Having Failed to Achieve Any of Its Goals in Crimea, the West Resorts to Lying

Uncle Volodya says, "Sometimes you can learn things from the way a person denies something. The choice of lies can be almost as helpful as the truth.”

Uncle Volodya says, “Sometimes you can learn things from the way a person denies something. The choice of lies can be almost as helpful as the truth.”

NATO once had such plans for Crimea. It was all going to come together so beautifully. Once Ukraine had been wrenched from Russia’s orbit into that of Europe, Sevastopol would make a dandy NATO naval base on the Black Sea, while Russia was left scrambling for an alternative port. However, after polling public opinion in Crimea and finding a very healthy majority of Crimeans supported a return to Russian control and membership in the Russian Federation, a lightning referendum was held and Russia took back its gift to Ukraine. Disaster; Crimea had been the biggest prize the west was after in Ukraine. Just like that, it was snatched away, out of its reach and gone.

So the west – led, as usual, by Washington, which is a damning indictment of the spoiled dilettantism which currently passes for leadership in Europe – announced that it did not recognize the results of the referendum: it was like it never happened, as so frequently occurs when people make a choice Washington does not care for. The whole business was just completely, entirely illegal under international law, although no specific violation was ever cited. And the west prepared a slate of punishing economic sanctions, which was supposed to inspire massive demonstrations of public anger at Vladimir Putin, resulting in the return of Crimea to Ukrainian control and perhaps even a death-blow to Putin’s rule. It is important to note here that this was completely deliberate – Washington intended to impose economic hardship upon the Russian people so as to force the only solution it knows to resistance: regime change. I mention it here because a malady of forgetfulness appears to have seized Washington. President Obama, especially, seems to have forgotten his initial restrained jubilation – expressed as regretful determination – that the United States was tanking the Russian economy,  triggered by the wild runaway of the ruble. For a couple of days, long enough for Washington to scent panic, it looked like it was working. But then attempts to prop up the currency were abandoned, and it was allowed to float, and Russia recovered its balance.  And Washington forgot it had ever been excited about wrecking the Russian economy, and pretended that had never been a goal at all. Washington is pretty good at pretending – it has had a hell of a lot of practice.

So sanctions failed to force Russia to hand back Crimea. And the west looked the other way and occupied itself with something distracting (reading international law, perhaps; ha, ha; I was just kidding) so that it did not have to see Ukraine cutting Crimea off from water, food and electricity in an attempt to force its surrender. Ukraine gated off the canal which supplied water. Ukraine imposed a blockade which prevented trucks from entering via the land route – which Ukraine exclusively controls – and food spoiled in the tractor-trailers as they idled at the roadside. Members of Ukraine’s ‘patriotic’ militia units, often thin cover for Nazi sympathies, blew up the pylons which carried the power cables to Crimea, and the west smirked behind its hand as Kiev called them ‘persons unknown’ although they had posed for pictures, and had used an anti-tank weapon – surely not all that common in private hands – to destroy the metal pylons.

And that didn’t work, either. Polls in Crimea revealed that the people were willing to accept severe hardship rather than return to Ukrainian rule. Russia moved quickly to provide alternate water and electricity supplies, and accelerated work on a massive bridge – 19 km long – across the Kerch Strait which will join Crimea and the Russian homeland and remove the last lingering dependence on Ukraine. Kiev’s attempts to bully Crimea into capitulation served only to harden hearts against its temporary and entirely unsatisfactory former master.

Which brings us to now. Having been batted aside in every one of its attempts to recover momentum, what is left to the west? Well, if it cannot string Crimea on its rosary, at least it can tell a wild tale of the misery, degradation and squalor the Russian return has brought to Crimea. The folks back home would probably be satisfied to know the Crimeans deeply regret their choice, and would get right down on their scabby bare knees and beg Kiev to take them back – if only that vile imp of Satan, Vladimir Putin, would quit standing on their necks.

Cue Newsweek‘s terrible, awful, disgraceful tapestry of lies and fabrications, “The Misery and Terror of Life Under Putin in Crimea”.

It’s not entirely fair that Newsweek should absorb the whole of the blame; it was originally published on The Atlantic Council’s site, and the co-author – Melinda Haring – is the Editor of UkraineAlert at The Atlantic Council. The other author – Alina Polyakova – is Deputy Director at The Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center.  The Atlantic Council, for those not familiar with it, is another neoconservative Washington think tank, actually a hub of think tanks, you can hardly swing a dead cat by the tail in Washington without hitting one of them. Suffice it to say that it includes Anders Aslund, Evelyn Farkas and the balloon-faced CEO of Bellingcat, Eliot Higgins as ‘experts‘, among its membership. A word to the wise is sufficient. It was, however, a low-water mark in journalistic integrity to publish such a collection of fabrications and selective metrics without checking to see if any of them were accurate.

Let me tell you something for nothing, just as an aside – there will be a price to be paid, down the road, for lying to people the way these neoconservative circle-jerk clubs for preservation of American global dominance are doing. All I and others can do is tell you the truth as best we can determine it to be, and it will have to be up to you what you believe.  But just like when you get pulled over for talking on your cellphone while driving, and pretend like this is the first you ever knew that was against the law; ignorance is not an excuse.

A commenter on this blog, UCG (I can reveal that this stands for “University of California Graduate” – because I guessed it on my own – and that he is an ethnic Russian living in the Golden State, but that’s all I know) whipped this article like a redheaded stepchild, dribbling it up and down the court until it was just a wrinkly skin with all the bullshit squeezed out; listen.


“On March 16, 2014, Crimeans voted in a sham referendum for Russia to annex Crimea. Has life improved for the approximately 2 million people who live there?”

Yes, yes it has according to the people living there. But I’m sure Eurasia Center will blatantly lie about it.

“Not at all. On every measure, from the economy to its treatment of minorities, the beautiful peninsula has become a shell of what it once was. The economic situation in Crimea is desperate. Tourism, one of the peninsula’s main economic engines, took a serious nosedive in 2014, when Crimea received fewer than 3 million visitors—half the number who vacationed there in 2013. That is because Ukrainians made up the largest portion of tourists in Crimea prior to annexation. But for political and economic reasons, many now choose not to go. The Russian tourists who were supposed to flood into Crimea never came.”

First, the treatment of minorities actually improved, as is documented by the UNHCR. Second, because of the coup in Ukraine, fewer Ukrainians would’ve been going to Crimea. Third, the majority of tourists were Russians, not Ukrainians.

“Crimeans have experienced a sharp decline in their standard of living. Western sanctions prevent European and American companies from operating on the peninsula, cutting into potential revenue and jobs from foreign investment. The Ukrainian government has imposed restrictions on trade with Crimea as well. Since switching to the Russian ruble, Crimeans have been subject to that currency’s massive depreciation, from an exchange rate of about 35 rubles per dollar in 2014 to 70 rubles per dollar today. While Crimeans’ pensions under Russian occupation may be nominally higher, their rubles have lost more than half of their purchasing power.”

Would it have been better with Ukraine’s currency? In 2014, it was at 8.23. In 2016, it’s at roughly 26.23. Hmm; that’s substantially worse than the Ruble’s performance, and yet the article implies that Crimeans wouldn’t have been subject to such a depreciation. The lies continue.

“The situation for the peninsula’s minorities is even worse. Russian authorities have forced Crimean Tatars to become Russian citizens and curtailed their freedoms of speech, language, education and residence—as well as their right to a fair trial. The new authorities have shut down Tatar language media, and Tatar leaders face harassment, detention and threats to their lives. Now, Russia appears ready to outlaw the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, the representative body of the largest indigenous people of the peninsula. “They’re stepping up repressive measures against Crimean Tatars,” Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group analyst Halya Coynash said in a March 15 interview.”

Odd, because according to the UNHCR, the linguistic freedoms have actually increased, and according to Ukraine’s very own electoral data, the support for Mejlis was decreasing. But please, don’t let facts get in the way of bullshitting.

“There’s “huge pressure on religious communities,” Taras Berezovets, founder of Free Crimea, said in a May 2015 interview. After Crimea’s annexation, the FSB raided homes, mosques, schools and churches, forcing religious leaders to flee. Russia extended its stricter laws regulating religious activity to the peninsula. The new authorities have issued a legal order putting all mosques under the control of the Mufti Office of Crimea, while establishing the Mufti Office of Tavriya, reportedly a political organization with close ties to Russia. Crimean Tatars aren’t the only ones facing persecution. After annexation, the first wave of repression targeted mainly pro-Ukrainian activists and Crimean Tatars, while Ukrainians and Russians were the Kremlin’s victims in 2015.”

And the Mejlis aren’t a political organization? Is that why they ran for office? Also, they’re saying that Russia’s oppressing religious minorities, but that Russia’s also oppressing religious majorities? Perhaps atheists too? Much like Russia weaponizing everything, Russia’s oppressing everyone. What’s next?

“Between the 2001 and the 2014 census, the number of people identifying as ethnic Ukrainian in Crimea declined from 24 to 15 percent. Many moved to the mainland, while others feared identifying themselves as ethnic Ukrainian in occupied Crimea. In March 2015, Russia’s FSB charged Crimean journalist Andrii Klymenko with challenging the annexation’s legitimacy and threatening Russian sovereignty by writing a report that was published by the Atlantic Council and Freedom House. The report showed how Russia’s occupation and annexation of Crimea has unleashed an ongoing chain of human rights violations across the peninsula.”

Between 1989 and 2001 the number of people identifying themselves as Russians in Ukraine fell by three million. Where’s the outrage, Newsweek? Where’s the outrage? Oh, and the number of Crimean Tatars rose from 11 percent to 12 percent, whereas the number of Mejlis supporters declined. Why don’t you mention that, Newsweek?

“Under Article 280 of Russia’s criminal code, Klymenko faces up to five years in jail. As a result, Klymenko cannot visit Crimea, where his parents are buried. Nor can he enter Russia or any territory the Russian Federation controls without risking immediate arrest. Klymenko’s case is emblematic of a broader pattern of human rights abuses and freedom of speech violations that take place in Crimea on a daily basis. The Russian authorities have clamped down on all independent media. In 2015, numerous journalists and activists were arrested and harassed. All voices of dissent—journalists, academics and artists—face harassment, trumped up criminal allegations and accusations of being “undesirables” under Russia’s foreign-agent law, which stipulates that all media (including Internet sites) register as foreign agents if they receive any non-Russian support. This effectively opens all independent media up to expulsion.”

No, it doesn’t. It prevents a whopping zero percent of organically grown protests from being banned. A whopping zero percent.

“Any actions “violating Russia’s territorial integrity,” such as peaceful protests or social media posts challenging the annexation, are subject to criminal prosecution. Consequently, Crimea has become an information vacuum. Human rights and freedom of expression in Crimea today are more tightly restricted than in Russia, where the Kremlin cannot exert the same level of control. For Russian President Vladimir Putin, Crimea is nothing more than a domestic propaganda tool, a military asset for exerting influence in the Black Sea, and a potential bargaining chip for his geopolitical chess game with the West. The Crimean people are the main victims of this game. Melinda Haring is the editor of UkraineAlert at the Atlantic Council, and Alina Polyakova is the deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center.”

Crimea is such an information vacuum, that over half of the Crimeans can access that article. And there goes my respect for Newsweek for running that crap. No one can obliterate its own soft power like the US Department of Hopeless Causes.


You can’t see me, of course, but I’m clapping from the sidelines. Bravo, UCG; well done. I just have a couple of things to add. First, the contention of the Atlanticists that the referendum in Crimea was a ‘sham referendum for Russia to annex Crimea’.  It was nothing of the kind, and ample precedent exists for using a Facultative Referendum to measure the electorate’s will on major questions, including secession from or accession to a union. The west did not even blink when Ukraine announced it would decide by national referendum whether or not to join NATO, and the west knows full well that it is not a question to be decided by referendum – there’s no ‘opt in’ for NATO, you have to be invited, and satisfy a lengthy list of criteria, although it’s true the west mostly just waves a magic wand when gaining turf is to its strategic and tactical advantage. After all, it agreed with a straight face that acceptance of Lithuanian membership would materially contribute to the security of the alliance, and the Lithuanian Air force has one ‘fighter’. Actually, it is a jet trainer optimistically classified as a ‘light attack aircraft’, although the preferred method of attack must be to crash onto the target, since it…uhhh…does not appear to carry any weapons.

There was also considerable guff about the referendum question being confusing. Here’s what it asked:

  1. Do you support reunifying Crimea with Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation? or;
  2. Do you support the restoration of the 1992 Crimean constitution and the status of Crimea as a part of Ukraine?

The Beeb says the latter option is confusing because “The wording “restoring the 1992 constitution” does not make it clear whether this refers to the original version of the constitution, declaring Crimea an independent state, or the later amended version, in which Crimea was an autonomous republic within Ukraine”. The question clearly spells out that success of the option would result in Crimea remaining a part of Ukraine, and anyone who did not understand that had no business voting – presumably even members of an autonomous republic within Ukraine know their own constitution.

The ballots were printed in Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar. That reminds me – a referendum is fast approaching for the British electorate to decide if the country wishes to remain within the European Union. Will the ballots be in English, Punjabi and Polish? Why not? The British electorate contains more than 600,000 ethnic Poles, and Indians are more numerous than that in the UK. What if they’re confused? Physician, heal thyself.

Moving on, the contention that tourism has collapsed in Crimea is comically hypocritical. Ukraine controls all the land access to Crimea, and NATO has sanctioned the piss out of it to make sure westerners are forbidden by law from investing any money in it, while no tourist groups are allowed to sell excursions to it as a destination. There is more than a thread of self-fulfilling prophesy there, as the west hopes devoutly to be able to strangle Crimea’s tourist trade, because it has no other way of punishing it: despite all the squalling that its secession was illegal under international law, nobody wants to cite a specific piece of legislation, lest the Kosovo precedent rear its ugly head.

Deliberately sanctioning the tourist trade can be effective – although the west does not rush to trumpet it, Russia’s sanctions against Turkey have cut its tourist trade in half. Some of the terrific losses are due to an unstable security environment, but if NATO really cares about helping its ally, it will encourage its citizens to visit anyway, won’t it?

Is that what happened in Crimea? Well, no, actually; it’s not. As Jon Hellevig highlights, the outlook is actually fairly bright, and Jon’s economic chops make Anders Aslund look like he is in a deep vegetative state. Oh..wait. Well, never mind that now. Although inflation shot up in Crimea as the economy transitioned away from the truly horrid Ukrainian model, salaries shot up still further, resulting in a net gain of about 40%. Unemployment in Sevastopol was cut in half.

Industrial production grew by 12% in 2015, with a 25% gain year-on-year in December, and was up still further going into the first quarter of 2016. But we were talking about tourism, and for that particular bullet, I want to quote Jon verbatim:

“The tourism industry is coming along very nicely, indeed, with a 21% growth of visitors in 2015 bringing the total to 4.6 million. This is often contrasted with the 6 million tourists, of which 4 million Ukrainians, that used to come before the liberation. The comparison is however quite misleading as the purchasing power and habits of that segment of Ukrainian visitors was quite different. They did not require a high standard of service in accommodation and catering and so did not bring in a profitable business and thus did not stimulate investments. Already in the difficult transition year of 2014, the proceeds from the tourist industry doubled to a value of about $1.5 billion from the level of the Ukrainian years of $700 million.

This year promises to be even better with an expected 20% growth of both amount of visitors and prices (net increase about 10% considering inflation). What is interesting is that Russians have taken to visit Crimea all-year round and not only in the hot summer months.”

Got that, Melinda? Did that rattle your Atlanticist cage any, Alina? Revenue from tourism in Crimea doubled in 2014, and 2015 saw a gain in visitors of 21%. When the bridge is complete, and alternate access to Crimea is restored for cars, you are going to see it do even better, and I would venture to guess Crimea will reap a lot of the Russian tourist trade that used to go to Turkey.

But Melinda and Alina prefer to listen to their sources, which include Halya Coynash, Ukrainian activist and frequent columnist for The Kyiv Post. Here’s Halya, referring to the rise of Naziism in Ukraine as “honest historical debate”, while yelling, “Look!! Over there!! Russia has neo-Nazis in eastern Ukraine to do its dirty work!!”. She also describes a conversation which was ‘intercepted’ (Ukraine is getting nearly as expert as Israel at coming up with these miraculously incriminating telephone intercepts), and very conveniently features ‘local militant’ Dmitry Boitsov saying that he won’t be able to hold the [Lugansk] referendum without Russian support – including troops – and that he might have to cancel it, only to be told by the head of the neo-Nazi Russian National unity Movement that the referendum cannot be cancelled: he is then provided with instructions on how to rig the referendum question. Two things need hardly be said; one, the ‘intercept’ came from the SBU, Ukraine’s legendary Security Service, and two, this recorded conversation was never broadcast as evidence by any serious news outlet. Coynash is at pains to point out that it ‘might be a fake’, but is happy to use her platform as a launch vehicle to get it out there in circulation nonetheless.

The report that Russia is forcing the poor Tatars to accept Russian citizenship is likewise nonsense, and another lie in a seemingly-unending parade of lies; Russia ruled that Crimeans could not hold dual citizenship. You must make a choice.  Russia does not order that the choice be Russian.

Once upon a time, a great while ago and for a brief window, the United States really was exceptional, and had only to wave its stick to make much of the rest of the world flinch. As we have often discussed, much of the world at that time was ravaged by war, weak and sick, and the United States was young, strong and mostly untouched; additionally, it had just negotiated a currency agreement that would make its dollar dominant for the foreseeable future. This was a tremendous opportunity.

