A Trial of Spiritual Resolve: Sergey Lavrov’s Speech to the Military Academy of the General Staff

Uncle Volodya says, “Hence that general is skilful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skilful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack..”

“Regimes planted by bayonets do not take root… Our military strength is a prerequisite to peace, but let it be clear we maintain this strength in the hope it will never be used, for the ultimate determinant in the struggle that’s now going on in the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas, a trial of spiritual resolve, the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish, the ideals to which we are dedicated.”

Ronald Reagan, The Quest for Peace, the Cause of Freedom

Ronald Reagan was at the same time one of American history’s most polarizing and most iconic presidents.  Even his enemies would have to concede he was a hell of a public speaker, and although it was questionable in retrospect how much of what he said he actually understood, he had that “This just makes sense” delivery that caused listeners to cheerfully abandon doubt.

And that would be unwise, because Ronald Reagan loved to use American military power, never mind his blarney about we-hope-we’ll-never-have-to-use-it. He bombed Libya because Gaddafi had the temerity to declare Libyan sovereign territory off-limits and because he was publicly anti-Israel, and Reagan drove American policy vis-a-vis Russia to rollback rather than detente. All that notwithstanding, his quote above might have been written for Russia today, and the crossroads at which it stands.

Truly, Russia has had its resolve tested; spiritual, economic, moral and strategic. Sergey Lavrov has been the Russian Federation’s Foreign Minister since 2004, when he was appointed to the post by Putin. Since that time, he has been the point man for Russian international relations, mostly at the direction and behest of Putin. He must live a pretty upright and above-reproach life, because you never see stories such as “Foreign Minister Lavrov falls off metro train in a drunken stupor”, or “Madcap Sergey Lavrov chases hooker through Manhattan streets, dressed only in his underpants”. And if there was a way to rub his nose in the dirt, you know the western media would do it. Because that’s the way it rolls.

Recently Lavrov delivered a speech to the Senior Officers of the Military Academy of the General Staff in Moscow.  Generally speaking, it reflected Russia’s growing confidence on the world stage despite western attempts to miscast it as a demonic pariah. A signature theme was Russia’s determination to hew to the rule of international law despite its declared opponents’ lip service to the concept, as the west continues to use international law as a flag of convenience.

Mr. Lavrov’s speech is reviewed here by our Aussie colleague, Jennifer Hor – who, it should escape nobody’s notice, might have made quite a Foreign Minister herself. Jen?

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s Speech to Senior Officers of the Military Academy of General Staff, Moscow (23 March 2017)

On 23 March 2017, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gave a speech to senior officers of the Military Academy of General Staff in Moscow. Lavrov chose to focus on Russia’s role in international politics – a not surprising choice, given his position as foreign minister for such a large and varied nation as Russia is. The entire speech is not long – less than 20 minutes – but it is worth examining as it summarises how Russia has come to have the role it has and how its role fits into the new global political order of the early 21st century.

First Lavrov lays out the very specific and essential values and principles that support and influence the role the Russian state plays in international politics. One factor gives Russia a very solid foundation that most other countries can only dream about: sheer physical size that gives the country a variety of physical environments and climates, abundant natural resources and a unique location straddling and uniting both Europe and Asia. This factor is a result of Russia’s expansion across Siberia and central Asia over the centuries, resulting in many different peoples and cultures residing together, suffering together and working together to build the nation. Such experience gives Russia a unique point of view and paradigm that enable it to encourage dialogue among different nations and to form partnerships among nations, civilisations and religions in which all are considered equal.

Given Russia’s history of different peoples, faiths and societies sharing the same space under one government, we should not be surprised that Lavrov emphasises public respect for the state that encompasses all these peoples and provides them with security, stability and a share in the collective wealth they create. This respect enables the state to be strong enough to pursue domestic and foreign policies beholden to no other country. In other words, respect for and trust in a strong government go hand in hand with a secure economy (financial and productive), a cohesive if not homogeneous national culture encompassing a rich history and traditions, and the state’s ability to safeguard all of these and other elements that help to provide and enforce stability. These factors together provide what might be called “soft power” that Russia can project and model to other nations.

