On the Art of Noticing the Obvious, and Invisible People, Part II

Uncle Volodya says, "Why does shame and self-loathing become cruelty to the innocent?”

Uncle Volodya says, “Why does shame and self-loathing become cruelty to the innocent?”

As promised, we’re going to press on with the conclusion of Lyttenburgh’s piece. So far the first part has racked up 4,404 hits and attracted 996 comments; not bad at all.

The premise that Russian liberals are fifth-columnists who are stubbornly committed to the destruction of the Russian Federation as we know it – ostensibly so they can build it anew with western help into a good global citizen that is as democratic as you can imagine – has understandably attracted some controversy. From my personal point of view, it is hard to reconcile their courting of Ukraine’s oligarchic, cluster-fuck government (including the corpulent and egotistical Saakashvili fan who currently occupies the governorship of Odessa) with any serious nation-building chops, and they come across much more like spoiled kids who are deliberately courting a reaction by behaving outrageously, always with one eye on the parent to gauge the effect of their posturing.

Whatever the case, it is difficult to argue away the fact that each of these individuals is far more popular in the English-speaking west than among their countrymen, and their support in Russia is limited mostly to single digits, although those supporters are among the most vociferous and self-promoting of Russians – this makes it easier for their supporters to imagine they are a great deal more influential than they actually are.

Anyway, lead us onward, Lyttenburgh.

Part III

Case in point: former editor of the eXile magazine, Mark Ames, still red-hot butthurt at Evul Putin for closing his rag way back in 2008. Here is his more-or-less balanced analysis of the Charlie Foxtrot that came to be known now as the “Post-Maidan Ukraine”, and it’s here that Mark Ames literally shits rainbows into his own mouth with this:

“The important thing to remember is this: Russia’s liberal intelligentsia and its big city yuppie class is small in numbers, outsized in influence and importance… and hated by the rest of Russia. And there’s a lot to hate: intelligentsia liberals and Moscow yuppies are elitist snobs on a scale that would turn anyone into a Bolshevik. They even named their go-to glossy “Snob”— and they meant it. It’s not just the new rich who are elitist snobs — liberal journalist-dissident Elena Tregubova’s memoir on press censorship interweaves her contempt for Putin with her Muscovite contempt for what she called “aborigines,” those provincial Russian multitudes who occupy the rest of Russia’s eleven time zones. Tregubova flaunted her contempt for Russia’s “aborigines,” whom she mocked for being too poor and uncivilized to tell the difference between processed orange juice and her beloved fresh-squeezed orange juice. I’m not making that up either.

Tregubova’s contempt is typical for the liberal intelligentsia. Stephen Cohen quoted well-known Russian liberal intellectuals blaming the misery and poverty of post-Soviet Russia on the Russian masses who suffered most: “the people are the main problem with our democracy” said one; another blamed the failures of free-market reforms on “a rot in the national gene pool.” Alfred Kokh, a Petersburg liberal fired by Yeltsin for taking bribes from banks while heading the privatization committee, openly relished the misery suffered by the Russian masses after the 1998 financial markets collapse forced millions into subsistence farming for survival:

“The long-suffering Russian masses are to blame for their own suffering…the Russian people are getting what they deserve.”

What this means politically is eleven time zones of untapped resentment, surrounding an island of wealth and liberal elitism — Moscow.

Most living Russians still remember the Soviet era, when wealth inequality was so minute it was measured in perks rather than yachts. That’s what the Russians mean when they tell pollsters they preferred the Soviet Union days and rue its collapse. Lazy hacks interpret those polls as proof that Russians are still evil empirelings, for the sheer evil joy of having a Warsaw Pact to boast about. Rather than the obvious: Russians lived longer and easier under Soviet rule, then started dying off by the millions as soon as capitalism was introduced, when poverty exploded and they found themselves in the most unequal country on earth.

To an outsider, these are all problems that need solutions. But to a political animal like Putin, this huge pool of human resentment and nostalgia is a potential power base: Russia’s Silent Majority [emphasis mine – Lyt]. Although Putin has thrown them plenty of bones over the years, the Kremlin never fashioned an entire politics around the Silent Majority, in part because it never had to. The thinking has been that no matter how desperate and resentful the Russian “aborigines” in the provinces get, they’ll never pose a serious threat to Kremlin power. Moscow’s liberals and its “manager class” were taken far more seriously as a class.

During the mass yuppie protests in Moscow, I remember one telling moment that gave some insight into the Kremlin’s new political strategy. Legions of pro-Putin youths started pouring into Moscow, and locals started warning of provocateurs come to start violence and invite a crackdown. But in one video I watched, a confrontation in Mayakovskaya Square between the Moscow yuppies and the pro-Putin youths, the Muscovites all started yelling and laughing realizing that the pro-Putin youths were from the despised provinces. You could tell by their clothes, their haircuts, their nervous out-of-place expressions on their faces. The rich Muscovites chased them away; the provincial Putin tools skulked back to their shitty buses, for the long journey back to their wretched provincial apartment blocks.

It’s hard to know when Putin decided to run a Nixon strategy and appeal to Red State Russia [emphasis mine – Lyt] but I’m pretty sure he was as shocked as anyone by the scale and rage in those first anti-Putin protests in December 2011.

Putin has chosen a new politics appealing to the Russian Silent Majority, and that means appealing to their resentments, heating up the culture wars between liberal Moscow and the slower, fearful masses in the rest of those eleven time zones. To exploit the huge differences between the Moscow liberals and yuppies opposed to Putin, and the rest of the country that resents them.

The Silent Majority has waited at least two decades for payback, and now it’s on, and it’s not pretty. It’s why Putin targeted Pussy Riot. We Westerners loved them; they were heroes to us, brave punk rock babes fighting the Man and getting jailed for being punk. In our world, that’s cool. But in Russia, Pussy Riot was completely despised by nearly everyone, across class and regional lines. One poll after they were jailed showed only 6 percent of Russians supported Pussy Riot; the poll could not find a single respondent who said they respected the jailed band members.

By exploiting Russian disgust for Pussy Riot and equating the opposition movement with Pussy Riot, Putin was able to conflate the liberal opposition with a decadent, alien art troupe whose purpose seemed to be to humiliate Russia and mock their culture. Nixon couldn’t have dreamed up a more perfect symbol of his opponents.

The Nixon Strategy also explains why, after all these years, Putin suddenly targeted Russia’s gays for a vicious culture war campaign. In the Russian Red States, the violent, cruel state-managed homophobia — in which a leading TV anchor told his audience that gays’ hearts and organs should be burned and buried deep underground — was red meat, an acknowledgment at last that Russia’s Silent Majority matters. And the more Moscow yuppies and Westerners berated Russia for attacking gays, the more the Silent Majority identified with the Kremlin.

America’s Silent Majority was crazy enough in the Nixon years: the Silent Majority cheered Nixon on when college students were gunned down on campuses; 80% of Americans sided with Lt. William Calley, the officer in charge of the My Lai massacre.”

While Mark Ames perfectly captures the disgusting attitude of the capricious and whiny adult-children who are the vanguard of the “westernized urbanites” of Russia and their alien nature compared to the rest of Russia, he, Mark Ames, long time resident of Russia, also caricatured and (what is more important) simplified the Russian people. Yes, he got some things right about 86% of Russians, but at the same time he got other things wrong, and also failed to mention yet other issues altogether. Like calling them “Russian people” with everything it entails. No, instead for him we are the “Red State Russia” and “The Silent Majority”.

But he didn’t dare – couldn’t dare – to admit, that the Majority is Silent no more. It was a Well Known Fact , perpetuated ad nauseum by practically everyone, that the Web will become a major weapon of the so-called “Russian liberals” and allied to its hipsteriat, kreakls, office hamsters and other mass consumers of the Western Values. The defeat of the Regime was just a date on your calendar, nothing to be worried about – after all, the majority of “Russians” encountered by Westerners in emigrant enclaves, on art and literature exhibitions, on bohemian parties and Euro-raves, in salons and conferences, in the Internet were saying that for the last 15 years. Maybe it’s better to say that it was the Western elites who felt the most “betrayed” by Putin’s “turn to populism”, than a bunch of now mostly forgotten white-ribboners? Because them, so-called “Non-systemic opposition” have heard the low grumbling of the Silent Majority for a long time, but chose to ignore it, while the Westerners, brought up on their own diet of stereotypes and confirmation bias, still can’t comprehend that there is such a thing as the Russian People, which dares to have a voice – they don’t have the same problem in their countries, spared from the dreaded Soviet-brought equality.

And here Mark Ames, in his attempt to “dumb down” the narrative to make it more “digestible” for his intended audience, despite him living for more than a decade in Russia, despite all his venomous jibes targeting these westernized “intellectuals”, proves, that he is in fact one of them – he, indeed, shudders “from a sense of disgust and horror” upon looking at Russian people, whom he probably had never seen in huge, vociferous numbers beyond the blessed boundary of MKAD. This affliction suffered by one of the most knowledgeable and less Russophobic western journalists can’t be helped. Something probably as vast as class differences separates him and others like him from admitting, comprehending, and then accepting some basic facts about Russia and its people. The textbook example of that is know to every Russian 10th grader, who for a change, decides to read “War and Peace” and Lev Tolstoy’s attitude to prince Andrei and what ultimately sealed his fate in the eyes of the author.

And just to illustrate the commonality of such patronizing/disgusted attitude towards the “commoners” of the former Soviet Union, here I have a “Blast from the Past” type of article. I remember reading articles just like that in the mid-00s, with only one difference – they were published in English-language papers in Moscow and talked about local expats “adventures” in the “Wild Russia”. You know – the time when Ames and his paper were still at large, the halcyon days of unrestricted freedom. Now, it seems, we have “Expats Trash-Talk II: The Electric Boogaloo”, a cheap remake set in Ukrainian decoration.

Our hero is nothing particularly noticeable – just another Anglo-Saxon expat on a big adventure in the Wild, Wild East. He freely (and with barely suppressed pride) confides to his readers that since moving to Kiev about a year ago he “had little contact with the Soviet mindset aside from taxi drivers, cleaning ladies, and cashiers at the supermarket”, instead preferring the society of kreakls, hipsters and, especially, programmers who want as one to emigrate away from their beloved and now (once again!) Free and Independent country. But for Mr. Louzonis there is nothing bad in such a “brain drain”. Yet even he asks in the end:

“Will we one day witness a complete hollowing out of Ukraine’s young and talented class and be left with passive-aggressive Homo Sovieticus and his oligarchic overlords like something out of a bad zombie movie? No…that movie is already playing next door in the Land of the Wounded Bear and even Ukrainian Homo Sovieticus isn’t clamoring for a sequel.”

Any decent human being would’ve been disgusted at how this self-described geek lumps together a vast majority of the people, populating the country of his current residence, and then compares them to zombies. Also, it’s hard not to see parallels between this foreigner’s de-humanizing of enormous number of people, whom he simply doesn’t like and finds little in common with; like Lyudmila Ulitskaya’s description of her own people, which I mentioned in the beginning.

Part IV.

As I said before – the Silent Majority is Silent no more. It wasn’t actually Silent in the first place. Just because some so-called journalists (pardon for the word “journalists”) decided to ignore it, or to misreport it doesn’t make it any less real. The outlook of ordinary Russians, of the Russian people, didn’t change all that much for the last 20-25 years of basking in the rays of economic freedom and new opportunity to say the Soviet Union was a Mordor on Earth.

Russians for a long time, even before Putin, viewed NATO’s expansion negatively, supported closer ties with the Slavic republics of the former USSR, wanted Crimea reunited with the rest of Russia, etc…etc…Russians, robbed overnight by cynical “reformers” of Yeltsin, who just shrugged and explained millions dying as “people who couldn’t fit into the market economy” (© Anatoliy Chubais – still alive and kicking) voiced their anger and disillusionment in every possible way. Most importantly – they voiced it during the elections, voting overwhelmingly for anybody but Yeltsin and his (and not his) “democrats”, so that Good Ol’ Boris had to rig the elections to stay in power.

And Putin understood that early on – practically since he achieved the presidency. He played a trick that for the most part eluded the narrative of most pundits both in Russia and abroad. He began with creating his own party from an amorphous idea-­less mass, inherited from Yeltsin. And then he… no, he didn’t start with lining up all responsible for the disastrous 90s along the wall and having them shot. He didn’t even exile them to the dreaded gulags (as, without doubt, a lot of Russians still want to deal with them). He co­opted the ideas and voting base from his most dangerous opponents – the Communists. Because they, despite the deep­-rooted in the so­-called Russian liberal and Western conscience trope, are not just a “Party of Babushkas and Stalinists”. People voting for them vote first of all against the horrors of rabid capitalism and for the social rights guaranteed to everyone. The same has been done to the nationalist/patriotic voter base, which has been also co­-opted into Putin’s loyal and expanding base. If the opinions of these large groups of people were so unimportant, would then Putin try to attract them to his side?

But what those Western Russophobes got unintentionally right about the vast majority of Russians is the correct application of the term “Red State Russia” to describe Russia beyond the 2 capitals area. Only here “Red” stands for something different. In May, Communist Party of Russia officials in Lipetsk erected a new Stalin bust. In July, the village of Khoroshevo opened a museum devoted to his time spent there during the Great Patriotic War. And in December, Communist activists in the city of Penza not only managed to relocate a bust of Stalin to central square – they also opened a “Stalin Center”, ­ a clear antithesis to the state-­sanctioned “Yeltsin Center”, opened in Yekaterinburg also this year, with the attendance of the top officials of Russia. None of this was mandated from above – and in some cases there was opposition not only from the local “oppositionists”, but also the authorities as well.

Another way in which Russian people made their voice heard – a huge volunteer work, which began since the opening of the Ukrainian Civil War in Donbass. There are organizations, all across Russia, who collect money, warm clothing, foodstuff, medicine and other supplies to the people of the Peoples Republics currently suffering from the war and its fallout. These are truly grass­roots movements, not ordered from the Kremlin, but homegrown. And, yes, there were also genuine Russian volunteers who went to fight for their own people and ideas in Donbass – like Igor Pykhalov, historian and writer from St. Petersburg, who in August 2014 volunteered to fight on behalf of Lugansk People Republic. These people are very much real and Russians know about them – but their existence violated the pristine narrative of the Western Independent Media, who already decided for themselves (and their audience) that “Russia invaded Ukraine” and “supplies the separatists with weapons”, scoffing at the idea of people becoming fighters for a cause.

Finally, Russians; common Russians, for the most part, supported Ramzan Kadyrov in his polemic against the “non­-systemic opposition”. When the web­site of radio “Ekho Mosckvy” decided to conduct a poll, asking their audience whether they think that non­systemic opposition indeed are “Enemies of the People”, even on their own turf using their own “administrative resources”, handshakables from the “Ekho” lost – 62% of 64 472 voters said that YES, yes, they think so. Different journalists supported Ramzan Kadyrov – because he, a Chechen, was brave enough to challenge the whole world by saying something that the majority of Russians wanted to say since early 90’s: not only in the vast expanse of the Russian Internet (RuNet), but also “live”.

Yes, needless to say, RuNet didn’t become a Last Frontier for the so-­called Russian liberals, where they can affect the Masses and expose them to the truth. If anything, the Russian segment of the global Web is as multi­faceted and complicated as the country itself. Here, people can really get a plethora of opinions from all possible sectors and points of view – which is wrong, from a liberal­-fascist POV. For the people (sorry for the word “people”, applied to them), who proved to be much more totalitarian than the ones they seem to oppose, everything not registered as Their Opinion falls under the category of Propaganda (state-­sponsored, of course). For them, nihilistic cosmopolitan fans of Pussy Riot, Charlie Hebdo and scrotum­-nailing “artist” Pavlenskiy, equally disgusting, are both LJ communities  about an imaginary USSR in 2061 and “web­galleries ” devoted to Slavic Paganism and Fantasy.

Little ­by ­little, even the Westerners previously loathe to admit it are starting to understand – no, you can’t attribute every single pro-­Russian commenter to the “Troll Army” category, and then dismiss them as dupes, sell­outs, useful idiots and agents of the FSB. It doesn’t mean that the most Free of the Presses of the Free World won’t protect itself with mass repressions against web-undesirables “pushing pro­Russian narrative”. Who are, to the shock and dismay of many,  just Russian people who’ve finally found a Voice. And, boy, do they have a lot of things to say!

Epilogue.

We are told that one of the most ancient and powerful feelings known to humanity is Fear. Exposed to it, a person – unwittingly, instinctively – either runs, fights, or whimpers helplessly. Self­-appointed ruling and cultural elites (and their Russian epigones) indeed, are incapable of seeing humans in the People of their and other nations. What they see actually takes the form of a wild, unpredictable and ruthless beast – a tiger, made out of multitudes. Immediately, all those elitists regress into fearful cavemen – and they either run away from this danger, or attack it with all their passion, or just collapse into a heap of incoherence, sometimes mistaken for a “deep, exhaustive analysis” by their fellow cavemen, who still think that the tiger is a creature from myth.

