On the Art of Noticing the Obvious, and Invisible People

Uncle Volodya says, "There is a noticeable element of the pathological in some current leftist critiques, which I tend to attribute to feelings of guilt allied to feelings of impotence. Not an attractive combination, because it results in self-hatred.”

Uncle Volodya says, “There is a noticeable element of the pathological in some current leftist critiques, which I tend to attribute to feelings of guilt allied to feelings of impotence. Not an attractive combination, because it results in self-hatred.”

One  principal advantage this blog enjoys over many other Russia-focused blogs in English is the participation of some ethnic-Russian and extremely competent speakers of English, some of whom still live in Russia. We are therefore offered direct access to at least some opinion which comes from the country which is our focus of interest, rather than being told what Russians think by English-speaking journalists such as Shaun Walker, Roland Oliphant, Edward Lucas and thoroughly-westernized Russian émigrés like Julia Ioffe and Leonid Bershidsky. The importance of that unfiltered opinion cannot be exaggerated, because the foregoing journalists and émigrés frequently sample only the opinions of groups likely to provide the soundbites they are looking for, or simply make them up. This offers the comforting – for some – picture that there is widespread discontent within Russia of the current government, wages have remained stagnant for decades and Russians envy and covet western freedoms, which we must acknowledge is a popular narrative in the Anglosphere. Our only opportunity to rebut it comes from passionate Russians who can express themselves competently in English, and substantiate, flesh out and bring to life the alternative reality we know exists.

This, of course, is leading into another post from the erudite native Muscovite we know as Lyttenburgh. I am delighted to be able to offer it here. Lyttenburgh, it’s all yours.

Prologue:

Prince Andrew was somewhat refreshed by having ridden off the dusty highroad along which the troops were moving. But not far from Bald Hills he again came out on the road and overtook his regiment at its halting place by the dam of a small pond. It was past one o’clock. The sun, a red ball through the dust, burned and scorched his back intolerably through his black coat. The dust always hung motionless above the buzz of talk that came from the resting troops. There was no wind. As he crossed the dam Prince Andrew smelled the ooze and freshness of the pond. He longed to get into that water, however dirty it might be, and he glanced round at the pool from whence came sounds of shrieks and laughter. The small, muddy, green pond had risen visibly more than a foot, flooding the dam, because it was full of the naked white bodies of soldiers with brick-red hands, necks, and faces, who were splashing about in it. All this naked white human flesh, laughing and shrieking, floundered about in that dirty pool like carp stuffed into a watering can, and the suggestion of merriment in that floundering mass rendered it specially pathetic.

[…]

“Flesh, bodies, cannon fodder!” he thought, and he looked at his own naked body and shuddered, not from cold but from a sense of disgust and horror he did not himself understand, aroused by the sight of that immense number of bodies splashing about in the dirty pond.

– L. Tolstoy, “War and Peace”, volume 3, Book 10, Chapter V.

Part I.

I was “triggered” into writing this article by two factors. First – by a somewhat “popular” in narrow circles writer, Lyudmila Ulitskaya (a regular of “intelligentsia gatherings” organized by Mikhail Khodorkovskiy) who just recently compared Russians to “filthy, sick savages”. Not something out of the ordinary, really – sadly, this is just another example of the self-proclaimed members of the “Nation’s Conscience” passing judgment on the rest of the people, who might (o, horror!) disagree with them and their foreign sponsors.

Another came from a rather unusual source. As you all probably know, the “Kadyrov Scandal”, started when the President of the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation called non-systemic oppositionists “traitors” and “enemies of the people” and called for them to be investigated and, if needed, prosecuted in accordance with Russian Law. The scandal is not abating in Russia and now even the Foreign Democratic And Independent press began noticing it. And so we have many different pieces from across the Civilized World, all of them professing their love for the so-called “Russian liberals”, “true opposition”, “civil society” and a burning hatred for the “wrong” Chechen Kadyrov (as opposed to the “good ” Chechens, whose actions they supported in the 90s and 00s). This article on a British government funded BBC Russia site is typical. Its author – Artyom Krechetnikov – is a fine example of sad and failed dissident and émigré, who just physically can’t write a good thing about his former country of birth.

Quite predictably, our Artyom is highly critical of Kadyrov’s comparisons of the non-systemic opposition to the enemies of the people. He even decided to write a little “historical essay” devoted to that question – starting with the Great French Revolution and ending with Mao’s China. He makes all possible mistakes one can expect from a rabid Russophobe and anti-Sovietist (which, all too often, means the same thing). Say, while admitting that the Committee on the National Safety executed via “Mme Guillotine” only 18,613 people, he immediately references 1935 “studies” of the American historian Donald Greer, who, somehow, managed to increase this number to 40,000. The same way he acts while talking about the “Great Terror” in the Soviet Union. He claims that in the period of 1921-1953,  3, 777, 380 people were persecuted by “political” charges (read: “they were completely innocent from our absolutely superior liberal POV”) and that 799,445 of them were executed. On the one hand – that’s kinda-sorta  progress compared to Beevor-SoLZHEnytsin’s “millions of innocents shot for nothing in the span of a few years” concept; but, still, a gross exaggeration and a shameless lie. First of all he conflates in his “persecuted” claim in the form of a number of people close to 4 million. Both those who were just charged with various political (but very real) crimes and then released, and those who were sentenced to prison time or executed. Next, for an uninformed reader a number of 799,455 looks big, scary and (because it’s uneven) legit. But it’s actually a number of death warrants issued – not the number of the actual executions carried out in the USSR for this sort of crime in the period of more than 30 years. The actual number is lower – about 680,000. Which is, kinda-sorta, less scary and also, by its mere fact of existence, proves that some people (a whopping 120,000 of them) got pardoned or successfully pleaded their cause before the ghoulish, baby-eating Stalinist government. But we don’t want any ideological ambiguity, do we? Even then, possessing basic skills of math, some primitive solar-panel calculator and access to reliable and relevant statistical data will lead any would be “demolisher of Stalinism” to rather disheartening conclusion – that bloody mustachioed vampire managed to repress for political reasons about 2.7-3% of the entire population. Boo-fricking-hoo.

But what does our dear Krechetnikov do next? Oh, that’s a real gem! Here is his main reason for opposing Kadyrov and his “attacks” on the shy and conscientious democratic opposition in Russia, whom he dares to call “the enemies of the people”:

“In fact, the term is meaningless because there is no national-superpersonality, able to want something or do not want it, to love or hate someone. There are many people who have different interests, opinions, and, accordingly, friends and enemies”.

That’s it, people! That was my own “Bingo!” moment, when I finally got it all about the real issue of this “Kadyrov’s scandal”, but most importantly, I’ve ‘groked’ the essence of the modern international so-called Liberalism and its faithful servants in Russian. Let me explain it.

Part II

It is considered to be a mauvais ton, a taboo even to talk about ‘the people’ or the ‘working class’ in the Western Respectable Media and Academia. Big Scary No-No. Why? Well, because if you are talking about the ‘people’ then you will inevitably go Patriotism=>Nationalism=>Nazism road. And were you ever to raise a question about the ‘working class’, then, surely you will next arrive at Socialism=>Stalinism=>gulags. That’s a Well Known Fact . And no use to argue against the Free and Independent Opinion, you Commie-Nazi Freak!

What does it mean? Well, it means that any given country of the Progressive And Culturally Superior West™ is ruled by this or that iteration of a filthy rich elite brought up to power by this or that iteration of the local Bourgeoisie Revolution – with the motto “Fuck the Poor!” engraved on every single decision of this self-perpetuation oligarchy draped in the, ha-ha, republican robes. Then there is a small – but very, very noisy, so they appear larger than they actually are – strata of the “intellectuals”, high-priests in the temples of the long-dead gods of Freedom, Liberty and Equality, who fancy themselves as the one and only true keepers of the Democratic Legacy, of the Quintessence of what their particular “Nation” is all about – but screw the history and traditions if we feel the other way on Tuesday. The fact that both of these“ruling classes” comprise (combined) perhaps less than 10% of the entire population doesn’t discourage them at all in their perceived view of the world at large – naturally, with them at the top.

So, who are the rest of the people? Pfft, what a silly question! They do not exist. At all. Why are you looking so surprised at me? Didn’t the good Sir Krechentikov just say that ‘the people’ do not exist? There you go! Move along – nothing to see here. What you have for the 90% of the population instead of the “people” or even the “working class” are what good pro-democracy (and – as any idiot in the Net will tell you – pro-gay) Greeks referred as “walking and talking tools”. And tools, as we know, usually are dumb, mono-tasked and easily replaceable. By other tools, no matter what their country of origin or the reasons of becoming “tools” in the first place. Ultimately, to the “ruling classes” they are all the same.

So, when the so-called ‘Russian liberals’ are decrying ‘their’ own people and wish it to be replaced entirely one way or another – they are actually voicing in their naive neophyte way what their much more experienced masters and colleagues from across the “Civilized World” have been keeping in mind for a long, long time.

Naturally, it’s a little wonder that the “nonexistent people” (according to the liberal l‘Internationale) have no “enemies” wishing to harm them or to screw them over. And because about 90% of these “non-people” are basically not even  cognizant citizens who can take responsible actions on their own – its only in their best interests if some much more educated, handshakeable (albeit – miniscule) group of the “full-rights citizens” will decide what’s better for them and, ugh, the “nation”. And to hell with these “elections” – cattle know not how to vote properly anyway!

Don’t believe me? I remind you, that thoroughly-beloved-by-the-West Russian journalist Yulia Latynina argued against allowing poor people to vote. Plus, this Russian Ayn Rand-wannabe also denies global warming. She insists that only when the “proper” Russia will “cut-away” the Far East, Siberia and North Caucasus will we “start living like human beings” To no one’s surprise, she’s a great fan of Pinochet’s Chile and Lee Kwan-Yew’s Singapore.

Another rather descriptive example: Garry Kasparov, touted by the Free Press as yet another “leader of the Russian opposition”, now living in a self-imposed (and very comfortable) exile in the West, who recently “erupted” with a program of actions for the Liberal Opposition when (not if – when!) they capture the power from the Regime.  A breathtaking read, I must say. He calls for the “purification” (that’s not totalitarian purges, no – it’s democratic “purification”!) of the society, because “the society will have to pay for everything – for the support of Putin, for Georgia, for Crimea and for Donbass” – just like Germany and Japan had to pay after 1945. He, jumping from here, calls for a “historical Nuremberg”, with real “judicial process punishing the architects of the current regime”. And elections, democracy and all that jazz? Oh, no – it’s impossible. No elections after the destruction of the Evil Regime – the people are too brainwashed, could be easily swayed and, Freedom forbid, might not vote for the Good Guys. Dictatorship of the Warriors of the Light (now with Filtration Camps of  Freedom) are the only true way.

And now read anything from a bunch of other articles about “poor, isolated Russia” from our usual suspects belonging to the Free And Independent Western Media and you’ll notice the trend – not a peep about what the Russian people really, really want. Sure, you will find here many ballsy claims about “Many in Russia suspect that Kadyrov [something-something-something-Dark Side]” – without any real proof about these mythical “many”. ‘Cause this particular ambiguously big “many” actually covers only a Barbie-seized crowd of shy and conscientious intilligents, democratic journalists, kreakls, hipsters and gays from the breadth of Russia. They are seen as the voice of Russia and the true Elite who is entitled to rule the country – not the 86% of unmentionable “others”.