From here, Lavrov discusses Russia’s role in international politics, in particular the country’s role as an economic and political centre to which other countries are drawn. He notes the improvement in Russia’s military capabilities and the nation’s determination to use military power in strict compliance with its own laws and with international laws to defend its own interests and to assist other nations that call on it for help. In this, Lavrov cannot help but notice that other major nations use their military to pursue agendas that violate their own laws and international laws, and that infringe on other countries’ sovereignty and overthrow their governments with the intent to occupy their lands and drain them of their resources while the true owners are displaced, forced to serve their occupiers and to live in poverty or are scattered around the planet.

Lavrov sets considerable importance by historical traditions and trends in helping to determine Russia’s role in world politics since the nation became a major European power under Tsar Peter I (1696 – 1725) after defeating Sweden in the Great Northern War in 1721. He observes that efforts on by other countries to shut out and deny Russia (or the Soviet Union) as a major power have ended badly: one might ask Napoleon I or Adolf Hitler for an opinion in this regard. Nevertheless even today Europe and the United States through the EU and NATO have sought to demonise the country and its leaders by painting Russia as a poor, developing (or deteriorating) nation or making false accusations such as invading Ukraine, forcing people in Crimea to vote for “annexation”, helping to shoot down a civilian passenger jet over Ukrainian territory or infiltrating and hacking other countries’ electronic databases for the purpose of throwing elections. In particular Russian President Vladimir Putin is portrayed as an authoritarian and corrupt despot who salts away large sums of money into offshore investment funds owned by personal associates or in expensive palaces and vineyards.

Surveying the world as it is, Lavrov sees that power is definitely shifting away from the North Atlantic region (the US and western Europe) towards the Asia-Pacific region (in particular China) and Eurasia. In addition Latin America and Africa are taking on more importance as regional power blocs in their own right. A multi-polar world that is not dominated by any one nation or power bloc is inevitable. In such a world, a nation that considers itself exceptional, not bound by the lessons of history, and believes it can force its interpretation of democracy (as a cover for its real agenda) onto others will end up bringing instability, chaos and extreme violence instead. In the long term, that nation will also become weak and become unstable. The changes that are bringing about a multi-headed international order demand that countries work together and cooperate in a spirit of mutual respect and equality, and not to compete against one another.

In this, Russia can set an example by pursuing a pragmatic and consistent foreign policy based on its experience and history as a nation of different peoples and cultures living and working together in diverse environments to achieve common goals in relationships of cooperation and mutual respect.

Lavrov’s speech is significant inasmuch as it supports speeches and interviews given by Vladimir Putin that also stress mutual respect among nations and cooperation based on common interests or desires to solve common problems. The speech also demonstrates very clearly that Russia is aware that its approach and foreign policy, even its very existence, are perceived as threats by the United States and its allies in Europe and elsewhere. Russia is aware that the Americans are following an agenda inimical to Russian interests and to global peace and security. Pressure is on Russia then to pursue its interests and to try to uphold international laws and conventions in ways that don’t ratchet up global tensions and give the US an excuse or an outlet to cause war or create the conditions for them. Surprisingly this is not difficult for Russia to do, given that what currently passes for political leadership in the West is mediocre at best.

After the speech Lavrov took questions from his audience on issues such as global media / information and Internet governance (with respect to cyber-security, combating hacking and dealing with propaganda and false media narratives), rescuing and returning Russian prisoners of war in Syria, limiting strategic arms (nuclear and conventional), the use by the United States of staged and managed chaos across North Africa and western Asia, the split between globalist politicians acting on behalf of transnational corporations and “populist” or “nationalist” politicians claiming to represent the voice of their publics, the changing nature of war to include non-violent means of waging war (through control of the Internet and media, for example), and Russia’s interests in the Balkans. The questions show the audience’s concerns and depth of knowledge about what it considers to be the key issues facing Russia in its neighbourhood. Lavrov’s replies reveal a sharp intellect at work, tremendous historical and geopolitical knowledge and a keen interest in contemporary global affairs.

The speech and the Q&A session that follows can be viewed at The Saker. An English-language transcript follows.

