Last Train From Desperateville

Uncle Volodya says, "There are no humane methods of warfare, there is no such thing as civilized warfare; all warfare is inhuman, all warfare is barbaric; the first blast of the bugles of war ever sounds for the time being the funeral knell of human progress.”

Uncle Volodya says, “There are no humane methods of warfare, there is no such thing as civilized warfare; all warfare is inhuman, all warfare is barbaric; the first blast of the bugles of war ever sounds for the time being the funeral knell of human progress.”

NATO’s sandlot team, the Atlantic Council, is off to the kind of grim start for 2016 that suggests it has given up hope, and reconciled itself to blowing the grant money on recreational drugs. Aaron Korewa’s non-stop nonsense piece for that august deliberative body sounds like the original was probably finger-painted on whatever parts of his body he could reach given the restriction of his leather restraints. I have to say, if that’s the best that Chevron’s, Lockheed Martin’s, Thompson-Reuters’, Bank of America’s, Raytheon’s, Boeing’s, Thales’, Conoco-Phillips’, Exxon-Mobil’s and Northrop-Gruman’s cash will buy, we’re in for a year of world-class  flailing in the quicksand pit, and we will have a ringside seat.

A bit about the author, before we go on – Aaron Korewa is a Pole by ethnicity, who grew up in Stockholm and is an American citizen. With all those disparate foreign influences jangling around in him, he has never been to Russia, although it is his personal whipping-boy; his knowledge of it is that of the typical Atlanticist: constructed from ideology. He is also a former political adviser to Carl Bildt, the Swedish speed-bump who was that country’s former Foreign Minister. He was, in short, fated to be a Russophobe, and he has fulfilled his destiny early.

So let’s take a peek inside his love-letter to Ukraine, shall we?

If you like your crazy cobbler served up fresh and hot, this is the piece for you, because he gets straight to it. Ukraine united against ‘Russian aggression’ (the ‘must-mention’ buzzword of the Atlanticists) in 2015, he says, and proved to Russian President Vladimir Putin that it was no pushover. How do we measure the sobering effect of Ukraine’s fierce resistance? By Putin’s not mentioning Ukraine even once in his 2015 address to the Russian Federal Assembly.

Perhaps that was because Mr. Putin is becoming bored with the ongoing stalemate in Ukraine, and that’s why it did not rate a mention. It certainly was not due to the inspirational nature of its fierce union in resistance – Ukraine did not win a single victory in the whole of 2015, its advance on Donetsk was slowed, halted and then rolled back in 2014, and Kiev squealed for a ceasefire when it began to lose ground, culminating in the disaster of the Debaltseve cauldron. Kiev’s efforts throughout 2015 have been focused on defending Mariupol from being re-taken. I could be wrong, though, and invite Mr. Korewa to highlight for me examples of Ukraine’s spunky defense against ‘Russian aggression’ in 2015.

There were plenty of defeats, however; in the fall of 2014, several hundred Ukrainian soldiers walked over the border into Russia and surrendered.  This, brilliant Ukrainian military tactician Colonel Andriy Lysenko confided to The Wall Street Journal, was part of a cunning plan. The soldiers had not deserted – oh, no; perish the thought. Instead, they had covered the escape of their comrades (escape? I thought the Ukrainian Army was always advancing) and then – hard luck, damn it – ran out of ammunition. So they destroyed their weapons – for which they had no ammunition, I guess out of spite since they were probably made in Russia – before crossing into Russia to carry out Lysenko’s mission. Which was apparently to eat and drink up Russian supplies, thereby leaving less for the Russians. Machiavellian, I’m sure you will agree. They certainly showed Putin they were no pushover.

Nor was that the only embarrassment; in 2015 the Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s office admitted that some 8000 Ukrainian soldiers and law enforcement personnel had deserted to the Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic. How many from the republics deserted to Ukraine? *Crickets chirping*.

The author goes on to speculate that not mentioning Ukraine is part of an eebil plan by Putin to ensure that Ukraine ‘disappears from the world’s attention’. Amazing. Merely by not talking about Ukraine, Putin prevents the rest of the world from discussing it. The power to cloud men’s minds, like The Shadow. Mr. Korewa follows this with the lame canard that President Putin has ‘admitted’ that there was a Russian military presence in Ukraine. He said no such thing; it would be surprising, considering there is a hot civil war going on right on its border, if there were not a military intelligence officer or two in the region of the conflict, but there has never, ever been any evidence of the thousands of regular Russian troops claimed by the Ukrainian security services and the Kyiv Post‘s ‘military expert’, Dmitry Tymchuk. And according to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s is one of the five strongest armies in Europe.

Yarrr, me hearties! Where be the salo that I bin hearin' about?

Yarrr, me hearties! Where be the salo that I bin hearin’ about?

But enough about that – there’s more easily-debunked foolishness, but what I really wanted to talk about is his spectacular accusation that President Putin has ‘decided to try his luck at sea’, by pirating Ukraine’s oil rigs.

It is Mr. Korewa who is completely at sea, I’m afraid, and there’s a good and obvious reason for it – look at his source. Euromaidan Press.

Euromaidan Press is partnered by the BBC, Kyiv Post, The Guardian, New Republic and Forbes, among others. The Managing Editor is Alya Shandra, seen here firing up activists to join in a seminar at Cambridge featuring comedians and movie producers who will teach civic activists how to keep Ukraine on the front pages in the information war, so more people will be hip to “this horrible, horrible thing Russia is doing to our country”. The same Alya Shandra who is a cheerleader for the UPA, and buddies up with Anna Nemtsova of The Daily Beast to helpfully explain why the resurrection of the swastika in Ukraine is nothing to get upset about – it’s just branding, and it worked like a hot damn, because as soon as they adopted it, “ we immediately grew popular among young people. Those who join us know exactly what they want, and they are ready to go to the very end. … A yellow swastika on a black field stands for power and spirit.

Euromaidan Press, as well as quite a few Ukrainians, as well as Aaron Korewa are under a mass delusion that the reunification of Crimea with the Russian Federation is illegal, and insist upon referring to it as “Occupied Crimea”. Such an entity would presumably not have a maritime exclusion zone. Once more, several nations – Russia foremost among them – warned NATO that Kosovo would come back one day with a big roll of western ass in its jaws, and now it has. Western nations welcomed the unilateral independence of Kosovo and energetically defended its statehood. Prevailing legal opinion was that a unilateral declaration of independence was a matter outside international law, and that statehood was a quality most accurately captured in existing autonomy; a distinct population, say, the existence of infrastructure, a banking system, the means to live apart. Crimea was pretty much the poster-boy for that concept, was even titled The Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and since its secession Ukraine has only worked harder to make it more independent, by cutting off its electricity and water supply. Never mind that those actions are illegal under international humanitarian law, because the west defends the principles of international law on a convenience basis.

The whole issue hinges on whether or not the incorporation of Crimea into the Russian Federation was illegal. If it was, objectors are waiting the dickens of a long time to take it to court. It is the opinion of the International Court of Justice at The Hague that the process by which Crimea seceded from Ukraine was not illegal, which is why Ukraine’s defenders focus exclusively on the referendum which resulted in Crimea’s reunification with Russia, attempting to portray it as coercion by Moscow. Subsequent events have made that pretty unlikely. Although Ukraine throws a screaming fit every time anyone acknowledges that Crimea is a part of Russia, that’s merely an acknowledgement of reality, and Kiev is fighting a losing battle against reality – comforted by its chief sponsors, who likewise refuse to recognize reality.

That being the case, international law on the subject prescribes that countries with sea frontage are entitled to claim a maritime exclusion zone of 230 miles from their shores. Russia announced immediately upon accepting Crimea into the Russian Federation that international law would govern the seabed boundaries, which the New York Times characterizes as ‘a single bland sentence buried in the document’, as if that sneaky Vladimir Blackbeardinov were somehow affirming his bastard pirate roots by relying on international law. How dare he, damn him! Maps helpfully included in the reference detail Ukraine’s maritime boundaries ‘pre-annexation’ and ‘post annexation’, and what is left in the latter example is a narrow swath just off Odessa.

Oops! Euromaidan Press stipulated that the gas field in question, from which the drill rigs were removed, lies 120 km offshore of ‘occupied Crimea’. A few quick stabs at the calculator tell us that is 74.5 statute (land) miles, so seabed territory extending 155.5 miles beyond that point is still claimable by Russia. Also, the rigs in question are the property of Chernomorneftegaz, which is a nationalized company of Crimea and not a ‘part of Naftogaz Ukraine’ as Ukraine Today claims; the United States government promptly confirmed that by slapping sanctions on it. The concept of nationalization should not be a new one; prevention of it was the motive behind the 1953 CIA-instigated coup in Iran which removed democratically-elected Mohammed Mossadegh, because he nationalized the Iranian oil industry – which was owned lock, stock and barrel by the British.

Nobody, least of all Ukraine, made any effort to reassure Russia that Ukraine’s ‘turn toward Europe’ would not harm Russian interests, and quite to the contrary, Ukraine’s nationalist element and its western enablers were so jubilant at the prospect of an easy victory that they could not resist gloating publicly over how they had kicked Russia in the sack.  Ukraine now has only itself and its western friends to blame for its ruin.

“Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And hain’t that a big enough majority in any town?”

Mark Twain, from “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn





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1,122 Responses to Last Train From Desperateville

  1. Moscow Exile says:

    Russian russophobe bloggers relishing the Litvinenko “inquiry” findings:

    Litvinenko said that the world was shocked by Mr Putin kissing a boy’s stomach.

    See: Putin branded a paedophile and money launderer.

    Note: a Russian blog with a linked English language site.

    Kreakl at work! — Educated bourgeois smart arse who assumes that his readers have an adequate command of English to understand what was written in one of Murdoch’s rags.

    More of the same:

    саша сотник: черная метка для путена

    мертвый литвиненко отомстил

    • marknesop says:

      Strangely enough, all the Putin-is-a-pedophile conversation starts from that moment. Yet the idiot British press would have you believe he has been a ‘practicing pedophile’ since he was a student, when he was ‘making sex with underage boys’. He graduated in 1975, and was appointed head of the FSB in 1998. So for more than 20 years these videotapes which did not exist in 1975 languished in KGB vaults…and nobody saw them. Except for Litvinenko, of course, which was lucky, because Putin destroyed them once he was director of the FSB. Except we can eliminate from 1975 to 1988, because Litvinenko was not in the KGB until that year. Only 6 years later he began to work ‘part time’ for Berezovsky, and was working for Berezovsky when Putin was appointed Director of the FSB. You would think that videotapes which appeared before the first video camera did would be a bit more of a novelty.

      It’d be nice to think Putin invented the belly-kissing thing, but it has been done to babies for generations to make them laugh. Get a load of this disgusting practicing pedophile. And this sick woman, teaching her children to grow up to be pedophiles.

      Pity Putin’s moment of weakness, when he could no longer curb his unnatural desire for boy-flesh, came during an event attended by hundreds in broad daylight. The jig’s up, pedophile. Never mind that there were no such incidents before or after – that’s all the evidence we need. Well, that and the videotapes Putin destroyed and nobody else ever saw except Litvinenko. Meanwhile the British have a Prime Minister who fucks pigs heads, and never a dickie about that.

      • Nat says:

        > It’d be nice to think Putin invented the belly-kissing thing, but it has been done to babies for generations to make them laugh.

        In fact I remember very well an interview of the boy or the boy’s mom at the time of the belly-kissing thing, and the story was that the little boy looked very serious/sad and Putin asked him what was the matter to which the boy replied he had a belly-ache, so Putin kissed it to “make it go away”. I will look for a link to that but so far whenever I try to research that article, I get drowned under the current articles relating to the Litvinenko story.

        Also, about the time-travelling videotapes of Putin’s “sex making”, even weirder than the fact that no one ever saw them is the fact that no kid (currently probably well in their 50’s and late 40’s) ever came forward, not even when Putin was a nobody: no complaints, no scandal, nothing ever heard. And it’s videotapeS, so that must mean many instances and many kids. But not even now when the allegations are making the rounds, I see no tearful former victims on TVRain or elsewhere (Though if the powers that want Putin destroyed think of it, I’m sure we’ll soon see hundreds of people “suddenly” remembering their horrendous ordeal).

        As for the videotapes, everyone got it wrong. VVP didn’t destroy them, he hid them in the same safe where he’s hidding his 40 billion dollars.

        • marknesop says:

          You should help me write the next post – most of the good information came from you. Thanks!

          • Nat says:

            Ask and you shall receive Mark (ahem, in all sincerity, sorry for the wall of text):

            Just adding this link (last one, I promise):
            The original article written by no other than Alexander Litvinenko in July, 05, 2006. Some highlights:

            1. “After graduating from the Andropov Institute, which prepares officers for the KGB intelligence service, Putin was not accepted into the foreign intelligence. Instead, he was sent to a junior position in KGB Leningrad Directorate. This was a very unusual twist for a career of an Andropov Institute’s graduate with fluent German. Why did that happen with Putin?”.

            First of all, we all know where that fluent German-talking graduate did end up: In Germany, in foreign intelligence. So, where’s the twist? or the “blank spots”? Here’s Putin’s path in the KGB in his own words (Book: First Person): “At first, they assigned me to the Secretariat of the Directorate, and then to the counterintelligence division, where I worked for about five months. I was sent to agent training for six months. Our school in Leningrad wasn’t too exceptional. My superiors believed I had mastered the basics but that I needed some field preparation. So I studied in Moscow, and then came back to Petersburg for about 6 months in the counterintelligence division. During my six months in counterintelligence training, the officers from Intelligence began to notice me. They wanted to talk. Naturally, I agreed to go into intelligence, because it was interesting. I was sent for special training in Moscow, where I spent a year. Then I returned to Leningrad and worked for awhile in the “first department,” as we used to call it. The first chief directorate is intelligence. It had subdivisions in all the large cities of the Soviet Union, including Leningrad. I worked there for about four and a half years, and then I went to Moscow for training at the Andropov Red Banner Institute, which is now the Academy of Foreign Intelligence. As a result of this training, I was assigned to the KGB representation in the German Democratic Republic [East Germany]. When I studied at the Red Banner, it was clear from the very beginning that I was being prepared for Germany because they pushed me to take German. It was just a question of whether the GDR or the FRG [East or West]. In order to go to the FRG, you had to work in the appropriate department of the central office of the KGB. You had to stick it out for a year or two, or three. It depended on the person. That was one option. Could I have done that? Sure, in theory. The second option was to go immediately to the GDR. And I decided it was better to travel right away.”

            So: Putin didn’t go for training at the Andropov Red Banner Institute until he completed all previous trainings, which makes sense: Basic training (Leningrad), then field training (Moscow), then counterintelligence training (Leningrad), then foreign intelligence training (Moscow-Andropov institute) THEN GERMANY. Almost too boring in its absence of twists. He was not sent to a “junior position in KGB Leningrad Directorate after graduating from Andropov Institute” as Litvinenko claimed , he went to the Leningrad Directorate after the field training to complete his counterintelligence training (If I write the word “training” once more, smack me on the head).

