Rope-a-Doper, American Style: Don’t Do As I Do, Do As I Say

Uncle Volodya says, "What will the preachers say to teach men not to persecute men? For, while a few sanctimonious humbugs are burning a few fanatics, the earth opens and swallows up all alike.”

Uncle Volodya says, “What will the preachers say to teach men not to persecute men? For, while a few sanctimonious humbugs are burning a few fanatics, the earth opens and swallows up all alike.”

Before we get started, a moment of silence, please, for Mitt Romney, who collapsed and died on Tuesday following his fourth consecutive multiple orgasm of vindication, at A.R. Valentin’s restaurant in La Jolla, California. His dinner companions did not notice at first that Mr. Romney had fallen off his chair, all having raised their eyes to the ceiling and chorused “America’s foremost geopolitical enemy!!!” to complete Mr. Romney’s statement, “I told them Russia was…” because they had all heard it at least a hundred times that day.

No, seriously, of course Mitt Romney is not dead. In fact, he must be on top of the world; after all, he is America’s foremost psychic seer – he knew Russia would be America’s acknowledged geopolitical foe before anyone else did except for the very core of the corporate elite who run the country. Back when he said it, though, in 2012, his presidential opponent – Barack Obama – ridiculed him. “A few months ago, when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia. Not al Qaeda; you said Russia,” the president said. “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

Funny old world, innit? Then, Obama fancied al Qaeda was America’s greatest geopolitical foe, and now they’re allies, united by the common imperative of overthrowing the President of Syria. Politics makes strange bedfellows; my, yes, ne’er a truer word was spoken. Well, Barack Obama might be slow to catch on, but he’s making up for lost time – demonization of Russia now goes on all day long, day in, day out, on every front, and no sector is too unimportant for The Land Of The Free to denigrate Russia’s efforts in that direction, and to paint its people as liars, cheats and savages. Not even during the sullen night watches of the Cold War was the rhetoric so corrosive and inflammatory, or the call to arms so strident. All, all is now subordinated to politics and the catechism of contempt and exclusion. Russia is the enemy, and whom the Gods would cast down, they first make inhuman.

The latest bear-baiting arena is international sport, as Washington goes all-out on cementing the impression that Russian athletes could not win an apple-bobbing contest unless they were high as kites, doped to the eyeballs. It’s not hard to see where this is going – exclusion of Russian athletes from the next Olympic Games, perhaps a permanent ban, and the degradation of Russian athletic performance in the past by implication. Nothing strategic about it, and it wouldn’t gain Americans anything other than an imaginary moral victory – it’s just more of the small-minded meanness that has grown to characterize American global relations.

Do-gooder America presents Russia with an exquisite choice: admit you are a nation of serial cheaters and take your adjudicated punishment – which might consist of being banned from Olympic competition for a time, as well as the stripping of all medals won under what the western ‘independent’ investigative team finds were ‘suspicious’ circumstances –  then go forth and sin no more. Or cling to your pathetic protestations of innocence, and be found guilty in spite of them. Heads I win, tails you lose.

I am led to two observations – one, this is an opinion article. What is the purpose, really, of an opinion page in a newspaper? Don’t readers buy a newspaper for news, which they can reasonably expect to be the truth based on research? Suspend for a moment your certain knowledge that much of what appears in the newspaper under the banner of ‘news’ is often lies and fakery as well – what is the place in a newspaper for the blather of someone whose message is, “This is what I think about it, based on factors other than a true appreciation for contemporary global events”, presented in a format which suggests it is news? Couldn’t there be, like, a magazine or a periodical of some sort that was all-opinion for the non-facts crowd, and newspapers be reserved for actual news? Oh, wait: I just described every book Ed Lucas has ever written.

The alliteratively-named Travis T. Tygart is not a journalist, reporter or researcher. He is Chief Executive of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. As such, unless he joined the organization last week, he has a comprehensive knowledge of my second observation, which is that a stern dressing-down for cheating in competitive sports might not be so tough to take if it didn’t come from the representative of a nation legendary for cheating in competitive sports. The message is that Russia cannot be allowed to compete with decent, upstanding nations of honest sportsmen until it admits that most or all of its victories were the result of drug-addled cheating, and submits to an American-led review of its medals to see which it might be allowed to keep. So let’s take a look at that.

Right out of the gate, Mr. Tygart labels himself a lover of clean sport, as his readers presumably all are too, unless they are Russians. Tygart was obviously not around in 1904, to see an American become the first recorded instance of doping in the Olympics. Fred Lorz, the American ‘winner’ of the brutal Olympic marathon, rode for 11 miles of the course in an automobile, running the last 5 miles to enter the stadium in triumph well ahead of his competitors. His cheating was quickly exposed (just as President Roosevelt’s daughter, Alice, was about to lower the gold medal over his head), and the medal awarded to the next runner, American Thomas Hicks – who had been fed a concoction of egg whites and strychnine, frequently used in small doses in those unenlightened days as a stimulant. But that was not illegal then, so the win was considered fair.

Obviously, that has little bearing on modern competitive sport except for historical value and to establish the provenance of American cheating; doping was crude then and you certainly didn’t have to have any scientific skill to spot it. But testing had still not evolved to the selective zealotry it is today – the sporting world was still in that middle zone where you might get away with it, if you lied earnestly enough, attacked your accusers vehemently enough, or your country’s Olympic Committee helpfully covered up for you and manipulated the rules to your advantage. Several cases fell into this category, probably the most famous being seven-time Tour de France cycling champion and national icon Lance Armstrong. After years of denying and attacking his accusers, Armstrong admitted that he owed all seven championships and millions of dollars in endorsements to blood doping and use of performance-enhancing drugs. Not only that, in October 2013 the same agency Mr. Tygart heads up exposed the systemic use of performance-enhancing drugs by Armstrong and 11 of his teammates, with the full knowledge and support of coaches and help of team physicians. Is it possible that USADA blew the whistle when it was no longer possible for the deception to go on? It seems hard to believe the cheating included the entire team and their training support, for a decade, and nobody at USADA knew anything. And if it’s true, why the fuck should they be allowed any input to international standards now? You obviously could not send them to test for curry in an Indian take-away with any hope that they would find it.

In the 1988 Olympics at Seoul, Canadian Ben Johnson first set a new record and captured the gold medal for the 100-meter dash, and the next day was stripped of the medal because his sample had tested positive for anabolic steroids. The medal was instead awarded to American Carl Lewis…who had himself tested positive for performance-enhancing stimulants during the 1988 trials, but the U.S. Olympic Committee overturned his suspension. There’s some of that clean sport you love, Travis, you incredible wall-to-wall hypocrite.

How about Marion Jones? In 2000, at the Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Jones became the first woman in history to win 5 medals at a single Olympiad – 3 gold and 2 bronze. She reaped the adulation of her fellow Americans and the world for seven years, during which she angrily denied using any sort of stimulants, before finally confessing in 2007 to having used steroids prior to the Sydney games, as did her shot-putter husband. I suppose defenders of ‘clean sport’ will point to the fact that she was stripped of her medals and served a six-month sentence for lying to federal investigators, but I don’t see those facts putting the United States in a position to sit in judgment of Russia; do you? More importantly, the holier-than-thou United states Anti-Doping Agency apparently did not have Clue One that whole time – did you see any brusque orders for re-testing from them? Jones – like Armstrong, I suspect – told the truth only when lying wasn’t working any more, and Jones had no choice as her former boyfriend and one-time 100-m record-holder Tom Montgomery, confessed and implicated her as well. As if that were not enough, both were part of the BALCO scandal, which was the biggest drugs scandal in athletic history according to The Telegraph, and netted 20 athletes, many of them household names in America. More clean sport, can you gimme ‘hallelujah’?

I think my favourite, though, was the 1984 Olympic Games, in Los Angeles, California.  Not only was a third of the American cycling team – which won 9 medals – later found to have used blood doping (receiving transfusions of blood just prior to the race) to attain their victory.  That’s bad enough, but they completely got away with it, because blood doping was not declared against the IOC rules until the following year, so even though American cyclist and medalist Pat McDonough confessed “I’m sitting on a medal I didn’t earn”, he and his teammates got to keep them. But wait – there’s more. Team members confessed that it was their choice to use the method, and they knew it was unethical even though it was not illegal. Dr. Thomas Dickson, who was then the physician for the American cycling team and – incredibly – later the senior crew chief for the U.S. Olympic Committee Drug Control Program, was told by team member Pat McDonough, at a team meeting, “We’ll do it if you get a letter from USOC [the United States Olympic Committee) that says we can do it”. And they received no reply.

Let me say that again. The United States Olympic Committee was apparently aware, because they were asked, that its cycling team intended to use blood transfusions to artificially enhance its performance at the Olympics, where they won a record number of medals. And it said nothing – not only then, but later, after the team won medals in a performance which USOC had every reason to believe was enhanced by artificial means. This is the moral authority which now says, “..the samples saved from Sochi should be guarded like a crime scene.”

Los Angeles

Because that wasn’t the end of the chicanery at the 1984 Olympics, managed from start to finish by the U.S. Olympic Committee. No, I’m afraid not. Although the blood doping which won America a record medals tally in cycling was not even on the radar, nine positives were identified from drug testing by the UCLA lab, mostly from the final two days of the Games. Five of the nine tests allegedly were positive for anabolic steroids, and all nine were allegedly positive for substances which were illegal under IOC rules.

Let’s back off the pace a little, and go slow, because this is the real hammer in the story. (1) According to the BBC, a meeting of officials was held at which Juan Antonio Samaranch (IOC President), Peter Uebberoth (LAOOC President, the Los Angeles Olympic Organization Committee) and Prince Alexandre DeMerode (President of the IOC Medical Commission) were present. (2) A witness from the meeting told the BBC the officials present at the meeting discussed covering up the drug-testing results, and (3) DeMerode refused to be any part of it. (4) According to Arnold Beckett, a former member of the IOC Medical Commission, a decision was reached to go ahead with the plan, over DeMerode’s objections.

Oh, and (5); someone broke into DeMerode’s room, stole all the records which were the only blind copy which could match name to urinalysis, and shredded them. Yeah.

How does the world remember the 1984 Los Angeles Games now? Why,  “widely ranked as one of the most successful games on record. ” Los Angeles should be coaxed to host the 2024 Games. What the eye doesn’t see, the heart won’t grieve for, Mama always said, and the less you know, the less trouble you’ll make for everybody.

In the Summer Olympic Games – which, clearly, the 2024 Games will be if LA is being touted as a venue – since 1968, Russians have tested positive for performance-enhancing substances or stimulants 15 times. That’s against 19 for the Americans. Obviously, the American cycling team in 1984 is not included in these totals, nor are the 9 athletes who allegedly tested positive in those games but whose records were destroyed, and there is no way now to know who they were. Who is it, again, who can’t win anything without doping? Who is it, again, who claims the right to adjudicate and oversee bans of national teams from international competition?

Let’s take a look at another lover of clean sport cited by Mr. Tygart, Canadian cross-country Olympian Beckie Scott. Beckie Scott won the bronze medal for Canada in 2002, finishing behind two Russians – Olga Danilova and Larissa Lazutina – who tested positive for a banned substance, darbpoetin. They were stripped of their medals, and they deserved to be. But you can sort of see why Beckie Scott might kind of have it in for Russia, since she reasons that Russians cheated her out of a gold medal, and why she is demanding that the WADA board expand its investigation to all sports in Russia; something which is completely unprecedented.

How does darbpoetin work, anyway? It boosts red blood cell production.

How does blood doping work? It increases red blood cell count. What’s the difference? Well, one is ‘an abomination’, and the other is a “Shhh!! You saw nothing!!”

“This is an abomination”, Beckie thundered, to a tumultuous ovation from the western crowd, speaking of the accusations by Russian ‘whistle-blowers’ of endemic doping in Russia. I don’t remember her even bringing up the use of blood doping, which has exactly the same effect as darbpoetin, to unethically win medals. But the American athletes who confessed to blood doping were not stripped of their medals, and it is unlikely they ever will be. Because blood doping was not illegal until the following year. By way of her selective outrage and pandering to the Washington line, of which Mr. Tygart obviously approves unreservedly, Ms. Scott makes her entire country – my country – look ignorant, not to mention completely onboard with Washington’s agenda, all in the name of ‘clean sport’. Rule One; when Washington wishes to mask its hand in a politicized smear job, it always attempts to internationalize it if that is possible, to make it appear the outrage is broadly shared and may even have originated elsewhere.

Let’s talk about those Russian ‘whistle blowers’ for a second; the Stepanovs, and Doctor Grigory Rodchenkov.According to the article, Doctor Rodchenkov’s  “evidence of state-run doping at the Sochi lab led to this new investigation”.

For one thing, it is curious to see these people referred to as ‘whistle-blowers’ when Edward Snowden is a traitor whom the USA would arrest in a second if he ever dared travel anywhere it could get access to him – does everyone remember how the Bolivian Presidential aircraft was forced to land just on the rumor that Snowden was aboard?

For another, I would be curious to see what actual evidence has been offered thus far; I am tempted to believe it is in fact not evidence, but exclusively testimony. Otherwise, why would Mr. Tygart suggest that the Sochi samples – which the ‘independent investigative team’, ha, ha, does not yet have access to – should be guarded like a crime scene? Oh, look at that – the ‘esteemed Richard McLaren’, who was appointed to lead the ‘independent investigation’ says right up front that they do not have any evidence, and that all they have is the inference.

An inference I recommend they examine very carefully, given that Grigory Rodchenkov, upstanding witness to state-run doping on a massive scale, is a former mental patient. Agent Curveball, anyone? Dr. Rodchenkov was arrested and questioned in 2011 in connection with an illegal drug ring, for the purpose of distribution to athletes, which was run by his sister Marina and for which she was jailed in 2012. Imagine that. Under ordinary circumstances – say, if Russia were defending a theory that the United States was trying to overthrow the Russian government, and relying on a witness who was a former mental patient and brother to a convicted drug-trafficker – I suspect the United States would be tempted to poke a little fun at such an allegation.

Let me spell it out. International sport has become just another pawn in the political game, and this monster drug scandal is just another gambit by the United States to demoralize and attack its rival, Russia, from the position of an even-more-guilty offender itself. The aim is for Russians to feel that they are isolated, cut off from allies as they face a blizzard of attacks from every direction, and retroactive shaming which will besmirch past glories. It is attempting to internationalize the effort by using Canadian and European spokespersons as a collective bullhorn to serve its ends. Perhaps it is time to end the Olympic Games once and for all, as they have become just another platform for grandstanding politicians and subversive national interests, not to mention a major money-loser owing to enormous security requirements and the attraction large crowds have for terrorism, while the original ideals of multinational athletes measuring themselves against one another in international competition have been subordinated to political brinksmanship.

I’m not suggesting Russian sport is lily-white, and that doping is unheard-of in Russian sport; there is plenty of real evidence to suggest cheating is no more or no less prevalent there than in any other large country, and Russians are not genetically honest any more than Americans are. There are, as usual, two sides to the story.  But only one of them is being described as propaganda.


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575 Responses to Rope-a-Doper, American Style: Don’t Do As I Do, Do As I Say

  1. et Al says: : Obama and the Myth of Hiroshima

    by Peter Van Buren

    …Hiroshima set in motion a sweeping, national generalization that if we do it, it is right.

    And with that, the steps away from the violence of Hiroshima and the shock-and-awe horrors inside the Iraqi prison of Abu Ghraib are merely a matter of degree. ..

    Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. His latest book is Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent. Reprinted from the his blog with permission.

    Much more at the link.

    • marknesop says:

      The book about Iraq should be read in company with Farnaz Fasihi’s “Waiting For an Ordinary Day”, which detailed the crumbling of society in Iraq and the enabling of ethnic warfare where peace had existed before. Of course it was not perfect, but the American invasion went far past worsening the situation.

  2. et Al says:

    Both via

    Lost Angeles Crimes: Op-Ed Russia’s got a point: The U.S. broke a NATO promise–20160530-snap-story.html

    …The West has vigorously protested that no such deal was ever struck. However, hundreds of memos, meeting minutes and transcripts from U.S. archives indicate otherwise. Although what the documents reveal isn’t enough to make Putin a saint, it suggests that the diagnosis of Russian predation isn’t entirely fair. Europe’s stability may depend just as much on the West’s willingness to reassure Russia about NATO’s limits as on deterring Moscow’s adventurism…

    Is the LAT angling for a major prize for journalism or something? Two decades late for telling us officially what everyone knows, still, as the article below notes this is what is considered a break though for the Pork Pie News Networks.

    & NATO: America’s Other Cold War Dinosaur

    …Ever since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the mainstream media has, by and large, chosen to toe the official Washington line: that the Cold War never ended, the Russian (i.e., Soviet) communist threat never went away, Russia is headed by an arrogant former KGB officer who pines for the Soviet Empire, Russia has become assertive again, and Europe is again threatened with Russian aggression…

    …But now the U.S. role in the Ukraine crisis has broken into the mainstream press, in the form of an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times entitled “Russia’s Got a Point: The U.S. Broke a Promise.” The op-ed provides an excellent analysis of what the U.S. government did to bring about the crisis in Ukraine.

    The title of the op-ed is right. The U.S. government did break a promise. But that’s a nice way to put it. Actually, U.S. officials double-crossed the Russians by going back on their word. And then when the crisis they hoped to provoke occurred, they did what they always do — they played the innocent and acted shocked over Russia’s aggression…

  3. et Al says:

    The Intercept via Pentagon: Special Ops Killing of Pregnant Afghan Women Was “Appropriate” Use of Force

    Jeremy Scahill

    An internal Defense Department investigation into one of the most notorious night raids conducted by special operations forces in Afghanistan — in which seven civilians were killed, including two pregnant women — determined that all the U.S. soldiers involved had followed the rules of engagement. As a result, the soldiers faced no disciplinary measures, …

    …Although two children were shot during the raid and multiple witnesses and Afghan investigators alleged that U.S. soldiers dug bullets out of the body of at least one of the dead pregnant women, Defense Department investigators concluded that “the amount of force utilized was necessary, proportional and applied at appropriate time.” The investigation did acknowledge that “tactical mistakes” were made…


    The Penatgon and the Hoo-Rah crowd would say “War is hel. End of.

  4. Moscow Exile says:

    Shit storm in Banderastan.

    St. Joan mouths it off!

    Верховная Рада на…ает людей каждый день

    The Supreme Rada Thieves [obscene term used in Russian] from the People Every Day — Savchenko.

    The Russian government has “slipped” Nadezhda Savchenko into the Ukraine in order to arrange another coup in the country. This statement was made by rada deputy and businessman Vadim Rabinovich in an interview to the TV channel “112 Ukraine”.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      5 hryvnas that this is not tobacco in her cig.

    • marknesop says:

      If anything will build sympathy for Russia in Ukraine, Savchenko will. After all, Russia kept her out of Ukraine for two years. They will look back on those years with longing. I love the reference that Russia ‘slipped’ Savchenko into Ukraine – Kiev and the ‘global community’ yelled for her release non-stop.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          That’s Ukrop News above in Yukie English. No time to proofread, but I think the meaning is clear.

          As Dzerzhinksy apparently (according to Pipes) used to say to Old Bolsheviks: “Subjectively, you are a Bolshevik: objectively, you are a traitor!”

          And then “Iron Felix” had them shot.

          Some Yukies now apparently think that Savchenko is, subjectively, a Ukraine patriot: objectively though, she is a disruptive Moskal agent whom Putin has palmed off onto them.

          • marknesop says:

            Yes, it’s either a terrible translation or terrible English to start with, although of course it’s better than my Ukrainian! But if it was even close to accurate, Rabvinovich thinks Savchenko has been on a dry hunger strike for two years. I suppose in Ukraine, where miracles are possible and leprechaun sightings are routine, that could happen – but regular human beings of a lesser constitution than superhuman ukies cannot last much more than 70 days without food and about a week without water.

            And this is not some drunken loon you might unfortunately find yourself seated next to on a bus, whose brain is so fermented from years of abuse that it is incapable of the parameters of reality. This is an Opposition deputy and president of the all-Ukrainian Jewish Congress.

          • yalensis says:

            I have come to the conclusion that that whole “objective/subjective” argument is just a pile of horse-crap.
            I mean, by that token, anything that anyone does, can be considered “objectively” to be something entire different in intent.
            By that token, is Putin objectively “an agent of Israel” because he worked to create good working relationship between Russia and Israel?

            Even deeper:
            I mean, if I was walking down the street, and I paused to help a turtle cross the road, how am I supposed to know what ramifications this event might have in the future?
            Could this action lead, a million years from now, to the extinction of the human race?
            Should I have let that turtle die?
            Nobody can foresee or foretell what is the best action at the time.
            All people can do is base themselves on rules, a code of conduct; and do what they think is right, at that specific time.
            And I personally doubt that “Iron Felix” ever said such a thing.
            If he did, then maybe he had become unhinged or drank too much Kool-Aid, who knows?

            • Moscow Exile says:

              As I said: it was Pipes who wrote that.

              Enough said.

              I couldn’t be arsed finding the reference, but I’m sure it’s in either his, “The Russian Revolution” (1990) or “Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime” (1994), which are at my dacha library, together with his “Russia under the Old Regime” (1974).

              • Moscow Exile says:

                The above in response to an argument against the subjective/objective argument which was a response to a comment that I made, which is below, concerning something I once read that was written by Richard Pipes, namely that Dzerzhinsky was fond of using this subjective/objective line against Old Bolsheviks during “purges”.

                Pipes adding that Derzhinsky might well have used the same argument against Lenin, namely that subjectively Lenin believed he was a revolutionary, whereas in 1917, objectively he was acting in the interests of the German Empire

        • yalensis says:

          He say the Moskalis TURNED HER?? No way!

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Forgive us, Ukrainians …

          …for setting Savchenko loose upon you!

    • PaulR says:

      As one Russian newspaper put it, ‘Before long the Ukrainians will be saying that Russia returned Savchenko in a sealed airplane’.

      • Is this a parable to Lenin?

        • PaulR says:

          Yes, a reference to Lenin.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Who to some was objectively a German agent though subjectively he was a revolutionary dedicated to the overthrow of the Russian regime and replacing it with a fair and just society.