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1,496 Responses to A Trial of Spiritual Resolve: Sergey Lavrov’s Speech to the Military Academy of the General Staff

  1. et Al says:

    Moon of Alabama: How Bio-Weapons Led To Torture … And North Korean Nukes
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/04/from-war-on-korea-to-abu-graibh-how-us-bio-weapons-led-to-torture.html

    In Why North Korea Needs Nukes – And How To End That we pointed to the utter destruction the U.S. and its allies waged in the war on Korea on all parts of the country. That North Korea seeks “weapons of mass destruction” is quite understandable when one takes into account the hundreds of thousands tons of napalm used against it. But even Napalm and the criminal destruction of North Korean dams were not the worst depravation the U.S. applied. Biological warfare agents, primarily anthrax, were dropped over North Korea and China and killed civilians. The U.S./UN command denied such use and covered it up. One consequence of that cover up was the development of torture methods in the U.S. SERE pilot training programs and their later proliferation into criminal abuses in Guantanamo, Abu Graibh and elsewhere. An important piece of evidence of this trail was recently and for the first time re-published on the web

    In the 1950s war on Korea heavy air to air fights were waged near the Chinese border which led to significant losses of airplane on both sides especially along the MiG Alley:…
    ####

    Much more at the link.

    It’s so hard being exceptional. Exceptionally evil and then claiming democracy is a saving grace/get out of jail free card/joker. Sickening.

  2. Warren says:

    The Vineyard Saker is interviewed by Bonnie Faulkner on Guns and Butter

    TRUMP AND PUTIN, SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

    https://kpfa.org/episode/guns-and-butter-april-26-2017/

  3. Moscow Exile says:

    Белый дом назвал “изоляцию России в ООН” заслугой Трампа

    The White House has stated that the “the isolation of Russia in UN” is to Trump’s merit

    WASHINGTON, 28 APR – RIA Novosti. The U.S. administration believes that “the isolation of Russia in the UN” is to the merit of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy during first 100 days that he has been in power.

    “The further isolation of Syria and Russia in the UN by successful diplomacy with Chinese President XI Jinping”, said the press service of the White House about the main merits of Trump as President.

    The report does not specify what is meant by “isolation in the UN,” but the White House used the same expressions when commenting on the vote in the UN Security Council on 12 March, on a draft resolution that was passed by the UK, France and the United States.

    The document invited the Secretary-General to help the United Nations investigate alleged incidents of chemical weapons usage in Syria, including [the reported incident at] Khan Sheyhun. However, Russia used its veto in the UN security Council and blocked the adoption of the draft resolution, calling it “anti-Syrian”.

    China abstained from voting. “The fact that China abstained is a significant success for the President… It shows that Russia is isolated on this particular issue, which is important”, the press Secretary of the White House, Sean Spicer. said later.

    In turn, the president of the People’s Republic of China explained that his country did not vote for the draft resolution because “certain paragraphs needed to be amended” and proposed that a new document be developed that would employ the consensus of the UN Security Council.

    Washington and its coalition allies accused the Syrian army of using chemical weapons in Khan Sheyhun in early April. The USA, having not shown any evidence of this and not listened to a call to conduct a thorough investigation before announcing that the Syrian authorities are the guilty party, attacked a Syrian military base on the night of 7 April.

    Right! So the President of China bowed to Trump’s request to isolate Russia.

    Trump stronk! USA stronk! Russia weak and isolated.

    Spicer — wanker. He go blind.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Here is this news again, but as reported 45 minutes ago Moscow time in English on the TASS English service:

      “President Trump has stood up to countries that have threatened our national security after years of failed diplomacy. During his first 100 days, the President has sent a message to the world with his swift and decisive order to strike the Syrian air base that launched a horrific chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians”,the White House press service said in a statement.

      According to the statement, Trump “further isolated Syria and Russia at the United Nations through successful diplomacy with President Xi Jinping of China”.
      In addition, Trump “imposed sanctions on Syria” and “worked to isolate North Korea”.

      See: White House boasts it ‘isolated Russia’ at UN
      April 28, 6:07 UTC+3

    • marknesop says:

      Well, of course they have to butter Trump up by applauding his anti-Russian chops, because they know he is a vain, simple airhead who loves praise and adoration, and providing those will help ensure he goes on performing as desired.

  4. Moscow Exile says:

    Make-up artist:

    The charlatan and embezzler claims that the above is the result of green dye having been splashed into his face.

    Note the neat, straight lines where the discolouration ends (left) and the almost total coverage of his face (right) — almost as if the dye had been painted on!

    Anti-regime toe-rag blog: Рецепт лечения России- взрывать и мазать

    The prescription for curing Russia is to blow it up with explosives and to smear

    Can you imagine a situation in which some ill-wishers come up to President Putin and splash the leader’s face with green dye? Would such a situation be possible with Prime Minister Medvedev? I know. It’s funny, isn’t it sir?

