Ask Not What Lithuania can do for You…

Uncle Volodya says, "None are so empty as those who are full of themselves.”

Uncle Volodya says, “None are so empty as those who are full of themselves.”

But you can’t make people listen. They have to come round in their own time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up around them.

Ray Bradbury; Fahrenheit 451

Hey, remember that annoying nineties phrase, “Don’t go there”? It meant, don’t even talk about it, thereby implying that the subject introduced – or some association with it – is so fraught with social unacceptability as to be unmentionable.

Well, Petras Auštrevičius  just went there.

Let’s back up for a second; addressing the European Parliament, Auštrevičius summarized the goals of the energy union: to wit,

“The Energy Union was launched by the European Commission with the intention of developing consolidated action that would provide benefits to everyone involved: secure energy for consumers at affordable prices, competitive market opportunities for suppliers and strengthened solidarity and trust between EU member states.”

Remember that; you’ll see why,  in a minute.

Auštrevičius then goes on to bad-mouth Russia and the Nord Stream pipeline in the fashion we have become accustomed to seeing from stuffed-shirt EuroBullshitters, including the favourite canard that Russia constantly uses energy as a political weapon. To hear him tell it, Nord Stream II will ruin the entire Energy Union concept, if Europe is so foolish as to not take stopping it in its tracks seriously.

And just about here, the wheels fell off Auštrevičius’s truthwagon.

“The EU is heavily dependent on imported natural gas. And while Russia’s share has decreased rather dramatically over recent years it still remains very high: Russia supplies 39 per cent, Norway 30 per cent and Algeria and Qatar far less. Twelve EU member states rely primarily on one source, with Russia supplying between 75-100 per cent of their supplies. “

Has Russia’s share decreased rather dramatically over recent years? As usual, the devil is in the details. You could probably pick a moment last year when imports were down – say, the first quarter. What’d the picture look like at the end of the year?

“In the first 9 months of the year, imports from Russia were at the same level as for the comparable period of 2014 but the distribution of volumes throughout this period was markedly different: year-on-year, imports decreased by 22% in the first quarter, followed by 8% growth in the second quarter and 18% growth in the third quarter. The share of Russia from total extra-EU imports were 41% in the third quarter. This is lower than in the previous quarter (45%) but Russia remained the EU’s top supplier.”

Petras, you Lithuanian liar, you. You’re talking about eliminating your dependency on your main supplier. Do you know what those words mean? While we’re talking about shit you don’t understand, how about the fact that LNG imports decreased 7% year-on-year from 2014. But here’s Petras, shilling for Lithuania’s shiny new LNG terminal. According to Lithuania’s assessment, the fall in the price of Russian gas (in Lithuania) over 2014 was the result of Russian confusion over the introduction to Lithuania of Norwegian LNG – realizing it could no longer exercise political control over Lithuania, the dirty Russians backed down. It had nothing to do with a deliberate economic campaign, originating in Washington, to knock the bottom out of energy prices in an attempt to crash the Russian economy.

But then, the moment came when Petras tested the waters with his big toe.

“We cannot isolate economics from politics and price should not be the single decisive factor in this case.”

In case the impact of that statement did not quite reach you, let me translate: “Europeans should be prepared to pay more for their gas, in some cases a great deal more, to serve the cause of reducing our dependence on Russian gas.”

That was the breathless shortcut to the point. Now, let’s back up again and take a more measured look at it. It is critically important that Europeans fully realize what they are being asked to sign on for – the exchange of a stable supply of pipeline natural gas from a reliable supplier, for a costly supply of LNG which arrives by ship, combined with a maybe pipeline someday from Azerbaijan, whose leader was assessed as 2012’s most corrupt person in the world. As usual, the method upon which the much-desired switch depends is that Europeans swallow staggering amouts of bullshit from their elected and appointed representatives.

Just as a matter of curiosity, does nobody in Europe mind this? Is it just accepted now that deliberately telling the people you’re supposed to be working for something which you know very well – or should know – is a lie is really not all that big a deal? If so, I’m saddened to learn that. So late, I mean. I spent a considerable amount of time in Europe when I was younger, and I can remember a few girls I was tempted to tell I was an Italian fighter pilot, or a film producer or the Vice-President of General Motors. But I didn’t, because none of those were true, and it seemed unethical to gain advantage by lying. But now it seems de rigeuer,  just politics. Remarkable.

“It has been estimated that Europe’s gas deficiencies can be largely covered by the import of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) from Australia and the United States and even Algeria, alongside investment in domestic or biogas production.”

Estimated by who? Your barber? That nice-looking brunette at the liquor-store checkout? Reporting which tries to push you toward a certain viewpoint uses the passive voice so frequently that there ought to be a law against using it. Ever run across a guy named Andrew Neff? Here’s his bio:

Principal Analyst, Petroleum Sector Risk Group, IHS Energy Insight

Mr. Andrew Neff serves as a Principal Analyst with the IHS Petroleum Sector Risk team, with a regional focus on Russia, Caspian and Eurasia.

He also coordinates team coverage of government policy and strategy assessments for the National Oil Company Service (NOCS). He has provided analysis and insight on government energy policy, company strategy, and investment risk for more than 15 years. Prior to joining IHS, he worked as an international energy analyst for a contractor to the Energy Information Administration, the statistical division of the U.S. Department of Energy. Mr. Neff’s degrees include a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio, U.S., and a Master of Arts in International Affairs and Environmental Policy from the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., U.S.

Here’s what Mr. Neff – an energy-policy analyst for more than 15 years and former international analyst for the Energy Information Administration – had to say about Europe’s energy picture, back in 2014.

 “The EU’s reliance on Russia to meet approximately 30 percent of its total gas demand means that there is no realistic alternative to European dependence on Russian energy supplies…The desire to diversify suppliers and reduce dependence on Russia in order to bolster energy supply security has prompted European policymakers to suggest a hodgepodge of potential policy options…The pursuit of any one of these policies in isolation would have little effect on Europe’s reliance on Russian gas. But even in combination, there is no guarantee of success.”

Fairness bids me give equal opportunity to a dissenting opinion from the Beacon Of Freedom And Democracy.  Amos Hochstein insists the Southern Gas Corridor, which would carry Azeri gas from the Shah Deniz field, would be “far more efficient and more cost-effective”.  It is not difficult to see how he arrived at that estimate:

Amos J Hochstein currently serves as the Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs leading the Bureau of Energy Resources (ENR) at the U.S. Department of State. He oversees U.S. foreign policy engagement in the critical intersection of energy and national security. In this role, he advises the Secretary on global energy security and diplomacy, as well as promotes U.S. interests to ensure energy resources are used to increase economic opportunity, stability and prosperity around the world.

There would be a great deal less economic opportunity in Europe for US energy interests if Nord Stream II is built. However, a group of NGO’s led by Bankwatch poured cold water on Hochstein’s prognostication, arguing, “The Southern Gas Corridor is actually a corridor of abuses leading from the Caspian into Europe. From arbitrary arrests in Azerbaijan, to expected militarisation in Turkey along the route similar to what we have seen with the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipeline, to authorities ignoring court rulings in Italy just to push for the pipeline. This is no way for Europe to ensure its energy independence, it’s just switching our dependency from one authoritarian ruler to another.”

Bankwatch and its partners argued that greater energy efficiency and reduced usage was the way to go, relying as usual on the profoundly stupid assessment that European gas consumption is dropping and Europe is just going to end up with a dirty great surplus it doesn’t need.

“According to European Commission scenarios, natural gas imports to Europe are expected to decrease by 2050 under all scenarios included in the EU 2050 energy roadmap. This means that the infrastructure surplus will just widen over the next decades, potentially meaning that a costly mega-structure such as the Southern Gas Corridor will turn into a liability.”

I’d like to get in on the EU scenario-preparation business; it must be good money, except it keeps coming up with conclusions that are more grounded in blowing sunshine up your ass than in reality. While Europe has made some reductions in its gas consumption, domestic production is dropping much faster. There is just no way you can merge those two realities and come up with an answer that says European imports are lessening. They are not.

There was, though, an interesting fact in that article – I wonder how many perople spotted it.

Estimated to cost $ 45 billion, the Southern Gas Corridor is a chain of projects meant to bring gas to Europe from the Shah Deniz offshore gas field in Azerbaijan, owned by British Petroleum, Russia’s Lukoil and Azerbaijan’s SOCAR. The corridor would pass through Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Albania and Italy to other EU markets, and consists of the South Caucasus Pipeline extension, Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP), Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and other branch lines. Turkmen gas may become a part of the equation at a later stage.

The Southern Gas Corridor is set to be backed with public money via the Connecting Europe Facility, potentially the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Project Bonds Initiative, and indirectly via a loan by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to Lukoil for the second phase of developments at Shah Deniz, a loan set to be approved in early 2015.

Nord Stream II’s construction costs would be borne by the consortium and its investors. The Southern Gas Corridor would be financed with public money, and it’s a whopping $45 Billion.  All to get 16 BCm of gas from Azerbaijan, which is not in anyone’s wildest dreams enough to replace Russian gas imports – in the first two quarters of 2015 Europe imported 129 BCm of gas, and Russia supplied 41% of that. What do you say, Europeans? Got $45 Billion lying around, collecting dust? Don’t forget how many gazillions Ukraine is begging for in ‘loans’, ha, ha. You had better think about holding a continental bake sale, the first nice weekend.

That kind of leads us back to Petras Auštrevičius and his Amazing Lithuanian Logic. A signature goal of the EU’s  Energy Union is secure energy for consumers at affordable prices, but price should not be the only objective. What price freedom? Wouldn’t it make more sense to diversify away from Putin’s authoritarian gas pump in favour of inadequate supplies from that nice Mr Aliev, and then try to make up the difference with shipments of LNG across a huge ocean from the USA and Australia, for about double what pipeline gas costs?

Maybe it makes sense in Lithuania. Which is, just coincidentally, trying to reinvent itself as a regional gas hub for the Baltics. So far, it doesn’t seem to be going that well. That shiny new LNG terminal is, in fact, leased from Hoegh, a Norwegian company, and receives Norwegian gas. But Latvia has shown no interest in importing Lithuanian gas, and Estonia is pursuing its own project with Finland. For its part, Gazprom is planning a new LNG terminal at Kaliningrad, which would eliminate transit through Lithuania. Establishment of an integrated Baltic energy market arranged around a Lithuanian hub has thus far been a fizzle, leaving Lithuania holding the bag for a leased LNG terminal which will not be renewed if it is not profitable. Which, to date, it is not. That all adds up to time for the European Commission to take a hand and start making some decisions which will have serious consequences down the line. Especially terrifying given that the European Commission apparently does not include anyone who can add or subtract.

Your move, Europe. Don’t blow it.



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1,250 Responses to Ask Not What Lithuania can do for You…

  1. Moscow Exile says:

    Happy British Knotted Snotrag On Head Day!

  2. Warren says:

    MH17 crash: Victims’ families sue Putin and Russia

    Families of victims of downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 are suing Russia and its President Vladimir Putin in the European Court of Human Rights.

    • marknesop says:

      Ha, ha!!! Good luck with that. In fact, that is the most positive development in the MH17 debacle in ages – you can’t have a court case which has the potential to award damages without a detailed examination of the evidence and opportunity for the accused to mount a defense. We’ll see how well Bellingcat’s fabrications stand up to examination, and while we’re at it, let’s take a long, close look at the west’s shift to social media as the main provider of its evidence, basis for remarking of trends and driver of policy. You can call it ‘progressive’ if you want to, but there are simply too many ways to manipulate it – which is what the west loves about it – for it to be a reliable foundation to inform major decisions.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        How’s that US citizen’s case as regards MH-17 going?

        You know, the only US citizen who was unfortunate to lose kin in the disaster. He took Kerry to task over this matter and launched a claim for compensation.

        Down the black hole, I suppose.

  3. et Al says:

    Breaking defense via Alert 5: PACOM Presses To Film China’s Reckless Pilots From P-3s, P-8s


    So why do I post this story? Because it represents all that is wrong with the Western mindset. Yet again, they are putting massive efforts in to winning a propaganda war that they have already lost.

