When I Fight Reality, Reality Always Wins.

Uncle Volodya says, "A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.”

Uncle Volodya says, “A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.”

When I hear the phrase, “American rocker”, I frequently think of John Mellencamp. He started out in the 1970’s, professionally, as ‘John Cougar’ because his manager said nobody would ever buy a record by someone named John Mellencamp. Eventually, when he was well established in the music business, he went back to his birth name, after a brief transition period as ‘John Cougar Mellencamp’.

He seemed to me the quintessential American performer in the few interviews in which I saw him; although he does not come across as particularly well-educated, he is always honest, modest and direct, and…real, I guess. He still lives in the same Midwestern state where he was born, and dedicated much of his musical career to mild activism in support of American farmers, small-town life and the environment. If you were looking for an American star who is not a pretentious prick full of himself, but who reflects quiet dignity, self-awareness and what Americana beyond the delusional world of the Beltway is all about, I don’t think you could do much better than John Mellencamp.

I’ve never seen him play, although we were actually in the same city at the same time once; Norfolk, Virginia, in the early 80’s. I was only there for a couple of days, and by the time I heard about the show it was sold out.

But this post isn’t about John Mellencamp; we just want to borrow the lead-in from his “Authority Song”. When I fight authority, authority always wins, baby. In discussion of the situation in Ukraine, long-time commenter Yalensis proposed a slight rewrite to encompass the yawning chasm between Kiev’s happy talk of visa-free travel and Eurosnuggling, and the miserable penury that is the daily lot of Ukrainians who do not own a candy company, a TV station and assorted other business ventures. The new version would be, when I fight reality, reality always wins. And so it will, because you can only keep it at bay for so long.

The story that inspired his witticism was this one: “Natural Gas Shortage Will Cause Ukraine to Look to Russia”, in The Observer. That’s how it’s listed by search item, but for some unaccountable reason the headline on the actual story reads, “Russia is Hoping to Freeze Ukraine Into Submission”.

That so? Well, their hopes of doing that must have been temporarily dashed back in November, when Poroshenko assured the country that Ukraine had enough gas and coal to last through the winter. Bragged about it as just another of Ukraine-under-Poroshenko’s miraculous achievements, in fact. But who knew winter would still be going on in January, am I right? Must be climate change, or something.

I can’t speak to what the Russian state plans or thinks, but it seems to me if Russia wanted to freeze Ukraine into submission, it would refuse to sell it gas. It has demonstrably not done that, although it has insisted Ukraine pay up front for the gas it takes, since Ukraine has a habit of taking gas at an agreed price and then complaining that the cost is too high, and stiffed Russia on a $3 Billion loan that even western courts agreed was a sovereign debt for which Ukraine was liable. Kiev’s alternative plan was to buy gas from France, at about 20% higher costs than what it was offered by Gazprom. Who wouldn’t want a president with those economic chops at the wheel, right? Mind you, Yurrup keeps writing Poroshenko cheques to pay for gas, so what does he care how much it costs? European chances of ever recovering that money are somewhere between zero and nil decimal squat. And a major supplier of natural gas to France is Russia, whose sales to La Republique rose more than 27% in 2016 over 2015.

But let’s go back to the original article for a moment, because it said some alarming things. Chief among them is that Ukraine produces just a bit more than half the gas it uses each year, even though its consumption has dropped by three-quarters over what it was when Ukraine was the industrial heartland of the Soviet Union. Next is that that saving has come at a cost of the near-total collapse of Ukrainian industry.

So even with its remaining industry gasping for breath, Ukraine cannot supply anything like its own natural gas needs, and it must import significant volumes. It has a fat, jolly idiot at the helm who does not mind paying a 20% markup on gas just so he can say he didn’t get it from Russia. On that basis, Ukraine should achieve financial independence at just about the time Poroshenko’s great-great grandchildren corner the chocolate business on the moon.

On January 19, CEO of the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom Alexei Miller made an assumption that Ukraine had no more than 10.8 billion cubic meters of natural gas in her hubs. “There are still two and a half months of heating season ahead, and the demands on natural gas by Ukraine during this cold period causes our serious concern,” Mr. Miller said.

Yes, that does sound like the kind of comment someone might make who is hoping to freeze Ukraine into submission. Into submission to what, if I may ask? Does anyone think Russia, having taken the steps to bypass Ukraine as a transit country for its gas and successfully tested the capability, wants to take it on as a starving dependency with billions in damage from its years-long civil war?

Ukraine has about $15 Billion left in its treasury, reports The Observer, including aid money funneled in by the IMF. And that works out to be just about exactly what the country will have to come up with in 2017 to service its debt, according to The Economist.

Gosh: what to do? Well, Jérôme Ferrier and Florent Parmentier have a suggestion: it is astonishingly similar to Gazprom’s plan for the Turkish Stream interface with Europe – Russia would deliver gas to the border, and Europe would invest in Naftogaz’s Gas Transit System (GTS) (read, own it in everything but name) and “leave it up to the European Union to choose its preferred delivery points and volumes, rather than have delivery points imposed upon it, at the expense of Ukrainian interests.”

On the face of it, it sounds like a win/win, right? Russia would not have to pay transit fees – since its delivery point of responsibility would be the Ukraine border – and Ukraine would no longer be able to posture and prance and threaten using energy as…ummm….a weapon. Some sort of transit through Ukraine would prevail, only it would be the EU that had to deal with its hissy fits and drama, not Russia.

But there are a couple of flies in the ointment which make that solution impractical. One – the one nobody seems to want to talk about, which leads me to suppose few really grasp the true state of affairs – is the physical state of Ukraine’s GTS. I referenced an independent report on this blog some time ago, and although I can’t put my hand on it just now, it was horrifying in its description of how unsafe the pipeline network is and how much work would be required to bring it up to European standards. Two, according to the first commenter on the subject article, Russia plans to decommission the service to the Ukrainian GTS;

The Ukrainian route is also highly dependent on the Russian GTS connected to it, something the Russians are busy to decommission, and if the Russian GTS is no longer connected to the Ukrainian GTS then no matter how much you invest in the Ukrainian GTS it will become worthless.

I have to say, though, that the latter seems unlikely, especially as Russia will want to transit some gas through the network for Ukraine’s domestic use.

It would be precipitate to dismiss Ferrier’s musings out of hand, though; he is the former director of Total, the present President of l’Association Française du Gaz (AFG) and the honorary President of l’Union Internationale de l’Industrie du Gaz (IGU). With more than thirty years’ experience in the gas business, there’s probably not much about it he doesn’t know.

Which is why I found a couple of the points he made, in an interview in May 2015, of particular interest. Point one – and as we go through these, I’d like you to think of it in the framework of its implications for Ukraine – was that scenarios from the IEA show growth in the gas industry until 2035. You and I know forecasts that far out are just pie in the sky, as they depend on present conditions prevailing, but nonetheless, the gas industry is likely to remain dominant in the energy picture. Two, he assesses that “At the end of the day a captive buyer and captive seller will develop a strong relationship.” As an aside, but illustrative of the topic, he described Russia as a reliable supplier to Europe, with very few exceptions. Three, Ferrier is convinced that over 50% of commercial relations will continue to be vested in long-term contracts, and that the gas business is incompatible with a full spot market. Recall that Brussels (especially) and Washington have dedicated considerable effort toward forcing Russia into a full spot market using European hubs, which would greatly hamper its ability to set prices.

The Ferrier picture is not totally one-sided, of course; he also believes Europe should build more pipelines to Iran, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, and that ‘this is not the time for a 65 BCm pipeline’ (referring, at the time, to South Stream), and parrots the line that European gas consumption is decreasing. As I have frequently rebutted – yes, it is, but not as fast as European domestic supply is.

We’ll have to wait and see if Ukraine approaches Russia with a view to resuming gas purchases. If that happens, it might teach Kiev a lesson if Russia made up some reason why they couldn’t do it – sorry, I’d like to, but I’ve got a bone in my leg, something like that. Of course, it won’t, and it will simply strike an agreement as if all the prancing and face-pulling and insults never happened, because the Russian government is nothing if not pragmatic. The alternative is that Poroshenko has so tightly painted himself into a corner that he dares not pursue even the most businesslike and distant rapprochement, and will continue borrowing money Ukraine cannot ever afford to pay back to buy Russian gas from someone else at a higher price.

 

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1,750 Responses to When I Fight Reality, Reality Always Wins.

  1. et Al says:

    Financial Crimes: Britain should have closer relations with Russia, say MPs
    https://www.ft.com/content/46cc4d68-fea0-11e6-96f8-3700c5664d30

    Commons committee sceptical of calls for investigation into alleged war crimes in Syria

    …But MPs from the foreign affairs committee said greater engagement was needed, and criticised Boris Johnson’s Foreign Office for appearing “not to know what it wants”.

    A report published on Thursday is particularly sceptical of the UK’s calls for the UN to investigate alleged Russian war crimes in Syria. Without evidence of war crimes, that “risks bolstering the Kremlin’s narrative that Russia is held to unfair double standards by hostile and hypocritical western powers”, the report said…
    ####

    So, the MP’s criticize the FO approach (or more accurately, lack of it) but they themselves want to keep sanctions on and the pressure up but at the same time want to improve relations with Russia. Surely a case of the pot calling the kettle black?

    There’s a link to the right of this story entitled ‘West to Russia: you broke Syria, now you fix it’. Now that’s pretty funny!

    A bit more.

    Belfast Telegraph: Failing to engage with Russia ‘not a viable, long-term policy option’, warn MPs
    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/failing-to-engage-with-russia-not-a-viable-longterm-policy-option-warn-mps-35495081.html

    …”The UK is not Russia’s enemy.

    “In the long-term, Russia’s focus on its western borders may be misplaced.

    “In reality, the China-Russia relationship may be the critical international relationship to watch in the next 50 years.

    “The FCO’s Russia expertise has disintegrated since the end of the Cold War. This must be reversed…
    ####

    With a boilerplate FCO response. In other articles it is claimed that the FCO only has six experts, but in reality the UK has allocated much more resources to intelligence and others on Russia so the FAC seems to be squealing for its own sake.

    This narrative does though rather elegantly lay the groundwork for the UK to slowly climb down on its anti-Russia policies without appearing to do so as a) the UK doesn’t want to be left high and dry if and when the US de-escalates with Russia; b) won’t have to admit that it is following failed policies; and c) be able to claim that it is following ‘expert’ advice. Those Brits aren’t dumb, just slippery! Russia really has no reason to give the UK any favors.

  2. et Al says:

    Consortium News: How the Press Serves the Deep State
    https://consortiumnews.com/2017/03/01/how-the-press-serves-the-deep-state/

    Exclusive: Mainstream U.S. media is proud to be the Deep State’s tip of the spear pinning President Trump to the wall over unproven allegations about Russia and his calls for detente, a rare point where he makes sense, notes Daniel Lazare.

    By Daniel Lazare

    The New York Times has made it official. In a Sunday front-page article entitled “Trump Ruled the Tabloid Media. Washington Is a Different Story,” the paper gloats that Donald Trump has proved powerless to stop a flood of leaks threatening to capsize his administration…
    ####

    Much more at the link.

  3. et Al says:

    Neuters: U.S. general wants Russia to open up major exercise to observers
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-military-exercises-idUSKBN1684CE

    …Russia has unveiled plans to stage its Zapad 2017 exercise near its western borders this autumn but has not said how many troops will take part….

    …”For me, Zapad represents an opportunity for the Russians to demonstrate that they are committed to security and stability in Europe also through transparency, by inviting media, by inviting observers, more than the minimums required by Vienna, to demonstrate, to show what’s going on, to be transparent,” U.S. lieutenant general Ben Hodges told reporters in Vilnius.

    “That would be the first and most important thing,” he added. “I think that would lower some anxiety”…
    ####

    Is that Ben ‘Bullshitter’ Hodges who has been busy trolling Russia all this time to make it squeak now begging for ‘understanding’ and representing expansionist, aggressive and wars of choice NATO? Following orders from Washington??? It’s gotta hurt.

    I don’t see why Russia should cut the US any further slack. Surely it is clear by now Trump is treading gingerly and nothing is going to happen in the short term so. Russia need not poke the US directly, but it can safely ignore its demands and squealings, after all most of it is theater.

    • kirill says:

      NATzO didn’t ask permission to move up thousands of soldiers and pieces of war equipment to Russia’s borders. So this f*cker can go and eat shit. Russia has nothing to prove to the blood soaked clowns who staged the coup in Ukraine and then use its consequences to justify aggression against Russia.

      I hope Zapad 2017 is massive and breath taking.