    In Central Moscow on Thursday, presidential candidate Aleksei Navalny was splashed in the eye with green dye and its cornea was burnt. Not for the first time has this happened, by the way….

    Shocking!

    Here is a report of the attack that appeared in KP:

    Навальному зеленкой обожгли глаз
    27 April

    Green dye burns Navalny’s eye
    Politician attacked again

    Aleksei Navalny has been diagnosed with a burn of the pupil and cornea of the right eye after his face had again been splashed with green dye. The opposition leader gave information about this in his Twitter account.

    According to him, he was attacked at the exit of his office. The green dye got into his right eye. Navalny called an ambulance and the ambulance paramedics decided to take him to hospital. The police were called to the scene.

    After medical care and the application of eye bandages, the politician left the clinic and went again to his office, where went live on air.

    And here is a picture taken after the attack:

    And here is one taken back at the office:

    Those adoring kreakly with him must be his make-up artists.

    They look really pleased with their work, don’t they, and not at all shocked over poor old Lyosha’s condition?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Again, taken before his return to the make-up artists:

      So how come he is wearing a sweat-shirt in the earlier photographs taken after the attack, but has a suitably stained white shirt on for the photograph with the bandaged eye and make-up artists?

      Did he take the shirt off before going to hospital and put it back on after his return to the office. The sweat-shirt bears few traces of the dye.

      Spot the differences:

      • marknesop says:

        Well, I’ll tell you one difference – in the last photo, the white of his right eye is totally green, and that is not possible. Dye thrown into your face can certainly irritate your eyes, but it will not dye the whites of your eyes; if anything, they will be red and inflamed.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      As I posted on the previous page – Navalny is closeted trekkie, who just wants to hook up with Orion girls.

    • marknesop says:

      For his part, for someone who suffered eye damage as a result of the attack Lysosha does not seem anxious to remove the dye. In fact, his subsequent actions are straight out of the good ol’ Gene Sharp Get-Milosevic Playbook: use circumstances to make your enemy appear ridiculous. Lyosha’s mugging and grinning and having a laugh in green dye are all calculated to show what a good sport he is, how mature and statesmanlike and unaffected despite his tribulations. The State Department must be asking itself, “Why isn’t it working?”

  5. Moscow Exile says:


    No! Only the green stuff.

  6. Moscow Exile says:

    Here’s one in the eye for you too, yer twat!

    For some reason or other, I feel no sympathy whatsoever for Kasyanov.

    I wonder why?

  7. Moscow Exile says:

    U.S. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson has said during an interview with radio station NPR that during his visit to Russia in April, 2017, Moscow and Washington had failed to resolve any issues and no further meeting had been arranged.

    According to Tillerson, Russia needs to decide if she wants to become a “positive part of the global world order, not its undermining”.

    Read: Russia refuses to do what the USA says.

    See: Тиллерсон заявил, что Россия и США «ничего не решили» на встрече в Москве

    All part of the isolation game that leads to psyching up for an attack against “the other”.

  8. Warren says:

    ‘Overly obese’ body sparks Ohio funeral home fire

    A crematorium in Ohio caught fire while burning the remains of an “overly obese” body, according to the owner.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39735904

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Too much fat in the pan?

    • Hor, Jennifer says:

      Imagine if that body had been Poroshenko’s – the fire would have been so huge and so intense burning all that fat that the whole town where the crematorium was located would have been scorched to the ground and Cincinnati city authorities would have declared it a disaster zone.

      Now that’s what you’d call a salo fire.

    • Cortes says:

      I recall reading that very obese cadavers have to be first “up the chimney ” each day in crematoria, in order to allow the coating of fats in the flue to be burnt off during subsequent, ahem, firings…

      Possibly in the very excellent: http://www.maryroach.net/stiff.html

      Her “Packing for Mars” was a great read too.

  9. et Al says:

    Trump has now threatened South Korea free trade, said he wants it to pay for THAAAD deploymenta also has gone after Canada’s Bombardier for ‘dumping’ its new CS100 series aircraft at ‘significantly below manufacturing price’

    Flight Global: Boeing petition accuses Bombardier of dumping jets
    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/boeing-petition-accuses-bombardier-of-dumping-jets-436678/

    I think Trump is brilliant. He’s pissing off all his allies!

    • et Al says:

      Trump’s demand Seoul pay for THAAD will test ties as Moon presidency looms:
      http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-trump-southkorea-analysis-idUKKBN17U13U?

