Olympian or Politician? Make Up Your Mind.

Uncle Volodya says, "If you have the power to change the world for the better, you should do it. That's why people who do nothing are idiots, but idiots who do nothing are life-savers.”

Uncle Volodya says, “If you have the power to change the world for the better, you should do it. That’s why people who do nothing are idiots, but idiots who do nothing are life-savers.”

The latest Olympian to shoot off his cakehole to the world and bray his catastrophic ignorance is Canadian swimmer Mark Tewksbury. He tweeted earlier, although he has since taken it down, his extreme disapproval that ‘doper’ Yelana Isinbayeva had been elected to the IOC.

Isinbayeva, a three-time world champion and current world record-holder, double gold medalist for the Russian Federation and widely assessed to be the greatest pole-vaulter of all time, has never failed a drug test. Ever. But you can sort of see where ignorant know-nothings like Mark Tewksbury get the impression that everyone in Russian Track & Field is a zombie dope freak. Because of the just-as-ignorant McLaren Report, in which he and his pals on the ‘Independent Commission’ more or less acted as stenographers for Yulia and Valery Stepanov (who were paid $30,000.00 by WADA as a ‘fleeing fee’) and Grigory Rodchenkov, the central figure in Russian sports doping who is very likely parlaying it into a state-sponsored program to save himself. Grigory Rodchenkov, who previously referred to the members of the ‘Independent Commission’ as “three fools who do not understand how the Moscow lab works”.  But because his testimony was needed for political reasons, which are helping the United States of America humiliate its old and now lifelong enemy, Russia, McLaren deemed him to be credible anyway although his preliminary report assessed the exact opposite. Why? Because up as far as the preliminary report, Rodchenkov was denying everything. By the time the final report was thrown together, at just the right time to slap a national Olympic ban on Russia but leave them not enough time to undo it , Rodchenkov was singing like a canary and confessing to everything.

Confession is apparently not only good for the soul, it is also good for politically-motivated hack jobs which lack the weight of independent verification, setting in motion a rush to judgment that suits the regime-changers of North America and NATO, and feeds the hungry press a sensational story which is immediately assumed to be fact.

WADA and its foot-in-mouth-breathing soldiers would have been wise to sense, in the election of Isinbayeva, an attempt to back away from the precipice McLaren and his buddies are trying to drag us over. WADA no longer enjoys the confidence of the IOC, because it is comprised of partisan zealots who are willingly in the service of a political agenda, at the expense of sport. You can be assured that legal action will follow the Olympics, and if McLaren cannot get his ducks in a row by then, a whole lot of people are going to have egg on their faces.

So let me give you some advice, as a taxpayer who helps fund your spoiled and cosseted pursuit of sport in your discipline. If you’re at the Olympics, bully for you. You have been selected to represent your country. In politics? Check your paperwork; I’m pretty sure nobody ever asked you to perform in such a capacity. Next time you see the Foreign Minister of your country doing wind-sprints, or a tricky dismount from the horizontal beam, you can assume there’s some crossover.  Until then, keep your fucking political opinions to yourself. You’re there to swim, or run or jump or whatever. Let’s get that in perspective, what say? You’re not the discoverer of fire, or the wheel. You’re not the composer of a timeless symphony or the rescuer of a child from a burning schoolhouse. You can swim or run or jump faster or higher or further than anyone else who is involved in this competition. You are living proof that you can be the best at something, and not have a clue about anything else.

Richard McLaren does not have proof of who in the Russian Federation is a doper and who is not. What he has is witness testimony from three people who were themselves earhole-deep in doping,  and have fled their country. The IOC would not consider the election of Isinbayeva to the IOC if they were even optimistic that McLaren’s report rests on solid proof.

Everybody in the world has had it up to here with the behavior of pampered athletes abroad, from finger-wagging to rest-room-door-smashing to making up bullshit stories about robbery to sounding off about events from a dataset of zero. Stick to what you know, and the next time you’re tempted to step out of that circle, think again. Think of everybody in your country with a zipper over their mouths, and follow suit. If somebody asks you a question about your sport and your personal place in it, feel free to enlighten everyone. If you are asked a question or feel moved to publicly comment on something that is not your specialty, remember your mother’s advice; if you can’t say something nice, shut the fuck up. I’m sure she didn’t say it quite that way, but you can extrapolate a little for the times. Use your head for something other than keeping your Nicki Minaj ball cap from shrinking.

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1,869 Responses to Olympian or Politician? Make Up Your Mind.

  1. Warren says:

    A guide to northern English accents

    There is a large variety of accents across the north of England and they range from mild to strong. In these clips, dialect coach Elspeth Morrison takes us on a tour of the main regional accents and presents a series of one-minute guides to learning them.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1RpWFqs6CR94G8DqKNVKGrQ/a-guide-to-northern-english-accents?intc_type=promo&intc_location=news&intc_campaign=northernaccents&intc_linkname=radio4_northernaccents_article1

    • et Al says:

      …range from mild to strong.

      Like cheese!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      There’s an interesting little app from Cambridge University called English Dialects.

      See: English Dialects

      It positioned my dialect and accent some 4 miles from where I was born.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        And some 1,600 miles from where I now live and have done so for a quarter of a century!

        I came across a Londoner last year here in Moscow and he was gobsmacked to learn that I had lived here all these years and had still not lost my northern accent.

        Nobody where I was brought up sounds like he is saying “veddy, veddy” when uttering “very, very”, as some speakers of US English think all Englishmen do.

        In fact, “very” where I come form souns like “ver-eh”, and the “r” is pronounced!

      • Cortes says:

        An old friend (he taught Spanish and Gaelic) used to say that the problem for non-Glaswegians in understanding us wasn’t that we speak English badly but there are so many Irish and Gaelic loan words affecting accent, vowels and vocabulary.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I think Scots from the Highlands speak English very clearly: it’s some Weegies on a rant that confuse some southern Englishmen. I must say, though, that I was once sort of an official translator for a lad from Hamilton who joined my face team. I had worked with him previously, but the rest of my team couldn’t understand what he was saying — or so they said. I think that were just not trying. There was a father and son duo from Fife that I worked with as well: never had any problems with understanding what they were saying.

          It’s the dialect words that are problematical, though: what’s called a mine-car in mining engineering parlance was called a “tub” in Lancashire, a “dram” in South Wales and a “hutch” in the Ayrshire coalfield; what I and others in Lancashire called a “mine”, others in the UK called a “seam”, and what others called a “mine”, I called a “pit”; food taken underground was called in different UK coalfields “bait”, “bit”, “jackbit”, “snap”, “bagging” ….

  2. et Al says:

    Financial Crimes: US warns Syria rebels on fighting alongside terror groups
    https://www.ft.com/content/67053b3e-7837-11e6-a0c6-39e2633162d5?ftcamp=published_links/rss/googlenews/feed//product&google_editors_picks=true

    Opposition faces ‘dire consequences’ as pressure mounts ahead of truce

    …The agreement, which was deeply controversial within the Obama administration, represents an unusual moment of co-operation between the US and Russia at a time of high tension between the two countries…

    …The bargain between the US and Russia is that Washington will push the more moderate opposition groups to separate themselves from Nusra, something Russia has long urged, while Moscow will persuade the Syrian air force to stop bombing the rebels. However, many members of the opposition and analysts believe it will be extremely difficult to isolate JFS in practice.

    In a letter to the armed opposition groups, many of which are backed by the US and its allies, Michael Ratney, the US special envoy for Syria, urged them to support the agreement, saying continued co-operation with JFS would have “dire consequences”. He said the groups would have the right to self-defence if they were attacked by Syrian or Russian forces.

    Several opposition leaders have said they plan to accept the ceasefire…

    …Some in the opposition believe the US is well aware of the practical obstacles in trying to isolate JFS from the rest of the rebels. “You can’t really place that much physical distance with the Nusra guys, otherwise the fighters would be at risk of losing territory to the regime. The Americans know and appreciate this situation,” said one opposition figure who took part in the rebel discussions over the ceasefire deal this weekend. “The Americans can’t afford to weaken the Nusra areas too much or they will lose their whole card of the north against the Russians.”…
    ####

    Well, the Cassandras have been out in force declaring that Russia has sold out again, but it certainly doesn’t look so. Russia’s long-standing and extremely public demand that the rebels separate themselves, not to mention the US’ failure – willing or not – to achieve this, is the cornerstone of this agreement. No spinning, reinterpretation of creative use of words gets around this fundamental fact.

    It seems to me that the US has finally decided that it can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever as long as they are only fighting Assad. There’s simply no way to sugar such a turd of a policy. Most of the PPNN tried their best to ignore this policy for as long as possible but it isn’t going away by itself. The irony is that the headchoppers need to chop heads and commit unspeakable acts of cruelty and war crimes to show how radical they are but that does not segue with a low-profile under the radar approach that the West requires to keep the war going on its terms and carry the public with them.

    They were always odd bed fellows but I suppose things really had to get this bad for even the most dyed in the wool warmongers to admit that it was no sort of policy at all.The real test will be if the US commits to the same policy somewhere else in the world when a new crisis pops up. Have the stupid mofos learned their lesson (including Team Killary)? Speaking of which, is pneumonia her primary illness or a corollary of some other undisclosed illness that she has been covering up. One wonders because Dr. Dr on his CNN show briefly mentioned that Clinton’s described medical treatment from her publicly disclosed medical files seem at odds with her supposed illness, i.e. treating her with 1950s medicine. Oh, and his show has been cancelled.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/08/26/dr-drew-show-canceled-days-after-his-negative-speculation-about-hillary-clintons-health/

    • marknesop says:

      One has only to look at the adversarial relationship overall to see that each side is backing its allies, and has not moved away from that. Russia is backing the democratically-elected government of a sovereign nation. The USA is backing whoever appears to have the potential of overthrowing or killing the leader of the Syrian government. The USA backed ISIS for awhile, because they looked like they had the stuff to get it done, but they would have had to sustain a miraculous ‘defeat’ at the hands of the ‘coalition’ after that because they were not politically acceptable, although the ‘rebels’ were inept and lacked ISIS’s killer instinct.

      Washington is acknowledging, in an oblique fashion, that it is not going to be able to get it done with the assets it currently has available. Therefore it is trying to consolidate its gains so as not to have to start at Square One once hostilities recommence. And that relies on the ‘opposition’ having a distinct identity and area which is its own, so that when everyone has had a breather and is rearmed and reinforced, Washington can announce that today the Syrian regime dropped barrel bombs on the rebel city of Jubaduba or whatever, hitting a hospital and killing hundreds of the dearest and most beautiful children ever seen, and away we go again. The American plan is unlikely to gain any momentum in a united and secular Syria in which the opposition politicians – western toadies to the last man and woman – have no identifiable constituency. The occasional ‘opposition’ journalist or sympathizer getting rubbed out has no legs to it – you need a big atrocity, and for that you need separate populations, so that Assad can be seen to be picking on those who oppose him.

      Washington is not going to give up its dream of toppling Assad and reordering his country to its liking. Nobody should be fooled by the current ‘look at Russia and the USA, working together, isn’t that cute? Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya!’ distraction. They are simply trying to avoid being drawn into open warfare in support of their proxies. Washington would not back off to the extent it has done if it could claim to be on the right side, but it knows it cannot substantiate such a position. Therefore it is retrenching while it explores for a new weakness.

      The only real progress which has been gained from this campaign is that fewer people around the world, and especially in the United States, are buying Washington’s line, and more people simply assume it is lying as soon as it starts speaking. Which is true, and always will be for so long as American doctrine calls for maneuvering for advantage to the USA to the detriment of someone else. If the day ever dawns when true cooperation prevails, we might be able to move forward, but this isn’t it.

  3. et Al says:

    Karlof1 comment from the Moon of Alabama thread:

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/09/syria-how-long-will-the-new-cessation-of-hostilities-hold.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef01bb09351e75970d

    Something odd/rare has happened, as reported by Canthama at Syrpers:

    “The puzzle regarding the war of aggression against Syria is getting thicker. The following is something for us to chew on since we will barely know the real deal behind it:

    “1) Few hours ago a Turkish Military plane landed at the Qamishli airport (Hasaka province), this airport is controlled by Syria. This is the 1st time in 5 years that a Turkish plane landed in Syria. https://twitter.com/syrianmilitary/status/774621579082887168

    “2) Few hours ago a Il76 Syrian airplane left Damascus to Qamishli.