    • Northern Star says:

      Exactly WhyTF should Russia contemplate for a nanosecond having foreign MFs be present at and observe Russian armed forces carrying out an exercise on Russian territory?
      Here is more on Hodges:
      http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/12/22/us-army-general-slams-russias-live-fire-training-in-syria.html

      “Of course, NATO disregard for civilian casualties- i.e gooks,chinks,sandniggers and
      slopes- that we have seen time and again throughout the postwar third world , that‘s not the conduct of nations that want to be world class powers and be treated like same, but only underline that Russia is now dominant in both conventional and nuclear forces…and moral authority” (Hodges comment corrected and edited)

  4. et Al says:

    Middle East Eye: EXCLUSIVE: UK refuses to back UN statement on Bahrain rights abuses
    http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/exclusive-uk-refuses-back-un-statement-bahrain-rights-abuses-333918817

    UK officials say Gulf kingdom has made ‘genuine progress’ but rights groups suggest British position may be linked to ‘trade and security deals’

    …Britain signed the last joint-resolution on Bahrain in 2015, but a foreign office source told MEE that it would refuse to back a new joint motion on the country being proposed by the Swiss government this week.

    “The UK considers the proposed Swiss statement does not recognise some of the genuine progress Bahrain has made. Instead, we will be issuing a UK National Statement that includes Bahrain,” said the official.

    Britain’s failure to tackle Bahrain at the Human Rights Council (HRC) meeting this week will go some way to watering down criticism of the kingdom, which London sees as a key ally in the fight against Islamic State (IS) group and is home to a major Royal Navy base.

    It has also prompted rights group to accuse Britain of giving a signal to Bahrain and other Gulf states that the international community has given them a free pass to resume executions.

    Moya Foa, a director at international rights group Reprieve, told MEE: “It is appalling that, weeks after Bahrain resumed executions, the British government is trying to block criticism of the Kingdom at the UN. The UK says it supports reform in Bahrain – but despite this, torture, forced confessions, and the use of the death penalty are rife. Instead of trying to whitewash Bahrain’s shocking human rights record, Britain should work with other countries to urge an end to these terrible abuses.”…
    #####

    Much more at the link.

    Yup, that world class champion of Yooman ‘Aits, the UK, turns out to be quite picky about which ones are worth it! Certainement pas une surprise…

  5. yalensis says:

    New York Times laments the “attacks” against Soros NGO’s.

  6. Moscow Exile says:

    The Ukraine ambassador to the USA has boasted on Facebook how Porky the Yukie Pig President is more popular in the US Congress than was Obama and is Trump:

    For the third time in three years I have been present in the US Congress when presidents have made speeches. The first was Peter Poroshenko, then Barack Obama and here there is now Donald Trump. This is not about speech writers and content. There is one thing that is significantly different as regards the reaction to these performances. In one case, an ovation was raised mainly by one section of congressmen and senators, in a second case – by another section. And only the President of our country received the support of all, regardless of party affiliation. Ukraine Make America United Again!

    See: Посол Украины похвастался, как Порошенко стал популярнее Трампа и Обамы в конгрессе США

    What a slimy, obsequious, grovelling piece of animated shit!

  7. Cortes says:

    The Vikings played a part in the origin of Russia, and also put down roots in several areas of Western Europe of course. Good to see the respect for Viking tradition displayed by schoolchildren in Orkney recently:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-39126812

    Might bring a tear to the eye of ME.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The Varangian trade route went in a great arc from the British Isles, crossing Scandinavia before curving down through Rus’ and finishing up in Tsargorod, the City of Contantine.

      King Harold II of England, slain at Hastings, was possibly one of Yuri Dolgoruky’s grandfathers, and many of his Huscarls decamped to Byzantium, where they became bodyguards for the emperor after the southeast of England had surrendered to William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy, at Berkhamsted.

      It didn’t end there, though.

      The fight still goes on!

      Waes hael!

  8. Lyttenburgh says:

    Oh, noes! Truly – the End Times Are Upon Us! Quick, brace yourselves for the upcoming Börkpocalypse!

    The Swedish government has decided to re-activate conscription from January 1 2018.

    http://www.government.se/globalassets/government/bilder/forsvarsdepartementet/dsc_2031_helnyb01-690.jpg?preset=Landscape_3x2_690x460

    “The Armed Forces is planning for 4 000 recruits annually in basic military training in 2018 and 2019.”

    Russia is DOOOOOOOOOOOMED! Also – Finns, Balts and Polaks must get their arse ready for the inevitable.

    Obligatory “Sabaton” clip is obligatory:

  9. et Al says:

    EUObserver.com: UK debates post-Brexit Russia sanctions
    https://euobserver.com/foreign/137079

    British MPs believe the UK should start confiscating individual Russians’ wealth instead of relying on economic sanctions to alter the Kremlin’s behaviour.

    “Individuals associated with the Putin regime who are reportedly responsible for gross human rights abuses or violations use British financial and legal services, invest in British property, holiday in the UK and send their children to British schools,” the House of Commons foreign affairs committee said in a report on Thursday (2 March).

    “The UK government could influence those people’s behaviour by introducing and utilising the civil recovery powers set out in the criminal finances bill to seize assets held in the UK,” it added.

    The finances bill was passed by parliament on 21 February. …
    ####

    More drivel at the link with a direct link to the actual parliamentary report, here: https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmfaff/120/120.pdf

    So, what could possibly go wrong?. Blowback ladies? The British must do something to show that they are still relevant in the 21st century.

    The opening summary paragraph shows that MPs are living in an alternate reality. Maybe they are even as exceptional as their counterparts in the United States. It smacks of “They’re not doing what we tell them to do so we’ll throw out toys out of the pram!”.

    Summary

    The bilateral relationship between the United Kingdom and Russia is at its most strained point since the end of the Cold war. This is because Russia and the UK have fundamentally different perceptions of recent history and the current international order. UK foreign policy is predicated on the maintenance of the rules-based international order and of international law, self-determination for sovereign nation states and the promotion of human rights and freedom of expression. Russia’s post-Soviet experience and the apparent self-interest of the governing elite has led to a Russian foreign policy which more or less explicitly rejects and undermines that order and the principles on which it relies….

    [and here comes the cognitive dissonance zinger in para. 3]

    …Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Syria constitute the two most urgent foreign policy challenges to the UK-Russia relationship. Ukraine must choose its own future. The UK and its allies should support Ukraine in developing resilience to further Russian encroachment and…
    ####

    That’s right kids, ‘Ukraine must choose its own future.’ which is then directly followed by the West choosing that future for them, in the West’s interests of course! And para. 4:

    …The British and Russian people have healthy cultural relations despite the ongoing political difficulties. Bearing that point in mind, the Government must look beyond President Putin and reach out to the Russian people through mechanisms such as educational exchanges and support for small businesses in Russia in non-sanctioned sectors. A people-to-people strategy building bridges with the next generation of Russian political and economic leaders could underpin improved UK-Russia relations in the future…
    ####

    Yup, the Russian people can be won over to the brilliant style of western economic, military, political and moral bankruptcy by allowing students and small Russian businesses to come to the UK! Eventually they will become leaders of Russia and fix everything. Later on the report goes on about how hard the West tried to integrate Russia in to the international system and global economy, building a strategic partnership and ‘assuage their fears about NATO’. Integration, but not as an equal at military level, let alone being invited to join an expanding NATO? Here’s your junior role. Fulfill it. No quibbling boy! At least it directly quotes the Russian view counter to that of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office:

    14. ….Alexander Yakovenko, also set out a narrative of the post-Cold War period that contrasted sharply with that advanced by the FCO. Ambassador Yakovenko explained how Russia perceives the 1990s and the consequences of what he regards as the West’s aggressive behaviour:

    The unilateral decisions made in the early 90-ies set [Russia and the West] on a collision course, having predetermined, in somewhat Darwinian way, this [sic] negative dynamics. Without revisiting those we can hardly cope with today’s problems. I truly believe that given the experience of the past 25 years we could find better, truly collective solutions, which, I agree, might have been difficult to contemplate in the climate of the ‘victory in the Cold War’ euphoria. It goes without saying that the end of the Cold War had never been prepared intellectually. Perhaps, all share the blame for that. But, still, it is natural to expect more sense and magnanimity from those who are strong and stable as opposed to those who are undergoing momentous upheavals in their societies [ … ].

    In the expert community and among political observers it is increasingly believed that the West made a fundamental blunder, when decided to expand NATO Eastwards. The strategy of combined expansion of the Alliance and the EU moved the dividing lines in Europe closer to Russia’s border instead of doing away with them once and for all. It was short-sighted and petty-minded to hedge against Russia’s revival. It worked like a self-fulfilling prophecy [ … ] Had we thought things through jointly, we would have saved ourselves the greater part of the present trouble, first of all in Europe, but also in the Middle East and other places. We would have a collective security system in Europe, that works and allows us to act jointly and timely in the European periphery.18…
    ####

    Even Applebum in para. 16/ is quoted as if she is and expert on NATO. See, the Russians have false memory syndrome to justify their behavior. They imagined it all! No, it’s these ‘intellectuals’ who haven’t stopped lying their asses off and hide their actual views behind that of pretending to be somehow ‘independent’ and ‘balanced’. What is clear is that the Foreign Affairs Committee is little more than a talking shop and the read decisions are made elsewhere. I guess it makes sense to throw a sop to such committees so that interested MP’s use their time there, safely, rather than use their energies where they can cause real trouble, elsewhere.

    24. …Moreover, both NATO and the European Union believe that they offered the hand of friendship to Russia in assisting in the process of economic and political reform and democratisation. That hand of friendship was rebuffed after President Putin came to power…
    #####

    The rest of the report continues to belittle Russia’s view as unreasonable or just wrong, but that’s what happens which you cherry pick your sources (including UK based Russian academics to that great luminary and massive theif of the Russian business world, Miki Khordokovsky) to produce a report that is to say “We were a bit wrong, but they were totally more wrong than us!”. The report is also a class act of selective ‘omission’. What masters of the exculpatory report! Hatton? Chilcott? The list is endless. It was all a terrible misunderstanding, coz there was no intent

    The report gaily skips selectively through Georgia & highly selectively through the Ukraine.

    The, you’ve got to laugh when the report gets on to the ‘Terrorism’ bit:

    126. Neil Crompton, Director of the Middle East and North Africa at the FCO, told us that 80% of Russian airstrikes were not directed against ISIL and that Russia has largely been fighting the “moderate opposition” in Aleppo. According to Mr Crompton, the FCO estimated that there were only between 200 and 300 al-Qaeda fighters in Aleppo and that the rest were “moderate opposition fighters”. He acknowledged, however, that this group certainly included “large numbers of Islamist fighters” and that the FCO’s understanding of the situation was “certainly not 100%”…

    But what percentage, pray? Crompton doesn’t offer one and the HoC FAC doesn’t ask. Better not ask questions that might result in uncomfortable answers…

    128. Dr Andrew Monaghan of Chatham House, however, warned that “the Russians define terrorism differently from us. They define the solutions and the outcome in Syria differently from us. The Russian counter-terrorism policy, shortly put, is to defeat terrorism by any measures possible.”182 Similarly, former UK Ambassador to Russia, Sir Roderic Lyne, wrote that “President Putin’s definition of a terrorist is not necessarily the same as ours, and Russia’s methods are not ours (Russia having been accused of many breaches of international humanitarian law in Chechnya and Syria)”…

    Uh, isn’t that definition rather like that of the UK’s largest partner, the United States??? Except they go after anyone (more or less) male and over the age of 14 even if they are not on any terrorist list (sic ‘Enemy combatant), but the UK seems to have no problem with that and is quite happy to provide logistics and targeting for drone strikes from UK territory itself.

    4 UK policy towards Russia

    135. Professor Alena Ledeneva of University College London, however, criticised the UK Government for failing to respond effectively to Russian diplomatic overtures:

    When I look at policies towards Russia, what I see is a lot of missed opportunities. Those occur every time you have some initiative from Russia. For example, when Dmitry Medvedev in his presidency wanted to co-operate on EU security issues, there were no takers. These kinds of
    moments are where the policy failure is best seen. That was a chance to actually engage around the agenda, and it could have transformed the process, but there is always a sharp no. The way the Russians see it is that everything that comes from Russia is met with a no, but everything that
    comes from the West is imposed on them as if they are the inferior partner.193

    136. The Russo-British Chamber of Commerce wrote in their evidence to this inquiry that its members had “a number of concerns”, including The long periods there have been when, it has seemed to us as interested observers, there has been little or no dialogue between the UK and Russian governments. In business, solutions are sought through engagement. We have the impression that that has not been happening, or not to a sufficient degree. That impression may be mistaken, but perception is important (particularly for example to a UK SME manufacturer / potential first time exporter to Russia) and the perception has been of little or no direct engagement and a vicious war of words through media. We know that the Russians do not respect this approach, and nor does quite a large part of the British business community. The question then arises as to the FCO’s current experience of dealing face to face with Russians. The Russian approach is direct, sometimes confrontational. To gain their respect one has to be prepared to be equally direct and forceful.194

    137. Dr Monaghan stated that

    there is no clear, coherent policy at NATO level, European Union level or UK national level of where we want to be with the Russians in, say, 2020, so the end of this parliamentary term. There is no lengthy public discussion [ … ] policy often seems to be very reactive, in a constant state of surprise, and that makes the discussion of negotiations and diplomacy quite difficult.195

    138. However, he added that “before we start to engage with the Russians for the sake of
    engaging with them, we have to work out what we want from the Russians and what the
    Russians might want from us.”196

    139. Sir Alan Duncan told us that the FCO would like to follow a policy of “respectful engagement”.197 When we asked Sir Alan what Russia wants from the UK, he could not offer a clear answer:

    Maybe respect? I don’t think there is an easy answer to that. Although I have dealt with Russians over many years in the oil business and subsequently in politics, I am not perhaps as deeply immersed in their thinking as to be able to answer that question.198

    Sir Alan then invited Sir Tim Barrow to comment. Sir Tim stated:

    I think the Minister is absolutely right: [Russia] wants respect. It would like to see development on economic relations. I think the Russians would like us to see the world more like they do, but on that one I’m afraid the differences will continue. Clearly, they would rather that we did not have
    such profound disagreements with regard to Georgia or Ukraine or some of our actions in Syria, but I think they are also looking for some sort of common ground, potentially, on the question of terrorism with the West.199

    It looks to me as if UK gov is simply incapable of accepting Russia as an equal partner. It will have to eventually, but until then its strategy is to bury is head in the sand and change direction when Washington does.