      • et Al says:

        …”He’s using THAAD as a guinea pig to test the relationship,” said Kim Dong-yub, a professor at Kyungnam University’s Institute of Far Eastern Studies in Seoul.

        “Trump seems to be testing South Korea’s commitment to the Korea-U.S. alliance. I wonder if Trump’s saying this because he already thinks Moon will win,” Kim added….

    • marknesop says:

      Uh huh. Bombardier, with 66,000 employees, is a clear and present danger to Boeing with its 147,000 employees. Bombardier is trying to shut US aircraft firms out of their own domestic market!!! By selling aircraft to American customers at less than it cost to make them – I must say, that is a diabolical strategy. Meanwhile, Air Canada’s fleet – and nearly all its international long-haul routes – features more than 70 Boeings, the international long routes would be a Boeing shut-out except for 8 A-330 Airbus.

      Would you like to know how many Bombardier aircraft Delta Airlines – America’s largest carrier – operates? I can save you the trouble of looking it up – none. Delta’s fleet is roughly 60% Boeing, 20% Airbus, and 20% McDonnell-Douglas.

      Perhaps a suitable reply to Trump’s offensive and mile-wide assholery would be a Canadian government announcement that we will not replace any of our Boeing aircraft with Boeings, but with Airbus.

  10. karl1haushofer says:

    10% of Russians own 87% of the country’s wealth: https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/apr/25/unequal-russia-is-anger-stirring-in-the-global-capital-of-inequality

    Putin’s buddies have certainly done well. Rotenbergs are buying lots of expensive stuff in Finland as well.

    • Jen says:

      My goodness! Karl now reads The Grauniad and has discovered Shaun Walker who once claimed he saw Russian soldiers driving around in Ukraine (but forgot to take photos or a video of what he saw).

      Article was sponsored by the Ford Foundation which is known to have had CIA connections in the past.
      http://www.voltairenet.org/article30039.html

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Why do you assume that the richest 10% are all Putin’s friends?

    • kirill says:

      The Guardian is engaged in its usual 100% lying about Russia. The US has higher income inequality than Russia. The top 20% make 93% of the money and the top 1% makes 40%.

      The study cited by the Guardian is playing games with definitions and statistics. It is deliberately confusing assets with income. Billionaires do not make billions per year in earnings. In most cases the wealth of billionaires is theoretical since it is based on share price. If some billionaire wanted to liquify their assets most of them would disappear since the price would drop.

      It makes sense that in Russia there would be a higher concentration of assets in the hands of a few thanks to

      1) the fact that the USSR was based on a communist system where one company often covered a whole industry (any fragmentation was regional and not based on competitors).

      2) Yeltsin’s corrupt US backed privatization campaign transferred whole industries into the pockets of a few oligarchs.

      Putin actually managed to put these super-oligarchs in their place and prevented a Ukraine scenario for Russia. To place Yeltsin’s privatization at Putin’s feet is pure nonsense. If you are a commie and want the return of the good old days before 1991 then you are raising a separate topic for discussion.

      • cartman says:

        I’m not reading the Grauniad, but are they citing the Credit Suisse report? I’m feeling a bit of deja vu with this discussion when we concluded that they do not count assets (land and property) as wealth.

        • cartman says:

          UN’s most recent data (2015) puts Russia’s Gini coefficient at 41.6. In comparison, the US’s is 41.1. The Ukraine’s is indeed very low, and probably was low to begin with.

          http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/2016_human_development_report.pdf

          • kirill says:

            This GINI index is patent BS since it makes the super-stratified Ukraine look so good. So if 99% are dirt poor and 1% are super rich that is good? Clearly the formula for this index is not being properly applied or it is not constructed in the proper way to take into account extreme inequality. This would be rather ironic for an equality index.

        • Jen says:

          Yes The Grauniad’s article lifted that statistic about the richest 10% of Russians owning 87% of the country’s “wealth” from the Credit Suisse report.
          https://publications.credit-suisse.com/tasks/render/file/?fileID=F2425415-DCA7-80B8-EAD989AF9341D47E

          Note that all the sources cited are Credit Suisse’s own in one form or another.

          Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism reposts an article by Mark Ames on Credit Suisse’s role in helping the Yeltsin government privatise Russian state industries and natural resources through a notorious “loans for shares” scheme.
          http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/04/mark-ames-credit-suisse-decries-russian-inequality-playing-leading-role-creating.html

          “…Shock therapy, first implemented in 1992 and not really ended until Russia’s devastating financial crash in 1998, was politically useful in that by confiscating the Russian middle-class’s and lower-class’s savings, it created a massively unequal society. And that alone drove Russia further from its Communist recent past, which was the political goal that justified everything.