    “No idea what is up, it is a 1st in 5 years.”

    http://syrianperspective.com/2016/09/road-to-aleppo-wide-open-for-residents-chief-commander-of-jaysh-al-fath-killed-by-syrian-air-force-terrorists-unable-to-recruit-trained-murderers-in-idlib.html#VEvQo1PKUH8xutiP.99

    Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 10, 2016 6:44:12 PM

    • marknesop says:

      Very interesting. I wonder if Erd is conspiring to hoodwink his western buddies? If so, he would not likely remain in power for long. If the west really was behind the coup attempt in Turkey, it may have appeared weak and disorganized to Erdogan, and led him to believe he’s invincible within Turkey. He certainly is not, and if the west wanted to show him some real international isolation it would make his eyes roll back in his head.

      However, if he could count on Russia as an ally and the latter was willing to participate in an energy shortage to Europe – just to show them the lay of the land, as it were – Europe might be pried out of Washington’s orbit. But I doubt very much anything so bold as that is in the offing here.

  4. et Al says:

    Sputnik via Spacedaily.com: RD-180 license expires in 2030
    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Russian_License_to_Produce_RD_180_Rocket_Engines_in_US_to_Expire_in_2030_999.html

    … “The expiry date of the license agreement is 2030. There is still time, so we will continue cooperating with the US, supplying them with RD-180 engines produced by Energomash in Russia,” the engineering firm’s Director General Igor Arbuzov told RIA Novosti.

    Arbuzov said Energomash expected engine deliveries to continue at a high rate in the coming years and partially into 2019. “I expect us to sign a raft of additional agreements to the existing contracts in the near future,” he added.
    ####

    Timing. Just after the Syria deal has been made. One thinks that the 19 hour talks included quite a few other issues apart from Syria. I bet the US brought the RD-180 request to the table, but what did they offer Russia, certainly something substantial. Either way, why now? It seems to support my thesis that the US wants out of Syria and soon, a decision being made that they only have more to loose the longer they leave it.

    Sputnik via Spacedaily.com: Russia’s Energomash Ready to Build Reusable Carrier Rocket Stages
    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Russias_Energomash_Ready_to_Build_Reusable_Carrier_Rocket_Stages_999.html

    …”If a real customer turns up who will need a [carrier] rocket with a reusable stage – we will make one,” Arbuzov told RIA Novosti. He added there had been no contracts for rocket stages that can safely return to the Earth after the launch, “although the topic of reusable stages is frequently discussed among chiefs of design bureaus.”

    According to Arbuzov, the technology will help preserve costly booster engines that are used in first stages to propel the entire carrier rocket upwards.

    Russian Carrier Rocket for Sea Launches Will Replace Ukraine’s Zenit
    A new carrier rocket will be developed in Russia to replace Ukraine’s Zenit-SL system for launches from the Sea Launch (Morskoi Start) floating space pad, the chief of the S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation (RSC) Energia said Friday…

    ####

    Interesting. Rather than offering fully reuseable rockets, going part way by only working on the most valuable stage (engines) is very logical. Proof is in the pudding of course.

    In other space news:
    Sputnik via Spacedaily.com: Russia’s Floating Space Launch Pad to Be Sold in Early 2017
    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Russias_Floating_Space_Launch_Pad_to_Be_Sold_in_Early_2017_999.html

    • Patient Observer says:

      The long-term contract to supply RD-180 engines does not bode well for SpaceX who wanted that business. Perhaps the recent SpaceX explosion had some influence.

      I have no doubt that Russia can develop a recoverable booster or a recoverable engine. They will do so when the economics makes sense and not as a way to pump stock value.

      Sea Launch was a good concept. A Ukraine-free launch vehicle can make it viable.

  5. Special_sauce says:

    Anybody here remember the story of Michael Meiring. A US “Soldier of fortune”, running guns and looting ship wrecks in the Philipines, who, apparently blew off his own leg in a Davao City hotel a decade and a half ago?

    Well, get a load of this: http://atimes.com/2016/05/meiring-murder-subversion-and-treason-dutertes-beef-with-us/

    • marknesop says:

      That’s very interesting and thought-provoking. I don’t remember hearing anything about the incident when it happened, but it certainly seems to follow the Washington destabilization template, doesn’t it?

      And who knew there was a legitimate MILF acronym?

      • Special_sauce says:

        The story disappeared quickly. I remember bringing it up to some Filipino bloggers at the time; even they hadn’t heard. And now, when I referenced it at reddit/r/worldnews, my post is quickly buried.

        • marknesop says:

          Which makes it even more interesting. I also recommend this post, a thoughtful look at the NATO alliance which speculates that although it should be strutting and preening, having continued to expand its membership, it is in reality falling apart at the seams. Special atttention is directed to the section on Turkey, in light of recent developments. The sources are also decisive that the USA does indeed have nuclear weapons at Incirlik.

      • et Al says:

        Yes, fascinating. The United States ‘Have carpet, will sweep indeed. But then that is their self-declared reality that everyone else is supposed to buy in to. What was it about the Emperor having no clothes???? 😉

      • yalensis says:

        (A) MILF of course stands for “Muslims I’d Like To Friend” [on Facebook].

        (B) The bomb going off in the hotel room is an instance of the phenomenon known as “occupational hazzard”, which occurs when CIA-funded terrorists utilize the mini-bar in their hotel rooms, get drunk, and mishandle explosives which are meant to kill hundreds of innocent people at a more convenient location.

        • marknesop says:

          I may be crossing a line here, but we carried a female Padre with us in HMCS REGINA when we did the Hong Kong/Singapore/Saigon cruise in 2008. She was known (privately) as the PILF.

          I like to think of it as a compliment. She was (and is) very attractive and had a nice figure, but she would have been safe ashore with any member of the crew or any combination of members. She was very well-liked and often invited herself along on outings ashore, although she avoided the bar scene, understandably. She had a baby since (she’s married) and plumped up a little, but she’s still good-looking and the same nice person she always was.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Aaaargh!

          There’s that US habit of making a noun a verb when there’s already a verb available for the job.

          What’s wrong with “to befriend”?

          Answer: you cannot create the acronym MILF using “befriend”.

          🙂

          • marknesop says:

            ‘Friend’ is a Facebook term, meaning, ‘grant me (or someone) the status of a friend by selecting ‘friend’ associated with my contact information’. Thence, ‘friend’ me. I never really thought much about it, but you’re right – it’s a non-verb, and should not be used that way. For some reason it doesn’t irritate me the way ‘snuck’ does. You know, it’s amazing how insidiously that non-word has burrowed its way into the lexicon. The little ‘un and I just finished reading the last of the series, “The Magic Thief”, by Sarah Prineas; we read to her every night. Ms. Prineas is an American, from Iowa, and although her writing is extremely enjoyable, it is liberally sprinkled with ‘snuck’ instead of ‘sneaked’. It’s quite an exercise for me to read aloud at normal conversational speed and spot that word in the sentence in time to replace it with the proper term without breaking cadence.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              “To burglarize” bugs me, as in “His apartment was burglerized”” — by a burglerizer?

              What’s wrong with “to burgle” and “His apartment was burgled?

              • marknesop says:

                I never found associations comfortable with the word “burglar’. Although probably correct, ‘burgled’ sounds as odd a construct to me as ‘burglarized’ (neither of which registers a correction according to Word, so both must be correct), and I would say ‘His apartment was robbed’. That’s part of my objection to ‘snuck’; apart from it sounding ignorant to me, I just don’t like the sound of it.

                • Jen says:

                  My understanding is that “rob” and “burgle” have slightly different meanings. Robbing someone or the bank involves force and/or the threat of violence. Burgling a place (note that people are not burgled, only places) suggests that stealth or sleight of hand may be involved in entering the place where you have no right to be, in order to steal something. Some legal systems define “burglary” and “robbery” as two very different activities and the punishments for burglary and robbery are different.

                  “Burgle” is the verb used in Britain, Australia and New Zealand and “burglarize” is the North American term. Both verbs are correct.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  The difference between robbery and burglary is several years.

                  If you get sent down for burglary in the UK, you are in the slammer for a few years, because their Lordships reckon that if you break into a dwelling place/premises at night, then you are willing to offer violence against the sleeping residents/security men.

                  House-breaking, on the other hand, means in and out of a window in daylight.

                  Armed robbery, it goes without saying, means they throw away the key.

                  The “Great Train Robbers” got 30-odd years in the ’60s.

                  Thieving bastard bankers and fat-cat executives no doubt find all of this rather droll.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Oh, I forgot to mention above: I have always been led to believe that a key element to burglary is that the illegal entering of premises with the intent to steal off a person or persons or to rob the premises is that the offence takes place between half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise.

                  I have shared accommodation with several convicted burglars, and that is what they have told me.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                What about “hospitalize” for “to admit to hospital”?

                Russian has a suffix that functions like -ize, in that it is often used to make verbs from imported words. The suffix is -овать/евать (-ovat’/-evat’), so you can get бойкотировать (boikotirovat’) from “to boycott”.

                Very useful suffix.

                A pal of mine (a Glaswegian) used to speak a kind of pidgin Russian using that suffix, e.g. “Fuckoffirovat’, will ya?”

                Mind you, nobody had a clue about what he was saying..

          • yalensis says:

            There is a trend in American English to turn nouns into verbs.
            On Facebook you “friend” somebody, or “un-friend” somebody (when you don’t like them any more).
            My boss at work sends me an email saying that he has an “ask” of me. Instead of a “request”.
            Everybody around me is starting to talk like that now, it’s kind of scary, like they all turned into pod people. Any day now, instead of somebody saying, “I snuck away,” I expect them to come out with, “I took a sneak away.”

  6. Special_sauce says:

    Forget where this popped through the tubes, but it wasn’t The Saker https://southfront.org/leaked-documents-implicate-ukraine-in-mh17-shoot-down/

    • marknesop says:

      Not much to pay, really, if the documents can be authenticated from the pictures. It might be worth the price for historical reasons. But I can’t imagine how the vendor thinks he will get the money without being tracked down and eliminated. Either way, I’m sure Kiev will have its denials ready – look for a power spike at the StopFake offices.

    • yalensis says:

      Yup. Muzhenko needed BUK anti-air to defend Ukrainian territory against Strelkov’s flying bomber jets.

    • Jen says:

      Can these documents be proven authentic though? Seems strange to me that they can be traded publicly for such small amounts. Might this auction not be a ploy to discredit those of us who believe the Ukrainian military is to blame for the shoot-down?

      There is still the issue that eyewitness accounts apparently did not report hearing the SA-11 missile being launched or seeing the smoke trails it should have left behind but instead emphasise the presence of two fighter jets near the Boeing 777.

  7. Moscow Exile says:

    “Transneft” is stopping exports through the Baltic States until 2018

    Транснефть” до 2018 года прекратит экспорт через Прибалтику

    MOSCOW, 12 Sep — RIA Novosti. “Transneft” plans to stop exports through the ports of the Baltic States until 2018 , said the head of “Transneft”, Nikolai Tokarev, at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    “If last year (in the Baltics) there was handled about 9 million tonnes of oil products, then this year it has been 5 million tonnes. In the coming years we will reduce the traffic in the area of the Baltic States to zero by 2018. Any surplus capacity we will be uploading to our own ports”, said Tokarev.

    The head of Transneft said that in accordance with government instructions, the company will redirect the flow of oil from Baltic ports of Ventspils and Riga to the Russian ports of Ust-Luga, Primorsk and Novorossiysk.

    The tightening of the screw?

    • marknesop says:

      I recommend the headline reflect Transneft is stopping exports through the Baltics states by 2018 rather than until 2018. The latter implies it is temporary while the story suggests it will be a progressive and final arrangement. I can’t wait to see the Baltic reaction. Since their more energetic squealing in support of the western agenda, their Russian shipping activity has dried up, and now this. Just like Ukraine, they will be looking to their European partners for business to make up for what their mouths cost them.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Right!

        My error.