See for yourself. There is no more vanilla anti-Russian pro-jingoistic neo-con paper in the American Olympus of the 4th Estate than the “Pravda on the Potomac” AKA “The Washington Post”. This time, they scare their readership shitless with this scaaaary tale:

Now, the attack dog seems to be unleashed. Mr. Kadyrov has written an article published in the daily Izvestia that pours scorn on the “nonsystemic opposition” to Mr. Putin and suggests it be punished. The term “systemic opposition” in Russia usually refers to the toadies and sycophants who support Mr. Putin. Mr. Kadyrov’s sights are on everyone else who criticizes the president — and he named names, including prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny and journalists for Echo of Moscow radio and Dozhd television, both progressive outlets. In the article, Mr. Kadyrov declares that “there is a very good psychiatric hospital” in Chechnya where “we will not be stingy with injections” to these critics. “When they are prescribed one injection, we can give two.” He says the opposition is a “pack of jackals,” “bunch of traitors,” “Western lackeys,” “enemies of the people,” “haters of Russia,” people who are trying “to destroy our country and undermine its constitutional order.” Stalin would recognize the language. Mr. Kadyrov’s chief of staff drove the point home with a photo posted on social media of the Chechen leader holding back a massive Caucasian Shepherd dog named Tarzan, saying the beast’s “teeth itch.”

Well, what can one say? These fuckers are beyond redemption. Yes, I’m talking about WaPos Editorial Board – not the Chechens. Not only did Mr. Kadyrov avoid naming anyone whom this article claims he already wrote down into his “proscription lists” – the article fails to mention that, in both of his articles, Ramzan Achmadovitch didn’t call for extra-judicial punishment of the so-called “non-systemic opposition”. He called for them to be investigated in accordance with Russian law. Meanwhile, the very same Russian oppositionists who decry at every opportunity the brutality of Stalinist purges and the sordid fact that a lot of people indeed wrote anonymous reports to NKVD…wrote an anonymous report accusing the president of Chechnya of violating art. 282 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, i.e. “inflammation of national strife” (as if “non-systemic opposition” is in itself a nationality or ethnicity to be targeted specifically) and “the humiliation of dignity of a certain social group”. Some of them even went as far as to demand his resignation. But, understandably, the chances of such demarches are very slim – “traitors” and “the enemies of the people” are not a social group according to existing Russian legislation, as well as “non-systemic opposition”, so that people labeled such could not demand any kind of legal recognition or compensation. Besides, if the so-called Russian liberals are truly innocent before Russian law – why are they fretting so much at quite ordinary calls for an inquiry? C’mon, liberals are just a bunch of shy and conscientious blokes and shiksas, who only want to embrace sweet Freedom and Universal Western Values! And, really guys, no one is threatening Russia – claiming otherwise means endorsing Kremlinite propaganda! Right?

Wrong. Just last Saturday, on ultra-liberal pro-opposition radio “Ekho Moscvy” (hailed by the West as “one of the few remaining Free Media Sources in Russia”) site, an article by equally ultra-liberal and pro-opposition Andrey Piontkovskiy had been brought to the attention of urbi et orbi. And there was a good reason for that – in his article Piontkovskiy calls for the secession of Chechnya from Russia. In this article, among other things, the author claims that the continued presence of the Chechen republic within Russia threatens “a third Chechen war”, so stopping the “ticking clock of the Russian-Chechen disaster” is only possible through the provision of the full state of independence of the republic. Among other reasons why it is necessary to do so, Piontkovsky lists the murder of Boris Nemtsov and Anna Politkovskaya, and the story of the Krasnoyarsk deputy Senchenko, who was forced to make a “humiliating apology” to Ramzan Kadyrov for calling him “a disgrace of Russia”. According to the “journalist” (sorry for the word journalist here), the Chechen people are the “most difficult” of all the peoples of Russia and they don’t want “to transform from the Germans into the Jews of the Third Reich.”

Later that part was cut from the article, but only after a huge (and I mean – HUGE!) wave of angry responses from both readers and from the people beyond the “comfort zone” of the “Ekho”. And, of course, ordinary users of RuNet proved themselves wily beasts by making lots of screenshots of that page pre-“purging”. Meanwhile, this whole fracas is more serious than it looks. According to art. 280, p.1 of the LC RF there is a real legal responsibility for public calls for action aimed at violating the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation. Part two of this article states that said actions are punishable by up to 5 years of imprisonment for such calls made with the use of the media. Also, not only the author, but the editorial board of the media source hosting such articles are equally responsible, and must answer before the law. That’s the current Russian legislation. And not knowing it does not absolve anyone from having committed a crime.

Andrei Piontkovsky is a “Russian journalist” (once again – sorry for the word “journalist”), a researcher at the Institute for Systemic Analysis, a member of the International PEN Club. In 2012 he was elected to the Coordinating Council of the Opposition. In 2014 Piontkovsky signed a statement demanding the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of the Ukraine and an end to “the annexation of Crimea”. Such a paragon of handshakeability is just a rank’n’file “non-systemic opposition” figure – a very typical representative indeed, but not on par with some of the more notorious ones.

I think the whole world must be reminded about other “achievements” of the so-called “Russian liberal opposition”. In 1994 they went to Dudayev’s stronghold in separatist Chechnya and, while there, used the radio relay to call for Russian soldiers to commit an act of treason and surrender to the militants. Among them, human rights activist Sergey Kovalyov, who swore that no harm will come to all who will surrender immediately – they will even be transported back to their military bases. The lucky ones of those naive soldiers who raised up their arms and surrendered entered into years-long slavery. The less lucky were brutally tortured and mutilated, and then – killed.

And, yes – these are the people hailed as true heroes by the Western Press, NGOs and Governments (which, as Everybody Knows, are totally not interconnected between themselves). Should such persons be investigated in accordance with Russian law and do they really deserve the term “enemies of the people”? Well, the collective West thinks “No!”. Russians have a diametrically opposite opinion – but who cares, as long as the Western Enlightened Populace’s opinion is formed by the rabid Russophobic spin-doctors from the WaPo and their ilk? Hell, even the best of them in the professional circle of the “Russia-watchers” (read: as ethical and loyal as 17th century German mercenaries) are no better and can’t even bring themselves to say one simple phrase – “Russian People”. But they, unwittingly, provide a useful insight into other interesting tidbits of this ugly elitist worldview.

Editor’s Note: We’re only halfway through this thing, gang, so I have decided to break it in two so that it will not be too long.  We’ll give this first installment a week or so of exposure, and then follow with the conclusion. I have to say I like it so far!

This entry was posted in Alexei Navalny, Boris Nemtsov, Caucasus, Corruption, Government, Khodorkovsky, Law and Order, Politics, Vladimir Putin, Yulya Latynina and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1,112 Responses to On the Art of Noticing the Obvious, and Invisible People

  1. Moscow Exile says:


    Be envious, Moscow! A bright sun above a free Ukraine.

    To this exhortation, the Russian blogger who gave notice of it writes:

    Осмелюсь предположить, что товарищ депутат перешел на тяжелые наркотики.

    А вообще забавно наблюдать, как русофобская либеральная грязь сама себя закопала за эти два года, собственными руками закрыв дверь в большую политику России.

    I dare say that the comrade deputy has gone onto hard drugs.

    In general, it is funny to watch how a liberal Russophobe has buried himself in filth these past two years, closing the door with his own hands to major Russian politics.

    The blogger is clearly one of the vast majority of Russians who is blind to reality as a result of his relying solely on and believing in state controlled Russian news media, which incessantly propagandizes and which is his only source of information.

    What a sad, abject people those Russians are, who would not recognize the fresh air of freedom even if it were to blow directly into their sour, unsmiling faces!

    • marknesop says:

      Of course the sun shines only on Ukraine. Because Ukrainian scientists made some kind of cosmic tunnel that focuses the sun just on God’s chosen country.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      As it happens, a bright sun shines down upon the capital of Mordor as I now write today as well … but I say unto thee:

      what doth it profit a man if he hath the brightness of the sun shining down upon him yet suffer the loss of his own freedom?

    • ucgsblog says:

      Some just have to celebrate freedom by wearing clothes that most resemble a straitjacket. It’s also funny that as he said that, there’s an article in Foreign Policy that not only compares Ukraine to Game of Thrones, but also admits that Ukraine is ruled by everyone but the Ukrainians. I’m guessing that it’s all part of a project dubbed “Revolution of Dignity” or something like that. Dignity might find these results to be quite, erm, Revolting.

    • yalensis says:

      I would translate that second paragraph as:

      “And in general, it’s funny to watch, how the Russophobic Liberal swamp has dug its own grave these past two years, with their own hands shutting the door on their chance (at success in) the larger political arena in Russia.”

      In other words, Liberals maybe had a tiny chance before of getting into larger political arena, like some seats in Duma, etc., but now that would be impossible, since they have made themselves so unpopular.

  2. Moscow Exile says:

    More evidence that Russian bloggers are brain-dead through years of being propagandized by Russian state-controlled mass media:

    Uganda in the middle of Europe

    What distinguishes modern Ukrainian political culture is a love of boasting. Poroshenko boasts almost continuously. Government Ministers praise their successes and plan even more impressive boastings.

    Journalists and local officials brag. And even a volunteer who has brought to rear units a food canister or socks is in a hurry to boast about his successes that had been achieved in spite of the dangers at the front.

    As a rule, it does not take long before such boasting turns to a sense of shame or failure.

    The Interior Minister promises to “eradicate terrorists” in less than two days, and meanwhile the war has dragged on for more than two years. The chief of staff announces the final phase of the ATO, following which the last separatists will flee in terror before them. However, it was his soldiers that fled instead, scattering throughout the fields and along all the roads the weapons that had been entrusted to them.

    The head of the national bank declares itself the world’s best specialist, yet the national currency breaks records in devaluation. The Prime Minister promises unprecedented reform and a new quality of life, and the Ukraine is overcast by black clouds of poverty.

    The hyper-patriotic especially love to tell how the Ukraine will flourish whilst the Donbass will be plunged into such unpenetrable darkness as did God once curse Egypt with.

    Officials, journalists and caring characters from time to time do not skimp on painting everything black, predicting that the Donetsk region will turn into a wild African province, where there will be no law, no mercy for the weak, and everywhere there will be rule by the Kalashnikov.

    But, as you have already guessed, the reality is here and a cruel surprise has been prepared for Kiev pride.

    In mid-February there was published by the Kiev prosecutor’s office information, according to which in 2015 in Kiev there had been committed 1,250 willful homicides.

    Undoubtedly, it is worth recalling that in the last year of Yanukovych’s tyrannical oppression and before the victory of the Revolution of Dignity, there had been in Kiev 470 murders.

    This figure is, of itself, is not that interesting: the interesting thing about it is that it gives us a rate of 35 cases per 100 thousand of the population, which, according to the UN, is the rate of murders in … Uganda!

    However, it is worth noting that the average salary in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, is the equivalent of $450, in contrast to that of Kiev, where it does not exceed $270.

    It is a little better to compare the Kiev criminal situation with that in Lesotho, Trinidad and Tobago, and Malawi. Thus Angola, where the homicide rate is 19 cases per 100 thousand population, already seems a safe haven compared to the Ukraine capital.

    But the saddest thing for uppity patriots is the homicide rate in the DPR. It would seem that if Kiev were Uganda, then Donetsk should become Honduras (56 murders per 100 thousand).