    Does anyone seriously think that whatever film they produce will lead to either the Russian or Chinese airforce backing off American spy planes flying along their borders, in international airspace? It is just massive retarded denial by some people at the very top, as if they are still in the game.

    Russia is neither down, nor out, despite all the crap the West has thrown at it. Any possible chance has long since passed. As for China, The US is far too terrified to try and get close, hence using massive bastion bases like Diego Garcia & Guam far away (or what they consider a ‘safe distance’) from China and their periodic tip-toeing in to the South China Sea, each time blowing their trumpets as if they were sailing a carrier battle group there (as they past Taiwan in 1996 as a warning).

  4. Patient Observer says:

    The US DOD is proposing to revamp US artillery to shoot down Russian missiles and aircraft reminiscent of WW II ack-ack.

    “We could use existing Howitzers and that type of munition (155m shells) to knock out incoming threats when people try to hit us from the air at long ranges using rockets and cruise missiles,” a senior Army official said.”

    There are certainly plenty of examples of using radar-controlled gun fire for point defense but this is the first I have heard of using an unguided artillery shell for long range antiaircraft defense in a long long time. As SWAG numbers, an artillery shell may take 20-30 seconds to reach its target area. Assuming that the target has any maneuverability, it can easily change its trajectory by a few hundred feet (if not thousands of feet) over that same time period leaving the shell nothing to do but explode without effect. Seems like grasping at straws or a ploy to get approval for an otherwise useless defense contract.

    • Patient Observer says:

      The article does go on to say that the artillery shells could be guided, presumably by aerodynamic fins, for example. Even with that added capability, it seems to be far less versatile or effective as a rocket which is under power and guidance for its entire flight duration.

  5. Finland knocks out Russia in the World Hockey Championships semifinal in Moscow.

    Tiny Finland has became a nightmare for Russia lately. Russia also lost a quarterfinal to Finland in Sochi.

    • marknesop says:

      Uh huh. I’m sure they are losing a lot of sleep over it. Not to take away anything from Finland, which does have a damned good hockey team and is generally pretty capable in winter sports. Perhaps exclusively in the narrow area of professional hockey, Finland is a nightmare for Russia. But I never noticed that Russia minded too much getting beaten in a fair fight by someone who was just better. So far politics has not made inroads in hockey the way it has in Eurovision. You don’t win hockey tournaments by sucking up to the west. You’re either good enough or you aren’t. Except for things like disputed goals, I suppose, although those don’t happen often.

      • Cortes says:

        I noticed a few days ago that some Kazakh players were originally Canadian. Odd that they would get cleared to transfer like that.

      • yalensis says:

        Here is a Mejlis propagandist who agrees with Karl that the hockey game was more than just a hockey game.
        In fact, he sees a divine will at work here:
        First Jamala wins Eurovision.
        Then Finland hockey team beats Russia.
        Clearly this is God’s way of punishing Russia because of their “occupation” of Crimea.

        By the way, for any people who see something either divine or or geo-political significance in sports events (and I remind people that TO THIS DAY Americans are still gloating about their victory over Soviet hockey team in 1980, the so-called Miracle on Ice, and American children are taught that this game helped bring down the Soviet Empire…) all I can say to them is, “Wait for the next game.”

        Eventually, given the numbers and the statistics, Russia will win a game again.
        And then the people who see divine retribution or geo-political portents, will just shrug at that time and say, “It’s only a game.”

    • Moscow Exile says:

      It’s only a game. Not at all important and of no significance whatsoever to geopolitics and the USA striving to maintain its hegemony.

      So why bother posting the hockey result?

      I mean, you said much the same about the Ukraine song contest win: it’s just a song and of no interest to you whatsoever.

      • It’s pretty big here in Finland. “Big bad Russia” was beaten again! is the slogan here right now.

        • Jen says:

          Tiny Finland a nightmare for Russia?

          Who’s the Sick Man of Europe again?

          “Fitch cuts Finland’s credit rating to Aa+”

          ‘ … Finland lost another of its top-grade credit ratings on Friday when Fitch downgraded it to Aa+ with a stable outlook, citing its weak economic performance and persistent problems in reviving its economy.
          Described by its own finance minister Alexander Stubb as “the new sick man of Europe”, Finland’s economy has yet to regain its 2008 size following the global financial crisis and a string of setbacks.
          The decline of core businesses such as Nokia mobile phones (NOKIA.HE) and Finland’s paper industries, together with a weak demand from neighboring Russia led the economy to contract for three straight years before it eked out growth of 0.4 percent in 2015.
          “Although some demand components saw a modest recovery in 2015, investment continued to contract in annual terms, highlighting still weak prospects for key sectors,” Fitch said in its report.
          Standard & Poor’s, which is due to review Finland next Friday, cut its rating to AA+ in 2014 and later gave the rating a negative outlook.
          Moody’s still rates the economy AAA, but with a negative outlook …’

          “Finland emerges as the ‘new sick man of Europe’ as euro’s worst performing economy”

          ‘ … Finland’s economic problems stem from a collapse in demand from neighbouring trade giant Russia, highly uncompetitive labour costs, and the decline of its most successful company – Nokia. The country is also grappling with chronic ageing and has one of the highest rates of government spending in Europe…’

          “Finland’s economy dubbed ‘the sick man of Europe’ by Finance Minister Alexander Stubb”

          ‘… As the indebted and ailing countries in the eurozone’s southern rim struggle out of their six-year crisis, some with more success than others, Finland is succumbing to its own.
          Its economy, which has contracted every year since 2012, was the worst performer in the common-currency area in the first three quarters of 2015, according to Eurostat data.
          Its deficit is relatively higher than Italy’s, despite being ranked fourth in the EU in terms of how much taxes and social charges it demands from its citizens, and its unemployment rate exceeds those of its Nordic neighbours …’

          A deficit relatively higher than that of Italy’s? Aren’t the northwest Europeans supposed to be better at managing economic affairs than the happy-go-lucky, lazy Mediterraneans?

          Big Bad Russia might have been beaten in the semi-finals of a sport that a few countries care about but in the matters that really count, Finland is on life support … because of weak demand from Russia for its products due to the EU trade sanctions and Russian counter-sanctions, among other things.

          • marknesop says:

            All true, but I think he’s just talking about hockey. In that, Finland has had a good year. In Russia, which is not so mean-spirited and self-absorbed as Finland is, TASS referred to their hockey team as “unstoppable Finland”.

            • Patient Observer says:

              Detroit, the sick city of the world, becomes excited when the Tigers, Lions, Pistons or the Red Wings have a good year. In fact, the worse off the city (or in this case, Finland) the more significant a sports success becomes. Its only human nature to hang on to any good news in the face of adversity.

      • marknesop says:

        Let’s not be too hasty – Canada beat the USA 4-3 to advance to the championship against Finland. If Finland wins, then it can be just a game. Otherwise, we are the world champions, la la la, you want to be us, but you can’t, we are the greatest, la la la.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        A Russian bloggers take on the defeat:

        May. 21st, 2016 at 10:54 PM


        I have always loved hockey. I really love this game. Even during my childhood I spent winter weekends at the yard rink with friends. Now the box [the enclosed space in many courtyards here where children play hockey in winter and basketball and football in the other seasons — ME] somehow doesn’t get as full as it used to do when everybody would gather there to play or watch.Today, as part of the ice hockey world championship, was the match between the national teams of Russia and Finland. Welcome to the text extract below:

        I have to say that our side failed to defeat the opposition. The final score was 3:1. The Finland team was stronger this time. But I would not say that the Russian team played poorly. They kept on going to the very end when victory still seemed possible, but they did not quite manage it. The game was active and dynamic, worthy of a meeting between the two best teams in the world hockey championship. We won the first half! But the Finns played for time: they were in no hurry, and waited until at last our boys were a bit tired.

        Nothing to worry about: it happens. The important thing is that our team is one of the strongest in the world, and the results of individual matches vary from event to event. There are situations when the weakest team beats the strongest, so don’t worry. We wish our boys new victories and achievements, and, of course, that they win against the Finns next time.

        Now wasn’t that a cultured and gracious comment in defeat?

  6. Moscow Exile says:

    Украина уверенно предстает в образе новой, перспективной европейской страны – Президент в обращении ко Дню Европы

    The Ukraine confidently presents itself as one of the new, promising European countries — the President in reference to Europe Day

    President Petro Poroshenko took part in the solemn ceremony of raising the flag of the European Union on the occasion of Europe Day in the Ukraine. The head of state and winners of the All-Ukrainian Student Olympiads in Foreign Languages 2016 in the city of Kiev raised EU flags on the square in front of the presidential administration of the Ukraine.

    “Today we are celebrating Europe Day. And the value, the importance of this holiday we are only now beginning to understand. After all, Europe is for the Ukraine — this is not just a geographical concept. Europe is the future of the Ukraine and its historical soul. Europe is that national idea which reigns in the hearts of the Ukraine, which unites the Ukrainian people and unites our country”, said Petro Poroshenko in his address.
    At the same time the head of state noted that today the Ukrainians, unfortunately, are being forced to pay a high price for their European choice and for the best future for their country and their children.

    “Today it is we Ukrainians who are protecting Europe from the barbarism, tyranny, terrorism, aggression and militarism that has hung over all our continent. We Ukrainians are today at the forefront in protecting European civilization. Our Revolution of Dignity was a revolution for Europe; our fight against Russian aggression is a struggle for Europe. Therefore, Europe Day is our Ukrainian historical festival”, said Petro Poroshenko.

    The President stressed that despite the difficulties, the pursuit of a better, European future for today’s Ukraine has the support of EU leaders and the world, for which support he gave his thanks. Euromaidan, the Revolution of Dignity and the selfless struggle against Russian aggressors by the Ukrainian people in their choice of civilization, independence, sovereignty and the territorial integrity of a brand new Ukraine has opened up the whole European continent to the Ukraine and Ukrainians.

    “The acrid smog of Soviet and later Russian propaganda is dissipating. The Ukraine confidently presents itself as a new, extremely promising and ambitious European state. And Europe is ready to help the Ukraine to return home — to the common European home — as soon as possible”, stated the head of state.

    The president stressed that for the accession of the Ukraine to the European Union of States we need to overcome two challenges. The first of these: an effective counteraction to Russian aggression. On the way to victory, Ukrainians have already built a Ukrainian army and continue the reform of the armed forces. In particular, the Ukraine National Council for Security and Defence approved the Strategic Defence Bulletin, a road-map for the reform of the defence and security sector, and to build a new level of cooperation between the Ukraine and NATO.

    The head of state stressed that thanks to the changes in the defence sector of our country, we have managed to stop the advance of Russian troops: “Today, we are the ones who have stopped hundreds of Russian tanks and thousands of artillery — a Russian invasion: we have defended Europe”.

    According to Petro Poroshenko, the second challenge as regards the making of the Ukraine into a successful European country is “ambitious, effective, comprehensive and systemic reforms”. The road-map for this initiative is the Association Agreement between the Ukraine and the EU and a comprehensive free trade area, as well as an action plan on a visa-free regime. The Ukraine has fulfilled 140 points of this plan, according to which “we are on the eve of the European Union granting Ukrainian citizens the right to travel freely in European Union”. “This is the first step of the return of the Ukraine into the great European family”, said the President.

    The President also stressed the importance of amending the constitution as regards judicial reform, the rule of law and fight against corruption.

    The President is convinced that the Ukraine will successfully overcome these challenges and become a member of the European Union. “We are all creators of our shared progress. We all strive to ensure that the Ukraine become a real success story. And I am confident that we will succeed. I am sure that one day Ukrainian citizens will take their seats in the European Parliament, the European Commission and European political bodies. This will be the day when the Ukraine will take its rightful place amongst EU member countries. I am convinced that one day the Ukrainian language will have the status of an official language of the European Union”, said Petro Poroshenko.

    The President also expressed the confidence that the children who were with him raising the EU flag were prime candidates for the representation of the Ukraine in the European political bodies.

    Just as long as the Russian tanks don’t break through to Kiev and the goons with the firecrackers and burning tyres on the square don’t get too excited, everything looks just hunky-dory, doesn’t it Porky?