    Making sanctions more effective

    145. Mikhail Khodorkovsky concluded that sanctions against individuals might be more effective than sectoral sanctions.202 Vladimir Ashurkov expressed the same view:

    I think those personal sanctions can be extended, because there are many more people who are directly responsible for the annexation of Crimea, which was this brutal redrawing of European borders-the first one on such a scale after the Second World War. On the meddling in eastern Ukraine, the death toll is being counted, but it is around 10,000 people now. So personal sanctions can be extended, and I think they have been quite effective because, for Russian kleptocrats, it is very important that the money and the wealth that they obtain in Russia can be legitimised in the West for property purchases, business interests and so on.203

    146. William Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, explained why, in his view, sanctions targeted on individuals were effective:

    What you have to understand about personalised sanctions is that every Russian in the regime is terrified of getting added to one of these lists. They might put on a brave face when they get added to the list, but behind the scenes, they are absolutely horrified and it completely changes their life. There is nothing worse than being sentenced to life in Russia.204

    No depth left unplumbed!

    So, after slagging RT & Sputnik for fake news:

    Russian language broadcasting
    154. In recognition of the reach and impact of the Russian Government’s information campaign, the BBC World Service announced its largest expansion since the 1940s in November 2016.216 Although welcome, this announcement also inadvertently supports the contention of agencies such as RT and Sputnik that their operations are analogous to those of the BBC World Service.217

    155. For this reason, the Government must be creative in its endeavours to counteract Russia’s information campaign, especially in Russian-speaking regions of states such as Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. On our visit to Ukraine, we were encouraged by the work of independent organisations such as Stop Fake, which receives support from the British Council.

    156. We welcome the increase in funding for the BBC World Service to enhance its broadcasting into Russia and neighbouring states. Looking beyond such broadcasting, the FCO should also increase its support for independent media in order to provide the Russian people and those living in neighbouring states with a broad range of perspectives.

    But whatever you do, don’t call it counter propaganda. It’s only milk and honey baby, milk and honey!

    Russian language broadcasting

    160. UK withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights would risk sending a signal to Russia that it can freely disregard international human rights norms at home and abroad, and would undermine UK support for the work of human rights groups in Russia. It would also deprive the UK of a key source of soft power and influence among reformers and human rights activists in Russia. In order to maintain international standards on human rights, the UK Government should not withdraw from the ECHR and should make it clear that no such step is contemplated.

    Ooh, matron!

    5 Future engagement

    …165. However, we note that financial constraints may make it increasingly difficult for the British Council to fulfil its ambitions in Russia. The British Council’s non-Official Development Assistance (ODA) grant is due to fall to £0 from 2019–2020 onwards.227

    As Russia is not an ODA-eligible country, the British Council will have to rely on commercial funding and partnerships for its programmes. This is a cause for concern, given the importance of cultural relations in sustaining links between Russia and the UK despite the strained political climate. The UK Government should reconsider the decrease in its grant to the British Council for its work in Russia, given the valuable work that the British Council does.

    Funny, they can find serious cash for the fully free, fair and independent BBC World Service but not for ‘cultural activities & exchanges’. Does that mean the FCO places much more value on counter propaganda controlled from the mother ship than exchanges that are not in its control?

    And the proof in the pudding that Russia is hardly seen as a threat to the UK despite all the blearaing and trolling by UK ministers? I enter the following in to evidence m’Lewds:

    FCO resources

    169. Multiple witnesses to our inquiry highlighted the FCO’s reduced capacity to understand Russia since the end of the Cold War. This point was also identified in the Lords Report on EU-Russia Relations in 2015 and the Defence Committee Report in 2016.231

    Dr Monaghan stated that

    for the past 25 years Russia has not been a priority, so resources have been wound down on it. There are still some resources and they are generally focused on civil society and democracy, because that is where the funding has been. There are very few people who are expert on the Russian economy, even fewer who are expert on the Russian military and fewer still—we can count on one hand—who are real experts on the Russian security system.232

    170. Dr Averre commented on the resources that the FCO currently commits to analysing
    Russian actions and motivations:

    the Eastern Research Group [ … ] is staffed by excellent people who stay in the group for many years. They have a tremendous amount of knowledge about Russia—I would say on an academic level—but there is something like five or six of them dealing with the entire post-Soviet space less the Baltic states. They are looking at politics, political economy, security and so on. That seems to me to be pretty woeful. They engage with academia and the expert community—they try their best—but that is laughable really.233

    171. Dr Averre also commented on Ministry of Defence resources in relation to Russia:

    I was at the Ministry of Defence two or three years ago with a couple of colleagues talking to the defence economics department. A chap who had been there for 25 years, who joined at a time when there was something like two dozen people looking at the Soviet defence industry, defence capabilities and defence economy, was the last one working full time on it. He’s since retired [ … ] so the Ministry of Defence is now seriously under-staffed as well.234

    172. Dr Monaghan suggested that British policymakers found it difficult to understand the Russian Government’s mind-set:

    There is a strong degree of mirror-imaging. The British leadership and many others in western Europe, and perhaps the United States as well, think, as I said, “We wouldn’t do that, so the Russians won’t do that.” The fact that they have come to the decision with a very different rationale and understanding of the evidence means that we tend to get it wrong.235

    173. Dr Valentina Feklyunina argued that the UK should build its capacity to understand
    Russian politics:

    Losing this capacity after the collapse of the Soviet Union, or allowing it to shrink, was a very significant mistake. It happened not only in the UK, but in the US and the West more broadly. This is very, very significant, regardless of what is going to happen to the Russian economy. Even if we assume that Russia is a declining power and its role will be less significant, it is still going to be very, very important for quite a long time, so it is extremely important to build this capacity. That goes to the learning of the Russian language, which is an extremely important and problematic issue in the UK at the moment, and it goes to the discussion of Russia more broadly.236

    So yet again, the FCO has money for the BBC World Service, buuut what has changed since the end of the Cold War? t’Internet! The UK along with the US have put massive resources in to hoovering up ever it of information that covers the globe and hacking. When you can get so much raw intelligence, why have a big staff in one place? The FCO isn’t the only place of expertise on Russia in the UK. That intel goes to analysts in UK military intelligence and other groups. The PM and big cheeses need only call them in for a brief. The FCO can be easily bypassed (if it is resistant to the PM’s whims) and is only one of several strands. It beggars belief that the UK government has only a handful of Russia experts. To suggest otherwise is total bs and simply for public consumption, nothing more.

    A long-term people-to-people strategy

    …182. Education is a key way in which the UK can develop long-term links with the Russian people, and 2017 is the ‘UK-Russia Year of Science and Education’ which involves a programme of events and co-operation run by the FCO with the Russian Government to inspire young people and strengthen our scientific relationship. Ian Bond of the Centre for European Reform recommended that

    The UK should use another element of its soft power, education, to make a long-term investment in Russia’s development. Of 28 European universities taking part in the EU’s ‘Erasmus Mundus’ programme of scholarships and other educational exchanges with Russia, only one, Glasgow, is British. Russians received around 14,000 visas to study in the UK in 2014; the UK should ensure that it is not just educating the children of the current elite, but that it is offering scholarships to the most promising students it can find in Russia. Apart from the academic benefits of student and professional exchanges, increased educational links are a long-term investment in improving the UK’s and the West’s relations with Russia.244

    183. The British Council outlined the long term potential for growth in English language teaching and the broader education sector in Russia:

    There are estimated to be 15 million learners of English in Russia, and the Russian English language teaching market is estimated to be worth £500 million. In 2013 Russia was one of the top 10 countries in the ELT world, sending 35,000 students per annum to study English abroad. There are 3,600 Russian students a year in UK universities, which is estimated to be worth £90 million a year to the UK economy.245

    184. When we visited St Petersburg in May 2016, we met an impressive group of students and administrators at the University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics. However, the students and administrators told us that it was difficult for them to obtain visas for study in the UK and made clear the relative lack of major partnering and exchange relationships with UK universities. In their view, the opportunities available for Russian students to study at or engage in collaborative projects with UK institutions compared unfavourably with counterparts in Germany, the USA and Australia. This was discouraging. Given the international reputation of its universities, the UK should be a leader rather than a laggard in this field.

    185. It is more difficult for the Government to foster economic and business links with Russia in the light of the sanctions regime and Russia’s current economic difficulties.

    However, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI246) officials in Moscow told us that there remains demand for UK economic and business expertise across a wide range of sectors including oil and gas, education, financial and legal services, pharmaceuticals, luxury goods, and food and drink. The officials said that companies in Russia would take a long-term approach to position themselves well for any future recovery.

    186. The Russian Government has said that it aims to double the share of SMEs in the Russian economy by 2030.247 Co-operation in this area would provide a way for the UK to build direct, long-term links with Russian businesses and entrepreneurs in sectors that are not affected by the sanctions regime. It is therefore encouraging that the British Embassy in Moscow has included “growing the Small Medium Enterprise (SME) base and the number of entrepreneurs in Russia” as a priority area for funding bilateral projects in 2017–18.

    187. The FCO must look beyond President Putin and develop a long-term strategy to engage with the Russian people and to articulate a credible, positive vision of the relationship that the UK would like to develop with Russia. In particular, the FCO should resource more fellowships and exchanges between British and Russian academic institutions, as well as organisations for young professionals, to promote the development of shared values and mutual understanding between British and Russian people. The UK should also build links with Russian SMEs and entrepreneurs with an eye to promoting closer economic co-operation with Russia when the time is right. A people-to-people strategy building bridges with the next generation of Russian political and economic leaders could underpin improved UK-Russia relations in the future.

    Nose despite face? Les Anglais? Jamais!

    Conclusions

    The Russian assertion that it has a sphere of influence is contrary to the development of the international rules-based order over the past 50 years. UK foreign policy is predicated on a rules-based international order, international law and self-determination, as set out in the Helsinki Accords and the United Nations Charter.

    Russian foreign policy aims to undermine the current world order, prevent self-determination and independent decisions by neighbouring countries, which it sees as regime change, and to promote Russia’s world view as a legitimate alternative to western values. The Russian Government’s indifference to human rights, freedom of expression and the rule of law underpins its foreign policy challenge to the international order and lies at the root of the collapse in UK-Russia relations…

    Just don’t mention that the West’s sphere of influence is the entire globe. Nudge nudge, wink wink! Or un-sanctioned war against Serbia without a UNSCR, faking stories of Weapons of Mass Destruction (Iraq) , perverting UNSCRs out of shape to lauch regime change (Libya), not to mention the waves of violent color revolutions!

    OK, I’ve run out of puff and sorry for the long post in advance, but I thought it worth it.

    My final impressions are the same as my initial impressions. The ground has shifted in Washington and this report serves as grease (or will be used as such) for the UK to changes its relations with Russia without admitting fault or failure. Clearly one report a policy change does not make, but other supporting efforts will have to be produced through the media, other committees etc. We’ll see how this shakes out, but Russia hasn’t been broken. Sanctions designed to bring Russia to the table have failed. So what is left? A face saving about turn – not that anyone will admit to it!

    • et Al says:

      Oops! Failed to close first bold tags. Bad me!

    • karl1haushofer says:

      I hope the UK confiscates property of Russian citizens in Britain because it achieves one thing that is only good for Russia: It discourages rich Russians from moving to Britain and also discourages them from investing their money in there.

      • marknesop says:

        And I strongly agree. If the British start snatching property and appropriating it for the British state based on perceived political loyalties, who knows who will be next, with changes in government? Today’s upstanding citizen might be tomorrow’s oligarch, today’s enviable wealth tomorrow’s ill-gotten gains. If private property which was was not realized as the proceeds of crime in Britain is not safe from the grasping fingers of HM Government, then it is not much of a remove until they vote themselves the right to seize anyone’s property based on political affiliation.

        I’m surprised they even announce such stupid plans publicly before implementing them, and the wail of agony from the Belgravia realtors was probably audible all the way across the Atlantic – more than a third of super-wealthy buyers of property in London’s luxurious neighbourhoods do not live in it and only visit occasionally. Moreover, they are not just from Russia but also from Kazakhstan, India and Southeast Asia; a threat to the wealthy knows no nationality, and what is targeted against Russians today might be anyone else tomorrow.