        Literally “up to 2018”, meaning “by that time” everything will be nothing but a fond memory of Russian munificence.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          The Vzglyad headline below makes the situation absolutely clear:

          Транснефть заявила о намерении полностью отказаться от услуг портов Прибалтики

          Transneft has announced its intention to completely refuse the services of Baltic State ports

          Транснефть собирается до конца 2017 года отказаться от экспорта через порты Прибалтики, грузопоток будет перенаправлен через российские порты, где есть профицит мощностей, сообщил глава компании Николай Токарев в ходе встречи с президентом Владимиром Путиным.

          , Transneft is going to give up exporting through Baltic ports by the end of 2017.Oil flow will be routed through Russian ports where there is surplus capacity, said company head Nikolai Tokarev during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            So it’s “Goodbye, Baltic States — and thanks for all the sprats!”

              • yalensis says:

                That Flipper guy is a real cut-up.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  And the sprats in the supermarkets here come from Kalingrad: no different at all to Riga sprats: same fish from the same sea.


                  Memel Sprats
                  Smoked in oil

                  Deutsche Sprotten?

                  In actual fact, Memel has been known as Klaipeda since 1945 and is no loner situated in the German Reich: likewise Königsberg, which is now Kaliningrad. .

                  No matter. I am very partial to the little rascals.

                • marknesop says:

                  As am I; when we went to the beach at Dalnegorsk for a picnic lunch we would always take little sandwiches made of a split roll with a slice of Russian cheese and a couple of those little sprats on top. Very tasty.

                • yalensis says:

                  How can you say that the Kaliningrad fish taste the same as the Riga fish?
                  Sure, they swim around in the same sea, but there is an invisible barrier.
                  Freedom Fish have a different taste than Totalitarian Fish.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Yes, you are absolutely correct, yalensis, for although there is no apparent difference in taste between Riga and Kalingrad sprats, I have to hold up my hands and confess that the latter always have a scowling visage, whereas the former always have a beaming smile on their little faces, as though they wish to say “Hi!” to everyone. That’s because the unhappy Kalingrad sprats yearn to swim in freedom’s waters and to be caught there and smoked on freedom’s shores and canned in oil by free and equal citizens of a free country.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Ach, du lieber Gott!!!!

                  Königsberg heißt Kaliningrad!

                  Ich habe Kalingrad oben geschrieben.

                  Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
                  Über alles in der Welt,
                  Wenn es stets zu Schutz und Trutze
                  Brüderlich zusammenhält.
                  Von der Maas bis an Klaipeda,
                  Von der Etsch bis an den Belt,
                  Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
                  Über alles in der Welt!

                • Jen says:

                  @ Yalensis: Yes, Freedom Fish has a distinct overly saccharine taste whereas Totalitarian Fish registers on taste buds as bitter or sour.

                  Over time, too much consumption of Freedom Fish, especially when fried in batter and served with Freedom Fries and diet sodas chock full of high fructose corn syrup, results in obesity and internal inflammation leading to the usual chronic metabolic conditions like Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

                • marknesop says:

                  Inflammation? Pah. I take Prednisone for that. Good for my tennis game, too.

      • Jen says:

        I was going to say that the governments of the Baltic states were to blame for this situation of continually lambasting Russia as an aggressor intent on reclaiming a lost empire until I read further and saw that PolitRussia had made a similar point. I would say though that a significant proportion of the population in those countries has no say in choosing their leaders if they are disenfranchised from voting because they can’t speak the official languages of those countries and are denied opportunities to learn to speak and to read those languages.

        The worsening economic crisis in the Baltic nations will only drive them further into becoming one huge military barracks. If income from transit fees, manufacturing and the financial industries associated with those activities dries up, the only money that will come into those countries will be NATO spending on military bases and whatever money foreign soldiers will spend on “entertainment”.

        • marknesop says:

          That’s possible, but it seems more likely to me that the population decline and hemorrhaging of working-age youth will accelerate until they are empty ghetto states that nobody wants. Ditto Ukraine – its greedy government is slow to realize that the bill to fix it went past affordable about two years ago, and everybody is busy trying not to be the last one holding it.

    • et Al says:

      The tightening of the screw?

      Shakespeare?

      Is this a pipeline I see before me?

      To pipe, or not to pipe, tis not the question.

      If oil be the food of love, pipe on. и.т.д.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I don’t think it’s from Shakespeare’s works: just an idiomatic expression meaning to increase the pressure when coercing.

        But a “screw” in the UK is also a prison officer. The term “screw” for prison officers could have arisen from the Victorian slang for “key” and also from the use of thumbscrews in mediaeval England.

  8. marknesop says:

    Apropos of nothing but entertainment, check out smoking Russian aerobatic pilot Svetlana Kapanina as she flings her smoking prop job around the sky.

  9. Warren says:

    Charlie Hebdo sued by quake-hit Amatrice over cartoon

    An Italian town heavily hit by last month’s earthquake is taking legal action against Charlie Hebdo, after it portrayed victims as pasta dishes.

    Je suis Charlie…eh? Sensitive bunch these Eyties are.

  10. Warren says:

    Published on 12 Sep 2016
    A new deal: a ray of hope for Syria? And, is Russia really trying to manipulate American elections? Also, Ukraine’s dark present and Gfuture. Finally, the optics of G20.
    CrossTalking with Dmitry Babich, Mark Sleboda, and Marcus Papadopoulos.

  11. Warren says:

    Trivializing Genocide: A Dangerous Distraction

    What do the Polish Sejm and the Donetsk People’s Republic have in common? They’ve both contributed to the ongoing transformation of genocide into a term that has come to stand for little more than deplorable acts of violence.

    On July 22, the Polish Sejm declared that the killing in 1943 by Ukrainian nationalists of “over 100,000” Polish citizens in Volhynia, in Ukraine’s northwest, was a genocide. On June 2, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the self-styled head of the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, stated that “The public of Donbass initiates an appeal to the international organisations to stop the genocide of the people of Donbas by the Ukrainian authorities….”

    Did Ukrainians commit a Holocaust-like mass killing in Volhynia? Are they pursuing a Holocaust-like policy of extermination in eastern Ukraine? In my view, the answer to both questions has to be no if we want genocide to designate an exceptional heinous crime. In contrast, the current legal definition embraces an array of wrongs that do not measure up to what many scholars and other experts consider to be genuine genocide.

    http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/alexander-j-motyl/trivializing-genocide-dangerous-distraction

    Should have posted this last month, nevertheless, the Polish-Ukrainian honeymoon was always going to come to an abrupt end. With the right wing populist new Polish government, I expect more actions from the new Polish government that will aggravate relations with Ukraine further. the historical cracks that have been papered over all in the name of “a united front against Russia” are becoming more visible.

    • marknesop says:

      I’ll bet that if Kiev had been invaded by the Easterners, shelled and bombed and assaulted with armor and artillery and battlefield rocket systems, and thousands of innocent non-combatants killed, Motyl would be quite ready to call it a genocide. He’s always prepared to be detached and objective when the subject is deaths of people he cares nothing about.

      • kirill says:

        NATzO’s propaganda chorus media was routinely using the word genocide in the context of ex-Yugoslavia and Chechnya. Motyl can shove his creative fiction up his chauvinist ass.

    • yalensis says:

      I’m not so sure about Donbass, but the Volhynia massacres certainly quality as “genocide”. These massacres meet every possible Nuremberg and ohter legal criteria, including criminal intent..
      The Banderites were very clear that their intent was to remove the Polish population, in order to guarantee that these areas would become majority ethnic Ukrainian.

      Random violence does not qualify as genocide. Nor even tit-for-tat type criminal actions: “You burned my village down, so I will burn yours.”
      The true litmus test is not just violent actions, or even the horrific nature of the crimes, but also intent.

      In conclusion: by every possible legal standard, the Volhynia massacres qualify as intentional genocide directed against the Polish population on behalf of Ukrainian nationalists. The Poles are absolutely right in this matter.

      • kirill says:

        The Kiev regime has expressed the intent to exterminate or drive out the “klaty moskali” from holy Banderastan. So the term genocide applies to the Donbas as well even if the Banderoids have not succeeded in killing or ethnically cleansing millions. This lack of progress towards their goal of genocide is thanks to the Novorussian army and Russia which backs it. The Kiev regime maggots deserve to hang regardless.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Radovan Karadžić was convicted for the Srebrenica “genocide” among other things. The victims were only men of military age and were killed trying to flee advancing Serb forces. Undoubtedly, there was field justice for these radical Islamists. To call that military action a genocide is absurd. Given that the local Serb population was subject to a true genocide for several preceding years places the event in proper context. Here is more info:

        http://srebrenica-project.com/

        • yalensis says:

          Agreed. I don’t see how any legal definition could call “Srebrenica” a genocide. At the least, like you say, “field justice”; at the most, an “excess”.
          “Excesses” are not even the same as genocide.
          Real genocide involves both intent to remove an entire people, and so usually involves the murder of women and children as well as military-age men.
          The Serb militias did NOT go after women and children.

  12. Northern Star says:

    Et tu WaPo????

    “Americans on both the left and the right, feeling (accurately) that the economy has left them behind while the government is deaf to their concerns, are fed up with the kind of insider politics she embodies—
    They recognize that the system is rigged against them, empowering the few while leaving millions in massive debt without health coverage, livable wages, savings for retirement, or job security. They are demanding greater accountability, transparency, and action from their government.
    This shift is why it is the former Secretary is seen as dishonest, and has made strange bedfellows of her opponents on the left and the right. It is not unusual to see progressives and Donald Trump supporters sharing the same videos, retweeting the same tweets, and following the same lines of criticism against Clinton. The same underlying problems fueled the rise of both the Republican candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders. In fact, there are policy overlaps between Sanders and Trump.”

    https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/09/hillary-clinton-is-donald-trumps-ideal-opponent-an.html

    Yup!!!!!!

  13. Warren says:

  14. Warren says:

    Published on 12 Sep 2016
    Catalans have taken to the streets of five cities for rallies aimed at speeding up the process breakaway from Spain. Demonstrators carried national flags with some of them wearing traditional Catalan clothes or T-shirts bearing pro-independence slogans.

  15. PaulR says:

    Due to the start of the academic year, I’ve been rather silent here of late, as also on my own blog. But The Spectator has incited me to action with this piece of paranoid Russophobia, which might be of interest to you all: http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/09/what-is-behind-vladimir-putins-curious-interest-in-mount-athos/ I have written a reply on my blog here: https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2016/09/12/beans-cabbage-courgettes-and-olives/

  16. ucgsblog says:

    Rasmussen’s claim that “America First” is wrong is not well received in America: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/doug-bandow/more-evidence-nato-is-pas_b_11981704.html

    The irony is that Rasmussen can bash Russia, or criticize Trump to his heart’s content, but he cannot criticize the America First Movement, since that is the new trend in Foreign Policy. When he does that, Rasmussen sounds like an grumpy old man telling the kids “in mah day…”

    Sure enough, there’s going to be pushback. For instance:

    “If the Europeans are so unfaithful that their loyalty can be procured only by a promise to relieve them of the burden of defending themselves, Americans are better off leaving now. Yet Rasmussen is prepared to be quite generous with U.S. lives. He criticizes Donald Trump’s “America first” slogan as being “out of touch with what is actually the role of the United States,” which is “the world’s leader.” As a superpower America “has special obligations. As the world’s only superpower, you cannot afford to say ‘America first’.” Really? Rasmussen believes that Washington has “a special obligation to maintain the world order and promote peace.” Indeed, it is America’s “destiny” to lead. (I keep hearing Darth Vader in Star Wars telling Luke Skywalker that it is his destiny to join the former on the dark side of the Force.) If the U.S. does not act as a world leader, then “weaker powers will try to exercise their regional influence,” such as Russia, China, and ISIS. This sounds like the practiced cant of a con-man who knows flattery is the surest means to success.”