    And if everything turns belly upwards, you have a little stashed away for such a possibility, I’m sure.

  7. Warren says:

    Published on 17 May 2016
    On both sides of the war in Ukraine, foreign fighters have flocked in their thousands to take part, many of them from the former Soviet Union.

    Whilst thousands of regular Russian soldiers and volunteers have fought alongside the DNR and LNR separatists, a number of Russians and Belorussians have also fought for the Ukrainians.

    With the worst of the fighting in the east now over, Ukrainian forces have been able to draft enough soldiers to hold the front lines, and the immediate need for these irregular fighters has largely gone.

    But despite their service and sacrifice those volunteers from Russia and Belarus face prison time if they return home, and many are now battling for citizenship in Ukraine.

    • Moscow Exile says:




      • Moscow Exile says:

        Oh right! I remember now!

        All those thousands of Russian volunteers were shipped to the Ukraine in those big white “humanitarian convoy” trucks and the dead bodies were taken back in the empties for secret burial in Russia.

        Yeah, that’s what they did.

        • Special_sauce says:

          Vice did a thing about the Russian “Invasion”. They sneaked into Russia in a little car; claimed they were being chased because they saw somebody in the rear view mirror; drove through some guy’s new plowed field, who threw clods at them; stopped by a cemetary “Where fresh graves give evidence of casualties in Donbass” all in the service of a narrative of Russian intransigience, aggressive behaviour yaddida yaddida.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            This is Anatoly Shatriy. He used to be an Ukrainian nationalist/patriot. Then Euromaidan happened. Now he can’t return to the Ukraine.

            He eats “fake-throvers” of their caliber by dozen before the breakfast. He also checked repeatedly, numerously many instances of when someone tried to pass the fresh graves as the “100% valid proof”. All of the time it took only asking the locals to unveil that – OMFG! – they are not some “secret burials of hybrid warriors”.

            • yalensis says:

              I just posted this piece on a Shariy interview.
              It is disheartening to see Shariy so disheartened by everything that is going on.
              I hope he can keep up his spirits a bit longer. I am personally convinced that there is an end game here (eventually).

  8. Special_sauce says:

    more fodder for the meat grinder

    • Montenegro is supposed to be a pro-Russian country like Serbia. I suppose Serbia will be the next to join.

      • marknesop says:

        Probably everybody in the world will join, except Russia. Because they’re weak, and nobody wants them, except as a consumer of their goods. So eventually they will be totally isolated, and perhaps Washington will pick the King of Finland to rule over them. You never know your luck, Karl – maybe you will be the King of Finland by then.

        But not today.

        • Patient Observer says:

          I understand that Serbia may join the EU only if Kosovo is considered a part of Serbia. If this is the Serb government strategy, it’s quite clever. It should win widespread popular support in Serbia and put the EU in an impossible situation. If the EU falls apart as it just may, Serbia will have dodged a bullet.

          • Patient Observer says:

            And, I hope, that Russia will be ready to bring Serbia into the Eurasian Economic Union. Serbia needs to play the long game to survive the Empire’s onslaught.

          • yalensis says:

            Tiny entities like Montenegro are virtually helpless against the machinations of the Empire.
            Which is why the Empire likes to chop up bigger entities into a lot of tiny entities.
            Just like in the jungle, a larger animal is harder to bring down.
            Divide et impera.

            • Yugoslavians did a good job of breaking their country apart themselves.

              • Patient Observer says:

                I should not be surprised by such inane statements as “Yugoslavians” and, in particular, Serbs (due to the number of dead at the hands of the racially superior West) surely must have a damaged genome by now. There is simply no other explanation for the troubles in that part of the world.

                In the TFR’s world view, it’s only “racial characteristics” that determines one’s fate. Yes, that’s all it is for the TFR. The cream always floats to the top and the garbage (people) always ends up on the bottom. Nice, simple, and no need to comprehend events. Having the TFR’s genome must be like possessing a perpetually winning lottery ticket. And, the rest of us are born losers (I bet that brought a smile to the face of the TFR).

      • cartman says:

        They have had huge protests and calls for a referendum, but the country is run by Dukanovic, as it has been for the last 30 years, and he is easily bribed.

        • Then do a coup? A revolution?

          • cartman says:

            Washington is trying to keep the lids on several boiling pots in Eastern Europe (Montenegro, Moldova, Bulgaria, and the Ukraine), and so far it is holding, The people could not be more disconnected from their governments, so I’m interested to see how much longer they can go before sending the NATO stormtroopers.

        • marknesop says:

          Well, if nobody in the country wants to be in NATO but the president and the country ends up in NATO, then either they were not serious about their objection, or they deserve to be in NATO.

  9. marknesop says:

    I’m sure everyone has heard or read about the gyrations of Ukraine’s energy industry as they struggle to find a way to legally not pay their debt to Russia, which Russia is – not surprisingly – not going to just write off. But did you know a similar struggle is ongoing to keep the Kiev Metro running? True story, apparently. Kiev has 100% of its rolling stock operational right now, and it’s only a matter of time before it starts to break down. Because Kiev leased 100 cars from Russia and didn’t pay. So they have had to be withdrawn from service.

    • “Because Kiev leased 100 cars from Russia and didn’t pay.”

      So Russia again gave something for Ukraine without demanding prepayment. Not wise.

      • Jen says:

        It is quite usual for commercial real estate, industrial buildings and plant machinery, company furnishings and transport vehicles (like railway stock and company cars) to be leased rather than bought outright. Even IT hardware and software used by companies in their day-to-day work – and this includes laptops, company smartphones and their accessories, and licences to use a particular database – are often leased from suppliers over a 2 or 3-year period. At the end of the period, the lessees can return the leased equipment to the supplier and switch to a new supplier without having to get sell off or junk old stock: that’s the advantage of leasing rather than purchasing stock. If everything a business needed to operate had to be bought and paid for upfront, that business could go bankrupt before it even opened shop.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          He thinks everything is paid for cash on the nose.

          You know, like buying a packet of cigs and a box of matches.

          If you don’t demand immediate payment and agree to terms, then you are weak.

        • Patient Observer says:

          It may not be helpful to offer facts to the TFR. His world view is based on black/white, hate, power, domination, war and death. Facts will be ignored as they muddle his juvenile world view.

          You are, of course, correct in describing leasing arrangements. Leasing is very common for capital goods for all of the reasons you mentioned. The lessor does not relinquish ownership of the equipment during the lease period. At the end of the period, the lessee can either purchase the equipment at fair market value, do a one-dollar buyout (if the lease was initially set up that way) or return the equipment.

          Complex software packages that are subject to continuous upgrades are often leased. Even when purchased, annual support fees are required. If a current version of the software is desired, the price will include all previous upgrades not purchased. The software reports via the internet its usage to the supplier to detect deliberate or inadvertent misuse of the software licenses. These software companies got all of the bases covered.

      • marknesop says:

        Don’t be a simpleton, Karl. The west has already given Billions to Ukraine, of which they have paid back nothing. For years Russia fronted merchandise, energy and money to Ukraine and for the most part Ukraine paid it back, although not always on time; it has always been a little slapdash in its economics, and frequently waits to see if you have forgotten about a loan. It is only since the Maidan government took over that Ukraine has adopted a firm policy of writing off its debts and not paying. And the lease of the cars took place in 2009, if I recall correctly from the article, well before Russia started to have serious trouble with Ukraine because it was well before the west intervened to shift Ukraine’s allegiance.

    • yalensis says:

      Ha ha – the very first comment in that thread reveals a purely svidomite mentality in all its glory:

      First Ukraine should demolish all metro stations made by Soviet Union.
      Second they should return all the rolling stock as it is made by Russian company.
      Third they should ask money from west to clear pending dues.

      I am sure Ukraine is a country with self respect and have great freinds who can help Ukraine.

      Yep. First destroy everything that other people built. Then beg for money.
      In svidomite lingo, the definition of “self-respect” is to schnorr money like a panhandler on the street.

  10. Moscow Exile says:

    Oh shock, horrors!!!

    Britain trains soldiers for many regimes on its own human rights abuse watchlist

    According to the Ministry of Defence, British soldiers have trained the armed forces of Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burma, Burundi, China, Colombia, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Zimbabwe – despite the human rights records of those countries…

    Defence Secretary Michael Fallon stated that Oman “is our friend” and that the UK was “working more closely than ever with them across military, counter-terrorism and intelligence fields to tackle shared threats to stability”.

    Michael Fallon also says that the Russian air force carpet bombs civilians in terrorist occupied areas of Syria.

    Just like the RAF did 1943-1945 to civilians in terrorist occupied Germany.

    Civilian funeral pyre, Dresden, 1945

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Bear in mind, despite having a surfeit of pricks such as Hammond, old Blighty cannot be that bad of a place to live if one considers this article below about thousands waiting for the good life to begin in Misty Albion:

      Calais crisis: First ever quantitative survey in the Jungle reveals thousands of refugees still trying to reach the UK

      And some wish to venture further afield, it seems:

      A photograph taken near the Calais camp:

      The Afghan who did that might possibly speak and write some Russian: look at how he he has spelt “Canada”.

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      ‘The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw and half a hundred other places, they put their rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind.’

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Did the Luftwaffe have a policy of area bombing, of specifically bombing civilians in civilian residential areas, which civilians having been deemed to be legitimate targets as they were part of the Nazi war effort?

        The civilian deaths at Rotterdam, London, Warsaw etc. are what the US armed forces now blithely label as collateral damage.

        As regards those who died as a result of the London “Blitz” and the deaths of other British civilians in other cities in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland that suffered Luftwaffe attacks, after the opening of the “Second Front” in 1944, more French civilians died during the “Battle of Normandy” as a result of allied air, naval and land bombardment, than did British civilians as a result of German attacks during the whole period of hostilities with Nazi Germany from September 1939 until May 1945.

        They should not have been there, I suppose — those French civilians in Rouen, Dieppe etc., I mean.

        Sort of like the non-combatants now in the Donbass.

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          German attacks on Rotterdam, London, Belgrade, Minsk and so forth were all undertaken to terrorise and kill civilians – lacking a proper strategic bombing force there was only so much they could accomplish, but they did their best.

          The Luftwaffe’s main purpose was always to assist in the defeat of opposing armies, allowing for the orderly disposal of civilian populations by ground forces afterwards.

    • et Al says:

      Indeed. Sandhurst has trained many African butchers* and dicatators. Quite the record.

      * Not shop owners.

  11. Warren says:

    Published on 19 May 2016
    From the presidential palace in Brasília, the suspended Brazilian President spoke to The Intercept about her claims that she’s the victim of a “coup,” the accusations against her, the right-wing shift planned by the substitute government, and how she believes Brazilians should protest and fight against this subversion of democracy.

    • yalensis says:

      Some journalist at a Killery Clinton press conference should ask Killery what she thinks about a fellow woman being overturned in a coup. Is that not a violation of women’s rights?
      I am joking of course, but also half serious, because this would make a good propaganda gambit against Killery’s claims to be the “victim” of misogyny. Since I am pretty sure that she is all in favor of this particular coup.

      • Warren says:

        I too share your sentiments, Killery no doubt would approve of this regime change. An entirely new regime has come into power in Brazil, without anyone voting for it or its policies.

      • marknesop says:

        That’s actually a very good point. You can imagine that Mrs. Clinton’s team have pitched her every conceivable question that has entered their minds, so that she will be prepared, and when she is not she stalls for time by putting out boilerplate about how she has always been very consistent on whatever it is while she thinks of a good answer. But it would be hard to imagine Mrs. Clinton has always been consistent on coups carried out against democratically-elected leaders, since that’s something in which the USA claims never to have a role. I’d bet they haven’t thought of that one, and if it was dropped into the conversation just right, it could resonate and become a real issue.

    • marknesop says:

      Greenwald was asked, in a separate interview with Real News, what he believed was the role of the USA in the coup. He gave a very detailed explanation of the overthrow of the democratically-elected government in the 1980’s in Brazil, by a military dictatorship which ruled with an iron fist for two decades. At the time the USA protested innocence, saying that Washington learned about it the same as everyone else, when it hit the papers. But documents declassified with the exit of the Johnson administration proved that the USA and UK had been well aware of the impending coup, had colluded with the Brazilian military leaders who seized power and provided training for their forces. Therefore the current appearance that Washington is keeping its distance means little; it is harder to conceal involvement now compared with then, but not impossible. Meanwhile, you need only ask yourself which government – Rousseff or Temer – the White House would prefer. The clear answer is Temer, who would usher in neoliberal economics as quickly as it might be accomplished.