        Politics is increasingly the last resort of the inbred, idiots and those whose existence embarrasses their families. When you can’t do anything useful or clever and can’t seem to make it at anything else, run for office in the British government.

        • et Al says:

          I think it is much more about he latent threat that having such legislation on the books than actually enacting it. It provides HMG leverage and bargaining power with those it wishes to influence, co-opt or threaten. As we all know, everyone is equal in principle, but in practice, some people are more equal than others

          I forgot to add that it is in Teresa ‘Arbeit Macht’ May’s interest to keep Doris Johnson’s Foreign Office weak. Controlling the purse strings is a traditional method of achieving such aims.

          Also my comment that intel is probably going straight to British Intelligence and then directly to the PM or a secret committee controlled by her (maybe not even COBRA) is something that was stood up by W Bush after 9/11 where ‘Dick’ Cheney set up an alternative committee to make the real decisions and cook the books, leaving Co-lin Powell at the neutered US Department of State to be little more than a spokeshole but was essential in selling the I-raq WMD’s lie because Cheney knew Powell would be considered far more credible than Cheney or any other of his fellow mass-murderers.

          I still think that BoJo could be the next PM in a year or so. The UK is falling apart, the NHS & Police for example even though the FTSE 100 has broken records as has the Dow Jones. See, it’s only speculation that counts. F/k everything else, including reality.

    • davidt says:

      Thanks for all your efforts- interesting enough. I hope that you are right about an “about turn”- even a little turn would be welcomed. In any case, here’s a short version, surprisingly from Friedman at the NYT.
      http://www.nytimes.com/1998/05/02/foreign-affairs-now-a-word-from-x.html

    • davidt says:

      Apologies

      • marknesop says:

        Everybody’s willing to entertain realism when its too fucking late.

        • Cortes says:

          That remark will echo down the ages, Mark!

          My personal favourite is the Roman jurist Alfenus’s start to the reply on being asked his opinion on potential liability for negligence: “It all depends on the facts of the case.”

    • Fern says:

      The confiscation of assets from those who have committed no crime in the UK for which asset forfeiture is the penalty, is theft pure and simple so it is no surprise that a convicted master thief, Khodorkovsky is all in favour. Were it not so tragic, it would be comical to see those prating loudest about the West’s superior values, including the rule of law, being so enthusiastic about using illegal activities to achieve their ends.

      The establishment flunkies who took part in this have no interest is any genuine rapprochement with Russia – they are simply trying another tack they feel might be more successful in fleecing her. It’s always about a resources grab. Any real attempt to improve relations would start by recognising that institutions like Chatham House and most, if not all, of those mentioned here are part of the problem.

      Russia should smile politely and politely ignore British and western overtures.

      • et Al says:

        I think it already exists for a few years for criminals, so this is a purely political measure to add to the sanctions tool box. If I recall correctly, the UK tax authorities can ask you for proof of where your income/assets come from and if you don’t have it, they can confiscate it.

        Ah, here it is – The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proceeds_of_Crime_Act_2002

        …Amongst other things, the 2002 Act simplified the conviction of criminals suspected of money laundering because prior to it being enacted prosecutors had to work with two different statutory regimes: the Drug Trafficking Act 1994 for laundering of the proceeds of drug trafficking, and the Criminal Justice Act 1988 as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 1993 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 1995 for proceeds of other crimes. In essence prior to the implementation of the 2002 Act a prosecuting lawyer had to prove that the monies or assets were the proceeds of crime and also what ‘type’ of crime the proceeds came from (i.e. either drug crime or non-drug crime). The 2002 Act removed the need to make a distinction between these types as the source of the proceeds in relation to alleged money laundering in the UK commencing after 24 February 2003…

        • marknesop says:

          This does not strictly apply, because if the person in question can demonstrate that the income was acquired by means of processes which are not a crime in the UK, or were acquired by means of processes which took place outside the UK and for which specific acts there is or are not outstanding international warrant/warrants, then the UK can just mind its own effing business. If it wants to start looking closely at exactly where everybody’s money comes from and that policy gains broad public knowledge, its vast income from international banking will go bye-bye in little more than the time it takes to say it.

  10. et Al says:

    In ‘Life’s a Gas’ news:

    Euractiv: Ukraine hopes to join Poland in challenging EU pipeline decision
    http://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/ukraine-hopes-to-join-poland-in-challenging-eu-pipeline-decision/

    …“Joining the case initiated by PGNiG will enable Naftogaz to present additional arguments and gain access to the case files. The request by Naftogaz is now awaiting consideration in the court,” Naftogaz said in a statement.

    It also said the Commission’s decision could threaten the stability of gas supplies to Ukraine because of possible of gas flow interruptions from Poland.

    The ECJ has already suspended the executive’s decision on Opal…
    ####

    Are they bringing salo?

  11. et Al says:

    Eureactiv: Visegrád readies attack against ‘double standards’ for food
    http://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/visegrad-readies-attack-against-double-standards-for-food/

    The leaders of the Visegrád Group (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) are meeting today (2 March) in Warsaw to discuss, among other things, food quality in Central and Eastern Europe.

    …Ad hoc comparisons by media and lab tests show that some multinational brands use different, often cheaper ingredients in food items sold on the east side of Europe’s old Iron Curtain divide than in products sold in adjacent Austria and Germany.

    The practice is legal in the European Union, to which most eastern states now belong, as long as ingredients are declared. But Central and Eastern European political leaders say it is unethical for products sold under the same brand to be inferior in quality in “new” EU member states compared with “old” member states…
    ####

    A ‘two speed Europe’ already exists then. I can understand changing the products to keep the prices down and make them affordable, but I don’t see why they can get away with using exactly the same branding for what is a measurably different products. Normally brands revere the quality and standard of their products that they spend serious money on marketing, so selling your own knock-offs – diluting your brand – is quite weird, especially when brands go hammer and tongs after competitors who make look alike products. It’s my product so I am allowed to deceive seems to be the order of the day. I guess profit trumps standards, particularly so since the ongoing financial crisis since 2008.

    It is similar in the tech world where mobile phones for example will have one or two choices of chipset/SoC which is only spotted by the product code and reviews (if they bother), but they are still perform substantially if not almost identically.

  12. Cortes says:

    “Falshak “, apparently, is the, ahem, art of producing spurious pieces by known artists to cash in on rising prices for scarce real works. John Helmer provides an insight into one dodgy Brussels auction house and the no warranty items offered:

    http://johnhelmer.net/brussels-gallery-pioneers-the-new-no-warranty-russian-art-sale-start-colouring-your-own-collection-now/

    Contains hidden extras…

  13. Moscow Exile says:

    Внимание, говорит Москва ……

    PALMYRA LIBERATED

    Stay tuned.

    • yalensis says:

      Well, thank goodness!
      Hopefully some ancient artifacts managed to survive the ordeal of barbarian occupation.

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        Doesn’t seem to be all that much damage.

        • yalensis says:

          That’s good news – yay!
          During Occupation #1, ISIS barbarians blew up some stuff because it was too pagan.
          For example, they didn’t like the Temple of Baal stuff.
          There was this pretty groovy statue of the Goddess Allat that they damaged.
          Allat is always depicted with her boyfriend, Lion, who, people say, was a real pusscat:

        • marknesop says:

          Maybe look down a bit further. Tetrapylon was completely destroyed, although the columns are still standing and it might be possible to reconstruct it. A commenter suggested Russia/Putin’s orchestra was ‘inappropriate’ and perhaps a taunt to ISIS which made them destroy the theatre. He was quickly slapped down, and it’s perfectly true that we should not abstain from joyful celebration for fear of pissing off Islamic fundamentalists, but there is still something in what he says and it quite possibly was interpreted that way by ISIS. Still, religious relics which do not commemorate or honour their preferred religious figure are a red rag to fundies, so they might well have wrecked it anyway. And the point remains that the large force which crossed miles of open desert to re-take Palmyra should have been spotted and cut off.

          • yalensis says:

            Good points all.
            It cannot be denied that ISIS re-take of Palmyra was a complete face-palm to Russia and to the Good Guys in general.
            A lesson for the ages.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      karl must be uncosalable right now. His spiritual brethren were were pwnd.

      Accordingto yet unconfirmed information, Palmyra was defended by Uigur battalion of the ISIS. I really don’t know what to make from it. They suck? They are less suicidal? Less competent? That the ISIL didn’t really wanted tp hold on Palmyra what with Mosul nearly fallen and Raqqa facing the same fate probably even this year?

      I hope though that our karl will console himself and go out seeking for his own happines in the world given this amazing news:

      Same-sex marriage just became legal in Finland

  14. Northern Star says:

    http://nypost.com/2017/03/01/trump-weighs-military-action-against-north-korea-over-nuclear-program/

    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/02/trump-administration-explores-possible-military-force-to-combat-north-korea-threat-wsj.html

    But to the warmongers in the West millions of dead Seoul chinks would just me counted as unavoidable collateral damage

    “Even without nuclear weapons, North Korea has an ace in the hole. Most experts believe its claims to have enough conventional firepower from its artillery units to devastate the greater Seoul area, South Korea’s bustling capital of 24 million. Such an attack would cause severe casualties — often estimated in the hundreds of thousands — in a very short period of time.”

    http://www.businessinsider.com/why-no-one-in-korea-wants-war-2013-4

    https://www.stratfor.com/analysis/how-north-korea-would-retaliate

  15. Warren says:

    French candidate Fillon’s home raided

    French police raid presidential candidate Francois Fillon’s home amid continuing alleged fake jobs probe – reports

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39146848

    My prediction, that Fillon will be forced to withdraw his candidacy seems to be coming to fruition. The entrenched French Atlanticist establishment and DEEP STATE is hell bent on eliminating Fillon from the presidential race and preventing any rapprochement between France. and by extension the European Union and Russia. Forget Marin Le Pen – only Fillon could have ended France’s, and the EU’s sanctions against and confrontation with Russia.

    • marknesop says:

      The idea seems to be to hit him with such a battering-ram of investigations that the French will become convinced he must be hiding something and thus is unfit for office. A pretty nefarious way to keep the national leadership within the old boys’ club. But then the west is no example to anyone as a paragon of virtue.

      • Warren says:

        Fillon is being smeared, tarred and feathered mercilessly; now Fillon’s campaign manager has abandoned him.

        France election: Fillon campaign manager quits along with allied party

        French presidential candidate Francois Fillon has suffered another blow as his campaign manager quit late on Friday.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39156390

        The French Atlanticist establishment and DEEP STATE, and the Anglosphere media are determined to prevent Fillon from becoming the next president of France.

  16. Moscow Exile says:

    Former deputy of the Verkhovna Rada Volodymyr Oliynyk :

    Received information from customs officers and the Security Service that in January Poroshenko sent two aeroplanes to Spain with money and valuable works of art. The cargo was registered as diplomatic. The ambassador in Spain is Pete’s friend, whom he appointed in 2006. His main diplomatic mission is to look after Poroshenko’s house. He will later convince everyone that he fled from the Ukraine with hand luggage.

    Source: RIA Novosti

      • marknesop says:

        If this happens the Ukies will have nobody to blame but themselves, because they steadfastly refused to countenance any investigation of Poroshenko for corruption and allowed him to go on making money and being a shady businessman at the same time he is President. If he does do a runner, I expect his greatest regret will be that he did not sell Roshen after all. Mind you, in that event he would be trying to persuade the west to get Ukraine back for him.

    • yalensis says:

      I wonder which “works of art” Porky stole.
      Hopefully it’s just bullshit modern art which is no great loss to mankind.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “I wonder which “works of art” Porky stole.”

        Could it be “Ukrainian president’s standard”: a golden loaf of bread and a portrait of himself as Gaius J. Ceasar?

        • Jen says:

          Maybe this painting? …

          … or this painting?

          • marknesop says:

            It’s mean to pick on people’s kids, and so I apologize in advance, but an artist can’t even paint Porky’s eldest son so that he looks good. He seems to have inherited mostly his mother’s features, but she’s actually quite an attractive woman, so that’s not the whole story. He seems to have gotten her features on the front of his father’s prodigious skull, and the combination is enough to make you flinch when you see it. He’s like Gollum or something.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              I should not hesitate to pick on Porky’s eldest, who was, supposedly, an artillery officer for a very, very short time at “the front”, where, presumabely, he ordered barrages on civilian populated areas.

              The civilians, of course, were being used by “Russian terrorists” as a human shield, so scenes such as this were/are excusable:

              Слава украинским артиллеристам!

              • et Al says:

                Careful there ME! You might have your immunity lifted by the European Parliament! Someone has to protect the jihadists, so why not Brussels Eurocrats?

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Bollocks to the EU!

                  Before I curl my toes up I’ll take Russian citizenship, and if Chuck Windsor becomes King of England, I’ll apply for Russkie citizenship right away.

                  I don’t mind his mother so much: sort of got used to her like you do to a wart, but if she croaks before I do, there’s going to be no God Save King Tampon from me!