    But, as they say, “what one guesses at does not happen”: from a survey made by the DPR Ministry of Internal Affairs over the last six months, it can easily be realized that the approximate level of wilful homicide in the republic does not exceed 250 people per year.

    Of course, there has also been a certain growth in crime, because in 2012 in DPR territory there were about 200 murders. As for the current statistic, it is at a level of 11 homicides per 100 thousand population, which is even lower than the pre-war Kiev level 13 murders, but higher than in Russia by eight or nine cases.

    And for comparison, it should be noted here that according to the DPR Ministry of Defence, starting September 1, 2015 through to the present day, in the fighting there have been killed up to 20 people.

    When visiting Kiev, Russian citizens should be advised that the Ukraine has become a very dangerous country and they should be just as equally as cautious as if they were going to visit darkest Africa. For example, I should not forget about these statistics if I were a trucker who is undertaking the transportation of goods in trucks bearing Russian licence plates, or a Russian liberal, who dreams of going to Kiev for a breath of the “fresh air of freedom”.

    Of late, Kiev, that once safe and hospitable capital of the sister Republic, has ceased to exist; likewise the republic. Well, in Donetsk, despite all the difficulties of war, you will always be welcome.

    • marknesop says:

      Some appalling statistics there. Oh, well; it’s sunny. Just don’t forget that.

    • cartman says:

      Latin America has the worst murder rates in the world, and I don’t think most of these cases are due to personal conflicts. Most murders seem to involve paramilitary gangs in control of the lucrative drug trade.

      Regime change in the Ukraine followed the same template that subdued these banana republics. By backing the worst elements in society, the US creates violent dystopias wherever in intervenes.

    • Oddlots says:

      FWIW it strikes me as weird that these people seem obsessed with “colour” rather than facts even when they pretend to cite the former. In other words, these references to African crime rates are propelled by nothing but rank, wanna-be European superiority.

      I spent time in my youth hitchhiking in Kenya and spent nights in shanty towns in Nairobi and Mombasa. Never felt under threat despite the fact that I was carrying a lot of cash – no banking was available – and the acquaintances I made certainly would have realized.

      This constant reference to Africa as the touchstone of backwardness bother anyone else here?

      • yalensis says:

        Yeah, it bothers me.
        I think it’s kind of racist.

        I think it’s okay if people use realistic facts and statistics to compare countries, and they should definitely tell it like it is, but a lot of times they just assume certain things about Africa.

        • marknesop says:

          I honestly haven’t noticed much of it, not anything on a similar scale with the relentless demonization of Russia. But then, I don’t know very much about Africa. In my experience the western media is contemptuous or patronizing to some extent with everyone who is not in ‘the club’.

  3. Moscow Exile says:

    Mikhail Kasyanov: Putin bears the responsibility for what happened on the Maidan

    The leader of the Russian opposition party PARNAS is convinced that the Crimea will be legally returned to the Ukraine

    And this piece of traitorous shit thinks that the Russian electorate will give him its vote …

    • marknesop says:

      Truly, the portfolio of a Russian liberal opposition activist is a simple one – whatever undesirable reality we are talking about, Putin is responsible for it. If only he were removed from office, everything would magically right itself, and therefore there is no reason for opposition politicians to offer detailed plans of how they would fix the problem. If Putin leaves, the problem will fix itself.

      Perhaps Poroshenko could appoint Kasyanov Governor of Crimea. A symbolic post, surely, as he won’t be able to actually exercise any influence on it. But it would give him an office somewhere and something sort of useful to do.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Russia that we have lost:

  4. Moscow Exile says:


    Tymoshenko speaks at Independence Square on February 22, 2014, having been released from her cruel imprisonment, during which incarceration she was crippled by sadistic gaolers…


    HELLO SUCKERS! I’M BACK AGAIN …..

  5. Jeremn says:

    Ukraine hands investigation of Trade Union house massacre over to the Odessa police, implicated in the massacre. Importantly, thi sflies in the face of the Council of Europe’s recommendations.

    However, I don’t suppose it will get reported. I found it on this Ukrainian site, which contains the wonderous phrase, and I’ll leave it here as an example of Ukrainian rights objectivity,

    “In fact, however, both the 2 May Group and the International Advisory Panel [IAP] concluded that there was no way of determining whether Molotov cocktails thrown into the building (by pro-Ukrainian activists) or out of the building by the anti-Maidan activists caused the fire.”

    http://khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1455403660

    • marknesop says:

      I’m curious about what employment within the Trade Union mandate caused people to leave empty bottles, rags and containers of gasoline in the Trade Unions Building. Because the ‘pro-Russian anti-Maidan activists’ were chased there by the pursuing crowd which also overran and torched the tent encampment outside. They were steered and funneled into the Trade Unions Building, it was not a planned or anticipated destination. If they had had Molotov cocktails with them when they ran, you’d think someone would have thuoght to throw a few while the ran, to slow down pursuit.

      Official Ukraine and its defenders can describe accounts of what happened as ‘a web of Kremlin propaganda lies’ all they like. There is too much incriminating video and photography out there, as well as the history and character of some of those involved, for it ever to have taken place the way Ukraine describes. Their continued stubborn lying only reinforces an impression of cover-up and culpability.

    • Jen says:

      If the officials had, er, “common sense” – which I grant would not be all that common among them – they would figure that Molotov cocktails thrown into a building might cause more damage than if thrown outside. This especially so if eyewitnesses reports and camera footage show people outside the building throwing projectiles into it and then fires breaking out later.

      • marknesop says:

        Ha, ha, ha!!! I never thought of that!! I think they were not originally that stupid, and the cover story was that the building’s occupants had been throwing Molotov cocktails out the windows when one or more fell back into the building – because the thrower slipped, or some such bullshit – and ignited the gasoline they were using to make them. Odd that nobody noticed or filmed pro-Russia activists running into the building lugging gasoline cans. Try running with one sometime; you’ll find even a gallon is surprisingly heavy (just a little over 6 pounds).

        But Ukraine’s only feeble defense lies in pretending that there was wrong on both sides. Good luck whitewashing it, Odessa.

  6. et Al says:

    Independent: Bilal Erdogan: Italy names Turkish president’s son in money laundering investigation allegedly connected to political corruption
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/bilal-erdogan-italy-investigates-turkish-presidents-son-over-money-laundering-allegedly-connected-to-a6879871.html

    Bilal Erdogan says he is in Italy only to complete a PhD at a university in Bologna

    …The Bologna public prosecutor has opened a file on Bilal Erdogan, 35, after a key opponent of the Turkish regime officially denounced the president’s son, alleging he brought in large amounts of money to Italy last September to be recycled. The claim was made by the political dissident and Turkish businessman Murat Hakan Uzan, whose brother Cem Uzan founded Turkey’s Youth Party…

    …In 2013 his name surfaced in the massive graft scandal that hit the AKP and senior Turkish government officials. Turkish prosecutors said it involved an alleged money laundering scheme designed to bypass United States-led sanctions on Iran…

    …The whistleblowers who tipped off the police claimed that the son of the then Prime Minister (now President) Recep Tayyip Erdogan was next in line for questioning.

    In the complaint filed this week with the Bologna prosecutor by Mr Uzan’s lawyer, Massimiliano Annetta, it is claimed that €1bn (£779m) is still unaccounted for as a result of the corruption, according to reports.

    Mr Uzan, who is currently in exile in France, also quoted anti-Erdogan dissidents as claiming that the president’s son flew to Italy in September with a large sum of money as part of a “getaway operation”. Last October, soon after Bilal Erdogan’s arrival in Bologna, ..
    ####

    Pretty sly for a wideboy!

    • marknesop says:

      I wonder if Erd Senior feels like the walls around him are crumbling. Political momentum is not unstoppable, at least not necessarily, and he seems to be running through waist-deep jelly these days. I think if there is any serious political will in Turkey to overthrow him, such an attempt launched now would probably be successful. And NATO woud not have a leg to stand on, because although his despotic behavior has been soft-pedaled to a fare-thee-well in the mainstream press, it has not been completely ignored and reporting on it is there if anyone chooses to look for it. I don’t expect Russia will launch an attempt through the opposition to topple him, although Washington certainly would in their place, but I believe it could be done.

      His political future is…umm…falling short of his plans.

      “On Tuesday, two opposition parties withdrew from a commission designed to draft a new constitution that would, Erdogan hopes, expand the powers of the presidential office. The project has been years in the making, gathering steam in 2011 as Erdogan, who served as Turkey’s prime minister for eleven years, saw the end of his premiership approaching. With no way to modify term limits, in 2014 Erdogan engineered a smooth transition to president (a largely ceremonial office) with Ahmet Davutoglu in his former post. Note that it’s Erdogan who largely remains in the driver seat – and the front pages — not his prime ministerial successor.”

      Even his western former allies, although they still pursue the comical line that Erdogan did not turn on Assad until he ‘used his military to crush peaceful protests’, are less and less reluctant to express dismay at his all-thumbs fuckups.

      Interestingly, Erdogan’s office swap is the exact reverse of what many analysts said was Saakashvili’s plan to remain the boss dog in Georgia forever; in the year or two prior to the expiration of his term limits as President, he began a mirror-image transfer of presidential power to the office of the Prime Minister, and many believe – I among them – that he would have maneuvered himself into that office had his party not been thrashed like a rented mule by Georgian Dream. Also, the lack of western interest in this blatant office swap is remarkable considering the tizzy it set off when Putin and Medvedev did it. If asked, they would just shrug and say Erdogan’s maneuvering was not illegal. Well, neither was Putin’s.

  7. Warren says:

  8. et Al says:

    Land Destroyer: Syria: At the Gateway of Greater War
    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.be/2016/02/syria-at-gateway-of-greater-war.html#more

    …It is now demonstrably clear that the source of ISIS’ fighting capacity originated almost exclusively from NATO-member Turkey’s territory and more specifically, from between the Afrin-Jarabulus corridor.

    So far, NATO has been unable to account for this obvious fact, or explain why it has been unable to secure the Turkish border from the Turkish side, particularly when nations including the United States and United Kingdom have for years been conducting military and intelligence operations precisely in the same locations ISIS supplies have been crossing over into Syria from…

    …While Turkey poses as an enemy of ISIS and has not mentioned its presence in the city of Azaz or why it would attempt to protect them, it would be in 2013 that the BBC itself would declare Azaz “seized” by the terrorist group. In their article, “Isis seizure of Syria’s Azaz exposes rebel rifts,” the BBC would report:

    …the Free Syrian Army lost the town of Azaz to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or Isis, the most hardline group linked to al-Qaeda on the rebel side. As a measure of the grip the jihadis have in Azaz, one eyewitness inside the town said no-one was smoking on the streets – tobacco is forbidden according to strict Islamist doctrine…

    ….The next few days pose a critical test to Syria and its allies – a test that may determine whether or not this conflict passes through the gateway toward greater war.
    ####

    Oh yes.

    Much more at the link.

  9. Warren says:

    Lech Walesa ‘was paid Communist informant’

    Poland’s history institute says that newly seized documents suggest former president and Solidarity hero Lech Walesa was an informer.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35602437

  10. Warren says:

  11. Warren says:

    China warns Australia over South China Sea dispute

    China has urged Australia to take a “fair” stance over its activities in the South China Sea, ahead of high level talks.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-35592268

    • marknesop says:

      “He accused Australia of taking a position that ”jeopardised bilateral mutual trust and affected the sound growth of bilateral relations”.