      It is important here to recognize and remember that Washington is confused and disoriented on the viability of its regime-change template – it has been attempted several times in Russia, rolling happily along on reliable lines that had previously produced excellent and predictable results, and run into a wall. This coup is important, then, because if it succeeds, it will restore western faith in the concept of engineered regime change. Following a success, regardless whether Washington and London choose to show their hand or not, further attempts will follow with renewed confidence. If it fails and Rousseff manages to launch a successful appeal, further confusion and doubt in the western halls of power will ensue. This is a proof-of-concept run.

      • Jen says:

        One significant factor has to be the role of the US ambassador to Brazil, Liliana Ayalde, in encouraging or giving aid to Temer and his fellow coup plotters, not all of whom necessarily had to work together: they only needed to have the same goal in mind, and that was to get Rousseff and her party out of power. Ayalde was US ambassador to Paraguay (2008 – 2011) just before the 2012 impeachment of then President Fernando Lugo in similar circumstances as Rousseff faced and will face. If the template of coup by stealth, by packing the legislative and judicial branches of government with pro-US neoliberal politicians (of whom one can play the informant role and/or have regular meetings with the US ambassador) who can then use the impeachment process to get rid of people the US doesn’t like, succeeds in two Latin American countries with different languages and cultures, then Washington will deem it a general one-size-fits-all watertight formula for overthrowing governments. The colour revolution model has obviously outrun its use-by date.

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, that’s important as well. There may be many components of the colour revolution and the anti-corruption revolution which are swappable – in the one case, they focus on a special-interest opposition group and then champion the cause of them replacing the government; in the latter they identify an allegedly corrupt practice tied to the ruling government, and then amplify public outrage until they have built enough momentum for a coup. In the first case, the NGO’s supply colourful posters and colour-coded revolutionary paraphernalia, while in the latter case they supply similar materials with slogans like ‘Adios, Querida!’ (Bye-bye, Sweetheart!) for the anti-Rousseff revolution.

          It’s partly Brazil’s fault, or the Rousseff government’s fault, for not stomping on it hard as Russia did, and then ordering all the American NGO’s out of the country. La Revolucion would have lost steam pretty quickly without Uncle Sam huddling with Temer and choreographing his betrayals.

          If they manage to topple Brazil into Uncle Sam’s camp, that will likely be the only one of the BRICS to fall so easily, although they may be focused more on South/Central America than on the BRICS. But Brazil would still be a big loss. More importantly, it would be a US agent operating within the BRICS, meddling with the development bank and other BRICS institutions as a spoiler for Uncle Sam, and it would probably have to be cut loose.

          • yalensis says:

            Sounds like the impeachment gambit might be cheaper and more efficient than the full-on colour revolution. Because the pindosi don’t have to spend all that money on balloons and tent cities.

            “Bye-bye Sweetheart” !!!!!?????

            I SAID this coup was sexist, and there’s your proof right there!
            (Some journalist: PLEASE use this at a Killery press conference, I’m begging you!)

            On the other hand, at least Dilma won’t have to worry her pretty little head about politics any more.
            She can just stay at home and bake cookies now.
            Maybe Julia Ioffe can “mansplain” to Dilma what it means to have a falling out with Uncle Sam.

  12. Moscow Exile says:

    Австралийские адвокаты решили прославиться, потребовав от России компенсацию за гибель «Боинга» под Донецком

    Australian lawyers have decided to become famous, demanding compensation from Russia for the downing of the Boeing near Donetsk
    On behalf of the relatives of the victims there has been demanded a record amount: $10 million for each passenger. Experts believe this lawsuit to be absurd

    The news agency “Reuters” has reported that some Australian law firm has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the families of 33 victims of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 shot down over the Donbass. The firm demands through the European Court of Human Rights compensation from Russia and President Vladimir Putin. The amount claimed is $10 million for each victim, totalling $330 million.

    The claim makes up a 3,500-page volume and involves lawyer Jerry Skinner, who is experienced in such matters: he was the lawyer who squeezed money out of Libya in connection with the crash over Lockerbie in 1988, said “Reuters” referring to the Australian news outlet “News”.

    … On the eve of the Sochi summit, Putin and the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Razak, discussed the MH17 situation and both sides agreed on the need for a fully independent investigation into the disaster. Absolutely no claims against Russia have been made by the Malaysian side. Moreover, Razak agreed with Putin that the Ukraine is not fulfilling the necessary action to aid the investigation.

    And now — pending an investigation — the Australians have not only identified the perpetrators, they have also put forward a claim for compensation!

    “A conclusion of guilt has not yet been proven. There is a whole pile of versions of the event and until there is at least some clarity about the matter, no such court action can be taken”, commented live on Radio “Komsomolskaya Pravda” lawyer Alexander Treshchev. “This case is overly politicized. Behind it are forces, for which it is advantageous that the tragedy be spun and the responsibility for it shifted onto Russia. Therefore, Russia should not sit idly by: she should take active steps to forestall such accusations. It is necessary to try to present even more evidence that Russia was not involved in the crash.

    The whole story looks like an absurd political flim-flam. It is looks more like the action of run-of-the-mill PR lawyers who want to create a scandal so as to become famous all over the world. When there is such total confusion as regards this matter both at a legal and political level, then to file a financial claim is absurd. It is noteworthy that against the Ukrainian side, against which there is a lot of evidence of guilt from lawyers, there have been no claims made. That is not surprising: a claim made against Kiev and Poroshenko would not have caused such scandal, although it would have had a more realistic chance of winning.

    Legally it turns out to be a bad situation, explained on Radio “Komsomolskaya Pravda” Paul Kalinichenko, international lawyer and an expert of the Moscow Academy of Law. “Where are the grounds in the presentation of claims against Russia? There are none at all! All the parameters here point the blame at the Ukraine. Indirect responsibility is obvious: they did not shut down the airspace over a zone of warfare. And they did not shut it down because they did not want to lose the money that is paid for being in the airspace of a foreign state. There is a selfish motive. If we are really trying to win some compensation in such a court, then it is necessary to file a lawsuit against the Ukraine! In no documentation at all is Russia officially represented as a state involved in this crash. There is no evidence! This case against Russia is doomed to failure.”

    • Cortes says:

      Since details unearthed and published by John Helmer a few months back dealt quite convincingly with aspects of the coronial investigation into MH17 in Australia, good luck with the litigation.

      • Cortes says:

        See the latter part of the following, for example:

        • marknesop says:

          Max van der Werff’s analysis (internally linked in the Helmer piece) is by far the most comprehensive of any done by any publicly-accessible authority, and it completely excoriates and repudiates Bellingcat’s maundering fabrications – as van der Werff notes, the scientific method is ‘Let’s follow all the available evidence and see where it takes us’, while Higgins’ method is ‘Here’s my conclusion; what evidence supports it?’

          Some things about the whole case still disturb me, however. One, which I imagine disturbs a lot of people, is that Ukraine has never been ordered to produce its radar and ATC records. Instead, we have the laughable situation in which Ukraine officially reports that its civilian radar network was ‘not operating’ (some sources suggest it was taken offline for maintenance), and its military network was also offline because ‘no military aircraft were airborne at the time’. So we are asked to believe not only that a nation which claims to live in constant fear of a Russian invasion – likely preceded by an air strike which would establish air superiority and could be upon it in only minutes from forward-based airfields – routinely does not operate military air search radar if it does not have national aircraft airborne, but that control of a civil aviation airliner would be assumed by an authority which did not have any radar operating which could establish its altitude and position! And that it further ordered said aircraft to deviate from the established flight corridor by a couple of hundred miles which took it right over a war zone when the tower had no radar operating to verify that area was clear of aircraft operating at the same altitude! That, frankly, would never, ever happen and if it ever did, that nation would lose its right to control civil aviation (which Ukraine should anyway). What are they going to do – ask the pilot to look out the window and tell the control tower what he sees? Preposterous.

          The other thing that bothers me is that van der Werff’s analysis mentions that theory in which a Ukrainian Buk was part of an exercise and its radar saw the Boeing at a different altitude from the exercise plane (a Ukrainian SU-25), but acquired it as a target because the Malaysian plane did not have an IFF transponder. An airliner would not even be allowed inside US-controlled airspace if it did not have a fitted IFF transponder, and all aircraft which fly above 10,000 feet have to have the Mode-C capability. Malaysian Airlines formerly flew to Los Angeles and New York, although both routes have since been terminated, and it flew all over Europe: ICAO regulations also require use and operation of an IFF transponder, and Europe’s skies are more crowded that the USA’s. It is inconceivable that MH-17 did not have an IFF system, and it would be the height of folly to have it turned off while flying over a war zone. For their part, there would have been several warning flags for the operators of the Buk system even if they were abject retards and the Boeing had no IFF – what would an SU-25 be doing at 33 kft at 400 knots? It completely rules out the Bellingcat story, in which a lone launcher complex was trucked in, took the shot and fled, because the local radar on the nose of the Buk launcher vehicle has no IFF capability – that’s the job of the main radar, and Bellingcat made no allowance for there being one present because Bellingcat’s angle is to blame a deliberate, calculated operation by Russia rather than a stupid accident by Ukrainian forces. But it’s hard to imagine anyone in the Ukrainian forces could be so clueless as to make such a mistake and still be smart enough to operate the radar, while it is inconceivable that any modern airliner which regularly flies in Europe and North America did not have an IFF system. Nobody but a lunatic, having one, would fly over a known war zone with it not operating.

          The whole investigation buzz has gone silent, anyway. The aim was to establish an unstoppable momentum, with press release after press release blaming Russia and citing new ‘proof’ and ‘evidence’, coupled with regular crude strawman attempts to shift the blame to Ukraine which were then exposed and laughed at and blamed on a desperate, squirming Russia. The project was supposed to attain critical mass whereby nobody, but nobody outside Russia believed that Russia was not guilty. Then Russian guilt could be announced and punishment levied, even over Russia’s frantic protests. But that didn’t happen. There were still too many loose ends. So now the new tactic seems to be to lie doggo and keep quiet, and hope the fickle public will move on and forget about it.

      • Jen says:

        The Australian families would have better luck if they threw in their lot with the German families in the class action suing Ukraine for not closing off its airspace during the Donbass war and/or forcing MH17 to fly at 10,000 metres through the war zone.

    • marknesop says:

      Again, I say, good! If the case is ever taken up by the ECHR (which, unfortunately, is doubtful), what are they going to say? We’re not accepting any evidence or responses of any kind from the accused? Of course not!! This disgusting crime would very likely be solved and the guilty party identified if there had ever been a full and non-partisan investigation which took into account all the evidence which must exist. Instead, Ukraine and the western democracies closeted themselves away to play hide-the-wiener away from public view, and – incredibly, given it was itself a major suspect – Ukraine was allowed full access to the evidence. At the same time, what would certainly qualify as critical evidence to the case – the Ukrainian ATC records – have been withheld and are probably now small lumps of fused burnt plastic; failure to disclose this evidence has just been accepted, apparently, as the new way crimes are investigated; establish a narrative, and then eliminate every reality which contradicts it.

      If it went to court, somebody would have to prove something, and questions could be asked in real time with no possibility of a diplomatic waffle in response, such as “Where are the Ukrainian ATC records?”

      This lawsuit should go ahead as quickly as court time to hear it can be arranged.

      • Jen says:

        I suppose if Jerry Springer … oops, Skinner, gets Sir Robert Owen as the barrister or senior representative for his clients and Owen’s qualifications pass muster with the ECHR, then all that has to be done in the trial is for Owen to say that the Russian President probably ordered the SA-11 missile hit on MH-17. The whole case can then be summarised on the basis of Owenian probabilities (that Putin probably ordered the hit, ergo the hit probably went ahead) and certainties (Putin and Russia certainly are to blame for the probabilities) and the ECHR judges will fall over at such impeccable reasoning.