                  🙂

            • yalensis says:

              This photo is particularly unflattering:

  17. Warren says:

    More evidence of the US DEEP STATE humbling Trump and clipping his wings. The new senior Europe and Russia adviser for Trump’s National Security Council is NorVern (dual citizen) lass Fiona Hill.

    Hill wrote a book on Putin “Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin” second edition came out in 2015. published by her think tank Brookings Institute – I wonder if that constitutes as self-publishing? Isn’t there some sort of stigma in academia in citing self-publishing authors as sources and references? Anyway, her co-authored book with Clifford Gaddy; she seems to co-author a lot of her work with him, has received rave reviews for the usual professional Russia bashers.

    “For anyone wishing to understand Russia’s evolution … the book you hold in your hand is an essential guide … [T]he country’s most recent history is a reflection of the influence of one man, Vladimir Putin. By skillfully dissecting his various ‘identities,’ showing how these have been reflected in Russian policies and how they may be inadequate to emerging challenges, Hill and Gaddy illuminate not only the recent past but offer a tantalizing glimpse of what the future may hold.” –John McLaughlin, former Deputy Director of U.S. Central Intelligence.

    “A meticulous psychological portrait of Vladimir Putin and of the highly personalized state he has molded. How Vladimir Putin sees himself is key to how his system works, but, after twelve years of Putin Power, the nation and the people he leads have changed while Putin himself has not. Can Putin reinvent himself? Hill and Gaddy say Russia’s new urban middle class wants more than a ‘political performance artist.”–Jill Dougherty, former Moscow Bureau Chief, CNN

    “In this well-written and genuinely entertaining volume, Hill and Gaddy take us behind the theatrics and the rumors to give us a clear and intriguing view of the man himself. They have looked into Putin’s eyes and seen . . . a multiplicity of identities, all of which made him what he is today, and all of which tell us something about the Russia he continues to rule. This book is mandatory reading for the president and his advisers.”–Robert Kagan, author of The World America Made

    As experienced students of modern Russia, Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy are exceptionally well qualified to explain the experiences and influences which shaped the mind of Vladimir Putin. . . . If you want to begin to understand Russia today, read this book.”
    – Sir John Scarlett, former chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6)

    NorVern lass talking about the second edition of her co-authored book.

    Published on 25 Apr 2016
    About the Speech:

    In the wake of the Ukraine crisis, Vladimir Putin’s Russia is seen by many commentators as one of the most significant challenges to European security in decades. In this address to the IIEA, Fiona Hill, co-author of Mr Putin: Operative in the Kremlin, discussed the dangers inherent in misunderstanding Valdimir Putin’s intentions, dispelled common misconceptions about the Russian president, and offered a new perspective on Mr. Putin’s motivations and objectives.

    About the Speaker:

    Fiona Hill is Director of the Center on the United States and Europe and a Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. From 2006 to 2009, she served as the national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia at The National Intelligence Council. She is a frequent commentator on Russian and Eurasian affairs, and has researched and published extensively on issues related to Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, regional conflicts, energy and strategic issues. She holds a master’s in Soviet studies and a doctorate in history from Harvard University.

    • Northern Star says:

      Fortunately we can consult Fiona’s lengthy track record of published (documented) wrong calls ,incompetent analyses and displays of jaw dropping ignorance…
      https://www.theglobalist.com/author/fhill/

      Look at Fiona’s past positions:
      https://www.brookings.edu/experts/fiona-hill/
      Now observe :
      https://www.thenation.com/article/harvard-boys-do-russia/

      Connect the dots…..

    • Moscow Exile says:

      “Great hire”, said Michael McFaul, U.S. ambassador to Russia under Obama. “Fiona is both a first-class scholar on Russia and an experienced former government official.”

      As regards his academic achievement and stint as US ambassador to Russia, It would, I should imagine, be difficult to heap like praise upon McFaul.

      See: Trump Moves to Name Fiona Hill as Top Russia Adviser, Source Says

    • marknesop says:

      Once again, it is eminently suitable to have the same old knitting club of ‘scholars’, with their boilerplate broadsides, dominating the western narrative on Russia. It assures that the west will be surprised over and over again because it does not know shit about the country, its government or its people. Given that the west means it harm no matter what it might say, it is best if it remains clueless on Russia. These ’eminent scholars’ are all part of an exclusive club courted and feted by the political class which writes their endorsements – these should in no way be taken to mean they have a comprehensive understanding of Russia.

      A classic example is this ridiculous assertion that Putin lives in some sort of bubble where he continues his futile attempts to rebuild the Soviet Union, and the fatuous rhetorical questions of whether he can ‘reinvent himself’. He remains twice as popular with his electorate as any western leader in theirs, and punks the west time after time as it runs in circles and barks noisily. That would probably still happen if the west smartened up and put in some effort to the most basic know-your-enemy doctrine, but it would not happen as frequently.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I saw a snippet here yesterday that the Dark Lord’s popularity continues to rise.

        And yet according to the objective, balanced Western media, oppressed Russians are straining at the leash, waiting for the day when Navalny gives them the word, after which heads will begin to roll, something that he has promised in public many times to do. It’s called incitement to public disorder.

        For there is none of you so mean and base
        That hath not noble luster in your eyes.
        I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
        Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot.
        Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
        Cry “God for Lyosha, Mulah and the USA!”

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I have come across Fiona Hill types many times before: they do “Russian Studies” which includes an intensive course in the Russian language; they come to the Evil Empire, do not veil their intense dislike of the place, return to the UK and get a job throwing shit at Russia.

      Hill started off as a historian — in fact, she says that is what she considers herself to be. But she “did” Russian with history.

      Back in the UK, she became a journalist — a football writer on the Scottish Daily Record before moving to the Scotsman and later to Sky — then she began to work for the Conservatives before the 2010 election, then she became a government advisor — because she “did” Russian studies and wrote books about Russia.

      She holds a master’s in Russian and modern history from St. Andrews University in Scotland and studied at Moscow’s Maurice Thorez Institute of Foreign Languages.

      After doing her Russian course here in Moscow, she went back to the UK, graduated and became a journalist.

      Somewhere along the line she met a Mr. Hill, from whom she is now divorced. Her maiden name was Cuningham. And also, at some time she became a US citizen and now has dual British /US citizenship.

      And then in the USA she received a doctorate in history from Harvard University.

      Then from 2010 she was British politician Teresa May’s advisor until 2014, but there was a bit of rumpus in the Tory Party, it seems, over her behaviour.

      Now put together the pieces of her patchy biography as revealed on the Internet::

      She is now 44.

      She was born in 1973

      According to her Brookings bio, she was director of strategic planning at the Eurasia Foundation in Washington, D.C. From 1991 to 1999.

      That must be wrong — in 1991 she was 18!

      So when did she graduate from St. Andrew’s?

      She must have studied for at least 3 years there for her first degree, probably for 4 with the language course undertaken by her during one academic year spent in Moscow.

      I did much thhe same: one year UK, one year Germany, one year USSR, one year UK then unemployment i the UK. Howevever, I went back to Russia because I like the place.

      So according to Mrs Hill’s age now, she will have graduated from St. Andrew’s around 1995/6 and when she was an undergraduate, she will have studied in Moscow on a Russian intense language course that was part of her “Modern History and Russian” course of studies at St.Andrew’s.

      Furthermore, she the went on and got a master’s at St. Andrew’s (better than working for a living!) so she did postgraduate studies there until when — ’96 or ’97?

      How did she squeeze in her post at Brookings (see above), where she

      Whatever, she was, allegedly, in the USA in the ’90s —that’s after dabbling in journalism, I think — first at Eurasia Foundation in Washington, D.C. (but not from 1991, surely!) and from 2006 to 2009, according to the above linked bio, she served as national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia at The National Intelligence Council.

      And she might have got married and divorced to a US citizen as well whilst in the USA.

      And then, after all that, in 2010 she turns up in the UK as Teresa May’s advisor when May was Home Secretary.

      In the video clip “Fiona Hill: Mr. Putin – Operative in the Kremlin”, posted above by Warren, Mrs. Hill says at 0:06: “First of all for those of you who might be a bit surprised, I’m actually from the northeast of England originally…”

      Her online biographies (which are all very sparse and patchy) all state that she grew up in Greenock, Scotland.

      I somehow don’t think she did much growing up there: she most certainly doesn’t speak like a person who grew up in Greenock, nor, for that matter, does she speak like someone from the northeast of England.

      What I’m getting at is this: what with her time in the USA, and the UK, and her time as a journalist and her time as a student in the UK and USA, she must have had precious little time to spend in Russia, about which place she has most certainly found time enough to write a great deal — from afar.

      I have met this type of person before: Russian studies and whatever — a year or two in the Evil Empire, and then the rest of the time throwing shit at Russia because of their expert knowledge of the place.

      Must pay well — throwing shit at Russia, I mean.

      And it’s so easy!

      You just say: Russia?…shit!

      And everyone agrees with you because everyone knows this to be true.

      It’s in the papers — always.

      Awful place!

      Wicked people!

      Never smile!

      Drunkards!

      Murderers!

      Cruel!

      Calous!

      Not European, really.

      Asiatics!

      Russians!!!!

      Always threatening global political stability, the community of nations, peace on earth and goodwill to all men and mom’s apple pie….

      • Moscow Exile says:

        typo

        How did she squeeze in her post at Brookings (see above), where she</.

        should read:

        How did she squeeze in her post at Brookings (see above), where she was “director of strategic planning at The Eurasia Foundation in Washington, D.C. From 1991 to 1999”?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Bollocks!

          Should have read: How did she squeeze in her post of “director of strategic planning at The Eurasia Foundation in Washington, D.C. From 1991 to 1999″ according to Brookings (see link above)?

          • et Al says:

            Samantha ‘Genocide‘ Powers, former US Ambassador to the UN and Spoxhole started out as a journalist too. They just can’t seem to get professional diplomats to take the job, or maybe they are simply not offered it. We’ve been around this particular bush many times before.

            Are western institutions hollowing themselves out by promoting semi-talented gobshites instead of career diplomats and experts and does that stop people going in to the diplomatic service thus leave less and less available for top jobs as the real experts have either already retired or will soon?

            The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee report on UK-Russia relations that I posted about above highlights this lack of expertise, but is it also the case that mass surveillance though technology has become the magpie politicians shiny jewels to the detriment of promoting human resource capital?

            Meanwhile, the head of British Intelligence outfit MI6 gave an interview to the British press about being ‘inclusive’ and now trying to personally recruit new members from all backgrounds with the traditional ‘tap on the shoulder’. Yup, when you lock down the internet – for your own safety of course – you keep full records of every citizens electronic movements, and you allow over 30 government departments almost full access to that information at the tap of a couple of buttons with minimum oversight, what’s left? Ah yes, spies in every community to report back so no minority is left behind, including the LBQ-GTI brigade (who have always been in British Intelligence, but officialdom previously looked the other way). But don’t call it a Police State, ‘coz that is bad. Managed British democracy and freedoms are good.

            Here are a few of the headlines:

            The Independent
            MI6 is bringing back the ‘tap on the shoulder’ recruitment method

            MI6 brings back tap on the shoulder to boost diversity
            The Times

            New MI6: Less white, less like Bond
            BBC

            And two pieces by ‘The Friends of Snowden’, the Guardian!

            MI6 returns to ‘tapping up’ in effort to recruit black and Asian officers
            The Guardian

            What you really need to join MI6: emotional intelligence and a high IQ
            The Guardian

            What this smacks of is damage repair and promotion PR exercise. I bet this boilerplate interview was slated for earlier release but when it was discovered that former MI6 agent Christopher Steele prepared the Trump ‘Dodgy Dossier’, not to mention his past in the famous Moscow ‘Spy Rock’ episode, so they waited a little while to let the news how MI6 treats its former/agents to cool off.

          • Jen says:

            Fiona Hill’s CV does read very strangely: if she had been born in 1973, then she was only in her mid-teens when she obtained an honours M.A. degree in Russian and Modern History with a distinction in spoken Russian in 1989. At age 18 – 19 years she apparently squeezed in several academic directorships.
            https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/fp_20170207_hill_cv.pdf

            Unless of course those positions she held weren’t too demanding on her time and ability and involved very little work, or she had been born an intellectual prodigy, I’d say her year of birth must be wrong.

      • Warren says:

        Exile,

        You are confusing the TWO Fiona Hills!

        1. Fiona Hill the Brookings Institute policy wonk, self-proclaimed Putin/Russia expert and Kremlinologist, was born around 1967.

        2. Fiona Hill (nee Cunningham) the Tory Party apparatchik was born in 1973.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Yeah, it was bafflig me: her age and those years of study and posts in Washington. They just didn’t make sense.

          There’s this Fiona:

          Fiona Hill (formerly Cunningham, born c.1973) is a British political adviser.[ As of 2016, she is Joint Downing Street Chief of Staff, serving alongside Nick Timothy — Wiki.

          She’s described by the Grauniad as “terrifying and tenacious”. See: Terrifying or tenacious: the power of Fiona Hill, Theresa May’s closest ally.