            I don’t think Savchenko is dedicated to creating a Utopia out of Banderastan though: she has just been brought up to hate all things Russian and consider Russia and the Russians as the source of all that is wrong in the Ukraine.

            And she’s a nutcase to boot.

            She’s not so bright either, in my opinion.

            I think her sexual orientation may possibly be the root cause of her frustration.

            Maybe not though: maybe she’s just a nasty piece of work and fuck Freud!

            • yalensis says:

              Lesbians only get frustrated if they can’t find a girlfriend. Seems like Savchenko has herself a little tootsie on the side. What with that and her cushy Rada job, she should be the happiest camper in the world.
              The only thing standing in her way is her negative attitude about life.
              The solution: Drink more coke!

    • yalensis says:

      She is a smoker? I did not know that.
      This actually explains a lot.
      In Russian prison, they probably did not give her ciggies, this is why she put on weight.
      Now that she can nicotine again, she will to slim.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Tea is the unofficial means of exchange in Russian prisons, out of which they get high by brewing from it chifir

        The means of exchange in Her Majesty’s Prisons is rolling tobacco, otherwise known as “snout”.

        They let you earn just enough in a UK nick to buy 2 ounces of snout, one packet of cigarette papers and a box matches a week. To economize, you split the matches and learn to roll extremely thin and sparsely filled prison rollies.

        I never smoked cigarettes. Used to smoke a pipe though. However, I am into chifir.

        If you make chifir too strong, it can stop your ticker.

  5. et Al says:

    euractiv: Hungarian far-right no longer anti-EU: It wants to transform it

    Hungary’s far-right says it no longer wants to leave the European Union as the migration crisis is offering populist parties, in resurgence across the continent, a chance to “transform” the bloc.

    “The EU will change over the next five to 10 years, and for the first time it may be for the better,” wrote Jobbik party chairman Gábor Vona, 37, in a Facebook post published late yesterday (2 June).

    Vona, founder of a disbanded paramilitary group who made a career vilifying the Roma, has recently cleaned up his hardline image…

    A very interesting development. I don’t have time for parties like Jobbik what us without doubt is that the EU cannot go on as it is. Some sort of reform is on its way and parties like Jobbik recognize this and want to influence it from the inside and combat what would probably be a Franco-German stitchup (the ‘motors of Europe’ – which is only really Germany).

    So, the risk here is that if such a reform does not take in the opinions of the whole of Europe, then parties and ignored governments will pull out, then exposing it as a stitch up that has nothing to do with Europe as a whole. Interesting times are afoot (including upcoming Euro 2016)!

  6. et Al says:

    euractiv: Dijsselbloem berates Juncker for failing to apply EU pacts

    Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem has criticised European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for saying that the EU executive has given France leeway on fiscal rules “because it is France”.

    “If the Commission President says that things apply differently for France, then this really damages the credibility of the Commission as guardian of the pact,” Dijsselbloem said in an interview with German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung and six other European newspapers.

    On Tuesday (31 May), asked why the executive had on several occasions turned a blind eye to French infractions, Juncker admitted candidly in an interview with the French senate television channel Public Sénat that it did so “because it is France”….

    Indeed, as I have commented before when the Commission threatens to rip the bollox off Spain and Portugal, gives Italy a pass and ignores France etc.

    As for Juncker, he’s still a tax dodging dipshit gobshite who never should have got the job. He is personification of the exact opposite that the EU claims to be in ‘Rule of law’. It’s the EU version of “Do as we say, not as we do.”

  7. et Al says:

    Moscow Carnegie Center via RI: Crimea Flip-Flops Galore: How Lukashenko’s Belarus Is Able to Maintain Good Relations With Russia and Ukraine Both

    Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has contradicted himself several times on the issue of the status of Crimea. His ambiguities have helped him to maintain good relations with both Russia and Ukraine, and to forge a new relationship with the West


    You can’t sit on two stools at once. The temptation by the West to remove one of the stools is by far the strongest and I’m sure that despite the current ‘good relations’ between the EU & Belorussia, plans are afoot. It makes no difference as to whether the West gets what it wants (sic Ukraine) as that falls entirely within Washington’s Shit the Bed strategy. They’ve shown no sign of changing this plan, though we’ll see with the next US President.

    I could imagine Trump not willing to play Lukashenko’s game as it is not central to US interest, whereas I can see Clinton continuing the current disastrous trend until she pops her clogs. Either way, it looks to me that as long as Belorussia inhabits this neverland between the EU and Russia, it remains a potential target, for whatever reason.

    • marknesop says:

      I would love to see Lukashenko removed, as he is a two-faced prick who is only interested in what is best for Lukashenko. The trouble is, the west would like to remove him so as to install a pro-western, anti-Russian ‘reformer’, while Russia’s position is that it is Belarus’s business and not Moscow’s, and up to the Belarussian people to decide. Therefore if Lukashenko were to be overthrown it would in all probability be by a western coup in order to get their own man into the chair.

  8. et Al says:

    Asia : Ash Carter’s blissful bubble of oblivion

    By Peter Lee

    …Also at CFR, Carter got a bit carried away talking about India:

    The U.S.-India relationship is destined to be one of the most significant partnerships of the 21st century. Ours are two great nations that share a great deal — democratic governments, multi-ethnic and multicultural societies with a commitment to individual freedom and inclusivity, and growing, innovative, open economies.

    Over the course of my years at the Defense Department, I’ve seen a remarkable convergence of U.S. and Indian interests, what I call a strategic handshake. As the United States is reaching west in its rebalance, India is reaching east in Prime Minister Modi’s Act East policy that will bring it farther into the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

    Prime Minister Modi was banned from the United States until his elevation to the PM spot for his notorious role in the anti-Muslim pogroms at Gujarat, and had blockaded Nepal — which was already flat on its back from the April 2015 earthquake — in order to force it to revise its constitution to favor the ethnic Indian minority, an exercise in regional power bullying that easily dwarfs any PRC maneuvers at Scarborough Shoal…

    More to the point, India is also determinedly unaligned, a state of affairs that will long outlive Secretary Carter and his attempts to sign up India as a US strategic ally…

    I cherry picked this bit because I am glad to see that Peter Lee & me are on the same Indian page. Much, much more at the link.

  9. et Al says:

    Asia Syrian peace talks deferred, but no reason to be gloomy

    By M.K. Bhadrakumar

    Peace talks are delayed as the Middle East stops all work during the holy month of Ramadan which begins in the first week of June. Moreover, when there are uncertainties in the Syria paradigm, it is better to resume the dialogue with greater certitude over the ceasefire holding. On the positive side, the U.S. may finally agree with Russia on coordinated combat actions in the air space. There are also signs that Turkey may take course correction on Syria

    …First of all, the Russian-American tango has become dynamic. The American side is gradually opening up to the standing Russian proposal that the two big powers should coordinate their anti-terrorist efforts in Syria.

    Real coordinated combat actions are not visible on the horizon, but there is progress on coordinating their actions in the air space.

    Again, the US agreed to establish a channel to exchange information with Russia with regard to the parties observing the ceasefire in Syria. While on a visit to Tashkent last week..

    …A rollback of Turkish rhetoric against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is in evidence lately. Erdogan realizes, howsoever grudgingly, that Assad is unlikely to walk into the sunset in a foreseeable future…

    …Now, Erdogan’s inner circle admits that Syria policy is a failure, and they conveniently blame Davutoglu….

    I’m not so sure. Maybe a tactical withdrawl. Erdogan has cunning in spades, but still crap strategically. You can bet that he will be ready to jump back in the other direction once he detects the wind has changed. Not to be trusted.

  10. et Al says:

    UPI via SpaceDaily: DCNS delivers first Mistral-class carrier to Egypt

    …DCNS says it is slated to deliver at least seven combat vessels to Egypt by 2020…

    Paris still owes Moscow big time. Any bets as to when Moscow will call in this debt?

  11. Lyttenburgh says:

    Once again, radio “Doom and Finnish glum” is ready to oblige your tastes in igniting some butthurt arses:

    1) Russia suffers another setback in Syria… not!

    Syrian army opens new front against Islamic State, edges toward Raqqa province

    “The Syrian army backed by Russian air strikes has advanced toward Islamic State-held Raqqa province in a new offensive, a group monitoring the war said, nearing a region where U.S.-backed militias have also attacked the jihadist group.

    Heavy Russian air strikes hit IS-held territory in eastern areas of Hama province near the provincial boundary with Raqqa on Friday, where the army had advanced some 12 km (7 miles), according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The army was around 12 km from the Raqqa provincial boundary.”

    Race for Berlin, anyone?

    2) Iran is becoming too friendly with the West… not!

    Iran will not co-operate with the US, Khamenei says

    “Iran’s Supreme Leader has said Tehran will not co-operate with the US and UK on regional issues.
    In a televised address, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said US aims in the region were “180 degrees opposed to Iran’s”.

    Mr Khamenei accused the US of reneging on the West’s nuclear deal with Iran and said trusting them was a “mistake”.

    The “Great Satan” [US] and “evil” Britain were using “pretexts” like human rights abuses and terrorism to avoid fulfilling their commitments.”

    The UK cannot into Satan. Murika stronk!

    3) I remember some gleeful asshole barely hiding his glee while posting news about Russian pilots killed in plane crashes during the exercises. What’s his name? Can’t recall it.

    Anyway, the info that some planes crash during the exercises and that pilots some time tragically die during that is nothing to be cheerful of. But it also says one important thing – that training exercises are held. And as for shit happening in the peace time – go and watch Top Gun.

    So, keeping this in mind:

    Blue Angels jet crashes after take-off in Tennessee, killing pilot

    “An F/A-18 Hornet with the Navy’s elite demonstration squadron crashed shortly after take-off Thursday, killing the pilot just days before a weekend air show performance, officials said.

    A U.S. official told the Associated Press that the pilot was Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. According to his official Blue Angels biography, Kuss joined the elite acrobatics team in 2014 and accumulated more than 1,400 flight hours.

    Kuss was a native of Durango, Colorado, and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the Marines in 2006. He previously served in Afghanistan before joining the Blue Angels.”

    Thunderbirds F-16 crashes following Air Force Academy graduation; pilot reported safe

    • et Al says:

      The United States Navy has recently been complaining that they are having to cannibalize their own jets to keep the combat ready ones going. Sounds like incompetence to me, though the much promised F-35C is very late thus forcing a service life extension program for the existing F-18 ‘classics’.

      What this tells us is that the US has already long had to choose where to spend its ‘attack’ money. The kitty is hungry. The Pork Pie News Networks swings from ‘US military is the greatest in the world’ to ‘US military is being starved of funds threatening its global dominance’.

    • yalensis says:

      Aw, c’mon, just because Iranians call Americans “The Great Satan”, that doesn’t mean they don’t love ’em to death.

    • marknesop says:

      M of A is a great resource, and its owner has done and is doing tremendous work in pulling aside the curtain to show Oz The Great And Terrible as he really is.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I’m pretty sure M of A is a run by a former German Navy officer.

        The site title is from one of Brecht’s works.

        German navy officers can sometimes be a funny species, I think.

        I remember once getting chucked out of a Manchester pub with a retired officer of what is now known as the Deutsche Marine because he was singing “Die Internationale” full belt. I was singing it with him as well, because I only know its words in German.

        The Fritz in question was a funny old cove. I had by chance got chatting with him auf deutsch in a town-centre bar after I had just arrived in Manchester from das Vaterland. I heard his slight German accent (he spoke perfect English, of course) and we got chatting away in German and ended up spending the rest of the day on the piss.

        So later on, it turned out that he was a closet socialist, having been born and bred in the former workers’ paradise known as “The German Democratic Republic”, hence his rendition later on of “Die Internationale”.

        The funny thing is that before he got arse-holed, he told me he was living in retirement in England because his wife was English, but then, after a thoughtful pause, he added “Well, she’s not really English: she’s a Scouser!”

        This tickled me at the time really, because a Scouser is a native of Liverpool, and as John Lennon (another Scouser) once famously said, “Liverpool is an Irish place”.

        Fancy chucking us out for singing such a cheerful little ditty as that!

        • Cortes says:

          Went the day well then?

          • Moscow Exile says:

            It certainly did! I took my new-found German pal to a far more salubrious place than the shithole out of which we had been told to sling our hooks, namely the “Harp and Shamrock”, just off the Rochdale Road, and whose landlord (R.I.P.) was a great bloke from Cork City. There we could sing to our hearts’ content — and we did until the early hours.

  12. Moscow Exile says:



    Uncultured beasts!


    The International Community would be better without such vermin!

    Note: No twerking! Such a backward subspecies!

    • Nat says:

      Wasn’t there a rumour that Putin’s daughter competed as an acrobatic rock’n’roll dancer and even came fifth in the 2013 World Championships? Probably why the Evil One is imposing it on his powerless people.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I think it is true that his younger daughter dances/danced with the Moscow University team.

        Gorky Park is the place to be if you like dancing outdoors in summer. They lay down the boards there on the river embankment.

  13. Cortes says:

    This afternoon at my local authority library I checked the Latest Acquisitions shelf and spotted “The Senility of Vladimir P” by Michael Honig. Perhaps my own synapses are furring up with age but I don’t recall having heard of the novel so I looked at the blurb and Quelle Surprise! A fictional account of the dotage of the ex-President of Russia, fabulously rich and corrupt yadda yadda and yadda.
    It’s reviewed

    By the usual suspects. The Guardian review is a thing of beauty in a Baudelairean fleurs du mal sort of way.

    The reviews plus blurb make me wonder whether the author might possibly be familiar with the Carlos Fuentes novel “The Death of Artemio Cruz” and the Augusto Roa Bastos novel “I the Supreme.”

    • marknesop says:

      A deathless tome, I’m sure. There’s no use pointing out to anyone from Yurrup that there is absolutely no evidence that Putin is ‘lining his pockets’ in any way, and the eagerness with which the papers pounce on his purchase of an expensive tracksuit is pathetic. Do you see Putin on this Forbes list anywhere? Lots of Russians – but no Putin. That’s odd – his alleged $40 Billion fortune dwarfs Ingvar Kamprad’s runty $31 Billion. Mind you, there’s a difference of 4 years in the two references – perhaps Putin experienced a bit of a windfall between 2008 and 2012. But the latter reference appears to have been wriiten by someone for whom English is a hobby, and says only that Putin is ‘slated to’ have a fortune of ‘up to’ $40 Billion. So he could be expected to reap this enormous sum at some future time, and right now his fortune could consist of $4,000.00. No-information articles for the low-information voter.

    • Jen says:

      Mary Dejevsky was squirming all the way through this review of the Honig book in The Independent:

      The big question about her review is what prevented her from calling the book out for what it is … unrelieved garbage that repeats the same old stereotypes and lies.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        You mean … he isn’t really the richest man in the world?

        And if he didn’t kill all them journalists, who did?

        Russia is the most dangerous place in the world for the internationally protected species “Journalist”. And for people of non-traditional sexual orientation. And Africans….

        Everyone knows that.

        Are you paid to write what you did?

        • Jen says:

          I’ll tell you if I’m paid to write if you tell me whether you’re paid to write.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            I was referring to Dejevsky’s mealy-mouthed squirming over a fictive account of Putin’s life in retirement and his fictive millions.

            My sole income is 90,000 rubles a month off my Russian employer here in Moscow. In addition, I receive a state pension from the UK and a miner’s pension from the British miners’ pension fund.

            I don’t need no money off the goddam FSB!

            A nice badge would be appreciated though.

      • Cortes says:

        A clothes peg over her nose while she forked the smelly spondulicks into the back of the Chelsea Tractor inhibited speech somewhat.

    • Oddlots says:

      It does occur to me that apparently the CIA was a big promoter of American expressionist art:

      Of course I can’t imagine needing money as a painter or writer so the story is obviously preposterous.

      • Oddlots says:

        Remind me: has Putin “weaponized” art yet?

        Holy fuck Volodya, get a move on.

      • yalensis says:

        I knew it!

        Like I have argued before, the CIA had a method to their madness:
        Namely, if they could baffle peoples brains with bullshit to the extent that people no longer even knew the difference between what was good and what was bad, then they (=the CIA) could rule the world.

        For example, this is good:

        And this is bad:

        • Cortes says:

          I’m a bit concerned about novelisation of episodes of US history such as Ellroy’s “American Tabloid ” and “The Cold Six Thousand ” dealing with the JFK, MLK and RFK assassinations and De Lillo’s “Libra” on Oswald’s life. Blurring the edges between historiography and fiction is very dangerous, I think.

          • Jen says:

            British historical dramas like “The Imitation Game” or “Suffragette” that are very loosely based on real historical people and actual incidents but which superimpose crass plots that push political agendas that falsify history are also very dangerous.

            • marknesop says:

              In that instance I completely agree. There’s no harm in making history more readable, but events must be recounted as they actually happened. History is dispassionate and often pedantically recited, which makes it unreadable for some audiences. Any way of roping them in with passion while remaining true to events would be a net plus.

          • marknesop says:

            There’s the advantage that it boosts readership, because history is typically very dry and not exciting to read. So long as events cited conform to real happenings, it’s not too harmful to drop in a fictional character and tell it from his point of view as long as the urge to spin motivations and rearrange conversations is not yielded to.

        • cartman says:

          People have forgotten how to think. Is it art? No, somebody dropped their glasses.

      • marknesop says:

        Why try to paint a tree so it looks like a tree, if you have no talent? Paint it so it looks like a load-leveler spring from a Winnebago painted green and brown, and say, “That’s what a tree looks like to me”.

        It’s not hard to imagine an American intelligence agency going after a country’s culture, because to them nothing says culture like football, tailgate parties and Coney Island hot dogs.

  14. Patient Observer says:

    Here are some unsolicited comments spoken to me on recent business trip:
    – An international sales manager described Asan companies as sneaky, German companies as honest but hard and English companies as crooked – every last one of them;
    – The two most corrupt cities are New York and London.
    – The UAE will suffer a severe economic crash in 2017 (already starting).
    The business mood is extremely pessimistic. The only optimism is found in the media.

    The US is likely heading for a recession (assuming that we actually are not in one already) based on a dismal jobs report:

    • Cortes says:

      “This from the scoundrel whose Gold was revoked due to (admitted) substance abuse.”

      The Universal Observatory on All and Any Rights.

  15. Patient Observer says:

    Fallen Angels:–politics.html
    Also, five US soldiers killed in Texas when their truck was overwhelmed by flood waters (link has slipped away).

    As usually noted, if the foregoing had happened in Putin’s Russia, it would be a sign of imminent social collapse.

    • Cortes says:

      In an earlier world, with less cynicism, UK forces in West Germany (as was) had regular losses due to road traffic accidents, diving in lakes, skiing off piste and the like.
      Jebus. Must have Ben safer in Norn Iron.

  16. Patient Observer says:

    “Putin has thus confirmed that his understanding of sovereignty and security takes precedence over any economic logic. ” This was meant as a criticism of Putin. So, he places the sovereign interests and security of Russia over economic exploitation by the West – what a madman!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Newsweek article (above) by Maxim Trydolyubov, who is …

      The editor of the newspaper “Vedomosti”, fellow of the Nieman (Nieman Fellow) at Harvard University; was born in 1970 in Rome; he studied at the Moscow architectural Institute and at the faculty of Philology of Moscow state University; worked as a librarian in the Synodal library of the Moscow Patriarchate; since 1994 – translator and reporter for the Moscow News; later as a translator and international editor of the newspaper “Capital”; since 1999 works in the “Gazette”; from 2006 – the editor of Department “Comments”, “Statements”; read series of publications: Stalin’s project, under milestones; was co-host of the program “the Big patrol” on radio “Echo …

      Vedomosti (Russian: Ведомости, literally “The Record”) is a Russian language business daily. The paper is published in Moscow.

      Vedomosti is a joint venture between Dow Jones, the Financial Times and the publishers of The Moscow Times.

      What a surprise!!!!!!

      In other words …



      Source Трудолюбов Максим Анатольевич – биография

      Trydolyubov is author of the book “My Country and I: A Common Cause”. [Я и моя страна: общее дело]

      Source: Трудолюбов Максим Анатольевич

      His family name could, perhaps, be literally translated into English as “labour of love”.

      • Jen says:

        The Newsweek article cited says that Trydolyubov is a senior scholar at the Washington-based Kennan Institute. In other words, he basks in the radioactive glory of the Shining City on the Hill.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I wonder how one becomes a “senior scholar” at such institutions?

          Isn’t that annoying Leceister layabout Higgins some kind of appointed senior something or other at various “respected” institutions that have very important sounding names.

          He’s a senior-something or other at King’s College, London University, as well.

          Fucking “academia”!

          I’ve shat better!

    • marknesop says:

      Well, the author was peeved for a couple of reasons. One, because the one who had proposed that Russia make its decisions based on economics was Kudrin, and the west has never gotten over its fondness for Kudrin – I daresay he is high on the list of those Washington hopes will one day betray Putin and seize power, although they would not likely ever let him rule. For another, because Washington likes those whose minds can be changed by the dangling of economic incentives in their immediate vicinity, and Putin is not one.

      It’s generally a good rule of thumb, when you’re writing an article and want to pad its veracity, to approach colleagues who you know share your views, so the flow is not messed up by disagreement. Thus the contributing bits by Gideon Rachman and Fiona Hill.

      • kirill says:

        At some point one has to conclude that the NATzO deciders are idiots. They keep on trying to ride the same discredited ponies like Kudrin, Navalny, etc. to their dream of regime change in Russia. They just can’t find any fresh and nominally credible people to peddle their comprador message. They even think Kasyanov aka Misha 2% has a political chance in a regime change effort based on trying to ignite hysteria about corruption. Yeah, I want some el corrupto leading the charge against corruption on my behalf. These NATzO decider clowns think that Russians are idiots, but in the process show that they themselves are the real idiots.

    • kirill says:

      Is this shit supposed to impress the average Russian? The same Russian who felt Putin’s “incompetence” through his/her standard of living? I guess the NATzO MSM just loves to endlessly pull a Groucho Marx skit: Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?

      Free trade is a neo-colonialist racket. Russia needs and needed especially during the 1990s maximal economic protection so that can 1) transition to capitalism without being raped and dumped on the side of the road and 2) develop to a high enough level were opening the borders does not result in its own economy disappearing to be replaced by western mega corporations.