And slowly at first, piecemeal, but steadily gathering speed, this opportunity was wasted, cast aside, spurned. Foreign policy in Washington is now completely in the hands of civilian ideologues like the authors of the subject piece, who consider America’s massive military as simply a blunt instrument; used to force compliance with its directives, which are only spoken politely once and couched as suggestions. The country’s ideals have become suborned to a neoconservative entity which pulls the levers and emits blasts of steam from behind a curtain, like Oz The Great And Terrible. Its press releases do not reflect reality so much as they do satire; Washington has become The Onion. Never a truer word was spoken than that offered by the anonymous White House staffer to whom is attributed, “You see, when we act, we create our own reality”. Through a series of weak, self-centered and egotistical leaders, America slowly came around to a new course, where the compass needle points to crazy.

It could have been different, but now the die is cast. Let the record so reflect.





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2,377 Responses to Having Failed to Achieve Any of Its Goals in Crimea, the West Resorts to Lying

  1. marknesop says:

    In case anyone was wondering if the situation in Syria will now stabilize….ummm…no. Not according to yesterday’s White House Press Briefing, in which the speaker not only reaffirmed Washington’s inflexible position that Assad must step down, but signaled that Washington intends to ensure the ‘political turmoil’ in Syria does not subside until he does. Washington will accept no other solution in Syria but a government installed by Washington, which will let it have a free hand to dabble and meddle.

    “Q I wanted to also ask about Syria. There’s an interview that President Assad gave to some Russian media that he’s proposing a national unity government and is rejecting calls for a transitional ruling body. Is there any reaction to that from the White House?

    MR. EARNEST: I didn’t see the interview, and I don’t know whether he envisioned himself being a part of that national unity government. Obviously, that would be a nonstarter for us. And again, we have raised the significant concerns we have with President Assad’s leadership. The manner in which he has used that nation’s military to attack innocent civilians isn’t just completely immoral, it has also turned a large majority of the country against him. So it is impossible to imagine a scenario where the political turmoil and violence inside of Syria comes to an end while President Assad is still there. And by “there,” I mean in the President’s office in Syria.

    So that’s why we have been clear for years that the successful resolution of the political chaos inside of Syria isn’t just critical to solving the many problems plaguing that nation and the broader region, it also will require President Assad stepping aside.

    Q Syrian forces recently retook the town of Palmyra from ISIL. I know that the U.S. is for Assad to go, but how does the White House feel about Syrian forces retaking that town? And he’s also said they’re going to push on to Raqqa, which is the ISIL de-facto capital.

    MR. EARNEST: Well, a couple things about that. The first is obviously that ISIL — the actions that ISIL undertook while Palmyra was under their control were terrible. They plundered precious historical artifacts that actually illustrate the common heritage that we all have. They also carried out terrible acts of violence against the individuals who are responsible for protecting that heritage.

    So seeing them driven out of that location, seeing ISIL driven out of that location is obviously a welcome development. But that doesn’t change the basic calculus that I just described, which is that the political turmoil inside of Syria will not recede as long as President Assad is in office. And that’s why we continue to believe that he must go.”

    They say that experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn at no other. The USA is just going to have to lose and lose and lose before it gets the message, I guess. Pity that’s so costly. Mind you, I suppose they deserve it, considering the perfidy which is necessary to maintain the fiction – outwardly, at least – that Assad must go because his army has been used to kill innocent civilians, while Poroshenko should be flooded with money and arms by the ‘free world’ so that he can accomplish the same thing, except reaping a reward for it from his good friends in Washington rather than censure.

    Do read the whole thing, if you can stomach it. You’ll love the part where he says the USA would welcome Russia’s presence at the nuclear summit in Washington, and literally in the next breath says that the fact they’re not present serves to further illustrate how isolated Russia has become in the international community. That’s certainly a government, not to mention an entire governing system, that deserves to…what’s the phrase? Vanish from the page of time.

  2. Northern Star says:

    Exactly how does territory situated within the territorial waters of a sovereign nation
    (claim to) maintain the status of being an overseas territory of a second sovereign nation?
    “The critical aspect of the verdict is that while the Falkland Islands remain British, the surrounding sea is set to be formally declared as Argentina’s territorial waters.”

    So here’s the thing…do those who argue that an (expressed) overwhelming desire by Falklands residents to be governed by the UK concur that the same reasoning should apply to the people of Crimea….??

    • marknesop says:

      I couldn’t have said it better myself.

      “What is important is what the Falkland islanders themselves think.

      They have been clear they want to remain an overseas territory of the UK and we will continue to support their right to determine their own future.

      In a referendum held as recently as March 2013, 99.8 per cent of Falklanders voted to remain a British overseas territory.”

      But the west, and its rubber dog the UN, continue to insist the Crimean situation and that of eastern Ukraine are without precedent, and their referendums do not count because they are illegal.

      • Fern says:

        And it’s not just the Falkland Islands – exactly the same situation applies to Gibraltar where Spain contests the ownership of the Rock but its inhabitants want to remain British. In this case again, the wishes of the current inhabitants override any other consideration.

        Referendums in both the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar are questionable because there is, to some extent, an artificially maintained population in both places which guarantees a vote to remain British. Its equivalent in Crimea would be if Russia had transferred several million of its citizens from the RF to Crimea in order to sway the referendum results which even the craziest Russophobe on the Guardian or in the State Department hasn’t accused them of doing.

  3. Jen says:

    BTW just heard the news that French security expert Paul Barril has dropped a bombshell about the existence of Operation Beluga, a US-UK scheme to discredit Russia and Putin, and the revelation that Alexander Litvinenko was killed with polonium 210 by an unnamed Italian person under the auspices of the US and the UK, from an interview with a Swiss businessman.

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, I saw that in Russia Insider a couple of days ago.

    • Cortes says:

      A bombe Barril!

    • et Al says:

      Call me doubtful, but this seems to me much more likely as something designed to discredit the very dogged work by Dunkerly than bring anything to light. The Pork Pie News Networks will simply ignore it as they have done before. Conspiracy! Innit?! so the risk here is to Dunkerly. It doesn’t make sense to me otherwise.

      I subscribe to smuggling and stupidity rather than a bumping off by Putin. Second is revenge by Berezovsky who has been described by quite a few people as amoral, i.e. the same side of the coin as the evil Khordokovsky.

      So, if this is a hit on Dunkerly, why and why now? Has he hit a nerve? Normally you don’t bother with stuff like this unless some traction has been gained, or, someone terribly clever thinks this is a jolly smart idea to counter ‘Russian Propaganda’.

      I would also guess that it is highly likely that the British* are behind it. It smells like them. Pompous twats.

      * British gov/intel services whatever, not the peeps.

      • Fern says:

        I’ve read almost all of William Dunkerley’s writings on the Litvinenko killing and he, unlike other commentators, doesn’t come at the issue from the point of view of trying to answer whodunit? but rather from how the various aspects of the case have been reported in the media and the extent to which there is any actual evidence to support a lot of the media’s assertions. My understanding of Dunkerley’s position is that he believes the case has been so corrupted and obfuscated by the political desire to ‘convict’ Putin that it’s now impossible to properly investigate what actually happened.

        I’m sure Dunkerely does get up official noses – for example, he’s repeatedly asked the police who dealt with the death of Boris Berezovsky whether his CCTV system was in use on the night he died and, if so, whether he received any visitors – the police and Home Office have refused to answer. He also pointed out that it’s a legal requirement for anyone chairing the sort of public enquiry like the recent one that did find Putin ‘probably’ guilty of causing Litvinenko’s death, to be demonstrably impartial which Sir Robert, who’s spent several years announcing his intention to put the Russian Federation in the dock, was demonstrably not. But I don’t see this announcement by Paul Barrile as being anti-Dunkerely. The waters surrounding Litvinenko’s death are now so muddied, the truth probably is impossible to discern. Unless Barrile has slam-dunk evidence, his will be just another theory to add to the pile.

        • Jen says:

          Barril probably cannot mention the Italian connection’s name, Mario the Plumber, Maria the Teacher, Mariangelo the Mafia Gangster or whatever that person may be, in case he is hit by a libel suit. By now too, so much evidence that Dunkerley might need to look for has either been locked away in a secret location or destroyed.

  4. marknesop says:

    The next time you hear Mayor Klitschko bragging about how Kiev’s revenues are up such-and-such a percent under his leadership, or that sunny twit of a Canadian Ambassador to the Ukraine burbling about Naftogaz looking up, up, up…point them here.

    Ukraine’s economy fell by nearly 10% – officially – over 2015. The financial and insurance sector fell by 27.7%, the retail sector by 16.8%, and general services by 24.4%. If that were Russia, Obama would be boogieing on its grave. But, needless to say, since this is a western project, it’s an ‘opportunity’, and growth is just around the corner – give it time. The only sector to gain was health services – war is evidently good for the healthcare business. Lucky, too, considering how so many of the lawmakers in the healthcare sector work directly for the drug companies. I imagine the candy business did a roaring trade, as well, but delicacy forbade REF/RL from mentioning it.

  5. marknesop says:

    Here’s why the Transnational Institute is campaigning for a “No” vote in the Netherlands referendum. Of course nobody of any importance will listen, because as soon as you say the agreement will further enrich the 1% while making conditions worse for the 99% and social and human rights, you have already identified the power group which is pushing for a “Yes” vote – and it is the group which controls the media, and the narrative. Besides, it is non-binding, so the Dutch government need take no notice of a “No” vote. Although some media sources speculate it would be ‘hard for the government to ignore’ a strong “No” vote, I don’t think it would be hard at all: look at the Dutch government’s stonewalling and perjury on MH17.

  6. Moscow Exile says:

    An Actor Without An Oscar


    APR 1, 2016 at 11:49

    Officially, the Ukrainian President flew to Washington to discuss nuclear safety issues at an international summit. The thing was, though, that as regards this subject Poroshenko had nothing to say, so, as is his wont, he turned to complaining about “Russian aggression” and began to hint at yet another instalment of financial assistance for the Ukraine.

    The “breadwinner” had to go through all the executive offices there: he called into that of Vice-President Biden, tipped a nod to Secretary of State Kerry and reported to President Obama, who verbally promised the Ukraine a new tranche of $1 billion (and an additional $335 million for the modernization of the army), but told him to change the leadership of the country: the present Ukrainian government is not pleasing to its American patrons, so to change it would be a good thing. It was even hinted that the hapless premier Yatsenyuk be replaced by someone who had been sent to the Ukraine from across the Atlantic Ocean — Natalia Jaresko, who now occupies the post of Finance Minister.

    And after all of this, the States say that they do not interfere in the internal affairs of the Ukraine. The Americans have long not been keeping themselves under cover; they have not been putting restrictions on the amount of advice that they have been giving, but have been directing their planted stooges brazenly and openly. The present day policies of the Ukraine are formulated with the direct participation of Washington. This applies not only to political appointments, but also to relations with Russia. And all that there remains for the simple Ukrainians to do is to think on this as their country cheerfully strides out towards the abyss under the diktat of the White House.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Самый богатый президент самой бедной страны.

      The richest President of the poorest country.

      Pete makes $100 million plus a year — and you can just keep on jumping up and down!
      Forbes rates Poroshenko as the 6th richest Ukrainian

      “The Ukraine is extremely wealthy in natural resources and fertile land; it has a very good geographic location and educated professionals, all of which should contribute to the development of the state. But after independence, every year the Ukraine has only headed downwards …

      At present, the Ukraine is the poorest country in Europe. In power is a president who during his office has multiplied his capital wealth many times over. Poroshenko’s wealth is estimated to be worth $858 million. In the past 12 months this has increased by $100 million — and this is at a time when the Ukraine economy has fallen through the floor.


      • Moscow Exile says:

        He’s going to get bumped off!

        No trial! No jury! No due procedure!

      • marknesop says:

        His strategy of putting his businesses technically up for sale, but asking such a ridiculous price that nobody will buy them, will pay off when he gets the push himself in an upcoming purge; which will of course be sold as ‘Ukraine turning the corner into enlightenment and prosperity’. Then he will happily go back to being a wealthy businessman who dabbles in politics for a hobby, having turned a nice profit every year he was president and legally not allowed to operate a business. All the time, the west indulgently turned a blind eye, too busy clamoring about Putin’s expensive watches and Italianate palaces.

        I don’t mind, really, because it’s not my money the IMF is chucking into a bottomless pit. As we have agreed upon since forever ago, Ukraine cannot leverage itself out of the mudhole in which it is mired for so long as it maintains a hostile relationship towards Russia, unless it can figure out a way to be an ignorant prick towards Russia and still get Russia to buy its goods. Because the relationship the regime-changer envisioned was the EU selling to Ukraine (and onward to Russia), not buying from it. Russia was supposed to buy from it, and allow it to make the money that would turn it into a western pet even as the scheme wrecked the Russian domestic market. If that situation does not come to pass, then it’s not happening.

        Porky also announced, as I’m sure you saw, that Ukraine is ‘off Russia’s gas needle’, and will not buy any more gas from Russia. It can get a much better deal buying Russian gas from Europe. Knock yourself out, Choccie Boy. Somebody’s paying for it, and it isn’t Russia; it’s the EU. Schnorr cheap gas from them for as long as you like, but you might spare a thought for what a shitty case you’re making for your country as a transit nation. As a long-ago report on Ukraine’s gas infrastructure insisted, Ukraine must have good relations with Russia for it to work. I know it’s hard to believe, but European leaders can read. The writing on the wall, if nothing else, and that says Russia will remain determined not to help Ukraine with juicy transit fees (such as the west openly insist must remain part of the Ukrainian budget) so long as Ukraine continues to act like an ass. But the west continues to prod it to act like an ass. To its own detriment. But i guess none of Ukraine’s whip-smart political dynamos can see that.

        • cartman says:

          I think it is your money that the IMF is chucking into the pit, and the money of all countries that fund it. The US could go it alone an fund it with its own money.

          • Jen says:

            Yes, all countries that are IMF members – and there’d hardly be any countries that are not members – pay for their membership through quotas based on the size of their economies relative to everyone else. These quotas help finance the IMF’s loans.

            More information on IMF member quotas (plus a small buried tidbit that China, Brazil, India and Russia are among the biggest contributors):

          • marknesop says:

            Well, okay, maybe a little of my money. But I think of it as the cost of such high-quality entertainment. And of course Washington’s interest is in gaining all the influence and decision-making power which can possibly be extracted for America, while other countries pay for it. That’s what you call a “US-led effort”. I don’t mean to imply the USA does not pay its fair share – it usually does, and then some. But it has this annoying thing about always having to be in charge and be the boss, and all such collective efforts have to be “US-led”.

    • yalensis says:

      Biden and Boehner showing off their talent for the “sarcastic clapping” ability.

  7. Moscow Exile says:

    Порошенко продолжает позорить себя и Украину

    Poroshenko continues to make an embarrassment of himself and the Ukraine

    The President of the Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, embarrassed upon arrival in the United States.

    Poroshenko touched down yesterday in Washington, where there was to be held a nuclear security summit. His presentation was supposed to start promptly at 7 p.m., however, the Ukrainian president was an hour late.

    Having entered the room, Poroshenko began to apologize. The blame for the delay was directed at air traffic controllers, who allegedly did not give permission to land. Poroshenko’s version was that the presidential jet was forced to circle around the airport for an hour.

    However, it was soon revealed to all that the President of Ukraine had been barefacedly lying. Nowadays on the Internet there are sites offering the ability to track flights in real time. It turned out that the Poroshenko Airbus landed at Andrews air base in a timely manner, and it did not fly around in circles.

    Where Poroshenko had been for an hour still remains a mystery to the general public. Perhaps he spent the time when he should have been at the conference having a chat with the curator of Ukraine affairs in the American Administration or was having dinner in a restaurant.

    And the official representative of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Markin, has suggested that Poroshenko had been giving blood tests. This conclusion was arrived at by something that the presidential office had stated as having been said by the Ukrainian President upon his arrival in Washington: “We are of one blood”.This expression had previously been used by a colleague of President Lutsenko in Europe.

    • marknesop says:

      Doesn’t matter, though, because the USA allows certain people to get away with the most outrageous lies, while it jumps all over certain people even when they are telling the truth, and insists they are lying. The obvious lesson is that if you do as Washington tells you to do, and kneel to the American leadership and welcome America in to remake your country to the plan of its neoconservative world-shapers, you will find favour and you can lie and break the law with impunity – you are bulletproof. If, however, after several polite hints from the American government that it would like more of a say in the running of your country, you still insist on doing it yourself, you will find you have become the figurative turd in the punchbowl. Thenceforth, when they need a negative story about you – which is daily – and one does not conveniently come to hand – they will simply make one up. Remember when they couldn’t find Putin for over a week, and speculation began to swirl that he had had a crippling stroke, or he was dead? Poroshenko could drop out of sight for a month and the response would be a sigh of relief. Or the catfight over Putin’s expensive cashmere tracksuit? Please. Poroshenko could attend a UN session garbed in the skins of Ukrainian children and he would probably come out with another donation to his volunteer battalions.

    • yalensis says:

      He was probably enjoying a drink or two at the airport bar!

    • Jen says:

      Should be common knowledge by now that Porky does everything on the fly and preparing for the speech and presentation takes him an hour to do.

  8. Warren says:

    Published on 1 Apr 2016
    The Black Sea is a bridge that connects two continents. It’s also the gateway between Europe and the Middle East. It is strategically important and hotly contested. NATO works closely here with Georgia to monitor the waterway.