          In 1994 … Credit Suisse banker, Boris Jordan, told Forbes’ Paul Khlebnikov about a scheme he was trying to sell to the Yeltsin regime. It was called “loans-for-shares” and when it was finally adopted at the end of 1995, it resulted in what many considered the single largest plunder of public wealth in recorded history: The crown jewels of Russian industry—oil, gas, natural resources, telecoms, state banks—given away to a tiny group of connected bankers. It was this scheme, first devised by a Credit Suisse banker, that created Russia’s world-famous oligarchy.

          The scheme went something like this: The Yeltsin regime announced in late 1995 auctions under which bankers would lend the government money in exchange for “temporary” control over the revenue streams of Russia’s largest and most valuable companies. After a period, the government would “repay” the “loans” and the banks would give the their large stakes back to the government.

          In reality, every single “auction” was rigged by the winning bank, which paid next to nothing for its control over an oil company/nickel company/etc. Even the little money paid by this bank was often stolen from the state. That’s because Russia used a handful of private banks as authorized treasury institutions to transfer government salaries and other funds around the country. This allowed the same bankers who were authorized as state treasury banks to keep those funds for themseles rather than distribute them to the teachers, doctors and scientists as salaries—so they did what was in their rational self-interest and kept the money, delaying salary payments for months or even years at a time, while they used the funds for themselves to speculate, or to buy up assets in auctions they rigged for themselves. It was pure libertarian paradise on earth—everything von Hayek and von Mises dreamed of—in practice.

          By the time the loans-for-shares was actually put into effect in late 1995, Credit Suisse’s Boris Jordan joined up with an anointed banker-oligarch, Vladimir Potanin, to set up their own investment bank, Renaissance Capital. They raised their first private equity fund, Sputnik Capital—with George Soros and Harvard University as co-investors—and Sputnik Capital went on to take advantage of the loans-for-shares investment opportunities, which had even more help from the fact that Yeltsin made Potanin his Finance Minister in 1996.

          This sudden mass wealth transfer from the many to the few had a devastating effect on Russia’s population. Inflation in the first two years of shock therapy and voucher privatization ran at 1,354% in 1992, and 896% in 1993, while real incomes plunged 42% in 1992 alone; real wages in 1995 were half of where they were in 1990 (pensions in 1995 were only a quarter in real terms of where they were in 1990). According to very conservative official Russian statistics, GDP plunged 44% from 1992-1998 — others put the GDP crash even higher, 50% or more. By comparison the Soviet GDP fell 24% during its war with Nazi Germany, and the US’s GDP fell 30% during the Great Depression. So what happened in the 1990s was unprecedented for a major developed country—by the end of the decade and all of the Washington/financial industry-backed reforms, Russia was a basket case, a third-rate country with an even bleaker future. Capital investment had collapsed 85% during that decade—everyone was stripping assets, not investing in them. Domestic food production collapsed to half the levels during perestroika; and by 1999, anywhere from a third to half of Russians relied on food grown in their own gardens to eat. They’d reverted to subsistence farming after a decade of free market medicine…”

      • yalensis says:

        For once in my life, I have to agree with Kirill.
        And yes, only commies care about income distribution.
        Karl is not a commie, quite the opposite.
        Hence, by definition, he doesn’t/shouldn’t care about inequality of assets in Russia, or anywhere else.

        • Jen says:

          Karl probably should care since the Finnish goverment and Finnish companies missed an opportunity to participate in the plunder of Russia during the Yeltsin Dark Age.

  11. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    The title of ‘Britain’s worst newspaper’ is a hard one to keep in this day and age, but the good people at the Sun prove yet again that they’re up to the challenge.

    • James lake says:

      They can’t even get the country to speak Ukrainian – changing the alphabet will be an even greater challenge.

      • They would have to start from the kids, teaching them at schools witn a latin alphabet. And I guess they can force the major newspapers and media to use latin instead of cyrillic.

        • James lake says:

          You can start with children – but what about the parents and grandparents who find themselves rendered illiterate? They would have to continue to run the two systems side by side for a long time to come. In the Uk when the system of weights and measures was decimalised they did this and still do this. As the imperial system is so embedded into the culture.

