simple statements that, yes, Russians are socially conservative – but not becasue the Evil One made them so. Unfortunately, there are some issues with which I disagree – and I wrote a response to Mr. Eidlin about tha. Hope it will get through moderation.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        Looks like mods decided not to publish my comment to Fred Eidlin’s latest post. Oh, well.

        • marknesop says:

          It may have gone into a spam filter or something; if that happens here sometimes it is a day or two before I notice it. Did you save it? You can publish it here if you like; I’d be interested in what you had to say.

  2. marknesop says:

    Cocky to the last – or perhaps just living in a fool’s paradise, without any real idea of what important decisions imply – Poroshenko says Ukraine is “ready to pay the price (of losing its Russian free-trade status) for our freedom and our European choice”. Is that so? We’ll see.

    I am betting Poroshenko will be eating his words in no more than a year, and probably not even six months.

    The European Union wanted Ukraine as a market for EU goods, and as a conduit for EU goods into Russia by way of Ukraine’s privileged tax status. Now Ukraine is useless for that purpose, and is going to be poor as a churchmouse for as far as the eye can see, living on western aid handouts, so that the EU will have to hand Ukraine money to live on, and be content with getting some of it back in commerce. If the EU is so foolish – not that I think it will be – as to grant Ukraine visa-free privileges as Poroshenko plainly expects it to do, the country will empty out as everyone capable of leaving heads for EU countries to look for jobs. Ukraine will become a big, empty, money-sucking husk.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The buffoon also stated yesterday that visa-free travel for Yukies would be another very strong persuasive factor in causing Crimea and Donbass citizens to believe that throwing in their lot with Banderastan would be the wise thing for them to do.

      This is creating motivation for the Crimea – either you have freedom of movement, the democratic rules of life in the Ukraine, freedom of investment, and a number of other benefits – or you sit in occupied Crimea without international recognition, with disadvantages as regards, investment, etc.

      Just think how all those pretty Crimean girls would jump at the chance at becoming whores in Europe, or dishwashers or street-sweepers, without any bureaucratic hassle at all with immigration authorities if granted visa-free travel in the EU!

      • marknesop says:

        He has to preserve the illusion, for the sake of Ukie pride, that Crimea is on the fence and if Ukraine provided just the right sweetener, they’d come back in a heartbeat. The truth is they were never really Ukrainian, and just put up with it so long as the ties between the two countries were fraternal. The biggest incentive for friendly relations with Crimea – although it will never again be Ukrainian – would be friendly relations between Ukraine and Russia. But that’s a Washington project right now.

  3. marknesop says:

    Quick – somebody get hold of Amanda Foreskin, choleric yodeling mouthpiece who tap-danced all over Russia as The Most Misogynistic Country Evah just a couple of days ago. I want her to read this.

  4. Moscow Exile says:

    Backtracking out of a no-win situation?

    IMF warns of risk of EFF program failure if Ukraine’s 2016 budget not passed

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned of a risk of failure of the IMF-supported Extended Fund Facility (EFF) program if the Ukrainian parliament does not pass the 2016 national budget, the IMF said in a press release.

    “Approval of a budget consistent with the program objective of reducing the general government deficit to 3.7% of GDP is a key condition for the completion of the second review under the EFF-supported program. At the same time, it is equally important that the budget is supported by structural reforms to remove exemptions and widen the tax base, as well as streamline government spending on a sustainable basis, which also are key objectives of the program,” IMF First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton said.

    “Approval of a budget that deviates from program objectives for 2016 and the medium-term will interrupt the program and inevitably disrupt the associated international financing,” he said.

    • Cortes says:

      Translation: “We’re EFFed”

    • cartman says:

      The IMF said they will not cut them off, so what reason do they have to stay within the rules?

        • marknesop says:

          Most of this we already knew, but he does a great job of pointing up the real trap – the Ukrainians’ must-pass budget, and the IMF’s no-more-money-if-you-don’t ultimatum. It remains to be seen if the IMF will indeed be as hard-ass (ha, ha; I can’t believe I said that about the marshmallow IMF) as they suggest. However, as Alex highlighted cleverly so we can all put two and two together, Tymoshenko has promised that neither she nor any of her party will support it. And failure to pass the budget could very well bring down the government. I wonder if they will offer Yulichka a bribe in exchange for her votes? She knows she has Ukraine’s tail in a crack. Her party list only has 19 seats, but they are considered part of the governing coalition – the opposition can be expected to vote against it- knowing what a vulnerability it constitutes for the government – and the opposition holds 109 seats.

        • davidt says:

          My guess is that the medium/long-term threat to Russia, and especially China, by the IMF’s decision is being underestimated here. Certainly a lot is up for grabs. “The question now is whether Russia and China can hold onto the BRICS and India”. Read Michael Hudson:
          http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/18/the-imf-changes-its-rules-to-isolate-china-and-russia/

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned of a risk of failure of the IMF-supported Extended Fund Facility (EFF) program if the Ukrainian parliament does not pass the 2016 national budget, the IMF said in a press release.”

      Letter “N” – “Niezalezhnost”

      • Moscow Exile says:

        It’s DEFAULT!

        Notwithstanding very recent warnings of the IMF as regards the EEF programme ..

        Ukraine Refuses to Repay All Debt to Russia

        Ukraine has officially declined to repay Russia its $3 billion loan, due on December 20, effectively defaulting on its foreign debt.

        So it’s “Heigh-ho, heigh-ho it’s off to the courts we go!”

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          Good Ol’ Boris just phoned from Hell. He asked to tell this to the svidomites:

          “2 more days, khokholiki, and your president can repeat my 1999 New Year’s speech”

        • marknesop says:

          Well, not exactly; Yatsenyuk did say “..until the moment when our restructuring proposals are accepted or until a relevant court ruling.” So Russia could still agree to take, say, a 40% knockdown on the total. At which point Ukraine would say, “Accepted. See? Was that so hard? Ummm…we don’t have the rest of it, we’re a little short this week”.

          And in order to convey the proper degree of skepticism for ‘Russia’s’ sketchiness, you must put the word ‘Russia’ in quotation marks as the Ukrainians do, as if to convey “so-called Russia’. This gets across to the readers that you suspect they might even be lying about the name of their country. Any time I start to feel sorry for Ukrainians, and think that it’s too bad some of them will be cold and hungry this winter, I only have to look at shit like that, and I toughen right up.

    • marknesop says:

      Reduce government debt to 3.7% of GDP by when? In a country where overall debt is twenty times that if not more, and 70% of the GDP is in the hands of less than 10 wealthy people? It is a given that Ukraine will show no progress toward this goal in 2016 – it is just impossible.

      I think you are probably right, and the IMF is building a case for withdrawal from the project. If Poroshenko fails to secure a visa-free deal at his meeting with Tusk and whoever else – as I’m sure he will – they will have nothing at all to show for the Glorious Maidan except an agreement with Europe on a trade deal in which Ukraine is allowed on certain terms to purchase EU goods that it cannot buy unless the EU gives it money. A more complete failure is hard to imagine.

      But Ukraine needs to learn a hard lesson, and it would be a mistake on Russia’s part to extend the hand of friendship too soon. I still think it would be a better country if the western part were annexed by Poland. Maybe if they were Poles at last they would settle down to being productive Nazis for a new master and stop hating on Russia.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “I still think it would be a better country if the western part were annexed by Poland. Maybe if they were Poles at last they would settle down to being productive Nazis for a new master and stop hating on Russia.”

        We all know the lyrics – “All you need is Lwow!”

      • Jen says:

        Mark, the risk with your suggestion is that the Nazis end up hijacking Polish politics and that west Ukraine’s problems drag all of Poland down with it. Polish politicians and nationalists may think they can boss the Banderites around by co-opting them into mainstream Polish politics but it’s more likely that the Nazis will take over. There’d be even more hating on Russia with a bigger army and the 1940 Katyn massacre and the 2010 Smolensk plane crash to fuel the dislike and hostility.

    • Tim Owen says:

      Hard to overstate the importance of this article. Thanks for spotting it.

      There’s a lot here but this passage is kind of free-standing in its value by simply condensing how the IMF has contorted itself:

      “The IMF thus is breaking four rules: Not lending to a country that has no visible means to pay back the loan breaks the “No More Argentinas” rule adopted after the IMF’s disastrous 2001 loan. Not lending to countries that refuse in good faith to negotiate with their official creditors goes against the IMF’s role as the major tool of the global creditors’ cartel. And the IMF is now lending to a borrower at war, indeed one that is destroying its export capacity and hence its balance-of-payments ability to pay back the loan. Finally, the IMF is lending to a country that has little likelihood of refuse carrying out the IMF’s notorious austerity “conditionalities” on its population – without putting down democratic opposition in a totalitarian manner. Instead of being treated as an outcast from the international financial system, Ukraine is being welcomed and financed.”

      I’m still trying to think through the implications but they are certainly disquieting. Without trying to hard I’d summarize that “the masks are coming off.”

      The question then is, what happens after “the masks come off?”

      … war.

      (Sometimes it’s best just to blurt out what’s worrying you.)

    • marknesop says:

      Short-sighted western pundits will still be penning deadline copy headlined “How Putin lost Ukraine” while those with real vision will be putting the finishing touches on “How America Lost the Rest of the World”.

  5. Moscow Exile says:

    A conversation concerning existentiality:

    – Hello! Is that the nuthouse?

    – This is the government of the Ukraine.

    – And what did I say?

  6. Moscow Exile says:

    A typically Russian shit-wit bleat on the today’s Russian blogosphere:

    January 2014. We had all got ourselves ready for the Olympics. The Ukraine was our friend. A dollar was worth 33 rubles. Crude oil stood at 110 [dollars] . And then Putin started acting up with everyone.

    Right up to January 2014 … the Ukraine was “our friend“???

    And all that has happened since is Putin’s fault???

    Another I-hate-Russia manic obsessive!

  7. Cortes says:

    Innovative justice in Odessa, and new high jinks from old “http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/18/ukraine-when-the-right-sector-runs-the-courtroom/

  8. Moscow Exile says:

    Well, how could one not hit the booze after that?

    When the shouting match was in full swing.

    That’s Porky circled.

    Avakov told him to”shut up” during his slanging match with the Georgian freak.

    Rumour is rife that Porky is a big boozer, he having appeared to be rather tired and emotional in public on several occasions already.

    • yalensis says:

      I don’t see in the conversation where Avakov told Porky to “shut up”.
      I don’t believe that actually happened.

      When Porky intervenes, he implores Avakov, “bez mata” (“no swearing, please”).
      Avakov, partially chastened, replies, “mozhno bez mata” (“agreed, no swearing”).
      I don’t see where he said “Shut up.”
      Maybe you heard “bez mata” as “molchat” (?)

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I read it in Komsomolskaya pravda.

        • yalensis says:

          Okay. Do you have a link?

          • yalensis says:

            Okay, never mind. I found the transcript of the entire exchange on KP.
            Avakov was NOT telling Porky to shut up. He was telling Saak to shut up. Porky was just in the way.
            Here is the snippet in question:

            – Арсен Борисович! Арсен Борисович! – послышался взволнованный голос президента Петра, оставшегося за кадром.

            – Я призываю, я призываю вас, к вежливости, – угрожающе пыхтя, набычился Саакашвили.

            – Замолчите тогда! – огрызнулся министр внутренних дел.

            TRANSLATION
            “Arsen Borisovich! Arsen Borisovich!” is heard the agitated voice of President Petro, off -camera.
            “I call upon you, I call upon you, to be polite,” Saakashvili huffs and puffs threateningly.
            “So shut up!” snaps the Minister of Internal Affairs.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Yeah, that’s the bit I clearly misunderstood: the dialogue was between Avakov and Saakashvili; Porky butts in limply in order to try and calm things down and after one whining request off the Pig, his Minister of the Interior says “Just shut up!”.

              I thought it was the minister telling his so-called boss to button it, to stop butting in whilst he was having a shouting match with the Odessa governor.

              • yalensis says:

                No. I watched the tape several times, and it is pretty clear that Avakov still shows some deference toward Big-Boss Porky. He would never tell the big guy to shut up, no matter how much he loses his temper. He is too much of a coward for that. He is only brave to insult Saak and toss objects, because he believes that he out-ranks Saak. It is driving him insane that a regional governor dares to pick a fight with the Mighty Head of the Secret Police.
                Unfortunately for Avakov, Porky implicitly takes Saak side in the fight, at the same time pretending to be a referee.

                This is Office Politics in its purest form!

    • Jen says:

      Porky’s supposed to be the chairman of that session and in that role, he should have sent out both Avakov and Saakashvili for foul language and disrupting the meeting. Also everyone at that meeting should have been informed of rules of conduct during that meeting and meetings generally, and those rules of conduct include disciplinary actions for breaching the rules.

      Fat lot of good that turning to Europe and “European values” is doing Porky.

      • marknesop says:

        Further highlighting what a pitiful leader he is. He’s just a fat, jolly, slightly-venal businessman who hoped to further his personal influence by achieving the Ukrainian presidency, for purely commercial reasons. Parliamentary procedure probably bores him silly. He is plainly not in control of the government.

      • yalensis says:

        Porky did actually adjourn the meeting at a certain point, when things got totally out of hand. What he should have done was walked around the table with a baseball bat and smashed certain skulls.

        • marknesop says:

          Too late. The image of the most rarefied levels of government in Ukraine as shouting nosepickers from Cannery Row is complete, and it won’t matter how much they try to project the “Unity” meme in future. It is a government of carnies and roustabouts, appropriate to a traveling circus, and its pretensions to democratic government are like watching a dog partially dressed in its master’s clothes.

  9. Patient Observer says:

    Has Trump signed his own death warrant?
    http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/putin-praises-trump-outstanding-and-talented-trump-greatly-honored/ri11906
    He must be stopped! If smear campaigns or dirty tricks can’t do it, an accident, a lone gunman or a “terrorist” responding to Trump’s position on Muslim immigration will suffice.

    No other leading candidate has the backbone include the alleged socialist Bernie Sanders to say it like it is.

  10. Patient Observer says:

    Hmmm, US is concerned over civilian casualties by bombing the ISIS “media” center.

    http://fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/12/washington-times-us-does-not-want-to.html

    IIRC, US/NATO were quite proud of attacking Serbian television studio despite the fact the facility also housed a day-care center. Even CNN had a hard time spinning it:

    http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/europe/9904/23/kosovo.02/

    IIRC, NATO brushed off criticism and said it was a Serb decision to place a day-care center next to a “military target”.