            2. “Because, shortly before his graduation, his bosses learned that Putin was a pedophile. So say some people who knew Putin as a student at the Institute. The Institute officials feared to report this to their own superiors, which would cause an unpleasant investigation. They decided it was easier just to avoid sending Putin abroad under some pretext.”

            Well, again, as is universally known, Putin WAS sent abroad, so what happened, general amnesia at the KGB? Also, I love how according to Litvinenko, “The Institute officials feared to report this to their own superiors, which would cause an unpleasant investigation.” Unpleasant to Putin maybe, but why to the officials? Also I can hardly imagine that institute officials and students all knew about this, but somehow, the know-it-all hear-it-all KGB superiors were all in a blissful ignorance state of mind. Doesn’t strike me as proper KGB superior behavior to say the least.

            3. “Many years later, when Putin became the FSB director and was preparing for presidency, he began to seek and destroy any compromising materials collected against him by the secret services over earlier years. Among other things, Putin found videotapes in the FSB Internal Security Directorate, which showed him making sex with some underage boys.”

            First, Putin was far from preparing for presidency when he was the FSB director, but let’s roll with it. So around 1998, the material that showed a possible future president in the most compromising position was STILL in videotapes? no copies made for future blackmail? no CD burned? At least pictures from the video stills? no, nothing? My beloved James Bond movies are so failing me 😦 Berezovsky who at that time was a big shot in Russia, could have had leverage over Putin forever if only someone (Litvinenko for example since he was in the know of Putin deviations ) had made a copy of the videotapes. But poor Boris just didn’t think of it, naive as he is, and Putin gleefully destroyed the one and only existent copies of these videotapes, the bastard. Also somehow, something that he was only able to watch because he was the FSB director, Litvinenko already knew about as, well, an FSB nothing. Right.

            4. This article is dated July 2006. Litvinenko was killed October 2006. why kill him? He already divulged the unspeakable truth about Putin. The truth is out there, the videotapes are destroyed. Again, why kill him then? If he suddenly died in 1998 when Putin was destroying anything compromising, then yes, maybe. But AFTER the article got published (and literally no one cared) ?! Methinks whoever pushed Litvinenko to write the article IS the one who killed him later. Litvinenko, probably without knowing, was providing the bogus murder motive to pin on Putin later, and consequently lost any usefulness afterwards. He shot himself in the foot to say the least (soon-to-be recognized proverbial expression: He poisoned his own tea).

            • marknesop says:

              Brilliant! If that story could ever be located which had the mother explaining Putin kissing her son’s tummy, it would round everything off. Anyone?

              • Nat says:

                Ok, so after hours of looking in the internet for any combination of stomach, aching, kids, and Putin, and getting through pages of really weird advice about what to do if I am pregnant and my belly aches, here’s the best I found from the Forbes Russian website: ( (The text under the third picture):

                ” Пожалуй, самое известное на сегодня проявление Путиным любви к детям, это случай в 2006 году, когда на Соборной площади Кремля президент поцеловал 5-летнего мальчика Никиту, приехавшего с родителями на экскурсию в Кремль, в живот. Блоги пестрели наблюдениями очевидцев: «На самом деле мальчишка скуксился. Путин, вроде, спросил его, что с ним. Тот сказал, живот болит. Ну и, как отец двух детей, Путин совершенно естественно целует больное место.”.

                Translation: “Perhaps the best-known manifestation of Putin’s love to children happened in 2006 in the Kremlin’s Cathedral Square when the President kissed the 5-year-old boy Nikita, who had come with his parents on a trip to the Kremlin, on the stomach. Blogs were filled with observations of witnesses: “In fact, the boy was sulking. Putin asked him what happened to him. He said his stomach hurt. And, as the father of two children, quite naturally, Putin kisses the sore spot.”

                So it is “наблюдениями очевидцев” i.e the crowd in the Kremlin’s Square and not the mom or the grandmother. So if If you guys check that that’s indeed a legit Forbes website (didn’t know the .ru version existed?), then by the standard of the British Court (possibly maybe and dead people) and the usual sources of the US DoS spokespeople (twitter and unnamed officials), I think that qualifies at least for a “very probably almost certainly what happened” characterization.

              • Nat says:

                The boy and his family in 2012, none of them looking traumatized to have been so close to a multi-recidivist child molester. They even look indecently proud of it: (the relevant part starts at 1.30. It’s a really cute moment, especially the dog story 😀 )

        • Jen says:

          I plead guilty to corrupting a niece when she was a baby into blowing raspberries. At about the age of about 7 – 9 months, she learned from me to stick a finger into her mouth, place her tongue between her lips at the same time and blow. She once disrupted a phone conversation because the person at the other end could hear the noise.

  2. Russian Bot says:

    More comical ‘opinion’ from the Guardian:

    One could write a book about the Guardian’s intellectual contortions to support Atlanticist foreign policy.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Ah, yes – Will Hutton!

      Quite forgot that he existed.

      Tisdall, Hutton, Harding … in the Observer, the sister-rag of the Grauniad – Cohen.

      What a motley crew!

    • marknesop says:

      “Moscow can never create a Google, an Apple, a BBC, a Siemens: for that, it would need the rule of law and all the open democratic structures that support it.”

      You can’t make this shit up. Google creator Sergey Brin, born in Moscow.

      • Gud says:

        This Mr. Brin?

        “Russia is Nigeria with snow. Do you really want a bunch of criminal cowboys controlling the world’s energy supply?”

        A proper thank you to the lands that gave his parents education, enabling the to do Well enough to send their son to Stamford.

        Goes beyond just media, doesn’t it?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          One of the tribe of pipers settled in the USA and elsewhere in the free and democratic West that plays the tune he’s paid to play.

          • Gud says:

            Not quite that simple. Mr. Brin himself (among others) is surely at the top of the Western ruling class, so is free to play any tune he wants.

            It came from his parents:
            “Nobody would even consider me for graduate school because I was Jewish.” According to Brin, at Moscow State University, Jews were required to take their entrance exams in different rooms from non-Jewish applicants and they were marked on a harsher scale.

            While there were pockets of antisemitism (and other kinds of nastiness against all kinds of people) in USSR, this is surely an exaggeration considering:

            When they immigrated they must had to struggle to convince themselves and the immigration officers. Over the years it mutated into arrogant contempt. They are too blind to see how this is so not helping the people who stayed behind, including many of the top-notch Jews.

            The full truth, however, is that Russians back then and now also carry a degree of responsibility for not being better themselves, aside from all the external factors.

            • marknesop says:

              There’s some truth to that, as it was Jewish activists who lobbied hard for the Jackson-Vanik Amendment which poisoned relations between Russia and the USA for a generation, although the Soviet delegation to the USA had promised to drop the ‘diploma tax’ and protested that the amendment would cause resentment against the 85% + Soviet Jews who chose not to emigrate, but to remain behind. The American president was inclined to accept that, but the Jewish activists would have none of it, and the amendment passed.

              • Gud says:

                Yes. They still technically had to apply for a refugee status in the US. Given the help from the Jewish lobby, that they had no problem getting, but they still had to formally justify on paper why they were refugees, including by showing significant ethnic/religion-based discrimination and oppression. That’s where specks of truth got greatly overblown. They also had to justify to their family members leaving the old life behind irreversibly. Many of them were doing rather well by Soviet standards and had rather high social status.

                The reality is they were more of economic migrants seeking better opportunities elsewhere and escaping what, for the most part, was affecting all Soviet citizens. But that will not get one a refugee status.

                The fault for this setup is with the Soviet system, first, as well as the features of the US immigration law. It’s not all immigrant Jews either. Many have a more balanced view. A matter of personal character as well.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Mr. A. Karlin, now resident in the Bay Area, a former Russian citizen who, as a schoolboy, emigrated first to the UK with his family (father a physicist, I think), and then, on reaching his majority, emigrated to the USA, has written about this topic (somewhat tongue-in-cheek at times, I suspect) as regards the various attitudes of different types of immigrants from the USSR/Russian Federation in the United States.

                  He begins his comment as regards Russian-Americans thus:

                  In my nearly 20 years experience as a Russian living in the West, I have found that almost all my fellows can be reduced to five basic types: 1) The White Russian; 2) The Sovok Jew; 3) The Egghead Emigre; 4) Natasha Gold-Digger; 5) Putin’s Expat…

                  See: The 5 Types of Russian American

                • Gud says:

                  Moscow Exile – Yes, I’ve see that “5 types of Russian American.” It certainly has lots of descriptive power, but inevitably on the topic this complex, it does over-box and also misses some important aspects that can add balance. For example, the interplay between earlier more established Jews and the Soviet ones, or the general massive drop in Russian intellectual culture and values in the 90s, separating those that were products of the old versus the new (not quite the same as Soviet vs. Russian).

                  I have Russian Jewish American friends from whom I learned quite a bit. Btw, I myself live in Asia and it’s a complex overall story.

                  On the topic of tongue-in-check, I actually think sometimes explaining the details and real rationale of various things can be a much better approach to dealing with Anti-Semitism. Something which does exist in latent (except for low-class type) form even in America.

                  So, I should add something to balance my previous message, on the topic of Jewish lobby supporting refugees. The origins are in WWII Holocaust, when almost half of the world’s Jews were killed. Back then they had a hard time escaping dangerous areas of Europe, not in the very least due to the very strict US refugee policy of the time preventing them from coming. I am not Jewish myself, and I don’t see how anybody would not understand the Jewish perspective on this and why they would act to affect immigration policy.

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, he probably did say that, and he probably is a conceited prick who has learned – and been encouraged – to run his mouth rather than keeping opinions to himself which which will post-haste be broadcast all over the world. But even if all those things are true it does not negate the bone-deep stupidity of saying “Moscow can never produce a Google” as if the best minds in the world are exclusive to can-do America.

          America is fond of saying of Maria Sharapova that she is not even truly Russian, that she learned everything she knows about tennis in the United States. There’s something about that which sounds a little desperate, don’t you think? Why is Russia the one nation in the world the USA refuses to give any credit at all?

          • Gud says:

            It’s not just what he broadcasts publicly (after one too many glasses of wine). What he and people like him say in private are of even more consequence. Other segments of the ruling class form their opinions based on that. They have massive lobbing powers as well.

            As for “Moscow can never produce a Google” – a bit of truth to both.

            The entire US startup ecosystem is actually rather hard to reproduce. This has to do less with talent and more with supporting things. These include access to capital for high risk projects – the whole pipeline from angel investors, to VCs, to public stock market. Large domestic market. Also, availability of business skills and global market access. Regulations, which enable stock options. Relatively open-minded overall business environment, with people willing to try new things and sign contracts with new not-yet-established companies.

            It’s not just Russia, it’s pretty much the rest of the world that didn’t really figure out how to mix all the ingredients properly. Only recently UK in particular and parts of Europe are getting there. Russia does have the likes of Yandex and VKontakte. They came late and do not have the global reach for the reasons above.

            Americans over-blow this, of course, into some kind of magic ability or some useless generic statements like “rule of law.” The reality is US education system is quite mediocre, especially at primary and secondary level. Big reason to import well-educated immigrants (oh wait, immigration system is also a disaster). Recent student debt fiasco is not going to help either. People with ticking debt are ill-advised to take high risks. The trend with declining middle class is threatening the “large domestic market” ingredient. All in all, the US is coming from a very strong position, but the last few decades lots of damage is being done. Resting on the laurels of past generations, while killing the goose that brings golden eggs. The very same folks pontificating about the speck of dust in other’s eye, completely miss the plank in their own.

            • marknesop says:

              That’s extremely enlightening and educational. The only area in which I feel myself on the same level is my dissatisfaction with American bragging about exceptionalism and other such twaddle. Oddly enough, none of the rest of it is over my head so much as it is something I never thought about and a pattern I never saw. I suppose that’s what makes a good teacher, and it explains the American marketing and startup advantage better than anything I’ve ever seen. Quite breathtaking, really, for breadth of knowledge, and thanks for it.

              • Gud says:

                Many Americans as you might know are also not happy with American exceptionalism either, especially the foreign conflicts that it leads to. Who can possibly be happy with sending American kids from mostly poor family backgrounds to die in vain in the Middle East and not even accomplish the cynical objectives their leadership had. All that bragging on TV, while their personal perceived quality of life is declining and body bags and terrorists keep coming back.

                I personally never get involved in the large international political things before either. Certainly never on blogs. My life is too busy focused on more day-to-day things I can constructively do something about. Yet, recent developments convinced me that I should do my part. Else this will go on for a long long time, and we are all gonna be a lot poorer for it. The devil is in details, and I do know a thing or two about those these details.

                • marknesop says:

                  Yes, and I hope I do not appear to despise Americans in general, because I do not and I feel sorry for those who are stuck with the system they have – particularly people my own age who remember when it was once different. Although now I am forced to question how different it was, because I read “The Little Toy Dog“, the story of the two RB-47 aircrew incarcerated in the Soviet Union for violating its borders. The aircraft was shot down by a Soviet fighter, and I don’t think anyone really knows now whether it actually crossed into Russian airspace or not. The USA said not, but their credibility went down to near-zero when they were caught blatantly lying about Gary Powers’ mission because they did not know he was still alive.

                  Anyway, the story as written is a screaming stereotype that has to be read to be believed; the Americans are taller than everybody else, deeply religious and totally committed to their country, while every Soviet man is an unshaven and unsmiling incompetent in cheap clothing. The Americans are terribly abused in prison, and the values-deficient Soviets mock their bible study and blunt themselves on the Americans’ steely resolve. It’s cartoonish in its unreality and over-the-top propagandizing. And it was written in the early 1960’s, just about the time I would have said American values had reached their peak and the time when the whole world envied them and wanted to be them.

                  I mentioned this book once before on here, but I did not notice when I was linking the citation that it is a collector’s item valued at not less than $150.00. I have a copy, obviously, and it’s in reasonably good shape, but it was a library discard and I got it free.

                • Gud says:


                  It’s not just Americans that are stuck, we all are. Sure, there a different set of pluses and minuses everywhere. The world is so interconnected now anyways, it would not be fair to place all the things, America is typically blamed for, just on America. They are only stuck doing most of the dirty work, with tacit support from other Western countries, and often to their benefit as well (and at times even beyond).

                  True enough, popular history is as revised as present-day propaganda. America just as about any society had had a few contradictory propensities throughout its history. Early beginnings of American Empire go way back to mid 19th century. In many ways, one can say the original continental expansion had an imperial nature to it. Yet, American anti-colonialism sentiment is as old as the American Revolution. Laissez-faire capitalism is in line with the minimal government providing little to their people, especially on the frontier. Yet, old is the populist tradition and willingness to drop free market at a whim (and impose price controls, 90% tax, and other such things).

                  There’s a certain cycle to it. There’s a famous Strauss-Howe theory. Some things especially middle-class economy, personal liberty, directness, media diversity, optimist can-do attitude, meritocracy, constructive world leadership, etc were clearly better at times in the past, and can be better again.