These cavemen got too used to a sleeping tiger in their midst. All too often across the unraveling at its seams of our Globalized World, this is no longer the case. They, these new Elite, regressed so far that they seemed to forget what it really means to be one – when dealing with an awakened tiger you don’t run, you don’t fight and don’t fall on your knees. Hate to this beast will get you only so far. If you are truly those who you claim to be, you ride the tiger.

 

This entry was posted in Alexei Navalny, Boris Nemtsov, Education, Europe, Government, Law and Order, Russia, Slavs, Vladimir Putin, Yulya Latynina and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

266 Responses to On the Art of Noticing the Obvious, and Invisible People, Part II

  1. Lyttenburgh says:

    Probably, this is my own screw-up with coding/linking.

    СССР-2061
    Русь древнейшая

  2. Moscow Exile says:

    Маленькие красножопые мандавошки Большого Торонто
    23 February
    [Little red-arsed crabs [in the pubic hair sense] in Greater Toronto]

    Уроды нашего городка.
    [Our little town’s freaks]

    Now guess where the above came from?

    Yep, you got it!

    See: Nasha Canada Toronto Newspaper

    Fucking Canadian Bandera-freaks!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      If they posted something similar in the UK, they might probably get charged with inciting racial hatred — not that I consider Ukrainians and Russians as different races, though Svidomites most certainly do.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Hang on, though!

        That photograph was not recently taken in Toronto: it must have been taken last May 9, Victory Day.

        That’s a replica of the Victory Banner that flew over the Reichstag that is being carried centre and the trees are green and there ain’t no snow!

        So the Svidomite-Canadian who posted the above picture today must have been busy ferreting away in order to find something guaranteed to raise the ire of her similarly brain-dead readers.

        I say “her” because I’m pretty sure the person who most often contributes to this “Our Canada” trash is an Irina Farion type, though born and bred, no doubt, in Canada.

        Glad I didn’t emigrate there now. Much better here with my Vatnik chums. I would even go so far as to say I should prefer the company of gopniki if forced to choose between their company and that of Svidomite shit-wits.


        An awfully polite gopnik

        • marknesop says:

          We don’t really have a lot of deliberately high-profile activists – possibly because an interview might lead to “What did your daddy do in the war?” questions – so the probabilities consequently narrow. I would bet on it being this woman; Inna Platonova, who came to Canada from Ukraine (Odessa) in 2003, bringing her hatreds with her. She is the founder of Russian-Speaking Canadians for Peace, but don’t let the ‘Russian’ part fool you – she loathes Russia to the marrow of her bones and can often be seen on Twitter agitating and propping her pro-Kiev views.

          Her big success last year was getting some of Val Lisitsa’s concerts canceled, and even getting her music pulled from KLM’s inflight playlist, for which she was lauded by Euromaidan Press. She sometimes appears and writes as Inna Thorn, allegedly because she has received ‘threats’. She lives in Calgary, but seems to do quite a lot of traveling, and can easily appear for a protest if she thinks it will garner media attention. Alberta has a lot of Ukrainians; I mentioned before that Vegreville, which is an important processing center for Canada Immigration, is majority Ukrainian, I think around 60% if I remember correctly.

    • Special_sauce says:

      Please explain, are they so far pro-Communist they’re pro-Banderist(ite)?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Are who so far pro-Communist they’re pro-Banderist(ite)?

        I do not understand the question.

        Communist and Banderite are mutually antagonistic terms.

        The men with the flags in the picture above are, I presume, Canadian citizens of Russian extraction or Russian immigrant citizens resident in Toronto. None of them are carrying the flag of the Soviet Union. One of them is carrying a replica of the 1945 Victory Flag.

        Russians, when celebrating the defeat of the Nazis in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945, speak of the Soviet Victory because they include as victors all the citizens of the former republics of the Soviet Union. In doing so, none are extolling Communism, but on the other hand they give credit where credit is due, and if the Soviet Union had not existed in 1941, warts and all, the Nazis would have steam rolled through to the Urals.

        • Special_sauce says:

          But you called them bandera. Was that sarcasm, cos that get-up would get them no love from ukie neo-nazis.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            I meant those who run “Our Canada” are Canadian-Bandera freaks — “Bandera” meaning Bandera-worshipperrs, Svidomites, Nazi arse-holes.

            I used the term “freaks” in response to the “Our Canada” comment that those people in the picture were “Уроды нашего городка”, which I translated as “Our little town’s freaks”.

            Why should calling them “Bandera” get no love from Nazis?

            Those who carry pictures of Stepan Bandera in public and idolize his memory are, in my eyes at least, Nazis.

            • marknesop says:

              I would guess about a quarter of Bandera’s groupies in Ukraine pretend to be fans of the great man simply because they know it infuriates Russians. In the west of Ukraine, which if there is a God will be seized by Poland, annoying and infuriating Russians has become an end in itself and some would eat a toad if they thought it would make Russians angry. Remember, that’s the generation which is going to carry Ukraine into the future. Well, would have, if they hadn’t killed it stone dead.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            I meant that the people who named the men in the picture “red-arsed crabs” were Canadian pro-Bandera freaks, not the men in the picture.

      • Jen says:

        I looked up Nasha Canada’s website and found it’s a community newspaper for the Russian-speaking community in the Greater Toronto area.

        No Banderites there … maybe quite a few liberasts among them though.

        The people flying the flag with the Soviet symbols are doing so for historical reasons, in remembrance of all the nations who fought Nazi Germany as part of the USSR. This doesn’t necessarily mean they agree with Communist ideology.

        From Nasha Canada http://nashagazeta.ca/
        “NASHA CANADA” – the Toronto-based community newspaper aiming over 300,000 Russian speaking immigrants in GTA.
        Immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Russia, Ukraine, Israel etc. despite of their national diversity all have common cultural background and are capable to communicate in Russian language. This ethnic and cultural group is now one of the fastest growing communities in GTA.
        Established in May 2001, “NASHA CANADA” developed into most respectful and popular publication in Russian-speaking community. It’s the first and only professional newspaper in Russian language in Canada.
        We see our mission in informing, educating and entertaining.
        We communicate not only content – we communicate culture, tradition and attitude. We don’t just tell the story – we express our opinion on it. And we always do it with a great deal of humor. That’s our “hallmark”.
        “NASHA CANADA” works in cooperation with very famous and talented authors and journalists all around the world – Russia, Ukraine, Israel, USA, Germany – countries that became new homelands for more than 10 mln. of Russian-speaking immigrants. Our contributing authors take pride in their works being published in “NASHA CANADA”.

        • Special_sauce says:

          Ah, so when the lumpen thugs come to beat them up, all they have to say is, It’s OK, we’re just being historically accurate. Please don’t hurt us.

          • Jen says:

            No, what happened is that someone has lifted a photo of people celebrating Victory Day from a Nasha Canada paper into her own blog and is calling those people racist epithets. It’s this person who nicked the photo – Mark has just guessed Inna Platonova – and her friends whom Moscow Exile calls Banderite freaks.

            • Jen says:

              Oh hang about – Moscow Exile must be right – the marchers are entirely innocent and the Nasha Canada writer is calling them crabs and freaks. I’m commenting at about the same time as he is.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              No, that picture in the above linked “Our Canada” site was posted, together with the heading stating that the people in it were red-arsed pubic-hair body lice and the comment that they were freaks, to the “Our Canada” Facebook page under the tags:

              the Gestapo, KGB, Putin kaput, Putin-khuylo, putinoidy, putinjugend, FSB

              At the top of the above linked “Our Canada” site it reads:

              Facebook + Twitter + LJ = 100 thousand hits per day!
              Place your ads with us!
              Write nashacanada@yahoo.ca
              or call 647-435-8619

              Take a look at a previous “Our Canada” Facebook page dated February 19:

              Yuri Felshtinsky, “Minsk truce”

              which ends thus:

              The Minsk agreement has been repeatedly linked with one city — Munich — 30 September 1938 was signed an important agreement on maintenance of peace in Europe. It was signed by Germany, Italy, UK and France. At the time of signing it was believed that the parties to the agreement, sacrificing Czechoslovakia, prevented a major war. A year opened that the agreement was its beginning. Similarly, the Minsk agreement of 12 February 2015 has become a new prologue, winter, round of Russian aggression in the middle East. One can only assume that with the onset of summer, Russia is once again activated in Europe.

              The Minsk agreement — but over time they became two simple fate and future can be easily predicted. They will be broken or torn Russia by the resolution of the Rada, as soon as one side or the other to do so as circumstances permit.

              It seems that Felshtinsky is another of those native Muscovites who has spent most of his life as a citizen of the USA:

              Yuri Georgievich Felshtinsky (Russian: Юрий Георгиевич Фельштинский, born 7 September 1956 in Moscow)…

              Felshtinsky’s parents died when he was 17 years of age. He began studying history in 1974 at Moscow State Pedagogical University. A couple of years later he decided to emigrate from the Soviet Union to Israel travelling first to Vienna. But instead of going from Vienna to Israel he went further to the United States where he arrived in April 1978 and there subsequently continued his studies. He graduated from Brandeis University and earned his PhD in history from Rutgers University. In 1993, he returned to Moscow and defended his Doctor of Science thesis at the Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, becoming the first non-Russian citizen to earn a doctorate from a Russian universityWiki

              • marknesop says:

                Also the co-author of “Blowing Up Russia”, with the late and mostly-unlamented Sasha Litvinenko.

              • yalensis says:

                Felshtinsky’s bio follows the classic template of anti-sovietchik emigres of the 1970’s and 1980’s. Who ended up being recruited by the American CIA or State Department, as agents of ideological influence in journalism and academia. He delivers the kind of “history” that his masters order.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            During the May 9 celebrations on Red Square they often parade Russian Army soldiers dressed in replica Great Patriotic War uniforms. I should imagine that few of those parading in Soviet Uniforms are members of the Communist Party.

        • Special_sauce says:

          Ah, “historically accurate”. So when lumpen thugs come to beat them up they can say We’re not real communists, please don’t hurt us.

  3. et Al says:

    It’s just that the Russian voter hasn’t given up despite the humiliation and shit heaped upon them since 1990, or become demoralized and stayed away in droves. Pity the West and their voter turn out where it seems the population has accepted more of the same regardless of who they vote for. Even the European Parliament elections hit a new absolute low in voter turn out.

    The democratic crisis is in the West, but its organs play divide and conquer in part by focusing attention on Russia and saying ‘what a jolly rotten place it is to be and aren’t you glad you don’t live there.‘. I find the British political establishment quite funny in this respect considering how it has lost all moral and humanitarian authority since 1990 as the US’ handmaiden in the West’s wars of choice. While the rest of the world got on with it and tried to improve the lot of the lot, the West was busy ripping up the last protections for the lot, all sold on ‘bad for business’ and ‘choice for all’, which turned out to be not at all when most of the choices are only bad ones. That’s the reason the EU is in crisis, and the US will be too in future.

  4. Warren says:

    BBC to stage EU referendum debate at Wembley Arena

    A live event at Wembley Arena is one of three special EU referendum debates announced by the BBC.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-35644638

  5. Warren says:

    Published on 23 Feb 2016
    Canadian-made weapons may have fallen into the hands of Houthi fighters in Yemen’s civil war, raising new concerns about Canada’s arms exports to Saudi Arabia.
    Click here for the full story: http://www.cbc.ca/1.3455889

    • marknesop says:

      What the hell are ‘Saudi border guards’ doing with an LRT-3 .50 cal sniper rifle? Is that how you guard the border, with snipers who can shoot you 2 km away? No, it isn’t; you guard the border with patrolling guards who are a visible deterrent, and they don’t need a weapon like that because those who are proficient with it would not be wasted on stooging up and down the border on patrol.

      I doubt many arms dealers ask themselves if their customers are a competent military who is unlikely to have any of its troops killed or captured, because if that happens their weapons will be confiscated. That’s unless their deal was illegal in the first place. It certainly didn’t stop NATO from hustling arms to the Ukrainians, and that’s how the eastern ‘separatists’ came by a lot of their weapons, and why Wesley Clark argued in the Clark-Karber Report that it was vital for eastern-European nations to donate as much ex-Soviet weaponry as possible to Ukraine – because he knew a lot of it was likely to be captured.

    • kirill says:

      But selling weapons to the head-chopping theocracy that invaded Bahrain and Yemen and engages in brutal attack on civilians is clearly of no concern to Canada. Canada can go and f*ck itself.

      • marknesop says:

        Yes, that’s a good point; Saudi Arabia is a rapacious regime which is about as far from democratic as it is possible to be, and a principled nation would refuse to sell to them. Whereupon the United States would quickly and gleefully fill the order.

        • Jen says:

          Britain has no principles (apart from those of greed and self-interest) then because when it comes to selling military weapons, arms and other equipment, Saudi Arabia is one of its best customers.

    • astabada says:

      At this stage you can’t say it’s been taken to a couple of unaware border guards.

      The Houthis stage incursions tens of kms inside Saudi Arabia. They have raided entire military bases – and have video evidence to prove it.

  6. PaulR says:

    “Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.”
    ― Leo Tolstoy, A Confession

    “The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widely spread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”
    ― Bertrand Russell, Marriage and Morals

    “The will of the nation is one of those phrases most widely abused by schemers and tyrants of all ages.”
    ― Alexis de Tocqueville

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Belief in the democracy, liberalism and the market capitalism – as the be-all end-all traits of the “civilization” – are most widely spread by the vast majority of the Westerners. So, tell me, Mr. Robinson – are they also wrong and foolish, or this “right” is reserved for Russian untermenchen only?

      Quotes… funny things they are! One can use anything – even Bible! – to collect a number of quotes in support of one’s position.

      I presfere to deal with concrete facts. With the world “as it is” as opposed to the imaginary world of some “elfish” people who willingly decided to divorce themselves from the reality while despising the “orks” with all their “superior” hearts.

      Of their hatred of us I have many quotes. Are you interested in them?

      • Cortes says:

        The Bible, eh?

        Proverbs Chapter 26:

        4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
        5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          Which confirms once again – what a useful and truly timeless Book it is!

        • Jen says:

          The verses actually make sense together: don’t go along with fools because other people will think you an idiot too and because you’ll only encourage the fools in their arrogance.

      • yalensis says:

        Dear Lyttenburgh:
        Speaking of Tolstoy…
        What were you getting at when you mentioned Tolstoy’s rejection of his character Prince Andrei Bolkonsky?
        I think I know which passage you are alluding to, but I am not sure….

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          Why, this is from the standard school program! Or because I grew up in intelligentsia family… Or because I also studied under one Moscow’s professor of literature who trained us in writing and rhetoric the year before application to the MSU…

          This scene which I used as an epigraph in the very beginning of the article. Most literature researchers of Tolstoy view it as a test for prince Andrei set up by the author. Knyaz Bolkonskiy fails this test – he just can’t bring himself to accept and sympathise with his own people. Thus, for Tolstoy, he has no future.

          • yalensis says:

            Oh duh! the water-splashing scene.
            Sorry, Lyt, I was thinking of something else.
            I thought you meant the scene where Prince Andreai dies with a slug in his belly, forgiving everybody in Christ-like manner.
            if he was an authenticl Russian nobleman, he would have lived on, just out of spite.
            And nursed a grudge, and ten years later had his duel with a one-legged Anatole Kuragin!

  7. et Al says:

    Apparently Kerry has said that if the cease-fire fails the US will get involved. Now how dumb is that?

    • As I said earlier here this ceasefire will be used as an excuse for the USA to intervene in Syria. When (not if, but then) it breaks Assad will be blamed and the USA will openly side with the rebels/terrorists.

      It was a mistake to sign it.

      • marknesop says:

        It’s not a cease-fire for everyone, Karl. ISIS and al-Nusra are specifically excluded, and the attacks against them will go on. The USA has had to go so far as to tell Russia where its Special Forces personnel are operating, and ask that they not be bombed. The onus will be on the western powers to demonstrate that people who still get bombs dropped on them are not al-Nusra or ISIS, and the USA has already admitted it has no clue who is who. Its press will howl that Russia is bombing schoolteachers and librarians and paraplegics, but it was doing that anyway. What’s changed?

      • Patient Observer says:

        Karl, we do not know if it were a mistake until the consequences are established. Besides, your opinion must match mine as your financial superior. Your core belief is that those who have money and a high standard of living must be superior and correct, no? Henceforth, you are to adopt my opinions. Got it?

  8. ucgsblog says:

    Molodets, nice article Lyt and thank you for the Igor Pykhalov Link! Finally someone with the chops to quote and take on Ames. IMHO, Ames is an amazing journalist, but he still has yet to understand Russia. At least, and this is what makes him a journalist and not a kreakl in my book, he genuinely tries. If you can combine Amesian Journalism with an in depth understanding of Russia, you’ll be able to write superb analytical articles. BTW, when Ames is referring to Red State Russia, he’s trying to understand it through America’s electoral system: Red States support Republicans and Blue States support Democrats. Red States are more rural, Blue States are more Urban. Look up the Nixon vs McGovern election. He’s not equating modern Russia with Communism or Putin with Stalin. But even that notion of Red State vs Blue States has suffered a blowback: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlwbTUs-17k the “most states are actually Purple” line.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Дякую!