  13. Moscow Exile says:

    The West’s favourite former Soviet leader:

    Михаил Горбачев: Я поступил бы с Крымом точно так же, как Путин

    Gorbachev: I would have done with the Crimea the same as Putin has.
    The former President of the USSR has said that the Soviet Union would have continued to exist if he had not been removed from power

    The first and last President of the Soviet Union, whom many in Russia believed responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union and about whom the West believes he still continues celebrating the dismantling of the largest “Communist Empire”, has given an unexpected interview, stating that everything did not happen quite the way people think. And the position of Mikhail Gorbachev is that he thinks the opposite: he regrets the disintegration of the country. And if he had not been removed from power, the Soviet Union would have continued to exist.

    Gorbachev gave his interview to the Western publication, “The Sunday Times”, and for the journalists much of what the former President said was, of course, a revelation. After all, for the past decades they have considered him as one of “theirs”.

    “I always wanted only to reform the Soviet Union, but never aspired to the collapse of the country”, Gorbachev told the British Sunday Times . “I regret that a great power with vast opportunities and resources disappeared. To tell you the truth, if I were still in power, she would continue to exist.”

    The former President told the British about whom he thinks is to blame for the current cooling between the West and Russia. This, according to Gorbachev, has been brought on by the arrogance of Washington, which considered itself the victors in the cold war.

    “The Americans were secretly rubbing their hands with delight… They were not genuinely interested in helping us to become a stable and strong democracy. They thought that they had cut our country down to size. In the process they undermined the trust that we had built”, said the former leader of the Soviet Union.

    Of course, the British journalists asked Gorbachev’s opinion as regards the accession of the Crimea to Russia. “What”, to their astonishment he replied,”he would have done with the Crimea would have been the same that Vladimir Putin did”.

    “I have always advocated the free will of the people, and in the Crimea the majority wanted reunification with Russia. I myself would have done something that Vladimir Putin did if I had been on the spot when he was. I would have refused during my time only because there was still a Soviet Union then and the Crimea was part of it”, said Gorbachev.

    And as regards Western journalists thinking that he only said what he did as he is “under Kremlin orders”, Gorbachev also told them that he now has no relations whatsoever with Putin.

    “We have always maintained good relations. But, now I can’t call them good, because we do not have any sort of relationship”, said Gorbachev.

    The Times interview reported by the “The Australian”:

    Mikhail Gorbachev has backed Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Crimea and accused America of “rubbing its hands with glee” over the demise of the Soviet Union.

    In an interview in today’s Sunday Times magazine, the last Soviet leader says he would have acted the same way as Putin if he had found himself in a similar situation.

    “I’m always with the free will of the people and most in Crimea wanted to be reunited with Russia”, Gorbachev says.

    Putin seized the peninsula from Ukraine in March 2014 in the chaos that followed the ousting of Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s pro-Kremlin President, in a popular pro-western uprising.

    Gorbachev, now aged 85, is frail, suffers from diabetes and poor hearing and walks with a stick.

    He has just released a volume of memoirs and remains bitter about the collapse of his country 25 years ago.

    “I regret that a great country with huge possibilities and resources vanished”, he says. “Most Russians think, like me, they don’t want it back, but they are deeply sorry that it collapsed.”

    He is also angry at the US reaction. “Under the table, the Americans were rubbing their hands with glee”, he says.

    Gorbachev’s support for Putin’s annexing of Crimea belies a cooling of the relationship between the two men.

    Although initially supportive of the present Russian leader when he came to power in 2000, Gorbachev has since criticised Putin for staying too long in power and rolling back democratic reforms.

    “We always had normal relations”, he said. “Now I wouldn’t describe them as normal. We have no relations.”

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Same story has just popped up in Sputnik:

      Gorbachev: Post-Cold War US Arrogance Behind Tensions With Russia

      For all of this blame American-Century Kagan and his wife Noodelmann, Brzezinsky, End-Of-History Fuckyourmama, and the rest of those exceptional power shites.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Киеве пригрозили Горбачёву запретом въезда в Европу после его слов о принадлежности Крыма

      Kiev has threatened Gorbachev with a ban on entry into Europe after his words about where the Crimea belongs

      The first President of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, in an interview with the Sunday Times defended the decision of the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, over the Crimea and accused the US of “glee” as regards the collapse of the Soviet Union.

      “I have always advocated the free will of the people, and the majority in the Crimea wanted to reunite with Russia”, said Gorbachev.

      Meanwhile, Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs, Deputy of the Supreme Rada of the Ukraine, Anton Gerashchenko, has stressed in an interview with the radio station “Moscow Speaking” that “through his reckless actions Mikhail Gorbachev not only helped to ruin the Soviet Union, but is now helping to ruin Russia as well”.

      “In such cases, the SBU adopts a decision to ban entry to those persons who support the violation of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine. However, I do not recall his visiting in recent years and there is nothing here for him to do. Also, by diplomatic means, we shall appeal to our European partners that he not be accepted in Europe and that his foundation not be funded, which foundation helps stir up hatred between Russia and the Ukraine”, promised A. Gerashchenko.

      Earlier, Gorbachev had stated that he does not absolve himself from responsibility for the collapse of the Soviet Union.

      Glory to the Ukraine!

      Freedom of expression anyone?

      And will the EU and “free world” accept the appeal of the sorely grieved Ukraine to banish the West’s erstwhile favourite Soviet leader from entry into the EU?

      Of course they will!

      Wicked, wicked man for speaking in such a way about the Ukraine and its stolen territory!

      Glory to the heroes!

      • marknesop says:

        Kiev is empowered to implement bans on entry into Europe?????

        Actually, what it says is that Kiev will appeal – on bended knee, its customary approach – to its…ha, ha…forgive me, ‘European partners’ to ban the entry of Gorbachev and his organization. Oh, and if you’re not too busy, another couple of Billions would be nice.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          “Kiev is empowered to implement bans on entry into Europe?????”

          YIS! Because Украiна цэ Эуропа ™, and all European victories are also Ukrainian peremogas. Following this logic – all Euro-monies are also Ukrainian! Take that, Northern Mordor! Ukraine is Stronk and Relevant, and Rich and has the Most Powerful Military! And this means – there is no need to work or improve anything, Ukraine already is good.


    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “Gorbachev: I would have done with the Crimea the same as Putin has.”

      No, you wouldn’t, Gorby. The only one significant event that connects you with Crimea paints you as weak, pathetic coward.

      ““I’m always with the free will of the people and most in Crimea wanted to be reunited with Russia”, Gorbachev says.

      Putin seized the peninsula from Ukraine in March 2014 in the chaos that followed the ousting of Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s pro-Kremlin President, in a popular pro-western uprising.”

      See it people? Here lies the pit that separates Russian and Western (Official) Mentality. For them Crimea is just a piece of Real Estate, protected by Holy Law. For Us its the People. There won’t be any meaningful dialog between the West and Russia till they grasp that and start living up to their own claims, that the People are the source of any Law.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        A German constitutional court judge uses the same argument. (I’ve looked and looked for it since, but cannot find it. It was on the Karlsruhe Constitutional Court site — in German.)

        He said that the people’s will takes precedent over real estate.

        All this howling from the West over the Budapest “treaty” and the inviolability of national frontiers is a load of shit: the people decide, not state real estate managers!

        And therein lies the rub for the Svidimotes: they do not consider the majority of the citizens of the Crimea as “people” — their “people”: they are Katsapy, Moskaly, Vatniki etc. and not true sons of “Kievan Rus'”

        Glory to the heroes!

      • yalensis says:

        Gorby is just blowing hot air.
        “I would have been a hero! I would have! If I were still in power, I too could have been the fair-haired boy who saved the day.”

        “I could have been somebody! Instead of of a bum. Which is what I am.”

    • marknesop says:

      Well; that’s a bit of a revelation, what? It doesn’t excuse anything that Gorbachev did, because utter naivete in a national leader is inexcusable, and being wise too late has a lot in common with not being wise at all. But it is vindication of a sort. It is also a clear indication that Russia’s conduct throughout this lengthy attempt to bring her down has been almost entirely above reproach. If Putin had put a foot wrong, Gorbachev would have blamed him. In my opinion Mr. Putin has made a couple of mistakes – the greatest being his announcement of assumption of powers which would allow him to militarily intervene in the Donbas. This encouraged false hope in the east of Ukraine that Putin would ride to their rescue, while in fact it was just a bluff. Perversely, it may have turned out to have been beneficial in the end, as without such hope the east might have surrendered to the Ukrainian army instead of fighting them to a standstill. It is also looking like a mistake for Russia to have withdrawn from Syria too soon, although that was a political decision to offer a quid pro quo for the peace talks. But neither of those has any international law implications, while the western allies have pissed all over international law repeatedly, only invoking it when it was convenient for their agenda.

    • marknesop says:

      Half of the top ten, including number 1.

      But none of Russia’s universities are in the top 100 according to western college rankings, so it’s probably all bullshit.

  14. Moscow Exile says:

    At the Zaporozhckiy regional recruitment office a few days ago:

    В Запорожском областном военкомате на днях случился показательный инцидент. Некий «херой АТО» ворвался на собрание призывников и попытался взять слово. После того, как высказаться ему не дали, горе-вояка решил максимально сконцентрировать свои мысли и выдал плод умозаключения: «Нам пиздец скоро».

    A few days ago there took place at the Zaporozhskiy regional recruiting office a significant incident. A certain “Hero of the ATO” burst into the meeting of recruits and tried to take the floor. After he had not been allowed to speak, the grief-stricken soldier decided to concentrate his thoughts to the maximum and pass on to them the fruits of his reasoning: “We’ll all be fucked up soon”.

  15. Patient Observer says:

    Russia defeats the US in hockey for the bronze metal:

    • Patient Observer says:

      Doping charges expected shortly.

    • Warren says:

    • marknesop says:

      I see we beat Finland for the gold. No more talk about it being just a game – it was the defining event of the century, catapulting Canada to the top of a New World Order. How much maple syrup did you want, again? And the world better learn to eat beaver tails and poutine.

      • yalensis says:

        It’s not just a game any more, but something much more portentous.
        This victory was even predicted by Nostradamus:

        Celuy qu’en luitte et fer au faict bellique
        Aura porté plus grand qui luy le prix,
        De nuict au lict six luy feront la pique,
        Nud, sans harnois, subit sera surprins.

        To him who in strife and armour in the warlike field
        Shall have carried away the prize from one greater than himself,
        By night in bed six men will stab him;
        Unprotected he will be surprised naked and unarmed.

        “From one greater than himself” – Finland, obviously.
        The “six men” – duh – 6 players on the ice at one time for the team.
        According to the prophecy – the Finnish players will sneak back at night, to get even with some guy, probably the coach of the Canadian team.

      • Jen says:

        So how gracious and happy will Finland be in the silver medal position, compared to the, uh, bronze medal winners?

        “Research on counterfactual thinking has shown that people’s emotional responses to events are influenced by their thoughts about “what might have been.” The authors extend these findings by documenting a familiar occasion in which those who are objectively better off nonetheless feel worse. In particular, an analysis of the emotional reactions of bronze and silver medalists at the 1992 Summer Olympics—both at the conclusion of their events and on the medal stand—indicates that bronze medalists tend to be happier than silver medalists. The authors attribute these results to the fact that the most compelling counterfactual alternative for the silver medalist is winning the gold, whereas for the bronze medalist it is finishing without a medal. Support for this interpretation was obtained from the 1992 Olympics and the 1994 Empire State Games …”

        • Moscow Exile says:

          It’s the same with the bourgeoisie: they have a morbid fear of being “demoted” to “working class” and constantly aspire to becoming upper class. However, they know deep down that few of them will ever achieve that goal, and even those that do always know in their heart of hearts that they shall never be real upper-class to the manner born.

          The working class doesn’t give a bugger: the workers just get pissed and fuck around all day, which is what aristocrats do.

          That’s how it is in the UK, anyway. It has long been observed that the aristos (yer real Lords and Ladies!) have much the same interests and activities as the hoi-poloi: they like horse (racing, that is, not eating them as frogs do), dogs, and hunting (only workers go ratting and fishing for “coarse” fish in canals and lakes, whereas aristos go fly-fishing for salmon and trout); and both classes shag like bunnies, of course.