                  Americans taller then anybody else, well, it’s actually observably not true, and I don’t think that was ever claimed. In fact, I think Soviet and American average male hight was about the same. Actually, the over-bearing bravado was also a feature of the Soviet system. “Soviet watches are the fastest watches in the world” as the anecdote went. I guess, one has to be careful choosing the enemy, as one ends up becoming just like them.

                  There’s nothing unique here too. Just go about what British or French were like in their imperial heyday.

            • Patient Observer says:

              I would add to your excellent analysis that the vaunted Brand America was a result of America’s preeminent status after WW II. The US was the place to be if not physically then via emulation. We could make shit and it would be elevated to an undeserved status by our advertising media. Perhaps advertising is indeed America’s unique contribution to modern business and secured America’s leading role in the global consciousness.

              Hollywood was especially effective in fostering the concept that America and Americans were exceptional and of course everything we did was simply the best. So, US business had a free run for, say, 40+ years to build its processes free of serious competition and foreign interference of any sort.

              As America is recognized for what it is (grossly overrated), other countries and cultures will have breathing room to develop unique ideas and develop businesses accordingly.

              Something to keep in mind is that advertising is simply commercial propaganda.

              • Gud says:

                Yes, indeed the American post-WWII preeminence has a lot to do with all the other major powers being bombed out, literally, losers and winners all. There were heavy competitive losses since then, especially in manufacturing. It’s always blamed on somebody else, but the reality also has to do with some short-term mis-management practices and incompetent industrial policy. Japanese and German manufacturing is still doing reasonably well, despite China.

                Yet, America still has lots of strengths, including some unique cultural ones. Lots of American ideas and ideals spread around the world and had a huge benefit to all of humanity. Sure, some not so good ones as well. It’s not as if absolute prosperity is a zero-sum game. I hope Americans will come back to their senses in time to turn the situation around, fix the American Dream (domestic and international version of it), and play a constructive leadership role reforming the world order into something that can last. There are some hopeful signs of that, at last.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  As an American, I do attempt to rationalize/defend some American values. But, as I become aware of other cultures and gain some insight on how people come to form their personalities, the less regard I have for American values. I suppose I can say the same can be said for other countries as well to a lesser degree.

                  The fundamental characteristic that gave America its advantage in the world was little more than winning the geographical lottery. Its protective isolation, abundant natural resources (benign climate, great agricultural lands, a river system ideal for transportation, a native population that was easy to murder into oblivion) were the “secrets” of American success.

                  My father, a patriotic American, would not hesitate to say that the Japanese (from first hand experience), Vietnamese, Russians and especially Serbian soldiers were tougher, more clever and braver than American soldiers.

                  Like most lottery winners, America, too, has and will continue to squander its unearned blessings. America certainly added several chapters to the story of human civilization but they will not be regarded as anything more than a side story to the evolution in human civilization in my opinion.

                • Gud says:

                  As not an American, but somebody who has in the past lived there long enough, I think it is a common reaction to swing too far the other way in response to over-bearing chest thumping in the media, etc.

                  Sure, geography had something to do with it, but did it work so well for the previous natives? The protective isolation didn’t simply come around. It was something quite engineered with countless of wars, land deals, and folks toughing it out in the expending frontier. Lot’s of stale geopolitical theories abound and fail to reconcile with the world becoming smaller with batter transportation technologies, more efficient agriculture occupying ever smaller fraction of the economy, and so on.

                  “American values” is a propaganda meme, which is actually rather recent, I believe, just over a decade or so. The variance within any society is so large, when it comes to morals/values, that there’s more difference within than between societies. America is certainly a European country in many many ways, and is only a part of the movement called “Enlightenment” and “Industrial Revolution.”

                  Still, there is such a thing as an “American mindset,” which is a set of distinct ways in which people’s minds tends to differ from other societies. It’s not a constant, nor is it any of the most popular propaganda themes, such as “democracy” or “rule of law.” A relatively pragmatic flexible approach to doing things, a belief that everyone should be able to do well and get to the top, if they try hard enough. Sure, right now the vested interests are entrenched enough to make it, but just a “dream” for the vast majority. Yet, this is ultimately something in the hands of the people themselves. Let it go, and what’s left is another rigid caste old Europe style society, from which many of the Americans escaped in the first place.

                  Sure, other folks have their own strengths, too. All societies learn and pick up from each other throughout all of history. If one is to arrogant to do that, one only puts oneself at a disadvantage. Other folks can fight harder, sure. Anybody will when it is a matter of survival (as it wasn’t for the Americans).

                  Indeed, at present, what will happen by default in not too distant future is an implosion. Perhaps, something quite similar to the Soviet Union. The shock-waves will travel all over the world and it will not be pretty anywhere. It will do huge damage to ideas which came to be tied with America (in my view erroneously so), such as democracy and personal liberty. Just as something truly ugly can re-emerge in America. I do not think this is quite inevitable yet. Surely, it’s worth a try for those with skills and energy to avoid the worst-case scenarios. It’s not wise to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

  3. et Al says:

    An old Slate article on Scaramella from 2006: The Secret Life of Mario Scaramella

    What a bit player in the case of the radioactive Russian tells us about Berlusconi’s Italy.
    By Alexander Stille

    The story of Alexander Litvinenko—the former KGB agent contaminated with the radioactive isotope polonium-210 who died in a London hospital insisting that he had been poisoned by agents of Russian President Vladimir Putin—grabbed the world’s attention. But what of Mario Scaramella, who met with Litvinenko at the Itsu sushi bar in Piccadilly Circus and was himself diagnosed with the dangerous radioactive substance in his blood? *

    He is a kind of Rosencrantz or Guildenstern of the Litvinenko tragedy, a minor character who sheds a highly revealing sidelight on the larger drama while also illuminating a different and very Italian tragedy. He is a type that shows up in spy stories—a teller of tall tales and half-truths; part Walter Mitty, part con man, part spy; a person who by virtue of bogus credentials and connections acquires real credentials and real connections. The Italians have a term for people like this that has no exact equivalent in English: millantatore di credito—someone who claims to know a lot more and to have done a lot more than he really does. (It is even a crime in Italy, generally invoked in fraud cases.)

    Although a baby-faced man of only 36, Scaramella claims to have been recruited several years ago by the CIA to trace relationships between South American narco-traffickers and Russian spy agencies. He has claimed to have been educated in England, Belgium, and France, without saying exactly where. He says he taught at the University of Naples (which says it has no record of him) and at various American universities, including San Jose University (which doesn’t exist—though there is a San Jose State University, which says it knows nothing of Scaramella)—and Stanford University. He claims to have been a judge, but this appears to have consisted of an unpaid position as a justice of the peace…

    More at the link, that doesn’t go far but is still interesting.

  4. Moscow Exile says:

    More bloody whinging off a kreakl after his searching of the Internet to back up his proposition that Russia is a shithole:

    Большая загадка…
    …почему это нормально и не вызывает удивление.

    A big puzzle…
    …why is this normal and unsurprising.

    It says “Fruit Selection” on the Russian sign.

    Well, I’ve just come back from the local supermarket and yes, there was there on sale there over-ripe and bruised fruit …bananas, mainly … and they were at a reduced price.

    There was plenty of fresh fruit on sale as well.

    As a matter of fact, when I was unemployed in the UK and when I was involved in a strike that lasted a year, I used to seek out such fruit and stuff reduced because it was near its sell-by date.

    (I also think that the freebies in the British picture are past their sell-by date.)

    However, there’s one thing I should really like to know about the blogger who posted that picture taken in the Western Nirvana that he dreams of ….

    Has he ever been to North Shields?

    Somehow, I think not.

    It’s administered by North Tyneside Council.

    Here are some stats from said council:

    The economic downturn and the current welfare reforms are impacting on the income of residents with the inevitable consequences for their health and well-being.

    The principal cause of premature death in North Tyneside is cancer, followed by cardiovascular disease.

    People are living longer with the average life expectancy for North Tyneside being 79 years (77 years for males and 81 for females).

    The gap in life expectancy within the borough is wide (11.6 years for males and 9.2 years for females) and has also remained constant throughout the last decade.

    At 65 years the disability free life expectancy (DFLE) in North Tyneside is significantly lower compared to England, in addition DFLE is significantly lower in the most deprived populations of North Tyneside.

    Smoking is the major contributor to cancer and cardiovascular disease mortality and morbidity and accounts for half the gap in life expectancy between the most and least affluent groups.

    Poor mental health and wellbeing in parts of the borough are inextricably linked to socioeconomic deprivation and vulnerability.

    Alcohol is the second biggest lifestyle health risk factor after tobacco use. Alcohol misuse is a major problem within North Tyneside in terms of the health, social and economic consequences which affect a wide cross section of the borough at a considerable cost.

    1 in 5 children and young people live in poverty in North Tyneside.

    Vulnerable children and young people in the borough suffer from poorer outcomes socially, educationally, economically.


    Большая загадка…

    North Tyneside Council

    • kirill says:

      Free fruit for kids while you shop!? I have never seen such offerings at any supermarket and grocery store that I have ever visited both in Canada and the USA (I did live for a while in the promised land).

    • Cortes says:

      At least in N Shields the council is trying something constructive. Conditions in Glasgow are worse, and the council is as much use as a chocolate fire guard.

      • Jen says:

        I’ve heard a person can travel for several kilometres in the Glasgow area and not find a single shop selling fresh vegetables, or fresh cabbages at least. Is that true?

        • Cortes says:

          Not true. What is the case is that many poor white people wouldn’t recognise or know how to use and eat fresh fruit and vegetables.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            My Glaswegian pal, almost as long resident in Muscovy as I have been, once told me that he cannot recall eating much fruit as a child. And he’s from a posh part of that city as well! Well, it seemed poshish to me when I went there in 1995 on a weekend piss-up with him and his now departed dad. His family home was up in the hills outside Cambuslang. Bear in mind, his family might have not always lived there.

            By the way, I’ve just come back from the local “Pyatyorochka” supermarket this Monday, 25 January morning, and there’s loads of fresh fruit in there: they were stacking the shelves with it when I went inside. Exotic fruit as well, such as pineapples, and stuff that I don’t know but look like giant grapefruit.

            Those things to the left are called nectarines, I think.

            For present offers at Pyatyorochka see: List of present special offers

            See the milk reduced from 46.95 to 39.90?

            Remember how months ago Navalny was whinging about paying over 80 rubles for a litre of milk?

            What a Wally!

          • yalensis says:

            They should have public education on how to recognize and prepare fruits/vegetables.
            When I go to my supermarket I occasionally see some exotic fruits, I think some of them are from China, and I have no idea what they are, or how to eat them. I suppose I could google them.
            One time I saw these things called “Ackee” from Jamaica, but I googled, it said they were poisonous unless you knew exactly which part to eat and how to cook it. Jamaicans know this, I guess, but white people like me wouldn’t know.

            And, by the way, my supermarket is not that great. We often see bruised and crappy-looking fruit. You know where they have the best supermarkets in America? In Texas, that’s where. I’m not kidding.

            • Jen says:

              Once upon a time, people only kept tomatoes as ornamental plants after their first arrival in Spain during the early 1500s. While tomatoes blew away the people and cuisines in the areas ruled by the Spanish (in those days, the empire included southern Italy and Sicily), the little red relatives of nightshade and belladonna did not catch on as edible items in the US until the 1830s. Even then, they had to be mashed into ketchup. Tomatoes as stand-alone salad items did not make the grade until the 1870s or 1880s. They took even longer to be accepted as edibles in northern Europe.

              One suggestion for the tomato’s slow acceptance I have seen is that for a long time in northern Europe, people ate off pewter plates. Tomatoes happen to be quite acidic and tomato juice might have changed the colour of the plates. Any lead in the plates might have leached into the tomatoes as well. Peasants in the southern Mediterranean lands ate off wooden platters or ate from a common plate and had no problems with lead poisoning associated with tomatoes on pewter plates.

              In many parts of the world, the arrival and use of tomatoes coincide with the migrations of people from southern Italy and Sicily, and the dishes they brought with them (spaghetti bolognaise and pizza in particular).

    • marknesop says:

      Tesco bloody well should give away free fruit; I doubt that will mollify its investors after its overstatement of profits by £250 million in 2014. It was quite the scandal at the time. Isn’t that (shudder) corruption?

  5. Lyttenburgh says:

    Via C[censored]ing News Network: Syrian government troops retake Rabia, last rebel stronghold in Latakia
    “Syrian government troops and allied militias regained control of the last major rebel-held stronghold in the western province of Latakia on Sunday, state-run SANA and a UK-based monitoring group said.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that over the last two days, Syria’s military and loyalist militias, backed by Russian airpower, surrounded the rebel-held town of Rabia and took control of the surrounding villages.

    Rabia is approximately 13 kilometers (8 miles) from the Turkish border in the province of Latakia — a stronghold of support for Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. The province is also home to Hmeymim airbase, a newly expanded airbase being used by Russian jets in support of the regime.

    Syrian state media quoted a military source as saying that engineering units were combing the area to deactivate bombs and mines planted by the rebels.”

    Noooooooo! It cannot be true! It’s a lie! Propaganda! Filthy Kremlenite egants just bought a shining Beacon of Truth and force its Top-Level Warriors of the Truth (at the gun-point) to lie to the whole world!

    What should all those Stronkly Opinionated (and probably – grossly obese and/or senile) armchair marshal of the Net feel right now? After all, they were supplied with the best data about this war a corporate interests could possibly buy. They were told repeatedly from the very start of the conflict:

    – Assad’s army is at the breaking point, has no reserves, rife with desertion and is generally a shit.

    – Russians are riding a bunch of rusted buckets that are falling apart in the air and they can’t sustain this “intervention” ’cause Russia’s economy is torn into pieces and people are ready to revolt.

    – Our dear buddy Erdo-gun surely showed those Russkies how not to fly inside Syrian territory that Tayyiip Recep-pasha deems as his own clay. We won’t see those cowards here, good only for bullying poor and innocent Balts, Ukrs and Georgians.

    – Putin is ready to thorw Assad under the bus. Any moment now. AJuuuuuust you wait for it.. Hell, even Iranians are ready to ditch him (or so We Think).

    – Our dear boys Rebels (who are hero to a man and totally not some jihadis, islamists and foreign mercs – perish the thought) are pushing back the Tyrant and are on the brink of of the victory! Just wait for it. Any moment now.

    What – all these reports were filthy lies?! What’s next, or dear Free and Independent Western Media? What other childdreams you gonna ruthlessly destory?

    John Kerry told Syrian opposition that if they don’t go to Geneva, then their allies will cut support to them

    Oh, kurwa…

    • kirill says:

      The problem is that Geneva is the new Minsk. These “peace talks” will protect the terrorists from being crushed by the SAA and its allies. Peace talks should be held after Assad secures much more territory.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        Now, this is actually my own IMHO. I think these “Geneva/Vienna talks” are completely useless. A sort of “Commission on Noninvolvement” which held regular meetings in London during the Spanish Civil War (Soviet diplomats joked that, given who were invited this commission would be better called “on Involvement”).