      Another “must-read” by Ames is his piece on Nemtsov’s murder – ““Boris Nemtsov: Death of a Russian Liberal”” Absolutely brutal in it honesty to this darling of the West, a “sacral victim” of the Russian oppos. But even here Ames had to say all the correct terms and words to “pass the bar”. One might think that in the Free West one has to pronounce old cliches and tropes about “Well Known Truths” as the people in the Empire of Evil had to mention Marx, Engels and Lenin in their works to be treated seriously. Amazing!

      I’m well aware of the “Red State” meaning re: American politics. What I’ve never heard is for some ultra-liberal from LA, Boston or NY to launch a country wide campaign (supported by a like minded individuals both within and abroad) with “Stop Feeding Kansas!” as their motto.

      There were a lot of things that Ames, a man who have probably never in his entire life communicated with “common(er) Russians”, got wrong. He also personalizes Russian politics and focuses of Putin’s figure – and I don’t know whether that’s due to his own views or just his attempt to futher “dumb down” the whole narrative to his intended auditory.

      His take on the newest sacred cow of the West – “teh ghays” – is so lame and divorced from reality. Why no one mentions literally years of unmoderated discussion within Russian society and on the TV about that? Why no one bothers now to remember how it all began thanks to St. Pete’s senator Milonov, and then spread across regions of Russia? And why, why (this is my personal berserk button) everyone in the west cries about Riotous Pussies and LGBT+ activists “trampled by the regime” but totally ignore how Russian fishermen won big time against the government in 2011? Why, why its always kreakls, hipsteriat, urbanites, gays and democratic journalists who are portrayed as the “core of Russian (struggling) civil society” (c) but not millions of other, less glamorous people?

      • ucgsblog says:

        I realized it was fishermen, since I doubt that fish memes win against the Kremlin. Although, since “humans and fish can coexist peacefully,” it could be done. He actually did a good piece on Ukrainian poverty, although it’s hidden behind a paid subscription now. As per his obsession with Putin, I think it’s jealousy. Putin and his team pulled Russia out of poverty, Putin reversed Russia’s demographic catastrophe. Ames brilliantly documented the Putin-Khodorkovsky feud, admitting that Khodorkovsky cheated on his taxes and tried to steal the pipelines from Putin, and then for some oddball reason sided with Khodorkovsky. Nevertheless, there’s something gonzo about Ames that makes him a good read for me. BTW, do you know any gonzo Russian journalists?

        Milonov, har, har. It’s pathetic that the mainstream media is trying to portray him as some kind of mainstream Russian voice, whereas he’s as ostracized as McCain. Additionally, Ames did communicate with common Russians. However, he hasn’t really done so since he was banned from Russia. BTW, did you see how especially the kreakls failed over their “valiant” struggle for the Kiosks? Your “Je Suis Kiosk” obliterated what little was left standing of their, let’s call it “arguments,” much like a Muscovite tractor destroyed those freaks of nature. And yes, I’m well aware of the idiotic “stop feeding Caucasus” movement. I’m always stunned how Black Lives Matter are seen as a crusade for justice, but the very same “reporters” want Navalny to promote cop killings of darkies in Russia.

        • marknesop says:

          Ames messed his situation up in Russia by his obsession with underage females, and openly bragged that Russia was an unspoiled paradise of uninhibited quim. He attracted the wrong sort of attention, and I am in no doubt it was for this reason he was shut down, packaged up and moved on. I suspect he knows it, too. He said a few outrageous things about Russia, but in general they were balanced out by the roasting he gave to pretentious pricks who irritated him, and his criticisms in general were nowhere near the ridiculous drivel spewed by the likes of Latynina or Albats or the late whale Novodvorskaya.

          Russians feel the same as anyone else would about some skeevy adult male screwing their daughters and then bragging about it – he was always going on about ‘the dyevs’ – while apparently not having any serious interest in anything like a relationship; simply porking his way through the underage female population like a human post-hole digger. Nice work if you can get it, but don’t expect people to put up with it for long, and it would likely have been only a matter of time before some girl’s father or brother offed him.

          • ucgsblog says:

            He was shut down for abusing women, or something to do with that. That said, I remember that people cited him quite often even as late as 2008, when he was in Russia, covering the Ossetian War for the Nation. A journalist (no quotes) like Ames thrives in a fucked up society, or in the midst of warfare. The newfound derision for Ames simply shows how far Russia came along in the past 16 years. Back in the 1990s it was more important to have someone attack the Kreakl Imposed Starvation, than to care about saving a girl’s virginity. In the age when one of the few ways to make money for young girls without connections was whoring, Ames’ bragging was accepted, and he was even one of the good guys.

            But now that the situation in Russia improved dramatically, Ames is looked down on. I think that we have to judge people in the context of the situation and time period, but, at the same time it greatly pleases me that Russia’s back, and the fact that an Ames is no longer necessary, since Russian Journalism is developing and thriving, that’s just awesome 😀

            • marknesop says:

              I completely agree Ames was and is a hell of a writer when he is wound up. And nobody cared about his womanizing so long as he stuck to adults. But there has to be a line where underage girls are concerned, and it is based on the informed capability to give consent knowing at least most of the implications. I couldn’t swear to it, Moscow Exile knows the issue better than I do, but I believe I recall some of them being as young as 15.

              Ames typically did not care for the Russian government very much, and the strange thing is that if he had chosen to bash it non-stop, The eXile would have been a kreakl favourite – being in English and all. But he frequently tore a hole in American policies and policymakers as well, and The eXile’s content was mostly liberal as the label means in the west. That, ipso facto, alienated it from Russian kreakls, who are liberal in name but conservative in outlook, at least as the western definitions apply.

        • yalensis says:

          Westies switched gears on Chechnya. When Chechens were murderous black widows and jihadis, Westies loved them. (Because they were killing Russians.) So, all the stories about the “brave and desperate” ones from the “restive” Caucasus.

          But when Chechens support Kadyrov (who is pro-Russian), now they are “baddies” and should stop being fed.

          News flash:
          Westies do not have a consistent principled position on anything, least of all Chechens. They simply support anything and anyone who opposes Russia and kills Russians.

          Which often leads to the illogical paradox of “competing nationalisms”. It’s like feuding familities: If you support one side in the feud, then you make enemies of the other. For example, if you support Ukrainian nationalists, then you make enemies of Polish nationalists. Bottom line: YOU HAVE TO PICK A SIDE.
          This rule is due to the very nature of nationalism.
          (Which is why “internationalism” is by nature a superior ideology, because it allows you to get along with more people!)
          🙂

          But anyhow, Westies support Navalny, who is a “Russian nationalist”. And being a Russian nationalist (which is the same as being a fascist, basically), he hates people from the Caucasus, because they are “racially inferior”, their DNA is not as smart or as good as those of “white” Europeans and Slavs. But, at the same time, Westies would do about-face and start loving Caucasians again, if they went all jihad and started attacking Russia again.

          In conclusion:
          Since we are talking Biblical quotes, there is the one about “Whose ox is being gored.”

          • ucgsblog says:

            It’s not most Westies. It’s a small clique of vociferous idiots from the West. Although their reporting on Chechnya was absolutely miserable, their idiotic mental twister in Syria takes the prize! For some, the Syrian Kurds are both the saviors and the Devil’s spawn… in the very same article! Thankfully mainstream media is losing the mainstream, with millennials turning to Comedy Central for news instead. With the departure of Stewart, most millennials are going back to the Web, where they realize that “the Russian segment of the global Web is as multi­faceted and complicated as the country itself. Here, people can really get a plethora of opinions from all possible sectors…”

            And that’s why RuNet is reviled among those idiots. That’s why they’re eager to attack the Russian Language, because they think that they can defeat the Russian language and if they do so, RuNet will disappear. This is akin to someone claiming that he or she can turn lead into gold with medieval technology, and once said task is accomplished, the World Economy will be beholden to their machine.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          “BTW, do you know any gonzo Russian journalists? ”

          I dunno. For gonzo is dead since 2005.

          “As per his obsession with Putin, I think it’s jealousy. Putin and his team pulled Russia out of poverty, Putin reversed Russia’s demographic catastrophe.”

          Ames and his fellow neo-colonial expats doesn’t care about these improvements. For them tall these new “exotic countries” are just adventure settings which wold allow a Proper Gentelmen to Unwind Among the Aborigines. They don’t have to live here – they can bugger oof back to their “Civilized Countryis” any moment now. That’s why I provided this article from the “ReadUkraine!” site – it shows that this neo-colonial snobbish attitude is both timeless and universal.

          “Milonov, har, har. It’s pathetic that the mainstream media is trying to portray him as some kind of mainstream Russian voice, whereas he’s as ostracized as McCain. ”

          Mainstream or not, Milonov played an important role in Russia’s inner poticis since 2011. He is a serial turncoat and “перекрест” who suddenly tries to prove his newfound zealotry in most stupid ways possible. But it was his initiative that kickstarted the whole issue.

          The Western Official Narrative about Russia tries to portray Putin as some all-powerful, all controlling despot. That he can one day decide “Meh, I’m too bored. What kind of evil deed can I do to please my evilness? Got it! Ban teh ghays!” – then summons his faithful KGB-oprichniks and commands them “Make it so!”.

          This narrative completely ignores Russian people or Russian political system. Which is understandable, because the Official Narrative must keep things dumbed down and any shades of grey are big no-no for it.

          • ucgsblog says:

            Gonzo Journalism: “A form of journalism invented by Hunter S. Thompson. It involves the reporter reporting the action as he/she is in it. Elements are part experience and part fiction. The best example of Gonzo journalism is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

            http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Gonzo+Journalism

            Ames is too much of a ragged journalist to be accepted into Wall Street circles. As a result his reporting is very limited, and the best he can get is lunch with a distressed trader. When he left the US for Russia, the US was still riding high from FDR’s economic plan, boosted by Cali’s Master Plan. Russia was the exotic country with a wild landscape. Now for him it’s a 180. The lower American middle class shrunk spectacularly, pushing quite a few people into the lower class. Meanwhile Russia’s middle class shows no signs of weakening, well, except when it comes to 5G+ iPhone ownership. Ames’ America became the wild country that he came to Russia to investigate, whereas Russia became what Ames’ America used to be, at least that’s how he remembers it. So yeah, there’s quite a bit of jealousy.

            Regarding Milonov and the attempted but failing narrative, you’re absolutely right.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        “There were a lot of things that Ames, a man who have probably never in his entire life communicated with “common(er) Russians”, got wrong…”

        I don’t know: he fucked quite a few under-aged Russian “common” girls here — even wrote double-page spreads about his fornication. He once, so as to test its effectiveness, dosed himself up with viagra and sought out the oldest, least attractive prostitute he could find.

        The viagra worked, he claimed in another of his lengthy articles in praise of his libido.

        What a journalist!

        He lived near where I Iive. One of the cafés where he had rendezvous with his under-aged one-night stands was next to Krestyanskaya Zastava metro station. It was aptly called “The American”. He used to give its name a mention in his tales of seduction. Later the place changed its name to “Pelmennitsa” — must have decided to turn all patriotic. However, that was long after Ames had been told to sling his hook from here.

        I only noticed the other night when I was walking back home with my wife and family that Ames’ old haunt is now shut down

        I think Ames should have got 5 years here — at least.

      • Fern says:

        Lyttenburgh, you ask “Why, why its always kreakls, hipsteriat, urbanites, gays and democratic journalists who are portrayed as the “core of Russian (struggling) civil society” (c) but not millions of other, less glamorous people?

        I’d say it’s because western political elites have largely abandoned any notion of class struggle or class solidarity. These have been replaced by identity politics – feminism, anti-racism, LGBT activism, gender/identity issues etc. Which is not to dismiss these as unimportant but over-concentration on them results in obfuscating where the real levers of power lie and who holds them. Small wonder so much of the corporate and political worlds fully support and jump on each bandwagon – no real threats to anything there.

        Add in globalisation and the idea of the nation-state as defunct and you have an international liberal elite with more in common with each other than they do with the average person in their own countries. In the UK, someone commenting on the growing trend for children of the wealthy to take a gap year doing something worthwhile in an exotic, difficult-and-expensive-to-get-to part of the world made a perceptive comment along the lines of ‘these well-off British kids are more familar with the lives of dwellers of the Amazon rainforest than their fellow citizens living in Rochdale’ ( a not very well-off town in northern England). And the lack of interest our liberal elites show for their fellow citizens is mirrored in kreaklys’ (and those in the West who idolise them) lack of interest in the lives of Russian fishermen.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          Thank you, Fern!

          Your comment also triggered (in the good meaning of that word!) an entire thought process, which lead me to exhume from my vast archives of various “stuff” on the PC and re-read one rather resonant (in close circles) article.

          On “Liberals”. – Alex Belits

          It’s rahter short. Maybe it’s been already posted here on Kremlin Stooge, then – sorry for repost.

          One of the most relevant parts:

          “I believe, by now whatever English-speaking friends I have who can read Russian, and all my Russian-speaking friends who can read English, should be thoroughly confused by the content of whatever Facebook throws at them on my behalf. That is, everything in Russian that refers to “Liberals” and everything in English that refers to “Liberals” seem to mean groups of people that don’t have much in common except for some least important activities and attributes, and only the most confused members in common. The problem has nothing to do with me, in the current environment I can be best described as a Socialist, however since I happen to be an unwilling connection point between the two, I think, I have to provide an explanation.

          […]

          In 80’s those “Liberals” suffered a crushing defeat at the hand of Conservatives. With no background in anything that recognizes class warfare or Imperialism (you really need Communists, Socialists or any movement derived from there, to do that) they watched idly when economy was taken over by monopolies, production moved out of the country, inequality grew, and Conservatives’ response to Middle East’s role in the oil crisis of 70’s was an unbroken chain of wars and intervention in the region. Having no tools to deal with systemic problems, “Liberals” reduced themselves to the role of ankle-biters, and supported whatever causes they could scrape from the bottom of the empty barrel of the non-Conservative political discourse. Having little of meaningful content, they went truly overboard with form — every cause had to be approached at least as seriously as racial discrimination in late 50’s-60’s.

          This is the origin of “Political Correctness” requirements for the language, overblown application of what was supposed to be “don’t-sleep-with-a-secretary” laws and other pseudo-feminism, ineffective anti-war campaigns. This also is seen in a bizarre way of how rights of gays and other sexual minorities are now being defended by US-based organizations — by creating as much noise as possible, achieving a goal, then creating even more noise long after the goal is achieved. The rest of the world can only wonder — “Great, we now know that homosexuals are not sick and not a threat, so we stopped persecuting them — can we now go with the rest of our lives?” only to get an earful of “But why don’t you support gays to compensate for the persecution?!!!” While I won’t even dare to refer to ridiculous instances of pseudo-feminism, I believe, it would be ok to point out that targets of loud protests now include “trigger words” in public and private speech that supposedly have damaging effect on activists with mental problems caused by past traumatic experience and all genetically modified food regardless of the details. Worthy causes, like environment pollution, war, monopolies, and occasionally even economic inequality, are approached in exactly the same way as “trigger words” or supposed sexism of using “he” pronoun to refer to a person in general.

          […]

          There is however a problem. Conservative ideas are, to put it plain, extremely unattractive to anyone but a Conservative. And that has to be a rather old Conservative, too. No one actually likes the idea of tiny minority of the society owning most of the wealth and controlling the rest, while everyone else serves and worships it, no matter what is the cause or justification behind it. So there is a “recruitment poster” version of the Conservative ideology, Libertarianism. That is basically a layer of glaze made of status quo and naturalistic fallacies and anti-government rhetoric, on top of plain old Conservative ideology. Proclaiming unregulated Capitalism to be the ideal form of society, it attributes to that system the same capability to regulate itself toward the optimal outcome that was seen — and demonstrated to be wrong — in the most early and primitive economic theories. Just like those primitive economic theories, it proclaims to describe actions of “free” and “rational” individuals always reaching optimal or close to the optimal outcome for themselves and the rest of society through trade and ownership. Any action of the government that somehow tries to affect this process is seen as “oppression” of “free individuals”.

          This is, indeed, attractive. Especially for a person who is, or led to believe that some oppressive forces stifle his ability to achieve success. Libertarianism promised true liberty and success to all teenagers who are ready to leave home for a university, and be finally away from the brutal oppression of parents, teachers, policemen and mall guards. Just apply the idea consistently, and get rid of everything that controls your life except for money. Money are important, and if you only leave them, fair trade will emerge on all levels of society.