  11. Moscow Exile says:

    Obama, 6 months ago: as a result of our policy, Russia now finds itself isolated. Kerry, 15.12.15: “We do not set as our goal the isolation of Russia. Volte-face

    Do these people really think that Russians are so dumb that they cannot remember what they said publicly 6 months ago?

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Moreso – Russians, even without “Kiselyov’s propaganda” still remember who compared them to the ISIS and Ebola, and who called their country “A regional power” which economy was “in tatters”.

  12. Moscow Exile says:

    I wish to be presented with flowers and held in someone’s arms.

    Arseniy

  13. Moscow Exile says:

    See: Die Welt

    The Ukraine declaration of bankruptcy today is a double victory for Putin

    According to the financial market today, the Ukraine is bankrupt. The country has not settled a debt that amounts to $3 billion, thereby making possible a double victory for its greatest enemy.

    Not with weapons has Vladimir Putin won this greatest of victories in the Ukraine crisis – not with tanks or soldiers or militiamen. The battlefield where this victory has been won was not the streets of Donetsk, the embattled provinces of East Ukraine: it was on the financial market. The state, ripped asunder by an almost year-long conflict, failed on Friday to settle a $3 billion dollar loan – a loan that it owes Russia, and that means bankruptcy…

    and so on and so forth.

    The newspaper “Die Welt” is very much to the right of the German political spectrum, but it does not attempt to hide the enormity of the situation; it pulls no punches: this is an out and out victory for Russia.

    Strange how there is no comment from our Finnish Russophile, expressing his pleasure over this apparent wonderful success for Russian policies as regards the Ukraine crisis.

    Then again, all this would not have happened if a year ago the Russian army had made a Blitzkrieg lunge against Kiev…

  14. Moscow Exile says:

    And as reminder that in no way has the fat lady begun to sing:

    EU extends sanctions against Russia for 6 months

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Funny there was no notification from the Land of the Lakes of his bad news for Russia!

      • Patient Observer says:

        His mind could not process the two options:
        – Sanctions extend = Russia weak
        – Sanctions not extended= Russia weak

    • cartman says:

      “Tusk claims Moscow is responsible for implementing its provisions.”

      Sounds like an invitation to force the junta to comply.

    • marknesop says:

      Well, whoop-de-doo! No doubt that will cause much wailing and gnashing of teeth in desperate Moscow tonight.

      The EU will never move out from under Uncle Sam’s thumb so long as it keeps voting American interests while hurting its own. But I don’t expect any change in that policy so long as the current numpties who make up Europe’s leadership remain in power. Meanwhile, if you like comedy, Jaresko has announced that she hopes Ukraine and Russia can settle out of court. That’s watcher call “negotiatin’ in good faith”, dontcher know.

  15. Patient Observer says:

    No Fly Zone!
    http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20151218/1031992276/russian-defenses-ground-pentagon.html
    The US characterized Russia’s actions as unlawful. And in what way? Oh, wait:
    – interference with imperial storm troopers (Star-wars theme)
    – resisting democracy
    – violation of the US military impunity rule
    – violation of free trade rights (ISIS oil enterprise)
    – invoking the “because we don’t like it” clause in all international matters

  16. Lyttenburgh says:

    Rightards currently ruling glorious Poland just proved themselves un-handshakable:

    Blub-blub-blub-mbrerg: Poland Ousts Head of NATO Training Center in Nighttime Raid

    “Poland’s government replaced the head of a future NATO training facility, with defense ministry officials and military police entering the provisional offices in the early hours of Friday, the latest example of the new government asserting its influence over state institutions.

    The Counter Intelligence Center of Excellence was staffed with officials who weren’t supported by the government, Deputy Defense Minister Bartosz Kownacki told RMF radio. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization said it was up to local authorities to decide on the appointment as the facility hasn’t yet been accredited by the alliance.

    “Polish employees lost access to classified materials and we had to change them,” Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski told Trojka public radio. “We’re dealing with the military so we have to act quickly.”

    Poland’s political landscape has been in turmoil this year, with the Law & Justice party sweeping presidential and parliamentary elections to end eight years in opposition. Since taking power in mid-November, the new government has pushed to overhaul the constitutional court, the anti-corruption agency and public media, named a ruling-party lawmaker to lead the nation’s largest refiner and is in the process of nominating new central bank policy makers. The party’s zeal in consolidating power brought people onto the streets last weekend and more protests are planned for Saturday.”

    I… I have no words… Probably, conspiracy theories will soon appear, that will claim that the Evil One zombified glorious PiS leadership to become even more rightard, stupid and anti-Western.

    • Cortes says:

      Isn’t imitation the sincerest form of flattery?

      The government can point to US practice in installing party members and friends into all levels of government after a change in the hue of the administration.

  17. Tim Owen says:

    Not sure there’s too much here that’s news but there are a few things:

    http://harpers.org/archive/2016/01/a-special-relationship/?single=1

    For example:

    “Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, testified on Capitol Hill that there was a “new strategic alignment” in the Middle East, separating “extremists” (Iran and Syria) and “reformers” (Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states). Undergirding these diplomatic euphemisms was something more fundamental. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who returned to Riyadh in 2005 after many years as Saudi ambassador in Washington, had put it bluntly in an earlier conversation with Richard Dearlove, the longtime head of Britain’s MI6. “The time is not far off in the Middle East,” Bandar said, “when it will be literally God help the Shia.More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough.”

    Un believable.

    • kirill says:

      We’ll see whether their genocidal dreams come true. It is Russians who have had enough of the Whabbist maggots and their sponsors.

    • marknesop says:

      I’ll echo that “Unbelievable”, but prompted by the description of Saudi Arabia – going whole hog with its first election in which women can not only vote, but stand as candidates (!!!!) – as a “reformer” state.

  18. Moscow Exile says:

    I forgot to mention this before, but the woman pictured above, Ekaterina Zguladze, a Georgian now with Ukrainian citizenship, is assistant Ukraine Minister of the Interior, the same ministry position that she also held under Saakashvili’s presidency of Georgia before she was invited to the Ukraine to do the same job, was reported to have been stopped at Boryspil airport with $4 million dollars in her hand-luggage.

    She said it was her savings. I have tried to find this story after having read it a while ago, but it seems to have vanished. She said she was flying with her savings to France, where she needed it to pay for medical treatment. A phone call from her ministry boss, Avakov, sorted matters out and off she then flew with her dosh.

    Zguladze is the person in charge of introducing the “Police Academy”-style to Ukraine law enforcement.

    As I have written much earlier above, Zguladze is married to Raphael Glucksmann, son of the recently deceased French “philosopher” André Glucksmann, who was a friend and mentor of his compatriot, “philosopher” Bernard-Henri Lévy.

    I am sure that Gluckmann Père & Fils, together with Lévy, were/are hired hands of the CIA.

    Zguladze was in the Saakashvilli Georgian government at the time of the Georgian attack on South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 2008.

    As regards other foreigners who are “governing” the Ukraine, see: The foreign government running Ukraine gets a thin gloss of “legitimacy”

    • marknesop says:

      That’s a huge story if you can find it. I suppose it is just possible she is telling the truth – although the story sounds totally made up, we must remember Sobchak and her million-and-something in cash in her house stored in envelopes. In that case the cops held her money for some time but had to give it back to her when they could not prove she was lying, which amounts to the same thing as having to admit she was telling the truth.

      But in this case Saakashvili is such a scoundrel, attracts others just like himself and is so likely to be involved in a nefarious scheme that it would be delightful if she was busted. Unlikely now, though; that money will be gone, gone gone. But she could still be in a shitpile of trouble if it were proven the money was not hers.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        • Moscow Exile says:

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Грузинский борец с украинской коррупцией Эка Згуладзе попалась на вывозе $ 4 млн из Украины – СМИ

            Georgian fighter against Ukrainian corruption, Eka Zguladze, caught taking $4 million out of the Ukraine – MSM

            Эта кругленькая сумма была обнаружена украинскими таможенниками… в чемодане у улетавшей к супругу во Францию беременной первого замминистра внутренних дел Украины. Как утверждает экс-глава этого ведомства Захарченко, доллары были нужны Згуладзе, по ее словам, для организации “медицинского процесса” в Париже…

            This tidy sum was discovered by Ukrainian customs officers… in a suitcase belonging to the pregnant First Deputy Minister of internal Affairs of the Ukraine, who was flying out to her spouse in France. According to ex-Minister Zakharchenko, the dollars were needed by Zguladze for, in her own words, “medical procedure” in Paris…

            And I tell you, that snippet took some finding!

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Another article on this story – which has since been vapourized and cast away into the ether, it seems – said that she said needed the money for gynaecological treatment.

              But $4 million bucks worth??

              If the story is true, I reckon she just said that because she believed she wouldn’t be pressed on such personal matters.

              • yalensis says:

                Eka needed the money for 2 reasons:
                (1) to buy new underpants, as she shows here in the “I have no underpants” fund-raising appeal:

                (2) for gynaecological treatment, as she shows off here in the “I have a disease in my lady parts” fund-raising appeal:

                [In reality, Eka’s lady parts are more than fine, she just came back from getting a “Brazilian” done, that’s why she is so chafed.]

              • Jen says:

                By way of comparison, Bruce Jenner’s transformation into Caitlyn is said to have cost him/her about US$4 million.
                http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/2015/06/caitlyn-jenners-sex-change-cost-how-much/

                Maybe Eka Zguladze realises that to survive the rumble of the Ukrainian politics jungle, she has to … er, man up?

                • yalensis says:

                  I reckon it costs more to have something sewn on, than to have something cut off.
                  That’s why Eka needs so much $$$.

                  But in the meantime, she’ll just hang out in her favorite restaurant casually wearing no pants, like a cartoon animal – life is good!

            • marknesop says:

              Goodness!! The cost of medical procedures in France is just scandalous!! Are you hearing this, Marine le Pen?? I wonder what the Halifax Khokhol thinks of this? He’s always banging on about corruption in Ukraine and how the whole prosecutor corps in Ukraine needs to be fired so they can start again – presumably by importing above-reproach foreigners from Georgia and the USA.

        • marknesop says:

          He’s usually a very reliable source. That said, however, I’d like to point out that a million dollars in cash, in hundreds, is 20 lbs of money. $4 Million, obviously, means this lissome lady’s suitcase would weigh 80 pounds even if it contained not even a change of knickers over and above that. When most people decide to take that much money with them they rarely take it in bills, reasoning it would make much more sense to get there and do a bank transfer.

          • Jen says:

            Very strange also that she is taking the suitcase as hand luggage. How big would the suitcase have to be, to fit in $4 million worth of US$100 bills, and still fit in the overhead compartments reserved for hand luggage on a passenger jet?

            ” … The Measurement of Money

            We’re working with $100 US bills. A stack of them, adding up to $25,000, measures about 1 1/4 inches high by 2 5/8 inches wide by 6 1/4 long.

            Our Awaiting Briefcase

            The interior of our standard briefcase measures 17 1/4 inches wide by a little more than 12 inches tall, and about 4 inches deep.

            Bringing it All Together

            We could fit in 12 stacks. With just a single stack deep that adds up to $300,000 in the briefcase. Not bad, but we can do better. With four inches of depth, we can go three stacks deep, for a total of $900,000, with some breathing room.

            One Million Dollars!

            To get to the magic number of $1,000,000 we need to cram in an extra $100,000, or $8,300 per stack. An $8,300 stack will measure about a half inch. With a little compression, we could fit exactly $1,000,000 in our standard-size briefcase. Seems like a weird coincidence doesn’t it? That cash will weigh 22 pounds, and in a single stack it would be four feet high.”
            http://geekbeat.tv/how-much-money-will-fit-in-a-briefcase/

            That’s some pretty big hand luggage!

            • Jen says:

              And that is only US$1 million in hand luggage.

              • yalensis says:

                She could have pulled an “Ostap Bender” and stuffed all the cash in the pockets and sewed into the lining of a giant fur coat. Along with watches, jewelry, gold plates, etc.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              It was I who said “hand luggage”.

              What references to this story that still remain on the web say that the money was in a suitcase.

              It could have been a hefty suitcase that could have been investigated when scanned at check-in.

              • marknesop says:

                Yes, that’s possible. But it would have had to be a very large suitcase, it would have been tremendously heavy, and it would have taken a certain kind of… confidence, shall we say, to check a suitcase containing 4 million dollars for a flight originating in a country where the annual per-capita GDP adjusted for domestic purchasing power is $8,267.07. I can recall, when I first moved to the west coast, whenever we had to go east for a course or something, we would bring back Nova Scotia lobster on our return; packed in ice and as long as you did not experience any delays in your 9-hour or so flight, they would stay alive that long, to be cooked fresh at home. You could get lobster here, of course, but it was tremendously expensive. The lobster-traffickers went to great lengths to camouflage their purchase for storage in the hold, and it was suicide to not even cover the “Clearwater Sea Products” box with a big red lobster on the side, because if you did not you would be able to look out the windows of the plane and see it coming down the luggage conveyor in Toronto, and that’s the last time you would ever see it. You can imagine the temptation to open a big suitcase like that to see what was in it, and upon learning it was packed solid with more money than you and all; the members of your large family would ever earn in an entire lifetime of work, to abscond with it.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Somehow I don’t think she was flying tourist class, and as regards the size and weight of her luggage, she would,I am sure, have had plenty of lackeys in tow to do the humping.

                  Yes, to brazenly attempt to pass $4 million through check-in by means of a huge suitcase would need a large degree of self-confidence for most mere mortals, but she, the Georgian 1st Assistant Minister to a minister feared by many in Yukistatan, would have had the confidence of someone that owns the place – because basically she does, partly, with the rest of her thieving clique.

                • marknesop says:

                  Not to mention she is meant to be the spearhead of anti-corruption efforts, what with reforming the police and all that. Who would be a less likely suspect of corruption?