        Every single opinionated teenage idiot net-active expert gonna tell you that a) Assad MUST go. b) Partition of Syria is the only way.

        Bullshit, say I. If you kill the bastards then they will stop attacking you. “Revolutionary movement”? Ha! Not in Syria anymore – more like a proxy war of Turkey/Gulf States (and the One Which Should Not be Named) against Syria. Even the so-called “Revolutionaries” are more dependant on the foreign supplies, money and weapons then they are dependant on the “winning hearts and minds”. The ugly truth that the West can’t physically admit is that good old fashioned ruthless (Ancient Rome-style) suppression of the rebellions works. They criticize Assad for crushing the “moderate opposition”, so that the populace will have only 2 choices – him or ISIS and other islamists.

        Uhm, how is that bad? It’s an obvious thing to do! Only a mewling idiot won’t try to pwn them “moderates”, when they are ready to break and collapse on their own. And whose numbers not now, nor even 6 months ago were 70 000 strong, no matter what David Cameron saw in his “pork’n’dope” induced dreams.

        How long will the Gulf States continue to support obviously doomed insurgency in Syria, while their own economies are hammered HARD by the low oil prices (it’s them, I remind you, who deserve the sobriquet “gas-station masquerading as a country”, and not Russia)? Why the Islamist Jihadi International would still flock to a lost cause in Iraq and Syria, where there are much greener pastures in Libya, Yemen and Mali?

        It won’t happen fast – modern news-addicted public often forgets about it – but this war will be won by Syria and its allies. And the rest of the so-called “Civilized World” will have to learn how live with that.

      • marknesop says:

        Assad himself gazumped Geneva and their ‘peace talks’ with his National Reconciliation policy nearly two years ago. It grants broad amnesty to militants who lay down their arms and renounce violence, so that people can return to their homes and resume normal lives. Geneva is just another western-blowhard notch-on-the-bedpost exercise.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Oh, and this kind of news just keeps coming!

      Syria Gets a Major Boost With Russian T-90 TOW Killer Tanks
      Defenses on these machines can counter US-made TOW missiles

      “The Fourth Division of the Syrian army has been equipped with at least 6 modern T-90MS Tagil tanks, provided by the Russian Federation. Their function is to help the Syrian Arab Army advance in the southern province of Aleppo.

      The exact date of their deployment in Syria is shrouded in mystery. Some say they have been on the ground since early September, other sources indicate their presence as a new development thanks to recent agreements between Damascus and Moscow, including rumors of a delivery of the S -300 to the Syrian Arab Republic.”

      And I just must to post this:

      “The fortunate ones
      To be fast and free and young
      I want to count myself among
      The fortunate ones

      We won’t be denied
      We know that time is on our side
      We’ve got the passion and the pride
      We won’t be denied

      This generations
      With fire in our eyes
      Strong are the ties that bind us
      We don’t need no alibis

      Nothing’s gonna stand in our way
      Nothing’s gonna stand in our way
      Nothing’s gonna stand in our way
      Not tonight”

  6. Warren says:

    Published on 15 Dec 2015
    RFE/RL journalists Natalie Sedletska and Maksym Savchuk went off to London to find British homes of politicians and oligarchs who made their fortunes in Ukraine and with the help of Ukrainians, but prefer to spend them in the UK.

    This report was produced by the investigative unit of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Ukrainian service with the support of SCOOP, a network for investigative journalists in Eastern Europe, Russia, Caucasus, Central Asia and West Africa and Objective investigative reporting project. The Ukrainian video version of this report is at

  7. et Al says:

    Skittish Daily Record: Putin’s agents accused of killing Litvinenko left polonium radiation in British embassy

    …Now Paul Knott, who worked at the British Embassy there for three years, tells how Kovtun and Lugovoi turned up out of the blue after 43-year-old Mr Litvinenko’s death in London in November, 2006…

    …Mr Knott said: “We didn’t know what they were coming in for. They sort of just turned up to protest their innocence and were granted an audience….

    …it was only afterwards, – when it emerged Mr Litvenko’s assassins had left a trail of radiation in London – that tests were run at the embassy.

    Mr Knott, who was assigned to the radiation investigation, said: “We realised these guys were trailing it everywhere they went. So we discreetly got a specialist team out to go round the place.

    “There was radiation on the chairs where they’d sat, where they’d put their hands on the table.

    “Even Lugovoi’s mobile phone, where he’d left it in a little slot in the security officer’s room, was showing traces. We had to preserve the evidence and make sure it wasn’t dangerous…

    …“It was like something out of ­Ghostbusters. There was even an initial fear that they could have spread the polonium elsewhere. Had they passed it on to people they met?”…

    …“They tried to muddy the waters by throwing out mostly pretty ridiculous theories. They were obstructive to the Met. It led to the conclusion that it was directed from the top…

    …Mr Knott said all the evidence showed it was “inconceivable” that the murder of Litvinenko took place without an order from Vladimir Putin….

    So that’s the British game. The official report cannot present ‘evidence’ because it is secret and the security services want to keep control of it, so, they are authorizing leaks of chosen bits of information through willing channels who are more than happy to oblige. “Inconceivable” indeed. What nice timing designed to further enhance Sir Owen’s ‘conclusions’ that no-one else but Putin could have done it. If there are more non-leak leaks on the way, it will probably be a steady drip drip via different sources but all supporting the Owen report. All roads must lead to Rome. Incompetence is possible and this book wasn’t checked properly before hand, but that would be extremely odd.

    It looks like the British government really wants a fight with the Kremlin or are having a tantrum. Either is possible & why on earth would they go an lay a trail of radioactivity in the British embassy? Knott’s pretty dumb for a spook, if that is his real name.

    • kirill says:

      This is yet more of the same BS. The Polonium was smeared on a flight to Moscow and a whole bunch of other locations in a transparent frame up attempt. If I was going to put Polonium in Litvinenko’s tea, I would not handle it like a retard eating porridge with his fingers. It’s a powder like any other and the only thing that counts is the average diameter of the particulate. For diameters less than 1 micron the powder is very efficient at staying suspended in air and easily gets around. There is no point aerosolizing the Polonium to this extent and if it was in this form then some thought would have been put into how it is introduced into the tea: mixed with water shortly before and administered by a syringe would be a solution to the dispersion problem. But 1 micron aerosol is for large scale distribution via air (as with weaponized anthrax) so it does not even make sense to have such a fine powder if it is intended to be administered via tea.

      That the Polonium was spread all over the place proves it was not employed by Russian secret services. US and UK secret services are another story since they are clearly trying to leverage the whole “it was spread here and there” angle to “prove” Putin did it.

    • Jen says:

      This piece of news conveniently appeared to help plug Mr Knott’s book “The Accidental Diplomat: Adventures in the Foreign Office” which has recently been published.

      I thought it strange while reading the article that Mr Knott increasingly resembled Tintin’s long-lost twin brother until I reached the end and saw the title of the book. I thought, where have I seen this trope of news masquerading as advertisement for a book before? and then I realised I’d seen this sort of thing at The Guardian where every time Tintin laid into Putin or Russia, in the sidebar to the article of hogwash would appear an advert for his sad “Mafia State” book.

      The whole account by Mr Knott is unconvincing anyway. The entire building would have had to be evacuated, checked and decontaminated and all personnel in the building on that day would have been subjected to medical checks if Kovtun and Lugovoy had been trailing polonium in the embassy. What, didn’t embassy personnel also see that the two men were glowing bright fluorescent day-glo green?

    • Cortes says:

      The DR is broadly known locally as the Day Late Retard.

    • marknesop says:

      “…it was only afterwards, – when it emerged Mr Litvenko’s assassins had left a trail of radiation in London – that tests were run at the embassy.”

      Really? How long after? Polonium 210 has a half-life of only 135 days. These guys must have taken a bath in Polonium, they were lousy with it…but both of them lived and are in good health. But poor Sasha – one little sip, and he was gone. Kovtun and Luguvoy were so contaminated you could probably see them in the dark, their hands were covered with it – but they miraculously avoided ingesting any although they presumably eat with their hands like everyone else, and they were still as radioactive as Fukushima when they visited the British Embassy, although that was not only after Litvinenko had died, it was after the British had tested everything else he touched for radiation. Sure. That sounds plausible.

  8. et Al says:

    WSJ: Missing U.S. Missile Shows Up in Cuba

    Inert Hellfire missile sent to Europe for a training exercise makes mysterious trip, sparking concerns over loss of military technology

    …a loss of sensitive military technology that ranks among the worst-known incidents of its kind.

    The unintended delivery of the missile to Cuba has confounded investigators and experts who work in a regulatory system designed to prevent precisely such equipment from falling into the wrong hands, said those familiar with the matter…

    No mention of what model it is so it is a fair bet that it is a more recent models if there is concern. It would be the sensor and electronics rather than the motor that would be the prize.

  9. Washington Times is claiming that Russia is ready to cede control of DPR/LPR to Kiev in exchange of lifting of sanctions:

    I hope this is not true. If Russia falls far this they have not learned anything. Russia will be betrayed at the moment it gives up the control of Novorossiya.

    • kirill says:

      The usual wishful thinking from the western media combined with propaganda. The propaganda is the sanctions are making a huge impact when in fact they are not. These sanctions are a great opportunity for Russia to secure its economic independence and to keep more of its wealth at home.

    • Warren says:

      Russia would lose all credibility if it were to capitulate and betray DNR/LNR. Moreover, the sanctions imposed because of Crimea’s re-admittance into Russia would remain. Russia would be making concessions and gain nothing in return.

      • Agree and this is why I believe this is false news. Letting go of Novorossiya would be a one huge mistake.

        Russia must retain something that it can control Ukraine with. Ukraine must not be allowed to freely become a NATO country and a Western outpost.

        • Patient Observer says:

          It is an especially stupid thought as Russia is confronting US-backed forces with a strong military response in Syria. Why would they capitulate on their own borders?

          Out of curiosity, do you read any of the posts on this blog? It seems that you are absorbing little from the many excellent analyses made by Mark and others. Your style is to throw shit on the wall and wait for a response. Trollish? yes.

        • Patient Observer says:

          Do you mean for Ukraine to become a NATO country and a Western outhouse?

    • marknesop says:

      Russia does not control the DPR/LPR, and those are not their possessions to cede. The Washington Times is not a very reliable source. I am sure Russia would rather be wiped out to the last man rather than beg Kiev to help it get sanctions lifted which were imposed on Kiev’s behalf for political reasons – that’d be kind of like acknowledging the tactic works, wouldn’t it?

  10. et Al says:

    BMPD LIvejournal Blog via Keypublishing forum: Сотый SuperJet в воздухе/100th Superjet in the Air

    15 января 2016 года в Комсомольске-на-Амуре без особой огласки совершил первый полет сотый летный экземпляр пассажирского регионального самолета Sukhoi SuperJet SSJ100. Сотым по счету летным (и 95-м серийным) оказался самолет SSJ100-95В с серийным номером 95108 (временный регистрационный номер 97016) – первый, построенный для ирландской авиакомпании CityJet.

    К сожалению, своевременные фото- и видеоматериалы по полету SSJ100 с серийным номером 95108 пока отсутствуют….

  11. Warren says:

  12. Warren says:

  13. marknesop says:

    Once again, the Elbonians have gotten their way in the arts, and their vociferous braying caused tenor Alessandro Safina to cancel his shows in Crimea. The Ukrainian view seems to be that nobody is allowed to play Crimea unless it agrees to be part of Ukraine. That’s the spirit, boys – that certainly makes the Minister For Reconciliation’s job easier. Of course Kiev views this as a triumph.

  14. Warren says:

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Is not such an appeal treasonous?

      Didn’t some blokes do a similar thing at the Montgomery Convention, Alabama, in February 1861?

      • marknesop says:

        I think the Russian state is willing to entertain virtually anything in the name of a free press, so long as what is being incited is highly unlikely to enjoy any public support; being far more likely to annoy the public and harden it against the provocateurs. Even the least politically-aware Russian can see what a strategic nightmare it would be to have an independent Chechen state shoved up against it, cheek by jowl, when the west loves nothing better than inciting religious fury and hatred in Muslim bastions.

  15. et Al says:

    Independent: David Nott interview: War surgeon reveals how healthcare workers are being ‘systematically’ targeted in Syria

    …In the grim logic that has taken hold among the forces of President Bashar al-Assad and his allies, “healthcare is seen as a weapon”, he says. “You take out one doctor, you take out 10,000 people he or she can no longer care for.”…

    …to a man who has saved lives in most of the world’s major conflicts since Bosnia in 1993…

    …But nothing has compared to his experiences in Syria where, he says, the work and lives of healthcare workers like him are under threat as never before.

    “Nearly nobody is reporting this, the direct attacks on healthcare and healthcare workers,” he told The Independent last month, citing figures from the NGO Physicians for Human Rights, which recorded 23 attacks on medical facilities in Syria in October and November last year – all but one by Syrian government or Russian forces…

    …Aid workers believe the increasing frequency of such attacks suggest a strategy. Nott has long been convinced that both Syrian – and now Russian – forces are intentionally hitting hospitals: a view that is shared by the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, who accused the Russians of deliberately targeting civilians, hospitals and ambulances after speaking to Syrian civil defence workers in Southern Turkey earlier this month. ..

    …In December, Amnesty International said Russian air strikes had killed hundreds of civilians – and hit medical facilities.

    Aid workers believe the increasing frequency of such attacks suggest a strategy. Nott has long been convinced that both Syrian – and now Russian – forces are intentionally hitting hospitals: a view that is shared by the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, who accused the Russians of deliberately targeting civilians, hospitals and ambulances after speaking to Syrian civil defence workers in Southern Turkey earlier this month.

    “The nature of the bombing has changed so completely in the past few months. It has to be the Russians,” Dr Nott says. “Russian jets fly very high up. Syrian jets fly lower, firing rockets and missiles. The Russian planes tend to be 10,000ft up and you don’t see it, you just see the weapon hitting the hospital,” he says…

    …He has not been back to Syria himself since October last year, but has been in direct contact with colleagues in Aleppo and elsewhere in rebel-held northern Syria…

    …“What is happening to them is totally against international humanitarian law – hospitals should be protected and they are being targeted. Targeted to ensure the destruction of the healthcare system.

    “The British are fighting Isis – fair enough – but this is happening daily and has been forgotten about.”