  9. et Al says:

    Russia Insider: NATO Would Probably Lose a War Against Russia


    …Over several years of being on the control staff I noticed two things. Naturally both Red and Blue were played by our people, however interesting it might have been to borrow some Soviet officers to play Red. What always fascinated me was how quickly the people playing Red would start getting aggressive. Their fellow officers, on the Blue side, were very risk-averse, slow and cautious. The Red players just drove down the road and didn’t mind losing a tank, let alone a tank company. What was really interesting (we tested this in the office, so to speak) was that, at the end of the day, the full speed ahead approach produced fewer casualties than the cautious approach. The other thing – rather chilling this – was that Red always won. Always. And rather quickly…

    Read. The. Rest. No excuses!

    Shellback is right. Despite everything, NATO is risk adverse and the West’s response to the Taliban et al (not me!) is that it is primarily about preserving its forces. When you have Saudi funded and controlled madrassas in Pakistan pumping out thousands and thousands of converts a year, you only need a small percentage for self-renewal.

    NATO’s ‘cutting the head off the snake’ strategy has been equally flawed as once the structure is put in place and the education system that identifies those with potential and promotes them, every time you kill a ‘leader’, another one slots comfortably in to place.

    The West has refused to go after the funding of terrorism (the Gulf states) among other reasons because they are an extremely significant source for exports going in to the hundreds of billions of €/$. Case in point, the huge majority of Airbus A380s which sell for a sticker price of around €428m* (though probably cheaper in bulk) have been sold to gulf states. Without those sale the program would be a failure. And that is just civilian stuff. Of 319 net orders, at least 160 have gone to Gulf airlines.

    * Official Airbus 2015 list price

    ** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Airbus_A380_orders_and_deliveries

  10. Moscow Exile says:

    Украина подписала договор о поставках урана из Австралии

    The Ukraine has signed an agreement for the supply of uranium from Australia

    Julie Bishop, Petro Poroshenko. Volodymyr Demchyshyn

    The energy Ministers of the Ukraine and Australia, Volodymyr demchyshyn and Julie Bishop, signed an agreement for the supply Australian uranium for Ukrainian nuclear power plants.

    The agreement was signed during the visit of the governmental delegation in Washington, reports “Slovo I Dilo” with reference to the press service of the Ministry of Energy.

    So who is going to pay for the uranium?

    The USA?

    The EU?

    • marknesop says:

      On April Fool’s Day. At a nuclear security summit. After Australia suspended uranium sales to Russia. But struck a deal with the country where college dropouts with friction-taped baseball bats walk into the control room of reactor complexes and announce they are taking over, in the name of the glorious Maidan, geroyim slava! Good one, Oz!

      “In 2013 the Eastern Partnership, a leading East European civil society forum, declared that the absence of environmental impact assessment for nuclear projects posed “a severe threat to people both in Ukraine and in neighbouring states, including EU member states”.

      These concerns have been amplified after a series of recent shutdowns, fires and safety concerns at Ukrainian nuclear facilities.

      Kiev’s response was a 2015 government decree preventing the national nuclear energy regulator from carrying out facility inspections on its own initiative. This coupled with increased pressure on industry whistle-blowers and critics has done nothing to address the real risks facing the nations aging nuclear fleet.”

      I guess the world did not get lasting enough excitement from Chernobyl.

      Bishop’s announcement is motivated far more by politics, and keeping its Washington partners happy with its barking Russophobia, than any other single concern. I wonder if Ukraine will now send its uranium purchases to the United States for enrichment, as the Kiev government continues to pursue an obsessive agenda for cutting all ties, no matter how little, with Russia. Because currently the state which enriches Ukrainian uranium for nuclear fuel in its power plants is Russia. Or perhaps Poroshenko will want Ukrainians to do it themselves, with American supervision – I could see Obama approving the funds to build the facility and train the operators. Anything that contributes to further rifts between Russia and Ukraine, the American government favours.

      Meanwhile, two-thirds of Ukraine’s nuclear power-generation reactors will be past their projected decommissioning-or-replacement date in four years time. That’s where the accusation of ‘irresponsibility’ comes in. But why should Australia give a shit? Fallout from a fritzed Ukrainian reactor is unlikely to reach them.

  11. Warren says:

    Tata Steel: David Cameron raises concerns with Xi Jinping

    David Cameron has raised his concerns about the steel crisis with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Downing Street has confirmed.


    • Warren says:

      • marknesop says:

        Edward the Socialist Economist. God, I love that man. I just never get tired of his diverting silliness.

        • Warren says:

          Lucas is an ideologue – you have to be a fanatic of the “free market” and “neo-liberalism” to work for The Economist. The fact that Lucas actually believes Chinese dumping of low quality steel “benefits everyone.” illustrates once more how ignorant and detached from reality and sanity he is.

      • Fern says:

        I think Edward Lucas, like many worshippers at the free-markets shrine, does’t really get (I know, I know, if we start talking about all the things Lucas doesn’t get, we’d have a comment that would stretch 14 times (at least) around the earth’s circumference, so I’ll keep it brief) is that those countries which dominate the steel industry don’t do so because of some happy accident of the market but because successive governments or administrations in those countries have made it a strategic priority to do so.

        I really don’t know what the UK determines as its strategic priorities in terms of the economy – pretty much all our industry and utilities – vital stuff like power and water – are owned by foreign companies whose ultimate holding companies – ironies of ironies – are often foreign national governments.

        Yup, we de-nationalised almost all publicly owned assets – railways, power, water – because, you know, the private sector just does everything better, took them out of our government’s control in order to put them under the control of foreign governments. You could not make this stuff up.

        • marknesop says:

          You are absolutely correct, as usual, and another thing that he does not get is that low-value-added exports really are not ‘good for everyone’ unless you are China and can export them in such huge volumes that you still turn a pretty good profit. If you read over the critique of that beastly EU association agreement some Dutch factions are trying to persuade the Dutch to vote “No’ on, quotas have been built in to ensure Ukraine cannot flood the EU even with its low-value-added exports. They even have a quota on sunflower seed, and it is a great deal less than what they used to sell to Russia.

        • Warren says:

          State planning and intervention is the reason why South Korea, Japan and China built and now dominate the world steel market.

          Even supposedly free market Valhallas such Hong Kong and Singapore – the state intervenes in the economy and pursues long term planning. The East Asian economic miracles have all been predicated on state planning.

          The East Asian economies have all followed the Japanese blue print for industrialisation through an export driven economy – through the deliberate and conscientious policy of suppressed consumption. This automatically raises savings rates. This is why East Asian states have such large foreign exchange reserves.

          The East Asians rig their own markets to favour their own industries, manufactures and producers – to the detriment of foreign competitors and entrants. The most blatant example of this is the car market, you will be hard pressed to find foreign cars on the streets of either Japan or South Korea.

          • marknesop says:

            The latter characteristic extends to Asian families living in North America. They generally buy Honda, Toyota, Nissan or Hyundai. Wealthy Asians buy the premium brands like Mercedes and BMW, but they are also the bedrock constituency of Lexus, which is Toyota’s luxury brand. They’re very nice, too; an ex-boyfriend of my sister’s was the boss of the maintenance department at Toyota here, in downtown Victoria. He drove whatever Lexus he felt like taking for the day, usually an SUV, and they seem very well-made, with easily as much attention to detail, quality materials and fit & finish as any of the top brands.

          • Jen says:

            Aaaand don’t forget that India’s IT industry was an outgrowth of its aerospace industry which was started by the Indian government in Bangalore in southern India in the late 1960s / early 1970s.

      • Jen says:

        Wow, I didn’t know Edward Lucas is a closet admirer of Mao Zedong’s failed Great Leap Forward program in which every peasant backyard was turned into a DIY steel-making furnace, and produced genuine low-cost steel … because it was genuinely worthless.

        • marknesop says:

          Which points up an erroneous assumption on the part of Lucas’s detractors – that because Britain’s steel is of a higher quality, their industry must be saved. Can nobody else on the planet produce high-grade steel? Of course they can. Can the Chinese? Of course they can. That kind of steel is wonderful if you want to make a razor blade or a table knife out of it. If you want to put up a building cheap and fast, do you care? No, you don’t. Is the building likely to fall down because you used cheap Chinese steel? Hardly – it’s fine for building. There are probably some people who want their buildings constructed with British high-grade steel. They’re probably the same people who insist on Cabretta leather for all the office furniture and a mosaic of exotic woods for the entry floor. Money is no object, except that you know everything in the building cost a lot of money. High-end law firms, lobbyists, government insiders, that sort of thing. Can you build a national industry on that sort of demand? Probably not.

          • Jen says:

            One problem with high-quality products in a capitalist society is that if they’re too well made, they tend to last forever so they don’t exactly lead to much repeat business. In a capitalist society where businesses need on-going custom to survive and make profits over and above production costs, the 80/20 rule (that 80% of your results come from 20% of your subjects) applies as much here as in other areas of human activity: 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers (because these will be customers who come back to you again and again, usually to replace worn-out product).

            A British steel industry cast adrift by its own government (because its politicians and public servants have had no experience working in manufacturing industry) and forced to fend for itself without government funding is doomed to takeover and break-up by foreigners, picking at the bits they want like vultures, unless it’s prepared to set its ambitions lower and produce a range of steel products of varying quality for general purposes at lower prices and with the prospect of returning customers. The other option is to go for niche markets and spend at least as much money on trying to attract new customers and making sure they keep coming back to you (so you have to indulge them with product and price package strategies that might include price discounting or try to tie them to you as long as you can and hope they’ll be very loyal) as on maintaining the quality of your product. Inevitably compromises will have to be made.

          • Cortes says:

            “Better is the enemy of good enough ” – an engineer’s maxim used often by D. Orlov.

    • marknesop says:

      Now, you see there, boys and girls – that’s what makes a great politician. I want you all to study David “Porknography” Cameron’s style. First, you wait until a full-blown crisis, such as a major employer announcing a decision to withdraw its operations and terminate all its national jobs, is upon you, even if there were warnings. Nerves of steel it takes, I’m telling you, but take no action that might head it off, lest you temporarily lose the spotlight. Nobody would get to rate you on your performance in a crisis if there were no crises during your tenure, would they? And what would be the use of that? Next, blame someone else for your stupid pigheaded jumped-up falling over rattling parrot-faced wuzzock failure of leadership, like the world’s biggest manufacturer of the product (China 2015 steel exports, over 100 million tons; Britain 2015 steel exports, 11 million tons). Once you have broadcast that message to the world, have a talk with the president of that country and tell him he has to ‘work together’ with you to resolve a problem which is not a problem for him at all, and the solution to which would mean him exporting less and you exporting more. Hypothetically, of course, since your country will not even have a steel industry to speak of this time next year. Refuse to nationalize your industry, because if that was a solution you would never have let a foreign country control the industry in the first place. Erase as many records as are within your control which feature you talking about the wonders of the free market. Go home, take out your brain and throw it against the wall. If it lands within reach, kick it.

    • Warren says:

    • marknesop says:

      It is indeed awesome, and Pilger an inspiring writer. I imagine Truthout was genuinely afraid to publish the piece; you could call that selling out, but I imagine Truthout regards it as self-preservation. The media knows well the Clinton vengefulness, and they must think she is going to win, or at least fear that she might. It is not at all hard to believe she would punish those sources whose criticism of her was the most graphic.

    • Cortes says:

      In the interests of fairness (I know, I know, quixotic and foolish) the Counterpunch version contains the Truth Out response:


      • marknesop says:

        Yeah, their explanation seems reasonable on its face. We have no way of knowing what they wanted to cut, and have only Pilger’s word (no reason to believe he would lie, though) that they just wanted to cut the criticism of Clinton. However, I’m damned if I can figure out why that would satisfy TruthOut or how that would make the piece passably ‘original’.

  12. Fern says:

    Remember that a few days ago, Peskov announced the Kremlin had received a slew of questions from journalists about Putin’s family and childhood friends and acquaintances from which he inferred yet another western media onslaught was on its way? Well, according to Julia Ioffe, this is the report behind the furore:-


    • Cortes says:

      Top marks as an exercise in innuendo.

      Rather transparent details, though, from the various land registry references. Those pesky in plain sight registrations on behalf of brazenly obvious individuals and corporations identifiable by name as beneficial owners! Not convoluted trusts domiciled in the BVI, Caymans, Liechtenstein, San Marino etc! Evidently the nefarious insider dealing egregiously corrupt cabal of rascals milking the RF dry lack the leadership skills of western countries like “pigheaded” (thanks, Mark, supra) Dave’s with its stupendous HM Land Registry etc “transferring ” tracts of frackable subsoil from one set of trusts to others with no problems, no whiff of sulphur, just maiden aunts cycling to vespers as cricket is played on the common, just beyond the duck pond. “Will there be jam with tea, Nanny?”

      • marknesop says:

        You make me laugh like crazy people do, and the last few phrases – except for odd references to land trusts, could have been lifted straight from Hardy. Tess of the High Street, perhaps. Well done, Sir.

        • Cortes says:

          English schmaltz is (c) John Major, circa 1990. (Not the jam bit, that’s more “Painter Johnnie ” from “The Fast Show “).
          The comments about land registry details were to point to the innuendo. Any effing conveyancing transaction involves a transfer. No doubt the twenty odd mansions acquired by Bliar since “developing ” his independent wealth were “transferred ” into his hands via documents drafted by ” lawyers close to the ex PM and on his instructions “. When standard boring ordinary events involving people who are in the slightest way tangentially related to targetted principals are couched in innuendo mischief making is easy. But whereas the registry details in Russia apparently relate to real people and corporations, in the west, bastion of transparency, more and more veils obscure beneficial ownership.
          I should have made that clearer.

          • marknesop says:

            Oh, no; I got it. I was merely remarking on the delightful references to an England that vanished with the First World War, although it’s certainly a trope that the class system vanished with it and all Britons were equal after it. You just write it so well. And of course you are absolutely correct that if those who claim to be our peers only when they stand for election hold a thing up to be a model of transparency, you can be certain that (a) it has no value, or (b) they have discovered a new trick to hide what they’re really doing.

    • marknesop says:

      The President of the country has friends who are rich??!!?? That hardly ever happens!!! Allegedly. Could be. According to sources. Yawn.

      Putin has a palace in Sochi? Where in Sochi? Is it this one? The source which confirms it belongs to Putin is Novaya Gazeta. The same liberal rag which shits on Putin day and night, but has never been shut down by the Russian government, whereas in Turkey the President has personally brought lawsuits against journalists and wrote a law which made in against the law to criticize the government. Turkey is a member in good standing of NATO. Everyone else speaking of ‘Putin’s Palace’ says maybe. Could be. Allegedly. Anatoly Karlin did a nice job dissecting the ‘Putin’s palaces’ storyline back in 2012, and has actually been in the Konstantinov palace in St Petersburg, which is supposed to be one of Putin’s glorious residences built with stolen money, but is actually a state asset and does not ‘belong’ to its president; the Konstantinov palace is used for official state functions and conferences, and was the host facility of the G8 Summit in 2006. Doubtless world leaders would rather have been put up in the TravelLodge, knowing at least that it was an honest establishment, although humble, and not the playground of the dwarf tyrant.

      Gosh; a young woman who allegedly is Putin’s daughter was put in charge of an expensive project even though she had no experience? I’ve never heard of anything like that before, either. Well, except when Mikheil Saakashvili put dishy 28-year-old Vera Kobalia in charge of the Georgian economy, after meeting her at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver; he just sensed that she had…ummm…the right stuff. Here’s another shot of Vera – sugar-daddy Mikheil’s introduction to politics apparently gave her a taste for it – and she really is worth a second look, although I have to confess she is not that photogenic and this is just a really great shot of her. That she was not even a Georgian citizen did not appear to bother him, either; she was of Georgian descent. Saakashvili could do nuance like a motherfucker, it was just one of the things that made him such a great leader that when he even says ‘democracy’ out loud, many of the westerners within earshot wall their eyes and fall down in a faint. And now he pops up everywhere, at the moment Governor of Odessa – but who knows? Perhaps next year he will be the President of Libya, or the flipping King of England. You just can’t keep a good man down.

  13. Moscow Exile says:

    Remember Natalya Pelevina , the so-called Russian-British “opposition activist”, “Justice for Magnitsky” leading light and pal of Browder and also of the late and much lamented by “oppositionists” Boris Shagger Nemtsov?

    She is now under investigation for financing and organizing the Bolotnaya and other mass riots.

    She and the other hired by the USA shits of the “opposition” star in this Kremlin controlled NTV documentary “Kasyanov’s day”, which focuses on the political activities and personal life of the leader of “Parnassus”, Mikhail “Mister Two Per Cent” Kasyanov.

    The programme contains scenes of an intimate nature allegedly between Mister Two Per Cent and his paramour Pelevina, as well as discussions amongst other figures of the “opposition”.

    Subtitles provided, but they will no doubt be crappy machine translations. Nevertheless, I am sure that those with no command at all of Russian will get the picture.

    The documentary says Pelevina has British nationality, but I am pretty certain she has not.

    This linked below BBC article makes no mention of her as having British nationality, and I am sure this would have been mentioned if she had:

    Moscow Bolotnaya protests: Natalia Pelevina faces charges

    Interestingly, though, having moved from the USSR to the UK as a child from her birthplace, Moscow, and having been brought up and educated in London, where she graduated “from a London University”, after which she then became an actress and playwright in the UK (see Wiki), for some reason or other, in the embedded video in the linked above BBC article, Pelevina seems to effect a US accent: she is certainly not talking as a brought up and educated in London playwright does, at least not to my ears she doesn’t.

    Perhaps I have been in exile too long?