                • yalensis says:

                  Are you telling me, that LIVE LOBSTERS were freezing their tushes off sitting on ice in the cargo-hold of the plane for 9 hours?
                  Good thing for you they didn’t escape and wreak havoc on the plane.
                  Hm…. just thought of an idea for a new movie plot…

                • Jen says:

                  I think the Samuel L Jackson franchise was killed stone dead when a REAL story about a crocodile terrorising passengers on a plane and causing it crash arose.
                  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2689113/Plane-crash-Congo-killed-British-pilot-caused-escaped-crocodile-causing-passengers-panic-rush-causing-nose-dive.html

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Why is Pacific lobster more expensive than Atlantic lobster?

                • marknesop says:

                  There is no Pacific lobster, as such. There is a Caribbean type, known as a spider lobster, which has a meaty tail but no claws to speak of, it’s really just a giant shrimp. On the west coast the seafood delicacy – well, among others – is crab. No lobsters. Our salmon are different, as well, and there has been a lot of controversy over salmon farms here which use Atlantic salmon (I guess they are easier to manage or put on weight faster, I don’t really know) because occasionally a pen ruptures or is torn open by sea lions, and the Atlantic salmon escape to threaten the wild stocks.

                  So, in answer to your question, the lobster out here is also Atlantic lobster, but flown out from Nova Scotia or Maine, and is consequently more expensive.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Right! Those king crabs from the other side, where Mrs. Stooge comes from, are very tasty though. I remember seeing cans of it in Manchester, UK, many years ago and before I got wed, when I popped over to the “Old Country” with presents, and I couldn’t believe how much they were asking for cans of it. Those cans still had CCCP pressed into the tops and bottoms and were just like this, only in English, not Spanish (I think it’s Spanish):

                  They were asking for £47 a can! The same cans cost about £5 in Moscow. At first I thought there had been a mistake and checked it out. No mistake, and I thought, “Next time I’m coming over, I’m going to fetch a suitcase full of these cans and flog them off for £25 a can. I never did, though. I went back to Mother Russia and next time I came back was about 3 years later. I had Mrs. Exile in tow, that time, so as to show off my catch to my kinfolk.

                • marknesop says:

                  We get King Crab here as well; occasionally it is fresh, and then it costs more, but more often it is previously frozen. The more common type – local – is Dungenesse, and larger markets have big tanks of live crab. I frequently buy King Crab meat for Mrs. Stooge’s sandwiches (I make her lunch every day), and just the meat usually goes for around $9.00 per 100 grams. That amount is emough for a good-sized sandwich, although I usually make her a wrap, in pita bread. I noticed yesterday that the crab meat had shot up to $15.00 per 100 grams, so I didn’t buy any – don’t know what’s happened – but the massive legs in the shell were still only $4.50 or so per 100 grams (because, of course, you are paying for shell weight, too). Dungenesse crab meat,though (tastes much the same, very sweet but not red-coloured like King Crab) was still $8.99.00, though).

                • yalensis says:

                  There actually is a Pacific lobster, and it’s kind of pricey. It’s called “California Spiny Lobster”, and according to the ads it costs about $55. I think that’s for the whole lobster, not per pound. They’re sort of skinny and buggy looking. No claws to speak of, all the edible meat is in the tail.

                  http://www.shopandersonseafoods.com/p-112-california-spiny-lobster.aspx?gclid=CIKVltrv7ckCFUaCfgodaEIEnA

                  Mmmm… starting to get hungry….

                • Jen says:

                  Mark: the prices of Pacific lobster and Atlantic lobster are probably more likely to reflect market demand and supply than prices (which can be controlled by suppliers more or less) for most other things. If Pacific lobster tastes better than Atlantic lobster, and Pacific lobsters are harder to farm, then they will sell at a premium because of restaurant and supermarket demand, and the costs of raising them will be factored into the price. You could probably find out at seafood markets near where you live – you may be allowed to watch fish and shellfish being sold or auctioned, and ask buyers and sellers why Pacific lobster is more expensive.

                  As well, there have been unconfirmed reports, usually buried deep in the Internet, that all is not well with Pacific marine ecosystems due to continuing radiation contamination from the damaged Dai-Ichi nuclear reactors at Fukushima and if these are true, then populations of Pacific lobster might be on the verge of collapse because their usual supplies of food are being affected by the radiation. If prices for Pacific lobster have risen astronomically since 2011, there might be substance to those reports.

                  Health experts recommend eating wild salmon over farmed salmon because farmed salmon have health issues that relate to their being penned up in conditions of overcrowding and where water is moving too slowly to eliminate waste. Farmed salmon often carry high loads of toxic chemicals and antibiotics. Farmed salmon are effectively salmon raised in battery-farm conditions with all the problems associated with battery-farm animals generally.
                  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/07/09/farmed-salmon-dangers.aspx
                  http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2014/03/fish-faceoff-wild-salmon-vs-farmed-salmon/

                • marknesop says:

                  I don’t think there is any such thing as a Pacific lobster. The one I’m talking about is the Spiny Lobster, which is said to live in all warm seas. I doubt the Pacific is included, or at least, not the area in which I live. The Spiny Lobster is just a big crayfish, it has no claws to speak of (which contain a good part of the succulent meat found in the Atlantic lobster), and all the lobsters I have ever seen here are Atlantic lobsters, although I do occasionally see rock lobster tails in the markets.

  19. Moscow Exile says:

    Reported in Komsomolskaya Pravda was an article about moves being made to prosecute Gorbachev for treason.

    Archive documents recently made public by the USA reveal conversations between Gorbachev, Yeltsin and Bush Snr. concerning the dissolution of the USSR.

    Here is a copy of the letter, as published in KP, that has been sent to the public prosecutor requesting an investigation:

    In the MSM there have been published (to be exact, in “Komsomolskaya Pravda” on 10 December 2015) stenographs of conversations between Boris Yeltsin and Michael Gorbachev and the then president of the USA, George Bush Senior, that took place between 8 and 25 December 1991 respectively. The data on the stenographs was saved by the American party and until recently had remained classified. Copies of the stenographs are now stored at the recently opened Boris Yeltsin Centre in Ekaterinburg.

    Judging by what is written in these published stenographs, the said telephone conversations of B.Yeltsin and M.Gorbachev render to the president of the USA an account of the liquidation of the USSR.

    I request that an investigation be undertaken by you into the contents of said conversations as regards their conformity with such articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation as “High Treason” and “Disclosure of State Secrets” and, if necessary, that measures be taken by means of a prosecutorial response.

    • yalensis says:

      Thanks for posting link. This was treason in its purest form. I think I’ll do a full translation of the conversation tomorrow for my blog, unless somebody else does it first. Here’s a good starting nugget:

      Президент Ельцин: В комнате, откуда я звоню, вместе со мной находятся Президент Украины и Председатель Верховного Совета Белоруссии. Я также только что закончил разговор с Президентом Казахстана Назарбаевым. Я зачитал ему полный текст соглашения, включая все 16 статей. Он полностью поддерживает все наши действия и готов подписать соглашение. Он вскоре вылетает в аэропорт Минска для подписания.

      Президент Буш: Понимаю.

      Президент Ельцин: Это чрезвычайно важно. Эти четыре республики производят 90% всей валовой продукции Советского Союза. Это попытка сохранить содружество, но освободить нас от тотального контроля центра, который более 70 лет раздавал указания. Это очень серьезный шаг, но мы надеемся, мы убеждены, мы уверены, что это единственный выход из критической ситуации, в которой мы оказались.

      Президент Буш: Борис, вы…

      Президент Ельцин: Господин Президент, должен сказать вам конфиденциально, что Президент Горбачев не знает об этих результатах. Он знал о нашем намерении собраться – собственно, я сам сказал ему о том, что мы собираемся встретиться.

      TRANSLATION
      President Yeltsin: In the room, from which I am phoning you, together with me are the Presidents of Ukraine and the Chiarman of the Supreme Soviet of Belorussia. I also just finished speaking with the President of Kazakhstan, Nazarbaev. I read to him the complete text of the agreement, including all 16 articles. He fully supports all of our actions and is prepared to sign the agreement. He will soon fly into the Minsk airport for the signing.

      President Bush: I understand.

      President Yeltsin: This is extremely important. These 4 republics produce 90% of the entire gross output of the Soviet Union. This is our attempt to preserve a confederation, while liberating us from the total control of the center which, for 70 years has been issuing decrees. This is a very serious step, but we are hopeful, we are convinced, that this is the only way out of the critical situation in which we find ourselves.

      President Bush: Boris, you…

      President Yeltsin: Mr. President, I must state to you in confidence, that President Gorbachev does not know about these results. He knew about our intention to meet, in fact I told him about our intention to meet. Naturally, we have to send him as soon as possible the text of our agreement, since, without question, he must take this decision at the highest level.
      (etc.)

      [yalensis: Was this not a dictionary-definition putsch?]

      • Moscow Exile says:

        And there’s this beaut of a telephone conversation between Gorbachev and Bush Sr. on Christmas Day, 1991:

        DATE, TIME AND PLACE: December 25, 1991, 10:03 – 10:25, Camp David

        President Bush: Hello, Michael.

        President Gorbachev: George, my dear friend! Glad to hear your voice.

        President Bush: Glad to greet you on this memorable day, this historic day. Thank you for calling.

        President Gorbachev: Let me start with the pleasantries: I wish you, Barbara and your entire family a very Merry Christmas. I was thinking about when to make the statement – either on Tuesday or today. In the end, I decided to do it today, at the end of the day. And so first I want to give you Christmas greetings and wish you all the best.

        And now I should tell you that in about two hours I shall appear on Moscow television with a short statement about the decision adopted by me. I have sent you an email, George. I hope you soon get it. In the letter I have expressed the most important thing. Now I should like to reiterate once more how much I highly value that which we managed to do during that time when we were working together, when you were Vice President, and then later, when you become President of the United States. I hope that all leaders of the Commonwealth [Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) – ME] countries, primarily of Russia, understand the value of the joint experience gained by the leaders of our two countries. I hope they understand their responsibility for the preservation and augmentation of this important resource.

        In our Union [Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) – ME] the debate about what kind of country we should have been creating did not go in the direction that I thought was right. But I want to assure you that I will use all my political influence and authority so that the new Commonwealth become effective. I am pleased that the leaders of the Commonwealth have reached in Alma-Ata an agreement on important nuclear and strategic issues. I hope that in Minsk solutions will be taken about other issues that will provide a mechanism for cooperation between the republics.

        George, let me tell you about what I consider to be extremely important.

        President Bush: I’m listening.

        President Gorbachev: It goes without saying that it is imperative that you take measures to recognize all these countries. But I should like you to consider it just as important for the future of the Commonwealth to prevent any aggravation caused through the processes of disintegration and destruction. So our common duty is to help the process of cooperation between the republics. I should like to emphasize this point.

        Now Russia is the second major theme of our conversations. On the table before me lies a Decree of the USSR President about my resignation. I am also going to offer my resignation as the Supreme Commander and convey authority for the use of nuclear weapons to the President of the Russian Federation. That is, I am going to run my business until the completion of the constitutional process. I can assure you that everything is under strict control. As soon as I have announced my resignation, these decrees will enter into force. There will be no inconsistency. You can spend Christmas Eve in security. Returning to Russia, I want to say again that we must do everything possible to support her. I will do everything in my power to support Russia. But our partners should also try and play a role in their help and support of Russia.

        As for me, I’m not going to hide in the forest, in the woods. I will remain politically active: I will still have a political life. My main goal is to help in the process, which began with perestroika and the new thinking in foreign policy. Your press there has asked me many times about our personal relationship. At this historic moment I want you to know how much I appreciate our cooperation, partnership and friendship. Our roles may change, but I should like to assure you that what we have achieved already will not change. Raisa and I wish you and Barbara all the best.

        President Bush: Michael, first of all I want to express my appreciation for your call. I listened to your message with great interest. We will continue to become involved, especially in regard to the Russian Republic and the enormous difficulties which may be exacerbated by this winter. I am very glad that you are not going to hide in the woods, and will continue your political activity. I am absolutely sure that it will benefit the new Commonwealth.

        I am grateful for your clarification regarding nuclear weapons. It is a vital issue of international importance, and I am grateful to you and to the leaders of the republics for the excellent organization and implementation of the process. I have taken note that the constitutional responsibility for this matter goes to Boris Yeltsin. I assure you that we will continue to work closely.

        And now, speaking personally, Michael: great feedback about the relationship you and I and you and Jim Baker have: it did not go unnoticed. I really appreciate your words because they exactly reflect my feelings. Your call caught me in Camp David. We are here with Barbara, our three children and grandchildren. Another child of ours is now in Florida, and yet another with his family in Virginia.

        The place for playing horseshoes, where you throw that ring, is still in good condition. This, incidentally, reminded me of what I wrote in a letter to you: I hope our paths will soon cross again. You are always a welcome guest in the United States. Maybe we can meet here at Camp David, after you are done. Our friendship is as strong as before and will remain the same in the future. On this score there can be no doubt.

        Of course, I shall build relationships with the leaders of Russia and the other republics with due respect and openness. We will move towards recognition and respect for the sovereignty of each republic. We will work with them on a wide range of issues. But it will not affect my desire to maintain contact with you and listen to your advice, no matter what your new role will be. I really want to maintain our friendship, which Barbara cherishes very, very much.

        So, in these festive days and at this point in history we salute your achievements and thank you for everything you have done for world peace. Thank you very much.

        President Gorbachev: Thank You, George. I was glad to hear all this today. I say goodbye and shake your hand. You have told me many things. I am grateful for that.

        President Bush: All the best, Michael.

        President Gorbachev: Goodbye.

        End of the conversation

        And putting down the receiver, George Bush Snr. leapt into the air, where he clicked his heels together and yelled: “Whoopee!!!!”

        He then ‘phoned the Pentagon and NATO chiefs, telling them to start the ball rolling for a movement of their military might eastwards towards the border of the Empire of Evil …

      • yalensis says:

        I posted Part 1 of my post this morning. I am going to do this in 3 installments:
        Part 1 is the intro.
        Part 2 (tomorrow) will be translation of Yeltsin’s conversation. (With the hiccups removed.)
        Part 3 (Monday) will be Gorby.

        And maybe I’ll do a Part 4 as well. In which Dmitry the Pretender explains how he escaped death after he fell from that tower.
        (Spoiler alert: He was equipped with an acrobat harness!)