    In 2013, he called for humanitarian corridors to be set up to support populations trapped in conflict zones. Now, he says, a no-bombing zone is urgently needed over Aleppo and Idlib provinces, which the international community should set up, even if it meets with Russian opposition…

    …“Make it an area refugees could come back to, protected by a peacekeeping force – I’m sure Assad and Russia would not start attacking any Americans that were there.”…

    Yup, this genius wants war with Russia, because it is it the right thing to do. Because Russia will obviously back down. Because mistakes and things don’t go wrong in war zones at all. This man is naive beyond belief, so is British government’s wet dream, like all the best humanitarian warriors forged in the BS of Bosnia where do something that of course mirrors western foreign policy exactly. Other alarm bells : ‘Physicians for Human Rights’ – anyone who does a bit of digging on them will not be surprised; and”..It has to be the Russians..” – yup, that’s the clarion call of the Russophobes. Because they simply cannot see any other possible reasons for anything that has happened, they fall back to the standard “IT’S THE RUSSIANS!” – from someone who says he hasn’t been there since October! Much better to accidentally bomb MSF facilities multiiple times in I-raq, Yemen and elsewhere!

  16. et Al says:

    Sunday times via Neuters: Former spy seeks to show UK knew of Guantanamo torture: Sunday Times

    ..The former officer is seeking permission to present evidence to a forthcoming parliamentary inquiry that British officials saw detainees being tortured in December 2002, the Sunday Times said quoting senior security sources.

    Details of torture were disclosed during meetings held at the London headquarters of Britain’s MI5 in 2002 and the evidence is believed to include claims that British officials witnessed inmates being chained, hooded, waterboarded and subjected to mental abuse by CIA officials, the report said.

    No one was immediately available to comment at Britain’s interior ministry which handles media queries relating to MI5…

    Complicity in crimes against humanity. To quote Teresa May, British Home Secretary, who in the House of Commons stood up and said vis-a-vis the conclusions of Litvenenko ‘public’ inquiry that “it is an unacceptable breach of international law“. What oh! One law for them and another for the ‘stinking foreigners’? Over a million dead in Iraq, by accident, the Middle East devastated in great part due to the ‘help’ it has received from the Brits, the US and other humanitarian warriors. Still selling bombs to Saudi Arabia to drop on Yemeni civilians, opening the UK up to charges of “an unacceptable breach of international law“. Silence from the May fly. I’m sure she can’t ‘recall’ such information. The only good that comes out from all of this is that everyone else around the world can see first hand that the rank hypocrisy practiced by the West, with the ‘law’ always being on their side.

    “Same as it ever was”:

  17. et Al says:

    Neuters: No special status for east Ukraine without ceasefire: president

    …Ukraine’s parliament had been due to vote this week on legislation to devolve more power to its regions, including the disputed Luhansk and Donetsk areas, as part of a ceasefire agreed between Moscow and Kiev last year…

    ….Poroshenko said he would not allow lawmakers to cancel the vote for the decentralization reform. But in the same breath, he threw his support behind those parliamentarians who wanted a series of conditions to be met before voting could take place.

    These include a “ceasefire and a long period of a full silence. This is what Russia has to ensure, and the world needs to see that it happens,” he told reporters.

    Another condition is giving international monitors unfettered access to the border between Ukraine and Russia to monitor the flow of troops and arms into eastern Ukraine. …

    Blah blah blah blah.

    • marknesop says:

      I don’t know what is so hard for Poroshenko to understand about the concept that there can never be a ceasefire so long as there are Ukrainian troops and artillery permanently stationed at the demarcation line, trying to take the region back by force. It is clear that as soon as the defenders stop defending, the Ukies will swarm in and capture the whole place, and then the west will help them stall while they consolidate their hold and incarcerate or kill all of the DNR/LPR’s leadership. Put simply, there is no reason to imagine those guarding the borders will continue to shoot if there is nothing to shoot at, while there is no reason for the state’s military to be there except the possibility of conquest and punishment – things that Poroshenko himself regularly promises. Of course the defenders are not going to drop their weapons and rely on flowers or “Please Don’t Kill Us” T-shirts to maintain their security. It staggers the imagination that the west continues to rely on this oaf to represent the Ukrainian state’s position when he repeatedly declares his intention to be the opposite of peace every time he opens his mouth.

      • PaulR says:

        He doesn’t have the votes in parliament to pass the legislation required by Minsk for ‘decentralization’ of power, so the talk about a lack of a ceasefire is just an excuse to withdraw the legislation so that he can avoid the humiliation of parliament failing to approve it.

        • kirill says:

          Regardless, the Kiev regime has failed in its obligations under the Minsk II agreement. Yet all I hear is how Russia is “not meeting its obligations” even though Russia is not a party to the Minsk II agreement. The whole ceasefire and Minsk II are a total joke.

  18. Jeremn says:

    A letter to the next US president by Evelyn N. Farkas (deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia from 2012 until the end of October) contains this telling text on so-called energy security:

    “Finally, you must work with Germany and other allies to meet Europe’s natural gas demand in way that gives them leverage against Moscow, not the other way around, and benefits U.S companies and alternative suppliers.”

    • Fern says:

      Great find, Jeremn.

    • Jen says:

      The whole paragraph illuminates Farkas’ Yoo-Ess-Ayy!!! boosterism over European energy security:

      ” … Your defense department [this is Farkas addressing the next President directly] should no longer do any business with Russia. This means that no rockets used by the U.S. defense industry should be Russian—nor should Russian scientists be involved in our rocket launches. And your administration should establish a new foreign military assistance fund to help allies and partners throughout Europe and Afghanistan transition from Russian to U.S. military equipment. Finally, you must work with Germany and other allies to meet Europe’s natural gas demand in way that gives them leverage against Moscow, not the other way around, and benefits U.S companies and alternative suppliers …”

      There is no suggestion that US allies and partners from Europe through to Afghanistan could also transition to their own military equipment.

      The whole paragraph also puts the final sentence into better perspective. ” … not the other way around …” means working with the EU to fulfill its natural gas requirements in a way that does not give Russia any opportunities to benefit at all, and which privileges US companies and alternative suppliers, not European counterparts.

      • marknesop says:

        Rather than the USA becoming less a rogue nation under Obama, it continued the worst of George W. Bush’s policies while adding some new wrinkles which were probably beyond his grasp, becoming in the process even more dangerous and out of control.

        Everybody remembers that London Mayor Ken Livingstone called George W. Bush “the greatest threat to life on this planet we’ve most probably ever seen”. Few ever knew the rest of the quote; “The policies he is initiating will doom us to extinction.” Of course he did not mean George W. Bush personally in any context except as a function of his office as President of the United States and the head of its government – George Bush as just another wealthy make-believe rancher with two cows and alligator cowboy boots would have been way south of irrelevant. He was a tool, but he would be a harmless tool except for his access to the levers of power. But even then we had not reached a place where US policymakers and would-be social engineers spoke openly about enslaving the world to the interests and empowerment of the United States and its people. The United States has become a menace to the continued freedom of the planet.

        The Iranians could tell you a thing or two about the pros and cons of ‘transitioning from Russian (or anyone else’s) to American military equipment’. For one thing, the moment the US government decides you are no longer its friend or you need pressure brought to bear on you for any of a hundred other self-interested reasons, they will pull out all their technicians – who are the only ones who can fix their incredibly complex electronics – and slap an embargo on your spare parts and reloads for your weapons systems. The Iranians reverse-engineered some functions of the AN/AWG-9 radar and all of the Phoenix missile which equipped the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, but the money they spent to do it was horrific. All the fancy stuff you bought from the Americans does you little good if it’s not operational, and they can cut you off from logistics support with a snap of the fingers. And they will.

    • Oddlots says:

      Holy fuck. The delusion is terminal.

      I fucking love this! It’s as if a planet’s worth of bullshit entered a black hole and was crushed into bullshit so powerful in it’s density and gravitational pull that no enlightenment will ever be possible.

      Congratulations Farkas! You’ve just killed all hope on the planet.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      He should’ve stuck the head on Kerry, though!

    • Patient Observer says:

      Nuland – loser, loser, loser! No one like you! Why don’t you just, like, disappear!

    • cartman says:

      She would be Secretary of State under a Hildebeast administration. I don’t think any foreign leaders will ever trust them.

    • Jen says:

      Given that the last lot of photos we saw here in which Putin met Kerry and Nuland, and had to touch Nuland’s cold slimy amphibian hand while John Tefft and Celeste Wallander stood watching (and Wallander looked embarrassed), Lavrov was probably well advised not to touch Nuland at all.

      Still I’d give anything to know what went through Nuland’s mind at the time Lavrov literally gave her the cold shoulder, that she should have gone so slack-jawed and her whole body slumped. The shock must have been really deep.

  19. Moscow Exile says:

    What did she expect him to do — kiss her fat arse?

    • Jen says:

      Noticed in that Youtube clip that Celeste Wallander was also there at that meeting between Lavrov and Kerry. As an advisor and expert on security issues relating to Russia, she may be worth following. (This is not to suggest her views on Russia favour either one side or another.)

      • marknesop says:

        She appears, from the limited amount of information available on her, to be more of a realist than an ideologue, such as Nuland is. In this 2005 interview with the partisan RFE/RL, she did allow herself to be chivvied into agreeing that Gazprom is an arm of the Kremlin, which is no more true than saying Exxon-Mobil is an arm of the US government, and Exxon likely has more political clout with the latter. However, she also – correctly, as it turns out – forecast the possibility that Yushchenko’s political era would pass quickly and that Ukraine had not seen the last of Yanukovych. Similarly, she cast the gas discount Moscow provided to Kiev as a favour, which could be legitimately withdrawn if Ukraine became uncooperative. She was clear that Russia uses energy as leverage, but did not frame it in booga-booga scary terms as if Putin were looking to dictate to the Ukrainian people and hold them prisoner, but more realistically – your leaders are causing you problems which are resulting in extra expense and a reduced standard of living for you: what’re you going to do about it? I certainly hope that is not bad behavior, because it is precisely the approach the USA is taking with its economic war on Russia.

        I think probably she is quite a smart woman, and might be inclined to trust her more if she were not associated with the US government, none of which can be trusted. The best we can hope for is that wise counsel from her prevents Kerry from doing anything too stupid.

    • marknesop says:

      Well, he did actually touch her hand rather than simply ignoring it – it was just a markedly unenthusiastic handshake on the part of both. Not really a big snub, and she appeared to turn away almost immediately in disinterest rather than reeling with shock at his crass behavior. Probably the two just intensely dislike one another. Although if he had head-butted her as Moscow Exile suggests for routine diplomatic exchanges, the world would have something to talk about. She appears to have a thick, bony carapace for a forehead, like a triceratops (to which she bears a resemblance in some other respects as well), so it probably would hurt him more than her, but it likely would have provided deep satisfaction nonetheless.

  20. Fern says:

    File this one under “Dear God, does the propaganda never stop?” This time it’s masquerading as a review of Simon Sebag Montefiore’s latest tome on the Romanovs. The reviewer, John Kampfner, extracts every ‘barbarians at the gate’ trope against Russia, ever the West’s uncivilised neighbour. No mention made, of course, of comparative European ‘civilised’ behaviour during its period of colonial expansion.

    Kampfner concludes:

    “The butchery was transferred to the masters of a new system. Under Boris Yeltsin, in one of those brief interludes of liberalism in Russian society, the bodies of the last tsar and his family were excavated and the true story was told. Is it any wonder that Russians continue to struggle with the present, given the past?”

    (Fern aside: Moscow Exile, Lyttenburgh and yalensis (plus unknown others): is your blood boiling yet?)

    To which a trenchant commentator, Haven Monahan, responds;
    “More Russians died under Yeltsin than under any regime since the time of the Black Death.
    He did, however, enable a looting spree that transfered trillions of dollars to the West. Hence, his popularity with our elites and their media mouthpieces.”

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I have over the years quite often asked Russians whether they think a monarchy, specifically the Romanov one, would and, indeed, should ever be restored in Russia. I have usually taken the opportunity to ask them this question after I have, much to their great surprise, pointed out to them that I am certainly no monarchist: they always assume that I’m a typical “Gawd bless ‘er majesty” British subject. (I was once, much to my ire, a British subject: that’s what was stamped in my first, old British Passport”. My God, how that terminology used to annoy me!)

      Anyway, I have yet to meet a Russian citizen who yearns for a restoration of the monarchy: they think the whole idea ludicrous, even more so those who have actually found out who the №1 to the Romanov inheritance is: he who would be Tsar of All the Russias:

      Georgy Romanov pictured aged 11 (1992)

      He styles himself as His Imperial Highness Grand Duke George of Russia. Here he is with his ethnically mostly Georgian mother, who likes to call herself Grand Duchess Maria:

      A more up to date picture of HIH Grand Duke George Porgy of Russia:

      All together now!

      Nice tune!

      “Who ate all the pies?” would be more appropriate for HIH George, though


      • PaulR says:

        Thanks, Fern, for pointing this book out. Having myself written a biography of a Romanov, albeit a lesser one, I will have to check it out. From the review, it seems a bit focused on the negative.

        • PaulR says:

          Alas, not available in Canada till May. Will have to consider ordering from UK.

        • yalensis says:

          I like this comment on the Grauniad piece, by somebody called “Lord Upminster”:

          Sad, isn’t it…

          Sarah Silverman’s inimitable take on this was “Life’s just not fair! You’re Catherine the Great; you reform the state administration; you set up industries; you turn your county into a Great Power; you build palaces; you correspond with all the finest minds of you day – and then when you’re dead all they remember you for is fucking horses!”

          Sarah Silverman is a very wise woman.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            And Her Majesty Catherine II didn’t actually fucked a horse… or died on a shitter. That rumours started after her death by some butthurt Polacks and/or Frenchie revolutionaries to discredit her. I mean – c’mon! Just because she called the Cavalry Guard young and dashing officers who, ah, “visited” here boudoire as “my stallions!” we have this grating mistranslation/libel.

            Oh, and the rumour about Russians eating hedgehogs? Its true – in a fashion:

            And, yes, I’ve been eating them all my life. And because I’m not a true Native Muscovite, but a despicable “zamkadysh” born and raised, I actually know how the real hedgehogs look like seeing them in the forest (and in my dog’s jaws…) many times:

      • PaulR says:

        Another review of the Romanov book, this time by Mary Dejevsky. Complaining of the author’s emphasis on things negative, she writes (

        ‘This emphasis has two consequences. The first is that some major landmarks of Russian history – the founding of St Petersburg, for instance, the Decembrist revolt, and the liberation of the serfs – are barely evident. If this is an intended reinterpretation of history, it would benefit from being explained. The second is that not only the Romanovs, but the Russians, emerge as almost uniquely promiscuous and brutal, even though other courts at the time – think Henry VIII of England – were hardly paragons of sophistication.

        In painting so simplistic a picture, Sebag Montefiore reinforces a Western stereotype that persists to this day. The Romanovs, like the Russians they ruled, sometimes competently, often not, were a good deal more complicated than his magnum opus suggests, and the same is true of their successors.’

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Okay, another pretty much standard “popular history for the masses” work about Russia coming from the Enlightened West. I can go on and on comparing and asking rhetorically “and who is more brutal here?” – but I won’t. As for the now already trite and clearly lazy copy-pasted passage about “Yeltsin the liberal”, I have only this to say: Presidential Order №1400 followed by 1993 shelling of the White House.