    Ouch! This might be dismissed as Bandow being Bandow, but in the article, he is, quite accurately, summarizing the views of the new US Foreign Policy. Bandow is, surprisingly, and in a good way, on a roll:

    “Moreover, Rasmussen presumes that Washington officials are capable of discerning potential disasters in advance, acting swiftly and smartly to defuse impending conflicts, showing uncommon understanding in developing solutions, and steadfastly imposing and enforcing settlements. Really? What American intervention gives rise to such a hope? Vietnam? Iraq? Somalia? Haiti? Libya? Kosovo? Yemen? Afghanistan? The results have been uniformly bad, often disastrous, leading to successive interventions to fix problems created by the previous effort. Better a few “boiling conflicts” than to be constantly scalded while unsuccessfully trying to hold down the lid. Nevertheless, America must be the global policeman since “We don’t have any other,” declared Rasmussen. The cost to Americans obviously doesn’t matter.”

    Reread that last line: “The cost to Americans obviously doesn’t matter.” That’s biting criticism. Americans believe that America is special, but that does not mean that America’s resources are infinite. By listing Vietnam first, Bandow projects that the interventions have been a disaster. And could anyone objectively argue otherwise? The only counterargument that is there, is for Afghanistan, but let’s look at that from the US perspective: Americans want results. Afghanistan hasn’t yielded anything conclusive, despite billions of dollars and countless lives lost. Ergo, it’s a failure.

    If you read the article, and I encourage it, you’d know that by this point Bandow has proverbially beaten Rasmussen into a submission, and is setting up for the knockout punch; again, the key takeaway is that this is how most Americans feel about Foreign Policy, and one must not forget that US Voters played a key role against Intervention in Syria:

    “The fact that someone with Rasmussen’s extreme and unrealistic views played an influential role in NATO is another argument against the alliance. Indeed, people like him help explain the rise of people like Trump.”

    Relevant:

    After the knockout punch, Bandow provides a superb summary:

    “Policing the globe is not America’s job. Protecting the interest of wealthy allies like Denmark and other European states is not America’s job. Sacrificing its people’s lives and wealth to suppress tragic but irrelevant conflicts around the globe is not America’s job. Washington should focus on the defense of the U.S.—its people, territory, system of ordered liberties, and property. What that requires will change over time as circumstances evolve. But America’s mandate begins with America, not Denmark or anywhere else.”

    Mind you, he’s not a Trump fan. He just wants a Realistic Foreign Policy, one that can be executed.

  17. marknesop says:

    Google is skewing its searches so that searches for Hillary Clinton almost invariably generate positive suggestions. Look at the difference between Google and Bing and Yahoo. Interesting.

    • ucgsblog says:

      Silicon Valley is generally pro-Democrat. They’re now using their power to trick the taxpayer into paying for their pet causes, such as overturning Citizens United. I wouldn’t be surprised if Google went all out in favor of the Clintons. The degree of polarization is absurd.

      • marknesop says:

        You’ll be lucky if absurd is all it turns out to be. Elections in the USA have been growing steadily more polarizing, part of that deliberate and caused by increasingly negative advertising. The first time I noticed that, I thought I had stumbled onto some kind of satire; I think it was a campaign to recall Governor Gray Davis. It was amazing to me to hear that kind of character assassination, that level of accusation in a public forum without anything which would meet the standard of proof in a court of law, although some or all of it may have been true. That sort of stuff is quaint now, and nothing about the candidate’s private life is left unexplored, whether relevant or not.

        Consequently, the election is guaranteed to result in victory for a candidate who is loathed by roughly half the electorate, which has been systematically educated that the winner is completely unacceptable for public office but attained it anyway by lying, cheating and marketing an image of himself/herself which is totally at odds with the reality of their unsavory and possibly criminal character. Once Americans who were disappointed on election day just sucked it up, and switched their desires to the respect the office is due regardless who holds it. We have drifted away from that acceptance at an alarming rate, and people who feel they were cheated at the ballot box are furious at the new leader but – more importantly – furious at all their fellow Americans who voted against their candidate. Given the character assassination which now passes as campaigning in America (and elsewhere), that is inevitable.

  18. Patient Observer says:

    Can any new ship suck worse than this?

    https://sputniknews.com/us/20160912/1045240576/us-navy-lcs-program.html

    According to US Navy spokeswoman Lt. Kara Yingling, the overhaul [of the LCS fleet] is not connected to previous mechanical failures. The newly-announced plan, however, calls for the first four of the current six ships to be permanently anchored, acting as installations for crew training and technology testing.

    An initial plan, to rotate three crews through two ships, with one crew ashore, also proved unworkable. Instead, the Navy will now use the submarine fleet practice of swapping two crews (“blue” and “gold”) for each ship.

    There are deeper structural changes as well. Initially, the ships were intended to be modular. It was previously supposed that each ship would carry a combat module specifically designed for one of three predetermined ship mission scenarios (anti-surface, anti-submarine or anti-mine), which could be quickly swapped for another. Each module was intended to have a unique crew that would be added to LCS’s general crew. The two crews would operate on a single ship, focusing on their own tasks. This plan has been scrapped, and each ship will now have a single combat module and crew.

    The LCS seems to suffer from the same ill-fated design concept of multi-use as the F-35. And this is a shocker as well per wikipedia:

    A report in 2010 by the Pentagon’s director of Operational Test and Evaluation found that neither design was expected to “be survivable in a hostile combat environment” and that neither ship could withstand the Navy’s full ship shock trials.[14] The Navy responded that the LCS is built to a Level 1+ survivability standard and that the ships will rely on warnings from networks and speed to avoid being hit, or if hit be able to limp to safety.[15][16] Jonathan Greenert said that the crew would “conduct an orderly abandon ship” if their ship was struck by enemy fire,

    Meanwhile the nation that can not build anything is launching its own modular LCS:

    Mistakhov noted that Project 22160 is the first of its kind based on the principles of modular construction, allowing the vessels to interchange equipment and armaments based on tasks at hand.

    The Russian ship is about half the weight and seems to pack considerably more firepower such as the Kaliber missile. There is a darn good chance it will not end up permanently anchored like its American counterpart.

  19. Patient Observer says:

    This is weird – Hilary ejected a small metal object as she staggered toward her ambulance-like van.

    • Jen says:

      Looked like an earplug attached to a cord dropping out of her pants leg..

      • Patient Observer says:

        I don’t mean to be facetious but in her pants? I was thinking, as improbably as it ma seem, some type of medical apparatus; perhaps providing injections of a stimulant or medication of some sort.

        • Jen says:

          I had another look and I can see the object is actually a shiny cylindrical tube. Talk is that the object is a metal clip used to secure a catheter or a colostomy bag.

          I saw also that her minder with the Epipen is standing right against the van holding the door open.

        • marknesop says:

          Hard to say; it looked about the size of a coin but I couldn’t make out any shape. And it might have fallen from anywhere – it appeared to have come out of her pants leg but the definition isn’t great and the guy who helped her when she almost went over like a wooden Indian might have had it in his hand and dropped it. No matter, really – the state of her health and her fitness to be president because of it have just taken center stage, and it will take one hell of a lot of spin to convince people she is capable of keeping up this kind of pace for four years without turning her toes up.

          • yalensis says:

            If Hillary is elected and dies in office, then Tim Kaine (her running mate) will be the new Prez. I reckon.
            I still think Trump is going to win, though.
            And I just googled Trump’s running mate, some guy named Mike Pence, whom I never heard of.

            • Patient Observer says:

              Trump may win the popular vote but will never be President. Voting fraud, “accident” or a lone gunman/woman will ensure such.

            • Patient Observer says:

              The video was apparently shot by a bystander. You would think that the MSM would have been following both candidates at this highly public and photo-worthy event. Yet their apparent complete absence shows, let say, an odd lapse in their wall-to-wall coverage of Hilary. The collusion of MSM with Hilary is more apparent than ever.

              • marknesop says:

                I read that the traveling press pack had been made to wait in the press area and was not allowed out to follow her, but that may have been associated with a different incident.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  The obvious intention was to minimize media exposure of the incident. The MSM probably did not protest and their nose for news went numb. If not for the video taken the the bystander, the severity if not the entire incident would have been denied and dutiful reported per the HRC press release by the MSM.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Might have been a mini-vibrator.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Makes sense. After blowing up the SpaceX rocket, Putin infiltrated Hilary’s support group and added Polonium to her hot chi.

    • marknesop says:

      As the popular phrase would have it, the US Media has become a caricature of itself. Now when something happens, it looks around for someone, anyone with a professional qualification who will frame in words the story they want to tell. I’m kind of sorry for the USA, that it has come to this, and is such a global embarrassment. I’m not familiar with this particular paper and it’s probably little more than a tabloid, and there are lots of rational Americans who know how crazy that headline is, but the reality of the pandering to the witless and television-addled is a disgrace.

  20. Warren says:

    Published on 13 Sep 2016
    Col. Lawrence Wilkerson says there is a temporary convergence of various powers to have a ceasefire, but the Israeli leadership thinks that an endless war serves its interests

  21. et Al says:

    Neuters: Ukraine says prepared to hold ‘good faith’ talks with Russia on $3 billion debt
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-crisis-russia-debt-idUSKCN11I2F7

    …Russia, which filed a lawsuit against Ukraine at London’s High Court in February demanding repayment of the Eurobond, said earlier on Monday it was ready for an out of court settlement.

    “In accordance with Ukraine’s obligations under the current IMF program – particularly regarding ‘good faith’ talks with the Russian Federation on the claimed debt, Ukraine is prepared to enter into further talks for the possible resolution of the dispute,” Ukrainian Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk was quoted as saying by his press service in emailed comments…

    ####

    This elicited and immediate snigger from me.

    Russia is handling this like pros. They giveth, and they taketh away. At will. Beautiful leverage. If Kiev puts a toe out of place or goes large in the east, they’ll be triggering themselves in to oblivion.

  22. et Al says:

    Alert 5: F-15Cs in the first joint NATO air policing mission in Bulgaria
    http://alert5.com/2016/09/11/f-15cs-in-the-first-joint-nato-air-policing-mission-in-bulgaria/#more-57132

    ####

    And Borisov will get his pipeline from Russia too. Not.

  23. Patient Observer says:

    US police fired for not killing a man (don’t worry, his backup did):

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2016/09/12/west-virginia-cop-fired-for-not-killing-a-man-with-an-unloaded-gun/?utm_term=.13b2fa76ad34

    After responding to a report of a domestic incident on May 6 in Weirton, W.Va., then-Weirton police officer Stephen Mader found himself confronting an armed man.
    Immediately, the training he had undergone as a Marine to look at “the whole person” in deciding if someone was a terrorist, as well as his situational police academy training, kicked in and he did not shoot.
    “I saw then he had a gun, but it was not pointed at me,” Mr. Mader recalled, noting the silver handgun was in the man’s right hand, hanging at his side and pointed at the ground.
    Mr. Mader, who was standing behind Mr. Williams’ car parked on the street, said he then “began to use my calm voice.”
    “I told him, ‘Put down the gun,’ and he’s like, ‘Just shoot me.’ And I told him, ‘I’m not going to shoot you brother.’ Then he starts flicking his wrist to get me to react to it.

    “I thought I was going to be able to talk to him and deescalate it. I knew it was a suicide-by-cop” situation.

    His backup arrived and promptly killed the man (his gun was not loaded). Mader was fired for placing the live of other cops in danger. Words fail me.

  24. PaulR says:

    The Daily Telegraph discovers that you can have fun in Mordor: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/russia/articles/can-russia-work-as-a-family-holiday/

    ‘After lunch in GUM, we took the Metro to Park Kultury to visit Gorky Park. It was a blazing summer day. The park has been given a £1 billion makeover and now has its own contemporary art gallery, Garage, designed by Rem Koolhaas, and funded by Chelsea-owner Roman Abramovich. Giant cushions were scattered throughout the park on which we could sprawl. We bought and ate the special variety of buttery Russian vanilla ice cream known as plombir. The boating lake was surrounded by an artificial beach. Young families frolicked by its fountains.

    My children stared fascinatedly at the Russian children around them. The revamped Gorky Park corresponds to no received idea about Putin’s Russia. It is fun, well-run, imaginative, welcoming.’

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I wonder in what way the Russian children fascinated them — that they had one head, two arms and two legs etc?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Still the same old Telegraph shite, though:

      What finally swung it for me was the “Putin discount”: a drop in the value of the rouble thanks to the president’s adventurist foreign policy. This has made things considerably cheaper; nice hotels are suddenly in my price range. Even Moscow, whose economy is inflated by oil and gas money, is now more affordable.