      • Oddlots says:

        I think that’s exactly what’s at stake.

        Cognitive dissonance hardly does it justice.

        It’s not just that the stupidity continues but that it …. QUICKENS.

        And by “stupidity” I mean non-reality-based opinion. What I’m getting at is Menckens thought-grenade: “Wars happen because politicians lie to the press and then believe what they read.”

        We fucking fall for it every time.

      • Oddlots says:

        “Free trade is a neo-colonialist racket. Russia needs and needed especially during the 1990s maximal economic protection so that can 1) transition to capitalism without being raped and dumped on the side of the road and 2) develop to a high enough level were opening the borders does not result in its own economy disappearing to be replaced by western mega corporations.”

        Just in case it’s not clear: this is what I am applauding.

        If you stand back and squint a little what I see is:

        – a politician who’s actually fulfilling a democratic mandate right down to the 80 % approval rating
        – being vilain-ized
        – by people who could never dream of such support

        We should come up with similar examples of inversions that might win all of us a life rich in coffee cups by selling t-shirts.

  17. Ilya says:

    “These Yankee politicians are the lowest race of thieves in existence.”

    — John Sparrow Thompson

  18. Moscow Exile says:

    Absolutely way off topic:

    The Greatest is dead!

    Mohammed Ali has died.

    I really liked him, not least for his refusal to be drafted for military service in Vietnam.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      “Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with the Vietcong” — Mohammad Ali.

      • Jen says:

        For resisting the draft, Muhammad Ali was fined $10,000, sentenced to 5 years in prison and banned from boxing for 3 years. He appealed the sentence and did not go to jail after all.

        An even more stirring speech from Ali:

        Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?

        No, I am not going ten thousand miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would put my prestige in jeopardy and could cause me to lose millions of dollars which should accrue to me as the champion.

        But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is right here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality…

        If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. But I either have to obey the laws of the land or the laws of Allah. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail. We’ve been in jail for four hundred years.

        • Patient Observer says:

          His legacy will be crafted by the media to minimize if not eliminate his beliefs in such matters.

          • yalensis says:

            Exactly! Just the way that Westie media has sanitized Martin Luther King (who also developed an anti-imperialist ideology in his later years, but that fact is hidden from American schoolchildren). And even Nelson Mandela, whose alliance with the South African Communist Party has also been sanitized in American textbooks.

            P.S. – even though I hate to admit it, I think that at least partly Muhammad Ali’s anti-imperialist sentiments were fostered by his taking the Muslim faith.
            Within the American context, the Muslim religion, especially Black Muslims, has a partially “progressive” tinge to it. At least in terms of an internationalist and anti-imperialist flavor. This supplied a way of thinking which traditional African-American religion (aka various Christian sects) did not provide.

            But then again, there is the other wing of the Black Muslims, which is completely retrograde.
            Only proving, once again, that reality is complicated.

            • Northern Star says:

              When MLK globalized the struggle(s) of Black people in America to the international context of the struggle of all oppressed peoples…He signed his death warrant…

              • yalensis says:

                True. And he probably knew that, and still did it.
                MLK had already evolved to the point where he saw the connection between the Vietnam War and the systemic racism of the American system.
                As an internationally recognized leader with a tremendous amount of followers within the U.S., both blacks and whites, MLK was about to guide the civil rights movement in an anti-imperialist direction. This is why “the powers that be” had to get rid of him.

    • Oddlots says:

      So did I. He was a big personality in my childhood back in the seventies.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Never knew he’d visited Mordor:

    • Cortes says:

      The Best.
      The Guardian obituary isn’t too bad and does have one classic joke about Lincoln.

  19. Moscow Exile says:

    Just browsing through the UK rags and I spied an article in praise of British grub that included this picture:

    Now Melton Mowbray pork pies are very tasty, that’s for sure. The European Union awarded the Melton Mowbray pork pie Protected Geographical Indication status, following a long-standing application made by the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association. As a result of this ruling, pies made only within a designated zone around Melton, and using uncured pork, are allowed to carry the Melton Mowbray name on their packaging.

    Stilton cheese originated near Melton Mowbray as well. Stilton is the King of English cheeses, in my humble opinion. Melton Mowbrway is in Leicestershire, by the way, about 10 miles from where that twat Higgins hails from.

    But I digress.

    Three bloody quid for a poxy pork pie!

    And a small one at that, and only 45% of its contents is pork.

    That’s almost 300 rubles!!!

    285.50 rubles as I write, as it happens.

    And kreakly here ask me in a bewildered fashion why I do not wish to live in “Merry England”.

  20. Moscow Exile says:

    Will the Dark Lord order that a “wet job” be carried out against this upstart critic of Russian diplomacy?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      At 4:35 the English subtitle should read:

      “In other words, if this agreement had been observed, Yanukovich would have resigned a long time ago according to democratic procedure …”

      English conditional statements about “unreal past” nearly always screw up Russian translators.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Likewise at 4:39, the translation should read:

        “Of course, people would not have voted for him, everybody knows that”.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          She’s right up our resident Finnish critic of Russian policy street, isn’t she?

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Lavrov at 5.53:

            — I absolutely disagree. We shouldn’t wage war against the Ukrainians.

            — It’s not a war…

            — This war was unleashed by those who took power as the result of a coup d’etat – a war against their own people. I think think that Russians and Ukrainians are one people, and if you think that we should have unleashed a war against our own people, then I totally disagree.

            [My emphasis — ME]

            And therein lies the rub.

            The likes of those pieces of filth such as Savchenko, Tyahnybok, Paruibiy etc. do not consider ethnic Ukrainian Slavs and ethnic Russian Slavs as one people.

            Svidomites, howevever, and their racist “ideology” in this respect, belongs to a minority of Ukrainian citizens and the majority of the Ukrainian Svidomite diaspora: they are the ones who have been calling the shots since at least 1944, and their origin is in Western Ukraine, specifically in Galitsia, which province the of Romanian origin Valtzman, aka Poroshenko, says represents the essence of the Ukrainian idea.

            Those who yearn for the unleashing of war by Russia against Ukrainian armed forces; those who bemoan the Russian throwing of East Ukraine insurrectionists under a metaphorical bus perhaps really would like to see a full blown war erupt in the Ukraine and, if this happened, would gleefully react after the fashion that some shitwit YouTube commenter once did to a clip showing fighting in the Donbas: “It’s great seeing Slavs killing each other!”

            You know, the racist meme: It’s great seeing niggers killing each other.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Comments (so far) to the above clip support Lavrov’s points.

              One comment:

              a seemingly impassioned patriot [the reporter], yet with a clearly infantile attitude to diplomacy“.

              She reminds me of someone, albeit that in her case I am sure she truly “feels” for Russia.

              • marknesop says:

                I think she does, actually – there’s nothing in what she says which supports a view that Ukraine is now on an enviable path whereas Russia is getting left behind. Similarly, if I recall correctly, the American-led Maidan coup immediately began sprinkling stories everywhere that Russia was interfering at various levels and trying to stop the noble effort. It was doing nothing of the kind, but it might as well have been – as well hung for a sheep as a lamb. And if her analysis of the Russian Ambassador to Ukraine as a useless stuffed-shirt diploturd who did not make himself available to concerned Ukrainians who might have helped sway public opinion is accurate, then she is right and Russia should have tried. It has expertly outmaneuvered the west time after time since then, so there’s no reason to believe it could not have been done.

                Russia has taken a few positive steps in image management, which is a pet concern of mine and something Russia typically does not do very well. Maria Zakharova is a great example of what Russia needs in that field; bright, articulate, and with zero tolerance for bullshit. Poklonskaya is another, despite her offscreen nuttiness about the Tsar – she’s a charismatic figure and her looks automatically win her sympathy from the crowd which would be going at her like a pack of hounds if she were a man, mocking and belittling. There’s just something about an attractive woman who can hold her own in the cut and thrust of international diplomacy which is both refreshing and disarming. Criticism of Zakharova thus far has been light, and she has thus been able to push the Russian view without incurring much damage herself. Russia needs to put more thought into this; it’s obviously smart enough to exploit advantages, but the deliverer of Russia’s views is important, too.

                Critics of the reporter as exhibiting an ‘infantile attitude toward diplomacy’ are exactly wrong. There is a time and place for Lavrov’s measured, courteous, old-world diplomacy, and it is fine now that the situation is as it is. But a little more direct and impolite intervention at the right time might have resulted in the situation being something quite different.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Like when the story went round that he effed and blinded at British Foreign Minister Milliband who had phoned him so as to take him to task over the Russian refusal to have Lugovoi sent to London so as to stand trial for Litvinenko’s murder?

                  As it happened, Lavrov didn’t use obscenities directed at Milliband but only quoted obscenities uttered by another European diplomat when referring to Saakashvili, but the British press had with feigned horror reported how the Russian had verbally abused Milliband, who had demanded that the Russian constitution be changed so as to allow the extradition of Lugovoi.

                  As it happens, I’m absolutely sure that Lavrov’s command of English enables him to be impolite and vulgar and obscene in that language if he should choose to be so, but he doesn’t. So it’s heads he wins and tails he loses: he uses diplomatic courtesies when dealing with dross and gets criticized for doing so: he also gets criticized for allegedly using obscenities and calling a spade a spade.

    • She is a very good woman and I like her. And she is right.

      Russian ambassador in Ukraine was sitting in his ass doing nothing while the US ambassador was actually working to further US interests in Ukraine, and he succeeded. Zurabov is/was the most useless Russian ambassador in Ukraine ever.

      She also hit the nerve when she said that Russia NEVER initiates, it only reacts (and often at the last possible moment and unprepared). Taking Crimea was a fine job but otherwise things didn’t go very well for Russia in Ukraine.

      I have been thinking like this for some years now, that Russia is either unwilling or even incapable of initiation. It ALWAYS waits for the enemy to attack and is often unprepared for it, like in the first months of the Operation Barbarossa when Russia lost millions of soldiers either dead or to captivity by being totally unprepared for the war.

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        Between Zurabov and his predecessor, one can only conclude that the RF government judged Ukraine a lost cause long ago.

        • How about creating a large militarized anti-Maidan movement in the southeastern Ukraine already in December of 2013 or January of 2014? Russia probably could have been able to achieve this had it been investing as much in Ukraine’s internal affairs as the West did.

          The popular support probably would have been there for this in Kharkov and Odessa too and not just in Donbas. The way things went is that Odessa and Kharkov did protest but due to no outside support and organizational help didn’t go further than that. Now all the protest leaders are either imprisoned, dead or fled the country and these big traditional Russian cities are under full Kiev control (both Odessa and Kharkov were founded by Russia).

          In Donbas the militia was eventually formed, but they had to start from a scratch and were more helped by private Russian individuals than the Russian government (who has always been somewhat suspicious to Donbas militia). So at the end the Donbas militia could not keep even 50% of the Donbas territory and the rebellion against Kiev did not start in the rest of the southeastern Ukraine.

          If Odessa, Kharkov and Mariupol would have also ended up in the Novorossiyan control the coup government in Kiev would have a lot less room to maneuver, and they have been forced to more concessionary policies.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Are you pulling everyone’s pisser on here or are you really serious?

            If the latter, then you really do want to cause massive numbers of deaths in the Ukraine, don’t you, and an escalation that could very likely lead to a global nuclear confrontation.

            That’s what you want , I guess, in the belief that the arsehole Mighty West, whose policies you clearly admire and respect so much, will react and annihilate weak Russia, albeit that you repeatedly claim that you wish Russia would take a page out of the USA book of perfidy and stick one on the West, because you feel for Russia — don’t you?

            • “If the latter, then you really do want to cause massive numbers of deaths in the Ukraine”

              Tens of thousands have already died in Ukraine. Hard to believe the number would be any higher than that, most likely vice versa. The coup government probably would have not even started its ATO had Kharkov, Odessa and Mariupol also risen against it militarily with Russian support. After all, they did not try to attack Crimea either.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                “Hard to believe the number would be any higher than that…”

                Yes, I know: it’s really hard to imagine that happening.

                • Then explain your version of how things would have went.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  If things had gone the way you endlessly advocate, namely that Russia became openly and actively involved in the Ukrainian civil war by “creating a large militarized anti-Maidan movement in the southeastern Ukraine”, then such action would have led to the deployment of fully operational Russian military combat units in that area, in other words an invasion, notwithstanding the fact that about 7 or 8 such Russian invasions have already taken place according to the incessant squeals from Porky the Pig.

                  All this would then have given the mighty USA the green light for deploying its own ground combat units and air force in Banderastan and a war between Russia and the USA would have certainly then ensued, which war would very soon not remained localized and would very rapidly have become global as a result of the possible attempted invasion of Kalingrad Oblast of Russia by Polish, Lithuanian an US armed forces, as well as a debarkment on the Crimean coast by Romanian, Banderastan and possibly Turkish armed forces, whose aim would be the “liberation” of that peninsula.

                  Yes indeed, “tens of thousands have already died in Ukraine”.

                  “Hard to believe the number would be any higher than that, most likely vice versa” you say?

            • And, by your logic, Igor Strelkov and other Russians who went to Donbas to build a militia were in the wrong. After all, had Donbas militia never risen against the coup government the war would have never happened and all of these tens of thousands of lives would have been spared.

              So I am right? Do you think what Strelkov did was wrong?

              • Moscow Exile says:

                “And, by your logic, Igor Strelkov and other Russians who went to Donbas to build a militia were in the wrong.”

                No, you are not right.

                Your “logic” that leads you to the conclusion about what I must think about Strelkov’s actions is flawed.

                Your “logic” is wrong in that it erroneously leads you to think that because I believe that a sovereign state such as is Russia has no right to involve itself in the internal disputes of another sovereign state, then I therefore must believe that what Strelkov and others did and continue to do in East Ukraine is also wrong.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  As it happens, I think that Strelkov was out of order in the independent action that he and others took upon themselves in East Ukraine. What he and others triggered of there was certainly, I believe, not what Russia wanted. Strelkov and others made their gambit after Russia had snatched the Crimea away from under the USA and Kiev’s noses. No “polite people” surfaced in the Lugansk, Kharkov and Donetsk provinces, so Strelkov and others took it upon themselves to force the Russian hand.

                  I always got the impression that Strelkov was a prima donna who attributed too much to his own personal actions, as did others. But he always seemed ready to leave his position of command in a moment of pique when criticized.

                  The success that the insurgents have had in holding back one of the “five most powerful armies in Europe” is due not so much, in my opinion, to Strelkov’s leadership skills — others have been in command far longer than he was and against far more aggressive government and ATO battalion onslaughts than he had to endure — but principally to Russian intelligence, logistics and arms.

                  My greatest criticism of Strelkov, however, concerns the MH-17 catastrophe. When news that a large aircraft had been downed and it was still not known that the aeroplane in question was a passenger airliner, Strelkov immediately shot his mouth off en clair, crowing over the rebels’ accomplishment. When the awful truth was very quickly realized, he promptly withdrew his comment, but the damage had been done, resulting in Bandarites time after time pointing their accusatory fingers at “Russia” as embodied by of Strelkov and howling “Strelkov admitted responsibility right away”.

                  And he did.

                  Because he’s a prima-donna who likes playing at soldiers.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  ME, thoroughly well said.

                • akarlin says:

                  Strelkov immediately shot his mouth off en clair, crowing over the rebels’ accomplishment

                  That was not Strelkov.

                  All this would then have given the mighty USA the green light for deploying its own ground combat units and air force in Banderastan and a war between Russia and the USA would have certainly then ensued, which war would very soon not remained localized and would very rapidly have become global as a result of the possible attempted invasion of Kalingrad Oblast of Russia by Polish, Lithuanian an US armed forces, as well as a debarkment on the Crimean coast by Romanian, Banderastan and possibly Turkish armed forces, whose aim would be the “liberation” of that peninsula.

                  Frothing nonsense.

            • In a related note, Russia has agreed to have the OSCE observers in Donbas to be armed with light weapons:

              Ukraine also supported this but the DPR/LPR were against it. Interestingly, Russia took the side of Ukraine in this matter against the LPR/DPR.

              • marknesop says:

                I imagine Russia was thinking of the early days of the Donbas rebellion, when the ‘OSCE observers’ frequently turned out to be European military officers in civilian clothing, scoping out the area for weaknesses which the Ukrainian Army might exploit; sort of an ‘OSCE Ukrainian Reconnaissance unit’. At that time a lightning strike in the right spot might open up a hole through which the army could pour and roll up the rebels, because the rebels were mostly just townspeople and not professional military types. That’s less likely to happen now, while if the observers are able to carry self-defense weaponry they might be less likely to walk away when drunken soldiers tell them to beat it. Alternatively, a firefight might develop between the observers and the Ukrainian Army. Neither would hurt Russia, while either is likely to result in bad press for Ukraine.

        • And I don’t actually agree that Russian government judged Ukraine a lost cause since it borrowed Ukraine with $3 billion and was prepared to borrow a lot more had the Maidan coup not happened.

          Russia considered Ukraine a vital country for Russia so it is kind of amazing that Russia had such an incompetent ambassador in Ukraine. The US ambassador for Ukraine played him like a fool.

          • Jen says:

            Say what?! Russia borrowed Ukraine with $3 billion?

            Russia lent Ukraine $3 billion in the form of a Eurobond and put it on the stock exchange in Dublin, to make sure that Ukraine would pay it back eventually.

            Is it appropriate for countries to use their embassies in a third-party country in psy-op warfare? If you know nothing about the role of ambassadors and diplomats in other countries, you are in no position to judge Zurabov’s actions in Kiev.

        • Paul says:

          I seem to recall that that was the conclusion of some letter in Wikileaks from some high up guy in the US complex. Along the lines that Moscow was super-sensitive but would have to live with losing the Ukraine as they had pretty much already lost the fight and hadn’t done much to stop the US from taking over.

          Perhaps other are familiar with this. I do remember reading the text superficially, but whether one can trust Wikileaks or draw any conclusions is another matter.

      • Jen says:

        Aslamova is entitled to her opinion but what she advocates surely would violate international law and conventions governing the conduct of diplomats in other countries. Why should the US use its overseas embassy staff to plan and carry out regime change in countries whose governments it doesn’t like? Why should ambassadors and diplomatic staff abuse their positions and the trust placed in them by their fellow citizens to represent their countries to carry out activities that threaten the host nations’ stability?

        How often do we have to repeat that what happens in Ukraine is none of Russia’s business and that the current mess in that country is the responsibility of the US, the EU, NATO and the IMF?

        • Paul says:

          Well, the world is ruled by force, and the only possibility of international law is when two countries or alliances are close enough in power that it is better for both parties to agree to some rules than to constantly fight. So perhaps China has the economic and manpower force to come to terms with the US alliance. Maybe. But Russia doesn’t have the ability to demand equality, as the nukes can’t be used in all the forms of attack the West plans to use. Why can’t a replay of the 1980’s hybrid war be used to break Russia?

          So, if Russia wants to base things on international law, then a crash course in industrialization and building allies is necessary. Sure, the US is likely to gradually lose its power, but that is a strong argument for the US trying to destroy just about everybody so that a weakened US can still maintain domination.

          • Jen says:

            Surely one reason that the UN, international laws, conventions and treaties, and alliances based on common economic or political interests like ASEAN exist in the first place is to move away from the global order that existed from the late 19th century to 1945 when the world was ruled by force, and to allow countries that are not the equal of the US to put forward their interests and problems in an international arena that does not involve using armed forces.

            Zurabov may have been a lazy diplomat as Aslamova claims but it surely is beyond his role as a diplomat to fight fire with fire against the US through that country’s embassy in a third-party country. If the US was undermining Ukraine’s government by plotting with the Maidanuts, giving them money and advice, and coordinating their activities, is it right for the Russian embassy in Kiev to create and run counter-plots against the Maidanuts under Yanukovych’s nose, without him knowing about them? Any such manoeuvrings against the Americans could have backfired and weakened Kiev even more if people were to get the impression that the Yanukovych government was being propped up by Moscow. The staff at the Russian embassy would then have had to flee for their lives to avoid the fate suffered by Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi in Libya in 2012. By now you should know that Stevens had been running guns and jihadis from Libya to Syria: presumably if you believe the world is ruled by force, then you approve of Stevens’ actions as a diplomat.

            I’m sure if you’ve noticed, the US and Saudi Arabia are using 1980s-era hybrid warfare already to try to break Russia, and the Maidan coup in Ukraine was intended to be part of this hybrid warfare, to draw Russian forces into Ukraine itself and tie them down so that US plots against Syria and Iran could proceed apace. In other words, if Aslamova had been the Russian President, she would have walked into the same trap the US laid out as our fellow commenter Karl Haushofer would have done and the Soviets did in 1979.

            • Paul says:

              I don’t think it is remotely that simple. First of all, the US has promoted these international groups and processes as the US has great control of them or feels that it will be easier to control one source, such as Brussels, than a bunch of countries like Greece and Italy. Who can blame them? The other issue is that it is not simply a matter of US power; it is a matter of the Western financial oligarchy that controls things. They feel it is in their business interests to promote things like ASEAN or the World Bank. So the US may be losing a little bit of power, but the controllers of the US are actually happy. The TPP, for example, may weaken and harm the US if you look at one way. From another perspective, however, it will nail down the corporate and financial influence of the elite financial institutions and corporation that control the US.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              But what do those who criticize the apparent none-action of the the Russian ambassador to the Ukraine think he should have done when comparing his activities with those of the filth that represents the EU states and the USA.

              Do they really think that the Russian ambassador and Foreign Minister Lavrov should have traipsed around the Maidan, beaming at everyone and shaking hands with all and sundry, as did Pyatt regularly, sometimes wearing his embroidered Yukie peasant shirt, sometimes with assistant Secretary of State Nudelmann in tow; as did the crooked Polack Sikorsky, who was then Polish Foreign Minister; as did fucking Lady fucking Ashton, the highest paid EU bureaucrat at that time and commonly described as EU “Foreign Minister” (she was no such thing: she was, as per usual, a well paid appointed boss of a committee, something that she has been doing all her gas-bagging life — she comes from very near to where I used to live and kicked off her committee career at Wigan Tech., UK); as did the German Foreign Minister and the Frog one as well?