      A senior Australian foreign affairs official who was taken aback by the incident later said that he had “never in 30 years encountered such rudeness”.

      Oh, dear; what a big girl’s blouse. Two days in the diplomatic service of the Russian Federation would be enough to expose him to a level of rudeness which would very likely prove fatal.

      • yalensis says:

        Mr Wang publicly rebuked Ms Bishop at a press conference in 2014 after Australia criticised its unilateral establishment of an air defence zone in the East China Sea, covering islands at the centre of a dispute with Japan.

        He accused Australia of taking a position that ”jeopardised bilateral mutual trust and affected the sound growth of bilateral relations”.

        A senior Australian foreign affairs official who was taken aback by the incident later said that he had “never in 30 years encountered such rudeness”.

        Don’t be fooled by the nice blue tie, you gotta watch out for that Wang fellow.
        They say he is a legend all over the world for his extreme rudeness.
        Il avait de mauvais ton, as the French say.

        • marknesop says:

          That’s what I’m saying. Nobody seems to think they have to observe the diplomatic niceties when it comes to Russia, and it is common for US diplomats to say on mainstream media channels that of course the Russians are lying. When their own politicians get caught in a flaming lie they say ‘he misspoke’. To my mind, Mr. Wang is direct rather than rude, and there is nothing wrong with warning another country that their present course of action is likely to affect diplomatic relations. How would you say that in polite diplo-speak without its import being misunderstood or ignored?

          If Australia chooses to make a big deal of it and infer that the Chinese are ignorant peasants who are incapable of grasping the diplomatic minuet Europols prefer to engage in, they will regret it.

        • Jen says:

          I think the Australian official was shocked because Chinese diplomats are supposed to be, well, you know … “inscrutable”.

  12. PaulR says:

    Samopomich quits Ukrainian coalition, as do three independent MPs. Yats will probably have to go running to Lyashko to survive: http://www.kyivpost.com/article/content/ukraine-politics/samopomich-leaves-ruling-coalition-408380.html

    • marknesop says:

      I don’t think that’ll do it; I think we might be looking at a snap election. If so, that will be interesting because there isn’t really anyone new in the political milieu of Ukraine – it’s just the same faces, over and over, in different positions.

  13. PaulR says:

    And while we are on the subject of Ukraine, I have just published a review of a new book on the subject, whose thesis will no doubt annoy Euromaidan supporters: https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/book-review-ukraine-a-fragmentation/

  14. Warren says:

    EU referendum: David Cameron ‘battling for Britain’ at summit

    David Cameron said he was “battling for Britain” as he arrived in Brussels for a crucial EU summit.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-35599279

    • marknesop says:

      “This is the best chance David Cameron has of getting a new deal with the European Union – there could always be another summit, more talks, more negotiations but there’s no guarantee the terms would get any better for the UK. One senior UK diplomat told me: “The deal is as cooked as it is going to get”.

      He accidentally left out the ‘r’ in “crooked”.

      One surprise if Cameron managed to get the terms he is looking for might be Germany reissuing the Deutschemark and opting out of the Euro, if the clause which grants an out for countries with alternate currencies from bailouts manages to pass. Don’t think it hasn’t already been discussed. And if that unthinkable actually transpired, it would be the end of the European Central Bank and the Euro.

  15. et Al says:

    Sic Semper Tyrannis: 2,000 fewer rebels in Idlib Province
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2016/02/httpwwwnytimescomreuters20160218worldmiddleeast18reuters-mideast-crisis-syria-aleppohtmlrefworld.html

    ” Syrian rebels have brought at least 2,000 reinforcements through Turkey in the past week to bolster the fight against Kurdish-led militias north of Aleppo, rebel sources said on Thursday.

    Turkish forces facilitated the transfer from one front to another over several nights, covertly escorting rebels as they exited Syria’s Idlib governorate, traveled four hours across Turkey, and re-entered Syria to support the embattled rebel stronghold of Azaz, the sources said.

    “We have been allowed to move everything from light weapons to heavy equipment, mortars and missiles and our tanks,” Abu Issa, a commander in the Levant Front, the rebel group that runs the border crossing of Bab al-Salama, told Reuters, giving his alias and talking on condition of anonymity.” NY Times…

    …The 2,000 moved into Turkey’s Hatay Province through a normal border crossing post and then their convoys were escorted north and then east so that they could re-enter Syria in the Azaz Pocket. ..

    …The present fighting in the city of Aleppo itself is, IMO, more of a distraction than anything else. The city will fall of its own weight if it is completely isolated for an extended period. If the government is wise it will allow humanitarian relief of the rebel occupied parts of the city while encouraging defections and evacuation of remaining rebel forces.
    ####

    More at the link.

  16. Lyttenburgh says:

    An interesting recent development, that’s directly connected with what I’m writing in my article.

    I already mentioned in my response to Paul Anton Nosik’s sitution, i.e. that “competent organs” finally decided to notice his inflammatory hate-speech.

    And now this happened:

    “The prosecutor’s office has identified signs of extremism in the Piontkovsky’s article on “Ekho Moscvy” site”

    Prosecutor General’s Office conducted an audit on the fact of publication on the website of radio station “Ekho Moscvy” of Andrei Piontkovsky’s article “The bomb, ready to explode” and decided to refer the material to the FSB – according to the response, a copy of which became available for Ruposters.ru

    Earlier, a lawyer Ilya Remeslo appealed to the Prosecutor General with the requirement to bring to justice those responsible for placing the article, in which the author called to separate the Chechen Republic from the Russian Federation. The audit has found in the article of signs of calls for the implementation of actions aimed at violation of the territorial integrity of Russia. The prosecutor’s office found that the article excites hatred or enmity, as well as “infringes on personal dignity on the grounds of nationality.”

    Since the Prosecutor General’s Office has seen the case for the offense in the article posted, the materials were sent to the FSB for the prosecution of those responsible.

    Shortly after the publication of Piontkovsky’s article and resonance in the social networks site editors of “Ekho Moscwy” removed the last two paragraphs of text, which contained direct calls to separate Chechnya from Russia. Ruposters saved a screenshot of the original publication.”

    Well, finally, I say!

    P.S.

    Diner of typical vatnik according to “Free World’s” (+ Ukrainian) press:

    TrueЪ story,100500%.

  17. Warren says:

  18. Warren says:

    Published on 13 Feb 2016
    Preview of remarks by Dr. Taras Kuzio, Senior Research Associate, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta, London, UK, 13 February 2016.

  19. et Al says:

    Moon of Alabama: Ankara Bombing Fails To Achive Strategic Changes
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/02/no-strategic-changes-after-ankara-bombing.html

    …The Turkish government called in the ambassadors of the permanent members of the UN Security Council to present its evidence. A “western diplomat” told the Wall Street Journal that the evidence shown was “not conclusive”. That is the diplomatese expression for “bullshit”. The Turkish attempt to use the attack to change the U.S. and EU relations to the YPK failed. The YPK and its associated Arab and Turkmen forces is a very valuable asset for the U.S. to fight the Islamic State. It will refrain from condemning it as long as that is the case…

    …The more “rebels” join the fight in the pocket the less will be in Idleb and elsewhere. The Syrian army and its allies will be happy when lots of the “rebels” join the Azaz pocket and are kept there by the YPG. There is no urge yet to eliminate them…
    ####

    Much more at the link. I like the cunning of not pushing too hard around the Azaz pocket allowing more ‘rebels’ in before sealing it. Sounds like a ‘cauldron’ in the making to me. I suspect though that the smartest ones are planning, on the way to, or have already exited Syria for pastures new. I wonder how many of them will be the two thousand odd jihadis from the Caucasus…

  20. Warren says:

    ‘Russia a major military’: President Obama backtracks on Moscow’s defense capabilities

    Russia’s military campaign in Syria seems to have changed President Barack Obama’s opinion of its armed forces. He now says it’s “the second-most powerful military in the world.” Two years ago he labeled Moscow as nothing more than a “regional power.”

    https://www.rt.com/news/332867-russia-major-military-obama/

    • Patient Observer says:

      Extrapolating the Russian trend in military power and annexation of territory suggests that Russia will be able to conquer the Milky Way galaxy by 2030 and annex the Andromeda galaxy by 2055.

  21. et Al says:

    AIN Online via keymags forum: Russia Revives Large Airlifter Design Work
    http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2016-01-28/russia-revives-large-airlifter-design-work

    The Ilyushin design bureau has resumed work on a very large, four-engine airlifter that was first drafted in the late 1980s. The move comes after support for the Russian air force fleet of An-124 Ruslan heavy airlifters by the Antonov design bureau ended, as a result of the poor relations between Russia and Ukraine…

    …But recently, Ilyushin general manager Sergei Velmozhkin told Russian TV that “the Il-106, a new airlifter being developed in Russia, shall be able to land on unpaved runways…this machine is going to be huge, [able to carry] a payload of 80 to 100 tons. Unlike previous designs, it shall be able to land on unprepared runways.” He said that the new aircraft was in the An-124 class.

    Ilyushin general designer Nikolai Talikov also confirmed that a big airlifter is being developed. “We can speak about it seriously by 2022-2023” after design work is complete, he said…
    ####

    Poor old Antonov who have essentially lost their biggest market. Next door! Both the An-124 & newer An-70 received significant funding from Russia in the last decade or so, particularly the latter. Antonov has certainly got the skills, but gotta find a new sugadaddy!

    Apparently Russia’s rail mobile ICBM program has been scrapped…

    • marknesop says:

      Russia’s skill at engineering landing gear which will take landing on unpaved runways is legendary. In 2010, Andrei Lamonov and Yevgeny Novosolov made an emergency landing with Flight 514 (a little spooky there, as it contains all the numbers of the aircraft type, just in a different order), a Tupolev 154 carrying 81 passengers and crew, on an unpaved runway which was just a little more than half the distance a TU-154 normally needs to stop. They overran the end of the runway and went into trees, but nobody was hurt and the aircraft suffered only minor damage; after repairs and lightening it as much as practical, it was flown out from the same runway.

    • Patient Observer says:

      IIRC, advances in Russian missile technology resulted in a substantially lower weight ICBM than previously required for a given throw-weight. As a result, railway deployment was perhaps no longer needed as mobile deployment by wheeled vehicles was sufficient.

  22. et Al says:

    Neuters: U.S. has asked Russia not to attack special forces in Syria: military
    http://news.yahoo.com/u-asked-russians-not-attack-special-forces-syria-174338151.html

    … Lieutenant General Charles Brown, the head of U.S. Air Forces Central Command, disclosed the request at a Thursday news briefing at the Pentagon.

    “We told them (the Russians) these are … general areas where we have coalition forces that we don’t want them to strike there, because all it’s going to do is escalate things,” Brown said. “It’s really just to maintain the safety for our forces that are both in the air and in this case on the ground.”…

    … “We provided (the Russians) a geographical area that we asked them to stay out of because of the risk to U.S. forces,” Cook said. “Up to this point they have honored this request.”

    He declined to comment specifically on the timing of the request…
    ####

    Did they say “Please” or “Пожалуйста”?

  23. TASS: Russian economy expected to decline by 1,6% in 2016: http://tass.ru/en/economy/857281

    In 2015 the economy declined by 3,7% so the overall decline between 2014-2016 would be more than 5%. This would make Russia by far the worst performing major economy in the world. With a decline of 1,6% in 2016 the Russian GDP would be at the same level as it was in 2007 which means that Russia would have gone through a decade without economic growth.