          What all this means is that the middle class are the pissed-off silver medallists of life.


  16. Warren says:

  17. Moscow Exile says:

    The Ukraine — the first self-proclaimed EU member state

    As matter of fact, it isn’t: Sackofshit used to do the same when he was president of Georgia — always had EU flags fluttering alongside the Georgian one and draped behind him in his presidential offices.

  18. marknesop says:

    It’s surprising how differently Jamala’s Eurovision win is portrayed when it can be made out that it was Australia’s Dami Im who was robbed of victory. Under those circumstances, the European press is a little more willing to concede that Ukraine’s entry might have been a little bent, and even to acknowledge that it is much more than those Russian crybabies who are unhappy with it.

    You’d have to glean that from oblique references, though, since the article is written more or less as if there was no competition to the Australian performer other than Ukraine; the only mention of Russia is its complaints that the song was political, and Lazarev’s entry is not mentioned at all. It is as if, had Ukraine not reaped a cheat victory, Dami Im would have romped home easily with the prize. So saith Yahoo, also, as if the winner of the popular vote was not even in the competition.

    When you look at the bookmakers’ odds for the competition, though, it appears obvious not only that Australia’s entry was a serious contender, but that Ukraine’s was a very distant third. The contest was really between Russia and Australia, but Russia has been shunted out of the running in the media as if there had never been any serious chance of its entry winning. Which, as it turns out, there wasn’t.

    Ukraine, of course, remains jubilant with its win, unconcerned with the ‘cheater’ label. Because all that matters is that you won – it is irrelevant if your ‘partners’ gave you the win just to make a political point. For its part, the EBU disgraces itself with its rationalization that Jamala’s song was performed ‘only in front of a small crowd of a few hundred’ and so that rule about it being a violation if the song was performed in public prior to such-and-such a date is not really a rule at all, just more like what ya might call guidelines, yarrrr. The only real rule is “Are you Russia? Then you can’t win.”

    Can’t wait for next year.

    • Oddlots says:

      That Niemoller quote needs an update to our debased state:

      “First they come for your politicized pop-song victory…”

      Pathetic what we’ve become.

  19. ucgsblog says:

    @Colliemum: thought you’d, and the rest of the crossover blog, might enjoy this, Neoliberalism at its finest:

    National Security Advisor Susan Rice told graduates at Florida International University that the presence of too many “white, male, and Yale” staffers is posing a threat to the security of America. “Too often, our national security workforce has been what former Florida Senator Bob Graham called ‘white, male, and Yale,'” Rice stated. “In the halls of power, in the faces of our national security leaders, America is still not fully reflected.” Rice, like her liberal cohorts, want to force the government and companies to hire the same demographic percentages that are represented in their various communities. But it’s not just for the sake of diversity; lives are at stake, the warning goes. “I’m not talking about a human resources issue,” she stressed. “I’m highlighting a national security imperative.” Apparently hiring someone with the right qualifications isn’t as important as their skin color for the Obama administration.

    Rice also described several potential scenarios where she feels diversity will make all the difference in diplomacy: “Moreover, we want our national security leaders to reflect America’s best self to the world and inspire others to follow our example. Not by preaching pluralism and tolerance, but by practicing it. Think of the LGBT person in Bangladesh who knows that someone at the American embassy understands who she is. Think of the Iraqi soldier, learning to fight alongside Iraqis from other religious sects, who takes inspiration from America’s own multi-ethnic force. Think of young Haitians drawn to converse with a Foreign Service officer who has dreadlocks like their own—or our Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, showered with rose petals when he visits his grandmother’s ancestral home in Punjab. That is how we build bridges and deepen partnerships in an increasingly globalized world.”

    Besides, when too many whites are in the same room making decisions, they all think too much alike: “By now, we should all know the dangers of ‘groupthink,’ where folks who are alike often think alike. By contrast, groups comprised of different people tend to question one another’s assumptions, draw on divergent perspectives and experiences, and yield better outcomes.” Rice obviously doesn’t believe in leading by example, as the collective voices of the leftist-only Obama administration are the very definition of “groupthink.” President Obama has proven time and time again that “pluralism and tolerance,” as Rice indicated, are valiant pursuits above all else. Otherwise, we are handicapped as a nation, she said: “Without tapping into America’s full range of races, religions, ethnicities, language skills, and social and economic experiences, we’re leading in a complex world with one hand tied behind our back.”

    Remember guys, the way to build partnership isn’t to respect others, nope; it’s to look like them and understand them… without respecting them. Speaking of non white males in the Obama Administration, how’d Eric Holder and Lois Lerner do? Too soon? Speaking of respect and tolerance:

    The freedom from religion foundation, (IMHO they should be known as trolls with too much time on their hands,) is suing a school for not letting them advertise to ban religion using freedom of speech. I know most people here aren’t American, so here’s the First Amendment of Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

    Notice how it treats religion and speech in the exact same manner. That means that you can either have freedom of religion and freedom of speech, or you can have freedom from religion and freedom from speech. You cannot have both. The freedom from religion foundation is using freedom of speech to promote freedom from religion, which is their definition of respect. Of course they do it in a calm and mature manner:

    “Has the Bible Belt annexed northern L.A. County? You’d think so…” No, I wouldn’t think so, not that I’d mind a made up name annexing a real place; I, for one, would be curious how that would happen. That’s just the most recent example of Neoliberal tolerance and respect for viewpoints not their own, with no hyperbole whatsoever. Here’s another one:

    “In a reprise of an earlier legal fight, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California sued the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Thursday for voting to return a religious cross to the official County seal. “The restoration of the cross to the County seal favors the Christian religion over all other religions,” says the federal lawsuit. It argues that the addition of the cross would violate the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The clause, part of the First Amendment, bars the preference of one religion over another by government agencies.”

    Awww, would you look at that, the ACLU is pretending to care about other religions, erm, the very same group that sued to allow Nazis to march through Jewish neighborhoods is caring about religion, erm, where’s the laugh track?

    “The ACLU and the Freedom from Religion Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit against the Concord Community Schools for using a live Nativity scene in their annual Christmas concert.”

    Respect and tolerance for all… all lawyers that is. Tolerance and respect:

    “East Point Academy, an elementary school in South Carolina, canceled their “Operation Christmas Child” annual toy drive last month after receiving a letter from the American Humanist Association, a group dedicated to removing religion from government. The group stated that they intervened on behalf of a “perturbed” parent who was concerned about Operation Christmas Child’s association with an international Christian relief organization called “Samaritan’s Purse.”

    Faced with the threat of a lawsuit over the lack of a menorah in their holiday decor, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport may have slightly overreacted in 2006. After a local Jewish Orthodox educational group asked for more balanced decor, the airport removed 14 “holiday trees”—but just for a long weekend. Public outcry caused the airport to rethink its decision, and four days after they were removed, the trees reappeared, still minus a menorah.

    At first glance, candy canes may not appear to have religious connotations. According to one old tale, however, they were first made to represent shepherds’ crooks. When one student showed up to school with candy canes bearing notes explaining the connection, a principal in Texas banned the peppermint treats. Similarly, another Texas elementary school banned pencils that said “Jesus is the reason for the season.” After eight years (eight years) in court, neither principal was held liable.”

    So remember, it’s ok to not feed hungry kids, but if you feed hungry kids near a cross in a public park, you might get sued. That’s known as Neoliberal tolerance and respect. Oh, and screw you white guys.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “Think of young Haitians drawn to converse with a Foreign Service officer who has dreadlocks like their own”

      В голосинушку! Ору!

      Okay, okay… Tell you what? That’s a swell idea! Borderline insane/brilliant. Make all relevant security personell black and Native American – this way bloody Rooskis, Chinese and Arabs won’t infiltrate them! Make this obligatory!

      Or, better yet – add the condition for them to belong to LGBT-alphabetsoup group! This will double or even triple the quality of protection they provide for their country and NO ENEMY OF THE FREE WORLD WILL EVER INFILTRATE OF SUBVERT THEM! Murkia – Firetruck Yeah!

      Remember kids – positive discrimination is the Best Discrimination!

      P.S. I’m afraid to know what would good lady Rice suggest for the State Dept officios to do to better “connect” and “earn the rapport” from Russians while serving in This Country ™.

    • Cortes says:

      “Think of the LGBT person in Bangladesh who knows that someone at the American embassy understands who she is”.
      Bit sexist, Shirley?

  20. Moscow Exile says:

    Typical loser!


    In my experience, amongst many US citizens the term “loser” is a gross insult: Europeans are “losers”; Russians are “losers”; the British are “losers” (and “faggots” to boot!)

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      1) I suspect that Americn non-systemic opposition right now is exploding all over twitter, Facebook, Tubler and Instagram with messages like: “Lost to Canad – its like 1814 all over again…”, “And before that lost to Russia 7:2 – that’s the real shame”. “Who needs hockey if Detroit is in ruins?” and “Time to emigrate to Canada”.

      2) There is one critical factor that would prevent Petro Poroshenko from claiming Canadian victory as his own (’cause Canada won ONLY thanks to Ukraine!):

      Zrada! “Mirotvorets” by now is probably getting ready to upload personal info about the Canadion team, coaches and their families.


      they were making “takbir” sign after the victory. Should NSA and CIA put them into some black-site torture hole till they confess for working on Iran/AQ/Taliban/Someone, who is not (yet) a CIA asset in the Middle East?


      Anyway – congrats, Mark!

    • marknesop says:

      Although it has evolved to an insult – thanks mostly to Canadian-born comic Jim Carey in the role of Ace Ventura, Pet Detective – a lot of people decided at the same time to spell it differently as well, so that it now regularly appears as “looser”; which actually is a word, meaning “more loose”, but which has nothing to do with being unsuccessful in responding to a challenge.

      I thought the Russian president showed real class and style, and that his short speech likely reflected what he really believes; that sporting events and contests are measures of sports or other prowess only, and that accomplishment in them does not reflect political success. But I imagine a lot of people heard him say that he wants to recreate the Soviet Union and that it was America’s fault that Russia did not win the gold medal.

      • yalensis says:

        Yeah, and after publicly congratulating the Russian team for their Bronze Medal, Putin ordered them all to be secretly put to death.
        In his secret dungeon underneath the Kremlin.

  21. Moscow Exile says:

    Now don’t you go taking your eye off the ball!

    In Putin’s Russia schoolchildren as young as 10 could be taught to fight
    The training includes assembling assault rifles, shooting and parachute jumping

    In “Putin’s Russia”, by the way, it is extremely difficult to get firearms licence and one cannot possess an arsenal in one’s home as do, it seems, many US citizens.

    Just sayin’!

    • ucgsblog says:

      I sense a disturbing lack of sources in that article.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Just pulled out of thin air!

        A couple of Russian commentators rubbish the article.

        None of my three children (aged 16, 15 and 8) have received any weapons training whatsoever, and they go to a Moscow State School.

    • marknesop says:

      My wife did a similar program in school, as a Pioneer (in her last two years of school), although I don’t believe there was any parachute jumping. But they learned to disassemble and reassemble the Kalashnikov (the missus was the fastest in her class, although she disliked it because she often broke fingernails) and fire it (not in the classroom, of course). I haven’t seen any signs of her turning into a nationalist radical, and considering everyone in Soviet schools did the same or similar training as part of their final two years’ syllabus, I would have to say nationalism in Russia was fairly rare unless you want to say patriotism is nationalism and vice-versa. It’s true that Russia is drifting back into practices that were common in more martial times, and that is indeed regrettable, but it should be borne in mind that they were abandoned in hope of peace and harmony with the world. That now looks hopeless for Russia despite its best efforts, and it should look to itself for protection and deterrence.

      • yalensis says:

        Parachute jumping and skydiving was how Valentina Tereshkova got her start as a cosmonaut. She was only a teenager at the time, up until then she had not particularly distinguished herself in life, and then she joined a Komsomol sky-diving club, and suddenly she discovered that she was really really good at this particular activity. And the rest is history…
        I think children and teenagers should really be encouraged to engage in all manner of sports and athletic activities — including rifle marksmanship, archery, whatever — until each one discovers what he or she is good at.