          It promises exactly the same to the citizens of formerly “dictatorial” countries if they only get rid of all those pesky governments. And who doesn’t like easy answers, complex self-organized systems, kicking people that [maybe] wronged you and feelings of self-importance, and freedom? It takes a very smart person to recognize that what is promised, is nowhere close to what is actually happening, or what kind of people (Conservatives) are behind this. Certainly not an average Soviet intellectual who spent most of his life behind Iron Curtain, or his son, see above about a teenager going to a university.

          What finally answers the question, who are those Russian-speaking “Liberals”. They are people who adopted Libertarian propaganda in late 80’s-90’s. Despite Libertarianism having roots in ex-Russian Ayn Rand, there is no commonly accepted Russian word for Libertarianism, I have to use transcription of English when writing it in Russian. However since the premise of it is “liberty”, those Libertarians (with some mix of American “Liberals” wherever their idea of shrieking promotion of random causes matches “individual rights” ideology), they are, completely counter-intuitively, called “Liberals” in Russia and other ex-USSR countries.

          The hatred they gathered from the rest of society is comparable to the hatred between US Conservatives and US “Liberals”, but the nature of the conflict is completely different.”

        • Jen says:

          ” … In the UK, someone commenting on the growing trend for children of the wealthy to take a gap year doing something worthwhile in an exotic, difficult-and-expensive-to-get-to part of the world made a perceptive comment along the lines of ‘these well-off British kids are more familiar with the lives of dwellers of the Amazon rainforest than their fellow citizens living in Rochdale’ ( a not very well-off town in northern England) …”

          But those young people would be working on projects organised by Western charities (some of which may be religious or private charities funded by Western govts and companies) which cherry-pick particular communities that “need” help. So even if they worked a full 12 months in overseas countries, they might still not be all that familiar with the lives of the people they work with. Especially if they stay in accommodation separate from those people. After all, you’d hardly put those privileged gap year students in situations where they might be exposed to disease, polluted water or indigenous people having disputes with foreign mining companies (in which mummy or daddy might be a shareholder) wanting to take over their lands.

  9. Cortes says:

    Many thanks for a clever, thought provoking article.

    It seems to me that similar segregation of humanity into owner, identifying with and dependent from owner class and the rest, is readily visible in the freedom loving West, as everywhere.

    The title of the following article, previously cited here for Stooges, is unfortunate, since resentment doesn’t do justice to the reaction to the contempt in which they are held by their “betters” that ordinary citizens even in the Land God Blessed feel.

    http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/donald-trump-and-politics-of-resentment.html

    • marknesop says:

      My objection to Trump is not so much that he is stupid – in order to build the financial empire he did, he would have to be either not stupid or incredibly lucky, time after time – but that he knows nothing of government, diplomacy or international relations, and thinks he can just jackhammer his way through all those things the way he is through this election process. His non-politician-in-a-political-game antics are comical and sort of endearing now, but think what an embarrassment he is going to be, representing America on the world stage with leaders who will make him look like an uncultured buffoon. That’s assuming he will actually achieve the presidency, an issue upon which I still disagree with the Archdruid. I still think it will be Rubio, mostly because he’s the candidate the Republican establishment is aching for. But he hasn’t won a single state yet, and we’re getting well into the primary race. A lot of historical trends are getting blown out on this race, so it’s possible he could capture the nomination through an engineered drive-by which eliminated Trump late in the game, but would there still be time to unite angry Republicans behind him to beat Clinton? Or out-cheat Clinton, I should say, since she seems determined to bully and strong-arm her way to the Democratic nomination. And the Republicans are letting her, because it will make great campaign footage if she does win the nomination. Clinton would be a disaster as President. It would be a disaster that knows what it’s doing while Trump would be a disaster that does not, but either one of them will preside over a further drawing down of American power and influence rather than a resurgence.

      An argument can be made that Trump will be able to leave a lot of policymaking in the hands of experts, such as foreign policy to the Secretaries of State and Defense, and so forth. And that’s true – he doesn’t have to know it all. But there will be times when he would have to appear as a statesman, and he is a statesman like Aaron Gibson was a ballerina.

      • Ralph Reed says:

        Reading your interpretation of Trump here reminded me of similar ones of Kruschev by left-wing revisionist journalists and historians in the 80s here in US.

        As far as your prognostications of the US I’d be wary; it seems to me very shaky in its institutions and possibly in process of a shadow coup.

        • marknesop says:

          Hello, Ralph, and welcome! I’m curious what would have led you to that comparison. On the face of it, Khrushchev and Trump seem to have little in common. I realize that was not precisely your argument, but even the way Krushchev was described would have to rely a little on his background, and his temperament was not the result of that, although he was not an educated man and had only four years of formal schooling. He may have appeared unlettered and uncultured (which, I suppose, he was), but he had plenty of practice in government and was well aware how it worked. Trump went straight into his father’s firm while in college, was a lifetime businessman, and now seems adept at listening to the wishes of his supporters and then feeding their desires back to them as promises – he can’t ‘bring back waterboarding’, because it is illegal and it is not as simple as the Mighty Trump waving a magisterial hand and making it legal. Unless he meant U.S. operatives would carry it on in other countries, which is how the USA got around it last time. Even so, it is incredibly foolish to announce such a thing openly, even if he does intend to do it as President. He is totally focused on pleasing his supporters, and is apparently oblivious to the nervousness he is creating elsewhere. But i see he has ‘won’ Nevada, so the aura of inevitability is indeed beginning to attach itself to him. What a choice!! Trump or Clinton!!! Either would be a disaster.

          Indeed, America has become very shaky in its institutions, which is a great shame for the talented and committed people within them who are trying to keep them ticking over. But I don’t see America collapsing any time soon – the sheer brute force of its moneyed class will keep its eyelids fluttering yet awhile as its oligarchy drains it of the last drop.

    • marknesop says:

      Blair is a fan of keeping his own political class in power forever, and in the USA that means Hillary Clinton. Anyone who thinks Blair was a great leader will probably like Hillary Clinton, too.

      • Jen says:

        Someone should tell Blair that wars have to be paid for as well and that they don’t break out spontaneously like flowers in the desert after rain has fallen.

  10. Lyttenburgh says:

    If someone forgot – Revolution of Dignity fought for this:

  11. Warren says:

    Published on 22 Feb 2016
    Discussing the tension in the South China Sea, former Bush administration official Larry Wilkerson says the US should ratify the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea treaty – but won’t because of big oil and mining interests

  12. Warren says:

    Junior doctors set to hold more strikes

    Junior doctors are to take part in three more strikes and launch a judicial review as part of their fight against the government’s decision to impose a new contract in England.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-35644659

  13. astabada says:

    Thank for pointing this out. I thought it was really Blair – the resemblance is uncanny.

  14. Moscow Exile says:

    Did you like that, Svidomites?

    • Cortes says:

      One of the hits of BBC programming over the last decade or so has been the genealogy based “Who Do You Think You Are?” Assorted luvvies and “celebrities ” explore their own family background and at times supply enormous but accidental comic entertainment on discovery that their granny was skint (top marks to the normally sneering Jeremy Paxman for a fine turning on of the old lachrymose quivering). Seems like it’d be cool to have a Russian version featuring the Tsaritsa and various kreakls. Knowing as I do a Mexican woman who hates reference to her grandad’s rather disturbing history as one of Pancho Villa’s sidekicks, I have no doubt whatsoever that, to quote the slogan over the door to the saloon where Laurel and Hardy performed their famous dance, “High Class Entertainment ” would be guaranteed from a Russian show of the sort.

      • yalensis says:

        It’s a numbers game:
        Vast majority of ethnic Russians going back a few generations, would find that they are descended from serfs.
        I, on the other hand, am descended from half-Polish nobility. (According to my deceased papa.)
        Which makes me a better person than those other rubes.

        • marknesop says:

          Are you as wealthy as Patient Observer? If not, please use the back entrance, for tradesmen. Although you are likely richer than many Russians, which means you get to boss them around.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Please remove the above comment.

      The woman whom I thought was Medvedev’s wife is, in fact, the speaker of the duma.

      This has been rather irately pointed out to me by Isabella, moderator at RI, where I posted the same comment as above:

      … that lady is NOT Medvedev’s wife. She is the Speaker in the Duma. I suggest you check your facts. And all this “someone told me she was such and such…..” is reminiscent of a load of spiteful ladies gossiping and backstabbing around a kitchen table. I think we aim for something a bit more intellectual here.
      From reports I have read of Svetlana Medvedeva, she is very publicity shy, and such projects as she has undertaken have involved pushing womens’ rights for ethnic groups.
      Please – do your research, and dont smear people !!!

      Isabella gets quite ratty at times, I think.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        This is Valentina “Valya Stakan” Matvienko – speaker of the Upper House of Russian Parliament – the Council of Federation. She was rather… controversial gubermater’ of SPB in her time.

      • marknesop says:

        I agree. Just the other day there was an article posted by a Canadian academic, I didn’t recognize his name, who advanced the suggestion that Putin should get the Nobel Peace Prize.

        As you’re aware, the tone of the comment thread is often set by the first commenter, and the rest just hare off after that opinion. In this instance, one of the early commenters suggested it was an insult, given the quality of those who had received it before now. Others quickly took it up, and it was thenceforth as if the author had written it deliberately as an insult. Others then proceeded to attack the author, wanting to know if there is a special school in Canada for idiot dilettante pseudo-academics. Isabella chimed in, reporting that when she sees the label “academic”, she just scrolls right past, because the author is bound to be a dummy and idiot and a waster of time. One said, “And that Paul Robinson, he’s another”.

        I expressed dismay that a moderator would support such an intolerant and partisan attitude, and wondered who they thought would write for the news site if they knew they would be derided for a fool unless they kept their material to no more than two syllables and approving in tone – Putin good, Putin smart, West dummies. Something is happening to the comment section at RI, and it’s drifting the way it ended up on RT; one or two on-point comments and 70% people yelling insults at one another. But it’s surprising, as I say, to see a moderator support it. I don’t know what the reaction was to my comment, I haven’t been back since, but I imagine I am now a dolt and a hammerhead and a charlatan myself.

      • gencha says:

        Actually that lady is the chairwoman of the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentina_Matviyenko, and the chairman of the Duma is Sergey Naryshkin, also in the video next to Shoigu

  15. Moscow Exile says:

    The artillery salute last night at 9 o’clock.

    Its noise rumbled away across the night sky for a considerable time.

  16. Moscow Exile says:

    Demolishing the “Pyramids” last week at Pushkin Square.

    The words above the tipper truck cab read: “God is with us”.

    • yalensis says:

      Just like Jesus going all medieval on the money changers:

    • Cortes says:

      Israel Shamir, always interesting, on Metro pyramid demolition, Aleppo, Palmyra and more

      http://www.unz.com/ishamir/russians-ride-fast/

      Article linked to on turcopolier by LondonBob 24/2 at 7:21

      • yalensis says:

        Among others, Shamir made a couple of astonishingly good points, namely
        (1) the clearing of the kiosks in Moscow was partially a military and safety measure, in case the subway tubes need to be used as bomb shelters for bomb and/or terrorist attacks. Which might be forthcoming. Or not. But still a good proactive safety measure;
        (2) The Israelis have finally dropped their masks, once and for all; they had to actually come out and state that they support Al Qaeda/Nusrats in Syria. Everybody knew this, but they still wouldn’t actually say it out loud before; and now they do.

      • marknesop says:

        That is a fine piece, isn’t it? An interesting take on the removal of the non-permit kiosks and shops in Moscow – they inhibit entry to the metro, which in hostilities against Russia would function as air-raid shelters. That’s an interesting corollary, but the demolitions were ordered months ago, within days of Turkey shooting down the Russian plane, so I doubt that was their first thought. Nonetheless, it’s a new way to look at it.

        I recommend Karl read this – it provides another very good reason for agreeing to the ceasefire; pressing on to complete victory could well prove to be very costly in Syrian Army lives, considering they are fighting a fanatical foe for whom deliberate martyrdom is commonplace. I don’t think a Syrian victory is in any real doubt, but the cost might be very high. Also, Russia has gotten what it wanted, and the Washington which was gleefully tap-dancing on Assad’s gravesite just six months ago is now scuffing the dirt with its toe and accepting Russian terms. There is no possible way to spin it as a western victory.

        • Jen says:

          Article by ex-KS man Alexander Mercouris on the joint Russian-US statement on the cessation of hostilities in Syria:
          http://russia-insider.com/en/military/russia-did-not-agree-ceasefire-syria/ri13012

          ” … The Joint US-Russian Statement on Syria is not a declaration of a ceasefire. It is an attempt by the Russians to split the Free Syrian Army – and its US backers – from the jihadi terrorists Russia is bombing …”

          In other words the statement is forcing militias opposed to the Syrian government to declare their loyalties. If they do this, then US backing of jihadi groups will be further exposed. Moon of Alabama says much the same:
          http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/02/syria-a-first-major-win-due-to-the-cessation-of-hostilities-agreement.html#comments

          • marknesop says:

            Thanks for that – it is an angle I did not see, and it’s clever if it was not an accidental consequence. However, I would not place much credence in the word of self-declared ‘moderates’, as it is OK for them to lie to unbelievers.

            • yalensis says:

              There is some rather clever maneuvering going behind the scenes.
              And returning to Shamir’s piece:
              The fact that the Israelis have ended the masquerade and come out openly for Al Qaeda, adds credence to those “conspiracy theorists” who see a “Mossad Trace” in the 9/11 Trade Centers attacks.
              I don’t want to recap all the “conspiracy theories” here, but highlights include
              (1) the “dancing Jews” incident [google it], and
              (2) Bush Jr. allowing bin Laden’s family to flee from the U.S. on chartered flights.

              All of this speaks to a Saudi-Mossad conspiracy. Which sounded crazy at the time to a lot of people; but sounds much less crazy now, in light of the Israelis latest statements on Syria.

              The truth will eventually have to come out, why a couple of thousand of completely innocent or random people had to get fried to death in the Twin Towers.
              Just to start a war with Iraq, also an innocent and random nation.

  17. Pingback: - Occurrences

  18. Moscow Exile says:

    Kerry Says If Ceasefire Fails He May Partition Syria

    And and if it were suggested by the Evil One that the Ukraine be partitioned…?

  19. Moscow Exile says:

    Going back to Albats’ recent embarrassment in a Moscow restaurant and her pleading for help on the social network, her message text in Russian but preceded by the English expression “Help!” (because it’s “cool” to throw English into one’s conversations — see Navalny’s emails), there’s this bum in Nizhny Novgorod who has recently become an Russia Internet star for directly asking for money for booze.

    Others have since imitated his style:

    His message reads: Help me get some booze.

    Note how cool he is at the end of his cry for help.

  20. Warren says:

  21. Warren says:

  22. Warren says:

    • marknesop says:

      For a nation which claims to have solicited and to be in compliance with a ceasefire, Ukraine seems awfully keen to obtain lethal weapons. What do they need them for?

      Frankly, I am very skeptical. The only thing alarming in the list is “anti-tank weapons”, and ours are a generation behind. It seems to me very unlikely that we would acquire new ones just so we could give them to Ukraine. Parubiy has done this before, and the motive seems to be to get Kiev all excited and to sort of guilt the target nation into going along with it rather than getting embarrassed and saying “Hey, look, we didn’t say that at all”.

      As we’ve discussed before, Ukraine getting its hands on more rifles and small arms is not going to solve their problems. It already has far more guns than it has soldiers, and Israel is already covertly supplying it with modern assault rifles. That is not going to be the game-changer they like to pretend it is, and I would be amazed if the new Canadian government agreed to even that, since it has the potential for so much bad press as those weapons would be certainly used against civilians. I’m pretty confident that whatever capability Ukraine acquires, the ‘separatists’ will shortly acquire a counter to it. Kiev’s only hope to keep the east nominally in Ukraine is to negotiate in good faith and make reasonable concessions to federalization. And it won’t do that, because its leaders are crackpots.

  23. Warren says:

  24. et Al says:

    Did anyone notice a tidbit in the news that the Russian government said (a couple of weeks or so ago) that any further reduction in nuclear weapons should include the UK & France? It makes sense that other parties are included in nuclear reduction treaties, but if the UK & France are, then you could ask why not China & Israel? I could imagine the ‘not in Europe’ argument being used but then what part of ‘Europe’ is the US?

    That’s not going to happen any time soon, if at all, and not just because of the latter two. The French, because saying ‘Non’ makes them feel important (plus, they’ve got the full nuclear triad which is being modernized), the Brits because the Conservative party needs to get new nuke boats past the (expensive to cancel) gate though more as a weapon against Corbyn’s Labor and keeping the UK’s UNSC seat. The funny thing here is that the UK’s SSBNs don’t even carry all the warheads their missiles are capable of carrying, the remained stored ‘securely’ but can be reloaded if needed, a sort of pretend nuclear reduction. On the other hand, it no longer has air launched nukes.