    Hopefully the things that I have been reading about import substitution industries taking off in Russia are true and bring real results, and are not empty talk like the nano-technology (RusNano led by Chubais) in which Russia poured billions of dollars with no results at all so far.

    But they need to show some real results. There is no excuse for Russian economy to keep declining while all the other major economies (minus Brazil) are growing a lot (USA, China, India, Germany, Britain) or at least growing a little (Italy, France, UK).

    Today there were news in the Finnish media that Russia is seeking new loans from the West. Hopefully they can avoid that because being indebted to the West would make Russia a lot less sovereign country.

    • marknesop says:

      “There is no excuse for Russian economy to keep declining while all the other major economies (minus Brazil) are growing a lot (USA, China, India, Germany, Britain) or at least growing a little (Italy, France, UK).”

      http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/26/news/economy/us-economy-recession-chance/

      “She has said repeatedly that she thinks a recession is not on the horizon. The U.S. has enjoyed two years of incredibly strong job growth — the best since 1999 — and the economy is expanding at a healthy pace of around 2% a year.

      http://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/stagnation.asp

      • I would say that a 2% growth is a big growth for a country like USA where the GDP/capita is already ridiculously high. Russia would need a couple of decades of 5% annual growth to reach the current level of USA.

        • marknesop says:

          What does GDP per capita represent, Karl?

        • Patient Observer says:

          Karl is stuck on the BS-GDP because it supports his feverish search for proof that Russia is doing poorly. Must be a Finnish thing.

          • marknesop says:

            GDP is just the total income of the country divided by the population. No end of sources have pointed out before that the USA has more billionaires than any other country, and it skews the figure. It does not mean that everyone has that much money to live on, and I suspect a lot of poor Americans would be pretty happy if that were true. And the notion that 2% growth in the USA is not stagnation, even though it would be for any other country, just because the USA has a big GDP is ludicrous. Stagnation is stagnation, and you cannot paint it as strong growth.

            • Patient Observer says:

              One other parameter to include is population growth. The US annual growth rate is about 0.8% which means that the per capita GDP increase is about 1.2%. Least we forget, median real income is a better measure of the wealth of the average American and that is heading in the wrong direction (this factors out the Billionaire’s club effect).

        • Patient Observer says:

          China has been cruising at 8-10% growth for years with a physical economy substantially larger than the US. A portion of the paltry US growth is represented by price markup of the vast rivers of imports from China.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Various articles indicate the Russia is rapidly deleveraging American debt. When you say Russia is seeking loans, who do you mean? Putin? The government? Private companies?

    • Patient Observer says:

      “Russia poured billions of dollars with no results at all so far.”
      Karl, I have read from time to time of Russian advances in nano technology.
      Can you give us a link please to substantiate your position?

      • marknesop says:

        This is the USA Nanotechnology Resource Map. It seems after years of pouring scorn and derision on Russia’s nanotech programs, the USA is all about Nanotechnology and considered itself the world leader in 2010, although it acknowledged upstarts like Russia and China might be spending a lot of money on it and the USA ‘risked losing the lead’. That would never do, because the USA must be the leader in everything. But that’s as American as apple pie – when Russia announces it intends to do something, laugh and point and fall about. When it begins to develop something, piss all over it and make fun of it. When Russia begins to make exciting breakthroughs, fret about losing the lead.

  24. Northern Star says:

    Killary Watch folk….
    Are there any Stooges with medical and/or psychiatric expertise available for consult??

    http://nation.foxnews.com/2016/02/17/limbaugh-coughing-barking-screeching-hillary-has-democrats-state-panic
    http://www.infowars.com/video-hillary-suffers-another-massive-coughing-fit-prompting-speculation-over-health/

    I guess Merkel would want a muzzle on her at any state visit….
    Totally hilarious!!!!!…right up until you realize she COULD become POTUS…

  25. marknesop says:

    Let’s play a game – what, in your opinion, would be the stupidest, most off-the-wall defense Ukraine could offer to the Russian lawsuit against it over the $3 Billion which was fronted to Yanukovych, which transaction subsequently led to a violent turn for Euromaidan and Ukraine’s descent into madness? The dog ate it? We left it on the table, we weren’t looking, and Putin stole it back and then lied about it? We left it in a library book and then accidentally returned it? Crazier than that, I promise.

    Adorable garden gnome Pavlo Klimkin is going to attempt to convince the arbitration court, on Ukraine’s behalf, that the sum was a bribe. I am absolutely not kidding. Samantha Powers’ perfume obviously addled his brains.

    • Northern Star says:

      “The dog ate it?”
      Ummm..you’ll -with slow monosyllabic articulation-talk ti Killary about that…

    • Jen says:

      Defence 1: “What $3 billion? Do you see it? There’s no money here … how can you sue for something we don’t have?!”

      Defence 2: “It’s advance payment for Crimea! … and we still want Crimea back!”

    • astabada says:

      Firstly, let me say that Ukraine does not need any encouragement nor crazy suggestions. My bet would be something along the lines of:

      Given that Russia invaded Ukraine N times, we are in a state of undeclared hybrid war and therefore we are under no obligation to repay the debt (not sure what number N will be)

      or

      The debt was contracted under a hideous regime, which use the military against his own people. Therefore we are under no obligation to repay the debt.

      • marknesop says:

        The fly in the ointment there is that the ‘odious debt’ avenue was already explored and rated unlikely to succeed, and the IMF already offered its legal opinion that it was an intergovernmental sovereign debt. Under what pink sky does Ukraine now think reclassifying it as a bribe is going to succeed? What the hell do they learn in law school in Ukraine? I know they have to say something, but in this instance just “We are confident of victory” would have been appropriate. Of course there will be a victory. It just won’t be Kiev’s.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          You are all missing the absolutely water-tight line of defence that US citizen and Ukraine Finance Minister Jaresko has already put forward: the Ukraine nation is opposed to the settlement of the debt.

          • marknesop says:

            But I have never seen any evidence of that, either – I’m sure some of them do, the loudmouth fascists, but is it a majority? She’s never offered any figures; was an actual poll done, or is that just her ‘feeling’?

    • Patient Observer says:

      – The money had polonium contamination that was traced to Putin.
      – We thought we won the PowerBall lottery
      – Nuland said we did not have to pay it back
      – What’s three billion between friends?

    • Kulobi says:

      They’ll appeal to the Supreme Deity of Ukrainian finances – Sen Rob Portman (R-OH).
      When USD200K went missing the other day from state coffers, Ukrainian MPs were at a loss so they sent a groveling letter to Almighty Rob asking for guidance http://lastnews.com.ua/novosti-ukraini/348861-deputaty-ischut-kuda-propali-200-tysyach-na-reformu-prokuratury.html
      Rob is Ukraine’s only hope to fix the 3bn zrada.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “Let’s play a game – what, in your opinion, would be the stupidest, most off-the-wall defense Ukraine could offer to the Russian lawsuit against it over the $3 Billion which was fronted to Yanukovych, which transaction subsequently led to a violent turn for Euromaidan and Ukraine’s descent into madness? The dog ate it? “

      NO! Never would the proud descendants of the Ancient Ukrs debase themselves this low! Instead, they will:

      1) Sing the Ukrainian song about the dead doggy (Щеня вмерала…)

      2) If it wouldn’t work – they will start chanting “Putin – la-la-la!”

      3) And if THAT fails, they will start chanting “Those not jumping are Moscals!” and begin their sacred hopping ritual for at least 20 minutes.

      • Jen says:

        Sacred hopping ritual? … surely you mean their “combat hopak” with fists flying in the air and borrowed kung-fu kicks?

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          Its the other way actually – Chinese stole everything from the “combat hopak”. Also – have you noticed the similarity between the traditional Chinese male braids and True Ukrainian Cossack oseledets? Yet another proof of the ancient origins of the Ukraine!

          • Jen says:

            Of course! I had forgotten that combat hopak had its origins back in the Stone Age when the Yukies were fighting mammoths and excavating the Black Sea.

            • Lyttenburgh says:

              ” back in the Stone Age when the Yukies were fighting mammoths and excavating the Black Sea.”

              Probably… but some Urkian hisotrians postlate that their nation is much, much more ancient than that:


              – mlns of years ago.


              – first Maidan.


              – School of the combat hopak “Saber-tooth”

    • et Al says:

      …reported adding that the troops started to dig a trench near Meidan Ekbis, a town in Aleppo province. ..
      #####

      Dig for victory!

      • marknesop says:

        That’s what just about every invasion force in history has done – advance 200 meters, dig a trench and build a wall. This sounds ominous.

      • astabada says:

        It’s just a probe to see if Russia will bomb them.

        • marknesop says:

          That’s very likely true. Which it won’t, unless and until they attack Russian forces or positions, but it is a foolish risk to take because it makes an open state-to-state battle with Syrian forces much more likely, and Turkey will be manifestly and indefensibly in the wrong because every sovereign state has the legal right to self-defense against armed attack. If Syrians are attacked in Syria by units of the regular Turkish military, it will be pretty clear-cut and unambiguous.

          • et Al says:

            Or it can be seen this way. If they advance beyond the 200 meters of their trenches, then they are going beyond their own line in the sand (!) and are then more than welcome to return home in jam jars.

            It strikes me as something is better than nothing, i.e. Erd & Dav can claim they have acted but not to the point were they are left without ‘friends’ behind them. After all, at the recent UNSC meeting the other powers called Stronkey’s proof of the YPG bombing of Ankara ‘bs’.

            This suits the Russians and Syrians fine as both can easily amp up the threats including legal actions at international UN level with legitimate calls for Stronkey to withdraw and any further advances will be met by force. Stronkey can slip away at any time, probably without making an announcement.

            I propose the following soundtrack to Erd & Dav’s Excellent Adventures:

            Children behave, that’s what they say when we’re together
            And watch how you play
            They don’t understand
            And so we’re

            Running just as fast as we can, holding on to one another hands
            Trying to get away into the night and then you put your arms around me
            And we tumble to the ground and then you say

            I think we’re alone now,
            There doesn’t seem to be anyone around
            I think we’re alone now,
            The beating of our hearts is the only sound

            Look at the way we gotta hide what we’re doin’
            ‘Cause what would they say
            If they ever knew
            And so we’re

            Running just as fast as we can, holding on to one another hands
            Trying to get away into the night and then you put your arms around me
            And we tumble to the ground and then you say

            I think we’re alone now,
            There doesn’t seem to be anyone around
            I think we’re alone now,
            The beating of our hearts is the only sound

            blah blah blah..

            • marknesop says:

              Building walls and digging trenches are both entirely defensive actions. That’s the strangest invasion I ever heard of, unless they intend advancing by 200-meter increments, digging in each time with walls and trenches. Isn’t that going to make any retreat, which might later be necessary, somewhat awkward? This is all taking place without any air cover at all – presumably they have heard of the Maginot Line? Walls and trenches are not very effective against aircraft, as no end of doctrinal publications point out.

              • et Al says:

                Maybe it is gardening?

              • Jen says:

                Makes sense to dig your own graves while building walls, in case Russian fighter jets come attacking your walls and push the blocks on top of you.

                In which case the Russians will know exactly what to target.

                • et Al says:

                  U r a genius Jen! It never would have occurred to me that Stronkey is looking to offset the collapse of its tourism industry by making funeral savings. You takes the money, you dumps the corpses across the border – already paid by the tax payer. Now why didn’t the Amuricans think of that? Oh, because “No one gets left behind”!