              If the Moskal ambassador and foreign minister had done this,would they have been greeted rapturously by the Maidan mob? Would they have greeted the mob with a “Hail fellow and well met! Allow us to give our version of events …”?

              They would have been torn apart!

              The whole show was a set up!

              It wasn’t a spontaneous uprising by an oppressed citizenry!

              It was a fix and all the pieces had been put in place long before the coup to take place.

              And those who moved the pieces are in the US of A.

              • marknesop says:

                I don’t think so; I think the Russian Ambassador should have been in close consultation with any Ukrainian leaders who were alarmed at the turns things were taking, and proposing Moscow-brokered alternatives. It might not have succeeded – probably would not have – but it would have forced the western regime-changers to tip their hand earlier.

          • marknesop says:

            But the US’s drive for dominance is to secure markets for its goods so that it can maintain a good standard of living for Americans; at bottom, wars are all about trade and control of resources. Washington is not going about this one very well, because it has put the back up of the world’s largest energy supplier and the world’s maybe-second-largest economy, and prompted them to seek alternative markets when the USA already had quite a comfortable market position in both countries before it started this tantrum. In the course of it, it boned its own allies so hard that they also lost those markets, just for sticking with Team Stars And Stripes. I’m sure they’ll remember that with resentment for a long time, and efforts by America to increase its market share in Europe after fucking Europe over should be met with a cold shoulder indeed. I’m having a hard time seeing any win in this for America.

            • Patient Observer says:

              I would add a nuance, the Anglo elite is not particularly interested in maintaining a good standard of living for Americans as the decline over the past 40 years attests. They are interested in breaking grass roots social organizations (families and unions come to mind) and install new societal imperatives such as mindless consumerism, pursuit of pleasure and profound ignorance. Don’t need a good standard of living to achieve that goal.

              Ideally, the entire world wold adopt the American model; life would be so much simpler for the ruling elites. Those dang Russians, Serbs and Chinese plus others scattered around the globe just won’t go along. Actually, I am surprised at the lack of sustainable success of the Anglo elite. There must be a deeper reservoir of sanity and humanity than they reckoned.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        Kharlit, there is summer already – and you are still a murtad. What a shame, rakhimahuaLlah…

    • yalensis says:

      Lavrov is not at his best here.
      You can tell from his body language that, deep down, he knows she is right.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        She’s right about the crap ambassador in Kiev and Russia’s typically, until quite recently, abysmal PR, but I think Lavrov is absolutely correct in his argument against fully deploying Russian armed forces in East Ukraine — and I am not talking about the logistics and intelligence support that the East Ukraine insurrectionists have so far undoubtedly received to a greater or lesser degree from Russia: I am talking about what Western journalists fondly refer to as “boots on the ground”, and air force in the sky, I may add.

        4:55, Lavrov:

        — But when the bandits [Banderite thugs] began to commit their excesses on the Maidan, should we have deployed forces there or what?

        — But excuse me: we held all the cards! [Did “we”? In what way? — ME]The legitimately elected president had fled to our country. The coup had taken place in a country that was close and friendly to us! [Was it really? — ME] The president asked us for help. We had all the rights to deploy our forces and help resolve the situation!

        No “we” had not!!!!!

        The Ukraine is a sovereign state. Russia had no right whatsoever to intervene in an internal dispute of another state!

        The USA thinks it clearly has this right.

        Should Russia therefore imitate US illegal actions?


        — Unleash a war, you mean?

        Exactly! A war between two states, Russia and the Ukraine!

        Cue the 7th US Cavalry to the rescue of the bullied little nation.

        The journalist continues:

        — A bunch of gangsters took power. It was a military take-over. [Gangsters or military? Did the Ukrainian army forma Junta in Kiev? What is she talking about? — ME] Why did we not do that? [What? Take over control of the Ukraine, of Kiev, of the Ukraine government? — ME] I’ll tell you why: it’s because we are clinging to the idea of a sovereign state that disorientates us!

        She does not recognize the sovereignty of the Ukraine? And she seems to admire the duplicitous US policy of undertaking regime change by appealing to human rights and democracy in order to further US interests, namely the maintenance of US hegemony: she’s into Ambassador Power’s much vaunted “Right to Protect” (R2P) policy by which the USA has caused so much misery in the world for the sake of Wall St. and the US dollar?


        — Do you think we should have deployed the army?

        — Yes, it was our duty to conduct humanitarian intervention.

        No it was not!

        Because Russia is not the USA!

        The United Nations, formed in the aftermath of World War II to promote peace and stability, recognizes the importance of sovereignty, especially for newly independent nations or those seeking independence from colonizers. The UN Charter says: “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state”. The principle does not rule out the application of enforcement measures in case of a threat to peace, a breach of peace, or acts of aggression on the part of the state. The Genocide Convention of 1948 also overrode the nonintervention principle to lay down the commitment of the world community to prevent and punish. Yet inaction in response to the Rwanda genocide in 1994 and failure to halt the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia highlight the complexities of international responses to crimes against humanity.

        In 2000, the Canadian government and several other actors announced the establishment of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) to address the challenge of the international community’s responsibility to act in the face of the gravest of human rights violations while respecting the sovereignty of states. It sought to bridge these two concepts with the 2001 Responsibility to Protect (R2P) report. A year later, the co-chairs of the commission, Gareth Evans of the International Crisis Group and Algerian diplomat Mohamed Sahnoun, wrote in Foreign Affairs: “If the international community is to respond to this challenge, the whole debate must be turned on its head. The issue must be reframed not as an argument about the ‘right to intervene’ but about the ‘responsibility to protect'”.

        The commission included environmental or natural disasters as possible events after which the international community could intervene if the state failed in its responsibility to protect its population. But in 2005, when the responsibility to protect doctrine was incorporated into a UN outcome document, environmental disasters had been dropped as a reason for intervention. The document did say it was every state’s responsibility to protect its citizens from “genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity”. If a state fails to do so, the document says, it then becomes the responsibility of the international community to protect that state’s population in accordance with Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Chapter VII includes use of military force by the international community if peaceful measures prove inadequate. The UN outcome document was unanimously adopted by all member states but is not legally binding.

        The doctrine was hailed by international affairs specialists as a new dawn for peace and security. In a 2007 Council Special Report, former CFR senior fellow Lee Feinstein wrote that the adoption of R2P was a watershed moment, “marking the end of a 350-year period in which the inviolability of borders and the monopoly of force within one’s own borders were sovereignty’s formal hallmarks”.

        See: The Dilemma of Humanitarian Intervention

        From the above linked web site:

        Beyond operational and political questions, military intervention also involves legal issues, says CFR’s Matthew Waxman. “Humanitarian/military intervention outside of a UN Security Council mandate remains a very highly contested area of international law”, he says. And Russia and China have historically been reluctant to support any form of intervention. Besides their long-standing noninterference policy in the internal affairs of other countries, they are “particularly worried that it could create a precedent for the international community to have a say in how they treat their own, sometimes restive, minority populations”, says CFR’s Patrick…

        The U.S. role as standard bearer for the R2P concept remains a question. It has been reluctant to commit to a forceful intervention in Syria, limiting itself to announced plans to arm the opposition and working with Russia to try to convene a peace conference bringing together the Assad regime and rebels. CFR’s Waxman says the U.S. nation-building experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated the on-the-ground challenges faced after U.S.-led interventions. “The United States has limited power to help put these countries back together after regimes collapse in ways that ensure that rights and safety of the local populations are maintained”, he says…

        …But the General Assembly resolution reiterates that “the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national unity of States must be fully respected in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations”, which makes it difficult to operate in situations where the affected country denies access. In such cases, the role of regional actors and neighbors becomes critical.

        • Paul says:

          But don’t you think Moscow had other options? Some argue that the whole Ukraine was for sale and in a state of confusion. Some selective million-euro bribes and and a dozen Strelkov-type teams to guide things along, and Russia would have perhaps held far more leverage to use for negotiations. As it turned out, Kiev had a tremendous manpower advantage. What if Moscow had bought Kharkov and all of the Donbass? Plus, a certain amount of military facilities would have been lost to Kiev. To me, arguing that it is all an internal-Ukrainian thing is a bit silly as the Donbass rebel zone wouldn’t last long at all without huge Russian support. In other words, Russia is deeply involved in this now and was a year or two ago. Plus, Russia was obviously involved in the Crimean affair. The question is where the borders would be now and when the fighting started.

          I don’t pretend to know what options the Kremlin has had over the last ten years or so, but it is hard to avoid the feeling that they were either incompetent, too internally divided, too compromised by the friendships of different oligarchs, or too timid over a fear of blowing up the Ukraine to actually do anything pro-active. Or maybe they were just too enamored of the EU, and fell for the old good cop/bad cop routine.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Russia has certainly been involved in the Crimea for over 220 years, having had a legal presence there since 1783. From 1991 until 2014, the presence of Russian armed forces in the peninsula was agreed by treaty between the Ukraine and Russia and admirably paid for on time by the Kremlin, which payments went into the Kiev coffers and thence, no doubt, into the pockets of various Yukie “politicians”.

            The USA certainly wished to get involved in the Crimea in order to create there a base for a USN Black Sea Fleet.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Should be 1997 to 2014 above.

              In 1997, Russia and the Ukraine signed the Partition Treaty, establishing two independent national fleets and dividing armaments and bases between them. The Ukraine also agreed to lease major parts of its new bases in Sevastopol to the Russian Black Sea Fleet until 2017. During the presidency of Victor Yushchenko the Ukrainian government declared that the lease would not be extended and that the fleet would have to leave Sevastopol by 2017.

              He was bullshitting of course: he was just trying to screw Russia for money.

              Remember, this is the crook whom the West always describes as “Kremlin-friendly” and as Putin’s man

              The Agreement between Ukraine and Russia on the Black Sea Fleet in the Ukraine, was widely referred to as the Kharkiv Pact or Kharkiv Accords (Russian: Харьковские соглашения), and was a treaty between Ukraine and Russia whereby the Russian lease on naval facilities in Crimea was extended beyond 2017 until 2042, with an additional five-year renewal option in exchange for a multi-year discounted contract to provide the Ukraine with Russian natural gas. The agreement, signed on 21 April 2010 in Kharkiv, Ukraine, by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Russian President Dimitry Medvedev and ratified by the parliaments of the two countries on 27 April 2010, aroused much controversy in the Ukraine. The treaty was a continuation of a treaty signed in 1997 between the two nations. Shortly after the (disputed) March 2014 accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation, Russia unilaterally terminated the treaty on 31 March 2014. — Wiki.

              Whilst the treaty was in effect, Russia paid its annual rent each year on time and down to the last kopek.

          • marknesop says:

            That’s certainly possible, but again, the Ukrainian/Russian thing is a long-simmering conflict that has bubbled resentfully since the Second World War. West-Ukrainian nationalists have tried to turn the language issue into leverage from time out of mind, and if Russia had tried soft power, the USA would have countered with subversion and catering to Ukrainian nationalism until it managed to overthrow the government. Then we would have much the scenario we have now, except in the best case the dividing line might have been the Dnepr, much as it always was in ideological terms. But the west was never interested in Ukraine just to get half of it – its goal was always Crimea and the Black Sea, so a piecemeal solution like that would only have attracted further meddling and an even bigger civil war which might well have drawn in all the neighbours.

            No, I again offer that the scenario now playing out is the best that could have been hoped for from Russia’s point of view, and the most likely for Ukraine to eventually end up back in the Russian orbit. And that is for Ukraine to collapse, while its oligarchy hoovers out the west’s pockets. Eventually the west will decide to cut its losses, give the Ukrainian government a severe talking to about how it is very, very disappointed, and abandon it. Russia could gradually relax the trade embargo, and as a few jobs started to come back, those who were lucky enough to get one would not care much that the glorious revolution had failed. The west must be seen to be fallible, and to have failed, for the next generation of Ukrainians to not fall into the same stupid trap of imagining the west can wave a shiny stick and make magic happen.

        • Paul says:

          If Yanukovich offered to sign a document, it would have been legal, right? Besides, it was a Nazi coup designed to create a war for Russia. It wouldn’t have been a Russian invasion of a neighbor – it would have been saving Europe from a Nazi coup. Just do what was done in Georgia and promise to leave by a set date. Georgia was a neighbor who didn’t invade Russia. However, Moscow would have had some terrible problems. One would have been the Crimea. Yanukovich wouldn’t have approved of losing it. Another is that Yanukovich was hated. Finally, the economic costs would have been hard to calculate.

          I would imagine that Moscow would have violated international law less in this case than with what happened in Georgia and the Crimea. In those cases, there was no signed request from the leader of an attacked and recognized country for help.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            What exactly are the “International laws” that Russia has violated against Georgia and the Crimea?

            Kerry and others like to start waffling about “International Law” but never state which international laws Russia is in breach of, apart from that this is no longer the 19th century and people don’t do such things anymore, namely “annexing territory”.

            But has Russia “annexed” the Crimea, or are Kerry and his ilk, as usual, simply begging the question along the lines: It’s illegal what they’ve done, because if it were legal, there wouldn’t be a law against it?

            Did Russia start hostilities against Georgia in 2008?

            Was there a legitimate government in Kiev in 2014?

            And most importantly as regards the Crimea, what was the opinion of the citizens of the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea as regards remaining part of a Ukraine that had been hijacked by Svidomites?

            Remember, when the Crimea citizenry voiced their disapproval of events in Kiev, there was soon organized an expedition of armed thugs to the peninsula, where they were to persuade the Crimeans of the errors of their ways.

            Before that, a group of Crimeans who had set off for the Maidan to protest against the events there was hijacked en route by Ukrainian nationalists and severely beaten — some to death..

            Korsun massacre anniversary – what really pushed Crimea away from Ukraine

            The captured buses were burnt, their passengers were brutally tortured, beaten and humiliated. Several people were beaten to death.

            This happened before the Odessa immolation — which didn’t happen, of course: they set fire to themselves.

            • kirill says:

              Bitching about international law in the case of Crimea is thick and rich intellectual NATzO excrement. The ICJ at the Hague has already ruled that territorial integrity comes second to self-determination rights. Hence there is *no* international law that prevents Crimea from seceding from Banderastan. Kerry and his boss, the trash-talking loser Obama, just engage in bald faced lies such as Obama’s “there was a UN mediated referendum in Kosovo on peaceful secession”. Now we have trolls who parrot these two liars and supposedly it is up to the regular posters on this board to “prove their innocence”.

              But in the case of Crimea we actually have much more. Kosovo was never a separate legal or ethnic entity that got incorporated into some “greater” Serbia. It was the Serbian heartland. Before WWII Albanians (aka Kosovars a fake ethnic-national identity created by NATzO propaganda) were 30% of Kosovo’s population. During WWII indigenous Kosovo Serbs were ethnically cleansed and Albanian squatters moved in from Albania. The Albanians were actively participating in the ethnic cleansing as they were Nazi allies (SS Skanderbeg). Tito the Croat-Slovene asswipe prevented the return of Serb refugees at the end of WWII and legalized the Albanian squatters. He also tolerated a flux of illegal migrants from Albania into Kosovo after the war until his death. So the Albanians got their ethnic majority thanks to Hitler and Tito. NATzO proclaimed this majority and their “rights” holy in 2008.

              Compare to the case of Crimea. It was never part of any state called Ukraine or any predecessor states that were merged into Ukraine like the various parts of Germany or Italy. Crimea had a Russian ethnic majority in 1991 which was not achieve by the ethnic cleansing of Ukrainians and the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine by Khruschev in 1954 was not legal and did not reflect any self-determination criteria or cultural preservation. Maybe Mexico should be made part of the USA because they share a border. Or vice versa? The Autonomous Republic of Crimea was re-established in 1991:


              So Crimea was annexed by Ukraine. Following international law and not Kerry-Obama lies, Crimea legally asserted its rights in 2014 and returned to Russia. No amount of NATzO MSM lie factory pieces will remove the rights of Crimean Russians and transfer them to Banderastanis. Repeating the word annexation in the case of the referendum on self-determination in 2014 will never make it an annexation in legal or physical terms. However, Ukraine did annex Crimea and suppressed the rights of the Crimean majority including the Tatars until 2014.

              BTW, the claims of Tatars on Crimea are not automatic and valid. Their ancestors engaged in full time slave raids and slave trade until Russia shut them down in the 1700s. Russia never slaughtered Tatars to clean Crimea like was the case for aboriginals in the New World (e.g. Argentina and the genocide of the Patagonians). Tatars did not have majority status in 1954 and 1991. They are a minority that gets taken for the ride and are only cried over because the objective is to make the annexation of Crimea by Ukraine at the breakup of the USSR irreversible. But too bad for NATzO, that ship has sailed. Nunca mas!

            • Paul says:

              Russia invaded Georgia. There was a fine case for going into South Ossetia, but what was the law that said it was OK to go into Georgia proper? South Ossetia wasn’ and isn’t even a state; it is merely a troubled part of Georgia. As for the Crimea, the Western argument is going to be that this was done with the use of Russian force. Kiev wasn’t in control of the voting and everything else. I’m fine with this, but I don’t really care for the whole push for international law beyond rules of engagement and business law. One man’s arms dealer is another man’s terrorist or, in the case of Bout, competitor for Air France once they want to go back into Africa.

              • Lyttenburgh says:

                “Russia invaded Georgia. There was a fine case for going into South Ossetia, but what was the law that said it was OK to go into Georgia proper?”

                The very moment Georgian artillery shelled and murdered internationally recognized Russian peacekeepers, staged in South Ossetia, Saakashvili have commited an act of war. It mught surprise you, but in wars sides wage war. Crossing into enemy territory after giving it some whipping in the name to (as it was called officially by Russia) “Force Georgia to Peace” ™ is rather kosher.

                The fact that you use the Western media double speak terms (“annexation” of Crimea and “invasion” of Georgia) puts you, Poul, in the same category as one racist shit-flingin’ Russophobic Finn.

                “South Ossetia wasn’ and isn’t even a state; it is merely a troubled part of Georgia.”

                No, its not. Its unrecognized independent state. Hopefully, soon part of the same country where there is also North Ossetia situated.

                “As for the Crimea, the Western argument is going to be that this was done with the use of Russian force.”

                They can’t prove no matter how hard they try since that the Referendum has been conducted “with the use of Russian force”. Surely, you doubt that…

                • kirill says:

                  The clown is an obvious troll. The USA invaded Grenada because supposedly some US students were at risk. It also change the regime just in case. I never hear any crying about that US invasion from NATzO drones like our new troll. Yet they bandy about the word invasion as it means f*ck all in the context of the Sakashvilli war criminal attack on peacekeepers and civilians in a midnight surprise attack. This dirtbag troll does not get to make his own morality and international law. Russia was fully within its right under international law to mop the floor with Georgian regime forces and to visit any square inch of Georgia to achieve this goal. For people who may be interested, international law is mostly common law based on precedent. There is no world government that imposes a statutory framework. So every previous occasion that the USA and NATzO invoked some moral excuse to invade legitimized Russia’s reaction in 2008. Russia did not need to get approval from the UN Security Council. And that UN gave Russia pre-emptive rights to “invade” in case the peacekeepers were attacked.

                • Paul says:

                  To you and Kirill,

                  I didn’t use the word annex (and can’t stand politically correct sensitivity regarding words like invasion), but, in any case, I think you are not getting my point in this. If the US-allied countries and those under their control are 80% of the countries on earth, appealing to international law is questionable. Russia is likely to lose most important fights. I think Moscow should have done more in Georgia, not less. There is no clear international law other than perhaps that which a UN Security Council resolution authorizes, and even that has its limitations, such as was the case with Libya. In my opinion, it is unwise for Moscow to put much hope in appealing to a system of law that is largely under Western control. As an example, let’s argue that the Kosovo precedent means that the Crimea can become independent. Sure, but the judges could rule that Russian troops were used to prevent the movement of Ukrainian troops inside Crimea and this invalidates everything. The rules are rigged, so, it might be better to argue things like “the West instigated a neo-Nazi coup to cause harm to Russia and Moscow had to respond to these serious threats with certain responses that would not be normal were it not for the nature of what happened”. Then do what you think best. In other words, challenge the criminal intent of your opponents, rather than making it sound like there was some strange thing that made Kiev and the Donbass have a spat that can surely be resolved by some compromise between the two parties.

                  This isn’t trolling or even concern trolling; it is more a debate regarding how Moscow should approach things. I actually agree with Mark’s comments below that using Yanukovich would have been “legal”, but it was probably better to let the Ukrainians stew in their own juices and suffer instead. Just recognize the risk of allowing the media and schools and the entire country to be oriented in an anti-Russian manner.

                • marknesop says:

                  Yes, the latter is a good point. But there would be little to be gained by that time in bringing up the country’s future sales managers and consultants and factory line supervisors to hate their largest trading partner. And Russia’s ability to influence – directly – what is taught in Ukrainian schools should be limited.

              • Paul says:


                Clown, dirtbag, and troll are the words you used to describe me, a supporter of Russia and even more an opponent of the Anglo-American Empire. What words do you use for those who oppose Russia? The use of slightly provocative terms with, say, South Ossetia is just to point out how the other side is going to argue things. How many countries recognized South Ossetian passports in 2005 or even 2015? All those who haven’t considered it part of Georgia.

                Jen and many other supporters of Russia like to argue that Moscow never breaks international law and that this is some high ideal. I am saying this is a losing game, and even dubious. There is no clear international law, although the old standbys of “might makes right” and “he who has the gold, rules” come close. To the extent there is international law, a significant part comes from all the great cases in the Yugoslavian and Serbian wars. Milosevic and Kosovo being the most notable. Almost all of them could be mistaken for “might makes right”.

                • yalensis says:

                  Don’t feel bad, Paul.
                  Kirill is very bad-tempered and believes that he speaks for all of Russians, he once told me that “Russia doesn’t need scum like you.”
                  After that devastating sally, I was very tempted to rename my own blog to “Scum Like Me”.

                • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

                  You should totally do it – at least on a trial basis.