      Also, what’s been denied about Romanovs that only good ol’ drunk Boris (personally!) brought out to light? I have in my house all volumes of the “Big Soviet Encyclopedy, 2nd ed” (plus some bonus volumes) published in 1949-57 (IIRC). So, I paged through of of these heavy tomes of the ancient knowledgeto learn the fate of the last czar of Romanovs. I remind you – this is SOVIET Encyclopedy, published mostly in the dark time of the all powerful Stalin. How will they conceal the sordid facts about charming Nikky?

      “17 июля 1918 при приближении к Екатеринбургу частей мятежного чехословацкого корпуса Н. II и члены его семьи были расстреляны по постановлению Уральского областного Совета..”
      – Volume 30, pg 10.

      I.e., due to the fact that Whites were approcahing my native Yekaterinbirgh, Ural’s oblast Soviet ordered N II and his family shot. Huh. A strange way to conceal a truth from your own people, I think. And this clashes with the officail Western narrative of “Oh, if only these ignorant Ruskies knew the Truth!..”

      • yalensis says:

        The regional Soviet was worried that if the White army captured Yekaterinburg, then they would use Nicky as rallying symbol. If Bolshies killed just Nicky, then one of the kids could claim the throne. That was what they were worried about.
        There is no evidence that Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, or any of the other Bolshevik leaders ordered the shootings of the royal family. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t, but there is no evidence either way. Trotsky explicity wrote in his autobiography that he was “informed” of the killings a couple of days later, and he reacted with something like, “ho hum, whatever”, while shrugging his shoulders.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          re. murder of Nicholas II and his family

          For years now there has been an ongoing campaign here for the renaming of the metro station Voykovskaya [Войковская], which campaign heated up towards the end of last year as its proponents for the name-change succeeded in having the issue put to a vote.


          Переименование станции метро «Войковская»

          Renaming the metro station “Voikovskaya”

          Renaming the metro station “Voykovskaya” — the subject of years of public debate.

          An integral part of attempts to exclude from the toponymy of Moscow the name of Pyotr Voykov, one of the organizers of the murder of the family of Nicholas II originates in 1990, and has been ongoing for a quarter of a century.

          The question of renaming the metro station “Voykovskaya”and the eponymous railway station and transport interchange hub has been the subject of a survey or e-referendum, launched on 2 November 2015 in the “Active citizen” and concluded on 23 November 2015 at 00:00. There was a 53% vote against the renaming.

          And it goes without saying that there were immediate accusations of vote-rigging.

          Any vote that goes against liberal demands is rigged: that’s a cosmic rule!

          I pass through that station frequently and sometimes have to alight there: I see no distraught faces of folk there who are offended by the name of the place; I see no demonstrations, no posters, no handing-out of flyers or placards.

          See also:

          Royal descendants want Romanovs’ killer’s name erased from Moscow map

          An opinion poll conducted in 2013 in connection with the 400th anniversary of the Romanov royal house showed that 28 percent of Russian citizens would agree to be ruled by Tsars, but only 6 percent said that this modern monarch must be from the Romanov dynasty. About 13 percent hold that a contemporary Russian politician could become a new Tsar and suggested a nationwide referendum to decide on the candidate.

          The majority of the people – 67 percent – said that Russia should leave the monarchy in the past and remain a democracy.

          Again — clearly rigged!

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Which above brings to mind the issue of Oliver Cromwell.

            The ancient towns in my old neck of the woods — Manchester, Bolton, Warrington, Liverpool etc., but not my old home town, which didn’t exist then — were fiercely parliamentarian during the 17th century English Civil Wars, and there used to be (don’t know about now) a statue of Oliver Cromwell in Manchester at the beinning of Deansgate and at Bridgefoot, Warrington, just before you crossed the strategically important bridge there across the Mersey. Story was that whenever a British monarch visited these towns, they used to put drapes over the statue so as not to offend the royal personage.

            I do not believe this tale though, because there is a statue of Cromwell right next to the Houses of Parliament, London, past which Betty Windsor rides in her carriage whenever she officially opens that charade to democratic procedure.

            As far as I know, they never cover that statue in order to safeguard her sensibilities as regards a memorial to one of those who signed her ancestor’s death warrant.

            • Jen says:

              Betty Windsor is actually descended from King James I of England and VI of Scotland through his daughter Elizabeth of Bohemia. So her sensibilities wouldn’t be too bothered. Her grandson William’s sensibilities might be, because his mother was a descendant of Charles I.

              But they can always console themselves with the knowledge that Oliver Cromwell’s corpse was exhumed and beheaded as punishment for deposing Charles I.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                I should imagine, however, that she would be rather miffed at Mr.Cromwell’s attitude towards the concept of monarchy and at the role that he played as regards the public beheading of the second eldest son of James I of England, which son, on the death of his elder brother, by Divine Right became James I’s successor; just as she, by Divine Right, succeeded to the British throne upon the death of her father.

                • Lyttenburgh says:

                  “I should imagine, however, that she would be rather miffed at Mr.Cromwell’s attitude towards the concept of monarchy…”

                  Cromwell could be forgiven for a lot of stuff – including the shortening of Charlie I by head. And even for the closure of theatres – by that time they’ve become little better than brothels. And even for banning of the “Popish Christmas”. But what I can’t forget and forgive is the banning of the oranges…

            • yalensis says:

              Musical interlude from Bellini’s opera “I Puritani” – for some reason Bellini calls them “Puritans” instead of “Roundheads”. One of the few (if any) operas in which the Cromwellians are the “good guys”. Although the hero is a bit of a traitor (he saves the life of the fleeing Queen), but that’s easy to forgive in a man who is capable of hitting a high F note. Sung in Italian, with Spanish subtitles:

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            Czar Harry (Igor) Karlovitch III, anyone ?

            He has more Russian blood in his veins than Nicholas II or his children.

            P.S.And appoint him as a royal governor of Alaska!

            P.P.S. Unfortunately, due to his infamous Afrikakorps photo-set is ineligible by all standards.

  21. Cortes says:

    Happy Burns Day

    The Moose would’ve needed high factor sunscreen round these parts today, said Lobby McLobster fae Lobstertoun, noted critic and Snowbird.

    • yalensis says:

      I’m truly sorry man’s dominion
      Has broken Nature’s social union,
      An’ justifies that ill opinion
      Which makes thee startle
      At me, thy poor, earth born companion
      An’ fellow mortal!

  22. Patient Observer says:

    They should rename the Tochka missile as the Gotcha missile!

  23. Moscow Exile says:

    ‘Putin is corrupt’ says US Treasury

    Adam Szubin, who oversees US Treasury sanctions, has told BBC Panorama that the Russian president is corrupt and that the US government has known this for “many, many years”.

    • Warren says:

      What a joke, this Panorama documentary will be as devoid of verifiable evidence as Al Jazeera’s 2012 documentary ‘exposing’ Putin’s alleged wealth.

    • kirill says:

      Proof by assertion. I guess evidence is only demanded from those that do not goose step to the NATO propaganda music.

    • Warren says:

      Last week the UK judiciary accuses the Russian president of probably murdering someone. Now the British state broadcaster makes a video accusing Putin of being corrupt. I watched Panorama tonight, the programme presented NO EVIDENCE whatsoever. No bank statements, no foreign transfers statements, no contracts, no title deeds, no dividends, no share certificates – nothing proving Putin’s alleged corruption or obscene wealth.

      Instead, Panorama interviewed disgruntled former friends, associates and political rivals of Putin. Panorama as predicted interviewed Stanislav Belkovsky, who cited his ‘trusted confidential contacts’ as the source of his allegations. Panorama’s interview with a US Treasury official was hilarious, he the US Treasury official blithely accuses Putin of corruption and his long time friend Gennady Timchenko of holding Putin’s wealth. Yet when pressed to provide evidence the US Treasury official says that evidence is secret and confidential. Timchenko’s lawyers pointed out that the US has never presented any evidence proving any of the allegations they’ve hurled at Timchenko. Yet Panorama accepts what the US Treasury official says has gospel!

      BBC’s expose of Putin’s billions was a risible as Al Jazeera’s! Both the British and Qatari state broadcaster propaganda failed miserably.

      • Fern says:

        Yes, there’s clearly a co-ordinated propaganda effort here – firstly the Litvinenko ‘inquiry’ conclusions and then the Putin’s-the-richest-man-evah line. Things in Syria must really not be going the US’s way.

        • Nat says:

          I agree with you Fern. And before that, it was “Putin-implicated-in-humongous-scale doping”, and before that it was the “outing” of his daughter’s identity which, be it her or not, can only mean to send him the signal that his family is researched and targeted. And before that, it was “Putin-dying-cancer/Putin-gunslinger-gait”, and the sanctions against his personal friends who are unrelated to politics, and the “Putin-Kabayeva-baby(ies?)”. Strangely, the same people believing the Kabayeva-Kirchner-The Chinese President’s wife-etc ” stories find no contradiction whatsoever in also believing in the “Putin-pedophile” story. I think the US has once and for all decided that Putin is to pay for his positions, and as much as I hate it, I think they will eventually get their way at the end: An international tribunal with a “suicide” à la Milosevic, or a straight assassination à la Gaddafi-Saddam. Not now but years from now. I want to believe there will be an outcry at that, but seeing the orchestrated silence at the events in Ukraine (Odessa, Donbass), Syria, the SU-24, Yemen and elsewhere, I’m starting to doubt it.

          • kirill says:

            NATzO can keep dreaming in technicolor. It will get what Napoleon and Hitler got before it rolls over Russia this way. The west never learns.

          • Fern says:

            Nat, yes, the Putin-as-the-Devil’s-spawn has gotten a whole lot worse recently – things just haven’t gone Empire’s way for some time now what with the derailing of the Syria-Jihadis a Go-Go project and Russia having the temerity to refuse to pay for NATO and the EU acquiring Ukraine. I tend to think the only reason the US has not tried more forcible direct action against Putin is that they don’t believe they could successfully control the transition.

            Funnily enough, I suspect that one of the most risible of the Litvinenko’s ‘inquiry’s’ accusations, that of Putin-the-Pedophile, will have the greatest traction in the long run. Journalist Julia Svetllichnaya, who interviewed Litvinenko several times, did a very good on LBC radio last week debunking the Putin-did-it theory. She believes that Litvinenko was most likely poisoned because he’d been attempting to blackmail very wealthy and very dangerous folk who don’t take kindly to that sort of thing. So, even if everything else Owen reported on is debunked and criminality on Litvinenko’s part is established, those determined to put Putin in the frame can still argue he was a potential blackmail target who acted to remove the threat. It’s the one accusation that can morph to fit any subsequent facts and evidence.

        • Fern says:

          Shoulda closed the ‘bold’ doodah after ‘really’.

          • marknesop says:

            In fact, you did. I fixed it for you, but as I see so often in WordPress with coding, there was nothing apparently wrong with it and your symbols enclosed only the word “really”. But whenever I delete the coding and replace it, what people typically use for coding – which is the left bracket, b, right bracket, (your text you want to bold) left bracket, slash, b, right bracket – is replaced by left bracket, the word “strong”, right bracket (your text you want to bold) left bracket, slash, the word “strong”, right bracket. As I’ve probably mentioned before, I don’t have to code when I fix these errors; after removing the symbology which plainly did not work, I just highlight the text I want and select “bold” from the bar options. And that’s what it generates to replace the symbols it didn’t like. Maybe try that next time, see if it works better for you.

        • Warren says:

          Not content with broadcasting Panorama’s allegations of Putin’s corruption on BBC 1, the British state broadcaster decided to re-broadcast Reggie Yates’ Extreme Russia series, focusing on the racist ultra-nationalist movement in Russia immediately after on BBC (3)II!

          Talk about coordinated state propaganda campaign….

    • marknesop says:

      Just like it knows who shot down MH17, and probably why. But all the evidence is too explosive to be viewed by ordinary mortals, so you’ll just have to take their word for it. Based on their track record for providing accurate information.

    • Kulobi says:

      It is likely, as Owen would put it, that Putin had sabotaged Adam Szubin’s appointment by US Senate. He probably instructed Sen. Shelby to that effect

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I wonder what a US Treasury spokesman should have to say about this:

      Malaysia prosecutor clears PM Najib Razak of corruption

      Malaysia’s top prosecutor has cleared Prime Minister Najib Razak of corruption in a long-running financial scandal that has gripped the nation.

      The attorney-general’s office said the $681m (£479m) that Mr Najib received in his bank account was a personal donation from the Saudi royal family.

      • Nat says:

        Szubin (the US Treasury spokesman) is the genius who accused Assad of being the main buyer of ISIS’s oil. The precise statement was that ” The far greater amount of Islamic State oil ends up under Assad’s control while some is consumed internally in Islamic State-controlled areas.”. Yes ladies and gentlemen, the far greater amount of Syria’s oil (as this is Syria’s oil, not the Islamic State oil, or is the US suddenly recognizing IS as a state?) is under the control of the Syrian government.

        • kirill says:

          This idiot and his drivel spew highlight how far the typical citizen of the US has fallen in terms of mental development. People aren’t born with full intelligence, they have to learn it. But the schools are now all a bunch of finger painting day care centers.

          Which port did Assad ship the ISIS oil from? Where were the lines of oil tankers crossing into Assad controlled territory. Surely Uncle Scam can show the satellite photos. After all, backward Russia produced the evidence of these columns going into Turkey.

      • marknesop says:

        I wonder if that had anything to do with Malaysia’s support for an international MH17 tribunal to ‘punish the guilty party’?

      • Jen says:

        The fact that Najib Razak received such a huge amount of money from a Saudi prince indicates that the KSA is buying influence in the Malaysian government. How did the Malaysian attorney-general conclude that this “personal donation” was not an attempt by the Saudis to control the Malaysian government? If Razak did not declare this source of income as should have been required of him, he is unfit to be Prime Minister.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Remeber how 2 years ago to a day the entire Horde of Handshakable and Democratic Durnalists[*] claimed that the bloody murderous Tyrant Vitya Yanukovitch ran away to Mordor with $100 blns? And that’s not counting that he and his “family” already transfered into Top Secret EU Bank Accounts ™ – what, $30 blns?

      This makes simple “proffessor” from Yenakijevo 3 times richer than Putin, who has only (equally elusive) $40 blns. Granted, Vitya never kissed babies in the tummy. He even spared doggies, kitties and piggies of his close attention. But don’t despair, yea mighty Free and Independent Media ™! We have here absolutely rare and unique video! See, people? Bloody Yanick was also a dirty dendrophyl!

      P.S. СУГС!

      * Not a typo – they are Durnalists.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Russia BBC Panorama: Kremlin demands ‘Putin corruption’ proof

        The Kremlin “demands”!!!!

        The sheer effrontery of those dastardly Russians!