        • marknesop says:

          Careful – that would imply he knew that he was going to fall – a little bit like one of the last of Ah-nold’s movies. I don’t even remember what it was called, and I didn’t see it, but my missus was telling me about it before we were married. Apparently it opens with Ah-nold in a depression, he is going to kill himself. But suddenly he is attacked, and instinct takes over – he fights to destroy his enemies, and in the course of this terrible battle it transpires that he is wearing a bulletproof vest. He was about to kill himself and wanted to die, but he is wearing a bulletproof vest. Hmmm…

  20. Moscow Exile says:

    Meanwhile, back in the US-lackey-state known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland:

    Inequality: Richest one per cent ‘have as much wealth as the poorest 57 per cent combined’


    “Bullingdon Boy” the Right Honourable George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Second Lord of the Treasury, namely he is also officially responsible for Her Majesty’s Treasury, and who is, apparently, so impoverished that he cannot afford to buy a tie, shown strolling to the House of Commons from the Exchequer in Whitehall.

    The richest 1 per cent of the population have as much wealth as the poorest 57 per cent combined, according to Office for National Statistics figures. The agency also found overall wealth inequality has increased since 2012, mainly thanks to the soaring price of housing in the South-east of England and London.

    Western paradise?

  21. et Al says:

    Neuters: NATO agrees Turkey air defence package, seeks ‘predictability’
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mideast-crisis-turkey-nato-exclusive-idUKKBN0U123D20151218?

    NATO allies agreed on Friday to send aircraft and ships to Turkey to strengthen Ankara’s air defences on its border with Syria, the alliance’s chief said.

    Diplomats said the package is partly designed to avoid more shoot-downs of Russian planes…

    …”We have agreed on a package of assurance measures for Turkey in view of the volatile situation in the region,” Stoltenberg said, although he avoided any reference to Russia’s military involvement in Syria and its air incursions…..

    …Due to be assembled in the coming weeks, the package will include NATO’s AWACS surveillance planes and what Stoltenberg described as “enhanced air policing, and increased naval presence including maritime patrol aircraft.”

    The ships will be provided by Germany and Denmark, which are exercising in the eastern Mediterranean.

    AWACS monitor airspace within a radius of more than 400 km (250 miles) and exchange information via digital data links, with ground-based, sea-based and airborne commanders.

    Asked if this was about managing Turkey’s airspace with more caution than Ankara has shown in the past, Stoltenberg said: “This will give us a better situational awareness … more transparency, more predictability and that will contribute to stabilising the situation in the region and also calm tensions,” Stoltenberg said.

    AWKWARD POSITION

    Spain has also agreed to extend its Patriot surface-to-air missiles along Turkey’s border to shoot down any missiles from Syria’s conflict fired into Turkish territory. Germany and the United States recently removed their batteries from the area….
    ####

    NATO yet again in damage control mode. This is all about NATO’s credibility. On the one hand it could be seen as a golden cage, that by having more NATO assets there that it would stop Turkey from future rash decisions, but on the other hand Erd & Dav would see it as NATO having their back whatever they do and will probably only encourage them further, much like the EU capitulating to Ankara over refugees. The government behaves badly, it gets presents from the West.

    It smacks of ‘do something’, however stupid to show that NATO is relevant.

    This is also a bad strategic situation and will without doubt be seen as upping the Ante against Russia, however much Stollenberg & the Pork Pie News Networks try to sell this as ‘defensive’ which they may well believe.

    And what do we know from history about big countries pushing their militaries up against each other? A small spark sets of a conflagration.

    • marknesop says:

      Why cannot Bashar al-Assad now complain stridently that NATO is “massing forces on his border” and is preparing an invasion? It worked just fine for Ukraine, and the western press was happy to report it every time Kiev mentioned it. Well, we all know why not – Assad has no ear in western media and nobody would print anything from him unless he threatened someone.

      As someone else here discussed earlier, it is probable that NATO is merely taking over policing the border from the Turks because it fears another escalation by loose-cannon Erdogan or his nutty PM. NATO aircraft would have strict rules of engagement and would stay well away from the border themselves, knowing that if a Turkish aircraft penetrated Syrian airspace now it would be smacked out of the sky moments later. The S-400 provides local Russian forces with a capability they did not previously have in Syria, and Russia is likely keen for an opportunity to punish the Turks, although they would have to be in the wrong. NATO aircraft in this case are there to provide a more professional component and with a view to preventing another incident. Still, the more aircraft are flying around, the more likely an incident becomes.

      I don’t know why they are bothering to send AWACS; we learned from the shootdown of MH17 that AWACS has huge holes in its coverage, as it apparently didn’t see a thing. Oh, except for an SA-11 being launched by Russian-backed separatists, which makes them technically not Ukrainians.

      • Patient Observer says:

        There was an article a few weeks ago linked in Yahoo describing what it would take to overcome the S-400 system. AWACS, F-18G Growlers and an array of other electronic warfare equipment (some ground based) combined with drone decoys, cruise missiles, etc. to be successful in degrading the system. Hence, the reason for AWACS is to help challenge the S-400. The F-18s are carrier-based and the other stuff can be moved into Turkey

        It defies rationality to package the deployment described by NATO as a way to ensure stability and to minimize accidental engagements. The claims have the same stink as the claims that the ABM systems in Eastern Europe were intended against Iran and North Korea. Pleeeassssseee!

        • Tim Owen says:

          And just in case anyone missed it:

        • marknesop says:

          Yes; I was being sarcastic, but that’s a possibility, too. The AWACS couldn’t make much of a contribution, though, except to see it. And it wouldn’t be able to see it until after launch, and unless assets were already in place to jam it – if that is even possible – there is too short a time by far between launch and impact to do anything about it. That means every patrol has to be accompanied by a Growler or some other jamming aircraft. Making the enemy – from the Russian perspective – work that hard for every second it spends airborne is a kind of victory even if they never need to use the S-400. And if NATO is running Turkey’s air patrols in its behalf, you can be sure they will be thoroughly briefed that they are not to cross the Syrian border and provoke an attack. That’s the whole reason Russia moved the S-400 in in the first place; so, problem solved. NATO just has to make it look like they’re doing something decisive, as you say.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Reports trickling through this morning, 20 December, that the Israelis have attacked a Damascus suburb:

      СМИ: израильские ВВС нанесли удар по пригороду Дамаска

      Just come in 30 minutes ago:

      The Israeli authorities have welcomed the elimination of militants Hezbollah Samir Kuntar in Damascus, they have, however, denied involvement in the incident, reports Reuters. “It is good that such people like Samir Contra will not be part of our of the world”, – said a representative of the Israel Cabinet Ministers.

      See: Израиль опроверг свою причастность к ликвидации боевика «Хезболлы»

      • marknesop says:

        Yes, it would be too much to ask for the Israelis to forego an opportunity to whack some of their Hezbollah enemies if they know where they’re operating, and as far as sovereignty is concerned the whole world is Eretz Israel to them. It does not seem to occur to them that – if this is true – they are effectively fighting on the side of ISIS. I wonder why ISIS never attacks Israel, the greatest ideological foe of Islam? But when someone blows up a bus in Israel, you would think it was the only terrorist attack to have ever occurred anywhere and the whole world must stop to rend its garments and wail in grief. I guess that they have never hoisted in the lesson that the best way to be a good neighbour is to mind your own business.

  22. et Al says:

    Neuters: U.S. missile defense site in Romania becomes operational
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-romania-usa-missiles-idUSKBN0U119O20151218

    A new U.S. missile defense site south of Bucharest that will defend against potential attacks from Iran has been completed, the United States and Romania announced on Friday…

    …It coincides with deliberations by U.S. officials about how to respond to an Iranian ballistic missile launch on Oct. 10 that violated U.N. Security Council resolutions….

    Both Klemm and Comanescu stressed it was not a measure against Russia.

    “It is not, I repeat, not, directed at Russia, nor does it have the capability to threaten Russia,” Klemm said. “We have explained this to Russia on numerous occasions.”…
    #####

    NATO missile defense shield validated! See, they were right all along!

    • kirill says:

      These missiles are useless since they will not be able to intercept Russian ICBMs during the boost phase if they are launched east of Moscow and closer to the Urals. These missiles will also not be able to hit any Russian warheads which will be even farther by the time they separate and traveling much faster and non-balistically. These ABM deployments are political provocations designed to strip up a new cold war hysteria. And the idiot new Uropeons are all eager to be led around by the nose since they are so blinded by hate.

      • marknesop says:

        It’s all a matter of perception. That’s why moving Iskanders up to the border and making sure everyone knows they are there will get rid of that smug feeling of untouchability which suffuses people with false bravery. In reality they could hit Europe from many places in Russia, but knowing they are right there will keep people nervous. It’s unfortunate that we have to go back to cold war truculence when we all thought we were past it, but it is all the fault of one country and it is not Russia.

    • marknesop says:

      “It is not, I repeat, not, directed at Russia, nor does it have the capability to threaten Russia,” Klemm said. “We have explained this to Russia on numerous occasions.”…

      Gee – that’s not what they told Poland.

      “The Obama administration has told Poland that a new proposed US and Nato missile shield system aimed at destroying potential rocket attacks from Iran or Syria could be adapted to thwart “missiles coming from elsewhere”.

      Both Warsaw and Moscow are certain to view the remarks as evidence that the shield could be used to deter Russia, despite regular public statements to the contrary.”

      “With regard to how Nato might defend itself from missiles coming from elsewhere than Iran or Syria, BG John Hesterman of the joint staff said that sea-borne platforms could provide surge capability against threats from an unforeseen direction, land-based sites could be upgraded with more interceptors if the scale of the threat were increased, and radars could be reoriented,” the US embassy in Warsaw reports following the meetings.”

      It’s all about soothing the audience until you get the system in place and up and running. Then it doesn’t much matter what reality people perceive – it’s there, and you can do what you always wanted to but couldn’t admit.

  23. Warren says:

    Published on 19 Dec 2015
    Without a resolution of some kind to the war in the east, Ukraine’s membership to NATO and the EU remains a distant goal, says Taras Kuzio, a political consultant and expert in Ukrainian affairs. Kuzio believes that though the Ukrainian government cannot say so publicly, it will pursue a policy of trying to slowly and quietly disengage itself from territories occupied by the Russian-backed militants.

    • marknesop says:

      I’d be interested to know how the Halifax Khokhol hangs onto his qualification as an expert in Ukrainian affairs. It must be because he is Ukrainian and likes to talk about it, because he doesn’t live there and has been wrong in pretty much every prediction he made since 2013, and perhaps before that but I did not pay much attention to him before that. If I set myself up as an Italian auto expert, and forecast that the Italian car-making industry would switch to a six-wheeled dominant model next year and they didn’t, I wonder how long it would take the press to say, “Mark Chapman knows shit about cars”? But nobody will ever say, “Taras Kuzio knows shit about Ukraine”. I’m not sure why. After the “pro-Europe” election, he blabbered (and you can’t really blame him, because everyone who makes excuses for Ukraine does this) that the poor showing of nationalist parties meant that Russia’s contention the country is run by fascists is a ridiculous lie, never noting that the Nazi-lovers do not depend in any way on an elected mandate to control and interfere with any civil institution they feel is not sufficiently pro-nationalist. He said Russia had 15,000 troops in the DNR and that the OSCE was unable to stop huge convoys of military equipment from crossing the border. Can you see that from Alberta, Taras?

      He has, however, maintained for some time that the current lines demarcating the DNR/LPR should become the new border with Russia; his reasoning for that is that after blasting the shit out of it, Ukraine can wash its hands of it and it becomes Russia’s problem.

  24. et Al says:

    The Nation: Turkey ‘won’t respond’ to Putin’s ‘insulting’ comments
    http://nation.com.pk/international/19-Dec-2015/turkey-won-t-respond-to-putin-s-insulting-comments

    blah blah blah…

    “I don’t think this war of words will go on for very long,” Matthew Bryza, a non-executive board member at Turcas Petrol AS, a Turkish company, and the ex-ambassador to Azerbaijan, told Al Jazeera on Saturday.

    “I think the Turkish government understands that Putin realises he is wrong,” he said, adding that while the Russian leader has called the November 24 event “hostile”, he has stopped short of terming it an act of war.

    “[Putin] was humiliated in the shootdown but he has to look strong at home… He has been shown that if you poke Turkey and NATO in the eye, bad things happen,” said Bryza, who is also former deputy assistant of the US secretary of state for the South Caucasus.

    “I think this [combative rhetoric] is going to fade away. It already has on the Turkish side, they have been more restrained.”

    He added that it was likely that the Syrian conflict and Turkey’s ties with Israel will take centre stage in the weeks ahead…blah blah blah…
    ####

    So that’s what happened to ex-Ambassdor Bryza! With Azerbaidjan & Turkey under his belt, what wouldn’t he know about corruption and living the high life? Still a loose tongued gobshite.

    • marknesop says:

      Turkey has been more restrained of the two!!! I can’t think of anyone else who would agree with that. On the contrary, it is far from over, and Erdogan knows better.

  25. Moscow Exile says:


    Have I not served you well, master?

  26. Russia wants to sell 20% of Rosneft shares to foreign buyers. This is due to low oil price and Russia needs cash to avoid depleting it’s reserve funds.

    • marknesop says:

      Depending on the buyer, sure; why not? You can’t get majority voting rights with a 20% share, and it binds a partner to your interests – if you fail, so does Rosneft and bye-bye, investment. But once they’ve sold it, they can never get it back.

      • But Russia would not sell if the oil price was higher. Russia needs cash and this is the only way of getting it without resorting to loans or depleting the reserve funds.

        • Jen says:

          Karl, this is only changing one condition on who can or can’t buy shares in Rosneft. Depending on Rosneft’s Articles of Memorandum or constitution, this change might be subject to shareholder voting. The price of oil does not have anything to do with the decision to change the mix of investors.

          Setting aside 20% of future share issues for foreigners is not such a big deal, provided no one particular foreigner is allowed to buy all of that 20% directly or through subsidiaries and shell companies set up in different countries.

          • “The price of oil does not have anything to do with the decision to change the mix of investors.”

            I think it does.

            Selling 20% share of Rosneft is the same as selling 20% of all the assets that Rosneft owns (oil wells, drilling technology, pipelines, transport and oil refining infrastructure etc.) for cash, because Russia needs cash.

            From the future profits and dividends of Rosneft a 20% share will go to foreign pockets. This is obviously not good for Russia.

            Would Germany sell 20% share of Mercedes Benz to Russia? Or would the US sell 20% share of ExxonMobil to Russia? Of course not. They want to keep these companies for themselves, and for themselves only.