                • Jen says:

                  @ Paul: I have not said that Moscow never breaks international law and that international law represents some “high ideal”. International law comes out of conventions, treaties and other agreements that countries have developed and signed up to (or not signed up to as the case may be) as a result of past wars or other incidents that could have been avoided or prevented, or out of traditions and customs that previously weren’t on paper. Parts of it may have been in the making for decades, even centuries. For example the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees and their rights developed in part as a result of the Holocaust and actions and decisions (and non-actions and non-decisions) leading up to it that everyone realised with the benefit of hindsight could have been stopped or avoided. The convention is not perfect and is under strain from US and NATO-led wars that have led to mass movements of displaced people, and probably needs replacing with a new convention that would take into account the current trends in movements of asylum seekers, but it at least provides guidelines as to signatory countries’ responsibilities towards refugees and a framework for defining who is a refugee and what refugees’ rights are.

                  An example of international law or convention having arisen out of tradition or custom is the convention that the maritime border between two neighbouring countries’ sea territories should go exactly halfway between them both. This is the convention that East Timor relies on, to demonstrate that what should be its maritime territory (and the resources within it) has been unfairly taken away from it by Australia.

                  The notion that “might makes right” or “he who has the gold, rules” has always prevailed is not necessarily true and demonstrates a particular view of history that stresses conflict over cooperation and which gives the benefit of the doubt to those who prefer war over negotiation and compromise to get their way.

                • yalensis says:

                  @Svoloch: Ha ha – maybe I will!

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Some argue that the oldest international law is the law against piracy. In the 17th century, the English (not British: this was before the Act of Union), French and Spanish navies, which were often at war with each other, used to suspend hostilities and act in unison against pirates when need be, namely the illegality of piracy superceded the legality of the hostilities between the warring parties.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                All the fucking time this meme comes up: Russia invaded Georgia!

                Georgia attacked South Ossetia, bombarded the Ossetian capital whilst the city slept, and killed Russian peace keepers there who had a legal mandate to be in S. Ossetia.

                The Russian armed forces promptly kicked the US-trained and equipped Georgian army’s collective arse.

                What do you suggest the Russian army should have done, when, whilst chasing after the Georgians, who immediately high-tailed it out of S. Ossetia when they realized they were going to get well and truly licked, and they reached the S.Ossetia border — call a halt and blow them kisses?

                They chased after the bastards and could indeed have gone on and taken Tbilisi.

                They withdrew. shortly after.

                They are not in Georgia proper now. They weren’t there for that long in any case, but they are still in S.Ossetia, whose population detests the the Georgians.

                When in 1812 the Imperial Russian army chased the Corsican and his allies out of Russia up to the Berezina river, where Buonaparte then abandoned his army and headed off to Paris, did the Russians wave the Frogs and their allies fond farewells and head back home to their balalaikas, vodka and dancing bears?

                Like fuck they did! They kept on going until they reached Paris in 1814.

                Wicked, wicked Russians invading la belle France in such a fashion!

                That concentrated piece of shit-extract Yatsenyuk, in attempting to ingratiate himself to the Germans when in Berlin cap-in-hand (as usual!), reminded the German people of the commonality of the Ukrainian “nation” and that of the Germans, in that they both had suffered and endured a “Russian” invasion and occupation.

                When he said that in Germany, the shit really hit the fan, because, you see, the vast majority of Germans are not over fond of Nazis and the ruination that they brought down upon a mighty fine and civilized country.

                But this meme: ‘the Russians invaded…” is commonplace , regardless of context, as “invade” has connotations with being an aggressor.

                Take, for example, how another piece of shit, Walker of the Guardian, tried to build up sympathy for the poor ‘ickle Germans, who are so terrified of Russian expansion, when he noted a year or two ago in one of his opinionated pices of “journalism” that many of the German population still have not so fond memories of when “Russian” tanks last rolled into Germany.

                He was talking of when the Soviet Union armed forces entered the Reich in 1944 — a terrible act of “Russian” aggression!

                There are still very many here who remember when the Wehrmacht rolled into the USSR in 1941 as well.

                I was only talking recently (last May 9) to one who has frightful memories of that time. He is my elder daughter’s now retired physics teacher. He was a kid in Kharkov, UkSSR, when friendly Fritz came to rescue him from the Bolshevik-Jewish Stalin tyranny. He was shopping on a Sunday morning at the main market in that city when the Luftwaffe bombed it flat. Then over the next few days the tanks came rolling in …

                He, with other Kharkov kids, was evacuated to the Urals.

                He never saw his mum and dad again.

                His dad had gone to the front right at the kick-off in June.

                His mum was Jewish.

                • yalensis says:

                  Good points.
                  Russia traditionally employs the legitimate concept of “hot pursuit”.
                  Which they employed in the case of (a) Napoleon, (b) Hitler, and (c) Saakashvili.

                  If Party A egregiously attacks Party B, then B has the right to chase A “in hot pursuit” all the way back to A’s lair.

                  This concept of “hot pursuit” is enshrined in international law and, more importantly, endorsed by Deputy Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane.

                • Jen says:

                  If “hot pursuit” were not legitimate, Hollywood would have to find another way of smashing up old police cars donated to it.

          • yalensis says:

            Yes, technically, if Yanukovych had formally signed a request for Russian assistance against the coup, then this would have been just as strong as Assad’s request for Russian assistance.
            Russia could have insisted that Yanukovych remained the legal President (in exile), and could have responded to his official request for military assistance. With all the might of international law on Russia’s side. Then a limited detachment of Russian troops could have moved in to assist the Berkut in clearing out the putschist Nazi rats.

            Personally, I think this should have been done this way.
            But also, personally, I would not have wanted to be the one sitting in the Kremlin at that time, and make such a decision.
            I have enough respect for the other decision that was made (the wrong one, in my opinion), that it was made with strong reasoning, and not just treasonous or cowardly intent.

            • Northern Star says:

              “Then a limited detachment of Russian troops could have moved in to assist the Berkut in clearing out the putschist Nazi rats.”

              Exactly…and that is the ONLY thing vicious murdering Nazi vermin understand…their bellies full of AW lead..and even then they will retreat snarling and with hate filled eyes ..BUT they will retreat.
              As for the sovereignty issue..since when the fuck has the USA respected this notion?
              The USA does whatever the F it wants to nations over which it can wield overwhelming military might and subsequently freely manufactures ex post facto excuses (lies) and rationalizations however logically absurd or counterfactual..
              One more thing…when was the last time the USA and her NATO lapdogs went up against and prevailed over an adversary who could give as good as it gets??

            • Jen says:

              Problem is, did Yanukovych and his government recognise that a coup was taking place against them at the time? And even if they did, they might not have been able to contact Moscow in time for help.

              This is why Paul’s comment about Yanukovych offering to sign a document had me scratching my head and wondering whether he meant Yanukovych should have signed the EU-Ukraine agreement so that the EU clean-out of Ukraine’s economy and the destruction of its industry in Donbass could have gone ahead.

              It is all very well to say that Yanukovych should have signed something but he would have had to recognise the Maidan revolution for the coup it was. It is easy to say in hindsight what he should have done but all too often we only realise after the event happens that it was something else altogether. As in Brazil, where it is now becoming clearer by the day that Dilma Rousseff’s suspension and upcoming impeachment process was a coup but before her suspension, few of the Brazilian Congress representatives and senators realised what was being done to her by Temer, Cunha and other plotters, and they approved the suspension.

              • Paul says:

                If it wasn’t a coup, what was it? Yanukovich’s car was shot at, wasn’t it? There has been plenty of discussion of this option, and I don’t think the legality was the challenge, just that Yanukovich was a dirtbag, and wouldn’t have had much support. It wasn’t treason or anything for the Kremlin to choose the path they took, but one can certainly argue that they have had many options that they didn’t pursue.

                • Jen says:

                  Yanukovych fled to Russia because threats had been made against him. But at the time he left, he believed he would be able to return to Kiev and see out the rest of his term. He had agreed to early elections.

                  Simply being a dirtbag is no reason for Yanukovych to have been deposed the way he was. Every single President Ukraine has had has been a dirtbag of one kind or another if you consider Yanukovych as such. The fact is he had every right not to sign the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and to ask for extra time to consider all its implications for Ukraine fully before signing it (which he had intended to do). The aim of the Maidanut revolution was to pressure Yanukovych into signing the AA.

                  What options was Moscow supposed to pursue, apart from supplying military assistance at Yanukovych’s request, which the US might have been counting on as an excuse to send troops to Crimea at a time when Crimea was still part of Ukraine?

                • yalensis says:

                  The Crimean factor might have been the decisive one in Putin’s thinking.
                  (Not that I know what he was thinking.)
                  In other words, if the choice was a stark one between saving Yanukovych and securing Crimea, then Putin made the right choice. One Sebastopol is worth a thousand Yanukovyches.
                  I’m just not convinced that the choice was that stark. I think Russia could have done both, and not faced any international repercussions other than moral outrage and propaganda blasts. Which are always there, anyhow.
                  But again, I’m glad it wasn’t my call, because I might have made the one wrong, and then history would have condemned me as a total dipshit.

              • marknesop says:

                Yanukovych did sign something – he signed an accord with the opposition leaders which would have seen him remain in power until elections and to grant broad political participation and significant powers to opposition figures; in short, a coalition government with himself as titular head until the issue could be further decided by elections. There was every, every chance that Washington could have engineered his removal in those elections just by doing that old regime-change black magic that it does so well. But for whatever reason, it got panicky and plunged ahead with a violent and instant overthrow. They had all night to consider Yanukovych’s offer, and he basically gave up the ship – it would have been child’s play to have had him thrown out in the next elections. But for inexplicable reasons, the opposition that thought it had done such a great job was slapped, turned around and told to get out there and get rid of Yanukovych today.

          • marknesop says:

            Yanukovych would not have had to sign anything if he had not lost his nerve and caved in to the opposition when they ran the most obvious fake-atrocity scheme on him evah. I mean that bit about the Berkut beating protesters. Yanukovych stepped on his dick there, pulling back the police and letting the protesters get a foothold even as reinforcements were pouring in from the usual shit-disturber nationalist hotbeds of Ivano-Frankivsk and Lvov. He could have pushed them right off the square and imposed martial law as a measure of public safety, but he was a bog stupid durak bumpkin and he let things get away from him. As long as he did not resort to undue violence, as long as he had press along to film the police clearing the streets professionally even as they were having paving stones and bottles heaved at them, it would never have escalated to the snipers on the rooftop and the coup; the rhythm would have been broken and fallen into a discordant jangle that could have been easily managed.

            Saying that makes me recall that in the early days of the Maidan, right after the ‘peaceful protesters’ scene just described played out, Lviv declared independence and other western-Ukrainian cities like Ivano-Frankivsk announced soldarity on cue, almost as if it had been choreographed. Although the west did not go so far as recognizing them as independent territory, not that quickly, I don’t recall anyone shouting that it was a violation of international law and screeching about territorial integrity, do you? At that time, all the west cared about was the fall of Yanukovych. You can enjoy a little walk down memory lane with me here, and don’t forget to laugh at the deathless quote, “Government NEVER has the right to wage war against its own citizens. This is NOT a monarchy.”

            • Moscow Exile says:

              The Lembergers declared their independence after they had seized an army arsenal there.

              It wasn’t really seized: the glorious Yukie army just let the Banderites take what they wanted.

              I remember a picture doing the rounds then, showing the Banderites manning a barricade on a main road outside of Lvov and in which they had mounted an anti-tank gun.

              This was the time when our erstwhile correspondent, a US citizen (Polish-American, I suspect) and resident in Lvov with a Muscovite wife, stated on here that if Russian tanks entered Lvov, his wife would have no hesitation in lobbing Molotov cocktails at them.

              As regards the mob in the rada outing the still legitimate president of the Ukraine, did they not do this without having a quorum, hence the non-legality of subsequent “governments”?

              • Jen says:

                Ah yeah – have you heard if Curtis has made his millions yet? I’m still holding my breath for when he makes his sudden return to KS so we all get the chance to grovel before him and ask for his gracious forgiveness.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Nah, it wasn’t Curtis the bullshitter whom I was writing about above but another. I think he called himself AP.

                  Curtis appeared much later, though, like AP, he too claimed to be living in Lvov.

                  Curtis said he commuted between Lvov and Kiev.

          • et Al says:

            R2P – Responsibility to Protect.

            If it is kosher for the West, then it kosher for Russia.

            The rest is salami slicing.

            If your enemy, despite the rules, kicks you in the balls first, then standing there and preaching the rules while having the shit kicked out of you is all very noble, but you still get f/ked – sic the Serbs during the break up of Yugoslavia where you had the military held back from creating a de facto solution on the ground by stupid politicians who thought they could curry favor with the west. The Serbs failed to leverage their military advantage decisively. There was f/k all the west could have done especially as there was no realist threat of the West inserting an army there.

            The shoe though is on the other foot for Russia. It faces NATO, so it has to be careful. You move decisively when you’ve done your homework and at the right time – Georgia & Crimea. Nice, clean results.

            Limited objectives are also key. One of the main reasons the West has catastrophically lost everything since 1990 is because they thought they could do it all and ‘mission creep’.

            You adapt to the environment only when when strictly necessary.

            • marknesop says:

              Perhaps a rule book should be written to counter the regime-change playbook. If such a book were written, it should include the rule “Forget about currying favour with the west when a regime-change project currently is clearly under way. By the time they have started the ball rolling they will not stop until the objective is reached, and attempting to strike a compromise is only making that eventuality more easily achievable.”

        • marknesop says:

          No, I absolutely agree with Lavrov there. Had Russia deployed its military forces they could likely have seized Kiev quickly enough that the west was wrong-footed and could not react. They could as quickly have re-installed Yanukovych with perhaps a loyal guard to protect him, so that there was no perception that Russia meant to seize Ukraine for its possession. But if Yanukovych could not do it with his own forces because he was so busy appeasing the opposition, if he could not see that groveling on the floor only encouraged them to piss on his back, why should Russia do it for him? And even if Russia quickly entered, re-established order and left, the story would still be that Russia had invaded Ukraine, crushed its nascent democratic rebellion and reinstalled Moscow’s creature on the throne (figuratively speaking). The west would only egg on a rebellion until the streets were filled with torches and pitchforks. Far better for the people to fall for honeyed words about democracy and freedom and then be betrayed by the west, as they have been, and have the country collapse. That’s a lesson that will last a lot longer than a rapid reorganization and a generation of grumbling about what might have been had the Russians not intervened. Now they know that what might have been was just a dream, and you can’t get something for nothing.

          To be fair, at least some of the western agencies are trying their best to make it work. It’s not entirely a scam, and some agencies are trying to put their plans in place for the good of all Ukrainians, not just to score points against the dirty Moskali. But it is hopeless while the thieving Ukrainian oligarchs are in power (transparent to the west, apparently), and the people are too apathetic to get rid of them.

          • Jen says:

            Yanukovych failed to see that he was in an unwinnable position. The incidents that culminated in the snipers shooting at both the police and the protesters in mid-February were a mirror of what happened in Dara’a in southern Syria in 2011. There, a protest against food price rises was quickly taken over by jihadis who killed several police and a number of civilians, and torched a couple of buildings including the local Ba’ath party headquarters. On that occasion, the Syrian government resisted the outbreak of violence and this eventually led to war.

            It might have been better for Yanukovych to have followed Bashar al Assad’s example even if war had followed sooner rather than later. But at least Yanukovych would have had some respect. Instead he has none and he is now seen as the duffer who thought he could play off the EU and Russia against each other and failed.

            • marknesop says:

              At least some of that is well deserved, because Yanukovych also thought of himself as the strategic wizard who could play off the EU and Russia against each other and failed. I personally think that he would never have signed the agreement as it was, and only wanted to wring concessions from Russia by keeping Moscow guessing up until the last moment. His own economists had told him the costs of retooling to be an EU country would be massive beyond comprehension, while if Russia cut back on trade as a result – as it did and as it made clear in advance it would do, and why – the Ukrainian economy would nosedive. He tried to present this to Fule, who brushed him off.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                I remember reading an article here at the time (in KP probably) which stated that one of the chief reasons why Putin disliked Yanukovych so much was his temerity in believing he could play of Russia against the EU in his own interests.

                Putin was never chummy with Yanukovich, no matter how much the Western press describes him as Putin’s stooge.

                • marknesop says:

                  That’s quite true; I don’t want to attribute thoughts to Putin based purely on his demeanor, but on the occasions he had to appear publicly with Yanukovych he appeared to be struggling to conceal his distaste for him and there was certainly no sign of their being sympatico.

  21. Moscow Exile says:

    Just been watching EuroNews — the French outfit recently criticized by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswomam Zakharova for its telling out and out lies in its English version about Tatar deportation from the Crimea in 1944 — and it is still as mendacious as ever.

    There is a lengthy report on EuroNews today about Poland building up its armed forces because of Russian “aggression” in the Ukraine.

    The EuroNews journalist then tags on: “In recent months Russia has been making aggressive statements against the Baltic States”.


  22. Moscow Exile says:

    № 1 Candidate for the Post of President of the Ukraine …

    And they’ll vote for her: no need to go to a fortune teller to find that out

    – А в тюрьме сейчас ужин. Макароны…

    And it’s macaroni for dinner in prison…

    Ukrainian flyer and Supreme Rada Deputy Nadya Savchenko has stated that she plans to buy second-hand clothes because of high prices in Kiev shops.

    “I went to a shop and was shocked by how much prices have changed in two years. How can such rags cost so much?” asked an outraged Savchenko.

    According to her, she had been planning earlier to wear a military uniform, but she also needed “to get used to civilian clothes”. The only way out of this situation, she said, was to buy second-hand ones.

    “If I am a People’s Deputy and my people are dressed in second-hand clothes, then I am going to get dressed like that”, said the deputy.

    “I open the letter box and a utilities and gas bill is there. I am in shock over how prices have changed in two years. How come some hydrocarbons from the earth cost so much money?” rages Nadezhda.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Putin’s alleged plan is coming along fine!

      • Another cunning plan?

        But actually I don’t see this as a bad deal for Russia. Savchenko is not an asset for Ukraine in any meaningful way and Russia got two of their own men back for her. According to the RT video that I watched both of these Russian guys have young wives. At least they can give a birth to new children which Savchenko is probably never going to do.

    • Jen says:

      Will she be wearing second-hand shoes as well?

    • marknesop says:

      “I open the letter box and a utilities and gas bill is there. I am in shock over how prices have changed in two years. How come some hydrocarbons from the earth cost so much money?”

      Well, I could tell you, but it’s no good talking to a psycho because they only hear their own madness going round and round in their head. I could tell you that the straight-up curve in utility prices is because government subsidies which made energy nearly free were removed at the insistence of Ukraine’s Washington masters, and Poroshenko was the first president so complacent and self-centered that they could get him to sign off on it. I could tell you that clothes cost more because everything costs more because the money is worth half what it was and people are still trying to make a living as well as perhaps save up a little foreign currency so they can make their escape. But what would be the point?

      And living like a pauper and thus demonstrating an acceptance of high prices, while revealing your strategy to resolve the situation is to become a bargain-hunter is exactly the right chord to strike with the common people, but exactly the wrong chord to strike with business. Good luck, President Savchenko. You can tell how much the west likes that idea by how little reporting in English there is on this development. Elevating Savchenko to any high public office, never mind President, would be the kiss of death to investment, and they know it.

  23. Peter Lavelle’s interview with Paul Craig Roberts:

    Roberts gives a direct warning to Russia: Russia is too indecisive and too conciliatory in front of the constant Western aggression.

    Russia needs less “cunning plans” and more principled, straightforward action.

    • Oddlots says:

      Here’s a thought… What is the number of indoctrinated Salafist crazies kicking about? It’s relatively tiny I would imagine. A war zone is the only place that one can kill them with impunity (and with the certainty that they have “declared” themselves by being there.)

      Maybe this is the opportunity: you leave the rat lines open to reinforcements… So that they can then be eliminated en masse.

      It’s a shitty choice but in the context of a world of shitty choices.

      • kirill says:

        By following the logical chain the conclusion is that this is exactly the goal. To have enough of these rodents go for the cheese to deplete their numbers. I believe that Russia will not be stopping its Syria rat hunt any time soon. It is diverting them from heading to the North Caucuses and the Central Asian ex-Soviet republics. Over at Russia Insider there an article by some dirtbag worried that NATzO gains in Libya will be undermined by Russia. Russia has recovered enough after the 1990s US sponsored and directed collapse to start kicking the asses of Uncle Scam’s middle eastern assets.

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        Assuming 1.2 billion Sunni Muslims, and assuming 1% of those sympathise with IS, that’s a recruiting pool of 12 million. Or say that only a third of those have the gumption to actually join, and the number is 4 million. Keep in mind that more sympathisers reach fighting age every year.

        Estimates of the current IS strength range from 52,600–307,900 thugs, with losses to date of 38,452 (22,632 claimed by Iraq, 16,089 claimed by Syria). Haven’t seen any hard data on how quickly IS is able to train replacements for their battlefield losses (not quickly enough one hopes), but their recruiting pool isn’t going to be drained any time soon.

        • Jen says:

          The fact that from time to time stories arise on the Internet about the sadistic punishments ISIS metes out to deserters or those jihadis who question its strategy of constantly throwing cannon fodder into harm’s way suggests that ISIS is in a huge panic and does not know what to do. That might also suggest indirectly that it is short on replacement fighters and any fighters it does get are getting thrown straight into battle with inadequate training.

          • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

            And skimping on training produces even higher battlefield losses – the old vicious cycle.

        • kirill says:

          I see no evidence of 4 million jihadis in the Middle East. They would have swarmed Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Libya and any other target. Yet all we see is less than 100,000 (realistic estimates given actual fighting) ISIS paradise jihadis. They should have had easily 1,000,000 foreign jihadis bolstering their ranks. Where are they?

          The conclusion is that even 0.1% is an overestimate and the real jihadi pool is in the 0.01% range.

  24. Moscow Exile says:

    Night and day they think about Russia

    Cameron: If Britain leaves the EU, Putin will be happy.

    Clinton: If Trump wins, there will be rejoicing in the Kremlin.


    • Moscow Exile says:

      Old Abe’s dictum seems to becoming plain when one considers the above charlatan’s “skills”:

      Apparently though, the 16th president of the USA did not say that — and lots of other things attributed to him as well

      The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency has been on a quest to expose the truth about Lincoln in the name of intellectual and scholarly honesty.