      • Jen says:

        The fact that the Independent mentions parachute-jumping as a skill schoolchildren would have to learn should leave readers in no doubt at all that the article was written in haste without any fact-checking. I doubt that even neo-Nazi holiday boot camps for kids in deepest darkest Banderastan would be shoving them into planes that then take off so the children can be thrown into the air with parachute packs, unless as punishment for saluting pictures of Bandera with arms held at the wrong angle.

    • kirill says:

      Meanwhile in Poland there will be brainwashing:

      Assembly and disassembly of assault rifles is a 100% politically neutral activity that develops IQ. Indoctrination to love NATzO only leads to brain damage.

  22. Moscow Exile says:

    Muscovites waiting in the pouring rain over the weekend to view a Kandinsky exhibition.

    See: В Москве очередь на выставку Кандинского растянулась на несколько сотен метров

    In Moscow a queue for a Kandinsky exhibition stretched for several hundred metres

    Vulgar, vulgar sheeple!

    The journalist comments on the number of young people present. He also mentions that many cynics might say that so many turned up for the exhibition because it was free. However, when interviewing people waiting to enter the exhibition hall, the reporter realized that few of them knew that there was no entry fee.

    A similar exhibition at the same place was swamped by art lovers a few months ago.

    Filthy gopniki all of them!

  23. Moscow Exile says:

    The woman in blue pictured above has her claim trashed in this translated article:

    Impostors Disappointed With their Reception in Crimea

    The rather garbled first two paragraphs would better read in my opinion:

    German Princess Maria of Hohenzollern is on the Peninsula with her son George

    Maria Hohenzollern, who calls herself, depending on the circumstances, “Her Majesty the Empress of the Russian Empire”, de jure Maria I, and head of the Russian Imperial House”, and often “Her Highness the Grand Duchess”, or at the very least just “Princess”, and her son, Georgy Mikhailovich, whom his mother says is “the heir to the throne”, arrived in the Crimea for an “official visit”. Although as a matter of fact, according to the strong opinion of all the other representatives of the Romanov dynasty, as well as the testimony of most historians, the highest title that Maria Vladimirovna can label herself with is “Princess”.

    But political circumstances already a quarter of a century earlier contributed to this matter while an exclusively Russian audience plays the “Empress” game . And the union members of the Romanov family, both those who are reigning and those currently not-reigning, now do not accept the former Princess of Hohenzollern as one of “their own.” You will not see “Mary I” at a reception in Buckingham Palace, but the former king of Greece Constantine I who really ruled — yes. The paradox lies in the fact that all of these titles of Maria Vladimirovna are de facto recognized only by the Russian leadership. And the news is that this carnival has come, apparently, to an end.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I mean the fat, stereotypical opera-singer type woman, of course, not the younger red-head.

    • Cortes says:

      The photo looks like the plucky “We’ll call you ” auditioners for a remake of the “Rocky Horror ” movie.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I think Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Maria (Ее Императорское Высочество Великая Княгиня Мария) is singing “God Save the Tsar” above.

        I’ve seen them baubles a few times in the Almazny Fond in the Kremlin, and they really do sparkle.

        Take a look at the top of that linked website page!

        Fifth column already at work within the citadel!

        It’s not an official website, of course, but I thought one couldn’t do such a thing in “Putin’s Russia”, where everyone is scared shitless of criticizing the Dark Lord and his “clan”.

      • yalensis says:

        Ha ha ha ha ha! That was brilliant, Cortes!

  24. et Al says:

    Independent: British-made cluster bomb found in Yemeni village targeted by Saudi-led coalition

    Yemeni local talks of ‘bombs hanging off the trees’ as Amnesty International calls on UK Government to do more to trace the whereabouts of weapons

    …“The original airstrike happened late last July or August during the day and [some of] the bomblets exploded. There were also Apaches [helicopters] that shot at people as they ran away. There were 500 pieces in the village everywhere … we wanted to remove them. Some were inside the house in the courtyard and kitchen … [the de-mining organisation] kept on promising they would come but they never came. They told us they were busy in other areas. By February, we were forced to clean them ourselves because of the children. At the time I went into the house and put ten [submunitions] on a tray and carried them out of the house. The bombs started hitting against each other and one went off. I dropped the tray and the rest went off.”…

    So does this qualify as being clusterf/ked?

    T. Blair and co. to be eviscerated by the Chilcott Report on I-raq that will be release a couple of weeks after the EU referendum. I’m wondering how stupid the Tories will be in the gloating when the accounts of Cameron/Sarko/Obomber’s jolly adventure in Libya is recalled…

  25. Patient Observer says:

    A chilling statement:

    “One must mention that during ATO military analysts ironically noted that the first three waves of mobilization were not matched by demobilization, but the UA did not create any new units, even though more than 30,000 men were drafted. That black humor was caused by the impression that mobilizations just replenished losses of killed and wounded”

    Realistic analysis of Ukraine’s losses show 30,000+ killed or seriously wounded. The Ukraine army is depleted in personnel and weapons according the to article. I suppose that means there are no serious military actions planned beyond routine terror shelling.

  26. Turkish backed Ahrar Ash-Sham committed a series of terrorist acts in Latakia killing over 100 civilians. One of the terrorist act happened near Russian military base in Tartous.

    I take that the Western intelligence agencies helped to commit these heinous crimes. They want to drive Russia out of Latakia and all of Syria.

  27. et Al says:

    McClatchy: Syrian rebel whose group is linked to al Qaida visited U.S.

    …Labib al Nahhas, foreign affairs director for the Islamist fighting group Ahrar al Sham, spent a few days in Washington in December, according to four people with direct knowledge of the trip and who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of U.S. relations with Syrian rebels.

    His previously undisclosed visit is a delicate matter for both sides…

    …“They’re treating Labib al Nahhas as an individual, and it’s also useful to have someone to talk to on the other side,” said Faysal Itani, a Syria specialist with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, who said he’d known about Nahhas’ visit. “They could make, quickly, the decision that he’s persona non grata in the United States and yet they haven’t.”..

    So, the US doesn’t negotiate with terrorists, or is it only a matter of perception?

    • Ahrar al Sham is exactly the same terrorist group who did the terrorist act today in Latakia, killing over 100 civilians. And this happened immediately after their leader visited the US.

  28. et Al says:

    abc News via Thousands of Military Sex Assault Victims Got Wrongful Discharges, Report Says

    …Human Rights Watch based its report on 270 in-person and telephone interviews, as well as the examination of a number of case documents spanning back to 1966 but focusing mainly on the ’90s and ’00s that U.S. government agencies produced in response to public record requests. ..

    Just as the GOP is split over including women as possible military draftees. Join the US Army, get raped for free…

  29. et Al says:

    The Groaning Man via How the Pentagon punished NSA whistleblowers

    Long before Edward Snowden went public, John Crane was a top Pentagon official fighting to protect NSA whistleblowers. Instead their lives were ruined – and so was his

    Do as we say, not as we do redux.

    • marknesop says:

      Excellent vindication for Snowden – had he reported his misgivings ‘through the proper channels’, he likely would have been fired and perhaps jailed as well.

  30. et Al says:

    Beijing XNA (Forbes)? via Energy Daily: US eyes European reactors market

    America’s competition with Russia over the supply of energy to Europe isn’t limited to US plans to move in on Gazprom’s turf by supplying the continent with US liquefied natural gas. Forbes contributor Kenneth Rapoza explains that there’s another area where the US is trying to squeeze out Russia: nuclear energy…

    We know already about plenty of this stuff like Westinghouse nuclear fuel rods unhelpluffly bending, but this article ties up US desperation to cause a nuclear accident wrest control of the civil nuclear market in Europe, even though Westinghouse is Japanese. I wonder if it came up in recent talks between Putin and Abe?

  31. et Al says:

    This one is for the pyromaniacs and those interested in rockets:

    Copenhagen Suborbitals: To Make Fire!

    Translated by Daen de Leon and Jørgen Skyt.

    (Blog 1 of 2, how to start a bi-propellant rocket engine, by Jørgen Skyt)

  32. Moscow Exile says:

    Russian life expectancy at birth

    Russia is doomed!

    • Why do you think Russia is doomed? Russian demographic situation is now better than in the most European countries. The TFR however needs to rise to 2.0 and stay there for at least a generation to offset the losses of the small 1990’s age groups.

      But compared to Baltic countries, Ukraine, Germany, Italy and Spain Russia is far better off.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Arrgghhh! Make him stop!!!!!

        • Patient Observer says:

          TFR that is.

          • yalensis says:

            TFR is unveiling Version 2.0 ?

            • Patient Observer says:

              At first, I thought he did not pickup on ME’s sarcasm. He may be retrolling, I mean retooling his image to get back in good standing before resuming his racist messages.

              • yalensis says:

                Dear Patient Observer:
                Yes. TFR has travelled a long road with us. At first he came off as an anti-imperialist anti-NATO type who was just a tad too eager for Putin to save the world. Like, invade the Donbass immediately, conquer nukes, drop nukes, etc.

                I don’t think he started introducing the racist stuff until later. I could be wrong though, because I think you picked up on that much sooner than I did. Although your definition of racism might be different from mine. I can be a bit thick at times, and I only picked up on the racism when he got blatant about it and started openly dissing Central Asians, etc.

                Given all this historical context, the question remains, whether TFR is actually pro-Russian or is being duplicitous about that. See, here’s the thing: I personally don’t regard “pro-Russian” or “anti-Russian” for that matter as any kind of meaningful position.
                There is no class line here, nor even a political platform. It’s more like a cultural preference, or maybe an ethnic prejudice. I am only “pro-Russian” myself because I am ethnic Russian, that’s my family, my roots, and that’s where my heart is. However, if Georgy Romanov were to become Tsar of All Russia, then you better believe I would transform overnight into the most “anti-Russian” person you can imagine.

                On the other hand, Racist or anti-racist I DO regard as political. So, here is the way I reason it, and my stipulation is that when I use the word “racist”, I an using it in the traditional meaning of, say anti-brown and black people; not anti-Russian people.

                Okay, so given that these are independent variables, then logically, thinking in terms of pure binary math, there are 4 possibilities:
                (1) Pro-Russian and pro-racist (example=ThatJ)
                (2) Pro-Russian and anti-racist (example=myself)
                (3) Anti-Russian and pro-racist (example=Azov Battalion)
                (4) Anti-Russian and anti-racist (example=Julia Ioffe)

                If what I have laid out above is logically sound, then the only remaining question is which one of these 4 is TFR. My conclusion: TFR is either (1) or (3).

                If (1), then he is still a jerk, but an honest jerk.
                If (3), then he is simulating being (1), in which case he is both a jerk and a liar.

                Is my reasoning sound and logically consistent?


    • kirill says:

      Stupid graph.with an idiotic fit of an asymptote to 80 years. These clowns love their extrapolations to zero for the Russian population but engage in contortions when it comes to positive developments. Russian life expectancy will reach 80 years by 2030.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Your criticism of a Rosstat analysis has been duly noted and you are requested forthwith to report to office 15a, sub-basement 3, Lubyanka Building, 1, Lubyanka Square, Moscow.

      • Northern Star says:

        I don’t pay any attention to the Warmonger in Chief….just counting the days until
        January 20, 2017…

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I beg your pardon, sir!

          President of the United States Barack Hussein Obama became a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate even before he was sworn into office for his first presidential ministry.

      • ucgsblog says:

        “We’re supporting the principle that bigger nations cannot bully smaller nations… by bombing Libya”

        Supporting Ukraine’s Democracy? Russia is isolated with its economy in tatters? Is that why Obama needed Russia’s cooperation in the Middle East?

        “America leads with persistence and steady results… by drawing a red line and then ignoring it completely”

        Effects of the sanctions:

        1. More cats named after Obama in Russia than ever before
        2. Russia’s oil ties no longer play a vital role
        3. Russia and China grew together like never before

        Obama is trying to be more and more anti-Russian to support Clinton over Trump. Speaking of Obama’s big success:

        Whoops. Looks like Ben Rhodes scored an own goal. Then again, Obama was never really into sports, maybe he thinks that’s what you’re supposed to do.