          There is vey little to be found about her as regards her biography.

          And there’s the much older Fiona, historian, graduate from St. Andrew’s in Modern History in Russian, foloowed by a masters in the same from the same, then a Ph.D in history from Harvard.

          Nevertheless, that second Fiona Hill is still typical of several whom I have come across and which I have described above: she graduated in Russian studies with something and part of her undergraduate studies were spent in Russia.

          That’s what Trump’s dual nationality Fiona Hill did: she graduated in Modern History and Russian etc. and she says she considers herself to be a historian.

          And in view of the fact that she was born in ’67, that means she will have got her BA around ’89 and then must have got her MA before ’91, when she found a post in the USA.. It looks as though after getting her MA she went straight to the USA, where she started work and got a Ph.D — in history.

          As I mostly wrote earlier but slightly amend now, having got the two Fionas sorted out, what with her time time as a student in the UK and USA, which included some study at the Thorez Institute here in Moscow, and her having worked in the USA at the Eurasia Foundation in Washington, D.C. From 1991 to 1999, and taking into consideration that she is now “director of the Center on the United States and Europe and a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution” and that from “2006 to 2009, she served as national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia at The National Intelligence Council” and “has researched and published extensively on issues related to Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, regional conflicts, energy, and strategic issues”, it seems that she cannot have spent all that much time in that place about which she has been writing about so prolifically from afar in the USA.

        • Jen says:

          Yes I thought there must be two Fiona Hills, one American and one British: that notion came to me when I was perusing the 1967 model’s CV.

          Here is the 1967 model’s career starting with her most recent position:

          “… The Brookings Institution, Washington DC
          Senior Fellow & Director, Center on the United States & Europe––November 2009 to present
          The National Intelligence Council, Washington, DC
          National Intelligence Officer for Russia & Eurasia––June 2006 to October 2009
          The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC
          Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies Program––October 2000 to June 2006
          The Eurasia Foundation, Washington, DC
          Director of Strategic Planning––October 1999 to October 2000
          John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
          Associate Director, Strengthening Democratic Institutions Project––September 1994 to September
          1999
          John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
          Director, Ethnic Conflict in the Former Soviet Union Project––September 1993 to September 1994
          John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
          Research Associate Strengthening Democratic Institutions Project––September 1991 to September
          1993
          Cabot House, Harvard College, Cambridge, MA
          Resident Tutor, History and Post-Soviet Studies––July 1992 to June 1998
          Durham County Council, Durham, England
          Assistant to International Office––June to September, 1989 & 1990 …”

          Notice that in the 1990s, she rarely stayed in any one position for very long – the longest tenure is 5 years – and the positions she held at Harvard University look like she was zig-zagging from one role to another on the same long-term project. Note that she worked at Durham County Council in her early 20’s: is there really any such need in a local government authority for a position for someone studying the Russian language and international affairs unless DCC happened to have a sizeable Russian emigre community?

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Durham is a historic cathedral city in the northeast, formerly the territory of the Prince Bishop of Durham. In County Durham was once an important coalfield and the ancient cathedral city, the former capital of the Kingdom of Northumbria, was surrounded by pit villages.

            I know the place very well. Every year they used to have the Durham Miners’ Gala in the city and on the water meadow next to the river Wear. And no, I never noticed a great interest amongst the fok there in studying Russian and there was, when I frequented the place, no Russian comunity there: just Durham miners and their families.

            Ironical really: I’ve marched through Durham behind colliery brass bands and ended up here after studying Russian. The young Fiona studied history and Russian and worked in Durham, but ended up in the USA.:

            She probably comes from Durham, if not the city itself, then the county,, but again, as I mentioned before, she doesn’t have a noticable northeast accent: if she had, you would certainly notice it!

            And as I’ve already said, she has written plenty about Russia but seems not to have spent much time here, whereas I have spent a lot of time here and have published shag all about Russia.

            It’s a funny old world, isn’t it?

            • Warren says:

              The Kingdom of Northumbria once stretched from the river Humber all the way to the river Forth. In fact it was the Northumbrian King Oswald, that captured and modernised Dunedin – turning it into Edinburgh/borough. From there onwards the Anglicisation of the Scottish/Pictish Lowlands and Lothians began.

            • Warren says:

              I’m very much irredentist when it comes to English territories.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                So am I!

                I’m a Northumbrian in the old sense of the word and not in the modern sense, meaning from the county of Northumberland. Specifically, my home patch in Northumbria was called “Twixt Ribble and Mersey”, which eventually became part of the youngest English county, the County Palatine of Lancaster.

                I wonder why all of Wales in the map above is called North Wales?

                Perhaps someone from New South Wales drew it.

            • Cortes says:

              Durham is the second division Oxbridge.

              St Andrews being the third.

    • J.T. says:

      Operative in the Kremlin (1st edition) has sat unread on my shelf for the past four years.

  18. Northern Star says:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39144015

    Two parts Schadenfreude …one part irony…..on the rocks

    • Special_sauce says:

      Calling liberals “the left” is a dog-whistle to the anti-Coms.

      • kirill says:

        Well, these anti-Coms are the only ones acting rationally. The US left including the radical left is totally detached from reality. To them adulation of Sharia and political correctness is more important than any of the values the Coms stood for. So your point has almost no meaning.

        • Special_sauce says:

          radical leftists

        • Special_sauce says:

          “I’m an anti-fascist and a communist…”

          • yalensis says:

            “Having failed miserably in its attempts to overthrow the Syrian government through its jihadist terrorist mercenaries….”

            Yeah, these guys really sound like they adulate Shariah….

          • kirill says:

            Too busy to dabble in this. I also do not subscribe the censorship tag. The MSM (especially the US one) has been responsible for creating confusion about the validity of the science. They have treated denier cranks as if their voice held equal weight to real scientists. So a fake 50/50 split of views on the conclusions and validity of the science was created.

            I see no evidence of any censorship of anti-climate science BS. In fact, it is funded by the Koch brothers, Exxon and others to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. It is a total tobacco-cancer link denier campaign. Even some of the same clowns have been involved. For example, Fred Singer:

            http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/S._Fred_Singer

            It is a US right wing myth that anthropogenic climate change “theory” is being forced down everyone’s throat by the media and that alternative views are censored. This is outright BS delusion. Yeah, so some “left” wing sources such as The Guardian do not take Koch brothers money and trot out deniers. So what? The Guardian is not exactly 100% of the western media.

            These right wingers have never put forth any evidence of censorship or any actual arguments against the science. Alex Jones yaps about the Arctic refreezing. He is a liar. The 2007 sea ice cover minimum has not become the new norm, but the trend in multi-year ice decline and total sea ice volume decline continues. Sea ice cover is a meaningless metric. Chunks of ice separated by water and slush are treated as contiguous ice cover in this satellite derive metric. The only metric that matters is sea ice volume. After a critical point there will not be any contiguous sea ice formation since the wind will blow it around like scum on the water.

    • davidt says:

      For some unfathomable reason the article made me think of the opening sentence in Sir Archibald Clerk Kerr’s letter from Moscow in 1943: “In these dark days man tends to look for little shafts of light that spill from Heaven.”

    • marknesop says:

      That was a truly enjoyable experience; thank you. And the problem should not be scoffed at; while it truly is insane, there is no indication the Left has had enough of conspiracy theory, and its appetite for new revelations and connections seems only to be growing.

    • et Al says:

      Brendan O’Neill is the editor over at Sp!ked which writes about and discusses interesting issues:

      http://www.spiked-online.com/

      Mick Hume used to be the editor and previously ran Living Marxism which then became LM. It became famous when it published a piece by Thomas Deichmann about ITV’s report on Bosnian Serb ‘camps’ because he actually looked at the full footage (rushes) and saw that ITN had filmed the camp from the inside of an barbed wire electricity enclosure. From what I recall from memory, what tipped him off was that in the iconic image of the skinny man ‘behind the barbed wire’, the fence support posts are inside, i.e. on the side of those supposedly being detained. Further investigation showed that the lower half of the transformer enclosure and the ‘barbed wire fence’ was chicken wire.

      ITN then sued LM which lost, not because Deichmann’s report was not factual, but that it slandered ITN’s ‘reputation’ by essentially saying that intentionally misrepresented the facts. But that’s British libel law for you – its not about facts, its about intent:

      http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/search_results/4126cb0e1dd6226bb43734469caf1699/

      The ‘funny’ thing now is that major western news publications are ‘worried’ about populist politicians undermining the Holocaust & pushing equivalence years after those same publications trotted out their government’s propaganda that everyone from Saddam Hussein to Assad, via Slobodan Milosevic are Hitler reincarnated and that the Srebrenica ‘genocide’ is now commemorated along with the Holocaust & the genocide in Rwanda.

      Western press were quite happy to write about ‘Concentration camps’ run by the Bosnian Serbs, but apparently neither the Bosnian Croats nor Moslems had any of note. Yet again the great Aesop reminds us of such intentional stupidity in The Boy who cried ‘Wolf!’ Not only did they rip the door of hinges and flog all the horses out of the barn, they rode those horses screamin ‘Yee-haw!’. But that’s different of course. They did it for the right reasons. It’s also different when the Balts & the Lo-land of Poland equate Nazi German atrocities to Stalin and Ukrainian & Baltic Nazis openly parade though their capitals. That’s OK! It’s not going too far!. Laying all the blame at someone else’s door is the west’s free, professional and independent presses expert opinion. Not. Fit. For. Purpose.

  19. Warren says:

    Our own Dr Robinson is branded a Putinphile and bizarrely an “anti-American” by the ultra-Banderite Tyke Khokhol now residing in Canuckistan.

    I suppose such opprobrium was inevitable, in the current hysterical anti-Russia climate that prevails Western media and academia. Unless one is denouncing Putin and Russia in your every second sentence you are presumed to be a “useful idiot” for Putin or a Kremlin “political technologist”.

    Here is the full video for that are interested.

    Published on 27 Feb 2017
    Full interview with Taras Kuzio on “Putin’s War Against Ukraine: Revolution, Nationalism & Crime”, Kyiv, Ukraine, 25 February 2017.

    • kirill says:

      Yeah, failed state shit hole Banderastan must remain the center of the universe.

      BTW, Kuzio, you non-ethnic “Ukrainian” shitball, your argument is retarded. A war against Ukraine would have had the 2014 coup regime removed by mid March of 2014 at the latest. Russia obviously does not want to waste blood and treasure taking on your welfare bum society as an albatross around its neck. So, you lying, hate-filled fuck why don’t you do something to make Banderastan great instead of hiding in Canada together with the descendants of the WWII Nazis (aka Banderites) and bleating like a retarded sheep.

  20. kirill says:

    http://russia-insider.com/en/straight-clinton-playbook-russia-blamed-murder-dnc-staffer/ri19084

    There you have it, Putin murdered Seth Rich. And the rotten US establishment retains its golden halo of angelic moral authority.

    As I posted before, emails are not something that requires hacking beyond a noob script kiddie. Emails are simply not secure and can be easily intercepted by man-in-the-middle relay servers. There is simply no way to establish who runs such computers from the headers on the emails. It is up to the relay server to update the email header and it does not have to do it. BTW, the fake email relay can spoof an IP so that the other email relay servers can’t even tell it is not in the pool of existing machines (and there is no global authority that maintains the integrity of this pool of machines anyway).

    There is no way Seth Rich would have “discovered Russian email hacking”. But for sure he did discover something that got him killed and the perps are 100% Americans.

    • marknesop says:

      The climate today is just so receptive to ‘Russia did it’ that the temptation to blame Russia for everything that is not going as planned or as desired – or for which one might otherwise be blamed oneself – is apparently overwhelming.

      The comments nailed it right away – ‘who styles himself as a former US Intelligence Officer’ is taking made-up reporting to a new level of absurdity. Now reporters are even qualifying their anonymous sources so you’re unsure if they actually are who they won’t say they are.

  21. Northern Star says:

    http://people.com/politics/george-w-bush-breaks-down-his-affection-for-michelle-obama-we-just-took-to-each-other/
    ….some people in USA continue to insist that she isn’t a stupid vapid bitch…
    go figure

    Hmmm….Will they honeymoon in Western Ukraine??
    http://people.com/politics/beau-biden-widow-dating-brother/
    No mention of this in the stories I’ve read about the happy couple:
    http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/hopelessly-corrupt-ukraine-business-business-joe-bidens-son/ri12650

    • marknesop says:

      Who wears sunglasses at a funeral? Nearly all the Bidens and aspiring Bidens, apparently. And the CIA. Is anybody else sick to death of politicians?

  22. Northern Star says:

    Trump should invite her as a special guest featured at his next nationwide televised speech.
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/austrian-court-convicts-8-iraqis-gang-raping-german-141724524.html

  23. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    Bitter Harvest summary: ‘A young man’s life is changed forever when the burgeoning Soviet Union’s ambition leads to Stalin’s army spilling into rural Ukraine’

    The verdict of the critics:

    Can’t help but feel that if this were a Holocaust movie they’d all have sworn up and down that it was Schindler’s List Parte Deux. Ukrainians, are you seeing this, you barnyard animals? This is what your idols think of you – they won’t even politely applaud your crappy school play.