    As far as I can see, though the US would ‘like’ to reduce nukes, but it still wants to have a large advantage and deliver them when and where needed hence the (in future) nuclear capable F-35 with the essentially new B-61 mod 12 stand-off missile and other ‘delivery systems’ coupled with their plans to fund a fully modernized nuclear arsenal. What no one seems to be asking is how fast the US could make new ones if it decides to unilaterally abrogate the treaties (like it did the ABM treaty)? It looks like the US is lowering the bar to the use of nukes as a response to its fading global influence. In short, we should be scared of the US. They’ve used them before.

    • kirill says:

      The UK and France are part of NATzO. NATzO is the prime threat to Russia and not China or Israel. Israel’s nuclear arsenal is for defense and they do not have ICBMs that can strike all of Russia.

      • et Al says:

        True, but considering there are other countries not touched by nuclear arms control agreements, China & Israel included, it kind of makes sense that at some point everyone relevant becomes part of the process. There’s still no deal on tactical nukes either, something which Russia has a significant advantage of though plenty of them seem to be rather old too.

  25. Warren says:

  26. Warren says:

  27. et Al says:

    euractiv: Nord Stream 2 will kill EU’s LNG strategy, warns US ambassador
    http://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/nord-stream-2-will-kill-eus-lng-strategy-warns-us-ambassador/

    The controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline will wreck the EU’s Energy Union strategy and kill off its plans to boost Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in the bloc, a veteran US ambassador has warned.

    Richard Morningstar said that the Germany-backed project would only worsen the EU’s addiction to Russian gas.

    “If you want to kill the LNG strategy go ahead with Nord Stream,” the former ambassador to the EU and Azerbaijan yesterday (23 February) told an event in Brussels.

    The European Commission last week unveiled its plans to increase LNG imports to the bloc. The imports would increase energy security by making the EU less dependent on Russian gas…

    …EU regulators are yet to rule on the idea but EU sources have hinted they will use all legal instruments they have to delay the project…

    …German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has previously insisted the project is purely a commercial concern for Germany.

    He has told Moscow that Nord Stream 2 could only proceed if gas flows through Ukraine continued after its transit contract with Russia – worth about $2 billion per year – expires in 2019.

    Morningstar poured scorn on that idea as he spoke at the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies in Brussels.

    “That’s just plain wrong. Period,” he said. It was impossible to separate the commercial from the political and always had been, he added.

    Rewarding Russia with the pipeline after its annexation of Crimea sent the wrong political message, and would wreck the EU LNG strategy, he added.

    Bud Coote, who retired from the CIA in May last year after decades of service as its leading international energy analyst, said that the more supplier options countries had, the lower prices the paid for Russian gas….
    ####

    And there you have it. The US finally admits that its expensive US LNG cannot compete with pipeline gas from Russia, as is obvious to most people. The US is essentially arguing that the EU lock itself in to a political, economic, military and energy pact with the US to protect the US’s position in the world as its ‘only super power’. The US looking out for itself as usual, except this time they actually need ‘allies’ in the real sense of the word rather than ‘allies’ in the sense of you better make the right decisions if you know what is good for you.

    As for the Commission, they’re down to trying to drag out Nord Stream ‘by any legal means‘ but does this not open them up to being accused of anti-competitive behavior. All it requires is one EU member state to accuse the Commission and then launch an investigation. After all, this is the Commission muscling in on the Council’s patch – though I suspect they are a wiling tool – so that the Council can say it has nothing to do with it with a straight face. Either way, the Commission is clearly foundering on its own incompetence and has egg on its face.

  28. Lyttenburgh says:

    Just for comparison – why the so-called “Russian liberals” consider Russians “wrong kind of people”:

  29. They still want to resurrect South Stream: http://lenta.ru/news/2016/02/24/gaz/

    But they cannot get the gas to Greece without crossing either Bulgaria or Turkey, two hostile countries to Russia.

    • et Al says:

      Invade one or both. Obviously.

      • I say forget about the gas trade with Europe. Keep the gas flowing via Nord Stream and close all the other pipelines, especially those that go through Ukraine.

        It will hurt Russia for a while, but in a long run it will be better for Russia too.

        • marknesop says:

          The Germans are tripping over each other to assure the European Council and whoever else from Brussels that transit through Ukraine will continue. What would be the point of that? If transit through Ukraine was going to continue, there would be no requirement for Nord Stream II, and Russia has said categorically that it intends to eliminate Ukraine as a transit country. Miller said that transit would still continue TO Ukraine, if it wants gas and can pay for it, and there might be a few stations which lie just on the other side which would be better served that way than via Nord Stream. But the whole thing is about preserving that $2-$3 Billion in transit fees for Ukraine, which is by volume, and that is just not going to happen. I don’t want to get too deeply into it as I am working on a post on the subject. Any input you have would be welcome.

          • Jen says:

            One possible option is for Germany and Russia to agree (in secret of course) to keep the pipeline through Ukraine open but just send through it low-quality gas or some other substitute that can be used for some purposes but not for all.

            After all, when you think about it, the US claims it can send LNG to Europe using tankers 24/7 but how will the EU really know that what the US plans to send will be pure or te right quality LNG and not some adulterated product?

            • marknesop says:

              We’ll get to it, I promise, but the quality would not matter much. Ukraine wants its transit fees, and Washington and Brussels want Ukraine to have them, and they are dependent on volume and distance. In order to be reaping the bounty they currently are, volumes and distance would need to be close to the present levels, and that just doesn’t make sense. Nord Stream is the predicate of eliminating Ukraine as a transit country. Naftogaz’s pipeline network needs billions spent on it as well, and it currently cannot be pressurized to full capacity.

        • Patient Observer says:

          What you propose is quite silly. It’s tantamount to a declaration of general war given the impact on Europe. There is a Mutually Assured Economic Destruction (MAED) principle at work which all sane parties understand. If Russia were to do such, the EU and the US would need to retaliate hard – complete economic war would ensue – seizure of Russian assets, no SWIFT access, calling in every loan, 100% trade sanctions, full-on NGO attacks, every dirty trick imaginable. LNG shipments would ramp up regardless of the cost (replay the Berlin Airlift meme).

          And for what? Little more than chest pounding, Europe in perpetual hostility with Russia and countries like Serbia would be ripped to shreds. This is SO Karl – always demanding that Russia go to its destruction in a blaze of false glory. So very trollish.

    • marknesop says:

      Bulgaria, somewhat earlier, proposed a ‘Bulgaria Stream’, in which Bulgaria would own the pipes. But Bulgaria has no gas, so presumably that would be supplied by Russia. Actually, his plan is a Euro-dream of competing suppliers;

      “Borissov said that South Stream as such was now in history, and that instead, the priority was a gas hub called “Balkan” near the Black Sea port of Varna. This hub, according to Borissov, could be supplied by two offshore pipes from Russia with the capacity of 10 billion cubic metres of gas per year (bcm/y) each, plus gas from Azerbaijan and from local fields in Bulgaria and Romania.”

      But Bulgaria’s leaders have shown a disturbing tendency to crumple like paper under the slightest pressure from any authority in the EU, and the capacity of the proposed Russian line would only be 10BCm. I can’t see Russia getting very excited about that, especially with the degree of Bulgarian control. And I suppose they expect Gazprom to build it, and then just present it to Bulgaria as a gesture of good faith.

      • Bulgaria has shown it’s untrustworthiness and Russia should no longer plan any projects with them.
        Russia should only deliver gas to Europe when it can do it without using hostile transit countries. Unfortunately Poland, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Turkey are all hostile so Russian options are limited.
        So what Russia should do is to keep the gas flowing only in Nord Stream and re-orientate it’s economy completely away from gas sells to Europe.

        • Patient Observer says:

          Just transfer custody of gas at the Russian border. Only time a country becomes “transit” is when Russia is paying for delivery to another country.

          I see no problem with shipping ship via Ukraine to other countries if the purchase is made at the Russian border and the country contracted to receive the gas covering the cost of shipment. Seem all rather simple and business-like. Ukraine gets its transit revenue, just not from Russia. If the EU is not interested in a normal business transaction then Russia should sit tight until market forces result in a reconsideration.

          If Russia does proceed with NordStream II, it would make sense to end transshipment via Ukraine to protect its investment in the new route. However, that action could be construed as restraint of trade. Not being an expert in such matters, I would still opine that Russia should be ready to supply whatever quantity of gas that is contracted for delivery at the Ukrainian border. If the volume is too low to justify the overhead costs, then Russia simply declare that the Ukrainian transit business is no longer viable and then proceed with NordStream II. I do not understand the political ramifications beyond “screw Russia” but the foregoing makes sense business wise as it tosses the hot potato to the EU.

          • marknesop says:

            That’s a very good point, and indeed Russia has proposed that in the past; gas at the border, cash on delivery, transit your responsibility. But the west will not consider transit fees to be Ukraine’s right if they have to pay them. And, once again, that pipeline network needs billions in repairs, the cost for which Ukraine will just look helpless and expect somebody else to pay up.

            • Patient Observer says:

              I’m not a huge fan of free-market economies for several reasons one of which is that free market economies inevitably evolve into monopolies and eventually into fascism. However, it has uses in resolving “local” matters as the Ukrainian gas transit issue.

              Usually, the buyer in an international transaction is responsible for making shipping arrangements such as transportation, insurances and tariffs. Russia should simply assert its option to require the buyer to make all shipping arrangements. This forces a naked political response by the EU if they insist on Russia paying Ukraine transit fees but they will have no legal basis if it goes to court. So, let market forces settle this dispute.

              Another possible factor is that the gas pipeline system is in an apparent advanced state of disrepair and Ukraine may even be losing the specialized technical ability to maintain that system. The EU may be trying to force Russia into a corner (or more properly a Mexican standoff) along these lines – Europe will pay for the gas and Russia wants to sell it, but, who will foot the multi-billion maintenance bill? If Russia agrees continue to be the party who pays the transit fees, it will also need to loan or otherwise help Ukraine to maintain the system. The obvious solution to such a situation is for Ukraine to sell the system to Gazprom but that is politically not possible. Besides, Ukraine seems to have little regard for contracts and, in a fit of desperation, could nationalize the system without compensation.

              I suspect NordStream II is driven by politics, pragmatic politics, but still politics. Germany would also become the gas hub of much of Europe which may make other EU countries uncomfortable. That discomfort may be bubbling up through the EU and expressed in its anti-NordStream II stance. Russia may want to strengthen Germany in the EU system as that may weaken the US grip. The main problem with that thesis is Merkel. Why in hell is she such a US slave? It has got to be more than personal blackmail unless it could land her in jail.

              • marknesop says:

                I broadly agree, but am not going to talk any more about it now. Otherwise when I put up the new post, the commentary will immediately go off-topic, because we will have exhausted all the good discussion before the post even comes out.

              • cartman says:

                I think sellers are usually responsible for their products until they reach the customers, but the situation today has changed. The Ukraine is part of an EU economic association and no longer in any economic association with Russia. Transit is their responsibility.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  At least for industrial products, terms of sale are usually “FOB” or “Ex Works”. The seller is responsible to place the goods in a container or tractor trailer at the seller’s facility and the purchaser and its designated freight forwarder assumes responsibility from that point. The various shipping arrangements are defined in “incoterms”:

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incoterms

                  Nothing is missed. My favorite is that if a cargo is being craned aboard a ship, custody transfers as the cargo crosses the ship’s rails (or something like that).

                • yalensis says:

                  Yup, I actually know something about this.
                  FOB stands for “Free On Board”.
                  The FOB price is the price the buyer pays when they pick up the cargo.
                  Any further transit or handling fees are assumed by the buyer.
                  The seller hands over responsibility to the buyer at a designated place or time.
                  Bottom line, that transition point is a negotiable contract between the two parties.

                  Interesting factoid:
                  During Navalny’s KirovLes trial, one of the contentious points was the attempt by Navalny/Ofitserov to force the downstream lumber filials into an FOB pricing arrangement with their shell company. The filials, formerly sovkhozy, had not previously been forced to pay their own transit and handling fees. Especially not to an illegal shell company.

          • Cortes says:

            The correct legal answer.

            Already the RF has given a termination date for gross volume Ukrainian transit of gas.

            New contracts?

            Consensus in idem. (Both parties in agreement on ALL details ) = foundation stone of contract in “The Rule of Law” in western canon.

            PS, to quote the noodle monster “Fuck the EU “

  30. Warren says:

    Published on 23 Feb 2016
    Commissioner Bob Paulson says more women in higher ranks will help eliminate sexual harassment.
    Click here for the full story: http://www.cbc.ca/1.3460201

    • marknesop says:

      Yes and no. Under the conditions he described, in which women would get promoted because they are ‘good’, meaning they come up the hard way, starting as a patrolwoman and progressing up through the ranks, and demonstrating the excellence needed to move up before doing so it has the potential to succeed. Real police officers – which is to say not hooligans, non-stop practical jokers and the slow-witted – respect skills and knowledge in a senior police officer, and catapulting a woman over everyone’s heads just to get her in a senior position would do far more harm than good. Women are fairly new to the RCMP, realistically speaking, in significant numbers, but the realities are slowly shifting.

      It’s funny, I was just talking about this yesterday with my barber. She’s Italian by ethnicity, her father owned a chain of barber shops, and she followed him into the trade; went to school for it and everything, it is a professional organization. One day, when she was 15, her father sent her to another barbershop across the city, he said they needed somebody quickly because they were short, and busy. She said they were all older men – which would have been in their 40’s, I imagine she’s at least that herself now – and she said they were horrible to her; patronizing, down-talking, leering, the works. They had no idea her father was the owner of the shop and their employer. Not until he stopped by to see how she was making out.

      That was awhile ago, but sadly, the scales are still not equal, and women still get a raw deal in many environments, a lot of them environments women have been a part of for a long, long time. It only gets sharper the more is on the line, like in the police force and the military, where there’s no place for weakness or open sensitivity. The plus about those environments is guaranteed pay equity, where the members are paid by rank and not gender.

      I’d like to see more women in higher ranks in the police, too, but they have to get there by merit and not political appointment. And there’s nothing magic about women, either – in pressure situations they are subject to all the same failings as men are; some have it, some don’t. I’ve worked for women I valued and respected as superior in every way except perhaps physical strength, and I’ve worked for women I despised as political crawlers and toadies, cracking the whip when the boss was around, aping his mannerisms and so forth. We’re all human, and influenced by a lot of factors other than our plumbing. And it’s important to note that the women who fit in best with men are those who are comfortable with them, and can take a little bit of banter and kidding, although the line is always there and both sides know where it is. An environment in which the leader is a strict, no-nonsense female martinet who is always sniffing every remark for the odor of sexual harassment will be about as effective as if it were a single-gender environment, and it might as well be. People who perceive they have no freedom of speech at all perform about how you would expect under those conditions. There are things both men and women can laugh about together, and that behavior should be encouraged because it builds cameraderie.

      • Patient Observer says:

        I too am a big fan of women in higher level roles in organization if achieved through merit (hard work, intelligence, loyalty, etc.). But, its more than that for me. Woman can bring a better balance to an organization by changing the focus from traditional male values of growth, aggression and “winning”. Those days are over (or should be) as we figure out that the world does not have infinite resources and a more sustainable outlook is needed. I think that the natural disposition of most women would better fit the future need of organizations. That is not to diminish the traditional male role one bit, its just we need more balance.

        Unfortunately, the women being presented as “success” stories are usually worse than any man. Creatures barely recognizable as human such as Hillary Clinton and Madeline Albright come to mind. A caring, nurturing woman who may also be tough as nails has little chance for high level positions. That needs to change in my opinion.

        • Fern says:

          Being someone who has worked in what is generally considered to be a male-dominated profession (which it certainly was when I was training and in the early part of my working life but less so now), I would say what determines whether women get on and go up in an organisation has very little to do with femininism – however you define it – and everything to do with class.

          Women who get on tend to come from very similar backgrounds to men who get on. They’re usually from middle and upper class families, have been either privately educated or their parents moved heaven and earth to get them into an excellent state school, they’ve gone to Oxbridge or one of the top-flight universities, have well-developed networks of people who’ve also been groomed as movers and shakers and, most important of all, have rock-solid self-confidence and a well-developed sense of entitlement. Everything in their background has reinforced their sense of being born to rule or lead.

          I’ve worked for good and bad bosses and women have featured in both categories. Until, however, some of the real class issues are addressed that prevent people from more humble backgounds going further in their working lives, the women who make it are more likely to be sociopaths than their male colleagues.

          • Patient Observer says:

            I tried two lengthy responses and both were lost due to computer issues:)

            Suffice it say that I believe that, as in a family, business needs a balance of the masculine and feminine. Regarding the significance of class, social standing and family status, that is indeed a factor in the hiring and promotion of male and female but the significance varies by region in the US. At the risk of falling into stereotypes, the East Coast breeds snobbery and elitism with the incubators being Ivy League schools and private schools of every sort. The South has its good ‘ol boy network. Texas has its own filtering process. The Mid-West is likely the least influenced by social status due to its industrial and agrarian economy versus financial/media/entertainment/military economies of both coasts.