      The Associated Press reports:

      “It’s simply Lincoln’s own status as a cultural exemplar that make these spurious quotations seem credible”, Rodney Davis, co-director of the Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College in Galesburg, explained to AP. “He seems to provide validation for just about anything anybody wants to have validated, and if you can’t find a Lincoln quote, you make one up”.

      So where did the above quote come from, if not from President Lincoln?

      “You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

      This was thought to be part of a speech Lincoln gave in September 1858 in Clinton, Illinois, but the line is not included in the text that was printed in the local newspaper. It was attributed to Lincoln in 1910 when two people remembered hearing him say it in 1856–54 years later.

      See: Exposed! Lincoln Never Said THIS

      Well, if he didn’t say it, it still sounds like something he would have said!


  25. Cortes says:

    From b at Moon of Alabama:

    Syria: The U.S. Is Unwilling To Settle – Russia Returns For Another Round

    The Obama administration does not want peace in Syria. The Russians finally have to admit to themselves that the U.S. is no partner for a continuation of a cease fire, a coordinated attack against the Islamic State and al-Qaeda and for peace in Syria. Indeed, as Lavrov explains, the U.S. has again asked to spare al-Qaeda from Russian air strikes even as two UN Security Council resolutions demand its eradication. Huge supply convoys (vid) from Turkey are again going to the “rebels” who will, as always, share them with al-Qaeda and other terrorists.

    The current renewed Syrian Arab Army attack towards Raqqa is being obstructed not only by sandstorms but also by a timely attack of al-Qaeda, Ahrar al Sham and Turkestan Islamist Party forces against government positions in the south Aleppo countryside.

    More than 1,000 militants have begun an offensive against Syrian army positions southwest of Aleppo, the Russian ceasefire monitoring center in Syria said in a statement on Saturday.
    The center also reported civilians in Aleppo as saying armed groups partly made up of Turkish soldiers had appeared north of the city.

    The exactly same scheme happened in March and April when a move towards eastern Syrian by the Syrian army had to be stopped to prevent further losses against al-Qaeda south of Aleppo. It seems obvious that these moves U.S. supported forces are planned to prevent any gains of the Syrian government in the east.

    Today Lavrov again talked to Kerry:

    “Lavrov expressed concern about attempts to delay the resumption of political negotiations under various pretexts,” the [Russian foreign] ministry said.
    As the U.S. is unwilling to settle the Syria conflict Russia will have to retake the initiative.

    Is this a trap? Does the U.S. want Russia to sink into a quagmire in Syria? That is certainly a possibility but it is hard to see how this could happen when Russia comes back with a vengeance and strikes hard and fast.

    Russian airstrikes against terrorists in Syria have tripled over the last days. Additional resources have been silently dispatched:

    ‘Without stirring a buzz similar to that of their first military intervention in Syria, the Russians this week disembarked ground forces and paratroopers in the port of Tartus to support more than 3,000 Russian volunteers dispatched to the region in the past few weeks, in a bid to revive coordination with the Syrian army. ‘

    Syrian sources stated that the Russian joint command staff, which coordinated aerial support operations last fall, had returned to the Hmeimim military base in Latakia province to begin preparations for new operations.
    One can only hope that the Russian leadership has learned its lesson. That it will not stop to pursue the enemy for no political gain when it is again, as it likely will soon be, on the run”

    Gold Medallist clarification: The paragraph following “silently dispatched ” was linked from an item in

  26. kirill says:

    So the US oil production is down 400,000 barrels per day and all I hear is about US gasoline stocks in the reporting on oil price?

  27. Cortes says:

    A thoughtful piece on … intimations of mortality?

    Clemenceau was apparently the quipster ripped off by de Gaulle when the latter substituted “indispensable ” for the original “irreplaceable”

  28. Lyttenburgh says:

    First rule of the Ukraine – every peremoga turns to zrada. And pretty soon.

    Even such handshakable edition as the Open Democracy can’t churn propaganda painting everything in Ukraine as one democratic triumph after another. And if they give the word to the “native”, especially one of Rada’s deputies – oy vey!

    Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada: an oligarchs’ club or a real parliament?

    [Do bears shit in the woods? Is the Pope Catholic? News at 11!]

    Some particularly “treasonous” excerpts:

    “The chamber is incredibly noisy — deputies don’t stay in their seats, they huddle together in groups of two or three, engaged in the latest bit of political horse-trading. Fights break out regularly: at the end of last year, one member of the president’s party pulled prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk from his seat and attempted to forcibly remove him from the rostrum. The PM stood there like a dummy until his party colleagues ran to his aid, and the result was a massive brawl. “There are a lot of morons in parliament,” Yatsenyuk commented shortly afterwards.

    Among those in the thick of the fight was Andriy Ivanchuk, a childhood friend of Yatsenyuk and one of a new generation of oligarchs in Ukrainian politics. Despite the 2014 Revolution of Dignity, also known as the Euromaidan, which ended with shootings in central Kyiv and the flight of corrupt and disgraced president Viktor Yanukovych to Russia, Ukraine’s billionaires remain keepers of Ukraine’s political Holy Grail.”
    “After the fall of the Yanukovych administration and EuroMaidan protests in 2014, the role of chief oligarch passed to Ihor Kolomoyskyi, who promptly became governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region. Here, he financed the creation of a local civil defence battalion and appointed his cronies to head the state-owned UkrTransNafta oil pipeline company. Kolomoiskyi’s 1+1 TV channel was also an important element in the propaganda war around the 2014 parliamentary elections.

    In spring 2015, Kolomoyskyi challenged the government when he refused to accept a change of leadership in UkrTransNafta and the partly state-owned UkrNafta oil and natural gas extraction company.

    The oligarch violated the president’s monopoly on the use of arms when he brought gunmen into UkrTransNafta and UkrNafta headquarters to defend his interests. The upshot of the standoff was that Kolomoyskyi lost his gubernatorial post and was forced to retreat for some time in Switzerland, where his family has lived for the last 20 years.

    All this changed, however, this spring, when president Petro Poroshenko finally succeeded in removing Arseny Yatseniuk’s administration from power. A lengthy government crisis ended with the appointment of Volodymyr Hroisman (who is loyal to Poroshenko) as prime minister, but it came at a high price. With the ruling coalition barely able to hold its majority, it was essential to find it some extra votes from somewhere, and they came in the form of two oligarchic fractions under the pleasant sounding names of Vozrozhdeniye (Renaissance) and Volya Naroda (The People’s Will) that became informal coalition members.

    This search for votes yielded a truce between Poroshenko and Kolomoyskyi’s oligarchic clan. The erstwhile Swiss exile used his parliamentary henchmen’s votes to support Hroisman’s appointment. It is even more telling that it was the votes of Kolomoiskyi’s deputies that gave Ukraine a new prosecutor general in the form of Yuri Lutsenko, who heads Poroshenko’s parliamentary fraction. Lutsenko has started work, replacing half of his deputies for representatives of civil society, but is yet to sack the public prosecutors accused of carrying out the orders of president Poroshenko. ”

    See? I always knew that Benya Kolomoyski will ultimately bounce back to his feet! But he also got a hefty gesheft for all his troubles:

    “A new deal, or same old?

    All in all, by mid-2016, the de-oligarchisation promised by president Poroshenko one year ago has failed. Instead, Kolomoyskyi has become a fully-fledged participant in Ukraine’s political life.

    The former governor of Dnipropetrovsk region has started to appear in the presidential administration building of late. One of his demands is that the present head of the State Fiscal Service Roman Nasirov, regarded as the main anti-reform figure in the government, should remain in post.

    The government has also dropped its attempts to recover the almost $1bn owed by Kolomoyskyi to UkrNafta, which the company owes Ukraine’s treasury in its turn. The country’s National Bank has also agreed to restructure the repayment of a refinancing loan for Kolomoyskyi’s Privatbank.

    The second oligarchic group supporting Hroisman’s government consists of gas business owners who have a cooperation agreement with the state owned UkrGazDobycha gas extraction and production company. These took control of the company immediately after the Revolution of Dignity and succeeded in depositing its assets in a bank belonging to seven parliamentary deputies.

    A year ago, however, the company had a change of management, with reformers now in charge. Since the deputies’ fiefdom came under attack, the People’s Will parliamentary grouping hasn’t stopped trying to regain control of the company.

    After the People’s Will fraction supported Hroisman’s appointment, UkrGazDobycha’s headquarters was subjected to searches, which is seen as part of an attempt to replace the company’s current independent management with people more loyal to the oligarchs.

    The change of government has also brought an end to a run of bad luck for Rinat Akhmetov, former president Yanukovych’s closest political associate. From 1 March, Akhmetov’s power company DTEK has been able to raise electricity prices by 20%, and the cost price of coal to thermal power stations has also been raised for his benefit.

    In defiance of logic and geography, the pricing of coal from Ukrainian mines has been pegged to the Rotterdam Coal Futures index plus transport costs from Rotterdam to Ukraine. Akhmetov himself controls half of Opposition Bloc, the third largest fraction in parliament. He also had some influence on ex-PM Yatseniuk, whose removal from office was evidently OK’d by the oligarchs — Akhmetov’s energy interests were guaranteed during the transition period.”

    And the saddest part of all for the SALOfites:

    “The policy of deoligarchisation announced by Poroshenko a year ago has not been implemented. Instead, we have the beginnings of a ruling clan centred on the president himself, including his closest associate Ihor Kononenko, said to be in charge of energy and state owned companies, and his lawyer Oleksandr Granovsky, who is responsible for the judiciary and Prosecutor’s Office.

    Indeed, the Prosecutor’s Office has a new hands-on department that can initiate criminal cases against people who challenge the president in any way. One such group is the team of Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian president appointed governor of the Odessa region in 2015, and a prominent anti-corruption figure. The Poroshenko group’s potential asset list includes major state owned companies such as the Odessa Port Plant chemical works, the Tsentrenergo power company, regional energy distributors and coal industry plants.

    Corruption is Ukrainians’ chief matter of concern: 47% of the population place it top of their list, although from time to time it is overtaken by the fighting in the east of the country.

    According to the latest surveys, 51% of Ukrainians today believe the authorities fought corruption more effectively under Yanukovych, but this is untrue. People’s expectations have risen, and the present government can’t satisfy their demands.”

    Last phrase made my day!

    • Cortes says:

      No doubt the superhero spidey and other senses of international rescuers Abbot and Costello, Arnie Saakashvili, Jaresko, Aslund and Noodles are a-tingle at the Rotterdam Plus Transport price of coal. The population of Ukraine will deserve everything it gets in the way of fuel bills if that is allowed to stay.

      • Jen says:

        Are you a prophet? We did have Peter Costello in Australian federal politics years ago. Member of the same party as Tony Abbott so with any luck Abbott will call on Costello to join him in Poroshenko’s special advisory council.

    • marknesop says:

      I laughed and laughed to see Saakashvili identified as a ‘prominent anti-corruption figure’. Dear God; give me a second to wipe my eyes, I can’t see. This is exactly what I mean when I say Russia should take no steps in Ukraine to influence it (although Russia is its biggest single source of FDI) except for keeping the Ukrops off the east and preventing them from achieving a military success there – it would only have to last a day and the west would have double-and-triple stamped it as the final borders for all time, except for they would still want Crimea back.

      The east and the continuing military operation there are a constant source of unrest and public dissatisfaction – looking at it entirely dispassionately and not considering the ongoing trickle of deaths, being shelled and the destruction of public property – which drains Ukrainian financial resources without achieving anything. The government is doing a fine job of stealing the place blind, while the west keeps dumping money into it in emergency loans which will never be repaid. The standard of living continues to fall, while the promised goal which required some short-term suffering – that of rapid induction into the European Union – has been snatched away. Ukraine’s oligarchy has learned nothing because it was never onboard with the ‘Revolution of Dignity’ in the first place, except as a means to increase its influence and control. Eventually the entirety of the country’s GDP will be under the control of the oligarchy, and there will be zero incentive for that group to be in the EU because legislation will remove that influence and power. The place is acknowledged broadly as the most corrupt country in Europe. Eventually it will just collapse from the accumulated greed. Before it does, it will have sucked the west dry of goodwill cash and lessened the likelihood of further regime-change projects.

    • marknesop says:

      That is a very good piece; he has an excellent feel for analysis and the ebb and flow of global influence. I meant to add it to the blogroll for some time now – thanks for the reminder, I have finally done it.

    • et Al says:

      Yup, he’s another one of my favorites. He wrote that he may be retiring from commentary in the near future!

      • et Al says:

        ‘b’ of Moon of Alabama is currently getting a lot of stick from the Cassandras (much like the one who posts here whenever there is potential bad news about Russia) for being ‘wrong in his predictions. The only plus from such contributions is that you find out who the flaky f*£ks are and can add them to your ignore list. Let me put it this way, if you are on the front line fighting the enemy, the further away such people are from you the better.

  29. ucgsblog says:

    Meanwhile in the US: the F-35 is so bad, (told you so,) that the new focus is to go back to the F-22. Could it be that the F-35 program is extraordinarily costly? Or just plain stupid?

    Yep, it failed an IQ test: “The latest problem with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter? There might be something seriously wrong with the gold-plated aircraft’s brain. A Government Accountability Office report released Thursday raises concerns about the jet’s $16.7 billion Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS). The software is essentially the brain that enables the fifth-generation warplane to operate, tracking everything from the amount of time the aircraft spends in the air to when the engine needs a tune-up. The roughly $400 billion F-35 effort has had more than its share of software hiccups already, highlighted by recent findings that the aircraft’s billions of lines of computer code might be vulnerable to hacking. If the bugs persist, it could have a cascading effect on the rest of the Defense Department’s timeline for the warplane, which is already years behind schedule. Serious problems with the logistics system could delay important program milestones, including the U.S. Air Force declaring its version of the jet ready for deployment later this year. In its report, GAO identified two major problems with Lockheed Martin’s ALIS, the first being that the system itself may not be deployable.”

    Oh, ain’t that nice? A hackable half trillion dollar plane. What else can go wrong?

    “Only One of Six Air Force F-35s Could Actually Take Off During Testing!” Oh, yeah, that. If this happened in Russia, wouldn’t the papers be screaming? Naturally, this can’t get any worse, right? Right?

    “Just when the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter project appeared it couldn’t get any worse, it went and did exactly that. The case study in how not to procure a weapons system has received yet another failing grade. According to a new 48-page report from J. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation, the version of the F-35 designed for the Marine Corps has not yet demonstrated it is fit to enter combat on its own. “If in an opposed combat scenario,” Gilmore writes, “the F-35 Block 2B aircraft would need to avoid threat engagement and would require augmentation by other friendly forces.” As reported by Popular Mechanics, the F-35 would require fighter escort because, at high speeds, it can’t actually fire its weapons”

    Yeah, that. Hmm, what else: “Not only can the F-35 not fire its weapons, but the fighter also has issues with overheating. The F-35’s weapons bay can overheat if the atmospheric temperature exceeds 90 degrees and when the plane is flying at high speeds under 25,000 feet. The way to mitigate the overheating is to open the weapons bay doors. The problem? That compromises the plane’s stealth capabilities, which are its first line of defense… The F-35 places American national security at-risk by depleting resources available for other weapons systems and equipment the military needs. It also places American national security at risk by not being about to live up to its “jack-of-all-trades” billing. It’s time for Congress and the Pentagon to begin putting together a plan to replace the F-35 that will save taxpayer money and protect American national security.”

    • kirill says:

      Having experience with developing 3D atmospheric models with full physics and chemistry I can feel what the real problems are with the F-35 software even it is tailored to run jet fighter systems. It is very hard to find programmers who 1) understand the full code structure enough to see how their subroutine interacts with all the other parts (yes that is needed to an extent that most managers do not realize and explains why MS Windows and many other software is such crap) and 2) write simple, elegant code instead of hack chicken scratch that they can’t read themselves. It helps to have a real mathematical background to be a good programmer but that is not the common educational path.

      I am quite sure that the software development has been one of the longest and most expensive parts of this project. People think that software is something trivial and not as “deep” as hardware. Too bad these people are totally clueless. The software is more complex than the hardware and a real engineering and management challenge. It is not some afterthought cut and paste job.

      • Jen says:

        From the following, it sure looks to me as if Lockheed Martin has not employed any software engineers who believe in writing simple elegant code or even hack chicken scratch.

        Yup … developing, integrating and testing over 8 million lines of code must be no small task indeed. Yup … over 500 employees working 24/7 to ensure the jets are ready for Initial Operating Capability. (IOC = getting them up in the air for 5 minutes?)

        The Services have stated that software is the key to declaring Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for the F-35. Developing, integrating and testing more than 8 million lines of code on a supersonic stealth fighter is no small task. That’s why Lockheed Martin has pulled key talent from across the enterprise to augment the F-35 software development and integration teams. In order to ensure the maximum efficiency for the new resources, the team added an additional system development lab and has plans to enhance current labs to test more capability and become more robust. Additionally, Lockheed Martin has optimized its staffing plans to ensure that labs are used six or seven days a week for more than 20 hours per day to drive maximum throughput. More than 500 missions system and software engineers work around the clock to ensure the F-35 will be ready for IOC.

    • marknesop says:

      It would be, to the best of my knowledge, unprecedented (in the USA, anyway) to replace a military aircraft design which was in series production before it entered service. Washington fell into the pit of trying to make the F-35 too multirole in an attempt to replace several aircraft models with a design which could do the work of them all.

      The F-35 is indeed a piece of shit, but that should not fool anyone into thinking the USA is not capable of building world-class fighter planes. It has just become too much of a corporate behemoth that has too many hands outstretched for money and too many business worker-bees determining how the aircraft could be made more cost-effective (that’s fiscalese for ‘cheaper’). The cost of each aircraft has already zoomed from a forecast $50 million per aircraft in 2001 to more than double that in 2010, and as of 2014 warisboring postulated – by simple mathematics of averaging the costs of the three individual models and basing their figures on a Senate Appropriations Committee report for the 2015 fiscal year – that each ‘generic’ F-35 costs $178 million. Without including the costs of R&D (Research and Development) and T&E (Testing and Evaluation).

      What just makes you laugh helplessly is that Lockheed-Martin is far too big and powerful to suffer any penalty for this massive boondoggle, and stands an excellent chance of being selected by heavily-lobbied Congressmen and Senators to design the replacement for its failed design.

      The F-22 is a great airplane, but it is not a viable replacement at around $150 million per aircraft, and that’s ignoring the USA’s desire to mitigate its costs by selling the aircraft to allies. It could sell the F-35, but I doubt they would ever sell the F-22 to anyone else, even close allies. Hangars must be air-conditioned to protect the aircraft’s electronics, and the canopy, a critical piece of the aircraft’s optics, has to be replaced at a rate about three times as often as forecast.

      • ucgsblog says:

        Thank you for that awesome response! Don’t get me wrong, the US can produce stellar aircraft, when no lobbyists are involved. And there’s the caveat. Mitt “47%” Romney, the “brainiac” that makes John Kerry sound like a rock star, (don’t get me wrong, Kerry’s smart, he’s also very boring, zzzzz,) managed to put up some semblance of a functional Healthcare System in Massachusetts. So if Romney can do it, Obama, with his staff, with the country behind him, with a mandate in that area, most certainly can! Enter the Blue Dogs and their lobbyist masters…

        Today we have the most bloated, wasteful, and corrupt healthcare system out there. It wasn’t stopped by Republicans. It was beaten by Democratic Lobbyists.

        Obama’s foreign policy started achieving quite a bit of success, even under Hillary Clinton. Enter Arab Spring and the Lobbyists. And then one failure after another, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt…

        I agree with you 100% – America is a great country that can produce stellar planes, spaceships, amazing feats of engineering, etc. No doubt. Until the Lobbyists get involved. And then it all goes to shit. The US is today, where the USSR was in 1982. The biggest challenges are internal and the F-35 is a fine example of that. The USAF might not be the best, not because Russia/China/EU are better, but because a Lobbying Program to build planes is preventing quality planes from being built. LA might not get the Olympics, not because LA doesn’t have the best venues, but because clueless morons like Tagart, like Coe, like various WADA presidents, are politicizing the process. And because of bloated bureaucracy, we have to pay taxes to fund moronic racism of those idiots. Hence my frustration.

        • Oddlots says:

          This insight might help: government spending is in no way constrained by tax revenues, at least at the level where fiat currency is emitted.

          So there’s no reason to get exercised about how your tax dollars are spent.

          Share your anger but just not it’s locus.

          Money is perhaps the most profoundly misunderstood phenomenon at the present moment.

          We could literally be funding the future of energy and infrastructure but for this illusion that money is something that can be squirrelled away by individuals while retaining its value. It isn’t.

          • ucgsblog says:

            Technically it is. The banks are quite powerful, and with every dollar that’s printed, the dollars that they are owed, lose value. As a result, they don’t want the government to print money faster than they can profit from the interest. If the inflation grows faster than the interest, the banks are losing value on the principal amount. They hate that. So the government can only print so much money, over the tax limit.

            Theoretically, you’re absolutely right. But practically, the Bank Lobbyists won’t let that happen. But that’s not what annoys me. I’m annoyed because I have to pay taxes to an organization that’s racist and harms my financial interests, all at my taxpayer expense. It’s like being forced to give money to someone who’s saying “fuck you” repeatedly, while acting like a racist cunt.

        • marknesop says:

          Well said. We are on the same page there. I don’t wish to see America annihilated. I want to see it smarten the fuck up. It was not built by lobbyists.

  30. Cortes says:

    Perhaps of interest to ME?

    Ms Wood was very funny indeed. Not sure she’d have been on board with the mawkishness here, though.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Yes, I liked Victoria Wood’s humour, but I saw very little of it as she only started becoming very popular after around 1985, when I was in nick. After my release, I metaphorically told the UK to kiss my arse goodbye.

      She had that Lancashire whimsy, I think, that is so typical of folk that came from my old neck of the woods, unlike those miserable buggers on “t’other sahd o’ Pennines”.