    Although I have to say that it is of no interest to me whatsoever what Pelevina and Kasyanov do with each in their apparently not so private privacy, I think the documentary certainly exposes the venal, corrupt and generally shitty nature of those paragons of Western virtue and probity, the Russian “opposition”.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      MOSCOW, RUSSIA. MARCH 15, 2016. Opposition activist Natalya Pelevina, member of the Parnas party’s political council, leaves the Moscow offices of the Russian Investigations Committee after interrogation. Pelevina is facing charges involving illegal use of covert information gathering systems. Mikhail Tereshchenko/TASS

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Shockig, simply shocking! Misha 2% is apparantly unaware of the latest Western trends in the post-modern morality and Nth-wave feminism to do… this!

      Here, Nadya Tolokonnikova and her slave Varzilov will show how it must be done:

      • Warren says:

        I see Tolokonnikova and Varzilov have switched positions from their performance at Timiryazev State Biological Museum in 2008.

        The full unedited video of the performance is available on Liveleak.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Doing it “crab style” (раком) as Russians say, which expression has always intrigued me, because I have never seen crabs shagging, but have many times seen dogs bang at it.

        The expression “doggie style” is quite clear in its meaning, but when I first heard “crab” (really ‘crayfish”) used in a sexual context, I wasn’t quite sure what was going to be served up and immediately began to think of crab salad.

        Ah well, you live and learn, and learning really should be an enjoyable process.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          Which reminds me of one Purchik Rhzevskiy anecdote…

          “Поручик Ржевский катает Наташу Ростову на лодке по небольшому озерцу. Наташа: «Смотрите, какие лебеди. Белые, грациозные. Хотела бы я стать лебедем».
          Поручик начинает шарить рукой за бортом лодки.
          Наташа: «А вот взгляните, карпы. Такие мощные, быстрые. Хотела бы я стать карпом».
          Поручик подгребает ближе к берегу, еще более активно шарит рукой в воде.
          Наташа: «Ой, лягушка, так весело скачет! Хотела бы я стать лягушкой».
          Поручик, лихорадочно ощупывая дно рукой, раздраженно себе под нос: «Раки, раки, где же раки!».”

          The wordplay is rather hard to translate. In Russian the verb “стать” can mean both “to become” and “to assume [a certain] position”. Hence the untranslated by yalensis bit of this Pushkin’s epirgamm:

          “Все изменилося под нашим зодиаком:
          Лев козерогом стал, а дева стала раком”

          {For the record – neither could I! ;(}

          • yalensis says:

            “Everything has changed under our zodiac.
            The lion grew a horn, and the girl became a crab.” *

            * but then needs footnote to explain that whole “crab” thing…

        • Jen says:

          Crabs shagging and then having a smoke afterwards:

          • Moscow Exile says:

            These are what Russians are usually referring to when speaking of crabs:

            Russian crayfish. The rivers are full of them. They are green when you catch them.

            The beer is Czech and called “Golden Pheasant”.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Why the bog roll on the wall?

        Is the room where the woman is apparently giving her partner a rectal massage an extremely ornate lavatory or a tailor-made room dedicated to anal frivolity?

        Her partner does not look to me as though he is Verzilov, though.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      On more serious note – there are already some real consequances to that video masterpiece:


      Lyosha Navalniy announced the break up of his (ha-ha!) coalition with Kasyanov. Uhm, The People’s Front of Judea , anyone?

      2) Some facts about Pelevina from Pediwikia and old 2013 article:

      “Natalia Pelevine was born in Moscow. She is of Russian and Polish descent. Her great grandfather, a priest, was one of the organizers of an anti-Communist uprising in mid-western Soviet Russia in 1932. 60,000 people participated, but it was ultimately crushed. He was arrested by the NKVD and was killed after spending six months in jail… On her mother’s side, Pelevine is a descendant of the Poniatowski aristocratic family.”

      Very informative to know that she comes from a long and well established line of traitors. Uhm, actually I object most of all to the use of the word “killed”. He could not be simply “killed” – he was executed, and justly so, Unless we assume that any revolt against the USSR was a priori a just and glorious cause. Oh, wait – that’s exactly what all Russophobes and anti-Sovietists think already!

      “According to The Independent, in 2009 she was engaged to a Russian Special Forces officer, Andrei Yakhnev. They have since split up”

      Bullshit. First of all – Yakhnev served in the Internal Troops of MVD. She had a short fling with him in 2006, but in 2009 Yakhnev got 9 years and 8 months in prison for his connections with Dagestani bandits (he sold them info). The fact that the two of them found each other to their liking is again not surprising.

      – She stormed into liberast scene in 2006 with her “deep-thought” investigation of Dubrovka hostage crisis when she tried so hard to white wash the terrorists. Moscow’s liberal circles immediately accepted her as one of their own.

      – There is no information about her official paying job. Also, she have never paid any taxes to Russian state. Still, she travels around the world – in 2009-12 she had 20 “vacations” in the US, UK and various EU countries.

      – In 2009 she met with Pavel Khodorkovskiy and John McCain and HELLped them out with the foundation of the “International Committee for Democratic Russia”. Apparently, she tried to seduce Khodor, Jr, but was unsuccessful – Pavel was already married and not a fool.

      – Never one to miss the latest trends in the “non-systemic opposition”, Pelevina was really busy in 2011-12. She filed lawsuit accusing Vice-Premier Shuvalov of corruption and supported Great and Mighty Chirikova in her bid to become the mayor of Khimki. She helped Alexey Navalniy to file all his papers to become the candidate in Moscow’s mayoral elections. She personally participated in the protest. Bloody Regime tried to crush her free spirit with a fine of 500 rubles.

      – She is not even Pelevine(a). Her father’s name was Studenov and he was foreign trade official in the USSR who had contacts in the UK. Why would she choose vaguely Jewish sounding last name as her “nom de guerre” is beyond me.

      In conclusion – Pelevina/Studenova is a rare example of nearly perfect embodiment of the platonic ideal of the political prostitute.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Right! I’ve met some Russian girls who could pass for Londoners. And there was one Russian girl I knew who overstayed her visa time (she had been on some course in Manchester), got a job as a barmaid there in a big city centre boozer, and then gave herself up as an illegal and got let off.

        She’s still there, as far as I know. Last time I spoke to her she had a near perfect Manchester twang.

        A Manchester tart

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Poor old Aleksei tweets:

        Of course, it’s objectionable for us to watch such objectionable material, but for us not to react to it would be impossible“.

        Spoken like the truly devoted tosser that he is!

      • marknesop says:

        You are going to have to introduce a few more Russianisms into your dialect, Lyttenburgh, or casual observers will think you have never spoken anything but English. It’s getting really good – you will be a threat to Bershidsky in both languages soon.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Drat! You have blown my gaff!

          The FSB School of Modern Languages (sub-basement 3a, Lubyanka Building, Lubyanka Square, Moscow, Mordor) is truly a centre of linguistic excellence second to none tovarishch.

      • yalensis says:

        To my shame, I have not been following this piquant story.
        What exactly did our beloved Navalny find so off-putting that he had to break up with Kasyanov?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I think it is because his former political ally has been shagging a woman who is not his wife.

          Lyosha’s statuesque wife fully backs him up on this moral issue.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            Also – several months ago tiger Amur and goat Timur also “broke up” over woman.

            “Coincidence? I don’t think so!” (c)

            • yalensis says:

              So, who knew that Lyosha belonged to League of Decency?
              If I were him, I would be bitching about cameras in the bedroom.

              Which was also the case with Amur/Timur, they could literally not swing a dead cat without hitting a web camera.

              Whatever happened to the concept of privacy?

              • Moscow Exile says:

                And there’s the rub! For Pelevina was copped a couple of weeks ago with a sneaky video spy camera disguised as pen, CIA general issue I should think. (That’s “ink pen” as Texans would say: not “hat pen”.)

                Now what would an opposition stalwart, an NGO activist, an advocate of transparency, freedom and the rest of that freedom and democracy ballyhoo, be doing with a spy-video camera stuck in her hanbag?

                See these (machine translated from Russian) articles:


                It should really read, I think:

                Parnassus activist found in possession of documents for the receipt of funds from the U.S.

                In the body of the (proofread and altered by ME) article

                A criminal case against Natalia Pelevina was initiated on March 11. She was found in possession of a hidden spy video camera with which she is suspected of committing a crime under Article 138.1 of the Criminal code of Russian Federation (“Illicit trafficking by special technical means intended for the transmission of secret information”). According to investigators, Pelevina had been recording with a DVR-pen not only law enforcement officers, but also people from the opposition in order to later use these recordings for her own purposes. The Investigatory Committee has specifically given notice that charges shall be made against Pelevina in the near future.

                I cannot find the original Russian texts to the above, but this story was covered in all the Kremlin controlled media here.

              • marknesop says:

                The concept of….what?

    • Warren says:

      Pelevina sounds too American! Her phrases and choice of words is far more consistent with American English.

      Russians that have lived in and learned English in England sound completely different!

      • marknesop says:

        She sounds just like our friend Natalya, here. She is from Dubna, and learned her English in Moscow. It’s fluent and idiomatic, but there is no trace of a British accent to it. I wouldn’t say she sounds like an American, because many of them have a regional accent, too – but it certainly doesn’t sound British.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          It depends which school they went to, our more exactly, which school their teacher went to.

          Most fluent speakers of English here still speak British English, in my opinion. This is because in the USSR, British English RP pronunciation was officially considered “standard”.

          I used to see this written in Soviet English language text books. I have even seen it stated in some Soviet textbooks that US pronunciation is “substandard”.

          I am sure there was a lot of snobbism as regards this matter amongst many Russian learners of English, though. Nevertheless, I have met many Russian teachers of English here, trained in the Soviet system, and students as well, who deride what they describe as the slangy nature of the US vernacular, in that for them it often makes the speech of some US native speakers of English unintelligible.

          These people have very often been brought up on prescribed in the USSR English literature, such as the Agatha Christie novels, the works of H.G.Wells, G.B. Shaw, J. Galsworthy etc. The typical American works of literature that I used to see in the USSR were those of Melville, Twain, O’Henry and Fenimore Cooper, though in the early ’90s I once came across a Russian student struggling through “Catcher in the Rye”, which work, as far as I recall, is not particularly “slangy”.

          Thinking on it now, of all the Russians with whom I have had to converse in English (because I teach them English) over the past 20 years or so, I can only recall one who spoke “American”, and he’d returned from New York, where he had emigrated with his parents a few years previously.

          English language course books are horrendously expensive now and they usually come in sets of three or even four consisting of a course book, a work book, a multi-media activities book, and a glossary etc, together with CDs. For that reason, the Russian social network vKontakte has a site wherein one can find English language course books that have been kindly uploaded by students and teachers — intellectual property rights seem to be a moot point here!

          Check it out if you wish: simply Google “English Books Daily”.

          Be careful, though, because the site is a VK “wall” onto which contributors post; there are other VK walls for lovers of pornography.

          If you do this, you will see that the vast majority of books are British; though there are US TOEFL courses and other course books available specifically for “American English”, most of the books are British publications.

          Many of the books, however, have non-native speakers of English speaking in the audio files, as well as various examples of native speakers of English worldwide.

          As regards my English, I have had to greatly modulate it. When I first arrived here in 1989, I still had a pronounced Northern English accent and few could understand at first what I said: they only knew RP (so-called BBC or Oxford pronunciation) English. In fact, they understood my old pal better, and he spoke then what I call “posh Glasgow”.

          Having said that though, only last year I came across a Londoner here, a businessman, who, after having asked me how long I had been living here, on hearing my reply, remarked: “Well, you’ve certainly not lost your accent after all that time!”

          Posh bugger!

          “It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him” — George Bernard Shaw, preface to “Pygmalion”.

          Shaw was an Irishman, of course!

          See: The power of accents in twenty-first century Britain

    • Warren says:

      There is no “University of London”, University of London is a FEDERATION of colleges, universities, academies and research institutes! Similar to the University of Paris, which is divided into approximately 13 independent universities from Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne to Paris XIII Nord.

      University of London consists of famous colleges such as UCL, KCL and LSE. Not to mention Queen Mary, Goldsmiths, Royal Holloway, London Business School, Royal Academy of Music, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to name but a few more institutions.

      Imperial College was part of the University of London, however it went completely independent in 2007.

    • Warren says:

      “Яшин – конченая мразь”: НТВ показал фильм с интимными видео и прослушкой Касьянова


    • Moscow Exile says:

      Misha, it’s your missus on the ‘phone!

      • marknesop says:

        And she sounds mad.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        What is worse than the trademark “Mark Feygin’s defense”? Now we know the answer – it’s when Kasyanov defends himself!

        GB regime is employing un-consitutional provocations! Actually, the movie shows the “meeting” of two people who “resemble Kasyanov and Pelevina”. RESEMBLE!

        I can’t understand, why Misha 2% and his faithful parasites and cultists are so furious. He have probably increased his popularity in This Country by 2% proving that he is heterosexual after all. With Yashin (who was probably Sobchak’s anal slave) and Naalny (who likes white stuff thrown into his face way too much) “it’s not so obvious” (c). Besides, what’s the better way to honor Boris Nemtsov’s memory than by having some kinky sex while dissing your fellow oppos?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Another one of “Shagger” Nemtsov’s alleged little chickens has only very recently come home to roost:

          У Бориса Немцова объявилась внебрачная дочь

          An illegitimate daughter of Boris Nemtsov has turned up

          Until today it was known that in addition to the four recognized children of Boris Nemtsov (from his first marriage a daughter, Jeanne Nemtsova; from Catherine Odintsova a son, Anton, and a daughter, Dina; from his common-law wife Irina Korolyova, a daughter, Sophia); the politician may possibly also have two illegitimate sons.

          Recall that after the death of the opposition activist, two women — Anna Lesnikova and Yekaterina Iftodi— reported that they had given birth to sons fathered by Boris Nemtsov. Lesnikova claims that Nemtsov’s 17-year-old son Daniel has now grown up and that he and his father look like two peas in a pod. And in April the son of Catherine Iftode Borechke will be two years old. When he was alive, the politician did not admit to his paternity of these children. Their mothers went to the courts in an attempt to make Nemtsov undertake DNA tests and recently went to court, demanding that Nemtsov’s body be exhumed.

          The Politician-Casanova’s Beloved Women — married, unmarried and common law and others and their offspring

          And recently it became known that there is another mysterious contender (in addition to all the known offspring of the politician) who claims an inheritance from Boris Nemtsov — nine-year-old Zlata. Her mother Christina claims that she gave birth to Boris Nemtsov’s child.

          Her lawyer has presented in court Zlata’s birth certificate. In it Zlata is registered as having her mother’s family name, but under “father” in the birth certificate it says “Boris Nemtsov”.

          Which makes me wonder how dedicated to political life really was the Sochi Shagger.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Бабники всех стран, соединяйтесь!

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            A true miracle! Nemtsov makes children even after his death! Hmmm, could it be connected with the fact that his 1 billion US dollar inheritance is now fought over in the courts?

            Nah, just a coincidence!

          • marknesop says:

            Had he never heard of condoms?

            See if you can find any trace of censure in the western press for Boris the handsome rakehell who couldn’t keep his dick in his pants. But you will have no problem finding pieces redolent of lip-curling scorn for Putin the balding, faithless dwarf and his fancy piece of stuff, Alina Kabayeva, or even more recently, Wendy Deng, although there is no evidence I’m aware of that they have even ever met.

            What it boils down to is that the western press, mirror of its masters’ morals, speaks well of those it likes regardless their actual behavior, and it decides who it likes based on how frankly admiring they are of ‘western values’. The west liked Boris, considered him a fine man despite a few…ahh…indiscretions, and it would never occur to western analysts to speculate that his judgment as leader of the world’s largest country might easily be swayed by a zephyr of pussy on the wind. Meanwhile Putin, who doesn’t have time to get laid, is excoriated as a satyr in the press.

            How does anyone seriously expect a system like that to triumph?

        • yalensis says:

          Even though they are heterosexual, it may still be considered dishonorable for a man to be so focused on his anal side.
          Freud would have a field day.

    • Warren says:

    • marknesop says:

      “She says the accusation against her is politically motivated and is a sign the authorities are concerned about renewed opposition activity, after the murder of Boris Nemtsov.”


  14. ucgsblog says:

    And here I thought it was April Fools: https://www.yahoo.com/news/poroshenko-bemoans-timing-dutch-vote-ukraine-225435513–business.html

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Friday bemoaned the timing of an April 6 referendum in the Netherlands on a treaty on closer ties between the European Union and Ukraine saying it comes as Europe is debating its own future. “The real purpose for the internal Dutch discussion is about the future of the European Union and internal political clashes,” Poroshenko told a news conference at the end of a nuclear security summit in Washington. “I think this is very dangerous for a country … to become the victim of this discussion. This is not a timely referendum.”

    It’s like the booze never stops for Petro. Even Yahoo cannot take him seriously anymore… Poroshenko the Bemoaner. It’s dangerous for a country to become a victim of a discussion. Just think about that statement for a moment. Digest it. “It’s dangerous for a country to become a victim of a discussion.”

    Yeah… I can’t. Victim… of a discussion. Poroshenko really kills more brain cells than vodka with his stupidity. Time and time and time again. From an analysis paper that I wrote about Poroshenko after he gave his UN speech:

    “Freedom, peace, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity – Ukraine doesn’t demand more. However, it will not settle for less.”

    Considering that Crimea won’t come back to Ukraine without violence, it’s a bit hard to demand the return of Crimea, (and hence, violence,) and peace, (and hence, lack of violence,) at the same time. You cannot have nonviolent violence, Petro. How much did you have to drink?

    Is every day April Fools in Kiev? No, don’t answer that, otherwise you might become a victim… of a discussion.

    • Cortes says:

      Apologies if posted before. I thought the following article about Ukrainians rebranding themselves as Poles and MENA folks in turn rebranding themselves as Ukrainian rather interesting

      All those empty lands in Ukraine resulting from the Maidan revolution of dignity: one might almost believe it was deliberate.