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Okay, I get it.

      Comrades, fellow stooges – gib me your ears!

      Userperson karl1haushofer clearly engages in psych-op here. He comes here not to read the articles and discuss them, not even to engage in interesting discussions and exchange of ideas. Hell, he even avoids posting about his Free and Beautiful Finnland.

      No, all he does is aggregating negative content about Russia – with or without sources. He specifically chooses articles that suit hif agenda. Clearly, the only thing he wants tis to spread misery and negativism. I don’t believe in a slightest in his lies about “boo-hoo, I’m so worried about Russia!”.

      His tactics are to shovel some shit on a fan, then try (weakly) to defend his positions, and then run away from further dicussion. He might be miserably, but, clearly, his job is to spread doubt and misery among others – this and only this might make his existence a little less painful.

      . In years past he’d be shot for spreading the panic. Or sent into battle in the first line armed only with the regimental banner. I can offer only one method of combating this Northern Troll – ignore him full-time. Save your time and nerve cells. Think positive thoughts, do positive things. And, above all – don’t panic.

    • Patient Observer says:

      As always Karl, your insight and analysis leaves us shaking our heads in amazement,

  26. et Al says:

    I apologize in advance if this has already been posted:

    Floppy Policy: Syrian MSF Hospital Kept Location Secret to Avoid Being Bombed

    http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/02/16/syrian-msf-hospital-kept-location-secret-to-avoid-being-bombed/

    It was destroyed anyway.

    This story has been updated.

    The Médecins Sans Frontières-supported hospital that was attacked by airstrikes in Syria Monday did not provide its location to the Syrian government because its staff feared that would prompt a deliberate attack.

    In a phone call with Foreign Policy on Tuesday, Fabrice Weissman, director of research at MSF’s Center for Reflection on Humanitarian Action and Knowledge, said that the Syrian doctors working at the clinic in the northwestern town of Maarat al-Numan had been attacked multiple times in recent years and believed they were protecting themselves by refusing to reveal their location to forces carrying out airstrikes in the region.

    Instead, the doctors — who had the authority to make the decision without needing the approval of MSF — may have just been delaying the inevitable…

    …MSF runs three hospitals in Syria — two near Aleppo and one in Atmeh — and has provided the coordinates for those three locations to the Syrian military. But it also supports a network of around 150 clinics and hospitals throughout the country…A number of those facilities — including the one bombed Monday — have kept their locations secret from the government in order to try to protect themselves from such attacks…

    …According to Weissman, the precision of Monday’s strikes indicates Russia is most likely to have perpetrated the attacks. “It reminds us of what we experienced in Chechnya during the war where there was this scorched earth policy being waged by the Russian army against health facilities,” he said, referencing the conflict there in the 1990s…
    ####

    Scheissman is wasted in his current role. He really should open up a bakery. A) it would be much safer for everyone involved; b) he could still have his cake and eat it!

    BTW, the British Intelligence front Syrian HR Observatory says that the US led coalition has killed 38 civilians in the last 72 hours – something which is not being reported widely by the PPNN.

    • Patient Observer says:

      “…According to Weissman, the precision of Monday’s strikes indicates Russia is most likely to have perpetrated the attacks.”

      How about some American A-10s:

      http://russia-insider.com/en/military/russia-fed-nato-msm-complex-false-flag-attacks-video/ri12906

      “As was previously promised to our American partners, this information will not remain hidden any more. Yesterday at 13:55 (MSK), two U.S. Air Force A-10 attack aircraft entered Syrian air space from Turkey and reaching Aleppo by the shortest path, made strikes against objects in the city… For some reason, Colonel Warren did not make this mission publicly known in the literal or even figurative sense.”

      I love the “American Partners” reference – leaving no doubt about what this term has come to mean – disgust and disrespect.

      If Russia had chosen to shoot the planes out of the sky, it would be played as a wanton act of aggression against the one true, sinless and holy American coalition. Russia is taking the only action it can, simply tell the truth and keep on telling the truth.

      The deeper significance here is that if these planes were under US command, then the US is up to its stinking ass in orchestrating provocations and false flags including the shoot-down of the Su-24.

      • Special_sauce says:

        I don’t like “partners”. He doesn’t have to call them “scum”, “counterparts” will suffice.

      • Tim Owen says:

        I think this is the heart of the matter: the complete, evident contingency of “values” while they are simultaneously being cited as the touchstone of the “West’s” sad identity politics.

        Take the Ghoutta gas attack. Once the Syrian government was exonerated by some principled reporting – thank you Sy Hersch! – it was suddenly as if it hadn’t happened. Apparently if the crime can’t be pinned on the designated enemy it’s no longer a crime. From the point of view of this citizen of a country that’s allied with the apparent perpetrator of this crime – the security services of fellow NATO member turkey – this should be of MORE interest NOT LESS.

        But that’s not what we get is it?

        The examples are, of course, endless but the fact that this almost led to US intervention in 2012 and had this weird, two-step LOOK HERE / NO!: LOOK AWAY structure seems especially damning.

        What has numbed the conscience of the west so thoroughly that so few seem to see what an utter farce it all is?

      • marknesop says:

        Wow. He really laid it on the line; no more pretense that they are on the same side. Remember Dubya and his drawling, “You’re either with us…or you’re with the terra-ists”? Well, the USA has made its choice.

        I meant to look for any examples that the USA knew where the hospitals were in Aleppo, and I imagine such information exists but I’m too tired to look for it now. But Russia gets its targeting information from the Syrian government. It seems pretty stupid that they would deliberately bomb the hospitals in Aleppo, knowing the need for medical care.

        As I mentioned before, some of the media is talking up that it was a war crime, as indeed it is. But they’ve gone silent now. I hope Russia has proof, and Washington has its hide nailed to the barn door, after pulling an outrageous stunt like that. They obviously think they are above the law.

  27. Warren says:

    • marknesop says:

      I read once that there is a chemical present in the brains of severe alcoholics which is not found in anyone else, at least not in any other brain that has been sampled. I’m not sure if the article was suggesting the chemical may have foretold their dependence, or was a result of it, but probably the latter.

  28. Patient Observer says:

    Snark free and a good story of survival with Canadians helping to save a Russian helicopter pilot:
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/adventure/outdoors/a19225/marooned-among-the-polar-bears/?mag=pop&list=nl_pnl_news&src=nl&date=021816

    Popular Science and Popular Mechanics continue with their series of articles that show respect and even admiration of Russia and Russians.

    • marknesop says:

      That is a good story, neutral and apolitical, and all human interest. It must have been heartbreaking to be so close to a record, although it’s better than being dead and he will have another chance. Hope he makes it next time.

  29. Moscow Exile says:

    Russian propaganda has not one leg to stand on when faced with Western TRUTH!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Not to be outdone by Western lie-spreading efficiency, the Yukies prove themselves to be admirable pupils of their Western mentors:

      Расстрела Майдана не забыть

      Do not forget the shootings on the Maidan!

      Ten people were killed and hundreds received various injuries two years ago in the centre of the Ukrainian capital during protest marches made by opponents of the government of Viktor Yanukovych.

      On the second anniversary of the tragic events of the Revolution of Dignity, the General Prosecutor’s office of the Ukraine has published new data about the crimes of the former government against civilians.

      Little girls in national costume were shot dead!

    • et Al says:

      In defense of the graphic, both the hammer & the sickle are quite utilitarian and do something. The two hands that most western politicians have are much less useful, mostly used for self congratulation! 😉

      BTW, I’ve seen that name Elizabeth Pond somewhere else recently (maybe posted on the Stooge) – it might have been a Foreign Affairs piece:

      http://www.theglobalist.com/contributors/elizabeth-pond/

      Elizabeth Pond is a Berlin-based journalist and the author of several books on Germany, Europe, and the Balkans.

      She was a foreign correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor for two decades in Saigon (during the Vietnam war), in Japan (when Nixon famously visited China), in the Soviet Union (during Brezhnev’s age of stagnation) and in Germany (when the Berlin wall came down, the cold war ended and the two Germanys reunited).

      She has also written for Foreign Affairs, Survival, International Security, the Washington Quarterly, the World Policy Journal, the Wall Street Journal, Internationale Politik, Die Zeit and other magazines and newspapers. From 2000-2005, she was the first editor of the English edition of Internationale Politik.

      In academic sabbaticals, she has taught at the Bologna center of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Simmons College, Principia College and Bonn University.

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, the Russian strong-man has overreached – for the how-manyeth time in the last 5 years? – and any minute now he will get his come-uppance. Hammer and sickle!!! Soviet Union!!! Booga-booga!!!!

      • kirill says:

        Pathetic how these symbols are used today as if Soviet Communism is alive and well and not fading memory. Western media consumers are indeed a bunch of well trained doggies of the Pavlov kind. Drooling at the broadcast of 30 year old triggers.

  30. Moscow Exile says:

    Pussy power!

    Western sanctions have caused the shelves to become so empty that many Russians have been forced to eat all their sled dogs!

    You’re next on the menu, tiddles!

    🙂

  31. Terje M says:

    3 Stories about MH17:
    An eyewitness account from someone who was part of the team of OSCE inspectors and observers :

    http://slavyangrad.org/2014/10/28/they-are-playing-tennis-three-sets-every-match-to-try-and-kill-us/

     
    Dutch investigators think it might take ten years to prosecute the guilty parties.
    Also, there are no satellite images, [note the wording], because it was cloudy on the day of the disaster. Apparently the procedure is this: The Dutch secret services MIVD can get a briefing from their American counterparts. If the Dutch MIVD then makes a report of these briefings it can be used as evidence. They also have 5 billion webpages to cherry pick from.
    https://translate.google.com.au/translate?hl=en&sl=nl&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rtlnieuws.nl%2Fnieuws%2Fbinnenland%2Fom-zomer-bewijs-over-raket-mh17

     
    Which brings me to the third story, what types of Western satellites were over SE Ukraine at the time.
    http://sattrackcam.blogspot.com.au/2016/01/sigint-imint-and-mh17.html
    The West claims that there are no satellite images. Is this a weasel-worded statement? No pictures = no optical satellite pictures. Word by word true, but they conveniently don’t mention the radar-based or SIGNINT satellite recordings?

    But there were also many radar-based satellites. From the article:
    2. Radar IMINT
    The US military has two systems for high resolution radar IMINT: the Lacrosse (ONYX) system of which currently only one satellite, Lacrosse 5 (2005-016A) is left on-orbit, and the radar component of the Future Imagery Architecture (known as TOPAZ), consisting of three satellites: FIA Radar 1, 2 and 3 (2010-046A, 2012-014A and 2013-072A). These systems should be capable of providing imagery with sub-meter resolutions, and like optical imagery, they can be used to look for the presence of missile systems in the area. They have the added bonus that they are not hampered by cloud cover, unlike optical imagery.

    Apart from the USA, the German military also operates a radar satellite system, the SAR-Lupe satellites. The French military likewise operates its own radar satellite system, the Hélios system. Japan operates the IGS system (which includes both optical and radar satellite versions).

    All of these satellites made passes over the Ukraine at one time or another on July 17 2014, so all of them might have provided useful imagery. FIA Radar 3 made a pass right over the area in question near 11:43 UT for example, some 1.5 hours before the tragedy. FIA Radar 2 made a pass over the area at 18:00 UT, 4.5 hours after the shootdown. These are just a few examples.