          It will be interesting to observe with Ukraine whether the nationalists who glorify their culture discard the alphabet

          • “You can start with children – but what about the parents and grandparents who find themselves rendered illiterate?”

            Well, they are the “lost” Soviet generation who have to give the way for the new brave and free Ukrainian generation.

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, that’s a great idea – put the major newspapers and media in a format nobody in the country understands. That should contribute to timely information flow – I daresay the people will thank them for it.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            As I have mentioned before, the Dudayev Chechen regime (and it was a “regime”!), following the unilateral declaration of Chechnya independence, decided to replace Cyrillic with the Latin alphabet. As a result, official documents appeared in Chechen printed using Latin letters. This change-over to Latin was short lived: few could understand what was written in the Latin alphabet, they having become used to their language written in Cyrillic.

            Before Chechnya became part of the Russian Empire, the Chechen language was written in Arabic script.

            And before that, there had been no written Chechen language.

        • Jen says:

          A major issue with using a Latin alphabet is how Ukrainian will represent certain sounds for which no one-to-one symbolic representation exists. According to Wikipedia. the Cyrillic alphabet currently being used for Ukrainian has 33 letters to represent 38 sounds.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_alphabet

          Using the Latin alphabet gives Ukrainian 26 letters to represent 38 sounds. So how would 12 sounds be represented in Ukrainian – would the Yukies need diacritical marks (as used in languages like Czech and Slovak) and what sort? Or would they go with Polish orthography and use letter combinations like “cz”, “sz” and “rz”?

          Already we can see what a stupid idea changing the alphabet is. Latinising Ukrainian might prove to be fraught with conflicting political agendas, and some of these could be aimed at eventually merging Ukraine (or part thereof) with Poland. When Greece joined the EU, no-one asked the Greeks to change their alphabet?

          • marknesop says:

            We see this in Russian where the alphabet has no sound to represent the ‘juh’ in “Julia” – the Russian equivalent is “Yulia”. In the jacket copy on the back of “Pretty Woman”, for example (which I saw for sale in a market in Vladivostok a long time ago), Julia Roberts’ name was rendered as “Dzulia”.

            As usual, there is no practical reason for Ukraine’s exploring this idea beyond sticking a thumb in Russia’s eye (so it believes, anyway), and sucking up to its western sugar-daddy. In reality, though, Russia plainly cares less every day what Ukraine says and does. And that is a shame, because it represents success for the west in its aim of promoting discord between the two leading to a severing of relations. That part of it went off in textbook fashion. It’s probably why, also, the west plays up such stories like Kiev’s attempt to force out Russian institutions such as Sberbank. I am encouraged, though, by the fact that Russia remains the largest investor in Ukraine by a significant margin while the west is becoming disillusioned by the amounts of money it is pouring into Kiev without any tangible results whatsoever. This suggests other strategies are in play, and in the end it is likely to boil down to the grubby financial struggle Obama declared the United States to be above. That presupposes also that the western-imposed ideological nutjob government in Kiev will have to go as well, but I don’t think too many Ukrainian tears would be shed over that.

    • kirill says:

      What a collection of retarded wankers. They are always masturbating how the Ukrs are pure Slavs but Russians are Tatar-Mongol low-breeds. The Latin alphabet does not serve Slav linguistic needs as is evident from the consonant + special symbol soup that one gets in Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, etc. Following the Banderatard logic, it is Russians that should drop the Cyrillic script since they are not pure Slavs.

      • I think they just want to be “not Russians”. Even if they speak Russian, look Russian, have Russian names etc.

        • yalensis says:

          It’s more like a “Catholic” vs. “Orthodox” thing.
          For example, Serbs and Croats speak exactly the same language.
          But Serbs (Orthodox) write it in Cyrillic, whereas Croats (Catholics) write it in Latin.
          (I’m making some generalizations, obviously, but that’s the basic history.)

          Either alphabet is actually perfect for writing Serbo-Croatian, so in theory it shouldn’t matter which alphabet you use. An alphabet is just a tool, like a screwdriver.
          But people tend to ideologize alphabets and regard them as something with their own transcendent meaning. It’s like saying, “This screwdriver is a Nazi!”

          I polemicize against that fallacy, but people don’t listen to me. unless they are professional linguists or have some training in that field.

        • marknesop says:

          Well, let them get on with it, then. Should be amusing.

      • cartman says:

        English is the most widely spoken language in India. They must really be prospering there.