        • marknesop says:

          And it all results in NATO announcing it is having a meeting with Russia without checking with Russia first. Awkward.

          • Patient Observer says:

            Russia should obtain a restraining order against NATO for stalking and harassment.

          • ucgsblog says:

            Putin could be like “you didn’t fill out form 10B, which requires approval of form 5C, which can be only be approved after the Minsk Agreement is fulfilled, which now requires…

            • marknesop says:

              It is infuriating that they keep tying punitive sanctions to “Russia’s failure to fulfill the Minsk Agreement” when Russia is not even mentioned in the Minsk Agreement. I suppose they’re referring to the part about restoring the border to Ukrainian control – you can almost see their stupid cunning, and if they were able to surround the east Porky would forget all about his statements that there can be no military solution. But the border control is not supposed to be ceded to Ukraine until elections have been held in the republics, and Ukraine shows no eagerness for that. And in this case it would be most unwise just to take them on faith.

  33. Northern Star says:

    “In his address, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, deputy chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, essentially the No. 2 man in the army, warned his fellow citizens, “There is nothing easier than to hate those who are different; there is nothing easier than to sow fear and terror; there is nothing easier than to behave like animals.”
    His speech comes amid revelations that an Israeli soldier shot and killed a wounded Palestinian attacker in the head, an act that human rights activists called a street execution and that Israeli military prosecutors called manslaughter.”

    OHhhhhh….my poor baby…!!!!!

    The formerly oppressed…..

  34. Warren says:

  35. Patient Observer says:

    What a bunch of sore losers!

    “Russian President Vladimir Putin joined the top teams on the ice of the 2016 World Hockey Championship to personally congratulate them on their wins and present Canada with the cup for defeating Finland and grabbing the gold.”

  36. Warren says:

    Published on 23 May 2016
    A grim prediction – a retired general sees a NATO-Russia war within a year. At the same time British Prime Minister David Cameron drags Russia into the UK-EU vote. Also, why is Bill Clinton berating the Poles and Hungarians? And why won’t Washington cooperate with Russia in Syria?
    CrossTalking with Dmitry Babich, Xavier Moreau, and Alex Christoforou.

  37. Cortes says:

    The Clinton Foundation under the scrutiny of Charles Ortel as possibly a scam like Madoff’s:

    • Patient Observer says:

      If it can not be suppressed, delayed or minimized, these charges could help swing the election to Trump.

      • marknesop says:

        Hillary is a grifter in love with power, and she would make a terrible president. Trump would perhaps make a terrible president as well, but I can’t imagine he could be worse or more dangerous to world peace than Clinton. Is this what America has come to, that these two are the best the country has to offer?

        There’s a small possibility that Trump might listen to good advice, and therefore would not try to run the country single-handed – depending on the quality of the advice, it might not turn out too badly. But that’s a small chance, since Trump is nothing if not egotistical, so what are the chances he will listen to anyone? This, I believe, is part of Putin’s winning formula – he listens to advice. Either that or he is astonishingly well-informed on a wide variety of subjects, and Christ knows where he would find the time.

        I do not find it at all hard to believe that the Clintons are corrupt as can be, and I liked Bill Clinton when he was president. I just didn’t know any better. But the more I see of politicians, the less I like them.

        • Patient Observer says:

          I think Trump may listen to a few people with one of them being Putin. Putin is not a western style politician. He seems much more of a CEO of Russia and his shareholders are the citizens. Trump may be in secret awe of Putin and could try to be emulate the Putin style in the US within the confines of his own ego. I think that outcome would be the best we cold hope for.

          Hillary has the potential to end the US via war or gross miscalculations.

          One reason why our candidates are so awful is that it does not matter who sits as President, the shots will be called by the deep state.

    • Cortes says:

      It’s like Yogi Berra, all over again.

      (Sorry, Warren)

    • I see some anti-semitism in that line. The liberal teacher Abram Davidovich is clearly Jewish by the name and the Jews have an unfair reputation of being liberal Russia haters who want to bring down Russia and steal its resources. This only helps to prop up the unfair stereotype of the Jews.

      • yalensis says:

        Oh, please save us your crocodile tears, TFR.
        Of course the joke is slightly anti-Semitic.
        A lot of Russian humor involves ethnic stereotypes.
        I don’t defend this, I personally don’t approve of ethnic humor, that probably stems from my living in America, where the rules are different, and for very good reason.

        But on the other hand, Russian “everyday racism” and ethnic humor is of a completely different variety from that of the “superior Europeans”.
        It was after all, the “civilized” Europeans, helped by the Finns, who slaughtered millions of ordinary Jews.
        And it was the “uncivilized” Russians and Soviets who saved the Jews from complete extermination.
        Given that, given the whole Russian history of more or less tolerance and people living together; a history that never had apartheid or Jim Crow and where ethnic squabbles do not turn into genocide — I think Russians can be somewhat excused for indulging in ethnic humor, even if improper. Not being “civilized Europeans” with a history of genocide, they simply don’t know how deadly this stuff can turn.

      • Alexey says:

        This comes from Saker =) Touch about jewish name of the teacher added by him. Version I heard in Russian long time ago didn’t have it.

    • Alexey says:

      This joke has such a beard that it will be joining IS soon (c)

  38. Patient Observer says:

    Seriously impressive rocket assembly facility:
    The vast windows to admit natural light is a very nice touch.

  39. Moscow Exile says:

    Liar, liar! Your pants are on fire!

    The rampant lies of the oligarch Poroshenko seem to have provoked jealousy amongst the other clowns in the Ukrainian political circus. “If he can so blatantly hang noodles* on the ears of Ukrainians, why do I have to limit myself?” the famous Ukrainian thief Yulia Tymoshenko probably thought. And lie away she did on live TV, claiming that her mother, together with her grandma, “ran through an anti-retreat unit” during the so-called “famine” in the USSR. Thus, she justified her support for the renaming of Dnepropetrovsk in the framework of Kiev’s pro-fascist law of de-communization.”

    The lie came to light after viewers checked the date of birth of Yulia Tymoshenko’s mother. It turned out that she was born in 1937, whilst the referred to “Holodomor” famine in the USSR dates from the years 1932-33.

    “Yulia burns like napalm. She comes up with such fables on the fly that even her ‘Louis Vuitton’ dress catches fire… Hmm, Yulia’s speechwriters forgot to take a look in the history books and to take interest in which period this Holodomor took place”, commented a sarcastic Kiev lawyer, Tatyana Montyan.

    Source: Tymoshenko’s Usual Fairy Tale World Lying

    from: Тимошенко, как обычно, феерично лжёт

    [English translation adjusted by ME]

    * to hang noodles on someone’s ears — Russian idiomatic phrase cognate with the English idiomatic phrase: to pull wool over someone’s eyes

  40. Average wage of Belarus is now higher than in Russia:

    How is this possible given that the GDP/capita is a lot higher in Russia?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      This may be the reason why:

      Об этом пишут «Ведомости» со ссылкой на расчеты Института социальной политики Высшей школы экономики (ВШЭ).

      “Vedomosti” writes about this with reference to calculations made by the Institute of social policy Higher school of Economics (HSE).

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Cost of Living in Russia

        Cost of living in Russia is 50.47% lower than in United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Rent in Russia is 58.08% lower than in United States (average data for all cities).

        But why compare with the USA?

        Why not with other BRIC countries?

        Salary Survey in Russia

        Average Monthly Salary in Russia: 115,849 RUB ($1728.90)

        My monthly salary is now 90,000 rubles ($1,343) a month.

        I shall be going to our dacha this weekend. The 105.5 mile (170 kilometre) round trip there by train will cost me 328 rubles ($4.89).

        • The comparison was to Belarus, not to USA.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            I was referring to this (above):

            Cost of living in Russia is 50.47% lower than in United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Rent in Russia is 58.08% lower than in United States (average data for all cities).

            That is a comparison of Russian statistics with USA statistics, is it not?

            And I asked why compare with the USA.

    • Jen says:

      GDP per capita and average wage are not the same thing. You are trying to compare apples and oranges, figuratively speaking. No economist would try to compare average Belarus salaries with per capita GDP of any country, not even Belarus itself. The query is meaningless.

      GDP refers to the total value of production in a country in a given time period and GDP per capita refers to the total value of production divided by the total population, working and non-working. This includes children, retirees and people not in work for some reason (because they have disabilities or are between jobs). GDP per capita is used as a measure to compare the wealth of different countries, and need not have any relationship to countries’ working populations. A country could produce $1 billion worth of goods and services in a 12-month period with completely autonomous, self-directing robots, computers and 3D printers so its GDP could be $1 billion; but average wage could be nothing because in that country everybody receives vouchers from the state and uses them to pay for goods and services.

      Incomes in themselves are not necessarily a reflection of workers’ contributions to GDP. In countries with high inflation, incomes may not be accurate indicators of the value of people’s contributions to economic activity especially if inflation results in (or is a result of) people trying to maintain income parity across various occupations eg if truck drivers start earning an extra $1,000 a month and suddenly overshoot train drivers, then train drivers agitate to get an extra $1,000 a month to maintain their position in the pay hierarchy. Very often, incomes reflect beliefs about particular occupations and their value to society, not to the economy: in some countries where teaching is highly valued, teachers and other education workers earn high incomes compared to other occupations; in other countries where teaching is not valued highly, then teachers’ pay is low.

    • kirill says:

      The retards are converting to dollars to do the comparison. This is utterly nonsensical. The forex rate does not determine the purchasing power of currencies except for buying foreign goods priced in dollars in this case. To use the dollar value of the ruble in comparisons is to pretend that inflation in Russia in 2015 was 100%. It was 15.5%.

      The only meaningful comparison of currencies is in PPP terms (purchasing power parity). Goods and services did not become a factor of two less affordable in Russia last year. Russian incomes grew by over 3% so the inflation adjusted drop was under 12.5%. So goods and services in Russia became 1/8 more expensive for Russians and most of this increase is exactly due to imports in the goods and services basket.

  41. Oddlots says:

    Slightly OT but this is one of the most illuminating things I’ve read in a while:

    (Hat-tip Naked Capitalism.)

    Just in case it seems UTTERLY OT, the thought occurred to me: in the face of this, what explains Russia’s success in the second Chechen war or, for that matter, Syria?

    In case it’s not obvious, I don’t see the situations as necessarily parallel between Russia and US experience but the record is SO different it kind of cries out for an explanation that might belie the effect discussed in the article.

    • Oddlots,

      “it kind of cries out for an explanation that might belie the effect discussed in the article.”

      That’s an important question! The article you cite refers specifically to assassination, one tool in the anti-insurgency tool kit. It has not worked well for the US since 9/11. To see why go to another article: .

      In brief, since Mao brought 4th generation warfare to maturity after WWII foreign armies have seldom been able to defeat local insurgencies. Developed nations, emerging nations, 3rd world nations — everybody’s armies have failed.

      This explains Russia’s success in the second Chechen war: Russia was the local government. That is, “foreignness” is a spectrum — not a binary factor. It’s an operational concept in this context, not a moral one. Like the Brits in northern Ireland, 3 centuries of involvement have given them the knowledge to offset the insurgents’ “home court advantage.”

      As for Syria, insurgencies are often slow wars. Don’t declare the local government a winner yet.

      • marknesop says:

        Welcome, FM Editor!! That’s an interesting blog, and Oddlots chose a particularly interesting article from it. Where Syria is concerned, your reasoning is sound – but is Syria a true insurgency? Or is it another astroturfed ‘movement’ fighting on behalf of Washington’s drive for dominance and reordering?

  42. Stavros Hadjiyiannis says:

    From what I gather, the Tanap pipeline will only bring around 10bcm per year to Europe. And this at a cost of around 45 billion dollars. There is a very good reason why private corporations would never fund this project. It is highly uneconomical. Just like all other EU energy projects designed to limit dependence on Russia. Be them windmills, solar panels, LNG, biomass etc etc etc. It seems to me that many in the Western cabal prefer Europe’s economic demise to mutually beneficial cooperation with Russia. Because then it would give Russia an economic and strategic advantage over the West.

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