      However, US regime-change policy and its repeated failures and terrible costs in lives and suffering is by no means “adventurist”.

    • Fern says:

      The writers of these sort of pieces drive me nuts. I’ve never travelled anywhere (that’s anywhere spelt ANYWHERE) without encountering officials ranging from the grumpy to the downright rude (and in some places utterly corrupt), drunks of various shades of aggressiveness, folk with pharmaceutical problems, pick-pockets, dodgy accomodation etc. Such things are not specifically Russian problems but the occassional lot of most travellers. The local evening paper I pick up on my way home usually has stories throughout the summer of hapless tourists who’ve been expertly separated from their valuables by our home-grown gangs of ne’er-do-wells. I’ve never heard such things mentioned as an integral part of ‘May’s Britain’ or held up as confirmatory evidence of how awful life is in the UK.

      It’s good the author and his family had a great time in Russia but I’m not sure the general tone of his ‘here be dragons’ narrative means we are any nearer to Russia being treated as just another country – some things are good, some less so, you know, pretty much like anywhere else.

      • marknesop says:

        What always gets me are the allusions to Cold-War propaganda which displayed happy people and sparkling situations, when you knew reality was concrete-grey and cold and grim. As if what westerners think was so important to Soviet planners that they would build whole city blocks of totally fake prosperity and happiness, just to hoodwink westerners. The whole concept is breathtakingly egotistical.

        I traveled to Russia every summer for five years during the courtship/marriage/awaiting immigration of the missus, and the process was always the same; a little more complicated for me than for the average citizen, I think, because of the requirement to supply a complete itinerary with your leave request when traveling (as a military man) to a ‘scheduled country’. The secret is to have someone on the inside – a friend, relative or acquaintance to help you. The missus located an agency which supplies the letter of invitation, and books your hotel. You use the letter of invitation to get your Visa. The process is much different now, as it has been outsourced to a commercial concern. But at the time, 2000-2005, I sent my passport to the Visa section of the Russian Embassy in Ottawa, together with my letter of invitation (which was emailed to me and only had to be printed, and nothing but politeness and kindness from the young ladies at the agency) and my completed Visa application, and got back my passport in the mail with the Visa already affixed in it.

        The Visa process specified that you must stay in a hotel and be duly registered therein within 3 days of arrival. The invitation agency had an arrangement with the hotel, and you must book and pay for at least one night. But I never stayed there. I made it clear up front that I would pay for the room for one night but that it would be empty and they were free to rent it to someone else if they wished – the missus had taken an apartment for us in Vladivostok. We would pop around within three days to get the hotel to register my passport, which they did without a murmur; once we just sent the passport into town with a friend with whom we were staying for a day or two. No problem. The only time I ever had any kind of hassle was the one time I did not get the Visa stamped by the hotel; we had registered as usual, but you have to go back before leaving to get the hotel to stamp your visa to verify you stayed there while in Russia. We were a bit pressed for time and airport security had not even looked at it on departure the last couple of times, so I decided to skip it. They were a bit unhappy with me, and I had to pay a small fine, about $50.00. Other than that, no problem, and I imagine it is simpler – or was – for non-military.

    • marknesop says:

      How is all this possible when Russia is isolated and its economy is tanking?

  25. J.T. says:

    Prof. Stephen F. Cohen and Masha Gessen appear on CNN to discuss Putin, Trump and the 2016 campaign. That’s rare.

    • et Al says:

      Cohen shut down Gessen coherently, clearly and quickly. I guess Gessen is much more used to sympathetic interviewers and echo chambers who allow her to waffle-on with inanities and opinion dressed as fact, applauded for just about any sound that comes out of her mouth.. It really is a great example of how defenseless such personalities of ‘the Russian opposition’ are without their krew and why they are totally *#*(#ng useless. Instead of offering a coherent set of policies and a sensible political platform, they’re like a bunch of poo flinging infants because that’s what gets them airtime, particularly in the West. And they did it to themselves. Clueless, not poo-less.

      • et Al says:

        It’s 506 years since:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Rome#Russian_claims

        …The idea of Muscovy as heir to Rome crystallized with a panegyric letter composed by the Russian monk Philotheus (Filofey) of Pskov in 1510 to their son Grand Duke Vasili III, which proclaimed, “Two Romes have fallen. The third stands. And there will be no fourth. No one shall replace your Christian Tsardom!” Contrary to the common misconception, Filofey[6] explicitly identifies Third Rome with Muscovy (the country) rather than with Moscow (the city), although the term “Muscovy” was considered synonymous with the Russian lands at the time. Somewhat notably, Moscow is placed on seven hills, as were Rome and Constantinople.

    • marknesop says:

      About 8 seconds of Masha was all I could take, and I had to stop watching at the point she said Putin murders his opponents and that this had been proven beyond any doubt by a British court. Before that, the moderator billed her as having been, when she lived there, ‘the only publicly-‘out’ gay person in Russia”, which was such a fucking ridiculous statement that I almost threw the computer across the room. Just before exiting the screen, I saw Cohen sort of smiling, and it might have been worth sticking with it to see what he had to say, but I just couldn’t do it. I realize they are not in the same room or even the same city, but I would not have been able to stop myself from lunging at her; at a very minimum, rather than smiling, I would have been busily scribbling “Masha is a lying twat” on a piece of paper so I could hold it up to the camera.

      The most encouraging thing about the liberal Russian opposition is that it employs leathery touts like Gessen to sell its message.

      • et Al says:

        She completely wasted precious airtime with her inanities and offered absolutely nothing of note in any analytical sense. I guess we won’t be seeing this paring again unless CNN becomes PNN (Putin News Network).

  26. et Al says:

    Syria fired a couple of S-200 sams at Israeli aircraft/drones yesterday. Apparently that is the first time they have done this. Much speculation. I guess that it is a good way to highlight that whilst this agreement between the US & Russia appears to have covered everything, Israeli actions don’t seem to be part of it. It’s not as if they listen to Washington, so the action against Israeli whatevers may be to highlight its spoiler factor. Who knows, it may not only be Turkey, ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever who would be tempted in to carrying out a massive false flag attack to kill the deal, but also Israel. Everyone has skin in this game.

  27. et Al says:

    Via Moon of Alabama commenter:

    RT.com: WADA allowed Williams sisters & gymnast Biles to take banned substances – leaked files
    https://www.rt.com/sport/359215-wada-substances-williams-biles/

    A hacktivist group claims it has uncovered files that show top American athletes including Serena Williams and Simone Biles took banned substances – although their respective sporting federations responded by saying the athletes did not break any rules.

    The allegations were published on the website of the hacktivist group Fancy Bear, which described the revelations as being “just the tip of the iceberg.”…
    ####

    We’ll see, considering that there it is allowed to take certain supposedly banned drugs under strict conditions (as mentioned in the piece), but the real damage could be that it shows WADA treats some sportspeople as more equal than others and that would further spread the suspicion that they are bent and politically malleable (which they are).

    • marknesop says:

      ‘Fancy Bear’ being, of course, Russian hackers, which will only help WADA with its pleas that it is just trying to get the word out honestly about what’s really going on, but is swamped by Kremlin political maneuvering which possibly heralds an attempt to take over the world.

      Which will, in turn, immediately compel widespread disbelief in the west unless the information is so solid that there is no disbelieving it. And that’s hard to imagine when large western sports organizations are almost mafia-like in their secrecy and loyalty.

      • TruthSeeker says:

        Fancy Bear say that the release is just “a tip of the iceberg”. It’ll be fun if they keep publishing new material every day for a year, let’s say. If they had a private emails of WADA bigwigs conspiring against Russia, that would nail it.

        • marknesop says:

          So selected American athletes were given a pass to use banned substances because their use was ‘therapeutic’. But eastern-European athletes were sandbagged with a meldonium ban when the manufacturer argued it was not performance-enhancing, and WADA declined to prove it was.

          I see Travis Tygart is screaming for an international reaction to this hacking. Don’t forget, he’s a lawyer. He knows how bad this is.

          WADA’s statement is out – particularly amusing is DG Niggli’s sorrowful remonstrance to Russia;

          “WADA condemns these ongoing cyber-attacks that are being carried out in an attempt to undermine WADA and the global anti-doping system,” said Niggli. “WADA has been informed by law enforcement authorities that these attacks are originating out of Russia,” he continued. “Let it be known that these criminal acts are greatly compromising the effort by the global anti-doping community to re-establish trust in Russia further to the outcomes of the Agency’s independent McLaren Investigation Report,” Niggli continued.

          Incredible. By banning the entire Paralympics team although it could not be shown that some of them had ever failed a drug test, by banning world champion Isinbayeva although she had never failed a drug test, by announcing proof beyond a reasonable doubt but not being able to successfully make the link between sample bottles being tampered with – or even proving it could be done – and Russia tampering with them…WADA and the western sports organizations were just trying to restore world trust in Russia!

          Isn’t that precious?

          Just like the DNC and Bernie Sanders – the hackers are criminals and not the people who attempted to conceal criminal acts. WADA plainly allowed the Williams sisters and Biles to take banned substances, on the grounds their use was ‘therapeutic’. Yet they booed Efimova because she took a cold medication.

          • TruthSeeker says:

            Yeah, as usual, they’ll try to obfuscate the real issue by redirecting focus to the hacking itself. But since WADA has proven itself to be a criminal organization, the hacking should qualify as a legitimate investigative technique. If WADA did to the US athletes what they did to Russians, they’d be indicted under RICO statutes long ago.

      • Cortes says:

        No doubt by The Fonz out of Fozzie Bear, as the horse racing commentators would put it.

    • TruthSeeker says:

      Not a peep so far from western “respectable” media so far. I couldn’t find anything on Reuters or AP websites. But damage control is already in full swing. Some former officials from Five Eyes nations – mostly Aussies and Canadians at this point – are twitting inanities about athletes in question given innocent “exemptions” and such. Russians, apparently, simply don’t know how to use legal loopholes to pump their own guys with steroids. Otherwise, it looks like you can take just about anything and be OK, if you have fake doctor’s papers and WADA “exemption”.

      • et Al says:

        It hit the Al-beeb an hour or so ago and is brief:

        Russian hackers leak Simone Biles and Serena Williams files
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-37352326

        • marknesop says:

          USA Today has an hilarious piece on it in which Travis T. Tygart accuses the hackers of ‘cyber-bullying innocent athletes’, slobbers and moans about smearing, and more or less admits that American athletes who seek IOC permission to take drugs which are on the banned list are likely to be approved. That’s ‘doing it right’, and Russians are cheaters because they take drugs without letting the IOC and WADA know about it.

          • TruthSeeker says:

            Oh, you just wait, if God forbid, the US swimmers get implicated. Even Obama will be running with his pants on fire. USADA will manufacture so many retroactive physicians’ prescriptions for made-up illnesses, that they’ll deserve sci-fi awards.

          • kirill says:

            Because Russians are always guilty of something even retroactively as with Meldonium.

            Come on WADA, ban vitamin C. It fits all the criteria of a performance enhancing drug.

            • marknesop says:

              Couldn’t come at a worse time, either; a decision is due next month on Sharapova’s appeal, and lawsuits by individual Russian athletes against WADA will have new impetus – after all its blathering about clean sport, here it is writing exemptions so American athletes (at least; there may be more) can use banned steroids legally. This when the American athletes are almost always huge beside their foreign competitors, and hurdlers look like linebackers. And if American athletes did nothing wrong and asking for an exemption was the above-board way to get to use steroids, why was their special exemption kept deep enough that it took hackers to get at it? So far as I can discover, Serena Williams has never specifically and publicly denied using steroids – she lets the press do it for her.

              “In an interview Tuesday, a complimentary Williams praised Sharapova’s “courage” and “heart” in openly admitting to her failed test. In that same interview, a reporter asked Williams about ‘double standards” because “many believe (Sharapova) is being punished harshly” versus male athletes.

              Serena responded: “To be perfectly honest, I think in sport and in life there always is a double standard. Always. Everyone knows. Whether it’s a race thing or a sex thing, there’s always been a double standard.”

              Williams has been accused dozens of times of using steroids. Did anyone, ever, counter by saying, “Serena takes steroids occasionally, when her doctor feels it is appropriate for therapeutic reasons, and she is granted an exemption which allows her to do so”? I sure don’t remember that.