        • Fern says:

          I suspect this is the opening salvo in a new game. Since the old one – The Hunt for Putin’s Billions – has come up empty it’s time for a new approach. How to explain a Russian managing to outwit the combined efforts of the mightiest financial brains of the West by tucking his ill-gotten gains away so cleverly none can find them? Well, now the claim is that all those wealthy Russian oligarchs are not really wealthy in their own right – no, while they APPEAR wealthy, it’s a front because they’re actually holding all this money in trust for Putin. What appears to be, say, Timchenko’s dosh really, in whole or part, belongs to Putin. So, once you’ve established this, it’s the logical next step to seek to confiscate any percentage you like of Timchenko’s assets because you ‘know’, just ‘know’ that really, they belong to Putin. And attempt to do that or even threaten it and you’re hoping that all these guys will think ‘hey, we need someone else in the Kremlin pronto’ and lo and behold! a palace coup.

          Of course, you don’t need any actual evidence of who owns what, or have to bother explaining why these oligarchs would agree to do this or how Putin could hold them to their side of the bargain since their reputations make Great White sharks look kindly or how the bargain came to be made in the first place given that many made their vast fortunes in the free-for-all of the 1990’s before Putin rose to any prominence. But hey, when you’re part of the Enlightened West TM, all this sort of stuff can be ignored.

          • marknesop says:

            My favourite example of this was The Economist’s smear piece called “Grease My Palm“, in which they implied – going on advice they received from grifter fatboy and fake ‘Kremlin insider’ Stas Belkovsky – that Vladimir Putin was the ghost owner of some 70% of Gunvor Energy, which was then co-owned by Timchenko (he has since sold his interest). Gossip says Timchenko threatened to sue the magazine and its owners until they screamed for mercy, and they publicly backed down.

            No prominent western magazine would do that if they actually had any evidence at all that their charge was accurate. They would welcome the chance to be challenged and to prove their case in court – think of the sales figures that would generate! But they knew very well it was all loose airhead gossip, considering their named sources are Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Milov and Yulia Latynina.

            Any threat to confiscate the assets of wealthy Russian oligarchs would result in all of them putting their money where the west could not access it, which means out of western banks, plus selling their luxury homes in the west and so on. The western financial system does not want that. Plus the very real possibility that they would sue, and win, plus the probability that stealing their money just through the pretext of saying it was really Putin’s money would quite possibly have the opposite effect they desire. No wealthy businessman would be fooled by such a dodge, and would know it was illegal, and the west would lose any tenuous hold it had over them.

          • Jen says:

            I guess that would be news to Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his family to discover that their wealth stashed around the world actually belongs to … Putin.

            Likewise the players for Chelsea Footballl Club would be astonished to learn that they are Putin’s slaves.

      • yalensis says:

        Ha ha – that video never gets old!
        But a close analysis shows that Yanukovych did NOT attempt to rape the plant.
        It was quite the other way around.
        Although apologists of the plant claim that it was bowing back, like merely trying to respectfully “return the poklon”.

  24. Warren says:

  25. Northern Star says:

    Anybody got links to NTV ( if it has a website)…wonder if the miniseries will eventually post online..

  26. Warren says:

    Published on 25 Jan 2016
    Ukraine’s many dead ends. Faced with a faltering economy and growing political instability, official Kiev has limited options. And with Europe unwilling or unable to provide much assistance, the Ukrainian president may have no choice but to do the unthinkable – that is make a deal with Moscow.

    CrossTalking with Dmitry Babich, Mark Sleboda and Charles Shoebridge.

  27. Patient Observer says:

    This is interesting:
    Turns out that China does indeed have the largest economy in the world, even bigger than the entire EU by some measures.

    In terms of physical output (thus ignoring distorting financial factors), the Chinese economy blows away the rest of the world:
    – China produces 50% of the world’s steel
    – China produces 48% of the world’s ce
    China passes US in computer chip production:

    The Chinese economy is described as being in deep trouble when it grows at 7% annually. The US economy, growing at a likely fictitious rate of 3%, is called healthy.

  28. Patient Observer says:

    How many LNG tankers departing from the US would it take to supply Western Europe with gas sufficient to eliminate all Russia imports. The answer is about 73 tankers each making 9 round trips per year. This number is based on each tanker carrying 300,000 m3 of LNG which generates a gas volume 600 time greater than the liquid volume. This works out to 118 billion m3 per year which equals gas imports from Russia.

  29. Kulobi says:

    Another peremoga may be on its way – an “intelligent diplomat” Carl Bildt is now rumoured to be in the running for the plum post of Ukraine’s PM
    It may be only a dream, but just imagine – He Is the One for Ukraine …

  30. Jen says:

    Hear ye, hear ye! The Guardian Media Group which we all know publishes the u-know-wot is to cut running costs by 20% (or about 50 million pounds) from its annual 268 million pound cost base in a bid to break even with 3 years.

    Australian media reports and the Murdoch-owned London Times say there will be job cuts.

    So get set for even worse standards of reporting and media analysis, and more partnering with more dodgy media outlets in the coming months …

  31. Moscow Exile says:

    Эксперимент «КП»:Сколько еды можно купить на 10 долларов в Москве, Нью-Йорке и Париже

    KP Experiment: how much food can you buy for 10 dollars in Moscow, New York and Paris?

    Moscow: for $8 you can buy enough food for a family of four

    New York

    Paris — and no meat bought

    • et Al says:

      Uh, isn’t that meat between the cucumbers and the baguette? Looks like ‘Poulet’, chicken.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Below the picture of the foodstuff in Paris it reads:

        Без традиционного французского багета я не мог обойтись. Тем более стоит он чуть больше 1 евро (84 руб.). Подсчитал, что легко могу позволить себе литр молока и полдюжины яиц. Омлет – уже неплохо. Еще мой скромный бюджет потянул картошку, пару огурцов и килограмм яблок. У меня вроде оставался еще целый 1 евро в запасе. Но я ничего не мог на него купить из списка – все выходило значительно дороже. Помидоры в Париже могут вообще разорить любого – 4,5 евро (378 руб.) за кг.

        Бюджет истратил, а никакого мяса не купил. Самое дешевое, что в погоне за экономией можно было себе позволить, – это куриные окорочка (4,6 евро за кг, или 386 руб.). Под впечатлением от немаленьких цен на продовольствие у малообеспеченного покупателя может возникнуть желание напиться. Но и это удовольствие весьма дорогое во Франции. Литровая бутылка самой дешевой водки смутного происхождения и крепостью в 37,5% обойдется в 12 евро (1008 руб.). Грабеж!

        $10 is about 9 euros 30 cents. With this daily budget, creating a balanced meal is unlikely, but one can try. However, upon entering the shop, I lost this optimism. Moving from one counter to another, I could not decide what I should have to say “no” to: bread or meat — or both?

        I could not do do without a traditional French baguette, all the more so because it cost just a little more than 1 euro (84 rub.). I calculated that I could easily afford a litre of milk and half-a-dozen eggs. An omelet already — not too bad! Even my modest budget stretched itself out to include potatoes, a couple of cucumbers and a kilo of apples — and I still had a whole euro left. But there was nothing left that I could buy from the shopping list — everything was much too expensive. Tomatoes in Paris can make anyone broke at 4.5 euros (378 rubles) per kg.

        I had used up my budget and had not bought any meat. The cheapest that I could buy if trying to be thrifty was chicken thighs (4.6 euro per kg, or 386 rubles). Pressurized by the large cost of foodstuff, a low-income shopper might feel the desire to have a drink. However, this pleasure is very expensive in France: a litre bottle of the cheapest vodka of uncertain origin and a strength of 37.5% costs 12 euros (1008 rubles). Robbery!

    • yalensis says:

      New York:

      Or, with your 10 bucks you could go across the street to Starbucks and splurge it ontwo whole iced Grande Caramel Machiattos.

      Point being, that if you want your10 bucks to go a long way, like in above photo, you have to be a VERY CAREFUL and thrifty shopper.

  32. kirill says:

    The precious western media “freedom”. More like a brownshirt parade of intimidation and defamation.

  33. Jeremn says:

    Ukrainians start to admit that in Crimea some 8000 Ukrainian servicemen simply switched sides.

  34. Lyttenburgh says:

    Acta Diurna Populi Romana is your №I source for the news from across Acumen.

    O, good citizens of Rome! New amusing news came from Parthia.

    We know that in a short time in Parthian lands will be held again the ancient festival of the Golden Men, dedicated to the patron-spirits of drama and acting. Priests will gather in a cave under the Bald Mountain, then they will invite here the playwrights and actors from all over the known world, after which the lights will be fired and a ritual sacrifice to the demon Ahriman made, and only then will the festival begin. Next the priests will announce to all present the will of the gods, thus deciding who of the actors and playwrights is more beloved by them. The winner will be awarded a golden statuette, depicting a warrior with a sword.

    But not everyone in Parthia is satisfied with the progress of preparations for the festival! Recently, a Breton actor named Makeliks, known that he once admitted his Hellenic origins, suddenly become troubled by the fact that the golden statuette had never handed over to the Greeks. However, many of actors, while performing in Greek masks and portray on the stage acts of the Hellenic love had been awarded the prize previously, but the Greeks themselves – never! And all this because, fumes Makeliks, that the priesthood entirely consists of the white-skinned lovers of women.

    Makeliks can be understood: it seems that he harbored a grudge that he didn’t got a statuette for his role of the Druid Gendus in epic scale adaptation of the play “Lord of the Finger Rings”. But if only Makeliks decided to pour his scorn of the festival!

    The Festival of the Golden Men also caused a violent resentment among black as soot Parthian Nubians. A few Nubian slave-actors suddenly noticed that among the actors who could be given a honor to fight for the title of the best there is no one with a black skin! Offended, the Nubians loudly announced that they will not come to the feast, unless the priests will include in the list of candidates at least one black slave.

    “O mores!” – Could have exclaimed anyone here on our Forum upon learning about this news. Indeed: is now the Greeks and the Nubians have to be award the golden statuettes only for the fact that they Greeks and Nubians and not good actors or playwrights? If we are to accept this concept, then why anyone had to exercise in the are of acting when all you need is simply to be born with a black skin or become immersed in the Greek love? And then, o citizens, what kind of theater we will get in the end?

    We will follow the Parthian festival of the Golden Men and keep hoping that the famous actor Decaprius will finally get the coveted statuette for his role in the tragedy «Superstes», which tells the story of the survival of a bearded barbarian in the distant snow-covered forests of Hyperborea. However, rumor has it that instead by the cruel will of the gods the reward would be awarded to an actor, who played the bear…

    • yalensis says:

      Well, everyone knoweth that the Golden Men Prizes are controlled and determined by a secret cabal of Hebrew Pharisees and Festival Producers. At least so sayeth the Hibernian philosopher Kevin MacDonaldus.

  35. dany8538 says:
    Freaking Antonov!!!!!! One of the best plane builders in the World !!!
    One of the last remaining impressive factories in Ukraine although again it was all from Soviet Union.
    Well the Maidan wins again.
    God, I hate them so much. I just want one ukranian to explain to me how closing this factory is good for the regular person in Ukraine? I want one decent answer. Its hopeless though.

  36. Moscow Exile says:



    Does belief in an untruth negate its untruthfulness?

    • et Al says:

      The picture looks like Yatsenyuk with long hair.

    • kirill says:

      Which Ukraine? The part under Poland clearly did not experience any Holodomor, but the Donbas (the western Ukraine spits on) did. So ethnic Russians were the victims of the Holodomor but the most rabid Russia-hating Ukrs were not.

  37. et Al says:

    I do wonder if one of the underlying aims of this British (and other PPNN) media onslaught, past, present and probably future is to provoke Moscow to ban one of Britain’s media groups, thus inviting the UK and others to retaliate… by banning RT… something that they have oft spoken of, but singularly failed to do. Clean hands and all that.

    What we know is all the wailing and gnashing of teeth is because there really is nothing they can do, which is why we also have the squealing over Russia’s upcoming olympics. If they could, they would have done it but it is also the consequences of such actions that would reverberate in to the future causing, as usual, blowback, one of the West’s greatest skills.

    So far, we can see that in the desperation to wind up Russia, they are throwing the baby out with the bathwater, hence the legal laughing stock that the UK has become over its Litvenenko ‘report’ which goes even below the lowest common denominator for that famously solid term ‘probably’.

    BBC ‘Panorama’ reports were once taken very seriously as leading investigative pieces of journalism, but it now show is that the state controlled BBC is hollowing out from the inside, not just editorially, but what now considered a ‘serious’ news story that they put real money in to producing. It’s a lesson to everyone how far there is to fall.

    It’s all a bit sad, and desperate.

  38. Warren says:

    Published on 26 Jan 2016
    The war in Syria is an unparalleled crisis. Having gone far beyond an internal political struggle, the war is marked by a complex array of forces that the U.S. Empire hopes to command: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kurdistan, Iran, Lebanon, Iraq and more.

    To simplify this web of enemies and friends in the regional war, Abby Martin interviews Dr. Vijay Prashad, professor of International Studies at Trinity College and author of several books including “The Poorer Nations”, “A People’s History of the Third World” and “Arab Spring, Libyan Winter”.
    Watch teleSUR’s The Empire Files every Friday.

    FOLLOW // @EmpireFiles // @AbbyMartin // @telesurenglish

    LIKE //

  39. et Al says:

    EU Observer: Former Ukraine PM hoping to beat EU blacklist

    Rettman, winner of the EP’s 2015 Sakharov prize serves up this steaming pile of horse manure. Just count the free handjobs he gives here to all the very clever people in the EU,US and the Ukraine who are always right. It’s basically a puff piece.

    You see, in conclusion, the House (EU+US) always wins because Russia lives in a ‘virtual reality’, whether there is evidence or not against those Kiev accuses. Funnily enough it is the EU that is falling apart but not living a virtual reality whilst declaring that it is prepared to introduce borders for two years in the EU*. No Schengen, No EU.


  40. et Al says:

    euractiv: EU seeks new powers to vet member state energy deals

    …The energy security package aims to move the 28-member bloc towards a single energy union in which power and gas would flow freely across borders, reducing reliance on Russian gas.

    “We are going to introduce this ex-ante check of the intergovernmental agreements,” Šefčovič said.

    “We should develop the mechanism where we would have the possibility to look into the intergovernmental agreements in a way that we would make sure that once concluded, they are compatible with EU law.”

    The web of deals Russia cut with Eastern European states to build the South Stream pipeline under the Black Sea morphed into a legal headache when the EU executive said it did not comply with rules on ownership or third-party pipeline access.

    The oversight powers sought by the European Union would avoid the difficulty and complication of trying to renegotiate bilateral agreements after the fact, Šefčovič said…

    Yup, Brussels could absolutely never f/k it all up, certainly not as badly as when they told Kiev it has to choose between Brussels and Moscow, no compromise at all. It never gets cold in Brussels apparently….