    • marknesop says:

      “Territorial integrity” does not mean that once the borders of your country are drawn, you may do whatever you want to the citizens contained within it, and count on international pressure to make them shut the fuck up about it. You have to lead as if you want them to voluntarily share and support the national experience. I can recall a time or two in the past – some distant, some more recent – in which members of the United Kingdom thought it might be better to cut loose from the Mother Ship. How did they choose to do that? Well, in Scotland’s case, via a referendum. Was it legal? Sure was. Was there anything short of violence England could have done to make them stay, if the decision had been ‘yes’? Well, it could have tried persuasion and sweeteners, but it was a bit late in the day for that. With Porky, there’s no carrot – it’s all stick, and more stick. And the west backs him, and pretends that everyone in the Donbas and Lugansk is a terrorist.

      Porky’s reputation as a great statesman is secure, no matter how much drunken twaddle comes out of his mouth, because the west chose him as leader over the people it had selected to be the anti-Russians. It cannot admit he is a walking doofus pudding without admitting that it chose poorly. Therefore, he is a great statesman.

      All of our national boundaries are illusory and transient, and require that our leadership at least pretend to a modicum of wisdom and judgment. Any region of any country can, according to international law, secede if it wishes and if it fancies its chances as an independent entity, and can garner enough popular support within its regional boundaries. Witness Quebec. Having agreed to be bound by the results of a province-wide referendum (in the past; there has not been one recently), we could hardly say “We was jes’ funnin’ – stay where you’re at”. There is plenty of precedent. The west just pretends this is something new, the same as it pretends it is perfectly legal for Porky to surround towns with his army and pound the population into submission. If it were Putin doing it to the Donetsk which lies within Russia’s borders, following a declaration on that city’s part that it wished to be associated with Ukraine rather than Russia, you’d soon hear a different song.

  15. Warren says:

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “Ukraine to take foreigner to the Cabinet without Ukrainian citizenship”


        Only in totalitarian USSR and UkrSSR Ukrainians aither ruled or co-ruled their own country. Not anymore! Down with oppressive past! Forward to the Bright Future!

        • marknesop says:

          Quick! Sell all of our land and our companies and enterprises to the foreigners, before the dirty Moskali can stop us!! Then we will work for the foreigners, and they will defend their property [nods smugly].

      • marknesop says:

        Yes, I posted that a day or two ago; Poroshenko already invited him to the cabinet, because they liked the great work he did on improving the Ukrainian economy (?) which I guess is a reframed statement that (a) it would have been even worse without his efforts, or (b) Poroshenko lives entirely in a world of illusion. He has a year to take Ukrainian citizenship, which I believe is a deal he struck allowing him the leeway to bug out at the end of that time without taking Ukrainian citizenship if he can’t ‘fix things’. Once again, a tacit admission that they cannot find anyone in Ukraine they trust to take the job; this is the second foreigner in a row in the post, and strongly suggests that either Jaresko is about to take over the helm as Prime Minister (likely), or give it up as a bad job and go home top America (less likely).

        • Jen says:

          Mikloš is supposed to have turned around Slovakia’s economy during the time he was Finance and Economic Minister (2002 – 2007) by liberalising the economy according to the liberal economic textbook.

          Of course what the Slovak public thinks of the reforms is another thing. The low unemployment levels during the latter half of Mikloš’ time in charge could be as much due to emigration (in search of work) after Slovakia joined the EU and became part of the Schengen zone, as to his reforms.

          Slovakia is one of the poorest countries in the EU.

  16. Warren says:

  17. Warren says:

  18. Lyttenburgh says:

    Fighting erupts between Armenia and Azerbaijan – sources in English and Russian.

    “David Babayan, a spokesman for Nagorno-Karabakh’s separatist president, said a boy of about 12 was killed and two other children wounded in a Grad missile barrage by Azerbaijani forces. He characterized the fighting as the worst since 1994, when a war over the territory ended.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, urged all sides to cease firing and “show restraint,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.


    The Armenian Defense Ministry said Azerbaijan used aircraft, tanks and artillery to try to make inroads into Nagorno-Karabkh and that “Azerbaijani authorities bear all responsibility for the unprecedentedly supercharged situation.”

    The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said the fighting began when Armenian forces fired mortars and large-caliber artillery shells across the front line. Ministry spokesman Vagif Dargyakhly told The Associated Press that more than 120 shots were fired, some of which hit civilian residential areas.

    Dargyakhly also denied a claim by Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan that an Azerbaijani helicopter was downed in the fighting.”

    What the Great and Terrible senator John ‘Senility’ McCain won’t ever tell you, that it’s actually Azerbaijan which fits his “gas station masquerading as a country” meme. Inner politics speaking situation within Azerbaijan is not… nice. Even the West now noticing that there are “dissidents” who are suppressed there. And that Aliev is Erdogan’s faithful fan-boy, constantly begging his Sultanship of more new shiny weapons.

    But the thing is – while all Ukrainian (and some Finninsh) micro-bloggers and commenters were jerking off on the imminent collapse of Russia due to the low oil prices, they’ve failed to notice a herd of petro-state elephants in the room, and Azerbaijan is one of them. Without mentioning the essentials like funding the infrastructure and social spendings with his oil revenues, Aliev also dependent on high oil prices to maintain his rather substantial army. Now, as some commenters imply in the Internetz, he is facing the “use it or loose it” situation. There were warnings about Azeris (with Turkey’s prompting) fucking some shit up in Nagorno-Karabakh since October 2015.

    It still too early to build any assumptions or predictions. As they say in Odessa – “будем посмотреть”.

    • marknesop says:

      Sounds like a nice secure and tranquil source for the Southern Gas Corridor. No wonder the EU prefers it over violent, unpredictable, unreliable Russia.

  19. et Al says:

    Neuters: Russia Eurobond at risk on settlement house sanction nerves

    Western banks interested in helping Russia place a Eurobond this year could back out because the two settlement houses which play a vital technical role in such placements have not yet agreed to handle the paper, several banking sources told Reuters on Friday.

    Two of the sources said the two main settlement houses did not want to run foul of U.S. and European regulators who have advised companies to be careful that dealing with Russian sovereign debt does not violate sanctions on Russia….

    …”The main obstacle for the deal may be the reluctance by the international clearing banks – which may adhere to the U.S. and EU recommendations – to participate,” a source at a Western bank said.

    A second banking source said there was a delay in moving forward with the placement because of a lack of consent from the two settlement houses.

    A third source familiar with the situation said the issue is “tricky” as there are no legal reasons for the banks not to help organise the Eurobond, or for the settlement houses not to agree to clear the paper….

    So sanctions, but no sanctions, but sanctions! It is part of the West’s hybrid war on Russia.

    Just like all the individuals who were placed on the EU’s blacklist winning their cases in the ECJ, the EU simply doesn’t care for what the law says as their dealings are political. The same here is true here.

    The onus is on Western authorities to give cast iron answers to the clearing houses as to whether sorting out the eurobonds is legal. They say yes, but. Talk about having your cake and eating it.

    Russia should ban both Euroclear & Clearstream from Russia for a couple of years and work on an alternative.

    Remember not so long ago, as part of the West’s hybrid war, VISA and others had their operations stopped in Russia? That has been fixed and Russia has several billion € from both that would be forfeit if they ever pulled such a stunt again under pressure from the West. Maybe Russia could do something similar with Euroclear & Clearstream?

    • kirill says:

      I agree 100%. It’s time to hit these fuckers where it hurts, their pocketbooks. If there are any western banks operating in Russia they should be ordered take a hike. I recall Mastercard and Visa not being too happy about the prospect of being banned from the Russian market since they were raking in $20 billion per year from it.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Agreed. Raiffeisen (Austrian) and Unicredit (Italian) – not to mention City Bank (USA) — do a roaring trade here and they’d howl blue murder if they were told to sling their hooks.

    • marknesop says:

      The problem is that Russia announces its intentions in advance, which allows plenty of time for the State Department to ring them up and do some arm-twisting – nice bank you have here; be a shame if something were to….happen to it. Russia should just call them up, offer the business and give them, say, 48 hours to make up their minds – can we do business, or do you not want it? And it really does not make a huge difference, because if Europe will not play ball Russia can get it indirectly through China. But when they try, and fail, it feeds the western propaganda mill and it quickly cites the failed attempt as evidence that sanctions are slowly strangling Russia into submission.

      Europe is such a union of dipshits; the finance sector is, anyway. What do they think publicly musing about the legality of something is, if not an invitation for the US State Department to telephone and say The United States of Exceptionalism will look very disfavourably on anyone who does it?

  20. Warren says:

    Central African Republic abuse: Ban Ki-moon ‘shocked to core’ by bestiality report

    The new reports of abuse were made by the Code Blue campaign run by the advocacy group Aids-free World. The group says the abuse was reported to have happened between 2013 and this week.

    It says the bestiality claims, dating back to 2014, involved a commander with French forces. The girls, one of whom later died of an unknown disease, were each paid 5,000 Central African francs ($8.60; £6), the report says.

    UN human rights chief said the countries of the soldiers reportedly involved – France, Burundi and Gabon – had been notified.


  21. Warren says:

    Since when has April Fools been celebrated or practised in Russia? Is this another example of the Anglicanisation and Anglo-Americanisation/Westernisation of Russian? Is Russian culture, especially Russian culture becoming more and more Anglo-Saxon?

    • Warren says:

      Russian youth culture

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I have always held the opinion that Russians must have copied pace egging (sometimes paste egging) off Lancashire folk.

      Russian Easter eggs:

      As far as I am aware, April Fool’s Day is a Russian spring tradition in Russia, but is known as “Day of Laughter”.

      It is pagan in origin, as are most “Christian” feasts.

      What, after all, has painting eggs and presenting them to friends and relatives got to do with the Romans allegedly killing some Jewish Mister Nice Guy by nailing him to a cross some 2000 years ago?

      Waes hael!

      Now don’t you all forget to smile fixedly at each other whilst expressing the desire that everyone have a “nice day” or a “good one”, and always keep in mind that you should always retaliate first whenever necessary.

    • et Al says:

      It’s fun and supposed to be harmless. I am (sometimes) impressed with the creativity from the Pork Pie News Networks. The common peasants are usually much more creative but don’t have the captive audience, but with clever use of social media, that’s not so true now. I ascribe to pointing the horse towards water. You no longer need to lead…

  22. Warren says:

    • Warren says:

      Putin calls for end to Nagorno-Karabakh clashes

      Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for an end to fighting after clashes broke out in the disputed Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh.


      • marknesop says:

        “Russia, which has sold arms to both sides, called for an immediate ceasefire and for both sides to exercise restraint.”

        What, pray tell, was the motive behind including “which has sold arms to both sides” in that statement? Was it meant to imply hypocrisy on the part of the Russian state? If so, just fuck off, today, BBC. European missile systems company MBDA sold weapons to both sides in the 2011 Libya conflict. Does MBDA have offices in England? Why, yes; yes, it does, at Six Hills Way, in Stevenage. MBDA employs over 10,000 Europeans and is a major supplier of defense hardware and weaponry. You overstuffed hypocritical toads.

        Britain was conspicuously included – along with its brother country The Netherlands – in the list of those countries selling weapons to both sides in Gulf War II, and its ole buddy the USA was an old hand by that time, having sold weapons to both sides in both Gulf Wars. Take your sanctimony and bore it and stroke it and shove it straight up your public-school ass.

        • et Al says:

          Apples and Oranges, innit? Armenia has a defense pact with Russia, hence the stationing of Russian (a couple of) Russian Mig-29 squadrons on Armenian soil, not to mention the other stuff that no doubt goes on.

          Looking at it, yet again it smells of a NATO provocation to draw in and divide Russia’s attention – sic Syria, Ukraine & Nagorno Karabakh. I posted a couple of weeks ago or so that Azerbaidjan had set at 40% defense cut for 2016*, but of course that has not impacted the quite serious defense increase in the last decade or so.

          So, the real question is, why now? I never thought of Aliyev as so confident in his own abilities or intelligence. But this has been building up for a while. Maybe a Sakashiti ‘now or never’ nudge, nudge, wink, wink from the US too before Russia swings its further engorged bollox in favor or Armenia. I’m at a loss at the moment to see any other reason, though there certainly may be some.

          * http://www.janes.com/article/57500/azerbaijan-to-cut-defence-spending-by-40

  23. Warren says:

  24. Warren says:

  25. Warren says:

    • Warren says:

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Who says Putin is Abramovich’s “close friend”?

        Well maybe, at a push, he could be described as being “close” to Abramovich as he has had hold of him by the short and curlies for many years now.

        What was she doing having dinner in a London hospital?

        Bloody Daily Mail!

        Don’t their proofreaders know that when one refers to a position when talking about a small island, one uses the preposition “on”?

        When referring to a larger island such as Britain, one says “in”.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          And another thing, Putin’s command of English is not at that level which is sufficient to conduct a romantic affair with Deng, whose command of Russian is zilch, as is Putin’s fluency in whatever kind of Chinese is Deng’s mother tongue.

          Or maybe he just says to her: “Hi Wendi! Long time no see!”

          • Special_sauce says:

            Animal magnetism, words not reqd. And didn’t Kissinger note: political power is a great aphrodisiac?

          • marknesop says:

            Or maybe they are conducting a passionate steamy affair through the interpreters.

          • Jen says:

            Putin only has to do his Walter Raleigh act to charm Chinese ladies.


            Plus as all-seeing, all-powerful Lord Sauron of Mordor, able to command hundreds of thousands of fighters at the wave of his hand, there is no need for Putin to talk to Wendi Deng: he just hypnotises her with whatever secret powers he has, bend her to his will and she is totally helpless.

            Anyway why would he even bother dating Deng when she thinks Tony Blair is the absolute bee’s knees?

            From Vanity Fair:
            ‘… “Oh, shit, oh, shit,” she wrote. “Whatever why I’m so so missing Tony. Because he is so so charming and his clothes are so good. He has such good body and he has really really good legs Butt . . . And he is slim tall and good skin. Pierce blue eyes which I love. Love his eyes. Also I love his power on the stage . . . and what else and what else and what else” …’

            • marknesop says:

              So a fascination with powerful men on Deng’s part has been translated to a maybe affair with Putin just on the strength of Deng’s preferences? Sounds quite believable given The Daily Mail’s quality of journalism; I shouldn’t be surprised.

    • Special_sauce says:

      Looks like she’s trying to shake loose some critter that’s crept into the pouch created by her bikini and her short and curlies.

  26. Moscow Exile says:

    Mister Two Per Cent and friend.

  27. About the ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Azeri president recently met with Kerry. I have a suspicion that something was agreed there between them. Azerbaijan probably thinks that this is a good opportunity for them to capture the Nagarno-Karabakh from Armenia since Russia is now militarily committed to both Syria and Ukraine. And the USA probably things that this is a good opportunity to draw Russia into another conflict and thus Russia would have less assets to use in Syria and Ukraine.

    This is actually a downside of these so-called frozen conflicts. They can turn back into hot conflicts more easily than wars where the other party was soundly defeated and some kind of a treaty was formed (I don’t consider the Minsk agreement as a “treaty” since nobody actually cares about it, at least from the Ukrainian side).

    If I were a neocon grand strategist of the USA I would probably attempt to “de-freeze” all of these frozen conflicts simultaneously. Have Azerbaijan attack Nagarno-Karabakh with Turkish assistance. Have Georgia attack South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Have Moldova attack Transnistria with Romanian and Ukrainian assistance. Have Ukraine restart an offensive against DPR/LPR with increased Western assistance. And provide serious support for Al-Nusra in Syria to launch an offensive against the Syrian army.

    In this situation Russia would probably have to surrender and give up at least some of these “frozen conflicts” and accept defeat. Russia can handle one or two of them at the same time, but not all of them.

    This is one reason why I think the Minsk agreement was a mistake. The Ukrainian military was given an opportunity to avoid a total defeat. The Ukrainian military was soundly beaten in the August of 2014 and the NAF could have given it a final blow. Instead the ceasefire in Minsk gave Ukraine an opportunity to rearm and learn from its mistakes

    • cartman says:

      Turkey cannot attack NK without going through Armenia. If they attacked Armenia they would be at war with Russia. Also, you are buying too much into propaganda that Russia is “bogged down” in the Donbass. If that were true, then where is the air support? Where are the Russian weapons?

      • Russia does support the Donbass rebels albeit in a limited way. Russia gives them enough support that Kiev cannot beat them militarily, at least up to this point. But Russia does not give Donbass enough support for Donbass to fully liberate itself from Kiev. For this Donbass would need Russia’s aerial support and full military intervention and Russia has not been willing to go this far.

        This is probably why Russia stopped the NAF from taking Mariupol in the Fall of 2014. The NAF would have needed sustained Russian military support to hold Mariupol.

        Speaking of Mariupol, there is a story in Fort-Russ about Mariupol’s airport: http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/04/the-armed-forces-of-ukraine-leave.html

        The junta has been using the airport as a concentration camp for the citizens captured in Donbass. Now the junta military is moving out because they have another location for the concentration camp. The story says that a mass grave of 2,500 people was found near the airport. The people buried there are probably Donbass civilians that the junta has suspected of having contacts or sympathies to Donbass rebels.

      • Another one from Fort-Russ. This is an interview of Pavel Gubarev.

        He speaks about his opinions of various things. I found this particularly interesting:

        “e emphasizes first and foremost that the social explosion in Donbass was led by the actions of a handful of activists who gathered together spontaneously without any movement and whose efforts culminated in the warmer days of March 2014 in the People’s Militia of Donbass.