    • yalensis says:

      So, only10% on the tomatometer?
      Which means, of the 10 people who actually saw the movie, only 1 fanatical svidomite liked it?

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        Five favourable, forty-four unfavourable. The better audience reaction score can be put down to [[[Canadians]]] vote brigading the website.

    • Jen says:

      Unfortunately the critics (and RogerEbert.com is among them though Roger Ebert himself died a few years ago) concentrate on lambasting the soapie love story, and not on the film as propaganda. They nearly all agree that the famine in Ukraine was a deliberate genocide dreamt up by Joseph Stalin.

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        That’s to be expected, but the important thing is that they did lambaste the movie. If the movie had been a critical success as it was, film-makers would have learned the lesson that any rubbish will garner the adulation they desire, if it only pushes some asinine anti-Russian meme or other – the result being more crappy films of the kind.

        • marknesop says:

          It does suggest, though, that audiences are still willing to suck up unlimited rubbish so long as the right stereotypes are being advanced.

          • Jen says:

            Well I consider the reason “Bitter Harvest” uses a trash soapie love story to push anti-Russian propaganda is that it’s aimed at an audience that has no knowledge or experience in critical thinking and is completely ignorant of history, and that audience is a mostly teenage / young adult one. Getting film critics expecting something more sophisticated to watch the film and then to rubbish it may be a ploy to gain sympathy among the intended target audience. It’s probably also an underhanded and indirect way of brainwashing young people in a ploy to recruit them as future soldiers to fight a future war against Russia.

          • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

            I would be astounded if any ‘audience’ loved this besides Canadians with names ending in ‘enko’.

  24. Moscow Exile says:

    Head of the Ukraine fiscal service has had a heart attack

    MOSCOW, 3 Mar — RIA Novosti. The head of the Ukraine State fiscal service, Roman Nasirov, arrested on Thursday evening in the Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada Oleksandr Onishchenko case, was hospitalized because of a heart attack, TV channel “112 Ukraine” has stated with reference to the hospital staff.

    Against Onishcheo is being made a criminal case under the law concerning “theft of state property in especially large sizes”.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      On the one hand – the present atmosphere demand all honest and handshakable people to cry “Putin did it!”.

      On the other – we have “karl’s doctirne”, according to which “Russia is weak and do nothing”.

      So, how should any shy and conscientious intelligent, gay and democratic journalist, EuroUkr react to these news? Dark times of uncertanity!

    • yalensis says:

      “Theft of state property in especially large sizes.”

      I always thought that Russian expression was hilarious and impossible to translate into English.
      Maybe as an ALT-translation we could borrow from Walmart terminology and call it “Plus Sizes Theft” !

  25. et Al says:

    Antiwar.com: Syrian Govt Makes Deal With Kurds to Counter Turkey in Manbij
    http://news.antiwar.com/2017/03/02/syrian-govt-makes-deal-with-kurds-to-counter-turkey-in-manbij/

    …Today, Syria appears to have cut a deal with the Kurdish YPG and the Manbij Military Council to cut Turkey off at the pass, with Russia brokering an agreement in which some of the villages ringing Manbij will be handed over to the Syrian government’s control.

    The deal aims to allow the Syrian military to ring the Kurdish-held city, which would prevent Turkey from directly invading Manbij, something they’ve long threatened to do. It remains to be seen how Turkey will respond to this deal, as they are party to a ceasefire with the Syrian government and other factions, but would have a much longer trek to find new Kurdish or ISIS targets to attack..

  26. et Al says:

    Al Jizz-Error via Antiwar.com: Hosni Mubarak acquitted over 2011 protester killings
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/03/hosni-mubarak-acquitted-2011-protester-killings-170302152023669.html

    • et Al says:

      Neuters via Antiwar.com: Test for Egypt as Christian families flee Islamic State hit lists
      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-insurgency-christians-idUSKBN1692DU

      …During the killing wave of the past month, about 145 families have fled North Sinai to Ismailia, a city on the edge of the Suez Canal that forms the western boundary of Sinai, and about 30 to Cairo. Others have made their way to other provinces, church officials and human rights groups say.

      Several families, including the Munirs, told Reuters that Muslim neighbors unaffiliated to Islamic State have stepped up assaults against them, emboldened by the militants and the violence that has destabilized their province and seen hundreds of soldiers and police killed in recent years.
      ####

      It’s not exactly ‘new’. Christians across the middle east have long been targeted by islamists, but it seems that they are becoming a priority issue as they change their tactics (yet again) and morph into another form that is hard and expensive to defend against. When the Armenians left Aleppo en masse, it was obvious how bad it was going to become, but certainly not to the Pork Pie News Networks.

  27. et Al says:

    Neuters via Antiwar.com: Germany says to keep soldiers in Baltics as long as needed
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nato-defence-baltics-germany-idUSKBN1691UR

    erman Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Thursday criticized Russia’s military build-up on its borders with the Baltic states as irrational and said Germany would keep troops in the region for as long as needed….

    …”The military potential that the Russian Federation has built up here at the border is completely irrational in my view because there is zero threat emanating from these countries,” Gabriel told reporters….
    ####

    But is it as ‘irrational’ as expanding NATO up to Russia’s borders whilst still insisting it is a ‘defensive alliance’ despite choosing to bomb Serbia for 78 days in flagrant breach of the United Nations? What’s German for ‘cannon fodder’?

  28. et Al says:

    Independent: Germany arrests former Jabhat al-Nusra extremist accused of massacring 36 civilians in Syria
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/germany-refugees-arrested-terror-syria-jabhat-al-nusra-massacre-36-civilians-war-crime-isis-attacks-a7607226.html

    A man accused of massacring 36 civilians in the Syrian civil war has been arrested in Germany as a crackdown against suspected extremists continues…

    …Abdalfatah HA was among members of a jihadi unit who were deployed to carry out a death sentence handed out by a self-styled Sharia court, prosecutors said.

    He was arrested alongside another Syrian man, 26-year-old Abdulrahman AA, in police operations in Giessen and Düsseldorf.

    He is alleged to have founded the unit of Jabhat al-Nusra with another suspected prosecuted in Germany, managing its funding and transport…

    He and another detained Syrian national were allegedly members of al-Qaeda’s affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, which was linked to Isis at the time.

    …Representatives for the federal prosecutor’s office and interior ministry told The Independent they could not confirm whether the suspects arrested on Wednesday and Thursday were asylum seekers, or when they had arrived in Germany….
    ####

    What to do? A nice pat on the head and let them off if they promise to go back to Syrai & only kill Russians, Syrians and other enemies of the West? Or maybe they could get jobs with the CIA? British Intelligence would be happy to have them as they are an equal opportunity employer.

  29. Moscow Exile says:

    Navalny’s “investigation” into Medvedev and accusations of massive corruption perpetrated by the prime minister gets lauded by the Leicester slob Higgins:

    but gets a so-so reaction from Deutsche Welle:

    Russian opposition politician Navalny links PM Medvedev to billion euro property empire: “Findings met with skepticism

    and is generally panned by non-kreakl Russian bloggers:

    Навальный пиарит Медведева

    As expected, another so-called investigation by Alexei Navalny and his Fund For the Struggle Against Corruption (FSC), has led to the overstimulation those persons of a liberal orientation, who have been running around the social networks the whole day long, teasing Vatniki, such as I, demanding that they watch Navalny’s film and that Vatniki repent, damn Putin to hell and demand that he remove Medvedev.

    “Well then, what are you going to say about this crippling evidence of corruption in Russia?” the representatives of Russian libertarians say to me.

    Well, they wanted it —they will get it, only I do not really need to say anything, it being sufficient just to quote the opinion of the Deputy Director General, Transparency International Russia, Ilya Shumanov, who said one air a tEkho Moskvy that “In the investigation by the Fund For the Struggle Against Corruption there is no unequivocal evidence presented showing that the luxurious real estate is the property of the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev”.

    And it goes on….

    Here is part of another blog, which again pans Navalny’s “investigation:

    Кто решил завалить Медведева?

    Who decided to set up Medvedev?

    I have watched the film investigation by blogger Alyoshka [pejorative diminutive form of “Aleksei” used — ME] Navalny. Unlike you all, I am very meticulous when it comes to facts. I not only watched, but rewatched the video twice more.

    During the video and perhaps for emphasis, Navalny yells into the camera: “the secret estate of Dmitry Medvedev”, “we’ll show you”, “we will prove this, because we have a toy helicopter with a camera”.

    And Navalny really did show — what?

    Let’s talk about this.

    During almost the whole of the video Navalny never once blinked. When you watch the movie, watch out for that. I showed the video to a friend, a doctor-psychiatrist …

    Now about the “investigation”. I have specifically placed the word investigation in quotation marks, because, apart from the loud shouting, there is no factual basis in this “investigation” whatsoever.

    So what is there?

    There is a Mr. Ilya Yeliseyev, who works as Vice-President of Gazprombank. Gaining a bunch of credits, Ilya organized a number of foundation enterprises and bought with them real estate:

    — a guesthouse estate in Rublyovka and in Sochi
    — two boats
    — a farm
    — vineyards in Anapa and in Tuscany
    — an apartment block in St. Petersburg

    All this, I stress, is the property not even of Yeliseyev himself, but of the foundations.

    At first glance, Ilya’s investment looks weird- — why the heck did he buy so much real estate? …

    But Yeliseyev is not a fool. It is quite obvious that he receives loans and makes a business profit.

    How?

    It really is quite simple: high-ranking officials, including Medvedev, have somewhere to relax. They cannot just go to a simple sanatorium or use Airbnb or rent an apartment in Sochi.

    However, the budget cannot indefinitely spend money on the purchase of state residences for officials. It is expensive and impractical. Yes, and we will greatly begin to resent this, if in addition to existing houses, they have a new one built.

    And Yeliseyev, as a competent businessman, took advantage of this situation.

    Ilya is personally acquainted with the Prime Minister and was, therefore, certainly able to approach him with the offer of an alternative vacation venue…

    We’re a country of sycophants. If the Prime Minister takes a vacation at Ilya Yeliseyev’s country house, then all the other ministers will also want to go there. But they will be given the full price tag by the businessman.

    This is good marketing and nothing more. Yeliseyev is no fool, but a smart businessman.

    And what about Navalny’s accusations that it all, all the real estate, belongs in fact to Medvedev?

    I just do not believe this: it is simply illogical.

    Why give a goat an accordian [idiom: do something unecessary —ME] and Dima a cottage in Tuscany? Neither he nor his son, nor even future grandchildren will ever be able to use a vineyard in Italy. It is hard to imagine Medvedev leaving for Europe when his official duties have ended.

    Even if we assume that Medvedev is corrupt, would he not go for the money instead of real estate? Money is impersonal: real estate is not.

    Blogger Alyosha Navalny’s loud accusations are nothing but so much noise. He presents no facts whatsoever….

    The channel Dozhd reports on Navalny’s wonderful exposure:

    For your delight and delectation, the damning video, over which Higgins came in his pants:

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Pfft, yet another proof that Navalny is an agent provocateur working for FSB/KGB/VChK/OGPU. How come that shy, modest and conscietous lover of I-Phones and “Re-Load” with Obama Dima “There is no money, but hang on there – good health and all the cheer!” Medvedev, for whom the wider kreaklian masses were ready to go and die on barrikades in Jean Jaques way bacin in 2011-12 is somehow some sort equally unhandshakable, illegitimate, thieving plutocrat?!

      Like a cold shower. What a despicable feeling! To set up all so-called Russian so-called Oppostion!

      There are no limits to Lubyanka’s perfidy.

      And you know what? No one give a crap about Navalny’s “investigation”. Literally. No one in Russia.

      The West is surely disappointed that this failed to produce pre-Maidan sentiments. Will they cut the grunts for the loosers then?

  30. Moscow Exile says:

    Operation to free Palmyra conducted under Russian military advisers’ guidance

    So the Syrian army profited well from Russian military advice.

    In 2008, however, the Georgian army, having been equippped and trained and guided by Uncle Sam, performed abysmally.

    The Georgians were successful, though, in bombarding the sleeping city of Tskhinvali, during which bombardment Human Rights Watch reported that the Georgian forces used Grad rockets, self-propelled artillery, mortars, and howitzers..

  31. Moscow Exile says:

    News broke a couple of hours ago that a Russian general has lost his leg at Palmyra because of a landmine detonation:

    СМИ: российский генерал подорвался на мине в Сирии
    03.03.2017 | 16:36

    (Cue Finland!)

    Almost immediately after that news had broken, a piece of Ukrainian shit posted this:

    Хто не скаче, той москаль

    • Drutten says:

      Navalny: Here’s a vineyard. It’s owned by company A, whose boss is person X. Person X has a granddaughter who is married to person Y. Person Y went to the same school as person Z’s brother-in-law. This brother-in-law was once seen on the same train as Medvedev’s secretary. Medvedev has never been seen at this vineyard, but he once said he liked wine. Ergo, Medvedev owns it and is all corrupt and stuff. Q.E.D.