            I view a sustainable business like a family; a balance of masculine and feminine energy yields the highest degree of resiliency and stability.

            • marknesop says:

              My own experience is exclusively military – when I was at school, girls and guys did not hang out together very much and our roles were extremely stereotypical. Women were in the military since not long after I joined, although they were exclusively in Supply or Administration posts and did not go to sea, fly aircraft or go into the field with the infantry or armor. Now they do pretty much everything, including service in submarines, and Canada has never been a class-dominated society that I’ve ever noticed. The first girls in the navy were pretty nervous for the most part, and many of them tended to swear far more than they normally would have (the military is an extremely profane environment, for any who do not yet know), but we adjusted to one another, and the adjustment continues. I have seen instances in which the girls complained their male companions were cramping their style at bars where they were trying to get picked up, by glaring aggressively at any male who approached the table, as if they were her brothers or something. I have heard of it going too far the other way, too, and there have unfortunately been incidents of rape and sexual violence; there is a massive external review still ongoing at the present time. I’ve read the reports of some of the women who were interviewed, and their cases are both heartbreaking and infuriating; nobody should ever have to endure such a grotesque betrayal of trust. For my own part, I’ve seen lots of service couples ‘hook up’, and on a very few occasions it even led to a long-term relationship including marriage, although mostly they are desultory affairs which go nowhere beyond short-term satisfaction – but they are consensual. The official policy of course does not allow such relationships, and the official route is to declare the relationship whereupon one or the other person will be posted out of the unit. It should come as no surprise that this policy actually discourages reporting, not relationships, and supervisors frequently look the other way if they believe such a relationship is harmless and as long as it remains so. Only once have I ever seen any male actually put his hands on a female aggressively; that occurred when the ship was visiting Jamaica, in a setting where a large group of crew members had taken hotel rooms in Kingston, in a hotel pool. The male in question was celebrating his birthday and was profoundly drunk, ansd the girl in question was well-known to be gay. I don’t know what was in his head, but she screamed and another male in the group promptly threw him on the ground. He seemed to come to his senses then, although he made far more of a drunken nuisance of himself afterward trying to apologize than he did in the original incident. There was no more such contact between the two and they continued to work together in the same department for more than a year. I don’t know what ever happened to him, but she just retired last year.

              My point, I guess, is that there is always a sexual dynamic between men and women in a work environment, even if they don’t find one another particularly attractive. Potentially risky environments such as the military and the police force amplify and aggravate this dynamic rather than ameliorating it. Women who do best, in my opposite-perspective experience, are those who can acknowledge and manage it without letting it get out of hand, and most of those I know are very successful at it. They make and keep male friends without allowing them too much liberty, but they do joke around and banter without trying to be ‘one of the guys’. And yes, I’d agree to your point about the balance of energies, and the addition of women to my environment – which until recently would have been the Operations Room – brought some fresh and innovative thinking although ours is mostly a doctrinal culture.

              That’s interesting, though, about the class component in British society. Officially the First World War was supposed to have broken and swept away the class barriers, but of course that was never true and is no more true today than it was then. What are gender relationships like in the Russian military, Lyt?

          • Cortes says:

            Seconded.

            Interesting to observe the evolution of a writer like Joseph Wambaugh from the days of “The Choirboys ” in the mid 1970s to the Hollywood Station cycle from 2004- in treatment of women officers in LAPD, where the author himself had served.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Until I was 36 years old, I had never worked in the presence of women: they weren’t allowed to work where i worked. Because of this, when I left my cloistered men-only former employment, I was seriously concerned over whether I should be able to manage working with women.

          Soon got over my shyness though.

          🙂

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Well, first of all – Signal Corps is one of the most iconic “girls friendly” arms of Russian military. That’s recognized everywhere, be it military itself or the society: there is even a short TV series about women cadets of Signal Military School, 2 major female characters that appear in iconic “Soldati/Soldiers” TV series are also Signal corps (Officer and Non-Com). Even the newest parody on “Leningrad’s” latest super-smash-hit has a girl trying to get admission into the Military Signal Center of the Southern Military District.

      There were a plenty of them. But there is one care difference between Russian and the West in how we handed the first wave of feminism and gender equality. While in the Civilized West there were burgeoning (and thoroughly bourgeoisie) Suffragette Movement, which fought for voting equality and stuff by throwing themselves under horses owned by the royalty or sending themselves via postal system (true stories – check it out!), in Czarist Russia it wasn’t an issue. All those emancipe were either close to or directly belonged to this or that revolutionary party or the movement. When the Great October Revolution happened it liberated not only the People – it also liberated Comrade Woman. Feminism in Soviet Russia was Top-Down affair. Female Commissars or local party-cell leaders are not some myths made up by the Bolshevik Propaganda – they were real. And their slogans about “liberating women from everyday routine” were more than just a slogans. One of the first things changed in education was the co-education of students without paying attention to their ethnicity, class or sex.

      This system, built up by the accursed Bolsheviks, is still pretty much alive. From the very beginning kids are getting used to women in the positions of authority – as doctors, teachers and bureaucrats (dominantly female professions in Russia). And here is the trick – in Russian military women are either officers of contractnic noncoms, i.e. people out-ranking the teeming masses of ordinary conscripts by default. Some of them are already with husbands and children (usually pre-teen kids) and their families are living with them on the territory of the “Military Town/VojenGorodok” (or they could be from the “crazy-cat-lady” category like Major Kostina…).

      As a young and very much virile male soldier I had absolutely no stupid ideas or fantasies about them, despite not that great age difference. Russian Army system is also, thankfully, unimaginatively equal in its brutal demands to everyone – a true basis for camaraderie and equality. When Major Kostina’s second-in-command Praporsh’ik Nadezhda Slushkina had to depart for month to re-qualify for her contract renewal and take part in all variety of inventive tests of physical and mental prowess we were saddle with additional load of work. Meanwhile, Comrade Praporsh’ik (and several other noncoms from our brigade) had a jolly good time living in the tents while switching between passing physical tests and Signal Corps special knowledge. During marathon one of male noncoms (not from our brigade) had a heart attack. Thankfully, he was saved but his career ended there.

      Because I’ve never worked in military with women-as-equals – always with women-as-superiors I can’t say how much there is sexual tension/rivalry in higher places. In civilian life (and in the field of humanities) the presence of women is seen not only as natural, but even as quintessential.

      • yalensis says:

        Very good point made, that in Russia and Soviet Union, “female equality movement” (better term than “feminist”, IMHO) was more proletarian than it was bourgeois.
        And it was all about jobs, working conditions, better wages, childcare facilities, children’s health issues — the things that real women care about.
        And during Russian Civil War, Reds made a lot of hay in Central Asia by recruiting women to Bolshevik Party. Promising them equality, paying jobs, and other perks! Masses of women almost became the surrogate proletariat in many backward regions.

        Today’s Western bourgeois liberals forget that women’s emancipation movement was started mostly by Marxists. Case in point.. They probably think it was all started by Hillary Clinton – hee hee! and probably believe the Pussy Riot propaganda that all Russian women are treated like scum, just as a matter of principle.

        Among Russian strand of international socialist movement, Lenin and his cohorts were deeply influenced by Chernyshevsky. Lenin was once quoted as saying, that anybody who dissed Chernyshevsky’s book, could not be considered a proper communist. Lenin was so obsessed with Chernyshevsky’s book, that he named his own book after it.

        He was of course speaking about Chernyshevsky’s novel Что делать?, which promoted idea of women doctors and also Ménage à quatres. Very handy for switching out your wife for a more compatible one.

        And speaking of which, I recently learned that there is a small but cult-like movement even in the USA, of Chernyshevsky fans, and they even write fan-fiction both “prequels” and “sequels” (in English!) to the main story. For example, there is a story where Doctor Vera Pavlovna is treating a female patient who complains of chronic stomach pain. And it turns out that the patient is wearing a too-tight corset! So Vera, using her old sewing cooperative skills, sews her a looser corset, and bingo problem solved.

      • marknesop says:

        That’s very interesting, thanks for the frank discussion. I saw a girl in naval uniform on the bus in Vladivostok – of course I did not know any of the Russian trade badges, so I can’t say what branch she was from – and she was quite young, probably in her twenties. I didn’t notice her rank, either, probably because she was strikingly lovely and I lost my wits for the critical few seconds. I suppose she could have been an officer, but she seemed hardly out of school. When I served in HMCS VANCOUVER, I worked occasionally with an officer of Swedish descent, named Mimi Sova. An archetypal blonde, she was tall and lovely, with a gorgeous creamy complexion. I’m sure every man in the crew and probably a quarter of the women lusted after her. When we were on duty together, she as Officer of the Day and I as Duty Cosxwain, and we made our rounds of the ship, it involved climbing a lot of steep ladders, and if she went first her shapely undulating rear would be right at eye level in front of my face. It was all I could do not to bite it. And although I’m sure she was quite aware of her own attractiveness, nobody ever came on to her or bothered her, and so far as I’m aware she never had any kind of relationship with anyone in the crew.

        Actually, it’s a sufficiently uncommon name that I just looked her up on Google images; this is her. Isn’t she a knockout? I wonder what ever happened to her. Her first name was not actually Mimi, it was something much longer, but that was the name she used.

        Signals (NavSig) is combined with the Naval Radio Operator (NRadOp) trade in our military to form the Naval Communicator trade (NavCom), and it, too, attracts a lot of women – they make up a fairly small percentage of sailors overall, I’m guessing maybe 15%, but I’m sure their percentage of the NavCom trade is considerably higher than that.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Unusual name: “sova” means “owl” in Russian.

          • marknesop says:

            Well, I only have it on mythology that she was even Swedish by descent – is that a common family name for Sweden? She was very Nordic-looking, tall and blonde with blue eyes and fair skin. I saw another picture of her on Google which said she graduated from Langley High School (that’s a suburb of Vancouver) in 1993, and then Royal Roads Military College right after; Royal Roads has since been ceded to the public sector and is now just a regular university for all comers. It was originally built for coal baron James Dunsmuir, and was called Hatley Castle. It featured in one of the “X-Men” movies, I forget which one, I didn’t see any of them.

  31. PaulR says:

    Anders Aslund complains that Leonid Bershidsky writes Russian propaganda, and blocks him from his twitter feed: https://twitter.com/Bershidsky/status/702476713259696129 LOL.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “Anders Aslund complains that Leonid Bershidsky writes Russian propaganda, and blocks him from his twitter feed”

      Who knew that seemingly handhskable victim of the Bloody Regime is secretly an agent of Vlad Putin? There are no limits to human treachery.

      Ахеджакнуло.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Comment section is just heavenly beautiful:

      Borscht Speak ‏@BorschtSpeak 23h23 hours ago
      @Bershidsky most of your writings do have an underlining message that Putin is a smart and trustworthy leader. So yes, Aslund is right.

      TheGoatmanProphecies ‏@Prost0Anon 9h9 hours ago
      @Bershidsky It’s a start. Could Germany Deport Bershidsky back to Russia? #DeportBershidsky

      Ivan Khammond ‏@ixaos 22h22 hours ago
      Ivan Khammond Retweeted Leonid Bershidsky
      So @Bershidsky has encountered neocons and faced McCarthyism. Should be a lesson for a future re hailing #Putin

      And the winnnnnnner is:

      Всё Хорошо ‏@ppsd_mn2t 2h2 hours ago
      @ixaos @Bershidsky Многие устали от Бершидского. Пытаясь придерживаться середины, он утверждает, что Луна наполовину состоит из сыра.

      Transl: “A lot of people are tired of Bershidsky. While trying to keep a middle ground, he claims that half of the Moon is made out of the cheese.”

      • marknesop says:

        I’m going to speak up here in defense of Comrade Bershidsky. He’s a hell of a writer – presumably in both languages, although I’ve never read any of his work in Russian and don’t speak it well enough to appreciate his sardonic wit – and at least he normally has a job instead of just being a full-time parasitic dissident. I notice, also, that he occasionally provides the outline of an alternative plan when he criticizes Putin’s policies: instead of doing this, why don’t you do that? Most of the liberal Russian dissidents are just like American politicians – everyone just wants to talk about what’s bad without providing any details about how they would fix it, the Americans because they say the government would steal their great ideas, and the kreakly because they say Putin will kill them if they speak of how they would bring freedom to Russia. Bershidsky is worth ten Aslunds, and I wish I could pay him a better compliment than that because Aslund is just a whiny dork. There is nothing in particular which distinguishes him in the world of economics other than his having graduated from an economics program – as hundreds of thousands do every year – and being consistently wrong.

        I already find Bershidsky somewhat partisan, to say the least, and inclined to let the west away with a lot while leaning hard on Putin and Russia. It’s frightening to think how partisan his detractors want him to be in order to win back his He-Man-Putin-Hater badge.

  32. Saudi Arabia “ready to let the oil price slip to $20”: http://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-oil-minister-surprises-opec-with-tough-line-on-prices-1456316684

    If true this is apparently another attempt to collapse Russian economy. With Iranian oil also in the market they might actually succeed in slipping the oil price to $20. Hopefully Russia can withstand this.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Bluff and BS, just about like every pronouncement from Riyadh. You DO NOT wish Russian can withstand such a development, otherwise, your adrenaline thrill of posting negative news about Russia would be gone.

      You remind me of the race fan who feigns interest in the cars and drivers but really just want to see an accident, the greater the carnage, the better. You especially enjoy Russian carnage as you mouth “concern” over the victims.

  33. Special_sauce says:

    Everyone should watch this. It’s Brother Nathaneal. His words have wings. His rage is palpable.

    • yalensis says:

      I never watched Brother Nat before, because “What’s-His-Face” used to post his rants here; hence, because What’s-His-Face is a Nazi, I assumed Kapner is Nazi nutjob too.
      You know, guilt by association.

      Amusingly, his wiki page says that the real Nazis, like in Stormfront, the “88” types, are skeptical and even hostile to the guy.
      White supremacists have been known to distrust Kapner due to his claims of being ethnically Jewish. Andrew Anglin of the popular fascist blog, fittingly titled Total Fascism, wrote that “first and foremost my opposition to him is because he is a biological Jew.”[13]

      Opinions of Kapner on Stormfront also seem to be mixed. User Sturmgeist88 feels “his motives for running his site realjewnews “[sic]” and converting to Christianity are less than pure,”[14] and jimdoe alleges he is “a homosexual nutjob”.[15] Either way, infighting sure is funny.

      In 2007, someone who happened to be in the vicinity of one of his protests noticed him drop a “a prepaid card with a scratch box for 30 free minutes from a gay adult website”[16]. (Brother Nathanael sounds off in the comments, saying something about pavement.)

      pavement? Is that code for something?

      • Special_sauce says:

        I wish he would make a finer distinction between Jews who support Israel and those who revile it, eg, Neturei Karta, qv. Raving against Jews en masse plays into Zionist hands. Otherwise, most of what he says is true. He’s wrong to imply that Israel(Jews) controls the US. It’s surely the other way around.

        • yalensis says:

          Well, there are also distinctions between secular Jews who sort of like the idea of an Israeli state (someplace they could go and are guaranteed refuge, in worst case scenario), but who don’t necessarily support Israeli government or policies. Or don’t even know that much about it, necessarily. Not all Jews are necessarily even political, or follow current events.

          I just don’t see that Brother Nat can be helpful or add much to inter-ethnic or inter-faith dialogue among different peoples.
          Even though most of what he says is technically true.

          • Jen says:

            When a character like Brother Nathanael raves on about Jews the way he does, you start to doubt his bona fides and wonder whether he’s been paid by Mossad or some other group connected to the Israeli government or the pro-Israel lobby to whip up hatred against Jewish people so that they panic and pack their bags for the next El Al flight to Israel.

            Psychos like Netanyahu may boast that he’s got the US government in his pocket but the reality is he and a good section of the Knesset, if not most of it, need US and other Western support in the form of money, weapons, connections and immigrants to stay in power. Once upon a time, Israel could have been a helpful neighbour to surrounding Arab countries with its cosmopolitan population who had the education and knowledge of the West to pass on to the rest of the Middle East. These days though the Israeli population is becoming more religious and fundamentalist, less cosmopolitan and more insular (because secular people are leaving and born-again fundies are arriving), and more ignorant as education standards fall due in part to the social welfare state being dismantled.

            • Special_sauce says:

              “Mossad or some other group connected to the Israeli government or the pro-Israel lobby to whip up hatred against Jewish people so that they panic and pack their bags for the next El Al flight to Israel.”

              Definitely Bibi et al are driving wedges between the Jews and Goyim, you can see it in any Reddit story involving Jews and or Israel. But Kappner’s got a completely different style. He’s ashamed of his fellow Jews and I applaud him for it.