        The reign of the oligarchs, including the last of their team, Victor Yanukovich, had led an almost complete sterilization of the country’s independent political groups, especially those with a pro-Russian orientation close to the spirit of the author’s Russian (All-Russian) national idea. Organizations such as the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, which Pavel Gubarev represented as a local councilmen for short period of time, were effectively marginalized by financial and administrative factors. They were unwanted competitors of the Party of Regions in the struggle for the votes of the pro-Russian electorate.

        According to Pavel Gubarev, Russophobic “non-governmental organizations” had complete freedom of action thanks to financing from the West. They conducted intensive work among youth with the aims of nationalist or liberal indoctrination. They also worked in Donbass, but there they found themselves on exclusively ungrateful soil. The author estimates that at the moment of the explosion of the Euromaidan, Western NGO’s had an army of 150,000 so-called volunteers, or paid activists, in Ukraine. On the other side there was only the bureaucratic structure of the Party of Regions, the majority of whose “regionals” joined the victorious camp after the first shock. Gubarev describes his impressions of the congress of the Party of Regions in Kharkov on February 22, 2014: “It became obvious that the ‘elite’ organized in the Party of Regions decided not to go up against the competing group which won on the Maidan. Moreover, one could feel their reluctance to fight, their passivity, their weakness, and fear.”

        “Then it became clear to me: no one will protect us except we ourselves,” he summarizes the moment of his decision to participate in the resistance movement.

        What he says is that the Party of Regions led by Yanukovich was never really pro-Russian and it actually repressed real pro-Russian movements in the eastern Ukraine. Then, when Maidan revolution became reality, places like Kharkov were easily put down by the revolutionaries because people were afraid of them. Only Donbass was brave enough to resist.

        He also speaks about Western involvement. The West had thrown lots of money and supports for it’s interests in Ukraine. The Western NGO’s had a free hand to operate in Ukraine (while pro-Russian groups were repressed). Especially the youth were the targets of these NGO’s. The West correctly realized that you can win over a country by winning over it’s most active and aggressive young people. Even if they are a minority they can overthrow the government especially in a weak state like Ukraine. The Bolsheviks did the same in Russia a hundred years ago because they were strong-willed and well-organized, and willing to kill to reach their goals.

        Hopefully the Russians have learned their lesson. Russia kept subsidizing Ukraine with billions of USD annually while the country was being turned into an anti-Russian entity by the western Ukrainian nationalists, Western NGO’s and pro-Western oligarchs. This happened way before the Maidan revolution. It started to happen in the 1990’s and only intensified during the next decades. The Maidan was only the crucial tipping point.

        All this time Russia kept doing business with Ukraine and subsidizing it, while ignoring what the West was doing on the ground roots level. Russia had no means or will do counter the gradual transformation of Ukraine into an aggressive anti-Russian state.

        • marknesop says:

          Russia still wants good relations and a strong trading relationship with Ukraine – they are brother Slavs and Ukraine has the potential to be an important country with good leadership and carefully-planned investment. But it must be purged of its western nationalists first. That’s why I suggest giving the western Ukraine to Poland.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            I was talking to a Russian acquaintance only the other day about Galitsia and of Lvov in particular, whence he had just arrived in Moscow after having been on a business trip there. My acquaintance works for a US based pharmaceutical company.

            My acquaintance told me that most citizens of Lvov are not anti-Russian at all and that it is only a minority there that holds the rest of the city in fear.

            “Yeah, Nazis”, I said. “They have good reason to fear them.”

            Evil bastards!

            • marknesop says:

              Probably true, but I don’t care, or I wouldn’t if it were up to me. Every time there is a conflagration in Kiev as the seat of Ukrainian power, the instigators can count on busloads of agitators from Lviv and Invano-Frankivsk to dash over and put the boot in. Far better to just draw a line downwards from, say, the northeastern border of Rivne to the northeastern border of Chernivtsi, and let the Poles have it. I’m sure they’d be glad to take it, as more land probably translates to more power and influence to them, and they would realize their mistake too late. Marry in haste, they say, and repent at leisure.

              The fascist troublemakers might be a minority, but they are always there and can always be counted upon to make trouble, while it would be extremely difficult or at least require a dedicated effort to identify them all individually and expel them.

    • Jen says:

      @ Karl: the problem with thawing out all these little cold wars and turning them into hot wars is that they have the potential of blowing back on the aggressor nations. Therefore as neocon grand strategist of the US – and I hope at least you photograph better than Victoria Nuland and Robert Kagan – you must offer something to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine that would make it worth their while to attack other countries and risk counter-attack and defeat … and all the problems including government and economic collapse that defeat would cause for their own societies. Is the US so rich that it can afford to finance such wars and promise open-ended long-term support to those countries simultaneously? If the US can’t or won’t underwrite such wars, who else will? The EU will not back Moldova or Ukraine because if their wars fail, Brussels or Berlin will have to deal with the fallout in the form of refugees and collapse in Moldova, Romania and Ukraine.

      Plus in case you’ve not noticed, the US is in an election year and can’t restart any little conflicts that can’t be completed before O’Bomber’s term is finished. The US can’t guarantee that with a change of leaders in Washington, it can continue to support these little wars.

      • “the problem with thawing out all these little cold wars and turning them into hot wars is that they have the potential of blowing back on the aggressor nations. ”

        I disagree. The Atlanticists are safely in their isolated, wealthy and rich islands (North America, Britain and Australia). They can cause wars and havoc in the Eurasian mainland without being affected themselves. In fact it only benefits them to have all these wars in the Eurasian mainland. This is why they are called the “Empire of Chaos”.

        Stupid Eurasian nationalism only benefits the Atlanticists. Ukrainians hating Russians benefits the Atlanticists. So does the Serbs and Croatians hating each other, India and Pakistan hating each other, China and India hating each other, China and Vietnam hating each other, Sunnis and Shias hating each other, Armenians and Azeris hating each other, Georgian nationalists hating Russians, Turkey hating Russia etc. etc.

        This nationalist, racial and religious hatred only causes wars and havoc in the Eurasian mainland and prevents crucial economic development and investment to make Eurasia economically competitive against the West. It directs money and investment away from Eurasian to Atlanticist safe havens in North America and western Europe.

        Hopefully the Chinese-led Silk Road can do something about this.

        But as I said the Atlanticists are safe themselves. All of these “frozen conflicts” are in Russia’s backdoor far away from the Atlanticist islands. Even if these conflicts turn into disasters the West can ignore them and let them be a Russian burden. In fact the West would prefer such an outcome.

        • Jen says:

          The Atlanticists as you say may be safely ensconced in their respective island fastnesses but if they “cause wars” on the Eurasian mainland, that is because Eurasia has what they want. The Atlanticists know that Afghanistan is a treasure trove of rare minerals and Mongolia and central Asia likewise have valuable mineral deposits. They want and need Russia and China out of the way if they are to get access to these deposits.

          Is it not possible that the Atlanticists start and then continue these wars simply because they believe that, having already committed hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of equipment, ordnance and people’s lives in fighting these wars, they should keep throwing away money and valuable lives into these black holes to justify the initial cost and waste? The Atlanticists don’t benefit because they are wasting money which is threatening to topple their own economies. This is why, among other things, the US needs to wean Europe away from relying on Russian gas and to rely on US supplies of LNG instead, without considering that austerity programs in the EU might be suppressing consumer and business demand for gas.

        • Patient Observer says:

          Serbs hating Croats, Ukrainians hating Russians, etc. That is not how it works. There is a struggle between the Empire of Chaos and humanity for lack of a better description. Croatia and Ukraine are puppets of the Empire so the battle you refer to are not parochial spats but actually various fonts of a much larger war. We should all know that by now.

          The West is not resting secure as it dabbles here and prods there like a grad student playing with lab rats. I believe that the West is scared shitless; an economy that makes a house of cards look like the pyramid of Giza, spontaneous color revolutions, a major defeat in Syria, a failed Ukraine project, a failing economic attack on Russia and last but not least, a more assertive China.

      • ” you must offer something to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine that would make it worth their while to attack other countries”

        You have to remember that these countries, like Turkey, are run by the nationalists (well, maybe not Moldova but the rest). And all of them have anti-Russian governments/regimes in power.

        They would LOVE to try to re-conquer these territories that they consider theirs. They don’t need any outside “motivation” for this. The only thing that holds them back is a fear of Russia’s response, especially after how Russia responded against Saakashvili in 2008.

        If these countries would believe that, with Western support, they could defeat Russia with a simultaneous and organized attack against these contested territories currently controlled by Russia or pro-Russian separatists they would probably try it.

        This is Eurasia’s weakness compared to the West. The West doesn’t have all these ancient hatreds and wars anymore. The French, Germans and the British used to fight countless of wars against each other, but currently a war between them is unthinkable.

        The Eurasian continent should be able to go through a similar process, but it is especially difficult with all these nationalist governments and radical religious islamists leading a big part of Eurasian landmass.

        • marknesop says:

          If you were president of one of these countries, and the United States of Exceptionalism told you that it would be a good idea to attack your frozen-conflict other half because your chances of recapture and complete capitulation were good, although the formerly-mentioned US of E could not give you any direct help (lest somebody blab that it was all a Washington plot), but that it would be all right because Russia would be too busy spinning from besieged side to besieged side…would you believe them? How about if you were president of Georgia, where they did actually have direct US help and still were routed thoroughly in just a couple of days? In fact, the west screamed that Russia was invading Georgia, because the Russian army chased the fleeing Georgians right past the boundaries of the frozen-conflict republics. They would have been having supper in Tbilisi.

          In fact, any leader of such a hopeful country would be wise to review his history, and note how many times Washington has coaxed insurgencies to life by seeming to promise it will ride to the rescue once the revolution kicks off, but then saying instead that it had to stay home and wash its hair, and the insurgents took a pasting. The Hungarians, the Kurds and the Georgians, to name three, although you can blame hothead Saakashvili for the last one (although he did believe in his heart of whatever organ he has in place of a heart that Uncle Sam would come to save the day) more than Washington.

        • Jen says:

          At the end of the day, the people governing Azerbaijann, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine are looking out for their own interests. They are nationalists only if and when they decide to play the nationalist card. Even the ruling elite in Ukraine uses neo-Nazis and the language of Banderism when they want their dirty work done by others who can then be scapegoated for it.

          Saakashvili invaded South Ossetia because he was led to believe that if Russia retaliated with force, the US would promptly send in reinforcements to help his army. The US apparently made what Saakashvili considered a promise, if he sent armed units to assist in the US-led Coalition occupation of Iraq. Saakashvili relied on the US to come good if Russia walloped his forces, in invading South Ossetia.

          Likewise, the ruling Aliev family in Azerbaijan would not try to retake Nagorno-Karabakh unless it believed the benefit of doing so outweighs the risk. By now Ilham Aliev should know that there are Russian forces stationed in the Caspian Sea monitoring the situation in Syria. If it is easy for Russian ships in the Caspian Sea to fire missiles at ISIS in Syria or Iraq, and for Russian fighter jets near St Petersburg to do round trips around western Europe and into the Mediterranean to shoot down ISIS and their friends and then fly over the Caspian region in a matter of hours, how easy would it be for Russia to wallop Azerbaijani forces encroaching on NK territory?

          • marknesop says:

            It’s perfectly true that a lot of Georgians believed the USA would come to their aid even if they started a fight with their breakaway provinces; they had seen enough instances of America coming in on the side of whoever served its interests, rather than who was the victim of aggression, to be a little cynical. I also believe the Georgian government had hinted that this would be the case, because its megalomaniac leader had assumed the role of psychic seer. But all that notwithstanding, the New York Times (if you want to believe them, and you could be excused for not doing so as they have been caught lying plenty of times) reported on August 13th, 2008 that Washington ‘warned Saakashvili early last month’ not to get into a military conflict with Russia that Georgia could not win. So if that was true he had been told in early July not to escalate the conflict. You’d expect even a dunce like Saakashvili to be able to remember for that long. It’s much more likely, given his incredible arrogance and sense of entitlement, that he simply assumed he knew better, or that they were giving him a ‘coded signal’ – don’t do it, wink, wink, but do it.

            “The paper quoted a senior administration official as saying that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Saakashvili at a dinner in Tbilisi on July 9 that “he had to put a non-use-of-force pledge on the table” in negotiations over the separatist enclaves.

            The Times added that “right up until the hours before Georgia launched its attack late last week in South Ossetia, Washington’s top envoy for the region, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried, and other administration officials were warning the Georgians not to allow the conflict to escalate.”

            Although the article appeared in the Asia Times, it is a reprint from RFE/RL.

            Perhaps the critical difference between that instance and now was that Medvedev was in charge in 2008, and is not now. I don’t mean to imply he was not an effective leader in that conflict, because he was, and if the tales are to be believed he and Putin did not speak to discuss it for the first 24 hours or more. Therefore, if true, the first reactions would have been Medvedev’s, and he did not hesitate. But Putin would have been prepared before it even happened, while his reputation might have been enough to deter both Saakashvili and his western backers from trying such a rash action. Putin is known as a decisive man who will unhesitatingly do what has to be done, while the west may have talked itself into believing Medvedev was a squishy liberal who would hesitate long enough for international arbiters to take a hand, pronounce the Georgians victorious, and whisk a re-formed Georgia into NATO while the Russians were still blinking in surprise, while the UN laid down a smokescreen of made-up ‘international law’ to keep them busy. Obviously, they made a big mistake, but at decision time it might not have looked as it does with the advantage of hindsight.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          The Germans and British have not fought countless wars against each other.

          Firstly, there was no Germany before 1871. Before that the UK was often allied with Prussia against Austria, Russia, Sweden, and various Austrian empire German allies such as the Kingdom of Saxony, Bavaria etc.

          The UK, and, before 1704, England, used to have regular barnies with France, though.

          All matches played away.

  28. Warren says:

  29. Warren says:

    Published on 22 Mar 2016
    Despite a concerted effort by the U.S. Empire to snuff out the ideology, a 2016 poll found young Americans have a much more favorable view of socialism than capitalism.

    Though he died 133 years ago, the analysis put forward by one of the world’s most influential thinkers, Karl Marx, remains extremely relevant today. The Empire’s recent rigged presidential election has been disrupted by the support of an avowed socialist, Bernie Sanders, by millions of voters.

    To find out why Marx’s popularity has stood the test of time, Abby Martin interviews renowned Marxist economist Richard Wolff, Professor Emeritus of Economics at UMass – Amherst, and visiting professor at the New School in New York.

    Prof. Wolff gives an introduction suited for both beginners and seasoned Marxists, with comprehensive explanations of key tenets of Marxism including dialectical and historical materialism, surplus value, crises of overproduction, capitalism’s internal contradictions, and more.

  30. Warren says:

  31. Warren says:

    • marknesop says:

      “Wisconsin has suffered a great loss of jobs and trade, but if I win, all of the bad things happening in the U.S. will be rapidly reversed!”

      A typical ‘promise anything you have to, just get the rubes to the polls’ statement. No elaboration at all on how he intends to restore Wisconsin’s lost jobs; just a blanket statement that he will make everything great again.

      • Jen says:

        It’s actually not in Donald Trump’s interest to release any information on how he will restore lost jobs to Wisconsin or any other state, in case the Klintonator’s camp tries to discredit his plans or claim them as its own.

  32. Nat says:

    In case you guys are not in the know, today at 8 pm CET time (around 5 hours from now), OCCRP has promised to release material on Putin and Russia that would “rock the world” according to them. They even advised Peskov to adapt his schedule because he will likely have very little sleep tonight. So stay tuned to whatever BS is coming.

    • kirill says:

      The psy-op campaign is on. Murdered 5th column journalists (of course by the “regime” and not by their NATzO handlers). Likely corruption “revelations”, etc.

    • Warren says:

    • Warren says:

      Info on OCCRP – usual suspects finance this agitation and propaganda outfit.


      • et Al says:

        i>The leaked documents come from the files of Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm that registered some of the Roldugin companies and helped administer the network’s holdings in the British Virgin Islands and other offshore havens.

        Leaked my ass. Either stolen or more likely fabricated and placed.

        For all the ‘evidence’ they have, there seems to be some quite significant equivocations, ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’.

        It’s inconceivable, though, that the network could have existed without the knowledge and support of Putin, said Karen Dawisha, a U.S. political scientist who has written extensively about Putin and his regime.

        Oh, yes! Where have we heard of Karen Dawisha before? Yup, she’s the bullshit monger extraordinare who even has a book out on Putin’s corruption.

        What a circle jerk.

        • et Al says:

          I do have to question the thinking of the US intelligence agencies who are probably behind this. Now explain to me WTF would Russia cut the USA any slack or do it any favors. This is bridge burning pure and simple. Or is it the belief that “Russia is on its knees and is desperate to do a deal with the West”? Stupid Mofos.

      • marknesop says:

        Add it to the revelation that Drew Sullivan is a former standup comedian, and I think that’s a wrap.

    • et Al says:

      I think he is he same guy who claims his ‘independent group’ is being targeted by the Serbian government backed ‘Informer’ gossip/scandal newspaper:

      KRIK: Smear Campaign Against KRIK

      Drew Sullivan, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)

      “While Informer’s attack stories in the past have been basically empty, anonymous charges, the latest stories have very disturbing information that appears to come from state intelligence or law enforcement sources”, writes Drew Sullivan, editor and co-founder of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a network which KRIK is a part of. “These investigations brought strenuous attacks from Informer but nothing with any substantial information. But when KRIK dared look at Vucic and his family, it was immediately attacked using what may be government-collected data. It may be that Vucic is using the power of the state to try to crush independent media looking too closely at corruption allegations”, Sullivan noted.