              There’s also the interesting observation that the older Serena Williams gets, the stronger and faster she gets in a sport where many of the top players have retired in their mid-30’s.

              Finally, there’s this – a suggestion that some of the Therapeutic-Use Exemptions (TUE’s) were signed long after the use occurred. That information appears to have come from here – Ben Rothenberg’s Twitter feed. He’s a freelancer for the New York Times. I don’t know where the substantiation for that is, probably in the documents themselves. Oh, wait – look. If you read further down, there’s a statement there from Williams on ESPN, denying that she ever takes supplements. That’s not denying steroid use, specifically, but she is walking a very careful line.

        • Northern Star says:

          They’re black and female with celebrity status….they could be filmed shootin’ crack,coke and meth…along with shots of anything on here:
          http://sportsanddrugs.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=002037
          Almost certainly…. the race card WILL be played….

      • Chinese American says:

        NYT is spinning away: “Russian Hackers Leak U. S. Star Athletes’ Medical Information”. The title says it all….”Medical information” indeed.
        http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/14/sports/simone-biles-serena-venus-williams-russian-hackers-doping.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

      • kirill says:

        WADA and the rest of the NATzO clowns would never approve such requests from Russians. NATzO is indeed a mafia outfit full of corruption, engaged in rampant cheating on all fronts of human life and foisting its racket on the planet.

  28. et Al says:

    Please sit down for this one.

    EU Observer: EU to launch Ukraine anti-corruption scheme
    https://euobserver.com/enlargement/135045

    …”Commissioner Hahn will meet a number of ministers during the course of his two-day visit in order to discuss progress across a range of reform commitments made by Ukraine. He will visit EU funded projects and will attend the YES conference,” the spokesperson said.

    The anti-corruption scheme is worth €16 million, will take off on 1 January 2017 and span three years.

    It will be based on four pillars: building and developing institutions to fight corruption; strengthening parliamentary oversight; working with local governments; and supporting civil society organisations and investigative journalists, who are already at the forefront of the battle.

    The programme will operate from an EU office in Kiev and it will be implemented by Denmark. ..
    ####

    The EU Gasping through straws as usual.

    • marknesop says:

      Well, I’d really like to see that. But if Theiner’s experience was any benchmark, the Ukrainian system simply engineers your removal if you won’t play ball. Suddenly you are called away out of town, and when you return you find your Ukrainian partner has taken over the business – all legal, duly processed through the courts. Such an EU office will ‘see’ what is going on in Ukraine the same way the OSCE ‘sees’ what’s happening in the DNR. More than 70% of Ukraine’s GDP is controlled by its oligarchs, and they are not likely to welcome any getting-closer-to-the-EU efforts which jeopardize their complete operational freedom in Ukraine.

      On the bright side, it suggests the EU will keep trying in Ukraine, which is good news in the long run for Russia, since the EU cannot succeed without Russia’s cooperation and help. And so long as the EU blusters and swaggers and talks about setting Ukraine on the right path, it is the EU which will be held responsible for Ukraine’s failure.

      At a puny €5.3 million annually, it is also a recipe for budget creep which will likely end up costing twice that, or else the EU will give it up before the program runs its course.

  29. marknesop says:

    Well, well – lookie here. On the subject of the explosive revelation that WADA approved American athletes to take banned drugs for therapeutic purposes…

    The Williams sisters were approved to take Prednisone. Please note that’s the first one I picked, at random. Prednisone is taken to treat allergic disorders, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, or breathing disorders. Which of these did the Williams sisters have? And which of these conditions was so important it could not be addressed by other medications which were not on the banned list? Taking it is a risk in a crowd situation, as it suppresses the immune system, and those taking it are advised to avoid being around sick people. What’s the performance payoff? It prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation. Such as happens to muscle tissue when you overstress or overwork it.

    It gets better. The Williams sisters were approved for Prednisone ‘for therapeutic purposes’ by Dr. Stuart Miller, the International Tennis Federation’s anti-doping manager. Does he have history? Oh, yes.

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/23152605

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/07/08/tennis-has-a-doping-problem.html

    http://tennishasasteroidproblem.blogspot.ca/2012/04/stuart-miller-needs-to-step-aside.html

    Stuart Miller’s job seems essentially to be to spread soothing distractions to prevent any real investigating of doping in tennis. It is worth mentioning as well that if a player is approved to take Prednisone, for example, or another cortosteroid, it is going to be bypassed if it is detected in their urine. Therefore they may be able to take it in stronger doses or more frequently than they ‘need to’, considering that if detected it will be ignored.

    I don’t think they’re going to be able to scrape enough dirt over this one to cover it up.

    • Jen says:

      “… What’s the performance payoff [for Prednisone]? It prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation. Such as happens to muscle tissue when you overstress or overwork it …”

      Is that not unlike meldonium which Sharapova was taking, about 3 or 4 times a year, under her doctor’s supervision? Meldonium was put on the list of banned drugs because among other things it enables the heart (a specialised muscle) to recover from overwork and exertion, and helps to prevent or mitigate inflammation that leads to metabolic stress that in turn could encourage diabetes (which happens to run in Sharapova’s family).

      • kirill says:

        Once the name Prednisone came out WADA has been totally discredited. Meldonium is not a steroid but Prednisone is.

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

        The case against Meldonium is a total joke. Vitamin C can serve the exact same performance enhancement role which WADA is attributing to Meldonium. That is, WADA is full of shit and has no case. Prednisone acts to increase muscle mass and stamina just like all the other steroids even if the response pattern is not identical across different steroids. Meldonium does not build up muscle mass and its stamina effect during sport activity is highly dubious. It helps the heart recover faster from stress but that is not equivalent to stamina increase.

  30. Chinese American says:

    The first “official” Chinese tour group to Crimea arrived on the pennisula a few days ago:
    https://sputniknews.com/russia/20160910/1045174410/crimea-tourists-china.html

    According to Chinese media reports, unlike many of the other visitors to Crimea, the group of 14 Chinese tourists are more interested in museums, churches, castles, as well as local food and wine, instead of the usual beaches. (As a rule, most Chinese tend not to be beach-and-sun types.) Crimean officials hope they will be the vanguard for an influx of Chinese tourists.

    • TruthSeeker says:

      Blasting their skin with carcinogenic UV radiation, so that by the age of 50 they look like walking Egyptian scrolls is not the Chinese idea of a swell time? Good for them.

  31. marknesop says:

    Here’s the KGB-controlled Independent’s take on the latest doping scandal. Predictably, Alexander Lebedev sides with his American brothers, and deplores this insult to the sporting integrity of the United States. It repeats the by-now typical western report for this story, making sure to quote Travis Tygart and Nigilli.

    The comical part, though, is the comments. In a complete reversal of the usual scenario in British newspapers, the comments which suggest the hackers are on to something are often well-written and thought-provoking, while the pro-NATO trolls are semi-literate and their tone reflects baffled fury. One says, “I don’t believe anything out of Russia, and they may have altered the results”, after WADA has already stipulated the accusations of exemptions for banned drugs are accurate.

    • TruthSeeker says:

      The Telegraph and The Guardian have eliminated their comment sections, after being overran by “Putin trolls” (i.e., anyone disagreeing with the authorized Orwellian narrative). Seems like the Independent will have to do the same. Truth is subversive these days.

    • yalensis says:

      Ha ha! My favorite comment is the one to the effect that:
      If so many American athletes have medical conditions, are disabled, etc., then they should compete in the PARAlympics.

      And as I typed this comment, I suddenly wondered: What ARE the rules for disabled athletes? Presumably they get to take their meds every day, no?

  32. Cortes says:

    https://www.rt.com/business/359194-russia-gas-divorce-europe/

    Buy your solid fuel stove and supplies, folks, it could get quite shivery at 50 degrees N +

    • marknesop says:

      They’re just trying to scare Europe. You don’t want our gas? (Sad look, drooping shoulders) Okay, then, we’ll show ourselves out. LNG imports in Europe increased modestly in 2015 from around 10% to around 13% according to the European Commission, and began to fall off in the third quarter owing to decreasing demand from Spain and the UK, Europe’s largest buyers.

      European LNG imports started to rise in the last quarter of 2014, facilitated by subdued demand in Asia and increasing global supplies. The convergence of Asian and European prices has made Europe a more attractive destination for LNG cargoes.

      In the third quarter of 2015, LNG imports were 7% lower than in the same period of 2014. Deliveries decreased to the two main LNG buyers, Spain and the UK (-16% and -12%, respectively) which was only partly offset by increasing imports to the other markets, in particular Italy (+55%). For the first time since the second quarter of 2014, the UK overtook Spain and became the largest LNG importer in the EU. Imports to Greece fell by 74%; no deliveries were reported in August and September.

      It also mentions, however;

      Pipeline imports from Russia, Norway and Algeria were unusually robust in the third quarter, justifying the relatively modest LNG imports in this period.

      LNG exports traditionally go to Asia because the Asians pay higher prices. Switching to Europe suggests Asian demand is weakening, because exporters will have to sell more gas to Europe to make the same money. Don’t forget, Russia will soon be in the LNG game itself. Remember what we learned about distance and pricing?

  33. ucgsblog says:

    So, who were all of those “analysts” telling us about how Assad was totally done in Syria? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-williams2/obama-joins-putins-pro-as_b_11990850.html

    “Maybe after five years of awful turmoil, tens of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees and vast destruction of cities, giving into Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad is not the worst option for Obama at this point…”

    Ouch…

    “Kerry warned groups supported by the US (and a bunch of others not supported by Washington) to drop any attachment with ex-Nusra. He said that, “If groups within the legitimate opposition want to retain their legitimacy, they need to distance themselves every way possible,” from Nusra and the Islamic State. If they don’t they get bombed, too. Kerry seemed slightly bewildered by how this new partnership is supposed to work. At one point, he said that Assad could bomb ex-Nusra and the Islamic State so long as the strikes “are agreed upon with Russia and the United States.” Whoops. That suggested the US was indirectly coordinating with Assad, so Kerry’s spokesman said his boss was “incorrect” and that Assad is not allowed to bomb anyone.”

    Bad Assad! You go and sit in corner. No bombing for you!

    “It’s been a good summer for Putin and his protégé Assad generally. He picked up help for Assad from Turkey, which is interested in bombing the heck out U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters who had eaten up territory in northern Syria. Heretofore, the Turks had been vehemently anti-Assad to the point of backing the Islamic State, but now seem more centered on killing Kurdish, who they fear would set up an independent country.”

    Looks like Putin’s going to win in Syria. Who could’ve predicted this? Aside, of course, from anyone who’s paying any attention… and yet, I have just one slight quibble. When did Assad become Putin’s protege?

      • marknesop says:

        The UN wants to roll 20 trucks to Aleppo with aid for its ‘besieged population’ (mostly ‘rebel’ fighters, now) without the Syrian authorities opening the trucks or checking the cargo. As if. After the CIA denied for the best part of a year that it was arming the ‘rebels’, then admitted it was not only arming them but spending millions training and equipping them as well with everything from airdropped pallets of ammunition to special radios they could use to call in ‘coalition’ air strikes. But now the Syrian government is supposed to believe there’s nothing in those trucks but halal kebabs and baby wipes, is that pretty much the position?

        What has de Mistura in a lather is that the UN supposedly only has to tell the Syrian authorities how many trucks and where they’re going; no inspections, checking of documents, just wave ’em through. As if.

        • kirill says:

          Russia lets Banderastan check the contents of the humanitarian convoy trucks sent to the Donbass. Neither the UN nor any self-anointed master of the universe state can demand zero checks of humanitarian trucks.

    • Jen says:

      When Bashar al Assad first became President of Syria back in 2000, he originally followed IMF and World Bank advice to “reform” Syria’s economy and privatise the country’s industries and resources (including water). One of his advisors was Abdallah Dardari who held the position of deputy prime minister for economic affairs until 2011. The fellow later scarpered off to Beirut where he now works for the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdullah_Dardari

      So Assad was originally (if naively perhaps) the neoliberal protégé. Given that before his older brother Basil died in a car crash in 1994, Bashar al Assad was living and working in London as an eye specialist, we might expect he had very little exposure to politics and economics affairs outside Syria and accepted neoliberal economic advice uncritically, not realising that he was being played by Western and Western-influenced agencies and advisors for a puppet and a fool and that the consequences could and would be dire. One of the results of water privatisation in Syria was that agriculture in the eastern areas dried up and destroyed the livelihoods of people living there. They became the underclass that ISIS and Jabhat al Nusra (or whatever they call themselves now) could feed on.