              “Once upon a time, Israel could have been a helpful neighbour to surrounding Arab countries with its cosmopolitan population who had the education and knowledge of the West to pass on to the rest of the Middle East.”

              Never! Israel is not and cannot be the Enlightenment-style Westphalien state it claims it is. The Iranian designation is apt: Zionist Entity. A modern nation is “of all the people”. Not a subset, a tribe. Where is the Celtic State, the Volscii State, the Mohican State, the Left-handers State, the Gay State yadidda yadidda?

              Lenin was right: the answer to anti-Semitism is assimilation.

              • yalensis says:

                Here is an interesting academic work on Lenin’s attitude to the Jewish question. The historical context was very different in those days, however: Lenin was involved in a lengthy factional struggle within the Socialist International against, among others, the Jewish Bund.
                Lenin tended to follow Marx’s prognostications that the solution to the “Jewish problem” was for Jews to assimilate into the more “civilized” societies, by which he understood Germany and other European countries. This was before WWI. Lenin often supported “national self-determination” for ethnic groups, but not necessarily for Jews. Main argument being that Jews did not have their own land. Keep in mind that one of the MAJOR factors in Lenin’s algorithm for self-determination, was a halfway-manageable contiguous territory. Which Jews didn’t have in those, as they were scattered all over the Russian Empire, and partly ghetto-ized.

                Well, later they were given a slice of land in Siberia called Birobidjan for their national Yiddish-speaking homeland. But then it was already too late.

                The world changed when the state of Israel came into being. Love it or hate, but this was a change to existing reality.

                I remember once reading Noam Chomsky writing about this: Noam’s parents were socialists and anti-Zionists, and they never wanted for Israel to come into being in such a fashion, especially not robbing and oppressing Palestinians. But sooner or later, reality takes over. Israel is an actual state, and was given its actual birth certificate by the UN in 1948. With Soviet Union voting for. And current Russian Federation still enjoying cordial relations with.

                I agree with Jen that it is a crying shame things couldn’t have worked out differently. Jews and Arabs could have been friends and helped each other build vibrant, economically successful societies. But the Jews of Lenin’s time — highly educated, political, secular cosmopolitan — simply don’t exist any more. One only has to look at what Israelis have become, Jen is right that this is a highly degenerated society. Filled with uneducated and mean-spirited boobs, many of whom apparently do not even possess a conscience.
                Not unlike Britain or the U.S.!

                • Special_sauce says:

                  I don’t care what anyone says. A “Jewish” “State”(must use ironical quotes!) is a non-starter. Am I the only one to ask, how can a new york Jew, and an atheist to boot, whose forbears never saw a palm tree, be entitled to a slice of the Holy Land, gratis? Great suffering doesn’t entitle one to his own state, nor does having a scrap of the genetic material of the ancient Prophets. Those are the two justifications given by Zionists. Both absurd. And why Israel? Does the Almighty care where His altars are to be set up? By those who don’t even believe!? These are contradictions which can’t be resolved becomes somebody says it’s “legal”. Kristallnacht was “legal”. Once again Iran has it right: Off the map! A more legitimate “State” would be like the Vatican; and, if proportionate representation were to apply, should occupy no more that a suite of offices in a neutral city.

                • yalensis says:

                  “Hey kiddo, our lives don’t mean a hill of beans in this crazy old world.
                  But no matter what happens to us, we’ll always have Birobaidjan!”

                • Jen says:

                  @ Yalensis: This picture is better. Lauren Bacall’s family was Polish Jewish.

                  Although Ingrid Bergman’s mother had the maiden surname of Adler and was from Germany, no-one really knows if she came from a Jewish background.

            • Cortes says:

              He’s a creep.

        • marknesop says:

          There’s nothing wrong with supporting Israel, either, if you are a Jew – it is expected that you love your country and encourage the things about it of which you approve while condemning those of which you do not. Jews should not be required to revile Israel in order to be thought honest. It is those who pursue a vision of an eretz Israel which is bounded by the Jordan and the Litani rivers who must not be allowed to triumph, because a lot of that land belongs to someone else.

          And the Jews are tremendously influential in the US government – it is routine for candidates for high political office to be asked their position on Israel before they are offered unqualified support. This is not so for any other country but their own – nobody ever asks an American political candidate what his or her position is on France or Germany or Spain.

          • Special_sauce says:

            see above

            • Jen says:

              Most of us are well aware of how Israel came to be – the bombing of the King David Hotel by Irgun (some of whose members were future Israeli prime ministers), the Deir Yassin and other massacres – but even if the state of Israel does pass away, where do the people who are Israeli citizens go? Some of them can return to their original countries, no problem, but others – about a third of the population – have roots in countries like Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Morocco, Libya and Yemen, all with problems of their own (and Yemen under attack from Saudi Arabia for over a year), and where would all these people go?

              I used to know someone who is Jewish and whose parents were originally from Basra in southern Iraq. He has no family there now – all his relatives fled to Israel or to Australia in the late 1940s / early 1950s when there was news of bomb attacks against Jews (some actually carried out by Zionist agents as false flags to be blamed on Muslims) and lynchings of Jewish individuals in Iraq. One of his relatives received a murder threat as well.

              The fact is that a lot of Jews were imported (forcibly) from surrounding Arab countries by the Israeli state in its early years as an unskilled slave labour force and these people form a huge proportion of Israel’s population.

              • Cortes says:

                Oliver Sachs, RIP, in Uncle Tungsten, described his parents’ interaction with rabid Zionists in, my guess, the early 1940s in London. Don’t sue me for being wrong with the date.

              • yalensis says:

                Yes, exactly right.
                And moreoever, I dispute the supposed Iranian quote about wiping Israel off the map.
                Didn’t that turn out to be a misquote?
                I remember reading somewhere that Ahmadinejad denied he ever said that, or that he was quoted out of context.
                I do not believe that the official Iranian policy is for the state of Israel to cease to exist as an entity.

                • Jen says:

                  If I remember my own reading correctly, Ahmadinejad was quoting Ayatollah Khomeini in saying that the regime in Jerusalem would eventually pass. This is not the same as saying that the state of Israel must cease to exist in its present form.

                • marknesop says:

                  Yes, it was a mistranslation, probably a deliberate one for the purpose of inflaming public opinion. Arabic is often given to flowery phrases and expansive rhetoric, and Arabic scholars translated what he said as “This regime (meaning the Israeli government) must vanish from the page of time”. He never said the whole country or society must be wiped off the map and of course he would know that was unrealistic. Personally I think Ahmadinejad showed great courage in going to the USA to speak live to a broad audience, because he must have known they were predisposed to laugh at him regardless what he said.

  34. Jeremn says:

    From one of the articles linked above, the minutes detailing the Ukrainian government’s actions a week after the revolution of dignity. Or “How to go to war against Russia and get away with it”.

    http://komnbo.rada.gov.ua/komnbo/control/uk/publish/article?art_id=53495&cat_id=44731

    • marknesop says:

      Here’s a story on it in English, for the non-Russian speakers. Remarkable. Allegedly the EU and Washington counseled Ukraine not to fight to prevent Russia taking Ukraine. But since then they have nattered back and forth about supplying weapons to a state which has vowed to take Crimea back by force, and only smiled indulgently while Poroshenko promised to hold the Independence Day parade in Sevastopol. Literally breathtaking in its hypocrisy. The west, as tactical genius.

    • Aristonicus says:

      Here’s another article on it:
      http://www.rferl.org/content/ukraine-crimea-seizure-panicked-meeting/27569836.html

      Looks like it probably would have gone badly for them even if they were only up against the Crimean militia and the protesters as most of the army there would have deserted or defected.

      “Ukrainian servicemen in Crimea were “demoralized,” and many had not accepted the new government that came to power after President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country. This according to Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, chairman of Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), who argued at the meeting that the troops were not prepared to carry out Kyiv’s orders.

      He also said that many in the military had already betrayed their oath to Ukraine, a charge backed by Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, who said 67 Ukrainian riot policemen had defected to the Russian side.

      Members of the council acknowledged that the Ukrainian military was debilitated, despite the fact that there were 15,000 Ukrainian troops in Crimea. “The majority among the military are contracted locally –service means money to them,” said acting Defense Minister Ihor Tenyukh. “A maximum of 1,500-2,000 troops are ready to execute an order involving the use of weapons.”

  35. Warren says:

    The effect of oil prices and sanctions on Russia’s economy

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-31610418

    Adapting to Russia’s new economic reality

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35655461

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Oh my goodness! Mountains of mouth-watering produce!…

      Hang on a minute!

      That can’t be true!

      The kreakly continuously post notices of empty shelves.

      Russians can’t afford it?

      Why?

      Has there been no increase in earnings of late?

      Russia Average Monthly Wages 1992-2016 | Data | Chart | Calendar
      Wages in Russia increased to 42684 RUB/Month in December from 33857 RUB/Month in November of 2015. Wages in Russia averaged 11038.63 RUB/Month from 1992 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 42684 RUB/Month in December of 2015 and a record low of 1 RUB/Month in January of 1992. Wages in Russia is reported by the Ministry for Economic Development, Russia.

      See: Russia Average Monthly Wages 1992-2016

      Ironical indeed that the Whitehall controlled BBC reports the doom and gloom situation in Russia, a result of economic warfare against Russia organized by the Empire, when, if my memory serves me right, the Opium Wars of the 19th century were waged against China because it refused to trade with Great Britain for anything other than silver.

      Palmerston, British foreign minister at that time, maintained that refusal to engage in free trade (including that of narcotics) by China was justifiable grounds for waging war — a real shooting one, that is.

      Lord Palmerston justified military action by saying that no one could “say that he honestly believed the motive of the Chinese Government to have been the promotion of moral habits” and that the war was being fought to stem China’s balance of payments deficit. [US president] John Quincy Adams commented that opium was “a mere incident to the dispute… the cause of the war is the kowtow—the arrogant and insupportable pretensions of China that she will hold commercial intercourse with the rest of mankind not upon terms of equal reciprocity, but upon the insulting and degrading forms of the relations between lord and vassal”Wiki

      Lord and vassal indeed — but this time US Lord and Russian vassal.

    • yalensis says:

      Ha ha! BBC got the “money shot” when they got the lady to say that she blames the government for her family’s predicament.
      Nice bit of “soft propaganda”.

      • yalensis says:

        Interviewer missed a chance for the big coup de grace, however.
        Starting with the overly-expensive yellow peppers, and continuing with the tragic reality that she had to drag out her old sewing machine in order to make a costume for her child’s dance recital…

        And then after getting the lady to say that she blamed “the government” for her family’s economic problems, he should have pressed her even harder.
        Until he got her to say the following:

        “I blame this war in Syria, and this quagmire that Putin has gotten us into.
        Speaking as a woman and as a mother:
        This, along with the sanctions, and also this illegal invasion of Ukraine.
        And all the money our government is spending on Crimea, which they seized illegally.”

        (On the other hand, why should I write their copy for them?)

    • marknesop says:

      I stopped listening to the first clip as soon as I realized the splashboard for the interview was Yevsey Gurvich. He is a numpty who, to the very best of my knowledge, has never been right about anything to do with economics. He’s sort of the Pavel Felgenhauer of the field – if you say, “Oil prices are going to go down”, sooner or later you will be right, but it should not imply any particular gift of prediction. Just like the twats who say low oil prices are here to stay. In May of 2008, when the global financial crisis was already starting, Yevsey Gurvich made the following forecast: “Capital inflow into Russia is expected to be higher than projected by Russia’s monetary authorities“. Do tell. Freddie Mac had already announced it would no longer buy the riskiest subprime mortgages. Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s Investor Services had already downgraded over 100 bonds backed by second-lien subprime mortgages. Bear Stearns started liquidating its hedge funds nearly a year before Gurvich’s stentorian paean to fiscal good times.

  36. Warren says:

    Australia to boost defence spending

    Australia has announced a surge in defence spending, a move that reflects concern over military expansion in the region.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-35657021

  37. Jeremn says:

    Russia planning ahead:

    “Gazprom plans to invest up to $2.5 billion in the gas transport system of Belarus by 2020 and spend another $1.1 billion on expanding underground gas storage facilities, according to materials released by the Kremlin press service ahead of President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Minsk on Thursday.”

    http://en.interfax.com.ua/news/economic/327235.html

  38. Warren says:

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      See? Bisquits! Not squashed hedgehogs or beaver-kebabs! It’s not that bad if Russians can still buy bisquits and throw them at Navalny, of all the people.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Breaking!

      Forces of Light and Democracy, have finally unveiled the secret of who was behind cake-, eggs- and buisquits-throwing, which were clearly threatening lives of True Russian Oppositioners.

      These two guys:

    • marknesop says:

      I still think his missus is extremely cute, with such a mischievous smile.

      • yalensis says:

        She’s cute, but she is a rich bitch, essentially. Wants to have all the money, and doesn’t care how she gets it.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Who?

        Navalny’s wife?

        Was it Ioffe who regularly placed the adjective “statuesque” before her name when she mentioned her? During the Kirovles affair, I think it was, when she used be photographed traipsing along her crook-husband’s side on their way from Moscow to Kirov?

        She isn’t, in my opinion.

        Statuesque, I mean.

        • marknesop says:

          The blonde with the impish smile, standing beside him; only girl in the photo, if I remember correctly. Perhaps that’s not his wife; I just assumed it was; I’ve only seen her picture a couple of times, but I remember her as quite attractive. Ioffe considers anyone over 5 feet seven inches to be ‘statuesque’, or perhaps that was just a buzzword of which she was temporarily enamored. Except if they are a Russian man who is not Navalny, when they are ‘thuglike’ or a ‘home-wrecker’.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Navalny’s wife, Yulia:

            So if she’s statuesque, how tall then is her crook-villain spouse?

            I think the girl pictured above next to him is his daughter, Daria:

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Oh, and I’ve not put “allegedly” or any other measure to protect me from being accused of libel and of smearing Navalny’s character: he has been convicted here — twice.

            • marknesop says:

              Yeah, I think you’re probably right. The daughter is very cute. I wonder what she thinks of it all? Of course you want to be proud of your parents; I suppose she must see some who adore him, but what must it make you think to see your Dad get a pie in the face in the street? Is that a common occurrence for other people?

            • yalensis says:

              Oh, you’re right!
              I apologize, I didn’t realize Mark was talking about the daughter. I would never call a child a “bitch”.
              I thought we were talking about Navalny’s wife, not his daughter.
              The wife IS actually a rich bitch. The daughter is just a kid.

  39. Lyttenburgh says:

    And now – news throught the world!

    1) Yemen officials: UAE troops pull out, Aden airport is shut

    “SANAA, Yemen – Yemeni officials say troops from the United Arab Emirates pulled out of the airport in the southern city of Aden, a day after it was stormed by disgruntled pro-government fighters from the country’s south.

    The officials say the Emiratis pulled out on Wednesday.

    The authorities then shut the airport, the country’s main air hub for the internationally recognized government and the Saudi-led coalition, which is helping the government forces fight Shiite rebels in the north. The UAE forces are part of the anti-rebel coalition.

    The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

    Yemen’s nearly year-long conflict has killed at least 6,000 people. The fighting is pitting the government, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, against Shiite rebels known as Houthis.”

    And these people want to intervene into Syria? THEM?!

    2) It’s Time to Kick Erdogan’s Turkey Out of NATO

    Yeah, that’s just an op-ed. But the fact that such things are even discussed is already an important moment. And this bodes nothing well for Turkey since the article is “personifying” it into something “owned” by Erdogan – only “baddies” like Putin can had this “distinction”.

    “It’s a reflection of how difficult it was to imagine that any member of the organization would betray the rest of the alliance that to this day, NATO has no formal mechanism to remove a member in bad standing or to even define what would constitute “bad standing.” Yet, nearly three decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO members still make the same solemn vow to one another, known as Article 5, that they made in 1949: that an attack against any member state will be considered an attack against all member states, and will draw an immediate and mutual response. For nearly seven decades, this combination of factors has been the potential Achilles heel of NATO: that one day, its members would be called to defend the actions of a rogue member who no longer shares the values of the alliance but whose behavior puts its “allies” in danger while creating a nightmare scenario for the global order.

    After 67 years, that day has arrived: Turkey, which for half a century was a stalwart ally in the Middle East while proving that a Muslim-majority nation could be both secular and democratic, has moved so far away from its NATO allies that it is widely acknowledged to be defiantly supporting the Islamic State in Syria in its war against the West. Since Islamist strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to power in 2003, Turkey has taken a harshly authoritarian turn, embracing Islamic terrorists of every stripe while picking fights it can’t finish across the region – including an escalating war with 25 million ISIS-battling Kurds and a cold war turning hot with Russia, whose plane it rashly shot down in November. With those fights coming home to roost – as bombs explode in its cities and with enemies at its borders – Turkish leaders are now demanding unconditional NATO support, with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu declaring on Saturday that he expects “our U.S. ally to support Turkey with no ifs or buts.”