      Balkan Insight: Serbia’s Tabloid Attack Dog Serves Powerful Masters

      So a US funded ‘independent group’ is whinging about a government taking interest in their work for foreign governments. How dare they!

        • Moscow Exile says:

          De rigueur picture of “Putin’s Palace” included as an inset to this shocking exposé, I see.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          RuNet is ashamed of Putin. How?! HOW?! A president with stable rating of 85% support has only $2 billions – that’s only more than Poroshenkos and dead Nemtsovs $1 billion.

          OTOH – seriously? This is your world-shattering reveal? After BBC’s $40 billions – only 2? What – Crook and Thief Putin (ПЖИВ) are stealing from himself?

          Like a cold shower. These ANALytics won’t topple the Regime.

          P.S. And Russians themselves?

          • marknesop says:

            I should damned well think so, too. Wasn’t Putin rumored to be the richest man in Europe? Donald Trump’s net worth is more than twice maybe-Putin’s alleged possible potential could-be $2 Billion. How is Putin supposed to hold his head up in such company? I could see where Billary might be jealous, their net worth is a puny $110 million, so you can probably expect Mrs. Clinton to take “Putin’s Billions” very very seriously. I think Porky Poroshenko has fallen off the Billionaires list of late, mostly due to the depreciated cash value of his fortune, but he was worth an alleged $1.6 Billion in 2013, before the glorious Maidan turned Kiev’s streets to gold and the heirs to Kievan Rus went dancing on winged feet into the European Union. So somehow after that triumph, he is worth less, I’m not sure how that worked. Forbes and other sites, without the slightest hint of irony or mockery, list the source of his wealth as “Confectionery; self-made”…in the most corrupt country in Europe. In which he is a working businessman as well as President.

          • Jen says:

            Ah but we’re supposed to believe that Putin hides his $40 billion (and rising) fortune in a bunch of offshore shell companies and trusts taken out in the names of other people and organisations.

        • marknesop says:

          Could be. Some say. Maybe. Full of the usual qualifiers. This from the nation that laundered $40 Billion through the Russian mob in the 90’s. Yawn. I hope Peskov didn’t stay up for it.

          • Nat says:

            They literally have a sentence that goes ” It possibly suggests that perhaps …”. I think the real scandal here is WHO STOLE $38 Billions from VVP?!

            • et Al says:

              Guess who writes up ‘PUTIN 38 BILLION DOLLARS POORER THATN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT!’ piece for the Groaning Man?

              None other than plagarist and expert hack job artist, Puke Farting, No comments allowed of course.

              Anyways, here’s law firm Mossack Fonseca’s official response:


              …With regards to some of the allegations, we would like to comment as follows:

              Tax evasion and avoidance: we strongly disagree with any statement implying that the primary function of the services we provide is to facilitate tax avoidance and/or evasion.

              Due diligence on clients: approximately 90% of our clientele is comprised of professional clients, such as international financial institutions as well as prominent law and accounting firms, who act as intermediaries and most of them are regulated in the jurisdiction of their business.

              Most of the persons mentioned by you are not our clients nor do they appear in our database as persons related to the companies we formed. Due diligence procedures were carried out in accordance with the laws in place at the time the companies and cases you made reference to were incorporated and in existence.

              A significant percentage of our clients are banking institutions, trust companies, lawyers, and accountants who are also obliged to perform due diligence on their clients.

              Politically exposed persons (PEPs): we have duly established policies and procedures to identify and handle those cases where individuals either qualify as PEPs or are related to them. As per our risk based approach, PEPs are considered to be high-risk individuals. PEPs do not have to be rejected just for being so; it is just a matter of proper risk analysis and administration.

              Sanctions lists and convicted criminals: our company does not foster or promote unlawful acts.

              We have our own procedures in place to identify such situations, to the extent it is reasonably possible. Once these types of situations are identified, we routinely discontinue the provision of our services.

              The time it takes for us to resign as registered agent from the involved companies varies depending on our internal procedures and the regulations of the respective country or jurisdiction. Sometimes the authorities require the registered agent not to file any resignation in order to prevent obstructing their investigation. …

              …Allegations that we provide shareholders with structures supposedly designed to hide the identity of the real owners are completely unsupported and false.

              We will not answer any questions related to private information regarding our company founding partners as we do not see the public interest behind said inquiries. Likewise, we will not make any reference to the statistics and other “factual” information about numbers and amounts since they are far from being accurate. In relation to our asset management company, same does not have the capacity by law to use, move, or dispose of in any way their clients’ money….

              …It appears that you have had unauthorized access to proprietary documents and information taken from our company and have presented and interpreted them out of context. We trust that you are fully aware that using information/documentation unlawfully obtained is a crime, and we will not hesitate to pursue all available criminal and civil remedies.

              Kind regards

              Carlos Sousa

              Public relations director

              Mossack Fonseca & Co. (Panama)…

              The usual lawyer stuff, but there is the loded latent threat of a giant sueball. It says tread carefully for here be dragons.

              Now that would be perfect! I would love to see those super intelligent journalists dragged before a judge to explain exactly why they wrote what they wrote and how it can be reasonably attributed based on the evidence…

    • marknesop says:

      I can’t wait. I hope that hottie Wendy Deng will be in it.

  33. et Al says:

    Neuters: Russia says reports on U.S.-Russian deal on Assad’s fate are ‘dirty leaks

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday dismissed as “dirty leaks” reports on an alleged agreement between Russia and the United States on the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    “Our American partners cannot publicly call into question this formula that … only the people of Syria decide all the questions about the future of Syria,” Lavrov told a news conference.

    “And in these dirty leaks which distort reality we obviously see Washington’s inability to force some of its allies in the region and in Europe … to give the Syrian people a sovereign right to decide their destiny as well as who will be their leader,” Lavrov added…

    How undiplomatic! Not that we know that Kerry and his acolytes are a big, fat liars! 😉

    An answer a couple of days later, though they should have skotched this more or less immediately. There’s plenty of bs that the US pumps out that can be ignored, but this is not one.

    As posted on the 29th of March:


    Neuters: CIA head in Moscow this month, discussed Assad leaving power – RIA

    The director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency raised the issue of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad leaving power when he visited Moscow at the start of March, RIA news agency said on Monday, citing the U.S. Embassy in Russia.

  34. et Al says:

    Al Beeb s’Allah GONAD (God’s Own News Agency Direct): Russian journalist Dmitry Tsilikin found dead in St Petersburg

    Noted Russian journalist Dmitry Tsilikin has been found stabbed to death in his flat in St Petersburg.

    Mr Tsilikin, 54, was found on Thursday evening after friends and family had been unable to contact him.

    His mobile phone and computer are missing. Police have opened a murder inquiry…..

    …Mr Tsilikin had reportedly just returned from a trip to the Latvian capital, Riga…



    • kirill says:

      Another Litvinenko, Politkovskaya psy-op by NATzO. Watch the stink over this incident vs. the total quiet on the case in Bandara-tard-land where a defense attorney was abducted, tortured and murdered for daring to defend “Russian agents”.

    • Oddlots says:

      I came across this recently:


      A useful piece to read if one needs to keep one’s cynicism calibrated to a suitable level. (As I do. The happy talk always seems to gradually dampen the horror of realizing just how vicious this class of people really are.)

      “By 16 November, the US Consulate in Medan was reporting that “much indiscriminate killing is taking place”. “Something like a reign of terror against PKI is taking place. This terror is not discriminating very carefully between PKI leaders and ordinary PKI members with no ideological bond to the party”. A British official reported on 25 November that “PKI men and women are being executed in very large numbers”.

      By mid December the State Department noted approvingly that “Indonesian military leaders’ campaign to destroy PKI is moving fairly swiftly and smoothly”. By 14 February 1966 Ambassador Green could note that “the PKI has been destroyed as an effective political force for some time to come” and that “the Communists…have been decimated by wholesale massacre”.”

      If one is sceptical of so called “conspiracy” theories then ask yourself this. If these are official records and there are countless other instances of the West pursuing similarly undefendable policies all around the world for years, similarly documented in unsealed official documents, you have to answer me this: why would this have ever stopped?

      What was that Chou En Lai quip when asked: “What do you think of Western civilization?”

      Chou en Lai: “I think it would be a good idea.”

      I think of that whenever some cretin makes reference to western “values.”

    • marknesop says:

      With his Anna Politkovskaya Signature Model dagger. Except she was shot. But you know what I mean.

  35. Warren says:

  36. Oddlots says:

    Wow. These are the two most informative articles I think I’ve ever read about the Middle East.

    And 0f course at the heart of it all is an evil Brit. Kim Philby’s father no less.

    “St. John Philby was a man on the make: he had determined to make his friend, Abd al-Aziz, the ruler of Arabia. Indeed, it is clear that in furthering this ambition he was not acting on official instructions. When, for example, he encouraged King Aziz to expand in northern Nejd, he was ordered to desist. But (as American author, Stephen Schwartz notes), Aziz was well aware that Britain had pledged repeatedly that the defeat of the Ottomans would produce an Arab state, and this no doubt, encouraged Philby and Aziz to aspire to the latter becoming its new ruler.”



    • yalensis says:

      That is actually very interesting.
      Kim Philby had a complicated relationship with his father, who had converted to Wahhabi Islam and considered himself the heir to Lawrence of Arabia.

      After defecting to the Soviet Union, Kim later wrote that his father never knew that his son(=Kim) was a Soviet spy. But that, had he known, he probably would have been understanding. He (the father) also being a maverick against the British establishment, but obviously on the other side of the class line.

      It was the Arabist dad who named his son “Kim”, after the Kipling character.
      The idea of colonianism and “going native” was an irresistable one to the dad.

      Kim himself did not inherit any politics from his dad. But he did inherit a full contempt for the British class system and government. And perhaps a lingering sympathy for colonized natives.

  37. Warren says:

    This may be of interest to you Mark, as you conduct your own research on corruption and criminality in the West. Russophobes are always quick to label Russia and Russian companies as being corrupt, yet these same sanctimonious Russophobes ignore the corruption and criminality of Western corporations. It will be interesting to see if the US will sanction and penalise the US and foreign companies accused of bribing to win foreign government contracts and trade deals?


    In the list of the world’s great companies, Unaoil is nowhere to be seen. But for the best part of the past two decades, the family business from Monaco has systematically corrupted the global oil industry, distributing many millions of dollars worth of bribes on behalf of corporate behemoths including Samsung, Rolls-Royce, Halliburton and Australia’s own Leighton Holdings.

    Now a vast cache of leaked emails and documents has confirmed what many suspected about the oil industry, and has laid bare the activities of the world’s super-bagman as it has bought off officials and rigged contracts around the world.


    • marknesop says:

      Indeed I am interested – thanks for such a great reference! When will people learn that information disclosed in email is never really gone? Even if you destroy the computer that originated it by pounding it to dust, there remain the message you sent to the addressee plus all potential forwarded copies. Why would anyone commit real secrets to email?

    • Oddlots says:

      On corruption:

      “Now an excellent piece of digging by two Bloomberg reporters, Donal Griffin and Joe Brennan, takes the story forwards with a tale about Vneshprombank Ltd., a Moscow financial institution that has just had its banking licence revoked after Russian regulators found a $2.5 billion hole in its balance sheet, and a related Irish special purpose vehicle called VPB Funding Ltd.

      “The Irish capital, home of Europe’s costliest banking meltdown, remains a hub for the sort of opaque operations that contributed to the global financial crisis, threatening risks that policy makers are seeking to stamp out.

      “There’s concern that Irish SPVs are exporting risk to other financial systems around the world and could have contagion effects,’’ said Shaen Corbet, a lecturer in finance at Dublin City University.“

      This Bloomberg graph at the link has got to be seen to be believed:


      Now, of course, it’s to the Russian regulators credit that they identified this and shut it down at the Russian end.

      So now I am going to hold my breath until someone in the rest mutters a word of praise.

      (Goodbye cruel world.)

    • Oddlots says:

      Sorry to disappoint… Coming up for air to post this:


      Just worth noting the dogs not barking…

  38. Warren says:

    • Moscow Exile says:

      So it seems that Peskov and the rest of the Kremlin team had an idea this was coming when they announced the imminent onset of a mass media slur campaign.

      I am sure they did, if so many media organizations have been beavering away world wide on this story.

      I can’t understand why Tintin wasn’t in on the act, though, super-sleuth investigative reporter and Kremlin scourge that he is.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        The former Putin dacha is really a modest one. I can’t see why they have included this building as evidence of the Evil One’s misdeeds.

        Now here’s a well known person’s modest little dwelling:

        No ifs and buts and maybes about who owns that place: it’s Porky Poroshenko’s modest Kiev cottage.

        It’s small, but the Porkies call it home!

        • Jen says:

          No mansion or castle is big enough to fit Porky’s physical and egotistical dimensions.

          Not big enough!

          Nope, this doesn’t pass muster either!

          No way, Jose!


      • Warren says:

        Tintin had to stick his oar in – he didn’t want to be left out.

      • Jen says:

        ” … I can’t understand why Tintin wasn’t in on the act, though, super-sleuth investigative reporter and Kremlin scourge that he is …”

        Those Panama Papers are a plagiarist’s dream and the revenue from syndication would pay for the warehouse storage of Tintin’s previous and current titles for another couple of years at least while they’re mouldering away.

    • Oddlots says:

      The funniest point about this is the idea floated that the number of news entities involved should give this some Cred.

      Aren’t they all pretty much owned and controlled by, what, around six corporate entities worldwide?

      Just curious: is this more or less than the – minimum – 31 flavours of Jihad on display in Syria? If so, those jihadis are surely not going to meet their targets for the quarter. They need to merge.

      Or am I missing the point?

      • marknesop says:

        Ha, ha!! No, I think that’s a good point, and once again I am thankful for the focused thinkers who comment here. Any one of us now has a powerful argument against the validity of this latest exercise in silliness, just from the contributions of his or her fellows to the collective reasoning.

  39. Moscow Exile says:

    В МИД России предложили Украине ввести санкции против New York Times

    The Russian Foreign Ministry has proposed that the Ukraine impose sanctions against the New York Times

    The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, has responded to statements made by Poroshenko about an article in the New York Times. She has proposed that Kiev require that the publication be included in a sanctions list.

    The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, commented on the statement of the President of the Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, about an article in The New York Times, who called it part of a “hybrid war”.

    “Now it remains for Kiev to demand the inclusion of the New York Times in some sanctions list. Or is America too good for that?” Zakharov wrote in her Facebook page.

    On 31 March, the New York Times published an article criticizing Poroshenko’s politics. It said that “Poroshenko, as a product of the old political system, obviously, allows the continuation of corrupt practices in the country to remain in politics”.

    “But the president, the prime minister and parliament should be aware that neither the IMF nor the donor countries, including the US, are going to throw money into a ‘morass of corruption'”, stated the article.

    Poroshenko, commenting on this New York Times publication, saw in it signs of a “hybrid war”. “I should like to comment clearly on the fact that today against the Ukraine there is being waged a hybrid war, including mechanisms for the dissemination of information to discredit the Ukrainian state”, Poroshenko has been quoted as saying during his visit to the US by “Ukraine Pravda”.

    I’ve got my beady eye on you, you porcine pillock!

    • marknesop says:

      Ha, ha!! Good one, Masha – you are funnier than Rogozin, even!

    • Jen says:

      Porky Pig is too hard to miss, to need to keep a gimlet eye on him, and Zakharova would only end up enraging the pig fancier on the other side of the Atlantic pond.

    • yalensis says:

      Corrections to translation:
      Теперь Киеву осталось требовать включения New York Times в какой-нибудь санкционный список. Лучше американский. Или уже?

      “Now it only remains for Kiev to demand the inclusion of the New York Times in some kind of sanctions list. Preferably American (sanctons list).”

    • Patient Observer says:

      Is she dating Putin?

  40. et Al says:

    On the Nagorno-Karabakh thing, has anyone else spotted the Azeris getting themselves mixed up?

    First they claim that it woz the Armenians who started it.
    Then they say they captured strategic territory on the border*
    Now they say they have ‘announced’ a ceasefire.

    Um, it’s one thing to start lobbing shells and casually firing off large numbers of GRADs, but to take territory, i.e. with soldiers requires someone senior, an officer or higher to give the order. How exactly does that square with the ‘we were attacked first’ message? It just doesn’t.

    * …Baku said it took under its control several strategic points on the border, from which villages on the Azeri side could be threatened by Armenian forces. The sites are currently being fortified by the military, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said.

    The Armenian Defense Ministry has rejected the Azerbaijani claims, saying that they “don’t correspond to reality.”

    “The Armenian Defense Ministry officially states that information distributed by Azeri media that Azerbaijani armed forces allegedly captured several settlements on the territory of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and that losses of the Armenian side amount to dozens in military hardware and hundreds in manpower is blatant disinformation,” the ministry said in a statement…

    BTW. WTF?



    Hawaii State House Speaker apologizes for resolution on Nagorno-Karabakh

  41. Moscow Exile says:

    On Ru.net there is no blitzing yet by outraged Russian Russia/Putin haters, kreakly, “oppositionists”, hired hacks etc.

    See: http://ramst11.livejournal.com/1845045.html

    And the people who comment on that site are no great lovers of “the regime”.

    One tweet reads:

    Judging by what has been written, there is not one item of evidence that the specified offshore accounts either belong to or are controlled by Putin. There are only suppositions.

    And at the bottom of the above linked site it reads:

    Yet in January there was $40 billion? He has became poor — is that the bombshell?

    The authors note that over 400 journalists and 100 publications took part In the investigation, which lasted more than a year, and that the work proceeded in 80 countries.
    Yes, and they must have paid just as much in journalists’ fees, if not more.