            • Jen says:

              Karl: Mercedes Benz and Exxon Mobil are already privately owned companies. What their owners do in issuing new shares is none of the business of the German and US governments.

              Rosneft is different as the Russian government owns the majority of the company. There is no harm in allowing 20% of new share issues to be made available to foreigners or allowing 20% of Rosneft shares to be traded to foreign-based buyers.

              Also selling 20% of Rosneft shares is not the same as allowing foreigners a 20% stake in Rosneft assets if you do not know what its assets are or how their ownership is structured. Many if not most of Rosneft assets might already be owned together with other companies in joint ventures. Shareholders of Rosneft might not necessarily have any more say in who can control or sell off those Rosneft assets that are owned jointly with other companies in those JVs, than anyone else off the street. The disposal or transfer of such assets is usually subject to a due diligence review to ensure that no conflicts of interest are involved.

              Also is it really true that Rosneft is making available 20% of its current traded shares or 20% of new share issues to foreigners or is the story actually the one about Rosneft selling a 20% stake in Taas-Yuryakh Neftegazodobycha LLC to BP as part of a joint venture to develop an oil and gas field in eastern Siberia? That’s an entirely different story.
              http://www.worldoil.com/news/2015/11/30/rosneft-sells-20-share-of-siberian-producer-to-bp

        • Special_sauce says:

          they also sell weapons for big bucks

          • yalensis says:

            Plus, Russia charges big $$$ for shooting people into space.
            Otherwise, American astronauts would have to use big trampolines.
            But if all else fails, there is a sure-fire way of raising cash to keep the government going:
            A telethon!

        • marknesop says:

          Calm down, Karl. Actually, the sale of 19.5% of Rosneft, in two tranches, was announced in a press release in August 2014. Before that, BP owned 5.66 % of Rosneft and 18.5% of its shares. After all the horse-trading dust settled, BP owned 19.75% of Rosneft in 2013.

          Maybe they wouldn’t sell now if the price of energy were higher, maybe they would. Who knows? Putin just signed a bill increasing the minimum wage again, so I wouldn’t say they are too up against it yet. Yes, they’re going through their reserves, but America doesn’t have any reserves. It has access to more debt, but is that winning, really?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Is this the beginning of the end of the Russian state as we know and love it? ….

    • Moscow Exile says:

      More bad news for Russia …

      Miss Russia was only placed second in the Miss World contest.

      The end is nigh!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Undeterred by OPEC’s decision to keep pumping and drive out U.S. shale rivals, Russian oil output continued to grow, in October setting a new monthly record for the post-Soviet era. Explorers have remained profitable under a friendly tax system and low production costs.

      Mystery Benefactor

      Rosneft assuaged concerns over the sustainability of Russia’s biggest corporate debt load after the company received a $15 billion advance payment for oil supplies from a source the company didn’t identify, according to quarterly reports published Nov. 13. The inflow of cash will help Rosneft meet $2.5 billion in debt due in the fourth quarter, $13.7 billion in 2016 and $11.3 billion in 2017, according to a presentation on its website.

      See: One Year Into New OPEC Era, You Made 12% Buying These Oil Bonds

      Who might this mystery benefactor be?

      Easy to answer, really: the richest man in the world – Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin!

      Just gottta be him!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      18 December 2015
      Rosneft Holds Board of Directors Meeting

      On December 18, Rosneft Board of Directors considered in Vladivostok interim results of its 2015 operations, the business-plan for 2016-2017, the Long-term development program and the energy efficiency program of the Company.

      The following decisions were taken:

      1. The Board of Directors considered and acknowledged 2015 Rosneft interim results and the intermediate results of the implementation of the long-term development program of the Company. The Board of Directors welcomed the results of the implementation of programs aimed at raising efficiency in challenging economic environment: the Company maintained low levels of OPEX and eased its debt burden.

      2. The Board of Directors considered and acknowledged the business-plan for 2016-2017, structured in accordance with a conservative macroeconomic scenario and focused on the implementation of the Long-term development program of the Company, approved by the Government of the Russian Federation.

      Within the ambit of delivering strategic goals of boosting production, securing deliveries of oil and oil products, maintaining a market share (both in Russia and abroad), the Company plans to increase capital expenditures by a third (compared to 2015 levels). The investment development program envisages the achievement of strategic goals of hydrocarbon production growth by means of accelerated commencement of oil and gas greenfields whilst exercising a balanced external financing program. After the completion of transition to Euro-5 motor fuels production in December 2015, refineries’ modernization program will be focused on increasing processing depth. Also, the program of cutting operating costs and enhancing operating and financial efficiency will be continued. Hence the leadership in the industry by the operating costs and capital costs will be guaranteed.

      3. The Board of Directors considered and approved updated Rosneft Long-term Development Program.

      4. The Board of Directors considered and approved Rosneft energy efficiency program for 2016-2020.

      Commenting on the results of the Board meeting, Rosneft Chairman of the Management Board Igor Sechin said: “Measures taken by the Company for strengthening its oilfield services business dimension in 2015 enabled Rosneft to increase production in order to guarantee supplies to its traditional markets while keeping operating and capital expenditures at the record-low levels. The Company consistently generates free cash flow, providing funding sources for its investment decisions in accordance with 2015-2016 business plan approved by the Board of Directors and the Long-term Development Program”.

      [My emphasis – ME]

  27. et Al says:

    Butnits Insider: Donald Trump left Joe Scarborough stunned after being asked about Vladimir Putin killing journalists
    https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/donald-trump-praises-vladimir-putin-125622048.html

    …Scarborough pointed to Putin’s status as a notorious strongman.

    “Well, I mean, it’s also a person who kills journalists, political opponents, and invades countries. Obviously that would be a concern, would it not?” Scarborough asked.

    “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader,” Trump replied. “Unlike what we have in this country.”

    “But again: He kills journalists that don’t agree with him,” Scarborough said.

    The Republican presidential front-runner said there was “a lot of killing going on” around the world and then suggested that Scarborough had asked him a different question.

    “I think our country does plenty of killing, also, Joe, so, you know,” Trump replied. “There’s a lot of stupidity going on in the world right now, Joe. A lot of killing going on. A lot of stupidity. And that’s the way it is. But you didn’t ask me [that] question, you asked me a different question. So that’s fine.”

    Scarborough was left visibly stunned.

    “I’m confused,” the MSNBC host said. “So I mean, you obviously condemn Vladimir Putin killing journalists and political opponents, right?”

    “Oh sure, absolutely,” Trump said…

    …But Friday during his “Morning Joe” interview, Trump said he always “felt fine” about Putin and touted the Russian president’s poll numbers. Putin’s position in his country is bolstered by the Russian government’s control over much of the Russian news media.

    “I always felt fine about Putin,” Trump said. “I think that he’s a strong leader. He’s a powerful leader … He’s actually got a popularity within his country. They respect him as a leader.”

    Trump contrasted Putin’s numbers with President Obama’s.

    “I think he’s up in the 80s. You see where Obama’s in the 30s and low 40s. And he’s up in the 80s,” Trump said. “And I don’t know who does the polls. Maybe he does the polls, but I think they’re done by American companies, actually.”
    ####

    When I read stuff like this, I’m so glad the US is so far away. Damn modern technology.

    • cartman says:

      That same show is hosted by Zbigniew Brzezinski’s bobble-headed daughter.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      ” it’s also a person who kills journalists, political opponents, and invades countries”

      It’s okay to bullshit if the Culturally Superior Westerner ™ is dissing with libelious claims Inferior Non-Westerner. See, who needs any proof that “Putin kills journalists”? No one! Not even trump or their auditory – They Know It For Fact ™.

      P.S. “Ignorance is Strength”

    • yalensis says:

      Trump should have replied with the standard challenge: “Show me your links.”

      • Cortes says:

        Links = sinister, quoth Iosif Vissarionovich…

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        The American public has as much love for journalists as it does for crab lice – Trump thrives on this.

        Beltway scribblers shriek ‘Putin kills journalists!’ without realising that their audience considers this at worst a morally neutral act.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          This never gets old:

          Q: “How do you call a ship full of lawyers/politicians/journalists at the bottom of the ocean?”

          A: “A good start!”.

          • marknesop says:

            Q. What’s the difference between a lawyer and a halibut?

            A. One is a scum-sucking bottom-feeder. The other is a fish.

            • yalensis says:

              Q: Why did the Acme Toxic Waste Chemical Corporation start using Journalists as test subjects in their lab, instead of rats?

              Answer #1: Because there are certain things that rats just won’t do.
              Answer #2: Because the scientists felt sorry for the rats.

            • Jen says:

              Ha-ha-ha!

              Q: What’s the difference between a disaster and a catastrophe?

              A: A disaster is when a plane full of lawyers / bankers / accountants / politicians / journalists drops out of the sky and crashes into the ocean. A catastrophe is when they can all swim.

              • marknesop says:

                At the height of a political corruption trial, the prosecuting attorney attacked a witness. “Isn’t it true,” he bellowed, “that you accepted five thousand dollars to compromise this case?” The witness stared out the window, as though he hadn’t heard the question. “Isn’t it true that you accepted five thousand dollars to compromise this case?” the lawyer repeated. The witness still did not respond. Finally, the judge leaned over and said, “Sir, please answer the question.” “Oh,” the startled witness said, “I thought he was talking to you.”

          • Patient Observer says:

            It was a slow afternoon at the law office when suddenly in a puff of smoke and a flash of light, there stands the Devil in front of the attorney, The Devils says “I have a proposition for you to consider – I will give you fame, fortune, respect from your colleagues and you will win every case.” The attorney responses “I’m listening” The Devils goes on “All I want in return is the mortal soul of your wife and children for eternal damnation”

            The lawyer thinks for a minute and then says “I don’t get it, what’s the catch?”

      • Patient Observer says:

        Trumps says “Prove it!”. The guy is savvy;
        https://www.rt.com/usa/326633-trump-putin-journalists-deaths/
        As pointed out by others, journalists are lowly regarded so attempts to elevate them to sainthood are not well-received by the 99%.

        • yalensis says:

          Good! Looks like Trump took my advice to demand of the journalists: “Show me your links.”
          Although I am disappointed that none of the commenters on Mark’s blog picked up on my raunchy double-entrendre.
          I guess I’m just too subtle for most people.

        • marknesop says:

          Here’s a comment from a site featuring lawyer jokes, which to my mind provides an excellent explanation for that:

          In response to a comment that says “We are not popular, ’tis true”, Phil writes;

          “Is there any good reason you should be?

          Lawyers account for about 0.05% of the general population and about 40% of politicians, many of whom have never worked in the real world – including our “revered” Prime Minister and our Treasurer (not sure if he has been in the real world but he has certainly lost his way since). 14 of the 20 on the front bench qualified as lawyers.

          Do you need any more examples?”

        • kirill says:

          They will cite one of those “reports” by so-called NGOs that “proves” Putin did it by counting up all the deaths from all causes and under all situations going back to 1991.

          Propaganda smear is rather effective. All the yelping about Politkovskaya implanted the perception that there was a case against Putin. Just as with Litivinenko. Most media consumer sheep don’t have the attention span to notice shoddy allegations when they see them. All they respond to is the serious tone of NATO regime officials and “experts” and conclude that where there is smoke there must be fire. Of course the smoke is coming out of the asses of the “authorities” they defer to.

  28. marknesop says:

    According to the nice financial analysts at BeyondBRICS, China could be looking at foreign investment inflows of $384 Billion in 2016 for its equity markets alone, and $20 Trillion overall by 2020.

    We’ve discussed before, at length, how projections that far out are just guessing. But they expect capital inflows of $30 Billion within the next 12 months, thanks to China’s clever maneuvering to get the Reminbi added to the world’s reserve currency basket, with the attendant Special Drawing Rights (SDR).

    This is going to be the Chinese century, and the world gives it respect because it is afraid not to. Attempts to isolate Russia from the world’s financial markets, whether borrowing, buying or selling, will be futile so long as its relationship with China prevails, and will grow as the relationship develops. Take note, Washington. The Chinese have no trouble getting your number, and there’s none of that fawning “our American partners” from China. The business relationship is pragmatic, and the Chinese are well aware America sees them as a rival and would take them off the board in a trice if it saw the opportunity. Washington can expect the same attitude. To whom will the probability of such opportunities fall? We’ll see. But the United States is not holding trillions in Chinese debt. Just sayin’.

  29. marknesop says:

    According to Madame Jaresko, their decision not to pay the $3 Billion bond to Russia has set Ukraine free, free as a bird, and allowed it to now be in full compliance with the financing requirements of the IMF program. Start shovelin’ in the money, IMF, because Ukraine has the magic formula – just refuse to pay what you owe, call it a ‘temporary suspension of payments’ instead of ‘a default’, and reap the reward for your display of responsibility.

    I foresee the mileage Russia is going to get out of this will far exceed the value of the $3 Billion.

  30. marknesop says:

    Irving, Texas-based Magnum Hunter is the latest American oil producer to seek bankruptcy protection from its $1.5 Billion in owed debts. What a pity; they had such a tough-sounding name, I would have thought that alone would protect them.

  31. Jen says:

    Wooooh, this news is a doozy:

    http://johnhelmer.net/?p=14787
    http://investmentwatchblog.com/mh17-australia-say-russia-not-to-blame-evidence-tampered-with/

    First two paragraphs:
    “The Australian Federal Police and Dutch police and prosecutors investigating the cause of the crash of Malaysian Airlines MH17 believe the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) has failed to provide “conclusive evidence” of what type of munition destroyed the aircraft, causing the deaths of 283 passengers and 15 crew on board.

    Testifying for the first time in an international court, Detective Superintendent Andrew Donoghoe, the senior Australian policeman in the international MH17 investigation, said a “tougher standard than the DSB report” is required before the criminal investigation can identify the weapon which brought the aircraft down, or pinpoint the perpetrators. Their criminal investigation will continue into 2016, Donoghoe told the Victorian Coroners Court (lead image) on Tuesday morning. He and other international investigators are unconvinced by reports from the US and Ukrainian governments, and by the DSB, of a Buk missile firing. “Dutch prosecutors require conclusive evidence on other types of missile,” Donoghoe said, intimating that “initial information that the aircraft was shot down by a [Buk] surface to air missile” did not meet the Australian or international standard of evidence ….”