    But it’s too little, too late. NATO shouldn’t come to Turkey’s defense – instead, it should begin proceedings immediately to determine if the lengthy and growing list of Turkish transgressions against the West, including its support for Islamic terrorists, have merit. And if they do – and they most certainly do – the Alliance’s supreme decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council, should formally oust Turkey from NATO for good before its belligerence and continual aggression drags the international community into World War III.

    […]

    In fact, there is strong evidence (compiled by Columbia University) that Turkey has been “tacitly fueling the ISIS war machine.” There is evidence to show that Turkey, as Near East Outlook recently put it, allowed “jihadists from around the world to swarm into Syria by crossing through Turkey’s territory;” that Turkey, as journalist Ted Galen Carpenter writes, “has allowed ISIS to ship oil from northern Syria into Turkey for sale on the global market;” that Erdogan’s own son has collaborated with ISIS to sell that oil, which is “the lifeblood of the death-dealing Islamic State”; and that supply trucks have been allowed to pass freely across Turkey in route to ISIS fighters. There is also “evidence of more direct assistance,” as Forbes puts it, “providing equipment, passports, training, medical care, and perhaps more to Islamic radicals;” and that Erdogan’s government, according to a former U.S. Ambassador, worked directly with the al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, the al-Nusrah Front. ”

    3) Lying Press? Germans Lose Faith in the Fourth Estate

    Why? How? Please, tell us!

    “You couldn’t ask for a better reader than Isolde Beck. She has had subscriptions to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Badische Neueste Nachrichten and SPIEGEL for many years. And as a retiree, she takes the time to thoroughly read through the newspapers and magazine.

    But her relationship with the media has become troubled in recent weeks. She has the feeling that the “news is being suppressed” and that journalists are no longer allowed to “articulate certain things.” Beck has stopped believing what the journalists write.

    These feelings prompted her to send SPIEGEL an irate letter to the editor in early January regarding a cover story about the sexual violence in Cologne. “We can no longer assume that there is a democracy or even freedom of expression in this country anymore,” she wrote, “and the media are complicit, for the most part, perhaps out of reluctance to alienate interviewees, or perhaps because it appears to be gratifying to manipulate readers or to make fun of them, however you want to put it.” In retrospect, says Beck, she would not have expressed her thoughts quite as drastically. But, she adds, it was so soon after the Cologne sexual assaults and she was furious with the perpetrators and the press, which she believes took too long to report on the incidents. Several days did indeed pass before the mainstream media in Germany began reporting heavily on the events of New Year’s Eve.

    Beck felt vindicated in a suspicion she had had for months: that the media had long concealed the extent of crimes committed by refugees and migrants. As early as the end of last year, she says, she was surprised to read reports that refugees were no more criminal than Germans. “How could the media have known this at the time?” Beck asks. As far as she is concerned, it’s clear that “the media manipulated their reporting to reassure people.” ”

    Whew! And for a moment I thought it was due to the fact that they were influenced by evil Vlad Putin to question their own government, press and “allies” for their reporting and commentary on the Ukrainian civil war! And it turns out – this is all because of the refugees/migrants.

    See, people? Not all victims are racially equal. Something to do with the latest dicosveries in such top-level science as phrenology, I guess.

    ” Getting Out the Pitchforks

    In voicing these sentiments, the SPIEGEL reader joined the ranks of a movement that seems to have gained momentum in recent weeks — one that, to varying degrees, is claiming that journalists are no longer capable of being independent and unbiased.”

    [GASP] No. Way.

    “…How can a woman who has been reading SPIEGEL, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Badische Neueste Nachrichten for years hit upon the idea that the journalists writing for these publications are trying to manipulate her, their reader?

    […]

    A certain sense of fatigue has also set in among journalists. Is it even worth engaging with readers and viewers who say they don’t believe journalists anymore?”

    Stahp! You will make me cry!

    But article is actually good (well, more or less decent) – read it for yourself. Because within you could also find a SUDDEN Russian reference. Also within could be found scaaaaary thought on dangers of the Internet which it poses to the democracy.

  40. et Al says:

    euractiv: Chizhov: I wonder why people think Russia wants to break up EU
    http://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/interview/chizhov-i-wonder-why-people-think-russia-wants-to-break-up-eu/

    There are people who believe that everything that happens in the world should be attributed to the Kremlin and personally to President Vladimir Putin, but this is not the case on many occasions, the Russian Ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizov told EurActiv in an exclusive interview.

    Vladimir Chizhov is a career diplomat. Before being appointed Ambassador to the EU in 2005, he was Russia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    Chizhov spoke to EurActiv’s Senior Editor, Georgi Gotev…
    ####

    More at the link.

    • marknesop says:

      Way back in 2011, when I did an interview with Anatoly Karlin at his blog, I was asked “If you could advise the Russian government to do one thing it isn’t already doing, what would it be?”. My response was “national image management”. Of course I cannot take credit for the appointment of either Chizhov (already in his position at the EU for a year, he started in 2010) or Lavrov (in his current appointment since 2004), but those two are exactly the types I was talking about. Chizhov is a lifelong diplomat, and knows how the game is played – the age of shoe-pounding and ranting is over. Russia is still fighting an uphill battle where getting positive coverage is concerned, and giving a reasoned and balanced interview in which you argue your case sensibly and dispassionately does you no good if the English-speaking media won’t give it any coverage, but more and more Russia’s diplomatic corps consists of men and women who do their country proud. And it is starting to have an effect.

  41. et Al says:

    Extra emphasis near the end, mine.

    euractiv: Green MEP denounces Gazprom’s bullying tactics over Nord Stream 2
    http://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/green-mep-denounces-gazproms-bullying-tactics-over-nord-stream-2/

    Claude Turmes, a leading Member of the European Parliament for the Greens party, dropped a bombshell at a Brussels event yesterday (24 February) when he made allegations about Gazprom’s tactics to push the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.

    The five Western companies co-investing in Nord Stream 2 were told by Gazprom to stop sending gas through Ukraine entirely as a condition for winning the project, Turmes said.

    “Shell, Wingas [a Gazprom-owned subsidiary of Wintershall] and Engie, are pressured by Gazprom not to be allowed to channel gas via Ukraine,” said the outspoken Green MEP from Luxembourg.

    “And then the Commission says to me it’s a commercial project. It is lobby-efficient Russian Machiavellianism. This is a political project to divide Europe”…

    …According to Turmes, Nord Stream 2 is the EU’s “biggest failure” on energy policy.

    Referring to the EurActory40 ranking, the flamboyant Green MEP said all it took for Nord Stream 2 to win approval from the Commission was “one phone call of No.2 in your list [Ms Merkel] to No.1 in the European Commission ― not Mr. Juncker but Mr. Selmayr.” Martin Selmayr, a German national, is the chief of cabinet of Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

    This one phone call “was sufficient to completely change the attitude of Mr. Šefčovič” towards Nord Stream, Turmes said, referring to the Commission’s initial reluctance over Nord Stream.

    Turmes said that following the phone call, Miguel Arias Cañete, the energy Commissioner, backed down too and the Commission’s legal services “produced a document saying Germany can do Nord Stream and we will not care”.

    “This is a complete blow to the Energy Union,” the Green MEP repeated.

    “If the Commission is not strong enough to go against the narrow German interest, I’m afraid this will cause a lot of damage”, Turmes added…

    Brian Ricketts from the coal lobby association Euracoal urged Turmes to produce evidence of his allegations, saying they were “quite incendiary” and needed to be backed by facts.

    But Turmes refused to disclose his sources. “You know that normally I’m a well-informed guy,” he said.

    Jerzy Buzek, who is considered together with Jacques Delors as one of the fathers of the Energy Union, also criticised Germany for the Nord Stream 2 project, although he didn’t expressly name the country.

    “One country from inside or outside the EU can cause trouble. […] The extension of Nord Stream will mean we will fail to achieve a key goal of the Energy Union – diversification”, Buzek told the Parliament event….
    ####

    By God! I’m and MEP! Isn’t my word enough?! I have proof but I can’t show it to you! Honest guv! All the wailing (not whaling) and gnashing of teeth is quite enjoyable.

  42. Warren says:

    Published on 15 Feb 2016
    Uber has expanded explosively, transforming cities everywhere it goes.

    But around the world traditional taxis have been pushing back.

    Wendy Mesley takes a cab, and gets an idea of the stakes for taxi drivers in their fight against a tech giant.

    • marknesop says:

      The comment threads for this post is the first I have ever heard of Uber. It’s astonishing how quickly it has apparently become a household word, familiar to all. I don’t have a clue what it’s all about.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Uber is viewed as either a great example of the “new economy” or a great example of the decline of a once-power economy (drive around strangers in your personal car for a fee about 1/5 of a typical taxi). Airbnb is another (invite strangers to live in an unused bedroom in your home). Seems 3rd world or back to the boarding house era from a hundred years ago but updated with the internet handling the transactions.

        • Patient Observer says:

          “1/2” not “1/5”

        • yalensis says:

          Well, I think there used to be something like this back in Soviet times:
          You could buy tickets in advance, just like buying bus tickets, and redeem them by hitchhiking. The car picking up the hitchhiker could cash in the ticket — it was all legal, official and above-board.
          And almost completely safe, since the crime rate in Soviet Union was so low.
          If a hitchhiker got killed by a maniac, or vice versa, that would be a very rare event.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            It still amazes me how Russian women flag down any passing car and do a deal with the driver over a fare. My wife regularly does it when going on a shopping spree with my daughters and I don’t like it. I ask her how she knows whether the driver is a potential maniac.

            Interestingly,I have never heard of any women being assaulted whilst taking rides this way, though I am sure they must occur somewhere occasionally.

            • Patient Observer says:

              Hitchhiking is the US was fairly common (I would see one or two daily) until the mid-70s. Everything went to hell (a lot of hitchhikers were killed and some drivers were killed by hitchhikers). Hitchhiking disappeared seemingly in a few years. I have not seen a hitchhiker in at least 20 years.

              Nowadays, even people walking along the road side generate suspicion, scorn or pity.

        • marknesop says:

          Is that what it really is?? There was a similar system in place in Russia when I first visited Russia (by myself) in 2001. My wife-to-be casually approached a group of young men (complete strangers) at the bus station and asked them to drive us into town for an agreed fee, and away we went. I had arrived only earlier that day, after a lifetime of learning to mistrust Russians as ‘other’ and no end of horror stories about the rampant crime and violence in the country. I was also carrying a substantial amount of cash, certainly by the standards of our driver and his mates, and the three of them could easily have overpowered me. I tried to look casual, but I was sweating like Pastor Jim Bakker writing a cheque. Of course nothing happened, the guys dropped us off at my hotel, took their money and left, and I gradually became more comfortable with this mode of transport. We walked everywhere or took the bus, but if the distance would be too great or we were tired from walking all day or were carrying a lot of bags, the missus would just stand at the side of the road and hold her arm out with the fingers extended downward toward the road, and someone would stop. There would be a brief negotiation of which I understood not a word (all I knew then was ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’) and off we would go. Hitchhiking in rural Canada was no more dangerous, so far as I could make out.

          I gather Uber is a more formal system than that, and there is some degree of organization. Again, first I’ve heard of it.

        • Jen says:

          These arrangements depend very much on trust and on the assumption that everyone in the society regards one another as equals. Maybe in some parts of India Uber and Airbnb might work (especially in safer and less corrupt areas) but in most of the country such services would be unacceptable if belief in the caste system is still very strong. A high-caste person might not want to use Uber if the service sends over a car with low-caste driver and passengers inside. I don’t know what the situation might be in Japan where Uber would probably be useful to commuters but where social hierarchy might be very strong.

          The Japanese version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” initially flopped because people were uncomfortable with the idea that an employee could suddenly have more money than his boss just by answering general knowledge questions without much sweat. In the current versions of the show in Japan, the biggest amount of prize money that can be won if all questions are answered correctly is 10 million yen … equivalent to $125,000 in Australian currency or US$88,588.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quiz_$_Millionaire

          • marknesop says:

            Fascinating. That’s a concept (the Japanese game show thing) that would never have occurred to me. We really have no grasp at all of foreign cultures and mores, at least not instinctively, and it is no wonder our politicians make the stupid gaffes they do, without intending to convey any insult. Well, except for Prince Philip and his “your eyes will go slanty” crack – even a berk like him would know better than that.

      • Jen says:

        It’s like an online extension of car-pooling. If you have a smartphone, you can purchase and download the Uber app and then when you need to go on a car trip somewhere, you submit the trip request onto the app – and you pay through the app as well – and someone registered as a driver with Uber comes to pick you up in his (or her) own car and take you there. (Of course that person will be driving in the same general direction as you are travelling.)

        The New South Wales government has published a discussion paper on point-2-point transport services including ride-sharing arrangements (under which Uber falls) and similar services (which might also include services offering self-driving taxis that can be on the go all day long 24/7 and never have to park).
        http://www.zdnet.com/article/nsw-transport-taskforce-pushes-for-regulatory-framework-changes/
        https://p2p-prod-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/p2p/s3fs-public/discussion-paper.pdf

        Obviously the taxicab industry is upset and of course taxi drivers would be upset, since driving taxis is the time-honoured favoured occupation of migrants lacking skills or degrees or certifications required by their host country, ever since Helen Mirren’s poor old grandfather, stranded in Britain where his diplomatic skills were unwanted after the 1917 February and October Revolutions in Russia, had to take up driving taxis for a living.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          They did this ages ago when I lived in Germany. In 1986, my deutsches Mädchen and I travelled from Wiesbaden to Karlsruhe after this fashion. She just popped into an office, filled out a request form after paying a small fee, and the next day were were offered a shared ride. Much cheaper than by going by train.

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, I’ve frequently been taken to the airport (just about the only trip I ever make by taxi) by an Indian (not always the same one, obviously, but they form a large part of the taxi-driving force) who is studying to be a doctor or something, sometimes studying English at night as well as driving cab. I believe it is easier and faster to finish your medical residency here than in India, we get quite a lot of Indian doctors and Vancouver has a very large Hindu community as well as Chinese. Victoria less so, although British Columbia’s major cities are all heavily Asian.

          Uber sounds like an interesting idea, but it also sounds a sweet deal for as serial rapist or some other such disturbed personality. I wonder how well they keep track of everyone in the program and who is driving who and where and when. I also wonder how difficult that App is to hack into.

  43. Warren says:

    Published on 24 Feb 2016
    In Syria, there’s said to be evidence that Kurdish forces are coordinating with the Assad government – and the Russian airforce, say some politicians and analysts.

  44. PaulR says:

    Head of Ukrainian state media watchdog asks for review of visas of all Russian journalists in Ukraine following firing and deportation of a Russian journalist at Inter TV: https://www.facebook.com/MaximEristavi/posts/1000986843305533

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Only massive Democratic Lustrations and Camps of Freedom will make the Ukraine a truly European Country!

      All those Russian Fifth Columnists – Evgeniy Kiselyov, Savik Shuster, Pavel Shekhtman, Maria Gaidar and “примкнувшие к ним” Ekaterina Maldon and Vera Kichanova – are actually also Ukrainian Fifth Columnists ready to backstab the Revolution of Dignity and De-oligarchization.

      Great friend of the Great Ukrainian People Anders Aslund already lustrated such notorious Putinist agent like Lyona Bershidskiy. I belive that not fat away is the day when the Most Democratic Civil Society in the World (Murikan) will also demand the lustration of such potential 5th Columnists and potential Putinist agents like David Dukhovniy, Ely Roth, Steven Speilberg and Mia Kunis.

      Unless all of them won’t support the Newest Democracy in the Wolrd (Ukraine) and its most democratic Civil Society’s work to suppress well-known agents of the Kremlin. Like TerrBat “Azov”.

      СУГС!

  45. Patient Observer says:

    This was a very good read on the experience of a businessman in Russia in 1990’s and the amazing and spontaneous transformation of the business environment after Putin became President. The story is particularly effective due to its first person narrative. The author makes an especially strong point that today’s “opposition” are simply the same crooks and thieves of the ’90s who did not want to change.

    http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/02/to-understand-why-russians-love-putin.html

  46. Warren says:

    Published on 25 Feb 2016
    Britain’s offshore oil and gas industry expects investment in the North sea to drop by nearly 90 per cent this year, because of declining crude prices.

    • kirill says:

      The North Sea oil production has been in terminal decline since 1999. This is the real reason that they are throwing in the towel.

  47. Moscow Exile says:

    Evans-Pritchard of the Telegraph goes gaga:

    Energy price war spreads to gas as US shale storms global market, stalks Russia

    The US shipments are aimed directly at Europe, where there is a large and unused infrastructure of LNG terminals, including Lithuania’s new “Independence” plant designed to end reliance on Russian pipelines. The mere prospect of American LNG deprives Russia of its pricing power and political leverage in Europe, spoiling its gas cash cow.

    Just as US shale oil has turned global crude markets upside-down, LNG from shale is now doing the same to the gas markets – beaching countless projects around the world launched in the pre-shale era.

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