    • marknesop says:

      Šefčovič doesn’t just want the power to ‘look into intergovernmental agreements’, he wants the power to stop or alter them. I very much doubt Germany will support it, because if Šefčovič had such oversight authority he would immediately use it to block Nord Stream II. Mark my words, Europe will rue the day if ever Brussels is successful in blocking that construction, and forcing Russia to continue transit through Ukraine. Because Naftogaz’s pipeline network is falling apart, and there is no way in hell Russia will ever agree to put any money into it. So Europe’s gas will be hissing out all over Ukraine. What the Ukies don’t steal for their own use, of course.

  41. Kulobi says:

    Good folks from the Atlantic Council have published another minor masterpiece that is guaranteed to please Mark: ‘Ukraine’s Economic Revival Starting in the West’
    Penned by someone whose credentials include a ‘lifelong foreign correspondent’ and ‘an advisor to the Kyiv Post’, it’s almost as laughable as Korewa’s oeuvre. The message is simple: Banderastan has turned the post-Maidan corner of economic depression and is prospering like there’s no tomorrow. Crucial points of evidence:
    – a photo of an ‘electric tram’ (under Yanukovich trams were horse-drawn) taken in 2013 (ouch, a bit of anachronism here);
    – a claim that “pioneering EUROPEAN manufacturers are quietly moving production to western Ukraine”, propped up by two quotes from the CANADIAN and US ambassadors raving about a hockey stick facility and a software company that had been set up during Soviet times.
    The punch line which inevitably comes is that “Western Ukraine is similar to northern Mexico”. Crime and drug-wise, perhaps?
    The actual data provided by Ukrainian authorities show that in the first nine months of 2015 exports from the Lviv oblast to the EU actually contracted by 19% (nation-wide decline was 18.6%)

  42. PaulR says:

    Putin has followed up on his attack on Lenin last week with a long statement of his attitude towards communism. I think it’s quite an important ideological statement, and so have translated it here:

    • Special_sauce says:

      As an arm-chair communist I like to cut the Bolsheviks some slack. They were the first. And comrade Fidel has said, Nobody really knows how communism is supposed to work. There’s no magic formula. Capitalism took centuries to catch on since certain entrepreneurs were given leave to set up benches, ie “banks”, in the town square and hawk investments in merchant companies along with the sellers of shoes, wine, knitted goods etc. For myself I have to say murdering priests is a no-no, but the people have to be allowed through the education-for-all mantra to decide for themselves whether there are Sky-gods or Terranean ones without interference from a self-interested clergy. To Caeser his Thing, to God His. As the good book sayeth.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      If Putin was a communist then the KPRF would be a “Party of Power” – not the EdRo.

      Actually it’s all nice and dandy to talks about the “evils of communism” and how it layed “the bomb under state’s foundation” – but it was Yeltsin and other thieves who set that bomb off and then plundered their freshly independent republics. It’s like blaming Jesus Christ for the Spanish Inqusition, Hugenot Wars and 30 years war (plus the Fall of the Roman Empire) at once. Or Buddha for baron von Ungern’s reign of terror.

      The best thing Vladimir Vladimirovicth can do right now is to STFU ASAP.

      • yalensis says:

        Not to mention the unseemly indelicacy of VVP accusing a dead Lenin of dissolution of the USSR.
        Like VVP was just some innocent 14-year-old virgin who watched this “raspad” happen from the window of her convent.
        Like old Russian proverb says, “на воре и шапка горит”.

        • kirill says:

          Lenin and his crew created the problem known as Ukraine. They created the Nagorny-Karabakh mess and the South Ossetia mess. Putin is right on target with his evaluations of the Bolshevik social engineers. They f*cked up Russia in epic proportions.

          You seem to imply that Putin was involved in the breakup of the USSR. Please put the crack pipe down. Please all of you STFU.

      • marknesop says:

        Yes, this is very irrational behavior for him, and it must be one of the cardinal rules of politics to not espouse a policy which has no constituency. Doubtless the kreakly believe as he does, but they loathe him to the marrow of their bones and would not accept him no matter how liberal he declared himself to be, supposing he wrapped himself in the American flag like a burrito. Dissing communism is not winning him any traction with the remainder of the electorate, and unless he feels like this is something he really has to get off his chest and it’s worth whatever it costs, he should take a deep breath and maybe a couple of days off.

        • Alexey says:

          Putin’s was always close to kreakls. They grew out of his constituency of supporters.

          One always needs to remember that he is ideological successor of Yeltsin. Capable, realistic, but nonetheless Yeltsin successor.

          • marknesop says:

            It seems extremely at odds with previous speeches, especially the famous and often-misquoted one regarding the tragedy of the breakup of the Soviet Union. And he is not from the ‘creative class’ himself, springing not from old family money or social connections in his youth. But neither did Yeltsin, comes to that. Nor was he a kreakl himself; quite the opposite.

            • Alexey says:

              Yet he was loyal aid to “Gramofonchik”, one of the most notorious liberals of Perestroika/Pomoika time. While many people keep noting his KGB past in every article it’s not the only influence he experienced in life. And possibly (yes, possibly!) not the most important ideologically.

              As for breakup of USSR I doubt socialist society and communist ideology was what he referred to.

              • marknesop says:

                “As for breakup of USSR I doubt socialist society and communist ideology was what he referred to.”

                No, that’s quite true; he was very clear what he had referred to, and he explicity said nobody desired a return to Communist rule or to recreate the USSR. He mostly referred to the economic damage and the redistribution of wealth and power to the oligarchs.

                “Individual savings were depreciated, and old ideals destroyed. Many institutions were disbanded or reformed carelessly. Terrorist intervention and the Khasavyurt capitulation that followed damaged the country’s integrity. Oligarchic groups – possessing absolute control over information channels – served exclusively their own corporate interests. Mass poverty began to be seen as the norm. And all this was happening against the backdrop of a dramatic economic downturn, unstable finances, and the paralysis of the social sphere.”

                Much of the rest is a reiteration of this theme and the vision of a democratic, free state. But while it defends liberal values, it does not seem particularly kind to the crony capitalism which is the love interest of so many liberals.

                • Alexey says:

                  True, but attributing crony capitalism to anyone’s love interest is a bit overstretch. Yeltsin was first and foremost concerned with personal power and let everything else out of his hands, while Putin is gosudarstvennik and was able to bring more order to proceedings. It’s different personalities yet ideologically things are the same: “White army, Black Baron…”

                  Modern day kreakls grew out of the same roots of perestroika demagogues as Putin, but unlike him they either kept idealized view of liberal capitalism as a Kingdom of Heaven (old guard) or developed their idealism during prosperous 2000s.

                  Anyway what I’m trying to say with all the differences between Putin and kreakls they share many roots and believes and in Russian political spectrum they are much closer to each other, than to a large number of nobodies who “desire a return to Communist rule or to recreate the USSR” or rebuilding essentially socialist state in any form.

                  It’s Trotskyism vs Stalinism kind of thing =)

                • marknesop says:

                  True, perhaps that is over-dramatizing, and what I actually meant to suggest is that to certain loud voices among the kreakly establishment, who presume to speak for them, nations whose practices are actually despotic and exploitative (such as the USA) where they involve the conduct of business with non-aligned nations can nonetheless do no wrong. People such as Yulia Latynina and Lev Ponomarev, for example, and others who are routinely quoted in western pieces. Yulia Latynina joyfully accepted the Freedom Defenders Award from the United States government for her ‘bravery in journalism’, which consists almost exclusively of slagging her own country and providing the west with opportunities to do the same. Perhaps she is not truly a kreakl, as there is no evidence I am aware of that there is anything creative or high-born about her. Nor is there about Putin, comes to that.

                  I would quantify the modern Russian kreakl as typified by Bershidsky – intelligent, well-spoken, well-read and well-educated, with some degree of exposure to the west he champions. His perfidy is not so much in his idolizing of the west as it is in his constant and unrelenting criticism of Russia and its political system without any balancing criticism of its alternatives. One is obliged, therefore, to assume he approves of them, not so much from his acclaim as from his refusal to condemn anything about them. Similarly, most of them seem fanatically devoted to free-market capitalism and the pursuit of the American Dream, although the latter has been shown time and again to be merely a carrot tied just out of reach of the donkey’s nose.

  43. Fern says:

    Here’s a good example of the kind of democracy the US brings to the countries blessed by its attentions:-

    “U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, hopes that the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine this week will pass an act that allows the privatization of large state assets. “It is important to bring Ukraine in line with international standards on privatisation….”

    So what do the people of Ukraine think?

    “According to the poll of the sociological group “Rating”, Ukrainians in general oppose the privatization of state enterprises. Answering the question about the fate of remaining 4000 state properties of enterprises, 49% of respondents answered that they must remain state-owned companies, 30% agree to sell only a part of them, but most agreed to leave them in state ownership, and 12% agreed to sell most of the remnants of state property, and 1% are willing to sell all state property.”

    Government of the people, by the people and for the people has left the building.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Whereas on the other hand, the Ukraine Finance Minister, Jaresko, who is still a US citizen (she only has to renounce her US citizenship before December 2 this year), truly has her finger on the national pulse, having said that the Ukraine government would not settle its debt to Russia because the Ukrainian people are against such an action.

      There’s democracy for you!

      • marknesop says:

        Not to mention her radical ideas for tax reform, in which she wants to eliminate the payroll tax – might as well, hard to have a payroll tax when there’s no payroll – in favour of a reduced flat tax similar to the way Russia runs it. I don’t really understand the flat tax that well, so I’ll reserve criticism although it seems to favour the wealthy, but it’s hard to find an enforceable tax system which does not. But that aside, tax reform is the least of Ukraine’s worries and it certainly should not be preoccupying the Finance Minister when the country has lost a third of its tax base and had the value of it currency halved, while trying to impose EU-style austerity and jacking the utility rates.

  44. Fern says:

    Really, really long analysis by Alexander Mercouris – some 10,000 words – of the Litvinenko ‘inquiry’. It’s probably one of the best analyses you could get although I think he’s too kind to Owen in a number of places. A must-read but not a quick-read.

    • Kulobi says:

      Thanks for the link, Fern – Mercouris’ analysis is quite cogent and comprehensive. His point on the suitability and qualifications of Robert Service as an expert witness is particularly interesting. I picked up his book on Lenin at an academic remainders stall some time ago (cost me 50c), but never got to reading it. I should do so now. Perhaps the good Professor brooded moodily and sagely on Putin’s totalitarian regime somewhere in the epilogue there.

  45. Kulobi says:

    Ah yes, Alexander ‘The West Should Arm Ukraine’ Motyl, another admirer of Poroshenko’s achievement in the field of excellence. Here’s a clincher: “All of Ukraine’s trade will be with EBR (Everybody but Russia) as of 2016”. Yay. Motyl does not bother to provide any figures, of course. Ukraine produces 1.2 mn tonnes of chicken meat annually. In its munificence, the EU has given it a quota of 16 thousand tonnes to export duty-free. Where will the rest go? To the US, perhaps, where poultry is notoriously in short supply?
    In any event, Motyl is upstaged by Aslund who, having gazed into a crystal ball, is positively bursting with optimism

    • Oddlots says:

      Well the top ten list is the hallmark of informed analysis so I think you are being rather unfair.

    • marknesop says:

      Here’s what I said in comment on that Motyl piece:

      “I’ll be waiting with great interest to see what Ukraine is going to sell to Europe after 2016 that will compensate for its former Russia trade. Unless you meant the EU will give Ukraine money to buy EU goods, thus fleshing out the ‘export’ side of the import/export equation. I can’t see that happening, since the EU is not really in a position to adopt a giant tar baby, but you never know. Always willing to have my mind changed by facts.”

      Let’s make a note to check regularly on this issue and see if any of Motyl’s or Aslund’s predictions are borne out – that’s always good fodder for a future post on these twin numpties. Neither of them is used to ever being held to account for the pie-in-the-sky nutty optimistic things they write. And I love to make fun of Aslund, because he’s such a whiny jerk.

      • Patient Observer says:

        US foreign aid had huge strings attached. The money had to be spent purchasing US goods and services. Probably, the required purchase would often favor certain companies located in some Senator’s district. In essence, it’s a clever way to package “humanitarian aid” as what otherwise is simply transfer of public wealth to private interests.

        I would suspect the EU would do similarly; Ukraine foreign aid will be recycled to the pockets of the favorite sons of the EU. It’s not corruption of course. So, it would not be surprising if the EU advances aid to Ukraine in proportion to the urgency to enrich various private interests. There is also propaganda value of EU largeness for those who were born yesterday.

  46. Patient Observer says:

    So Nord Stream would only be approved by the EU if Russia continues to supply gas via Ukraine? The article also implied that Poland needs Russian gas which can only be provided by Ukraine. This suggests that there is insufficient pipeline capacity from Germany to cover that amount of gas.

    The article also states that Nord Stream would cover shortages in gas flow through Urkaine were disrupted:

    “Germany says the Nord Stream-2 pipeline will mitigate declining European gas production and the possible disruption of supplies via the war-torn Ukraine, Reuters reported.”

    Seem like preparation for a probable cessation of Russian gas via Ukraine. However, construction will only start in 2019 (per the article) unless events force an earlier start.

    • marknesop says:

      Comical, since Poland once claimed not to be at all worried about the potential of being cut off from Russian gas supplies, although that was probably bluster since they have a contract with Russia for gas supplies until 2022 and Russia has never broken a contract that I’m aware of (except when the problem originated in Ukraine, which makes Europe’s resistance even more foolish and more obviously an attempt to funnel Russian money into Ukraine to save it from economic collapse). But they always talk about the same thing – gas from Norway and shipborne LNG. Personally I would let them rely on those supplies for a couple of years, and see what kind of change that brought about in their attitude.

      From the same source, The Economist – which might as well be renamed Dumbness for Dummies, another tale full of strut and braggadocio about ‘robust European policy’ and its ability to make gas appear out of thin air. Europe seems to have this comical faith that shunting around Russian gas through all these interconnectors and reverse-flowing it here and there causes it to turn into gas from someplace else. “Ukraine’s gas imports from the west are rocketing” says Dumbness for Dummies – if that’s the case, it shouldn’t cause a problem to take it off the transit-country list for Russia, then, should it? Of course Ukraine’s gas imports from the west are going up – because the west gives it money to buy gas and then reverse-flows Russian gas through Hungary and Slovakia. A sweet arrangement for Ukraine, but it shouldn’t really be fooling anyone that this means Ukraine is independent, and European taxpayers will be on the hook for feeding it welfare for decades to come.

  47. Patient Observer says:

    Talk about expensive aircraft per Wikipedia:

    “Each aircraft was to cost US$60.9 million in 2001,[2] but this had risen to $222.7 million per aircraft (including development costs) by 2013.[1]

    This is not a advanced strategic bomber or fifth generation heavy fighter – its a drone; the Global Hawk. If Russia produces a similar vehicle for, say, $50 million each (including R&D), Russian defense spending and their GDP would register as only 20% of the US value.

    Since our economists and politicians seem to have become separated from physical reality such subtleties are missed. Hence they march over the cliff filled with the confidence of a fool.

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