      • yalensis says:

        You forgot to mention the final connection: That Medvedev’s secretary is President of the Russian Kevin Bacon fan club!
        “Oooooo Kevin is so CUTE!” she burbles on Twitter.

      • Jen says:

        I’m sure Kevin Bacon has fewer links to that vineyard than Dmitri Medvedev does.

  32. Warren says:

    EU’s Mogherini heckled in Serbia by pro-Russia MPs

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39160145

  33. Northern Star says:

    …for the Kiev fascist puppet regime

    “On Jan. 25, groups of Ukrainian military veterans blockaded the railroads and highways between the separatist-held areas and Ukraine, demanding that the government stop trading with the rebels. Much of the trade involved the production chains of vertically integrated holding companies: The rebel-held areas, for example, supplied coal to power plants and steel factories in government-controlled territory. The government was immediately unhappy with the blockade, explaining that buying coal elsewhere would sharply increase costs and, in any case, would take time. Since Feb. 17, the Ukrainian energy system has been under a blockade-induced state of emergency.
    The Kiev government doesn’t dare try to lift the blockade by force. That would be hugely unpopular and, worse, could provoke riots and perhaps a new forcible regime change. “It’s impossible to imagine anything worse than an armed conflict among Ukrainians close to the front line,” Andriy Sadovyi, the popular mayor of Lviv in Western Ukraine, wrote on Facebook recently.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-03-02/what-the-imf-doesn-t-know-about-ukraine

  34. davidt says:

    Odessa, via Fort Russ:

  35. Moscow Exile says:

    Donald trump has posted the above Tweet showing a photo of Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate, in the company of Vladimir Putin and has called the senator a hypocrite. It is noteworthy that Schumer has repeatedly accused Trump of “relations with Russia” and of Moscow in “influencing the outcome of presidential elections”.

    “We need to begin an immediate investigation into relation to Senator Schumer and his ties with Russia and Putin”. quipped Trump, commenting on a photo of Schumer with Putin. “A complete hypocrite.”

    I hereby declare the President of the USA dyslexic.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “Donald trump has posted the above Tweet showing a photo of Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate, in the company of Vladimir Putin and has called the senator a hypocrite”

      The Donald should have posted this pic instead 🙂

  36. Warren says:

    Published on 3 Mar 2017
    Preview #1 of an interview with Dr. Alexander J. Motyl on “Ukraine vs. Russia: Revolution, Democracy and War: Selected Articles and Blogs, 2010-2016”, New York City, New York, United States, 3 March 2017.

    – Ukraine’s history was being neglected and perverted. Ukraine was being “orientalized other” entity. Ukrainians were being transformed as savages in a variety of other national narratives (including by Ukrainians themselves)
    – 0:34 My views changed on Donbas (Донбас). I’m absolutely certain Ukraine will commit suicide if it reincorporates Donbas. Reincorporating Donbas will spell the end of Ukraine. This is a source of controversy

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      Word salad, and inedible word salad at that.

      You could replace this guy with automatic article generator, like somebody did with Tom Friedman.

  37. Cortes says:

    Usually I like Escobar, but the following piece (on machinations behind the ousting of Flynn and various permutations in the Middle East and Eurasia generally) smacks a touch heavily on “Jason and the Argonauts “/”Clash of the Titans” deities quarrelling:

    https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201702281051113778-backstage-trump-deep-state-cage-match/

  38. Warren says:

    MI6 takes to silver screen to recruit unlikely spies

    Cinemagoers may think they already know what it takes to be a spy.

    Generations of James Bond fans have cheered 007 as he shoots and sleeps his way through a world of sinister villains and exotic women.

    The image is hi-tech, violent, romantic and more than a little cynical.

    It’s a world-beating brand, but one today’s spymasters are doing their best to keep at arm’s length.

    And so, for the first time, MI6, officially known as the Secret Intelligence Service, is taking on the Bond image on 007’s home turf – the silver screen.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39157473

  39. davidt says:

    Bhadrakumar continues to see easings of tensions in US-Russia relations:
    http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2017/03/03/new-cold-war-tensions-are-easing/
    On a related topic, I remember reading Kishore Mahbubani at the time of the Georgian conflict and he claimed that most/many Asians were more or less barracking for Russia (as the underdog against the US proxy). I cannot imagine that elite Asian opinion is impressed with the “civil war” currently underway in the US. Has anyone seen any articles that address this issue? (For example, I don’t think that Asia Times on line has carried any articles that directly discuss this.)

  40. karl1haushofer says:

    Ukrainian economy grew by 5,1% in January. Albeit the growth came from a low base, it seems that Ukraine has averted the danger of economic collapse that many (here and elsewhere) predicted.

    • Jen says:

      According to the Trading Economics website, Ukrainian GDP stood at $90 billion in 2015, down from $133.5 billion in 2014 and $183.31 billion in 2013. So assuming that Ukrainian GDP was still at $90 billion at the end of December 2016 (unlikely of course), a 5.1% growth rate in January 2017 translates as an additional $4.59 billion for a total of $94.59 billion. The general trend though is downward as illustrated in the graph in the link below.
      http://www.tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/gdp/forecast

      I just found out now from Wikipedia that in 2016, Ukraine’s GDP was $87 billion. So a growth rate of 5.1% over January would put GDP back at $90 billion. That still doesn’t negate the long-term downward trend and you would still have to look at other economic indicators such as per capita nominal GDP and purchasing power parity GDP and the state of Ukraine’s economy generally, which industries are going up (eg pushing up daisies) and which are going down. You need to look also at where that 5.1% growth rate came from: did it come from actual production of goods and services, did it come from an increase in the prices of raw materials or did it come from flogging real estate to new foreign owners?

      Karl, you such a brilliant observer.

    • marknesop says:

      That’s a pretty small empirical database.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Yes, despite all its aggression against the Ukraine, Russia has clearly failed again, which is hardly surprising, of course, since the Ukraine has the unequivocal support of the mighty USA.

      Russia really is a land of losers, isn’t it just!

  41. yalensis says:

    Prosecutie Natasha Poklonskaya claims that new bust of Tsar Nicholas II wept oily tears in Simferopol.
    This is considered Orthodox Church miracle.
    Poklonskaya approached the weeping statue and proceeded to have multiple orgasms, just like Catholic Saint Theresa, only for a different reason.

    I don’t know the English word for this. In Russian, they say “замироточил”, which means that the statue started leaking oily tears.
    A true sign from God, according to Cutie-Pie, that Nicholas died as martyr to make Russia great again.
    Hey, that sounds like catchy slogan: “I pledge that we will make Russia great again! (Or my name ain’t Nikolai the Bloody.”)

    • marknesop says:

      Gee, I hope she’s not going to turn out to be a crackpot, after her heroic beginning and all we’ve been to each other.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      How about “lacrimosiation”?

      Just made it up .

      🙂

      She’s a headbanger:

      She should go to a convent.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        …they died so that we make Russia prosperous and great. We are obliged to do that.

        Crackpot!

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “She should go to a convent.”

        Men’s one. Dudes are getting lonely there!

        At the same time – behold! Like a good Stakhanovite, a bust of Vladimir Ilyich is fulfilling and overfulfilling all possible nirm on myrrh-leaking!

        All praise Lenin – God-Emperor of Humankind, who will through Scintific Matrialism, Progress and Galaxy Conquest build the Communism in One Galaxy!

        P.S. The metal Lenin you see behind the bust didn’t produce the myrrh. He was walking around the flat at night, shouting slogans and agitating local spiders to fight for their rights, and stop eating flies and moths without futher material incetives and the betterment of their workplaces.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Men’s “convents” are called “monasteries”.

          As you know, Gospodin Lyttenberg, for both men and women these establishments are called “monasteries” in Russian.

          It always makes me smile when I see Новодевичий монастырь [Novodevichiy monastyr] here, because it literally means “New Maiden Monastery” or even “New Virgin Monastery”.

  42. J.T. says:

    Hmm. This comments section needs more books.
    In case anyone’s looking for something new and Russia-related to read:
    https://russiareviewed.wordpress.com/2017/03/01/trawling-for-books-ps-and-amazon/
    Frankly, the books I listed aren’t all that great – but neither is modern Western discourse on Russia.

    • marknesop says:

      Thanks, JT! I need to update my library page, I haven’t done it for ages, and I’m always looking for good books. Have you read Annie Applebaum’s “Gulag”? It won her a Pulitzer, but I guess they give those away these days. I’m not sure I could get through it, given her barking Russophobia and disproportionate love affair with Poland, but there probably is some actual history in there and she is far from stupid.

      • J.T. says:

        Glad you liked the list, Mark! There are plenty more of them on my blog if you need some more reading material.
        Actually, I’ve yet to read GULAG. Maybe because of its author, maybe not. I’m currently reading the poorly edited, campy spy thriller Patriot by Ted Bell. In it, Putin’s favorite henchman is named “Uncle Joe”and is a dead-ringer for Joseph Stalin.
        I’m dying of laughter.
        Review coming soon.

  43. Lyttenburgh says:

    To conclude discussing Lyosha Navalny’s “great investigation” topic, here’ s what the most Honest, Handshakable and living-not-by-a-lie Transparency International has to say about it:

    Hand of the Kremlin!

    In reality, Navalny is frank when it comes to why he continues to peddle his trade as the fakester:

    YIS! Here comes the money – 1.1 million rubles already in the form of “donations”. Show-biz, as Navalny calls it.

  44. Moscow Exile says:

    • Moscow Exile says:

      He likes to post in English, doesn’t he?

      At conferences he always addresses the crowd in English as well.

      Just to show that he and Ukraine belong to the USA, I suppose.

      It’s the way of a lackey, I suppose: imitating one’s master.

      Mr. Lavrov speaks much better English than the Kiev Swine does, and so does the delectable Mrs.Zakharova, but they always make their official statements in Russian.

      Just a wild guess on my part, but Mr. Lavrov and his spokesperson at the Russian FO probably do this because they are Russian citizens and Russian civil servants.

      The Dark Lord doesn’t let on how competent he is in English. I suspect he is more competent than most assume. They say he he speaks fluent German though.

      • marknesop says:

        For me, understanding is the hardest part, and for anyone careless in the company of Mr. Putin, he appears to understand spoken English at conversational speed between native speakers. I have seen clips in which he is asked a general question in English and responds to it in the same language. People often forget that half, and assume a foreigner who speaks English only speaks it, and cannot follow it.

  45. Moscow Exile says:

    Totally off any topic, but I could not resist posting this:

    No shit!

    🙂

    • Jen says:

      It’s funnier if the surname goes first as is the usual custom for Chinese names.

      • kirill says:

        Her name would have to be composed of “shi” (aka death or the number four) and “t”. There is no “t” character in Chinese or hiragana in Japanese. So this is a case of using “t” to represent something else but I can’t find any information what it might be.

        The article and author name are real.

  46. Moscow Exile says:

    NATO Commander Declares Russia Meddling in US Election Could Be ‘Act of War’

    Well in that case, the USA declared war on Russia as long ago as 1996:

    See: HOW THE WEST HELPED INVENT RUSSIA’S ELECTION FRAUD: OSCE WHISTLEBLOWER EXPOSES 1996 WHITEWASH
    December 2, 2011

    … the West, led by Hillary’s husband Bill, enabled and whitewashed Russia’s 1996 fraud-riddled, stolen elections, which assured that the hugely unpopular Boris Yeltsin, “the butcher of Chechnya” and the creator of Russia’s oligarchy, would remain in power for another term–thanks to the Chechens overwhelmingly “voting” “for” Yeltsin by an overwhelming 73% vote (of 1 million votes even though there were only an estimated 500,000 voting-aged people living in Chechnya at the time of the 1996 presidential elections).

    Yeltsin’s Western-backed victory allowed him to pick his own successor, Vladimir Putin, in 2000–and here we are today. Among the top whitewashers of 1996’s stolen elections was none other than Michael McFaul, President Obama’s nominee to become the new US Ambassador to Russia.

  47. Moscow Exile says:

    The European Parliament has voted to end visa-free travel for Americans within the EU.

    It comes after the US failed to agree visa-free travel for citizens of five EU countries – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania – as part of a reciprocity agreement. US citizens can normally travel to all countries in the bloc without a visa.

    But Yukies may soon be granted visa-free travel within the EU.

    Europe — “stronk”: USA — weak!

  48. Moscow Exile says:


    Jeez, will you take a look at the size of that burger that Yukie dame’s got!

    The Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives of the US Congress has drafted a bill to cut US military aid to Ukraine to just $150 million, which is less than half of the $350 million Kiev received from Washington in 2016.

    Under the proposed bill, the Pentagon can spend funds “for training, equipment, weapons of a defensive nature, logistics, and intelligence.”

    Washington has ignored Kiev’s persistent calls for the supply of offensive weapons for its “counterterrorism operation” in Donbass.

    See: Why is US Slashing Military Aid to Ukraine?

    It’s called cutting one’s losses, I think.

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