  31. Cortes says:

    Canada’s secret entry for Eurovision Kyiv 2017 revealed:

    • yalensis says:

      Canada stealing a page from Russia’s book.
      Words of anthem keep constantly changing, from:

      “Stalin raised us and inspired Soviet people to victory”
      “Lenin raised us and inspired Soviet people to victory”
      “The Fatherland leads Russian people to victory”

      Maybe next year:
      “The Parentland leads Russian people to victory”

    • marknesop says:

      The original lyric was gender neutral; “true patriot love, thou dost in us commandas written in 1908. The present line, “in all thy sons command” was amended in 1913. So, meh. Not a big deal, say I. There was a push to change it from some immigrant a few years ago, but my advice to him at the time – if asked – would have been to keep his gob shut and not start tinkering with the social order until he’d been here a generation or two. He not only did not care for “in all thy sons command”, he thought “We stand on guard for thee” was too militant and martial. We should make it something more peaceful, like “we wave flowers and turn the other cheek” or some such malarkey. Obviously I am deliberately exaggerating to make it sound even stupider than it was, but I thought it was pretty uppity for an immigrant to put his oar in when his sandals were barely dry. All welcome and all that, but let’s look at trying to fit in before suggesting a bunch of changes, what say?

  32. kirill says:


    Sorry to hear you are so butthurt. But clearly you can’t handle any criticism of your precious Bolsheviks. You claim that I claim to speak for all Russians. At least I have a view consistent with 80% of them. The Putin supporters. You attacked Putin for daring to point out the obvious ruinous policies of the Bolsheviks who indeed created multiple ethnic time bombs: Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia, Ukraine, etc. You like to dish out the criticism but can’t take any yourself.

    You also have a some affection for Trotsky. This was clear from your posts at DaRussophile. Trotsky was a butcher as evident from the Civil War after the Bolshevik coup (very similar to the Maidan coup). Now you defend some troll who pours excrement on Russia for daring to go against the wishes of the NATzO empire throwing around two bit NATzO newspeak “invasion” and “annexation” terms in contexts where they do not apply. You just confirm that, yet again, that Russia does not need “friends” like you. If you pine for the days of Bolshevism then why don’t you work to bring them to your homeland: the USA.

    • Paul says:

      How would you rate the liberals’ success with ethnic matters and borders? If you don’t like the term “liberal”, replace it with whatever seems appropriate for those in power over the last 25 years or so. It isn’t meant to cause a rant.

      And, since you probably consider me an a**hole, we should perhaps have a toast in the spirit of the movie Patton of “from one a**hole to another”. And, no, I am not a Bolshevik and have zero sympathy for Trotsky.

    • For some reasons I always had bad “vibes” about Lenin and Trotsky even before I read about all the bad things they did to Russia. Especially Trotsky had the same “aura” in him as people like Kasparov and Navalny do today.

      Then I read all the things about the First World War, Russian Civil War and Red Terror and the 1921-1922 Great Famine. It was the worst moment in Russian history and entirely caused by the evilness of the Trotsky/Lenin regime and the stupidity of Nicholas II.

      • Special_sauce says:

        “…read all the things…” That’s doubtful.

        “…the First World War, Russian Civil War and Red Terror and the 1921-1922 Great Famine…” That’s more than a moment.

        • A period would be a better term, yes. Period which started in 1914 and ended somewhere in 1922 or 1923. In terms of military, human and territorial losses, and bad (maybe intentionally bad) policies this is the worst period in the history of Russia. Worse than 1941-1944.

          Most of the bad things that happened probably could have been avoided had Stolypin not been murdered in 1911. Stolypin would have likely adviced Nicholas II not to enter to an unwinnable war. Instead of Stolypin, Nicholas II had crazies like Rasputin as his advisers.

          Stolypin was voted as the greatest Russian of all time by Russian people a few years back and he is the closest role model for Vladimir Putin. Stolypin was murdered in Kiev in 1911 by a Jewish revolutionary bolshevik Dmitri Bogrov. Bogrov was hanged for his crime, but he managed to inflict unrepairable damage to Russia by taking out its best man.

          • Special_sauce says:

            “Stolypin would have likely adviced Nicholas II not to enter to an unwinnable war.” And it was Comrade Lenin who got the Russian people out of it.

            Nicholas II had crazies? The man was a dim bulb to begin with. His letters are on line and paint a picture of someone completely out of touch. Here’s a sample: “We are in the midst of a revolution with an administrative apparatus entirely disorganised, and in this lies the main danger. But God Almighty will be our help … I know you are praying for your poor Nicky. Our Saviour be with you! May God save and give peace to Russia.

            Yours with all my heart,

            • cartman says:

              “The man was a dim bulb to begin with.”

              Like Betty Windsor’s boys. It was a mistake marrying into a family that practices consanguineous marriage.

            • ” And it was Comrade Lenin who got the Russian people out of it.”

              Yes, he was sent to Russia by the Germans to overthrow the Russian government. Lenin’s pal Trotsky was working for a New York based banker called Jacob Schiff. The same Schiff who a decade earlier financed the Japanese attack on Russia in 1905. I believe it was Schiff’s son who told how his dad financed Trotsky and helped him to organize the force to overthrow the Russian government.

              So yes, it was these two foreign agents, Lenin and Trotsky, who overthrew the legal Russian government and then signed a peace treaty with Germany, which concealed Russia’s defeat in the war. Russia had to give up lots of its territories and the Russian gold reserves were shipped out of Russia (probably to New York). in a similar manner that the Ukrainian gold reserves were shipped out of Ukraine after the Maidan coup.

              Then these two fine Russian patriots, Lenin and Trotsky, went on to butcher the best of Russian people: the independent landowners and farmers, industrialists, Orthodox priests, the Cossacks, small-business owners etc. and etc.. Millions were butchered for belonging to the “wrong class”, and most often those people who were the most intelligent, industrious and patriotic in Russia.

              The agriculture was destroyed. Russian Empire, previously the greatest agricultural power in the world, was starving. There was no food. After Lenin and Trotsky had killed off Russian farmers there was nobody who knew how to grow crop. Millions of people perished to hunger in just a couple of years.

              It is my opinion that Lenin and Trotsky knew what they were doing. They were sent to Russia by foreign adversaries and they did their job.

              And please, finally bury Lenin!

              • Schiff was a George Soros of his time. A “philanthropist” banker who used his vast wealth to overthrow governments who he didn’t like. He had an extraordinary hatred on Russia and especially the Russian monarchy

                Probably one reason for his hatred was that Schiff considered the Russian monarchy as anti-semitic for limiting Jewish businesses in Russia. Schiff was Jewish himself, like Soros.

                Schiff made an oath to “kill the Tsar” and dedicated a big part of his life for this goal.

                Schiff wanted to weaken the Russian government by giving it a military defeat, so he lend millions to Japan to specifically to build a navy to attack the Russian far-eastern navy. The condition of the loan was that Japan would have to attack Russia. And they did in 1905, giving Russia its first military defeat for a long time. Russia was badly weakened by the military defeat and a revolt happened in St. Petersburg in 1905 that was bloodily contained by Okhrana. It was the first phase of the revolution that would eventually bring down the Russian monarchy.

                Then came along a man named Pyotr Stopylin who was a very capable politician and a realist. He was given a job as a prime minister of Russia and he did a heck of a job. The economy started to grow fast and good reforms, like the land reform, were implemented. So Stopypin had to be taken out. He was shot by a bolshevik radical in Kiev in 1911. One man that could have saved Russia from bolshevism was murdered. There is no proven link between Schiff and the murder of Stolypin, but it would not surprise me if orders were given from New York. The murderer of Stolypin shared the same ethnic background as Schiff.

                Then Nicholas II foolishly entered the First World War and Schiff immediately knew that Nicholas had made a mistake. The Russian army at the time was no match against modern German and Austro-Hungarian armies. Nicholas, being advised by crazies such as Rasputin, thought he was in a “godly” mission to save the Orthodoxy in Balkans. He was totally unaware of the harsh realities on the ground and for this foolishness he sacrificed his own country for bolshevism.

                While Russian defeats on the front accumulated Schiff called a young man named Leon Bronstein to visit him in New York. Bronstein was part of the radical bolshevik movement in Russia that sabotaged the home front during the war. Bronstein, who later changed his name to Trotsky, was given $20 million by Schiff to buy arms and create an army (later named as the Red Army) to start a Civil War in Russia and overthrow the monarchy.

                After the bolsheviks had won the war and Russian monarch family was imprisoned in Yekaterinburg. A bolshevik leader named Yakov Sverdlov gave an order to execute the whole family in 1918. No one was spared. Schiff’s oath was fulfilled.

                • yalensis says:

                  There is no proven link between Schiff and the murder of Stolypin, but it would not surprise me if orders were given from New York.
                  Ponders Karl the Master Historian.

                  The murderer of Stolypin shared the same ethnic background as Schiff.
                  Opines Karl the Jew-hater.

                  No one was spared. Schiff’s oath was fulfilled.
                  And the dour Finn, unexpectedly, reveals a flair for story-telling!

                • Special_sauce says:

                  So Schiff offered the Communists free money. And they took it? So what? I’m guessing Lenin knew who he was dealing with. It’s all he ever wrote or talked about. I say “guessing” because It’s hard to nail down the facts; googling this sort of thing my browser overflows with the lurid imaginings of your Suttons, Services and anti-Semites.
                  But the venerable Facts-on-the-Ground tell a different story.

                • Jen says:

                  @ Karl: Not that this will convince you but there is a danger of reading the present-day situation about George Soros and his funding of NGOs into Jacob Schiff’s funding of Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky. Without knowing Schiff’s motive for giving money to them, and without knowing Lenin and Trotsky’s motives for accepting it, you simply cannot assume that Schiff was manipulating them. Lenin and Trotsky could have said one thing to him (not literally of course) and done another.

                  Where do you get your information that Lenin and Trotsky conspired to kill Russian people and by doing that, destroy agriculture in the Soviet Union?

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Have you ever heard the expression “Stolypin necktie”?

                  The Russian army at the time was no match against modern German and Austro-Hungarian armies.

                  Contrary to the expectations contained in the “German Schlieffen Plan”, the Imperial Russian army mobilized far more quickly in 1914 than had been expected and invaded Prussia in a two-pronged attack, thereby causing the weakening of the main German offensive through Belgium, which was intended to sweep around Paris, in that divisions had to be rapidly transported from the west to the Eastern front, where the Russians had rapidly achieved two victories against the Germans. Although the Russians were decisively beaten at Tannenberg and the Masurian lakes, the damaged had been done: the main German attack in France faltered at the river Marne, von Moltke the German chief of staff told the Kaiser that Germany had lost the war (this was in September 1914, remember), for which sentiment he was dismissed from his post, and the rest is history.

                  On the Eastern Front, the Imperial Russian army regularly trounced the Austro-Hungarian forces — and the Germans regularly had to send German divisions east so as to bail their allies out.

                  The major problem for the Russians was that they only had the wherewithal to wage a war for 2 years. After 1916, their munitions began to run out.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                One of the Old Regime’s finest staggering out of a cottage at Easter after having a few bevvies.

                After Lenin and Trotsky had killed off Russian farmers there was nobody who knew how to grow crop

                You mean that out of 80% of the population of the Russian empire, namely the peasantry, there was not one that knew how to plant a spud???.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Rasputin was not the Tsar’s adviser. He had influence over his frantic German wife, though, which is understandable, as he seems to have once “cured” a bleeding that the Tsesarevich once had.

              I do believe that Tsar Nicky recognized Rasputin for the religious charlatan healer that he was.

              He wasn’t alone in this opinion.

          • Special_sauce says:

            Lenin on Stolypin: That, in very brief out line, is Stolypin’s political biography. The biography of the head of the counter-revolutionary government is at the same time the biography of the class which carried out the counter-revolution—Stolypin was nothing more than an agent or clerk in its employ. This class is the Russian landed nobility with Nicholas Romanov, the first nobleman and biggest landowner, at their head. It is made up of the thirty thousand feudal landowners who control seventy million dessiatines of land in European Russia—that is to say, as much land as is owned by ten million peasant house holds. The latifundia owned by this class form a basis for feudal exaction which, in various forms and under various names (labour-service, bondage, etc.) still reigns in the traditionally Russian central provinces. The “land hunger” of the Russian peasant (to use a favourite expression of the liberals and Narodniks) is nothing but the reverse side of the over-abundance of land in the hands of this class.

      • yalensis says:

        Dear Karl: Your opinions as usual show your ignorance. Comparing Kasparov/Navalny to Trotsky in particular shows an ignorance about the very nature of political forces and the difference between bourgeois political parties and socialist/labor parties.

        And I also doubt if you actually read “all those things” about Russian history that you claim to have read.

        • “Comparing Kasparov/Navalny to Trotsky”

          It might not be a perfect comparison, but currently there is not a political figure in Russia comparable to Trotsky. But they are comparable because of three things:

          1. All of them hate/hated Russia to their bone.
          2. All of them are foreign agents.
          3. All of them would bring down Russia if given a chance (Trotsky was the only one given a chance and he did his best)

          • kirill says:

            You are 100% correct about Trotsky. He was a full analogue of the modern kreakl 5th column. He demonstrated his hate for Russians during the Civil War. Lenin seems to have more to him and is harder to categorize. But at the end of the day he ran with a pack of western sponsored Maidanut equivalents who managed to:

            1) basically give Germany all it wanted on the eastern front even though Russia was not in a military situation that required this degree of surrender. This is prima facie evidence that the Bolshies were 5th column dirtbags selling Russia down the river. The deaths of all the Russian soldiers who had succeeded in given the Germans and their allies a real hard time were flushed down the toilet. To all the apologists for this sellout, suing for peace is not the same thing as capitulation.

            2) mess up Russia and the various ethnic constituents of the Russian Empire for decades to come. This includes ridiculous border demarcation that anyone with a functional brain could see would lead to trouble down the road. Obviously these borders were not created by idiots but rather by malicious people. Russia did not need a flavour of industrial feudalism it needed democratic reform.

            3) if not for the Bolshevik coup, there would likely not have been an anti-commie mirror focus that helped Hitler come to power. Political polarization is a great tool for focusing human resources and ultimately physical resources for war. So WWII was in part due to the 1917 coup.

            As I have posted before, it has been the Soviet people including Russians that have had to endure the system and force it to change. By the 1960s the country was somehow normalized after millions of deaths. WWII actually helped to achieve this because the army became a major silent force and the party led by social engineer lunatics was no longer calling all the shots. We saw the Russian army exerting its influence in 1999 when Yeltsin was basically told to retire and Putin was installed to replace him. Yeltsin failed to dilute the power of the Russian army fast enough. Unfortunately in Ukraine the Banderites had more success. But now they have little to fight the Donbass with.

            • Patient Observer says:

              The West had it in for the Slavic Orthodox for 1,000 years. The manipulation of Germany to attack Russia in an alternate time line would have surely occurred in the mid 20th century just as in centuries past. Certainly, a communist (or socialist) Russia added an extra incentive. But Russia’s mere existence was sufficient cause for war from the West. They don’t call it a clash of civilizations for nothing.

              • Oddlots says:


                It’s bred in the bones unfortunately. Part of the European sickness that I am happy to be – – realistically, only slightly – distanced from in Canada.

                My ex-air force -RAF – dad pretty much called me a subversive for taking Putin / Lavrov’s side recently.

                He’s in his late 80s. The old programming surfaces the older you get I think. In his middle years he was quite radical.

            • Special_sauce says:

              There’s too much to chew over here. Suffice to say it doesn’t make sense. Why on earth didn’t the Reds capitulate to the Whites, they were such “5th Columnists” according to you. Why didn’t the peons rush into the arms of the invaders because they were being so abused, presumably, by the brutal, Russian-hating Communists. Oh, and Stalin, whose staunch Communism the nationalists tend to forget, praised Lenin and the Bolsheviks whenever the subject came up. The Bolsheviks, the word comes from the word for “majority” were a very popular party, it’s bleedin’ obvious.

            • Special_sauce says:

              Coup my ass! The entire country rose up.

            • Oddlots says:

              “As I have posted before, it has been the Soviet people including Russians that have had to endure the system and force it to change.”

              As an outsider I’ve always thought this is the most salient point: who suffered the most under Communism? The Russians.

              It certainly wasn’t the eastern block as far as my own experience in Czecoslavakia attests.

              The central point to me: the historiography that equates the Soviet “empire” with that of its apparent “totalitarian” mirror image – The Third Reich – is simply BS.

              That this is not obvious is really disquieting to me.

              Hence the ease with which the western “brand” can suddenly envelop and digest the most poisonous ultra-nationalist Ukrainian impulse without even an honest “buuuuurp.”

            • Jen says:

              @ Kirill: Hitler would still have come to power even if there had been no Bolshevik Revolution. He and the National Socialists rode to power on the back of the Depression and Weimar Republic instability, caused in part by French desire for revenge for Germany taking Alsace-Lorraine in 1871 and the resulting onerous reparations Germany was forced to pay France and Britain in the Treaty of Versailles after WW1. Germany defaulted on its payments and France promptly occupied the Saarland. The stand-off was ameliorated temporarily when the US began lending money to Germany to help pay France and Britain. (The money ended back where it began because Britain and France themselves owed money to the US, and thus the US finance industry had a tidy little earner going around in a perpetual motion circle spinning off interest and profit.) Once the US was plunged into Depression, it dragged everyone else along with it.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              To be fair, though, Lenin believed that the sell-out at Brest-Litovsk would be only short lived, in that a socialist revolution would soon take place in Germany, leading to a world revolution of the proletariat.

    • Special_sauce says:

      “Bolshevik coup (very similar to the Maidan coup).”
      Wha, the bolshies used snipers to shoot their own people in the back?

    • PS: I don’t think you understand paul’s posts at all. He is at least as pro-Russian as you are, but he does not have as high of an opinion of the Russian leadership as you do.

      • yalensis says:

        And BTW, Karl, don’t try to latch onto “Paul” and hide behind his back.
        Paul is a newcomer, but so far he seems like an honest fellow. I think I like him. So far….
        Unlike yourself. Consider yourself BUSTED.

      • kirill says:

        He gives himself away by using NATzO Pavlovian trigger phrases to describe Russia’s actions in response to the Sackofshitvili attack on Tskhinval and UN authorized Russian peacekeepers and in response to the Banderite coup in Kiev. Crimeans organized self defence forces to stop the influx of Right Sector (UNA-UNSO) goons who were going to make sure that the Kiev regime retained control. In his words this is all invasion and annexation.

        Anyone can pretend to be pro-Russian and peddle NATzO propaganda at the same time. It’s a pathetic attempt at being a Trojan Horse. NATzO-speak and pro-Russian are mutually exclusive.

        • Paul says:

          I thought this was a place for debate. That means recognizing arguments, even if you don’t hold them in high regard. And I toned down the terms. You must really lose it when you hear arguments from those on the other side. It sounds like everything has to be politically correct from your point of view. Personally, I think Moscow should have done more with the socio/psycho in Tbilisi, and left things in better shape in Georgia, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia (and Adjara and Javakhet as Russia needs access to Armenia). But it is folly to pretend that South Ossetia is recognized as being legitimate; perhaps five or so countries do so. However, like yalensis above, I wouldn’t want to have been the one in the Kremlin making the call. Same with whether to use Yanukovich or to fully protect the Crimea. But what about your doubts? Don’t you question whether the Kremlin has played its cards correctly over the last 20 years? They put a tremendous amount of effort in influencing certain European countries. Has the policy worked? The Empire has gained control over the elites in almost all European countries, but also gained control of media, schools, charities, sometimes churches, publishing houses, and more. What did Moscow do or hope for? What was their strategy? Set aside the tactics in the Ukraine, and ask “What was Moscow’s strategic vision for the Ukraine, and how did they intend to achieve it?” If it was to join the Eurasian Union and participate in the Eurasian Dream, how many magazines, web sites, and writers were dedicated to the Eurasian Dream as opposed to the lace panties in the European Dream? Humans are emotional creatures above all, and need to be wooed, charmed, and sold on things. And who had a clearer strategic vision, RAND/Brookings/etc. or the Kremlin?

          By the way, I originally became interested in Russia through chess around 1970 or so. Had to get books and magazines from Eastern Europe, as there was very little in English then. I always liked Karpov, but if I say some nice things about Kasparov’s play, does that prove I am on the NATO payroll? Politically, he is a dirtbag neocon, but that’s the way it goes.

          • marknesop says:

            I hoped I would not have to intervene, but I think we can probably do without the name-calling and the labeling, something that did not used to happen much here between commenters. If you have an argument to make, make it coherently and include non-partisan references, and we’ll all likely learn something. If you reach a point where you cannot support your view any further and it is a subject which is clearly right or wrong, like an historical date, you’re probably wrong. It happens. No need to throw yourself off a cliff, and if you learned something, you came out ahead. Who ever heard of a smart group in which there were no differences of opinion? But opinion unsupported by facts is just that and no more. Arguments over the policymaking of that government or tactical mistakes by this general are generally opinion, although you might convert someone by making a solid argument rich with substantiation. I personally think Putin is the greatest statesman of his age, and I’m more than willing to argue it, but obviously it is not an established fact and I can’t prove it; as well, he is certainly not perfect and he makes mistakes like any other man. That’s just by way of example.

            That’s not specifically directed at Paul, obviously, but is advice for everyone.

          • Jen says:

            Paul, you’re assuming that Russia has or had some sort of sphere of influence over Ukraine, Belarus and a few other formerly Soviet countries, and that it should have done more to thwart Saakashvili without actually seizing him or interfering in the way he governed Georgia. You cannot presume that Russia still had any or much influence over former Soviet republics since 1991, and that goes for Ukraine, Belarus and the Central Asian countries as well as the Baltics.

            • Paul says:

              I assume that it is normal for large countries that are not in a crisis to have a fair degree of influence over small neighbors, particularly if a fairly high percentage of their population are of the same ethnicity or cultural background. Business alone leads to that result, and one could even make the argument that the Russian elite relied on this too much and couldn’t imagine Kiev committing economic suicide. In the case of the Ukraine, Russia got the Crimean base renewal through the Ukrainian parliament, right? That must have required a great deal of influence as so many were quite opposed.

              But the heart of the matter is more along these lines: Do you think the US and/or EU had much influence over countries like Georgia? If so, why, and why couldn’t Russia aim for the same?

              In the case of the psycho from Tbilisi, that was a war that he started. Maybe Moscow did the right thing by their settlement, but maybe they didn’t. We really can’t judge it easily.