    Given what was happening in the area around this time, and the strong concern of NATO and the EU about this, it is almost certain that imagery of the area was collected by these US, German and French satellite systems.
    The article has more interesting information about these satellites.

  32. Jeremn says:

    Very interesting. I also think the Germans said that they had picked up some Target Acquisition Radar of the launch unit)?

    http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/flug-mh17-regierung-hat-keine-sicheren-erkenntnisse-ueber-abschuss-a-990288.html

  33. Patient Observer says:

    Astounding!
    http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/02/18/the-media-are-misleading-public-syria/8YB75otYirPzUCnlwaVtcK/story.html
    Just when you think that Yahoo is a shit-river of lies, they run this story… and from the Boston Globe!

    • Patient Observer says:

      ‘Americans are said to be ignorant of the world. We are, but so are people in other countries. If people in Bhutan or Bolivia misunderstand Syria, however, that has no real effect. Our ignorance is more dangerous, because we act on it. The United States has the power to decree the death of nations. ” – quote from the above referenced article.

    • marknesop says:

      “This is convoluted nonsense, but Americans cannot be blamed for believing it. We have almost no real information about the combatants, their goals, or their tactics. Much blame for this lies with our media.”

      Americans most certainly can and should be blamed for believing the mainstream media, as should Canadians and Australians and British and French and Dutch and French and Germans. Anyone who has not yet learned that the western mainstream media is a pipeline of self-congratulatory lies is either just coming to the age of majority or deliberately stupid. We have had ample demonstrations of media bias and deliberate distortion over and over for decades, and there is n o longer any excuse for being misled by mainstream media stories because nearly everyone can predict how the media will spin a story before it even comes out, based on the incident and who was involved, before the first stories hit the news channels.

      Not to take anything away from the telling of the truth, because however late, it is always valuable.

    • marknesop says:

      Everybody who likes it should perhaps drop a note or comment to that effect to the Boston Globe; journalism is responsive to support just as it is to threats and derision. They are likely to get taken to the woodshed by Uncle Sam, and the more support they get before that happens, the more defiant they are likely to be.

      • Jen says:

        Would the US govt dare touch the Boston Globe? It seems to have a good reputation for investigative journalism and may be well known outside Boston and Massachusetts, enough that a high proportion of its readers may live outside the state. Knowledge of that could be enough to give Washington pause. The film “Spotlight” is running in cinemas in Australia at present and that focuses on a group of Boston Globe reporters covering a paedophile scandal within a Boston Roman Catholic Church diocese about 10 years ago.

        It’s my understanding that the second tier of US newspapers, represented by the Boston Globe and maybe some of the San Francisco newspapers (I don’t know which ones – San Francisco Chronicle? Examiner? – they might no longer exist), are often better than the papers more usually assumed to be authoritative voices of record simply by dint of larger circulations, more staff and more resources.

  34. Warren says:

  35. Patient Observer says:

    I started reading but for some reason lost interest and decided to check the sports scores:
    http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/02/ukraine-psychotropic-chemical-weapons.html

  36. et Al says:

    Just for fun, I’d like to enter in to evidence the following 14 paragraph ‘article’ by a Neuters correspondent that is nothing but handwringing, sleight of hand and omission.

    It’s a masterpiece of nothing parading as journalism!

    Neuters: When it comes to Russia, it’s Munich all over again – again
    http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2016/02/19/when-it-comes-to-russia-its-munich-all-over-again-again/
    By Lucian Kim
    February 19, 2016
    ####

    The gold prize is awarded for this line:

    When Russia entered the war to prop up Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in September, Putin insinuated himself into the middle of the conflict, dictating terms to the rest of the world.

    I also read that there is middle class anxiety of robots taking over their jobs. This is of course bs, except in the case of journalists and agencies such as the one above. It’s only a matter of time until it becomes totally automated, not a human finger in sight!

  37. Moscow Exile says:

    Not one to miss out on a publicity opportunity …

    КСЕНИЯ СОБЧАК ПОУЧАСТВОВАЛА В СНОСЕ «ПИРАМИДЫ» НА ПУШКИНСКОЙ ПЛОЩАДИ

    Kseniya Sobchak has taken part in the demolition of “The Pyramids” on Pushkin square

    The Pyrimids had been illegally constructed, so they went the way of the rest of such retail outlets.

    She appeared with a journalist friend who took the enclosed clip on his smart phone, which clip was duly posted in Facebook.

    The whole thing was done for “Snob”, the appropriately named glossy magazine for the self-styled “elite”.

    Sobchak comments whilst the clip was being shot:

    We are in a ‘Pyramid’. This is a place of my childhood: it’s the place where Umar Dzhabrailov first treated me to sushi”, with a laugh began Sobchak her story. “I was not grown up enough at that time for the expensive restaurant ‘Mario’, so I was taken to a cheap “Pyramid”. And this shitty glass is to be removed at last. Moreover, it will be removed by arrangement with the owners, and not stupidly by means of an illegal eviction. And that’s a surprisingly good thing for our city as well… Everything will be by mutual consent, without any no rape.

    I thought her childhood was spent in Leningrad.

    So has Sobchak taken Kremlin pieces of silver as well?

    According to Navalny’s pal, the Dark Lord has ordered that an army of putinbots be hired to post positive comments on the demolition of these outlets.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      ““We are in a ‘Pyramid’. This is a place of my childhood: it’s the place where Umar Dzhabrailov first treated me to sushi”, with a laugh began Sobchak her story. “I was not grown up enough at that time for the expensive restaurant ‘Mario’, so I was taken to a cheap “Pyramid””

      Clearly, that’s what concerns ordinary Russian narod in their daily lifes [nods].

  38. et Al says:

    The Aviationist: Take a look at these photographs of the Russian Tu-160 bombers intercepted by the RAF Typhoons
    http://theaviationist.com/2016/02/18/take-a-look-at-these-photographs-of-the-russian-tu-160-bombers-intercepted-by-the-raf-typhoons/

    ####

    Now that’s heavy metal.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Although some British media reported that the Russian strategic bomber were heading into the UK airspace, as usual, the Tu-160s remained well outside the British sovereign airspace.

      Does this mean that “The Aviationist” is a Kremlin mouthpiece?

      • Drutten says:

        Of course it does! What a silly question!

        I note that the Tupolev aircraft is named after the late Pavel Taran, a legendary Soviet bomber pilot with quite the resume from the great war. He passed away in 2005.

        By the way, I can’t for the life of me think of a single time that Russian MSM has gone apeshit with NATO aircraft near its territory. It happens all the time, but it’s apparently entirely uninteresting to Russian media. And they’re the “warmongers”, we’re told. It’s pretty funny, to be honest.

        Hell, even cases mirroring the above, when Russian jets are dispatched to escort NATO planes away from Russian airspace are always first mentioned in the Western media. Oh, and of course these pieces are typically filled to the brim with things like “reckless harassment” or “extremely dangerous, provocative behavior”. Of course. Because NATO aircraft are the untouchable, peaceful angels of the sky, no matter where they are flying.

  39. Warren says:

    Published on 19 Feb 2016
    Turkish President Erdogan criticises western countries for not recognising YPG as terrorists, Asha Tanna reports

  40. et Al says:

    Magnitsky prize winner Andrew Rettman does copy for Stronkey, at least for the first half:

    EU Observer: Russia’s Syria tactics imperil EU-Turkey migrant plan
    https://euobserver.com/justice/132326
    Analysis

    …If Azaz and Aleppo fall, it will also prompt hundreds of thousands more Syrians to flee to Turkey and the EU.

    “It’s a nightmare,” a Turkish source told EUobserver. “It’s never happened in the history of Turkey, to be surrounded by Russia in the north and in the south.”

    An EU source described the situation as “disastrous”.

    “Everything’s changed since we drew up the [migrant action] plan,” the source said.

    “We thought we would pay Turkey the money they asked for and they would do the dirty work [of stopping refugees]. But the EU money is starting to look irrelevant.”..

    …Ulgen told EUobserver that a new Kurdish entity on Turkey’s border could become a second Donbas, but he said Turkey was more resilient than Ukraine.

    “Donbas isn’t a bad analogy. But Turkish statecraft is more advanced … so it wouldn’t pose the same kind of existential threat,” he said. ..
    ####

    It’s clear that the EU-Stronkey deal, which was always not that likely to be implemented effectively, was in doubt from the beginning, but a ready made excuse for its failure can be expressed comfortably in one word: ‘Russia’. Not a word about ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/whatever of course, but they’re not the threat to Europe, Russia is..

  41. et Al says:

    euractiv: EU campaign to counter Russian propaganda asks MEPs for help
    http://www.euractiv.com/section/digital/news/eu-launches-campaign-to-counter-russian-propaganda/

    The head of the EU’s five-month-old project to counter Russian propaganda online is appealing to MEPs for help to spread information about the EU.

    The nine-person staff of the East Stratcom programme has no budget, and started monitoring Russian misinformation last September, under the wing of the European External Action Service.

    Around 400 contributors located around the EU and Eastern Europe alert the group when they see propaganda.

    East Stratcom tweets mostly in Russian and English from its account, EU Mythbusters. Its weekly Disinformation Review lists examples of recent Russian media spin, mostly from online sources.

    Giles Portman, head of East Stratcom, wants to expand the programme’s network of helpers.

    “There is a limit to how much we as the External Action Service can reach into the public of the member states without others’ help. That means the help of the member states, but I really think we can use your help as well to support our network and spread the information we find out,” Portman told MEPs in the Subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE) yesterday (18 February).

    The anti-propaganda campaign might soon get the boost Portman wants from Parliament…

    …Several MEPs argued that East Stratcom should aim to influence EU residents with its campaign to counter Russian propaganda.

    “I think our main focus should be on the western public,” said European Parliament Vice President Ioan Mircea Pascu (Romania, S&D).

    “With our leaders I think you should increase the awareness of these things. How much can you convince leaders that these things are important?” he asked…

    …“Half the French population in a recent poll said they blamed Kiev for the current war. A third of Germans did. We can see in Greece that more people sympathize with Russia than the EU,” Portman said…
    ####

    Hilarious.

  42. Warren says:

  43. Warren says:

  44. Lyttenburgh says:

    An article have appeared on the vanilla right-wing War-Nerd news site (articles by John McCain included) War of the Rocks which bitterly, tearfully cries – “ZRADA!”

    The Russian Quagmire in Syria and Other Washington Fairy Tales

    “Facts on the ground change so quickly in Syria that one could be forgiven for suffering whiplash. Still in December of last year we were reading headlines that depicted a lackluster Russian military campaign, unable to change much on the ground for the fledgling Syrian Arab Army.”

    Okay, after reading this part in the very beginning I seriously considered initiating a wall-to-wall puking championship, but then PREVAILED and kept reading:

    “Not long after the winter holidays, the opposite appears to be true. Moscow seems to be making strategic gains and has seized the momentum on the ground. Just a few months ago, in early October 2015, President Obama stated, “An attempt by Russia to prop up Assad and try to pacify the population is just going to get them stuck in a quagmire and it won’t work.” As Syrian forces surround Aleppo, backed by the Russian military on the ground and in the air, it is hard to square the situation in Syria with those predictions. Thus far, the Russian quagmire in Syria has not materialized.