    • marknesop says:

      Great catch, Jen!! Wow, you’re right – this is big, especially in view of the wavering by some EU members on sanctions. I wonder what Merkel has up her sleeve; she says Germany – while going ahead with Nord Stream II, which is “first and foremost a business proposition” – is “seeking ways to ensure that Ukraine is not completely excluded as a transit country”. Ummm…what role would that be? Because if, in exchange for pushing ahead on Nord Stream, Russia is maneuvered into still sending gas through Ukraine so that Ukraine can collect transit fees, the project would be self-defeating. I trust the business minds in Russia are sharp enough to stay ahead of that one. Ukraine will still receive gas from Russia, if it wants it and can pay in advance for it, but it will be for domestic supplies only and consequently not subject to transit fees. Russia must not weaken on this, because the EU still hopes to rebuild Ukraine using Russian money, and it cannot do it without Russian help and support. If that is withheld, Russia only needs to wait them out.

      Needless to say, Tusk supports Renzi’s position, not because he is an Italiophile but because he supports Ukraine and would like to see it remain a transit country, and pocketing $2 Billion a year in Russian cash.

      What will happen to the resolve of the holdouts if the narrative on MH17 begins to veer away from rock-solid Russian ownership of the tragedy? Because that was the whole backbone of the sanctions – Crimea was not enough to get Germany and France on board, and they still needed the little push that MH17 provided. If that rationale vanished, or even if serious doubt was introduced, the whole EU position on sanctions could fall apart.

    • marknesop says:

      It’s bigger than I thought – there is some sort of internal power struggle going on, and West refuses to change his findings – which still point to Russia for responsibility – in spite of Donoghoe’s testimony. There were revelations in the original post such as that Australia had sought permission from the Novorossiyan authorities to collect evidence and artifacts, as well as Kiev – thereby implicitly recognizing Novorossiya – and that when it solicited witnesses to testify, some agreed only on the condition their names would not be revealed, that the Ukrainian authorities would not be involved and that the investigators would protect them. Sure sounds like they want to say something they know the Ukrainian government will punish them for saying, if it can identify them. This whole inquiry just got interesting again.

      At the moment it looks like a faction of the Australian investigation disagrees with the pat finding of the Dutch, but the Victorian state coroner is totally on board with the “Russia did it” scenario and is determined to have his way no matter how foolish it makes him look. This one could go anywhere from here.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Clearly that Aussie cop is in the pocket of the Evil One!

      Isn’t he the one who said earlier that the Russian-backed terrorists at the MH-17 crash site behaved like decent human beings and treated the crash victims’ remains with dignity and did not loot their belongings?

      I mean, what a ludicrous thing to say!

      Everyone knows that these Russian beasts are ….blah, blah, blah (or бля, бля, бля!)

      • davidt says:

        Donoghue is not the only AFP cop speaking up for the crash site locals. Their sensitivity and humanity is a rather at odds with a disparaging comment about the AFP on these pages over a year ago (and which I objected to at the time). I noticed last week that Patrick Armstrong is now reconsidering the Sukhoi did it scenario because of an apparent lack of fragments from a Buk warhead. This has always been a serious concern to the Russian investigators, see
        http://www.nst.com.my/news/2015/10/russians-angered-dutch-probe

  32. marknesop says:

    How could Ukraine’s government deficit only be 4.1% when its currency has crashed, it has lost most of its sources of income and it has just defaulted on its debt? What the fuck are they talking about?

    “The proposed budget would work to reduce the government’s deficit from 4.1% to 3.7%, with measures including an increase in revenue by widening the tax base.”

    First, there is no way on God’s green earth that there is a negative difference of only 4.1% between Ukraine’s annual revenues and its annual expenditures, especially since it has almost no revenues except from taxation. And now the IMF expects to realize more revenue from widening the tax base – yes, I can imagine what a popular initiative that is. Now you know how Yushchenko felt, Yatsie, when the IMF denied him a second big loan because he refused to eliminate the gas subsidies to residents. Now the IMF has finally realized that triumph through a different leader, and it wants to see even more tax revenue. You are about to be as popular as a turd in the punch bowl; have fun with that.

    • kirill says:

      I would not trust any GDP numbers from the Kiev regime either. They lost 25% of the economy in the Donbas alone not counting Crimea. This has knock on effects to the rest of Banderastan. Yet they are yapping about some 12% contraction in 2015 after a 7% contraction in 2014. I see no clear indication that they are counting the GDP only for regime controlled Banderastan.

      As for the budget, according to regime officials, Banderastan lost 30% of its hard currency revenues with the loss of the Donbass. I estimate the tax loss to Kiev to be about 30% as well. The Donbass was the industrialized part of the country while western Banderastan is primarily agrarian. So talk about 4% shortfalls in revenue is utter rubbish. In most countries the money making parts of the economy subsidize the rest and sure as hell it was not western Banderastan that was subsidizing the Donbass. That was just virulent blood libel such as the claim that Russians settled eastern Ukraine only after the Holodomor.

    • Jen says:

      Must be because Kiev started including prostitution, pole dancing, white slavery, reselling EU products as Ukrainian-made products to Russia and smuggling as legitimate activities subject to taxation revenue collection.

  33. Moscow Exile says:

    The noose tightens!

    Черногория ввела санкции в отношении Крыма

    Montenegro imposes sanctions against the Crimea

    Russia’s imperial adventures are doomed, as is Russia itself!

    Funny how this bad news wasn’t reported from Finland.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Fear not, stalwart Russians:

      Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof,
      Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
      Have in these parts from morn till even fought
      And sheathed their swords for lack of argument

      Ye are made of sterner stuff than that of Western wimps and arse lickers!

      The head of the Duma Committee on international Affairs, Alexei Pushkov is sure that there are international events that are “of no consequence” and that this is “one of them”.

      • yalensis says:

        At the same time, I wouldn’t laugh too hard about Montenegro’s seduction over to the Dark Side. Montenegro’s defection to NATO will not be a MORTAL blow to Russia, but it will still be a SIGNIFICANT blow.
        And if there is still any way to avert this blow, now would be the time.

        There is a reason why the West wants Montenegro so badly – and it isn’t because of their awesome folk dances.
        Hint: Check the geography of the gas pipe lines.

        • marknesop says:

          Extant plans for pipelines to transit Montenegro and eventually connect up with TAP have been in the works since at least 2005. Montenegro is supposed to have sedimentary basins which might hold a fortune in oil and gas, but might hold nothing or might hold gas so high in nitrogen it will not burn, like Poland’s Europe-freeing shale reserves. Russia is not likely going to deter Europe’s ambition to build a forest of gas pipelines to Azerbaijan, where they will happily do business with the most corrupt family in the region just as long as it means they can thumb their noses at Putin. Will Azerbaijan be able to supply Europe with gas, to the exclusion of Russia? No. But fools will learn only one way, and the sad fact is that you cannot tell them something is going to be a mistake and have the warning prevent them from making that mistake. No, they must go ahead and make the mistake, and afterward they will say you wished it on them because you warned them.

          So what am I missing?

          • yalensis says:

            It was my understanding that Russia needed Montenegro to fill in a gap in the Southern pipeline route. Don’t know if that’s moot now with the Turkey fiasco.
            Plus, Montenegro will provide a naval base for NATO on the Adriatic. All in all, this tiny country is a significant loss for Russia.
            Which shows how far-sighted Americans were, when they broke Yugoslavia up into small, digestible chunks.
            And also explains why Russian government is so upset about this latest “chunk” being gobbled up by NATO.

            I just wanted to make the point that it’s not funny or amusing. People like to laugh and joke: “Oh, who cares about tiny Montenegro, with their tiny army…” etc.
            But it has geo-strategic value.

            • marknesop says:

              I don’t know that the U.S. Navy needs a base on the Adriatic; the Sixth Fleet is headquartered at Naples, and all of the Adriatic is within easy reach from there. The Economist is not a very reliable source for military strategy, and is so sneeringly pro-NATO that its objectivity is next to non-existent. We will see, but if Ukraine is not a powerful enough example of another NATO disaster for Montenegrins, then they probably should join NATO. Has it escaped their notice that NATO only actively solicits nations to join when there is something in it for NATO?

              • yalensis says:

                Montenegrans have been brainwashed by decades of NGO propaganda.
                Meanwhile, Russia only barely started to play NGO game and try to influence public opinion by telling its side of the story. A side which the majority would have been receptive too, if this had been done earlier.
                There were some pro-Russian rallies, which were easily broken up by the Montenegran government. Too little, too late.

                I know I’m starting to sound like Karl on this, but still….

                • marknesop says:

                  Well, it’s not necessarily too late if the opposition are active and vocal and can bind the population to their position. NATO has made it clear Montenegro will be enthusiastically accepted, but it’s not a done deal yet. However, it will be if the people do not kick up a stink, and right now. The western media will not give it much – perhaps not any – coverage, but that will not matter if the population makes itself ungovernable unless the government backs off.

                  Montenegrins are still protesting in significant numbers, but the PM has dismissed calls for a referendum because he knows such a referendum would reflect that the people don’t want it. It remains to be seen if they will resist and demand that right, or just say “Oh, well; I tried”, and go passively into NATO.

        • cartman says:

          You forgot that Maria Zakharova has suggested a referendum on NATO membership for Montenegrins. They won’t get one since they already know a majority are against joining.

  34. Moscow Exile says:

    Russian “oppositionist” tweets – don’t you just love ’em?

    Colonel Matt Lee receiving instructions from his superiors

    No doubt the person who posted the above tweet thinks Psaki, Harf, Trudeau, Rear-Admiral Kirby et al. have all been unfairly tested by this Russian FSB colonel Matt Lee and he should not have been allowed to take part in the Dept. of State press briefings because he is an agent of the Dark Lord, whilst the above mentioned Dept. of State spokespersons are all on the side of righteousness.

    • marknesop says:

      I do love them, actually. For anyone who is not stupid, the antipathy the Russian kreakly bear toward Matthew Lee and anyone like him who questions the pat and Manichean State Department narrative bespeaks an admiration for the way the United States government operates. Quite apart for an unhealthy devotion to ‘Murkan nationalism and a clear belief that when America seizes something, it should be grateful because it is a compliment if America wants it, it is a preview of how they would govern if they had power. Russia’s ‘intellectuals’ are great admirers of the disinformation and manipulation of the public consciousness with which the State Department gets about its daily work.

      It is noteworthy that Matt Lee has never at any time expressed any gratuitous admiration for Russia or Putin or the way Russia conducts global affairs. He merely questions the State Department when its lies get too big or when it purports something as incontestable fact which it has gleaned from social media and Syrian activists. But the Russian intelligentsia view him as an impediment to a unipolar world ruled by America The Great And Good.

      • kirill says:

        That’s all these vermin have, ad hominems and character defamation. They are the worst sort of totalitarian scum who have no respect for the work that *actually independent^ journalists like Matt Lee do. The liberasts and their neocon bootlick American counterparts clearly are not worshiping the values that made America great. They worship imperial power and human rights abuse.

  35. Moscow Exile says:

    Депутат польского Сейма обнародовала доклад о зверствах российской военщины в Украине

    Member of the Polish Sejm has presented a report on Russian military atrocities in the Ukraine

    A “Law and Justice” party deputy of the Polish Parliament, Małgorzata Gosiewska, has published a report on Russian war crimes in the Donbass.

    The document on “Russian war crimes in Eastern Ukraine in 2014”, was undertaken with the support of volunteers and concerns the actions of the Russian soldiers and Pro-Russian militants in the Donbass. In addition, the text refers to several events that have ten place in the Crimea and in Russia, where prisoners had been taken.

    The report draws on more than 60 interviews with prisoners. We are talking about such crimes as the deprivation of liberty, physical and mental torture, robbery and murder. Some of the material is shocking in its awful brutality. The document consists of 153 pages.

    In the text of the report it is stated that on the basis of its constituent materials, a notice will be sent to the international criminal court in the Hague.

    One of Lech Kaczyński’s pals = rabid Russophobe

    • Moscow Exile says:

      And this has just popped up on the Russian web:

      On the left: a document by Polish deputies on Russian “war crimes” in the Donbass. On the right: a photo exhibition about the heroes of the ATO [anti-terrorist operation – ME].

    • marknesop says:

      Of course shelling and bombing and rocketing of cities full of civilians, using the state military which is both against the national constitution and international humanitarian law, would not fall under “shocking in its awful brutality”. Shut the fuck up, Poland. It is past time for some unbiased agency to confront Ukraine on its blatant transgressions of international law, which thus far have been deflected with the bromide, “There has been wrong on both sides”.

  36. Moscow Exile says:

    The Revolution of Dignity …

    that’s when a Georgian and an Armenian argue in Russian about which of them is Ukrainian.

  37. Moscow Exile says:

    Market near Domodedovo metro station, Moscow, Mordor, yesterday:

    Bugger!

    No old fish heads and rotten cabbage anywhere!

    • marknesop says:

      Very fresh-looking produce. Remember La Russophobe arguing that America was superior to Russia because fresh-squeezed orange juice was unobtainable in the latter country? Ahhh….the good old days.

      • kirill says:

        That retard obviously didn’t have the mental capacity to note that “fresh squeezed” goes through fungus infested machinery. We have had some nice surprises from Oasis here in Canada:

        http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/oasis-juice-box-holds-nasty-surprise-for-montreal-family-1.2505906

        Even if it is not as grotesque as above, I have noted that sometimes I get acid indigestion after drinking from some of these boxed “fresh” juice containers. So the fungus contamination is not some one-off accident. They just don’t clean their equipment enough and it is probably impossible to keep it clean to the “pure” level anyway. So if you want fresh squeezed orange juice go out and buy fresh oranges and squeeze them.

    • Jen says:

      Ahhh, poor Moscow Exile … reduced to begging for old fish heads and smelly old cabbage at the back of the supermarket for old times’ sake!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Санкции. 1.5 года без камамбера и хамона
      Sanctions: 1.5 years without Camembert and Spanish ham

      In August 2014, when Russia banned the import of European fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat products, many grumbled: “Now I’ll be without Parmesan” or “Where can I get Nutella?” It has been almost a year and a half since we have been living in “need”, and I look on the shelves of our stores and look into our fridge – and there has never been a deficit of anything! Hand on heart, I have to admit that a deficit of goods and products has never happened.