    • yalensis says:

      Dear Kirill:
      You are clearly unhinged.
      You wax sentimental about the Udmurtians and how they got to keep their culture and language; but refuse to recognize that it was the Bolsheviks who create this progressive ethnic policy.
      All you know how to do is blather obscenities (usually involving fellation) and diss other people with your violent and abusive language.
      You have obviously spent way too many years in the Canadian diaspora. You simply do not know how to conduct a civilized debate.

  33. Patient Observer says:

    They call Guy Davis a black Pete Seeger. I would also throw in late-career Leonard Cohen. He is unique in my book. The song is in a US country/western style and is very infectious.

  34. ucgsblog says:

    The following is just my opinion: Village idiot who found thousands of Russian Special Forces deaths in Ukraine is back:

    Yep, Putin’s Internet Troll Army is now influencing the Clinton e-mail Scandal. It’s not the Judge. It’s not the Conservatives. It’s not those whom the Clintons messed with. It’s not the FBI investigators. Nope, it’s Putin’s Internet Troll Army.

    “The Hillary Clinton email scandal broke more than three years ago—on March 19, 2013—with the Russian news service RT’s publication of Sidney Blumenthal’s emails to the then-Secretary of State. What most American journalists don’t realize is that Putin’s internet army continues to influence the evolution of the story.”

    Ahhh, most journalists don’t realize it, but Paul Roderick Gregory is on the case. Hold the laughter. If you start now, your stomach will hurt from laughter by the time we approach the end. This should be good. Where’s the popcorn?

    “My article on the Blumenthal emails, published on the same day, attracted 361,000 viewers, meaning the story was not a secret. The mainstream press ignored the story, only to see it burst upon the 2016 election scene where it occupies daily headlines. As I pointed out in my more recent piece entitled “What if Vladimir Putin Has Hillary’s Emails,” the Clinton campaign and the country could be sorely damaged if Hillary’s emails (including those she deemed “personal”) are in Kremlin hands. Even if they are not, Putin can gain leverage simply from the suspicion that he has them.”

    Of course as a source, PRG sites… the republic of himselfia. Who didn’t see this one coming? Anyone? Damn it people, I said hold the laughter. So PRG established that the Clinton e-mails, that everyone knows about, are not a secret. He has thus demonstrated knowledge that he has, that I did not realize he had earlier: he understand what a secret is! What an improvement!

    “Despite the New York Times’ weak assurances that there is “no evidence of hacking,” experts agree, including a former defense secretary and head of the CIA, that Kremlin cyber forces most likely hacked Hillary’s emails, which we now know include a number of top secret documents. I have been following the Russian and English language blogosphere using Google searches like “Does Putin/the Kremlin have Hillary’s emails?” Included are rumor-mills such as Sovershenno (“Completely secret”) and (“Compromising material”). In a country that thrives on gossip and rumors, even on delicate matters such as the murder of Boris Nemtsov, the Russian search yields absolute silence. The Kremlin is holding information about any possession of Hillary’s emails as close to the vest as possible.”

    The Kremlin forces hacked it? If only there was someone who knew how the Kremlin got the e-mails… oh wait, there is:

    “According to a report from four days ago, beginning in 2011, the Russians began monitoring Romanian computer hacker Marcel Lazăr Lehel (aka Guccifer) after he attempted, unsuccessfully, to break into the computer system of the Russian funded RT television network. After monitoring Guccifer, the Russians were reportedly able to record (both physically and electronically) his actions which allowed the Russian intelligence analysts, in 2013, to not only detect his breaking into the private computer of Secretary Clinton, but also break in and copy all of its contents as well. The report notes that shortly after Russia obtained Clinton’s emails, they released a limited amount to RT TV which were published in an article in March 2013, titled Hillary Clinton’s ‘hacked’ Benghazi emails: FULL RELEASE.”

    This is public knowledge for everyone, except apparently Paul Roderick Gregory. Damn it PRG, you just learned what a secret was, and now you forget! I had so much hope for you, but now it’s gone, all gone! So what does Paul Roderick Gregory do after failing to understand what a secret is? Brags about how important his articles are. Erm, PRG, we read your articles to laugh at you. Not with you. At you.

    “Not that the Kremlin is not enjoying Hillary’s discomfort. The FBI investigation, the testimony of the hacker Guccifer, and the release of the state-department Inspector General report are covered daily and with glee. My own Forbes articles are prominently featured. Russia’s information technologists have elevated me from a moronic paid Forbes hack to a distinguished scholar writing for a respected publication. My words seem to count when I suggest that Putin has outsmarted Hillary Clinton.”

    So let me get this straight: Putin outsmarted Clinton because RT autotracked a failed hacker who managed to hack Clinton’s e-mails, solely because they were on a non-secure server, which is exactly what the scandal was about. What exactly did Putin do? Oh, wait, it’s PRG’s World, where outsmarted means “did absolutely nothing” and “super secret” means available to everyone. Got it.

    “Contrary to the Russian media silence, the U.S. media began buzzing with the May 6 publication on an obscure conspiracy-oriented website ( entitled “Kremlin War Erupts over Release of Top Secret Hillary Clinton Emails.” The article, written under the exotic pseudonym of Sorcha Faal, claims that a faction within the Kremlin wants Hillary’s email cache released. Fox News pundits (Sean Hannity and Judge Anthony Napolitano) cited the article as evidence that Putin has the Clinton emails. Their comments were triumphantly and derisively panned by Media Matters, who pointed out that the same website published articles on British jets fighting UFOs and a new planet threatening existence on earth.”

    So PRG is happy that actual facts got panned and derided because the same website published crap earlier. I think this is classic ad hominem, aka classic PRG. Of course a faction in the Kremlin wants the e-mails released, specifically the factions that Bill’s campaign to fund Yeltsin and Cronies fucked in the 1990s. Duh! As for the e-mails, that’s already been mentioned. Thus far, according to PRG, Russia released e-mails to RT, which Russia did not have, because a faction might or might not want something, in the Kremlin. Got that? Good.

    “Both Fox News and Media Matters, in my view, are both unwitting victims of a classic Putin troll attack. Whereas Washington works on the basis of leaks, Kremlin information technologists first plant their narrative in an obscure blog (like and then use its blogosphere network to cascade the story until it reaches more mainstream outlets. In this case, they struck gold with references by major figures on Fox News. With the Kremlin’s psychological operations, no one knows fact from fiction (Is this just some crackpot or the Kremlin?) and first impressions tend to stick, even if the story is proven false.”

    Erm, PRG, if the story was false, would the FBI be investigating?

    That started in February. It’s still ongoing. Is the FBI secretly Putin’s Internet Troll Army? Perhaps, in PRG’s mind, it is! Of, and the link is from MSNBC. That’s a pro-Democrat website. Perhaps, in PRG’s mind, it means anti-Democrat, who knows?

    “There are good reasons to believe that a Putin troll attack is at work here. First, it spins an alternate-world narrative that serves Kremlin interests in a number of ways. The Sorcha Faal article explains to the world that, yes, the Kremlin does have Hillary’s emails, thanks to Russia’s vigilant cyber forces, who obtained them in a perfectly legitimate way. After they detected hacker Guccifer’s attempted hacking of their own RT, they claim to have followed him as he attacked Hillary’s server and ended up coincidently with the cache of Hillary’s emails. The lesson: Russia has good cyber security; the incompetent U.S. does not.”

    PRG talking about an alternate-World narrative. Ok, fuck it, let the laughter out. And his first point is utterly stupid. Clinton’s e-mail hack has nothing to do with US cybersecurity, because they were hacked as a result of being moved to Clinton’s private e-mail server. Private. Not part of US cybersecurity. Private. Damn PRG, do you not realize that there’s a difference between the security for a private e-mail account, and one for the major government offices.

    “The even more important message is that the CIA, knowing that the Kremlin has damaging secrets (such as the truth of Benghazi), launched a false Panama Papers operation to discredit Putin’s inner circle. The Panama Papers gambit was fabricated as a threat to prevent Russia from revealing the contents of Hillary’s emails. Thus, revelations about financial misdeeds of Putin’s inner circle can be written off as a CIA disinformation counter attack. The story’s lightning-fast spread through the blogosphere is a second reason for believing in an organized troll attack. Faal’s crazy headline stories that Media Matters derides do not spread through the blogosphere. Granted that the Clinton email story is hot, its cascading through the internet smells of a planned operation by Putin’s troll army.”

    Panama Papers discredited Poroshenko. They were panned as a joke in Russia, in part because they mentioned figures like Tatiana Navka. They weren’t a threat to Putin’s Inner Circle. And the misdeeds of some of Putin’s Inner Circle are well known. Did the Fall of Serduykov hurt Putin? Not one bit. As for lightning fast spread, anything with Clinton or Trump will spread quickly during this election year. PRG assures us that those stories do not spread, which is stupid. Thus far PRG has gotten two facts wrong and managed to prove absolutely nothing. But he’s persistent in his idiocy.

    “In the case of the Clinton emails, the Kremlin appears to be using its classic “Madeline Albright declaration” approach. In the Albright case, an obscure and unidentified blogger, “Natalia 1001,” made the unsubstantiated claim that then Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, had declared that Siberia, with its rich resources, should belong to the United States, not to Russia. This false claim was repeated by multiple sources (including an FSB mind reader) until it has become an integral part of the Putin doctrine that the U.S. is an aggressive power intent on Russia’s demise.”

    And yet, the FBI did not start investigating Madeline Albright. See the difference PRG? No, probably not.

    “We are no closer to proof of whether Putin has Hillary’s emails or not. What we have is a troll attack that lays out a Kremlin narrative linking the Clinton emails to the Panama Papers. We expect the Kremlin to build on this narrative as time passes. In either case, Putin is sitting in the catbird seat. The mere suspicion that he has the email cache gives him leverage over the U.S. election. Those who argue that Clinton’s use of an insecure private server is a minor dereliction do not understand the consequences of having the Secretary of State’s correspondence in the hands of a hostile nation. We can expect the Kremlin to use Hillary’s email scandal to its advantage. It is up to Putin to determine the timing, which will be most likely related to the U.S. election cycle. Let’s hope that Donald Trump uses this lesson to retract his favorable comments about Vladimir Putin.”

    Actually, there’s more proof that Putin has her e-mails, than PRG presented in his entire article. Much more, considering that it actually exists, unlike PRG’s thousands of Russian Special Forces deaths in Ukraine. BTW, what proof did PRG use for that one? Oh right, nothing. And of course the release, if it happens, will be timed to affect the election cycle, that’s how these things work. And if that happens, PRG will do a dance, claim to have predicted the obvious, and make up random crap.

    Of course PRG demonstrates his stupidity in replies to some of his commentators:

    Mark: “Paul likes Putin, doesn’t he?”
    PRG: “That is a strange comment. Just read my past blogs.”

    No, PRG, he’s saying that you’re addicted to Putin, and that like an addict, you make up random shit to get your next mental hit. IMHO.

    Stellos: “I’m sorry, but if anyone believes this sequence of assertions, extrapolations and fancifications masquerading as an article, they’ve exceeded any limit of gullibility and need medical help. Trying to whitewash Hillary by implying her troubles are due to the much maligned Putin will only appeal to the most naive of the already converted.”
    PRG: “No such thing was implied. Hillary created her own mess and now Putin is taking advantage of it. My piece simply shows the national-security implications of her folly.”

    Clinton’s e-mail hack has nothing to do with US cybersecurity, because they were hacked as a result of being moved to Clinton’s private e-mail server. Private. Not part of US cybersecurity. Private.

    Clyde: “Of course it is President Putin’s fault. hahahahahahaah”
    PRG: “No it is Hillary’s fault. Putin is just taking advantage of her folly, which should disqualify her from the presidency.”

    Wait a sec, is PRG arguing that Hillary Clinton should be disqualified because the Kremlin created a false narrative to target her? Isn’t his implication that we should not let Putin’s Internet Troll Army affect us? So, according to PRG, we shouldn’t let Putin’s Internet Troll Army affect us, by disqualifying a presidential candidate because said trolls attacked her. Paul Roderick Contradiction. *Drops mic*

    • marknesop says:

      I particularly loved the part where he did a google search for “Does Putin have Hillary’s emails?”, and because he didn’t find anything, that was stone-cold confirmation that he does have them, and that a wall of secrecy has been bought down by Moscow that cannot be penetrated by ordinary journalists. Paul Roderick Gregory must wear earplugs at night so his brains do not leak out and soak away into his pillow.

      • et Al says:

        PRG – ‘Paul’s Republik of Gregory’, his own little state created in his head that he cares to share with us.

    • Oddlots says:

      Jesus that was funny. Thanks.

  35. et Al says:

    Neiters: Exclusive – Saudi’s deputy crown prince to visit U.S. for talks: sources

    …The civil war in Syria also is expected to be on the agenda. Riyadh is seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has provided military support to rebels fighting him…

    More like he wants the US/SDF/whatever to layoff his terrorists in Syria. Everything else is secondary.

  36. Patient Observer says:


    ‘Russian airstrikes against terrorists in Syria have tripled over the last days. Additional resources have been silently dispatched:

    Without stirring a buzz similar to that of their first military intervention in Syria, the Russians this week disembarked ground forces and paratroopers in the port of Tartus to support more than 3,000 Russian volunteers dispatched to the region in the past few weeks, in a bid to revive coordination with the Syrian army.

    Syrian sources stated that the Russian joint command staff, which coordinated aerial support operations last fall, had returned to the Hmeimim military base in Latakia province to begin preparations for new operations.

    One can only hope that the Russian leadership has learned its lesson. That it will not stop to pursue the enemy for no political gain when it is again, as it likely will soon be, on the run.”

    Although most of the commenters were aghast at Russia’s perceived weakness and futile efforts to cooperate with the West, one comment hit it right – Russia is waging a soft-power battle. It showed it can beat the West militarily in Syria and then pulled back waiting for Western cooperation in the anti-terror effort. The West has discredited itself (again) with a steadfast support of terrorism. People are starting to notice.

    A Syrian government victory would represent the first unmitigated failure of an all-out Western assault perhaps since Vietnam. The Russians were, in part, offering a face-saving way out for the West. The West, like a bully who got punched in the nose, wants another shot. So, this time, Russia may need to deliver a haymaker like this:

    “The thermobaric device yields the equivalent of 44 tons of TNT using about seven tons of a new type of high explosive. Because of this, the bomb’s blast and pressure wave have a similar effect to a small tactical nuclear weapon, although on a smaller scale.”

    Doubtful that they would use it as there seems to be no worthy target. However, I would not be surprised that, in a few weeks, after targets have bee identified, Russia launches another cruise missile and heavy bombing barrage. They may also introduce new military hardware to both inflict military pain on the terrorists and to further refine training, logistics and operations. I suspect and hope that they will take down the psychopaths once and for all.

    • Jen says:

      Latest news is that the SAA and its allies have crossed into Raqqa province.

      The map from Al-Masdar News shows the Syrians are very close to the actual city.

      “Syrian Army enters Raqqa after liberating the Zakiyah Crossroad, 47 km to Tabaqa: map”

      The Syrian Arab Army’s 550th Regiment of the 4th Mechanized Division and their allies liberated the strategic Zakiyah Crossroad at the Hama-Raqqa border on Friday after a violent battle with the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS). According to an Al-Masdar field correspondent in the region, the Syrian Armed Forces liberated almost 35 km of territory along the Salamiyah-Raqqa Highway in the last 48 hours, putting them just 47 km away from the Tabaqa Military Airport. ISIS has attempted to slow down the Syrian Army’s advance with several roadside bombs along the Salamiyah-Raqqa Highway; however, the engineering corps is working diligently to clear all IEDs (improvised explosive devices).
      The 550th Regiment was not alone in their advance on Friday, they were backed by the Desert Hawks Brigade, National Defense Forces (NDF), Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), Galilee Forces (Palestinian paramilitary), and Syrian Marines.

    • Oddlots says:

      I think this is the Russian strategy to a t:

      “Although most of the commenters were aghast at Russia’s perceived weakness and futile efforts to cooperate with the West, one comment hit it right – Russia is waging a soft-power battle. It showed it can beat the West militarily in Syria and then pulled back waiting for Western cooperation in the anti-terror effort. The West has discredited itself (again) with a steadfast support of terrorism. People are starting to notice.”

      My only quibble: their support is hardly “steadfast” but entirely convenient, temporary, covert and equivocal… But their proxies don’t notice or care because because the command structure is getting as rich as pirates while the average soldier’s got nothing to live for anyway given the preponderance of cannon fodder and the dearth of employment opportunities in the region.

      From that perspective it’s as simple as seeing a generation of young people being “burned off” to the advantage of whoever has dollars to pay and an interest in doing so.

      Now who would that be?

  37. Moscow Exile says:

    The bitch is back!

    В Киеве заявили о прибытии Савченко в Донбасс

    Kiev has announced Savchenko’s arrival in the Donbass
    The Supreme Rada deputy has already managed to meet her former colleagues

    In Kiev it has been reported that the Ukrainian flyer Nadezhda Savchenko has arrived in the Donbass. It was specified that during the night of Monday, June 6, the former service-woman and current Rada deputy had arrived in a district where military operations are being undertaken in the South-East of the area.

    Savchenko had time to talk with the Ukrainian military and sit behind the controls of a combat helicopter. “The people’s Deputy of the Ukraine managed to communicate fruitfully with many of the military, to meet former colleagues and to sit at the controls of a combat helicopter”, said the press centre of the headquarters of the military operations conducted in the Donbass on its Facebook page.

    Will she get slotted?

  38. Moscow Exile says:

    Белорусам запретили покупать польские глобусы с Крымом в составе России

    Belorussians forbidden to buy Polish made globes showing the Crimea as part of Russia

    The globes were manufactured for the Russian and Crimea markets.

    According to media reports, the products were withdrawn after the Department of
    Trade and Services of the Mogilev Regional Executive Committee recommended that city traders refuse to sell political world maps and globes in which “the territorial affiliation of the Crimea differs from that recognized by the world community”

    MOSCOW, June 6 — RIA Novosti. In Mogilev shops there have disappeared from sale globes on which the Crimea is marked as Russian territory, Belarusian “Euroradio” reports.

    The recommendation was, in turn, a reaction to an appeal made by the First Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party, “Gromada”, Igor Borisov, who had stated that such products are “misleading buyers and are contrary to the official position of Minsk on the Crimea”.
    As Euroradio reports, the seized globes were manufactured by the Polish company ZACHEM-GŁOWALA. Its Director, Krzysztof Glowala, explained that the products were released for the Russian market.

    The Crimea and Sevastopol became part of Russia following a referendum in March 2014. The reunion was supported by 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol citizens.

    See: СМИ: в Белоруссии запретили продажу глобусов с российским Крымом

    A recommendation, according to RIA, not an outright ban, but the above article says the globes were “seized”.

    I shall recommend to my wife that she not buy anymore Belorussian cheese.

    • marknesop says:

      They can carry on with their spiteful attempts to deny reality if it makes them happy, but the situation is what it is and Crimea will never return to Ukraine. They only look stupid continuing to make maps and globes which reflect a fantasy.

  39. Lyttenburgh says:

    Looks like my decision to get a decent sleep one in a while caused me to miss an epic level bouhourt. Oh, well…

    Not to beat a dead horse (because from where I’m standing I can see bones right now) anymore, I’d say just a couple of things:

    – Paul! You call yourself “Russia’s ally”. Well, Russia doesn’t nee “allies” like you. You, despite allegedly being a full-grown man, even advanced in age, behave like those little sleazy kids, who urge the big kids to have fight, but the moment the fists start flying they will just fade into the background a pack of popcorn already in the hand, to enjoy the spectacle.

    Regular posters here – I know them. A lot of them have a “personal stake” in our discussions about Russia and its interactions with the world at large. You? I don’t think so. AFAIK, you are not Russian, neither are you from Russia or a Russian citizen. You constantly “demand” that Russia must do “more” to “resist the Empire”. Newsflash, Paul – Russia owes you nothing. You are in no position to demand from it anything. Me? I can do that – and more. Because for it would be legit demands.

    You posts so far were choke full “I think…” and “It’d be better for Russia to…” – coupled with deplorable lack of links and supporting evidence. You claim that your version of “What if?” scenarios is way better – prove it! So far, you have done nothing in that regard.

    If you want to “resist the Empire” – as you constantly demand from Russia and Russians – start with yourself! Go ahead – after all, you are “Empire’s” resident! Spread doom and glum among your fellow citizens! Tell them how shitty it is to live in their country. Constantly barrage them with examples of how the things are done in “proper countries”. In short – take a page or two from Russian liberasts and kreakls 😉

    – kirill – chill, man. Sometimes you are reminding me stereotypical Ontario-residing svidomites, who fancy themselves as the paragons of the “True Ukrainess” and advise their unlucky Ukraine dwelling brethren what it means to be faithful Ukr – i.e. how to love Bandera and Shuckhevich, how to place Moskals on knives, and commies – on gilyaka, and that single-mova is the only true way for the Ridna Nyen’ka. Don’t became a caricature on a human being.

    • Paul says:

      You couldn’t leave things as Mark asked, could you? You really force me to respond because of what I consider to be unreasonable crap said about me, even though it would have been a lot better to just drop things.

      I left my homeland in the Empire 30 years ago, but don’t live in Russia, and certainly don’t pretend to have the knowledge of many of the posters here. However, familiarity can bring contempt and being too close to things to be objective. Just look at the infatuation with the West in Russia after the end of communism. And possibly life or the view of things in Moscow or St. Petersburg might be different from the rest of the country. People like Mark Sleboda or Paul Craig Roberts probably have far more negative things to say than I do. Do you consider them to be beyond the pale or ignorant? Somebody posted the latest Roberts interview here.

      Notice that I haven’t insulted your family, city, region, or any part of your anatomy – or brought up Canada, which seems to be a common theme here. And you have undoubtedly forgotten more about Russia than I ever learned.

      So perhaps we can just agree to disagree or whatever and drop things. I appreciate the blog and didn’t mean to cause Mark to waste his time on such petty and distasteful stuff.

  40. アニメ ラブドール このウェブサイトでこの投稿を見つけたので、教科書と比較してウェブ上で問題を見つけるのは非常に簡単です。

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