    • Nat says:

      Main sentence of the report: “Nowhere in the Mossack Fonseca files is the name of the Russian president actually mentioned”. After 1 year of research, 400 journalists, 100 media, AND NOTHING.

      • Fern says:

        Ah, Nat, you’re overlooking what we mathematicians call the Harding formulae which is calculated as:-

        Putin’s wealth is as great as the wealth of any person you care to name.

        Because anyone who’s happened to be on planet Earth at the same time as Putin is only holding their wealth in trust for Putin. Here’s the man behind the formulae to explain it in his own inimitable way:-

        Though the president’s name does not appear in any of the records, the data reveals a pattern – his friends have earned millions from deals that seemingly could not have been secured without his patronage.
        The documents suggest Putin’s family has benefited from this money – his friends’ fortunes appear his to spend.


        So there you have it. I’m lucky – Donald Trump is holding billions on my behalf.

        • marknesop says:

          This is steadily getting worse – first the president’s ill-gotten fortune has plummeted from $40 Billion to a lousy $2 Billion…and now not even all that is his, he has to share it with all his friends who are just holding on to it for him until he’s done being president. Which he continues to press on with because it brings him so much international acclaim, when instead he could be tooling around the world with Kabaeva at his side, enjoying being almost a billionaire.

        • Cortes says:

          Excellent (in a Charles Gray mellifluent purr)!

    • Patient Observer says:

      Close persona friend of Putin

      Widely known as one of the world’s better cellists, Roldugin has been close to Putin since the 1970s, when the future president worked in the Soviet KGB. Documents show Roldugin owned three shell companies, two of which were funded by a Russian organ that the U.S. government calls “Russia’s ‘personal bank for senior officials.’” Through those companies, Roldugin appears to hold significant shares of Kamaz, Russia’s largest truckmaker, and a major state media corporation.”

      “Appears” is the new “probably” – a convenient way to make a claim without evidence which is sufficient for true russophobes. Gotta keep their spirits up in these challenging times! I can’t connect the dots between “appears” that Roddugin, may hold “significant” shares in Kamaz and Putin who is a “pesona” friend.

      BTW, what is a “Russian organ”? I am fearful to Google the term.

      Actually, a US Congressman of some repute slapped me on the back in a friendly way many years ago and said that I should let him know if there is anything he could do for me. Ignoring the fact that he said the same thing to about 50 other people that day, I regard him as a person friend which means that there is an implied linkage in financial dealings. The fact that there has been no further communications in many years only proves that the relationship is hidden from public scrutiny, which, of course, creates the appearance of unsavory deals probably involving the transfer of billions of dollars to hidden bank accounts.

      • marknesop says:

        “Appears” still needs to be defended – appears from what? Is there evidence which suggests the conclusion is inescapable? I submit there is nothing like that. To use the term “appears” suggests there is something which visibly supports the conclusion – it appears from the lowering overcast that it will rain this afternoon. But you cannot simply enslave an ‘appearance’ to a personal wish that what you say be true.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        BTW, what is a “Russian organ”?

        Often called a “Stalin Organ” by fearful Fritzes.

  42. Cortes says:

    A sober assessment that the RF, having digested the lessons contained in NATO’s expansion, is making the military adjustments it deems prudent.


  43. ThatJ says:

    The Panama Papers have nothing on Western European politicos, except:

    1) Iceland’s PM, who no longer wants Iceland in the EU
    2) Britain’s Conservatives & Cameron relatives, who may get Britain out of the EU

    And some low key Maltese and Greek politicos.

    From Zero Hedge:

    And then, at the bottom of the Panama Papers disclosure site we again find Open Society which, as everyone knows, is another name for George Soros.


    Besides Soros, USAID (= the US government) is also an sponsor.

    • ThatJ says:

      The newspaper that leaked the documents to the public, Suddeutsche Zeitung, is firmly integrated in the transatlantic network.

      This leak is a blitz by the open border, anti-sovereignty globalists. Soros and the US government play for the same team. We need Trump urgently to do some house cleaning. The neocons are jumping ship and supporting Hillary instead of the Republican Trump, which is very telling… unless you are aware of their origins in the left as “former” Trotskyites who didn’t like that the left in the 60s was taking aim at Israel. They support the leftist agenda for the West (which they helped to create & spread) — but Israel should not be held to the same standards.

      Trotsky’s associates in the US did to that country what they failed to do with Russia. Now they are exporting the revolution.

      [b]Trotsky, Stalin, & the Cold War:
      The Historic Implications & Continuing Ramifications of the Trotsky-Stalin Conflict[/b]

  44. Warren says:

    Kim Philby, British double agent, reveals all in secret video

    A previously unseen video of one of Britain’s most infamous spies describing his career as a Soviet agent has been uncovered by the BBC.


    • Patient Observer says:

      Some say he was a triple agent.

      • yalensis says:

        Triple agent? No way!
        Kim’s true fealty was to Moscow and the Comintern.

      • Warren says:

        So which third country was Philby alleged to have spied for?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          The UK.

          A triple agent pretends to be a double agent for one side, whilst he is truthfully a double agent for the other side.

          He was double-dog dealing those dumb Russkies!

          That is, apparently, what the Soviets thought for a while:

          [KGB] files record Philby’s own disillusionment with Moscow during the 1939-41 Nazi-Soviet pact and show that for 18 months, from 1942 to 1943, his Russian controllers believed he was a triple agent working for Britain.

          See: New Book Explodes Philby Myth — Moscow Times, Oct. 20 1994.

          • Warren says:

            If Philby was really working for the MI6 all along and playing the Soviets for fools – then why did he run to Moscow? What that all part of the elaborate ruse in order to ingratiate himself further with the Soviets? How could Philby report back to his real handlers at six while living in Moscow and presumably under 24 hour KGB watch?

            If Philby really was a triple agent, why didn’t six exfiltrate him as they had done with Oleg Gordievsky?

            I don’t believe Philby was a triple agent, its too fanciful.

            • Patient Observer says:

              He may have been a 2.5 agent:)
              Philby was feeding information to Moscow that purported Tito was effective at killing Nazis in Yugoslavia and that Draza Mihailovic was collaborating with the Nazis. As we know today, Tito was an invention of Britain and groomed to lead Yugoslavia after the defeat of Germany. Philby’s intent was to reduce the risk that the Soviet Union would not support Tito in a post-war Yugoslavia. Perhaps he was an unwitting dupe of the British or he was witting. But, he was clearly important in the British subterfuge regarding Tito. The Soviets had their doubts about Tito but Philby’s “communist credentials” helped sway their decision in favor of Tito.

              Just as a reminder, Tito’s well-paid role was to suppress any quest for justice regarding the Vatican’s genocide of Serbs. Srebrenica is simply the latest effort to vilify the Serbs. Honestly, I do not think that there is another ethnic group more demonized than the Serbs in western media. Heck, we have the US State Department going wobbly on ISIS but they have nothing to malevolence towards Serbs.

              Think about it, what have the Serbs done except to fight fascism and ally themselves with the US throughout the 20th century? Why the unrelenting attacks?

            • Moscow Exile says:

              The KGB files allegedly state that they only considered him a possible triple agent between the years 1939/41: they did not consider him a triple agent after 1941 and up to his death in 1988 in Moscow, where he had fled to in 1963..

              • yalensis says:

                Exactly. Spies are judged based on the goods they deliver. The Americans themselves after the James Jesus Angelton debacle, decided that henceforth they would judge a person’s loyalty based solely on their deliverables.
                Philby proved time and time again, by delivering excellent intelligence, that his loyalty was to Moscow, and that he despised his own (=British) government. And this fit in perfectly with his personal psychology as well, although the psychological factor must always be evaluated secondly, after running the actual metrics on what the spy delivers.

                I don’t know about this Tito matter. If Philby was wrong about Tito, it was probably just a personal opinion on his part. Spies and analysts can be wrong. They provide facts and opinions, it is up to other people to sift through them.
                Philby and Guy Burgess were actually pretty blatant about their Communist sympathies. The only reason they got away with it for so long, was because of the British class structure. Like, these guys went to good schools, etc. Therefore, they were not suspected until it was way too late. Plus, they had “krysha” in high places within the Establishment. Seems like half the British Secret Service was working for Moscow.

                As for 1939-1941, that was a time when all Soviet and Comintern agents went through a period of agonizing doubts and moral crisis. Philby loathed fascism, he had seen it up close and personal in Spain, and the Ribbentrop pact was a hard pill to swallow. In addition, Kim’s Soviet handler was killed off during the Stalin purges. That might be sufficient to turn a person away from “the cause”.
                But in the end, they all came flocking back when the Soviet Union was attacked by the Nazis. Because in the end that was where their hearts lay.

                • Cortes says:

                  Fitzroy McLean’s “Eastern Approaches” may nail down the Tito story.

                • marknesop says:

                  “The Americans themselves after the James Jesus Angelton debacle, decided that henceforth they would judge a person’s loyalty based solely on their deliverables.”

                  That’s technically true, but it should not be construed to mean the deliverables are always high-quality intelligence, or even accurate, because sometimes the ‘deliverables’ sought are merely something the Washington pinstripe set wants to hear. A classic example was Curveball, in which case the Pentagon pretended he was an Iraqi scientist who knew the locations of Saddam’s secret chemical-warfare laboratories, although the Germans had told them in advance that he was just some crazy guy rambling about chemical labs under the desert.

                  I’m sure they could tell within the first couple of interviews that he was a nut who did not really know anything, but they liked what he was saying because it helped shore up the cassus belli for war, which they wanted.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  Lets say that Philby was a tool that Britain used to funnel misleading information regarding Tito to the Soviets. So, Philby, thinking that he was providing “secret” information was in fact passing contrived information to Moscow. The best scenario in the spy game is to identify a double agent and then play them.

                • yalensis says:

                  By “deliverables” I should clarify that I mean “accurate facts”.
                  Not propaganda or just something the handlers want to hear.
                  By any metric, “Curveball” did not deliver good info.
                  People living in a reality-based world need accurate facts. If they choose to then lie or distort what they know, that could be a tactical decision, what’s important is that they themselves know what is truth and what is lie.

                • marknesop says:

                  That’s precisely the point – the Intelligence Services are a filter. They’re spooks; nobody asks them how they know what they know – they’re afraid to attract their attention. If they say this or that is ‘actionable intelligence’, the taxpayer believes them. But what is or is not perceived to be a fact is heavily influenced by politics and the imperative to do a certain thing or pursue a certain course. Once upon a time it was a matter of pride to not be fooled, or not to be seen to have been fooled. But the intelligence services are now so heavily politicized in the west that they do not mind taking one in the chops and having the New York Times shout “Everyone, including the CIA, was totally taken in” even when they knew such-and-such intelligence was bullshit, because to pretend to believe it allowed certain actions to be accomplished and certain goals to be realized. This is true to an extent of the British intelligence services as well. In fact, unless the clowns recently captured during intelligence capers, such as Ryan Fogle, are a deliberate plant to make the intelligence services of the west appear to be staffed with the kids from the short bus, these services need a complete top-down shakeup.

            • kuenda says:

              Keeping in mind that both the US, USSR and other intelligence communities routinely ran “triple” agents as standard operating procedure. In other words, a “triple agent” is simply an agent. Philby’s saccharine pro-Communist “confessions” dripped with unnecessarily dramatic prose, as I imagine he intended. Philby the ever-bemused, and Angleton the ever-serious, deftly played the Soviets and at no little sacrifice to their family’s reputations.

  45. Lyttenburgh says:

    From our regular columns “Western Hypocrisity” and “Does it remind you of anything?” Sources: these 2. Pediwikia’s articles

    Have you ever heard about an island Mayotte? You what is most peculiar about it? So, listen.

    It has become the French “protectorate” in mid 19 c. as part of the Comoros (and formally it became a colony only in 1909). After the WW2 it got upragede to the “région d’outre-mer” status. But then the process of de-colonisation kicked there. In December 1974 Comoros had their referendum on independance – in 3 islands a huge majority (96%) voted “Yay”, while in Mayotte most of the people voted “Nay” (64%). IN 1975 Comoros have become an independant state, accepted by the UN – but as a four islands state. The French in 1976 recognized (very grudgingly) Comoros independence – with the exception of Mayotte. They even vetoed the SC resulotion recognizing Mayotte as Comoros territtory (vote went 11 vs 4 with most in favor).

    In 1978 Mayotte had its second referendum – 99.4% voted to remain a part of France. In response the General Assembly of the UN passed a resolution recognizing Mayotte as part of Comoros. That was A Bad Idea (According To France). To quote directly from Pediwikia:

    “The first president of the Comoros, Ahmed Abdallah Abderemane, did not last long before being ousted in a coup by Ali Soilih, an atheist with an Islamic background.

    Soilih began with a set of solid socialist ideals designed to modernize the country. However, the regime faced problems. A French mercenary by the name of Bob Denard, arrived in the Comoros at dawn on 13 May 1978, and removed Soilih from power. Solih was shot and killed during the coup. Abdallah returned to govern the country and the mercenaries were given key positions in government.

    Later, French settlers, French-owned companies, and Arab merchants established a plantation-based economy that now uses about one-third of the land for export crops.”

    Yep. Bob Denard. Probably THE most (in)famous mercenary of the post-war period. One of the most successful, at least.

    End of story? Oh, no-no-no! In 2009 Mayotte had a referendum, which asked the people “Would you like to bece French departement?”. That a serious upgrade from the “overseas territory” to the “département d’outre-mer” – basically, an integral, official part-and-parcel French land. 61% of Mayotte participated in this referendum with 95.5 % voting “Yay”. In 2011 France officially recegnized the outcome of the referendum and made Mayotte its 101st departement. Resorting to quote once again:

    “Additionally, French social welfare and taxes apply in Mayotte, though some of each will be brought in gradually. Comoros continues to claim the island, while criticising the French military base there.”


    “The move has been opposed by the African Union and Comoros, who claim it is “occupation by a foreign power” and several protests have been held in Moroni, capital of Comoros. The Comoran vice-president said the vote was a “declaration of war”.”

    Huh. Military base, numerous resorts, territorial disputes polarizing UN vote, colonial past and armed “non-linear” conflicts in the (not so distant) past. Gee, what does it remind me?!

    So I ask you – where is the panick-stricken Civilized World, shocked by the French Aggression, disrespect to the international law and attempts to (obviously!) rebuild Neo-Napoleonic Empire?

    • Jen says:

      French Guiana probably offers a similar and parallel political history with the Comoros / Mayotte. That territory is also a département d’outre-mer and moreover hosts the Space Centre that employs foreign aerospace personnel and the security to protect the centre. These would be the people who would vote “non” if and when French Guiana hosts independence referendums.

  46. PaulR says:

    I have written a short piece about the Panama papers and Putin’s alleged corruption here: https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2016/04/03/some-thoughts-on-the-putin-corruption-story/

    It is interesting (though unsurprising) that the Poroshenko side of the story isn’t getting any attention.

    • Cortes says:

      I worked very briefly in Panama.
      Prior to and during the time spent in country it was clear as day in the northern hemisphere at 2100 on June 21 that NOTHING could be done absent due recognition (dosh) tendered to the elegantly forwarded palms of the representative of the twelve families.
      After the failure of the bid we submitted (best and lowest incidentally) to be treated as “duly submitted ” – apparently our motorbike courier arrived 2 minutes late – some of my colleagues even acknowledged reality.
      Stories from Panama?
      No jodas

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Wasn’t the Republic of Panama in effect created by the USA so as to enable that exceptional nation to construct the Panama canal? Didn’t the USA foster a war between disaffected Columbia Panama isthmus provinces and the central Columbian government so that a civil war ensued, resulting in the creation of the Panama Republic. And within that republic, is not the canal zone de facto US administered territory and the birthplace of headbanger Hanoi Songbird John McCain?

        • Jen says:

          The very same thought occurred to me, that the reason law firms like Mossack Fonseca establish their HQs in Panama and nowhere else is that Panama is an artificial US creation too small to survive on its own with the territory and borders it has, so it must rely on offering financial services and being part of the secret global finance sector offering advice to individuals, corporations and governments on how to flout or exploit laws and their loopholes.

          From Wikipedia:
          “The economy of Panama is a fully dollarized free market economy with a history of low inflation. It is based mainly on the services industry, heavily weighted toward banking, commerce, and tourism. The hand-over of the canal and military installations by the US has given rise to new construction projects.

          Panama’s economy is based primarily on a well-developed services sector that accounts for nearly 80% of its GDP. Services include the Panama Canal, banking, the Colón Free Trade Zone, insurance, container ports, and flagship registry, medical and health, and other business. The country’s industry includes manufacturing of aircraft spare parts, cements, drinks, adhesives, and textiles. Also the leading exports for Panama are bananas, shrimp, sugar, coffee, and clothing …”

    • marknesop says:

      Everybody should read this; not only for the excellent summary, but also for the direct link to the Poroshenko story. Not only did he move Roshen’s operations to the British Virgin Islands – which his accountants say he did to make the business more attractive to buyers – he actually started up a new business, while President, which he did not register or disclose in Ukraine! There’s no doubt it’s him; the business is validated by his passport, and he is the sole shareholder.

      Of course the making-it-more-attractive-for-buyers is comical – Roshen has not sold because he has deliberately asked way too much for it, and he did not open a new branch of it in the EU (Hungary) in 2013 just to sell out – he means to expand into Europe once he is not fettered by the presidency, if you could say that it has actually imposed any restrictions on him at all. Unbelievable – he may just be the most brazen thief in Ukrainian history, even worse than Yulia Tymoshenko (who is a big believer in offshore tax havens herself).

      If it turns out the documents were obtained illegally, and the law firm sues as they have threatened, there may be a certain amount of scrambling and disavowing. Hilarious.

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