      [The above picture comes from here. Take note that Yeltsin the Drunken Traitor is included in the linked set of photographs above; they are not all from the years of perestroika that were imposed upon Soviet citizens by that other traitor, Gorbachev – ME]

      Yes, it was a shock at first: the same kind of empty store shelves, rationing vouchers and “Well, hello again!” to the late 80s. But the short period of time, when there were no more new deliveries and the old supplies had already been devoured, soon passed by almost unnoticed. Vegetables and fruit were very quickly replaced: “You don’t have any apples, mandarins or peppers?” We’ve got everything! Yogurt? – Yogurt basically never went away…whether tit was made from soya or made in Russia. I have not noticed any shortage of it. Meat supplies, in my opinion have got greater… I at one time stored it away and then forgot all about it being in the freezer: on the shelves nothing has changed

      As regards fish there has been no shortage of supply: never observed any and still don’t

      The most difficult situation was in the cheese and sausage departments, and with ham. Yes, the diversity of the ham was reduced, but you could still find it tucked away quietly on the shelves and it was not hidden away there. Here are some photographs taken recently in shops: on the shelves are foodstuffs from Italy and Portugal.


      Above photograph taken 20 December 2015


      Italian Parma ham

      We had the least luck with cheese, which still hasn’t gone back to how it was before. For about a month they cut the last of it, and then suddenly Belorussian cheese arrived – the same big round cheeses with the same names. Then there were exotic cheeses from Argentina and Uruguay. Recently, I have begun to notice Turkish cheese, which in Turkey is very expensive. Now all the names of European cheeses are there on the shelves, the price tags stating “Made in Switzerland”. These cheeses have become much more expensive, but the gourmets can still afford them.


      On the top shelf – Turkish cheese

      Of course, this business didn’t take place without there being any false claims as regards the product origin. Here is an interesting example; it concerns the well known Latvian firm “Laima”. Here’s a recent photo from a store with this brand of cheese, you may think, but on its tag, which country is stated as its producer? Right! Argentina and Belarus. There’s a lot of this going on, but there are also a lot of genuine substitutions, though, in some cases, things have not actually disappeared: deliveries have just arrived via a third country and some products have generally not gone away – the Lithuanian cheese “Dzhugas”, European berries and Milan sausages were previously in the shops and there they still remain.


      Latvian cheese


      Country of origin – Belarus


      Parmesan from Argentina

      As regards all of this, it is important to note that farming and agriculture has intensified in Russia.There has appeared our own lovely foie gras, cheese, oysters and so on. The replacements are often even much better than the originals – more expensive sometimes, but better. It’s just that the volume of such produce is not that great, and the whole country cannot simply feed itself on wild mushrooms.

      I am not quite on poverty rations, yet, although I have begun to look on imported products more longingly. My instinct tells me that they are forbidden, that I should not take them. However, I am not averse to trying replacement products.

      And after 1.5 years, have you felt any shortage of goods and products?

      I read this and think of the crap I see in the Western media – especially of the Russophobic trolls commenting on Russophobic articles, and wonder where this Russia about which hey seem to know so much yet clearly know sweet FA.

      Oh, and as regards Nutella (made in Italy), my kids are Nutella addicts and I buy them that chocolate goo regularly.

      Mrs Exile does not approve because she says it makes them come out in spots.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Oh, and as regards meat supplies, I had it on good authority many years ago that all the beef imported into Moscow is from Brazil.

        Piggeries are on the increase in Russia now as well.

        I like lamb and mutton (was brought up on it) and I’ve never noticed a deficit of that either. All the Muslim stalls on the markets here have loads of it, and you can buy it in the supermarkets as well.

        In fact, I like Halal sausage. My kids hate it, though.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        The above should also have been italicised from “As regards all of this, it is important to note that farming…” to “And after 1.5 years, have you felt any shortage of goods and products?”

        All the italicised text is my translation of a linked article from Live Journal.

        From “I read this and think of the crap I see in the Western media …” is my comment to the translated article.

      • marknesop says:

        Mrs. Exile is correct – take a look on the label and see how much sugar there is in it. Your eyebrows will disappear into your hair. That’s what makes so much western food junk – there is sugar in everything, in some cases there are heaps of it. I used to buy Nutella because of the claim that it has lots of hazelnuts in it, and nuts are good for you, right? Until the sugar content was pointed out to me. By you know who. Listen to your Russian missus.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      My last two postings following on to the above about food produce in Moscow have suddenly vanished.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        And one of them has just reappeared after posting what I wrote immediately above.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          The still missing posting was to point out the error I had made in the translation that I did to a linked article entitled “Sanctions: 1.5 years without Camembert and Spanish ham”.

          In that translation, I should have italicized the end of it from “As regards all of this, it is important to note that farming… to “And after 1.5 years, have you felt any shortage of goods and products?”

          From “I read this and think of the crap I see in the Western media…” is my own comment on the italicized translation of the linked article that I did.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          And now it has gone again!

  38. Moscow Exile says:

    Greetings from Serbian fans!

    The Crimea is Russia.

    The Ukraine is Russia.

    Alaska is Russia.

    Everything is Russia!!!

    Except Kosovo…

    Kosovo is Serbia.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Could not agree more.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Not “everything is Russia” but “all are Russia”.

      No diacritic (or whatever) over the “e”, thus всё.

      They don’t usually write or print them anyway, just to make Russian even more difficult than it already is.

      • marknesop says:

        More or less the same meaning in this instance, anyway.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I thought that if I left it at “Everything is Russian” that might be interpreted by some that the Serb fans were maintaining that everything on the planet should belong to Russia, whereas “All [все and not всё] are Russian” would be a better translation, namely “All of the above [the Crimea, the Ukraine and Alaska] are Russian”.

    • et Al says:

      LOLZ. ‘Kosovo’ has been denied visa free travel by Brussels a few days ago which the Albanians find terribly unfair:

      http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/kosovo-minister-fumes-at-eu-over-visa-liberalisation-decline-12-17-2015

      The Albanian mafia running Kosovo seemed to believe that anything goes and that their behavior, however bad, they will get a pass. The problem is that no one gets a life time free pass from the West, even if they were favorites once. Tool successfully used, tool discarded when it proves to be a bigger burden and embarrassment.

      • marknesop says:

        There should be a warning in there for Ukraine, but the present government is too stupid to see it and too stubborn to heed it if it did notice. And just a quick roundup of Ukraine’s behavior in the last month is enough to suggest that Kosovo does not need to give it loose-cannon lessons.

  39. Moscow Exile says:

    Собчак — «интеллектуальный нищеброд»

    Sobchak – an “intellectual bum”.

    http://vesti.lv/upload/picture/picture/2015_12/335731/original__1_-new_article.jpg?1450611309

    Прошедшая пресс-конференция президента РФ отличалась и еще одним примечательным фактом. Как сообщило «Эхо Москвы», «эпатажную диву Ксению Собчак вывели из зала, где проходила пресс-конференция президента РФ, из-за ее полной неадекватности вследствие наркотического опьянения». При этом корреспондент «Эха» заметил: «Собчак действительно была неадекватна и явно не в себе – ее задержание было необходимо. Надо признать, что в последнее время Ксения все меньше напоминает журналиста, и все больше – интеллектуального нищеброда». Однако этот момент ни государственные, ни либеральные СМИ предпочли не освещать – возможно, независимые масс-медиа решили «не сдавать “своего человека”», а остальные – что сама по себе Собчак не настолько интересна, чтобы из-за нее портить атмосферу большого события.

    The latest press conference of the President of the Russian Federation differed in yet another noteworthy way. As reported by “Echo of Moscow”, “outrageous diva Ksenia Sobchak was led out of the hall where the press conference of the President of the Russian Federation was being held owing to her being completely incapable as a consequence of her being high on drugs”. The correspondent of the “Echo” said: “Sobchak was really incapable and clearly not herself – it was imperative that she be apprehended. I must admit that lately she less resembles a journalist and more an intellectual bum”. However, this time neither the state nor the liberal media have chosen to cover up for her: possibly the independent mass-media has decided “not to hand over ‘their man'”; as for the rest, Sobchak in herself is not so interesting that the atmosphere of the big event be spoiled because of her.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Bum link!

      Forgot to delete its end.

      Here again is the above linked picture of the liberal society nose-picking drugs abuser:

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      M-maybe it was, ah… part of the “performance”! Yeah, totally! This was all part of the post-modernist live-permormance act AKA “Live re-enectment of Nastasya Filipovna from the Down House movie”

      Transl: “I’ve been brought by you to the “point of assembly”. You’ve got me lose my innocentce under the Pink Floyd and got addicted to Zen Buddhism, and themselves plan to marry someone else?.. I’ll surely splash some sulfur acid at your face in. I will sue you. For the molesting of a minor citizen of the Ukraine. Me, that’s it. No marrige with someone else for you! And money has nothing to do with it – I don’t know how to use them anyway! […] You, boar.”

      (I should totally re-watch “Down House”…)

  40. Moscow Exile says:

    And browsing through Echo of Moscow whilst seeking out info on that little Sobcheck tid-bit, I found this latest gem from one of the liberal elite carpet chewers – the carpet-chewer in chief, in fact:

    КОД ДОСТУПА
    19 ДЕКАБРЯ 2015, 19:05
    Ю. Латынина

    ACCESS CODE
    19 DECEMBER 2015, 19:05
    Yu. Latynina

    Good evening. Yulia Latynina, “Access Code”, as always at this time on Saturdays. The US has lifted its ban on oil exports, and the White House press Secretary has appeared at a press conference accompanied by imperial storm troopers from “Star Wars”. So it is not clear which side the White House is on.

    In fact, the most important news is about oil. I don’t know how much of a fall in the price of oil this will lead to, because, as is generally the case, the markets had probably already basically caused what the news is about. But just think about it for one moment.

    In Russia the ruble is falling: it is falling terribly, and with it living standards are falling as well. Why? Because of the low price of oil. Question. The United States produces more gas than Russia, and also produces not that much less oil, and it is believed that by 2017 the USA will come out on top in world oil production, overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia. Why does the US not drop the price of the dollar? Why is it that no one considers the US as a great energy power?

    The answer, of course, is very simple: it is because (INAUDIBLE) oil and gas. And besides that… they are processed and converted, mostly. They are processed and so receive a huge added value, which primarily relates to the petrochemical industry of the USA, which has cheap gas and is experiencing a rebirth. We have almost no such petrochemical industry.

    We have, as it turns out, even one company, SIBUR, which (according to what has just been revealed by a Reuters investigation) before Mr. Shamalov’s marriage had been partially sold to him as a dowry. Now we even have the company SIBUR basically operating in the same manner as happened in Soviet times.

    Why, strictly speaking, is the ruble falling? We have a falling ruble, not because we produce a lot of oil and gas. As I said, the US now produces more of both. We have a falling ruble because Putin’s regime has burned down all that produced independently. Everything in Russia is either oil or gas, and they are directly controlled by people close to the Kremlin, with rare exceptions such as LUKOIL, or businesses run by talented young people such as Rotenberg or Chaika’s sons.

    • marknesop says:

      As usual, Yulichka does not do even the most basic research; she simply identifies what she perceives to be “the problem”, and plunges ahead with her analysis of who is to blame for it – which is always, *surprise!!* the Kremlin.

      The oldest refinery still operating in Russia is RosNeft’s Tuapse facility, which began operations in 1929. Russia has had some level of refinery capability since then, although – significantly – following the capitalist lash-up in 1991, in which the oiligarchs seized control of state industries, most refineries became part of an associated oil company.

      At present (2013 report), there are 50 refineries in Russia, including 23 major refineries integrated within VIOCs, 8 independent refineries with an annual capacity of more than 1 million tonnes, and 15 small refineries with an annual capacity of less than 1 million tonnes. Russia’s refining output in 2013 totaled 275.2 million tonnes, with a weighted average utilization rate and depth of refining standing at 92.9% and 72%, respectively. In the same year, Russia exported about 70 million tonnes of fuel oil and vacuum gas oil (roughly 75% of total production), 35.5 million tonnes of diesel fuel (about 50% of total production), and over 10 million tonnes of naphtha and gasoline.

      Unsurprisingly, Yulichka does not know anything about what she is saying. Unsurprisingly, her solution to whip Russia into shape is to make it more like the United States – or, better still, just let the United States take over ownership and management and run it like a colony.

      “In 2008, the Russian Government embarked on a number of legislative initiatives to encourage gradual and extensive renovation of domestic refineries. Among them was Decree No. 118 of 28 February 2008, introducing new technical requirements for automotive and aviation gasoline, diesel and marine fuel, jet fuel and heating oil, and setting quality limits on oil products and time frames for transition to higher-grade fuels…In 2011, the Government took another step to push the development of the national downstream sector by adopting a State Program aimed at the upgrading of existing refining capacities and the introduction of secondary processing capacities by 2020. The intent of the Program is to renovate and construct 124 secondary processing units at existing refineries within the next four to five years. The Program envisages three consecutive phases: (i) an engineering phase; (ii) a procurement phase (mostly long-lead items); and (iii) a construction phase (construction, assembly and commissioning, as provided by quadripartite agreements between the Russian Federal Anti-monopoly Service, the Federal Service for Environmental, Technical and Nuclear Oversight, the Federal Agency for Technical Regulation and Metrology and VIOCs). The Russian Ministry of Energy, a government agency appointed to oversee the progress of work under the Program, underlines that the upgrading of refining capacities will have major social, fiscal, environmental and economic impacts.”

      As I have pointed out before now, the list of the 10 most profitable companies in America includes as many energy companies as does the same list for Russia. Exxon-Mobil and Chevron-Texaco are actually big profitable companies with huge lobbying influence upon the US government, rather than charitable institutions which distribute their income amongst the people – that must be Libya she’s thinking of, although they don’t do that anymore either, now that Gaddafi is gone and Libya is a prosperous western-oriented market democracy.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Yeah, I knew she was talking out of her arse, as usual, but I just threw out part of her article to see what you folks thought.

        I’m talking about the blithering nonsense she utters as regards there being practically no petrochemical industry here. She spins this yarn, much beloved in the West, that Russia’s sole export is crude oil and natural gas.