      Although the article below has to be read with a mountain of salt, it does provide something of a context to how Syria mismanaged its water resources through privatisation. What is not mentioned is that Turkey was engaged in over-damming the Euphrates river which reduced water supply to Syria’s eastern regions and the possibility that the prolonged drought over Syria circa 2007 and beyond could have been a consequence of the US war in Iraq which polluted the region with soot and toxic chemical particles that might have affected weather and rainfall patterns.
      http://fcnl.org/resources/newsletter/janfeb14/resource_mismanagement_climate_and_conflict_in_syria/

  34. kirill says:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/09/12/the-man-who-discovered-cte-thinks-hillary-clinton-may-have-been-poisoned/

    So the Washington Post is now running with the Putin poisoned Hillary crap. So for sure this is the Yuschenko dioxin ploy for getting out the sympathy vote. For every rational voter there are ten that can be manipulated with such cheap theater.

    • marknesop says:

      As long as they can get someone to say it, they’ll print it, provided it helps Hillary win the presidency. They should be careful, though; it might have the opposite effect, considering how staggeringly stupid it is making them appear. They’ve gone to the Putin well an awful lot of times this month: this might have been one time too many.

      Boo!!! Putin!!!!

      See? Not scary.

    • TruthSeeker says:

      I thought you were kidding. But lo and behold, no, the loons really went there. That’s what happens to an imploding society that just can’t stand to look in a mirror and admit its own crippling sickness. Laughable.

  35. marknesop says:

    The Canadian media weighs in; many of the same quotes we have become accustomed to seeing, from Tygart’s tantrum to Niggili’s doleful sermonizing. It did, however, include this nugget of ironic gold;

    “The International Olympic Committee said it “strongly condemns such methods which clearly aim at tarnishing the reputation of clean athletes.”

    But the IOC allowed a ban on competition by clean athletes of Russia’s Track and Field team, athletes who had never failed a drug test or been granted a therapeutic exemption to take banned drugs. Athletes like Yelena Isinbayeva, for whom this would have been her last Olympics and, considering she is the world champion in her sport, one in which she was the favourite to capture another gold medal and perhaps set a new world record. Blocked by WADA’s screeching, and approved by the IOC.

    The IOC did nothing to stop the IPC, headed by another of those Russophobic English inbreeders, from banning the entire Russian Paralympic team from competition, without it having to offer any evidence at all against any individual athletes and with none having any opportunity to challenge the charge against them. Moreover, the corrupt Court of Arbitration for Sport heard the Russian appeals although their accuser, Dick Pound, is also a member of the Court. There are plenty of examples of Pound’s ‘impartiality’ prior to the appeal process.

    International sport is rotten to the core, totally subordinated to politics, and it needs to be scrapped altogether. More, Fancy Bear, more!

  36. Moscow Exile says:

    After taking WADA approved drugs, the Williams sisters have experienced erectile dysfunction

  37. marknesop says:

    Oh, dear; the Turkish government is getting a little tired of American chastisement.

    “We voice our concerns about issues in many countries, for example the rising racism in the U.S. The police have killed countless people in the U.S., but I don’t call my ambassador in Washington and tell him to make a statement. We voice our concerns directly to our American counterparts, this is just politeness,” he added. The foreign minister also complained that “the Americans feel entitled to say anything.”

    “None of you are the bosses of Turkey … If you want to have a strong relationship with Turkey, you will consider Turkey as an equal partner,” Çavuşoğlu said. “It is not a second-class country.”

    “Your ambassadors are not governors in Turkey. They should do their jobs properly within the framework of the Vienna Conventions,” he added.

    And, in the same issue;

    Turkey is not just a state of the United States, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has said, amid a growing backlash against U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass after his statement on the appointment of trustees to 28 municipalities across the country on terror charges

    “The U.S. ambassador is exceeding his limits. He is being disrespectful and throwing insults at Turkey. But Turkey is not just a state of the U.S. Turkey is an independent, national and proud state,” Bahçeli said during an Eid al-Adha ceremony at the party’s headquarters on Sept. 13.

    Remember, Turkey is expected to sign the agreement for the commencement of Turkish Stream with Russia next month. If the USA wishes to exercise its influence in that deal, it is certainly starting off on the wrong foot.

  38. Moscow Exile says:

    The Ukraine Prosecutor Office has filed a case against the interior Minister Avakov

    Прокуратура Украины возбудила дело против главы МВД Авакова

    Уточняется, что украинская прокуратура открыла дело против Авакова после обращения главы центра противодействия коррупции Виталия Шабунина.

    Specifically, the Ukrainian Prosecutor Office has opened a case against Avakov following an appeal made by the head of the Centre for the Counteraction of Corruption, Vitaly Shabunin.

    The governor of Odessa will be pleased!

  39. Warren says:

    MPs attack Cameron over Libya ‘collapse’

    A UK parliamentary report has severely criticised the intervention by Britain and France that led to the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37356873

    • et Al says:

      And like Barroso & van Rompuy, no-one is actually responsible in any meaningful way. They all have the blood of innocents on their hands and trauma wrought upon millions but will all go off in to well paid jobs and then retirement, dying peacefully and in comfort. Democracy – Having your cake and eating it.

      • et Al says:

        And on the Libya note:

        http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-12816279

        …The House of Commons voted by 557 to 13 to support UN-backed action in Libya at the end of their debate on 21 March 2011 – here is the full list of MPs who voted against, or did not vote:…
        ####

        Poor buggers! Cameron held a gun to their collective heads and made them do it, otherwise they wouldn’t have. Obviously.

    • marknesop says:

      Oh, that will make everything all right. Not only is it no help whatsoever to the chaos the precipitate ‘R2P’ intervention ushered in, it will not provide the slightest deterrent the next time they want to do it. The west likes wrecking countries; it’s as simple as that. It gives their armed forces somebody to practice on whilst their masters make grand rearrangements on the global chessboard. Some countries always ‘see the light’ after the fact, when they have extracted whatever benefit from their action is to be had. Now they are simply doing the comforting old dance which reassures the electorate that it lives in a civilized country where accountability may not be stayed. Spare me.

  40. Warren says:

    EU state of the union: Juncker warns UK on single market

    EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said the bloc is not at risk from Brexit, in his first State of the Union address since the UK’s unexpected vote to leave the EU.

    And he warned the UK that it could not expect access to the EU’s internal market without free movement of people. There could be no “a la carte access”.

    Mr Juncker also called for the formation of a common military force.

    “We must have a European headquarters,” he added.

    The UK has always resisted the idea of a so-called EU army because of the potential conflict of interest with Nato. But its decision to leave the bloc has given added impetus to plans for greater defence co-operation.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-37359196

  41. Warren says:

    The north/south weather divide on hottest day of year

    While many in the south of the UK were enjoying the hottest day of the year, those in the north weren’t.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/37358456/the-northsouth-weather-divide-on-hottest-day-of-year

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Aye, it’s grim oop north!

      But dos’ t’ know what? Ah miss them pits an’ dark satanic mills -— in a sado-masochist way.

      🙂

      • Jen says:

        I think you will really miss the pits and the dark Satanic mills next year when Vladimir Denisovich reaches military draft age and you start thinking of sending him to the UK so he won’t embarrass himself, you and the Russian army. But then there’s the problem of what he’ll be doing to pass the time while he’s in the UK.

  42. yalensis says:

    Just posted my latest: The writings of Ulas Samchuk to be added to Ukrainian school curriculum. Which means Ukrainian schoolchildren will start learning all about how Jew-Bolsheviks started the Holodomor and have big noses.

  43. et Al says:

    Two interesting bits on south east Asia.

    crAP via Antiwar.com: Duterte looks at Chinese defence equipment
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/duterte-looks-at-chinese-defence-equipment/news-story/cf6c883f7a795e2568afde0f597e4348

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says he won’t allow government forces to conduct joint patrols of disputed waters near the South China Sea with foreign powers, apparently scrapping a deal his predecessor reached with the US military earlier this year.

    Duterte also said on Tuesday he was considering acquiring defence equipment from Russia and China….

    …”We do not go into a patrol or join any other army from now because I do not want trouble,” Duterte said. “I do not want to ride gung-ho style there with China or with America. I just want to patrol our territorial waters.”

    Like other security pronouncements, Duterte did not provide details, but his rejection for joint patrols apparently goes against such an arrangement announced in April by the US and the Philippine defence chiefs…

    …Carter insisted that the US did not intend to be provocative, but Gazmin said he expected that US forces, “with their presence here, will deter uncalled-for actions by the Chinese”…
    ####

    It seems to me that Duerte is setting out a clear marker for the United States to have any access to the Philippines, i.e. it will be on his terms. The US is to be kept on a leash.

    &

    Neuters: China says interests outweigh differences with Vietnam
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-vietnam-idUSKCN11J00X

    …Meeting in Beijing, Xi told Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc that “China and Vietnam can manage their differences and promote maritime cooperation through friendly negotiations”, the official Xinhua news agency said.

    “The common interests between the two countries far outweigh the differences,” it paraphrased Xi as saying.

    The South China Sea issue should be resolved by bilateral consultations and maritime challenges transformed into opportunities for cooperation, Xi added…

    …The ministry cited Phuc as saying maritime issues should be appropriately handled in a peaceful way on the basis of equality and mutual respect and not allow maritime issues to affect the development of relations…
    ####

    What is clear is that whatever ‘China threat’ the US is trying to big up in the region, local actors will not go running in to the US’ arms for protection. With an eye on the future and the UN ruling behind them, they are attempting to carve out and understanding with China over the spoils. It is up to China to show that they are reasonable, but the whole nine dash line thing is primarily about keeping the US away from China and this choke point for Chinese trade. The further the US military can be kept from Chinese shores, the better.

    The economic benefits come second, and here there is plenty of leeway. If there is to be discovery and extraction of energy, then the Chinese want to be first to keep out the US using it as the thin end of the wedge, i.e. that the ‘US must protect its economic assets‘ bs. China has the economic muscle to do the heavy lifting without dependence on the West here so can literally offer other South China Sea states a sweet deal of take the money for doing nothing, or take part and take the money. What’s more reasonable than that? The Chinese out, some massive western energy conglomerates in their back yard throwing out scraps to the other states? They are not neighbors, unlike China. ‘Geography’s a bitch’ as they say. It’s a pity U-rope still ignores this.

    • et Al says:

      Neuters: ‘New turning point’ for ties, China tells Philippines visitors
      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southchinasea-ruling-china-idUSKCN11K06H?il=0

      ####

      US demoted to bleating from the sidelines.

    • marknesop says:

      Friendly negotiations??? What the hell is Xi thinking?? That’s not how you win cooperation! No; you identify a dissident sector which is opposed to government policy – some of it, all of it, only one little thing in it, doesn’t matter. You invent a couple of incidents in which the government came down hard on these dissidents, whom you must inflate so they appear many times their actual number, to drive home the point that the government is broadly unpopular, only you don’t refer to them as ‘the government’ any more. No, from there on out, they are, ‘the regime’, and be sure to only refer to all its public figures by their last name, so as to help convey a tone of disrespect and disbelief. Start publishing cartoons in all common-language newspapers which make the leaders of Vietnam appear ridiculous, pompous and outdated, while selling the message of the ‘rebels’ (what dissidents eventually graduate to) as fresh and new and progressive. Gear them up for one big push, accompany it with a blitz of negative propaganda about ‘the regime’, and send an aircraft carrier to lurk offshore. Badda-bing, badda-boom, the government falls and a confused period ensues in which a clearheaded foreign government can quickly order things to its liking.

      That’s the trouble with the Chinese – they’re slow learners.