    In a fantastic piece for Foreign Affairs, titled “Assad Has It His Way,” experts Joshua Landis and Steven Simon have sounded the alarm that Assad is winning in Syria. Is he? And if so, what explains this reversal in fortune? At first glance, it could be that the press is suffering a typical case of sharply changing the narrative on Russia from one incorrect assessment to another. Where Russia was achieving nothing in Syria only two months ago, today it is winning handily. Now the recently suspended negotiations in Geneva are cast as a Russian-crafted ruse, designed to busy the United States with dreams of a peaceful settlement. For Moscow, one is not a substitute for the other. Both the military and the political track are part of an evolving strategy to end the war on Russian terms. The United States should put this quagmire narrative to bed and get a bit more serious about dealing with Russia in Syria. Below is my take on how we got here and where this conflict is going.”

    Some interesting points:

    “Far from perceiving themselves in a quagmire, some in the Russian leadership may even see the war in Syria as an opportunity. From a training and weapons-testing perspective, it is better than any of the large-scale exercises Russia throws annually. The mix of ship-based, submarine-based, and bomber-based missiles being used is part political theater and parts arms expo, outclassing anything you could see at MAKS (Russia’s annual air show). Algeria, a regular Russian customer, has already announced that it will be the first foreign buyer of the Su-34s. So far the war has cost Russia one plane and one helicopter, while potentially landing it several lucrative arms deals, some already in the works”

    “The Geneva talks reflected battlefield realities. The demands of the opposition groups, coming together into the High Negotiations Committee, are for lifting of the sieges, suspension of the Russian air campaign, and release of captured prisoners of war. You don’t have to be a military expert to know that these are the demands of the losing side in a war. ”

    “This is the swan song of the era when the United States had little need to worry about other powers intervening. The United States fired much of its economic and political ammunition already in response to the invasion of Ukraine, with debatable results. Outside of scornful op-ed pieces in the Western press, what is there left to fire over Syria, besides actual weapons?”

    “…The cost of getting a deal in Syria while staying out is that it will be on Russian timetables, and in many ways, Russian terms. Munich is a good example. Secretary of State John Kerry said the deal was a “nationwide” cessation of hostilities, which is “ambitious.” It’s not ambitious, but impossible, by Russian design. The larger the scope of the agreement, the more obvious its lack of feasibility. Nobody controls, or speaks for, the myriad of groups fighting across Syria. Of course hostilities will not cease, and Russia will blame them and continue bombing (assuming it will even take a break). This agreement is a consolation to ameliorate Western humanitarian urges, and give the United States something to do.”

    And, finally, the conclusion the author draws in the very end. Hold on your pampers!

    “Yet for all the technical inadequacies and deficiencies in its operations, the question we should ask is whether or not Russian use of force in Syria is achieving their desired political ends. The answer is yes. The United States made a mistake by waving off this intervention as a doomed adventure. Failing to take it seriously has ramifications for the region beyond the Syrian war.

    If Moscow shows that it can get the job done in Syria, and secure Assad’s fortune from what appeared to be certain defeat, then other dictators may see Russia as a potential alternative guarantor of their rule. Few in the region were happy with the U.S. policy during the Arab Spring. If there was another power capable of providing security and acting independently, but one that prized stability over democracy (the way the United States used to), it would be welcome in the Middle East… America no longer has a monopoly on being the only viable actor in the Middle East.

    […]

    Occasional suggestions from interventionist circles to unilaterally declare a no-fly zone over Syria are not only unhelpful, but demonstrate a base lack of understanding for how to deal with another major power. This is the “do something” school of international affairs, and more evidence that the debate on how to respond to Russia’s intervention in Syria is largely between no ideas and bad ideas.”

    Horror, horror…

    All this coming from the author, who scoffed at Russia and its military, claimed that Russia is “stuck in Ukraine” can “only annoy the NATO” and tha the country is “one financial downturn away from dealing with an economic disaster” (late August, 2015). He also (in)famously wrote in that article that “Russia’s strategic bomber force is small and old… It can’t sustain operations for long, the aircraft frames date back to the Soviet era, and replacement parts are hardly plentiful. The bombers are vulnerable; even if equipped with modern long-range cruise missiles the fundamental military balance remains unaltered. NATO has to adjust to new capabilities but there is not much new to fear. By flying at such a high operational tempo Russia is not furthering its military capability, but wearing it out.”

    And even in the late September. 2015, M. Koffman didn’t belive that Russia can “project power overseas”:

    “Given the prevalence of MANPADS in Syria, Russian forces are unlikely to launch a major air campaign on Assad’s behalf and put its assets at risk. Air campaigns are an expensive business to support logistically, and risking its brand new tactical air fleet over Syria is not something the Kremlin would be eager to do. The introduction of Russian aircraft is likely a feint, disrupting Washington’s plans for a no-fly zone in Northern Syria and imposing a situation that necessitates the restoration of military contacts between the two countries.”

    But – hey! No matter how often you are proven wrong in your analysis (or cought in spewing the bullshit and lies) – that’s okay. You are esablished analyst – nothing will happened to you or your “honest name”. Just ask A. Aslund.

    • marknesop says:

      “The Geneva talks reflected battlefield realities. The demands of the opposition groups, coming together into the High Negotiations Committee, are for lifting of the sieges, suspension of the Russian air campaign, and release of captured prisoners of war. You don’t have to be a military expert to know that these are the demands of the losing side in a war. ”

      That’s the money shot, right there, and deadly accurate. As I mentioned just the other day, Medvedev – as well as other Russian diplomats – does not speak like a defeated man representing a defeated power, and Russia shows no inclination to be rolled like a weak nation. The cacophony and screeching from the west is merely an attempt to remake a reality which is too unpleasant for them to entertain. You can tell where any player in a war is by what their demands are and by how they respond to demands made upon them.

      That said, fuck off, Michael Kofman, and fuck off hard. “If Moscow shows that it can get the job done in Syria, and secure Assad’s fortune from what appeared to be certain defeat, then other dictators may see Russia as a potential alternative guarantor of their rule.” If there is any power on the globe more eager to prop up a dictator than the United States is, I’ve never seen it, while there is no reason to believe Moscow is eager to muscle in on that action. It’s fashionable to refer to everyone associated with Moscow as a dictator, but Assad was democratically elected. That doesn’t automatically make you not a dictator, but Hosni Mubarak was unquestionably a dictator and Washington acted as bodyguard to his rule for 30 years, only abandoning him when a better prospect for destabilizing Egypt and the region came along. Not everyone in the Middle East or Africa is a dictator. Turkey’s leader is a dictator, and NATO is just fine as can be with that.

      Pretty much everything else he said, I agree with, and he’s a good writer who could certainly give lessons to disfunctional monkeys like Shaun Walker and Luke Harding.

  45. Warren says:

    Sex with animals remains banned in Germany as legal bid fails

    Two complainants have failed in their attempt to get Germany’s constitutional court to consider their claim against the laws banning sex with animals.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35611906

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Fascists!

      You cannot legislate love!

      • Warren says:

        Denmark has followed suit!

        Denmark bans bestiality in a bid to end perverts visiting the country to have sex with animals

        Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3049182/Denmark-bans-bestiality-against-animal-sex-tourism.html#ixzz40dhL9NfE
        Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

        • Moscow Exile says:

          It happens in nature.

          It is not a perversion.

          Other species copulate with one another, so why not humans if they are only expressing their love for their furry friend?

          Yorkshire Terrier.

          Figures.

          🙂

          • et Al says:

            I just licked chocolate mousse of my girlfriend’s 19 y/o blind cat. Is that ok?

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Licking chocolate mousse off a pussy is alright by me …

            • et Al says:

              I should add that I do have my clothes on.

              She’s now licking green olives.

            • marknesop says:

              Was it performance art? Were there any western journalists present? That’s how you can tell the difference between degenerate filth and performance art.

            • yalensis says:

              It depends if the kitty consented. You were supposed to ask it first:
              “Kitty, is it okay if I lick you?”
              And preferably get it in writing.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                I believe that’s the legal argument those German and Danish judges used: no consent is rape. And they were concerned about the animals’ feelings and psychological or physical pain it might suffer whilst its human admirer fornicated with it. You see, animals have feelings and rights too!

                In the Royal navy of Nelson’s day, if any member of the crew was caught shagging a goat or sheep, of which there were often a few on board, they were promptly to be found dancing a jig whilst suspended from the main yard — and damned right too!

                I believe that the unfortunate beast that had suffered the indignity of having a lascivious seaman stuck up it was duly slaughtered and its carcass heaved overboard: unfit for human consumption, see.


                À chacun son goût!

                There’s an Australian philosopher whose field is ethics who bangs on about animals and their rights.

                What’s his bloody name? He wrote a little book that I read a few years ago, which is an enquiry into Bush junior’s ethics.

                Peter Singer — that’s the bloke!

                See: Equality for Animals

                And Singer’s book about Bush that I have just referred to is: “George Bush: The President of Good and Evil”.

                Immanuel Kant once wrote that “out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.” The thought is worth bearing in mind as Singer attempts to apply the sharp edge of logic and sound reasoning against the sometimes-twisted reasoning proffered by Bush and his administration — from the above linked review of Singer’s book.

              • Jen says:

                There was a case not so long ago in Sudan in which a man was caught in flagrante delicto with a goat. His village community had had no experience dealing with incidents like that so the elders convened to discuss how to punish him and they decided in the end that he had to marry the goat. The marriage lasted a year and then the goat died.

                About the same time or maybe after, there was the incident in Seattle in which a man died from a perforated intestine as a result of being buggered by a horse. For some strange reason the horse was castrated by authorities. (As though the animal was likely to re-offend.)

                • Cortes says:

                  E.P. Evans’s outstanding “The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals ” has reference to an animal implicated in a bestiality trial (early USA IIRC!, ok maybe colonial period) which escaped punishment due to character references by neighbors.

                  “She was a good ass, judge, he corrupted her” or something along those lines.

              • et Al says:

                I let Puss have a taste first and she wasn’t impressed. Something about the low cocoa content, so I ate it. She was sitting sphinx like on my lap for strokes whilst I finished off the chocolate mousse when I accidentally dropped some on her back. It was a dilemma, one which I had had before at university when I removed a curry from the oven only for it to fall on to the floor. In both cases I rescued the items as best as I could, arguing that it would be highly unlikely that I’d be made ill. As for the olives, she likes the smell and playing with them, so I would say that she consented.

                • marknesop says:

                  A terrible decision – pet hairs contain larval fleas and dander which is not even tasty, never mind good for you. You probably will not die, but in case you do…what size shoes do you wear?

          • Warren says:

            I was going to post a Vice News documentary on people who have an unhealthy interest in animals, however I’ve decided not to for fear of offending people (regular posters and lurkers alike).

            Quotation from Deuteronomy 7:3 I think is apt:

            you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons

          • yalensis says:

            As Prince Orlovsky used to say: “Chacun a son gout.”

  46. Northern Star says:

    “Today, the Turkish government is less isolated than in 2014, and enjoys, in particular, greater support from the German government. Just two days ago, German Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed in a government statement her support for a no-fly zone in Syria, a central demand of the Erdoğan government and an important prerequisite for a Turkish military invasion in Syria. After the latest terror attacks, she stated that the German government stood “alongside Turkey in the fight against those responsible for such inhuman acts”.
    The threat of another major war is becoming more acute on a daily basis. Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev warned at the Munich Security Conference last weekend against the danger of a “new world war” should Western or Arab ground troops invade Syria, adding, “The Americans and our Arab partners must think it through: do they want permanent war?”
    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/02/19/turk-f19.html

    Merkel is such a complete fuckup…..

  47. Warren says:

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