        I should add that the above head-banger is talking all the time above about crude [нефт] and I should have written “crude oil” throughout the above translation. She is not talking about engine oil, heavy oil, kerosene, gasoline etc: she is talking about “crude”, and that is what Russia exports, she believes, because Russians are too dumb to process it – unlike the Americans, of course

        And I know this is bollocks because I work/have worked for several oil companies here, both Russian and foreign (tomorrow I shall be working at Total-Vostok, the eastern division of the French company Total) and I know full well about the presence of refineries here because the people I work with are often flying hither and thither to these refineries.

        But she doesn’t know of all of this, it seems – or she doesn’t want o know: she just rants on and on about Putin this and Putin that and the Kremlin.

        I’ve said this before, but I’m sure these people such as Latynina are certifiable – as manic obsessives.

        Here’s some info about the refining interests of Rosneft:

        Oil Refining

        Rosneft Refining Assets in Russia

        And yes, the Crimea is included on the above map!

        Why do they pay that woman to talk such shite?

        • Jen says:

          I’m sure Latynina’s article would be considered an example of a circular argument trying to make its ends meet in a circle.

  41. Lyttenburgh says:

    Very en-lyttening [:)] video by Anatoliy Shariy (eng subs) about Wabbit Senya’s amazing ability to be both shizophrenic and Ukrainian n PM. Or he’s just lying:

    • marknesop says:

      Europe deserves Ukraine. Let them have it, the quicker the better. It’s fine when Yats is selling that stinking mess to his simple-minded constituents, but European policymakers will see through it right away. Unfortunately, Brussels knows better than to bring Ukraine any closer into the fold, because if they get a visa-free regime, the place will empty out in a week as Ukrainians flee throughout Europe (which is already, everyone must know, full of refugees) looking for jobs.

    • marknesop says:

      Washington does not care who assumes power in Syria – whether it be feuding warlords or an Islamic mullah or Assad’s cat. Washington knows that Islamic State needs money to survive and keep power, as does any individual or group who will rule, and that to remain in power, it will sell oil. Good enough, as far as Washington is concerned. If the place remains a seething cauldron of destabilizing hatreds, so much the better.

      • Tim Owen says:

        I read this carefully earlier today and wish I had made some notes.

        It’s an interesting article just in what it says about the politics of American journalism at this point in time almost regardless of the subject matter in a kind of Kremlinology vein. It almost reads like a ransom note. My impression is that Hersh is pulling punches at some key points in order not to overplay his hand.

        My suggestion: don’t get bogged down in the details. From my recollection of the piece from earlier today Hersh is basically championing a few figures and – most importantly – their perspectives here:

        – Michael Flynn, who led the DIA revolt against Syria policy
        – Dempsey, a pragmatic cold warrior who is allergic to making the enemy into a cardboard super-villan (good enough for this Putinista)
        – Patrick Lang (more below)
        – and that wonderfully clear-headed Hawaiin congress-critter (can’t be arsed to look her up)

        It’s worth remembering that Hersh’s articles on the Ghoutta attack immediately predated the great stand-down by Obama from all out air-war to destroy Syria.

        Given that it’s axiomatic that journalists are really mouthpieces for political factions within their own government power structure and that the BEST journalists – like Hersh – actually embrace this reality, what does the appearance of this article augur?

        I especially like the sign off:

        “The Joint Chiefs and the DIA were constantly telling Washington’s leadership of the jihadist threat in Syria, and of Turkey’s support for it. The message was never listened to. Why not?”

        That sounds kind of threatening. In a good way.

        * Regarding Patrick Lang, I noticed that he posted a quite vehement attack against conspiracy theorists postings on his blog who were – if I recall correctly – claiming that the military were involved in the subterfuge to arm extremists in Syria. (Probably cocked up the details but too tired to check.) It struck me as noteworthy as it suggested an internecine intra-Washington struggle between Military / CIA who was going to “own” the debacle in Syria at the very least. It is utterly reminiscent of the struggle between Dulles / CIA power structure (think: institutional group think) and the incoming JFK administration / New Frontiersman during and after the Cuban Missile Crisis.

        In other words: we, the west, have basically made no progress fighting for reform of our leadership and political structures. Meanwhile the Russians seem to have gone “right round the horn” – as the dinosaur in Toy Story might put it.

    • yalensis says:

      Wow! this is some deep and dirty skullduggery indeed.
      Implies a clandestine conflict between CIA and Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
      This paragraph stands out for me:
      In July 2013, the Joint Chiefs found a more direct way of demonstrating to Assad how serious they were about helping him. By then the CIA-sponsored secret flow of arms from Libya to the Syrian opposition, via Turkey, had been underway for more than a year (it started sometime after Gaddafi’s death on 20 October 2011).​* The operation was largely run out of a covert CIA annex in Benghazi, with State Department acquiescence. On 11 September 2012 the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed during an anti-American demonstration that led to the burning down of the US consulate in Benghazi; reporters for the Washington Post found copies of the ambassador’s schedule in the building’s ruins. It showed that on 10 September Stevens had met with the chief of the CIA’s annex operation. The next day, shortly before he died, he met a representative from Al-Marfa Shipping and Maritime Services, a Tripoli-based company which, the JCS adviser said, was known by the Joint Staff to be handling the weapons shipments.

      Am I reading this correctly, is Hersh implying that the JCS had something to do with Ambassador Stevens murder at the hands of jihadis? One always assumes that the CIA controls the jihadis, but in this case it seems their interests were counter to those of the JCS.

      Mirrors within mirrors.

      • yalensis says:

        This also stands out:

        He [a retired senior U.S. diplomat – one of Hersh’s clandestine sources] also echoed a view held by some in the Pentagon when he alluded to a collateral factor behind Russia’s decision to launch airstrikes in support of the Syrian army on 30 September: Putin’s desire to prevent Assad from suffering the same fate as Gaddafi. He had been told that Putin had watched a video of Gaddafi’s savage death three times, a video that shows him being sodomised with a bayonet. The JCS adviser also told me of a US intelligence assessment which concluded that Putin had been appalled by Gaddafi’s fate: ‘Putin blamed himself for letting Gaddafi go, for not playing a strong role behind the scenes’ at the UN when the Western coalition was lobbying to be allowed to undertake the airstrikes that destroyed the regime. ‘Putin believed that unless he got engaged Bashar would suffer the same fate – mutilated – and he’d see the destruction of his allies in Syria.’

        I think this is important, and also shows a moral side to Putin.
        The fact that Putin was bothered by the extreme and sadistic violence that was employed against Gaddafi. Who was basically a good man, who did not deserve this fate.
        As opposed to a violent sociopath like Hillary Clinton, who was invigorated and stimulated by these images of sexual violence.

        • Patient Observer says:

          I was recalling the same thing about Hillary. She, more than any other single figure in US politics, represent all that is wrong and evil with the US and its empire. Obama, for example, is weak, a coward and an egotist. Hillary is a flippin’ psychopath.

        • Fern says:

          I think that’s a good point. It’s pretty clear that a Gaddafi-like exit was planned for Yanukovich which was only prevented by the Russian rescue mission. Since there was clearly no love lost between Putin and Yanukovich and Putin was highly critical of the way his Ukrainian counterpart handled the crisis that led to his ousting, one could only conclude that Yanukovich was saved as a humanitarian gesture.

          This is yet another example of the basic psycopathy of western leaders. Hilary Clinton with her “we came, we saw, he died” while in paroxysms of laughter is one face of psycopathy. But Merkel, Hollande and the rest of the European elite who met and negotiated with Yanukovich over a long period of time, would have welcomed him into the European ‘club’ had he signed the EU Association Agreement and yet who were completely indifferent to his likely murder at the hands of thugs unleased by the coup in Ukraine, is another.

      • yalensis says:

        And Hersh’s article ends with this:
        Obama now has a more compliant Pentagon. There will be no more indirect challenges from the military leadership to his policy of disdain for Assad and support for Erdoğan. Dempsey and his associates remain mystified by Obama’s continued public defence of Erdoğan, given the American intelligence community’s strong case against him – and the evidence that Obama, in private, accepts that case. ‘We know what you’re doing with the radicals in Syria,’ the president told Erdoğan’s intelligence chief at a tense meeting at the White House (as I reported in the LRB of 17 April 2014). The Joint Chiefs and the DIA were constantly telling Washington’s leadership of the jihadist threat in Syria, and of Turkey’s support for it. The message was never listened to. Why not?

        Hersh ends with the question, “Why not?” (I imagine Hersh playing dumb for rhetorical reasons.)

        If Obama actually KNOWS the truth about Erdoğan and Turkey’s role; knows that they are jihadists and present a threat to the U.S.; and still continues to support them and stuff the JCS with compliant generals who support them… then there can be really only one conclusion: Obama has been bought and paid for by forces who want the jihadis/Caliphates to win this war.

  42. Lyttenburgh says:

    Ukraine in lieu of emracing Western values more and more, FINALLY decided to have gay-pride parade in Kiev:

    Yes – poor represenatives of the untraditional sexual orientation (comes as far as Azov) had to wait till the winter! And they were permitted to held their pride-march only at night. It’s appaling that they are so poor and destitute, that can’t buy some flashlights – so they had to use primitive torches.

    Bit it’s efforts that count, right? I sincerely hope that the West and the EU will notice Ukraine’s tireless attempts to become more tolerant and how they emrace with fervor all those Universal Values.

  43. marknesop says:

    Polish spoiler and closet Ukrainian Donald Tusk growing daily more strident in his opposition to Nord Stream II. He now insists it contravenes EU energy rules on diversification of supply – the EU apparently wants pipelines from every supplier so it can choose who is the flavor of the month and encourage sucking-up and cheap prices – and undermines Ukraine’s role as a transit country. And this last – Ukraine’s role as a transit country – must be protected at all costs, apparently, even though you could not send capacity loads through it now based on its deterioration and overall disrepair.

    If Nord Stream II is implemented – even with only half capacity going through each line, due to excruciatingly stupid EU rules about preserving half the capacity for alternative suppliers – it looks as if gas will still go through Ukraine until 2020, when the 2009 agreement expires, but it would be reduced from around 140 BCm to about 30 BCm. Gazprom knows that this would be as bad as none for Ukraine, because its break-even point is around 37 BCm, and only at levels above that it is making money.

    So it is likely to come down to a power struggle between Tusk and Merkel. Tusk wants his buddies the Ukrainians to continue being the largest suppliers to Europe, because their fighting is always with Russia rather than Europe, Tusk doesn’t give a fuck if they stiff Russia on payments or siphon free gas for their own use, and Tusk doesn’t want Europe to have to come up with an extra $2 billion annually to replace Ukraine’s lost transit fees. Merkel wants Germany to be the pan-European gas hub, and continues to defend the position that it is a commercial enterprise and politicians should stay out of it. Additionally, she knows quite well that if Ukraine loses $2 billion a year and successfully beseeches “the EU” to replace it, the money will in all probability come mostly from Germany.

    Who will win? We’ll see. But if it’s built, Russia will have Europe by the goolies, because all that fluff about alternative suppliers is just that, and Brussels can puff and blow all it likes – if Brussels wants other suppliers to serve Europe and they have enough gas to make it worthwhile, they are not going to want to offer it at cheaper prices than Russia because there will be no profit in it for them. That includes American LNG. The report specifically mentions The Netherlands and Norway and their lucrative European gas markets, but Norway’s reserves are in steep decline. I’m not sure about The Netherlands, but I doubt they are even in a position to make up Norway’s shortfalls.

    • kirill says:

      Putin better not sit on the sidelines and let these EU-tards dictate to Russia. He should be calling a news conference to announce the termination schedule for gas transit through Banderastan today. The EU-tards, being retards, believe that they somehow can force Russia to transit its gas via Banderastan. Russia should disabuse them of this notion.

      • marknesop says:

        Nord Stream II is in the hands of corporatists now, except they are the ones backing it rather than trying to kill it. Politicians against corporations? In an environment in which the latter own and pay for the former? Tusk might have big balls just now, because he’s not elected, at least not by the electorate. But his clout is limited by the politicians who are.

  44. Moscow Exile says:

    – I want everything that is Soviet to vanish!

    – As you say.

    In the picture on the right, after the Pig’s wish has been granted, all that remains in the so-called state known as “The Ukraine” are open fields, the River Dnieper and the Kiev Pechersk Lavra.

  45. Moscow Exile says:

    The new police force has the right to resort to the use of weapons if there is another Maidan – Avakov

    Waddya say to that “Gosh” Ashton, Frau Kanzler Merkel?

    PUBLISHEDJAN 22, 2014, 6:23 PM SGT

    BRUSSELS (AFP) – EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday urged “an immediate end” to the escalating violence in Ukraine following reports of the first fatalities in two months of pro-EU protests.

    “I strongly condemn the violent escalation of events in Kiev overnight leading to casualties. The reported deaths of several protesters is a source of extreme worry,” Ms Ashton said in a statement.

    “The use of force and resort to violence is not an answer to the political crisis. All acts of violence must come to an immediate end and be swiftly investigated. Those responsible will have to be held to account,” it added.

    Two activists were shot dead on Wednesday during clashes with security forces in Kiev, the general prosecutors said, the first fatalities since the start of protests over President Viktor Yanukovych’s failure to sign a deal for closer ties with the EU.

    Saying she was deeply concerned about attacks on journalists and reports of missing persons, Ms Ashton called on the government and the opposition to begin “a genuine dialogue at the highest level”.

    “The solution needs to meet the aspirations of the Ukrainian people,” she said.

    Yeah, well … democracy has to be defended, innit?

  46. Moscow Exile says:

    What utter, utter balderdash!

    • Jen says:

      Putin’s been an ex-KGB staffer longer than he was in the KGB. Whereas no-one says Cameron has been an ex … an ex … well, whatever. Ex-lover of pork meat perhaps?

    • kirill says:

      Duly elected and popular “strongman”. You will note that Hitler imposed a dictatorship after his party managed to win the most votes, but not a majority, with the Enabling Act in 1933. Has “strongman” Putin needed to engage in such tricks? He has faced the voters four times already. Russia is a presidential republic so Putin does not need his party to win in order to be elected.

      And Putin has had always more than three other candidates to face. Contrast to the USA where the occasions where a third candidate appears are always associated with dirty tricks. Ross Perot dropped out of the race after some thugs threatened his family at their home and it looked like government thugs. Ralph Nader was prevented from even showing up on ballots in many districts because Democrat-Republican dominated election committees have the power to block candidates. By the standard of US anti-Russian propaganda, America is a dictatorship.

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