      Duterte is turning out to be a real non-cooperator as far as US interests in the region go, and I wonder if Washington dares to try overthrowing him. They’ve done that in such a lockstep fashion now for so long that everyone will be expecting it and watching for it. I don’t know much about how popular Duterte’s stand is with his electorate, but if they support him the USA might just have to recognize that overconfidence caused it to take an ally for granted, and they might have to wait this one out. Please note that the New American Century movers and shakers have actually brought American expansion of its influence to more or less a grinding halt with their confident assumption the American Way is desired and coveted by everyone, and only fools stand in its path. It’s too late for a grand realization that persuasive policies, although they were slower by nature to yield results, built enduring friendships while rushing at it and kicking everything out of the sandbox and shouting “You!! You there, do as I say!!” only pisses people off and hardens them against your boorishness. It’s too late, too, for an America to emerge from the present model which will get over itself and make the first tentative steps toward inclusiveness – virtually everyone in politics in America is a neocon to some degree and all were suckled on exceptionalism to the point they believe unswervingly in American responsibility to reorder and remake the world for its own good. The present state will have to collapse, and start over.

  44. Special_sauce says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84QdMayiwJc Lavrov praises Comandante Fidel. cc for English. Long live the translators!

  45. Moscow Exile says:

    It’s doing it again! — Not posting comments added to threads. This one will post because I have started a new thread: my previous one that I just posted to the burgle/burglarize/snuck etc. thread has gone down the black hole and is now in the limbo of lost comments.

  46. Moscow Exile says:

    Україна – це Африка

    The Ukraine is Africa
    “Failed State” is a term that means a state that is unable to maintain its existence as a political and economic unit. These states are only nominally sovereign. They include Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. To this list there has now been added the Ukraine.

    The Ukrainian administration is so weak and useless that the Americans are clearly beginning to practice external control, otherwise their henchmen would not remain in power. Of course, as regards the geopolitical interests of the United States, the Ukraine only plays a secondary role: it is a kind of Kamikaze aircraft with which Russia may be attacked and, with the help of the Ukraine, which is used for bargaining with and for exerting pressure on Russia, they keep the Russian government on its toes all the time. And if the Ukraine perishes, then that will be no terrible thing because the Ukraine does not exist as a state. It will, however, perform its role, namely causing Russia to suffer, even if only slightly.

    On September 8, 2016 a cooperation agreement in the military sphere was signed by the head of the Pentagon, Ashton Carter, and the Ukraine Defence Minister, Stepan Poltorak.

    This is a typically unequal treaty, one of the manifestations of colonialism and not, by the way, a manifestation of neo-colonialism but of the quite cruel colonialism of four hundred years ago that conquered tribes and Nations.

    The US has openly taken control of the Ukrainian army, which now, in fact, provides auxiliary troops to the U.S. army.

    On Euromaidan protesters shouted “We are not slaves!” Life’s cruel joke arranges each and everything in its own place.

    • Northern Star says:

      “On September 8, 2016 a cooperation agreement in the military sphere was signed by the head of the Pentagon, Ashton Carter, and the Ukraine Defence Minister, Stepan Poltorak.”

      The USA has had her ass handed to her in nearly every single post WW2 conflict ,where most of which were initiated by USA regional political meddling ,regime change repercussions or various other geopolitical chicanery by USA fascists. who think of themselves as “Masters Of Reality”. This Ukraine situation is no different. There are only three possible outcomes…
      1)
      Ukraine devolves into utter political chaotic turmoil coupled with economic privation of ordinary Ukraine folk fostered by the unchecked mega corruption of the kleptocrat elite. The EU will not be able to correct that level of a failed state tail spinning into oblivion…. nor can the USA afford to prop up the debacle.

      2)
      A full blown local war with Russia with the USA/NATO backing Kiev. In which case the Western forces will be annihilated.

      3)
      A full global thermonuclear exchange is inadvertently precipitated by miscalculation,misjudgement of just plain hubris on the part of NATO/American military or civilian clowns such as the ones frequently discussed in this blog.

      • Cortes says:

        If 1) occurs, the advisers will be so closely associated with local powers that be that they may be targeted by, hmm, disgruntled locals, leading to 2) then 3) in short order.

  47. Moscow Exile says:

    Porky’s controllers’ latest wheeze:

    Порошенко поручил МИД подать иск против России по Конвенции ООН по морскому праву

    Poroshenko has instructed the Foreign Ministry to file a lawsuit against Russia at the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

    The lawsuit has been filed in connection with the annexation of the Crimea and a violation of the law of the Ukraine on natural resources in the waters of the Black and Azov Seas”

    President of the Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, has instructed the Foreign Ministry to file an arbitration claim against Russia under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and to inform Moscow of this before the end of the day.

    “President Petro Poroshenko has instructed the Ministry of foreign Affairs of the Ukraine to file a lawsuit, instituting arbitral proceedings against the Russian Federation for the protection of the rights and interests of the Ukraine as guaranteed by the Convention of the United Nations on the Marine law of 1982”, according to the press-service of the Ukrainian President.

    The report said that the lawsuit had been filed “in connection with the rough infringement by the Russian Federation of international law, with aggression that it has committed against the Ukraine, the annexation of the Crimea, and the violation of the law of the Ukraine on the natural resources in the waters of the Black and Azov Seas”.

    Poroshenko instructed that a message be sent about the lawsuit to Moscow at a meeting with the head of Ukraine Ministry of foreign Affairs, Pavel Klimkin, reports TASS.

    No chance of any success in this latest jape says lawyer:

    Адвокат Трещёв: У Киева нет шансов выиграть суд по морскому праву против РФ

    Lawyer Treschev: Kiev has no chance of winning in a court of law vs the Russian Federation

    The Ukraine should not have filed an arbitration claim against the Russian Federation under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea: they have no chance of winning, said the Life Plenipotentiary representative of the EU Bar Association in Russia, lawyer Alexander Treshchev. He explained that when the Soviet Union ratified the convention, it refused to sign the point about a state being called to answer for its actions even if it had no wish to answer for such actions.

    “This comes under the auspices of the UN. It is a UN international tribunal for the Law of the Sea. There is a Commission and an Arbitration Tribunal, but to review a case, it is necessary that the Russian side has expressed its willingness that this be done, I think, the Russian side has no such desire. There is no chance of the Ukraine winning this case”, said the lawyer.

    He also noted that the one of the judges in the tribunal is a Russian, but there are no Ukrainians.

    Today the President of the Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, instructed the Foreign Ministry to file an arbitration claim against the Russian Federation under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea for oil and gas offshore fields, which Kiev considers to be on Ukrainian territory.

  48. Moscow Exile says:

    We shall give up the Crimea — they will call off the sanctions

    That’s Dmitri Gudkov above.

    He is a Russian.

    He is a member of the Russian State Duma.

    The Crimea is the Ukraine.

    The Crimea is our land.

    She above is a Ukrainian.

    She is a TV journalist and television host for Channel 5 and the Hromadske.tv, as well as blog editor at Ukrayinska Pravda.

    The people in the above clip are Crimeans.

    First comment (2 years ago) to above clip:

    Well, they had gus [sic]over their heads and actually the results of a later referendum were fabricated as we learned a month later:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2014/05/05/putins-human-rights-council-accidentally-posts-real-crimean-election-results-only-15-voted-for-annexation/

    And of course, the above commenter was there and witnessed it all.

    • marknesop says:

      That post is no longer available. I wonder why.

      You would have thought Putin’s hand-reared press would have learned their lesson after they accidentally published the real numbers of Russian Army casualties in Eastern Ukraine. Now it turns out it was the second time. I predict they will all be executed.

      Stay tuned for a future Paul Roderick Gregory exclusive, in which the Duma accidentally leaves the mike on as they discuss how they stole Crimea and know full well that it was illegal.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          And in Forbes one year after the above-linked Forbes article was published:

          One Year After Russia Annexed Crimea, Locals Prefer Moscow To Kiev

          In June 2014, a Gallup poll with the Broadcasting Board of Governors asked Crimeans if the results in the March 16, 2014 referendum to secede reflected the views of the people. A total of 82.8% of Crimeans said yes. When broken down by ethnicity, 93.6% of ethnic Russians said they believed the vote to secede was legitimate, while 68.4% of Ukrainians felt so. Moreover, when asked if joining Russia will ultimately make life better for them and their family, 73.9% said yes while 5.5% said no…

          With two studies out of the way, both Western-based, it seems without question that the vast majority of Crimeans do not feel they were duped into voting for annexation, and that life with Russia will be better for them and their families than life with Ukraine. A year ago this week, 83% of Crimeans went to the polling stations and almost 97% expressed support for reunification with their former Soviet parent. The majority of people living on the peninsula are ethnic Russians.

          What does Paul Roderick Gregory have to say about that, I wonder?

          • kirill says:

            The use of the word annexation in the context of Crimea is a grotesque distortion. Aside from the fact that the legal status of Crimea as part of Ukraine after 1991 is basically that of annexation by Ukraine of an autonomous republic that had the legal right to secede during the breakup of the USSR, the absolute majority of Crimeans wanted to secede after 1991 and finally got their chance in 2014. Annexation is not about self-determination and referendums, it is about foisting unpopular control on a region by force or by coup. Only NATzO liars and their dupes believe that the small number of legally stationed Russian troops in Crimea could have coerced the majority to vote in favour of secession.

            NATzO annexed Ukraine in 2014.

    • Special_sauce says:

      What I’d like to know was Stalin’s death in ’54, when Crimea’s title was transferred, significant? Or was it something Stalin was planning all along and Kruschchev just carried it through?

      • kirill says:

        Stalin had nothing to do with the transfer. Khruschev was not some loyal servant and Stalin disliked him. Also, Khruschev was very active in sending people to the gulags during the 1930s and 1940s repressions. His daughter was spreading the lie that Khruschev was some great reformer who was not involved in the repressions. Khruschev waited for Stalin’s death to seize power and to foist his agenda on the USSR.

        Considering the ethnic composition of the artificial state called Ukraine, there would have not been any popular desire for Crimea to be handed over. The excuse that it was a gesture for the sacrifice of the Ukrainian people during WWII is simply nonsense. Ethnic Russians sacrificed no less (in per capita terms) than Ukrainians. And “Ukrainians” really refers to many ethnic Russians in Ukraine from regions forcibly incorporated into the Ukrainian SSR by the Bolsheviks. The heart of Banderastan was fighting for the Nazis and not against them during WWII. We see the truth of this today in Ukraine. The open adulation of Bandera and Hitler combined with the reviling of the “vatniks” says it all.

        If we were to follow the logic that Crimea was a gift for Ukraine’s sacrifice during WWII, then where is the gift to Byelorus? Byelorus suffered much more than Ukraine.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1954_transfer_of_Crimea

        The above is obviously edited by Banderastanis and their western patrons. The official reasons given for the transfer are a total sham. What ethnic and cultural affinity does Crimea have to Lwow? There is no administrative advantage to the transfer since the USSR was one state so the territorial contiguity was not an issue. This list of reasons was definitely not the spin given by the Soviet mass media at the time. It is a revisionist lie spread by NATzO that the friendship and WWII sacrifice angle is a Russian myth.

      • Jen says:

        @ Special_sauce: Joseph Stalin died in March 1953 and the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine took place in late February 1954.

        Depending on whose opinions you read and find credible, there are many reasons Khrushchev could have had for transferring Crimea to Ukraine without consulting the Soviet Parliament and putting the matter to a vote (which most likely would have resulted in a majority vote against a transfer). One line of thinking posits that the transfer made the administration of fresh water supply from Russia through Ukraine to Crimea easier since water supply lines would only have to cross one border and be subject to one set of transfer papers rather than crossing two borders and being subject to two sets of transfer papers. This line of thinking makes sense if decision-making regarding water and energy transfers between republics was centralised in Moscow.

        Other lines of thinking suggest Khrushchev was involved in a power struggle with Georgii Malenkov and needed the support of Ukrainian political elites, or that Khrushchev was aware that the CIA and MI5 were sending agents like Stepan Bandera into Ukraine to undermine Ukrainian politics and so Crimea was given to Ukraine to secure Ukrainian support. If it should turn out that Khrushchev made the transfer to get Ukrainian support against Malenkov, then the significance of Stalin is opposite to what you suggest, as Malenkov had been a loyal follower of Stalin and Khrushchev perceived him to be threat to his power.

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