  12. Russia is going to sell S-400 to Turkey: https://lenta.ru/news/2017/04/28/now_we_are_friends/

    I would understand if it was S-300, but this seems like a risky move.

  13. Northern Star says:

    karl….
    innovative use of the beasts…
    http://standardnews.com/world-war-2-facts/4

  14. et Al says:

    FAIR via Antiwar.com: At Reuters, ‘Not Refuting’ Is the Same as ‘Seeing’
    http://fair.org/home/at-reuters-not-refuting-is-the-same-as-seeing/

    Top US General in Afghanistan Sees Russia Sending Weapons to Taliban” was Reuters’ headline over a April 25 story.

    Well, that sounds like news! Tell me more, Reuters’ Idrees Ali:…

  15. Northern Star says:

    “Because the direct threats to South Korea — including the Seoul area, where 40 percent of the South Korean population resides — are North Korea’s long-range artilleries and short-range ballistic missiles, THAAD, they believe, is clearly a mismatch against such threats.”
    Exactly…as I have noted on this blog
    But apparently the ‘claimed ‘ NK threat to SK is just a pretext for the THAAD deployment with the real target being to undermine China’s launch capabilities.
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-06/us-begins-deployment-controversial-thaad-anti-missile-system-south-korea

    • Special_sauce says:

      Law of snowballs: It will always be cheaper, simpler and more effective to make snowballs than to make machines that knock snowballs out of the air.

      • Northern Star says:

        “machines that knock snowballs out of the air.”

        at least so they say (claim)..and hope!!!!

        • Northern Star says:

          But…their hopes are in vain….smoke rings in a pipe dream!!

          Two of the best articles ever on this stuff…..a must read before you become radioactive dust in the wind…if things contiue to go south

          “There is another fundamental problem, and that is the false sense of security engendered by the belief that the US and her allies are protected by an impenetrable ABM shield. It is a dangerous perception that is likely to lead to military doctrines that could will have catastrophic consequences. Circumventing the concept of MAD, thanks to ABM defense, remains a dream for any nuclear power. But actively pursuing this strategy, while at the same time threatening a nuclear power in the hope of shielding one’s territory from a nuclear exchange, seems like a suicidal strategy rather than a well-considered military doctrine. Increasingly, the idea of a perfectly working ABM system capable of intercepting an ICBM is spreading in the US military, thanks to think-tanks funded by the same manufacturers of these systems. There could probably be no more a deadly and mistaken belief.”
          http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/03/29/playing-with-fire-anti-ballistic-missiles-age-mutually-assured-destruction.html

          “A first-strike scenario has often been suggested with regards to North Korea. However, it is likely that not even an American nuclear first strike could stop Pyongyang from launching a retaliatory nuclear strike against US allies in the region. Thanks to development of the Sinpo-class submarine, Pyongyang will possess the capability to launch a Pukkuksong-1 SLBM that is armed with a nuclear warhead capable of targeting US bases in the region as well as South Korea and even Japan. It is common knowledge that in the next few years, North Korea will possess the capability to reach the US with a nuclear warhead from a fixed-base launch pad. In a sea-based scenario, the United States is overconfident in being able to track and destroy any submarine that has the ability to launch an SLBM. However, the Pentagon is even more confident that Pyongyang would not have the capacity to reach the United States with nuclear missiles, and if it launched a nuclear weapon towards any American partner in the region from land or sea, the US ABM systems like THAAD and Aegis should ensure a highly probable interception.”

          “highly probably”…WTF…They have claimed that the (recent)THAAD intercept success rate was 100% !!!!

          http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/04/01/illusion-invulnerability-corruption-misinformation-era-abm-systems.html

  16. Lyttenburgh says:

    Once again – a spike in karl’s net activity is irrevocably connected with the general feeling of butthurt, experienced by our dear and beloved (ha-ha, actually – not) Finno-Ukr.

    YLE via Rossiyskaya Gazeta: Arabian became the third most popular foreign language in Finland

    “The Arabic language has risen to the third place in the list of the most widespread foreign languages in Finland. 22 thousand people speak it.

    Nevertheless, in the first place in the list there is still Russian (76 thousand native speakers), on the second – Estonian (49 thousand).

    This little news, which was posted on its website information and political portal Yle, in one day became the most discussed and read in Finland. Citizens of the country were shocked by the fact that the country was not ready for the rapid growth of the Arab population. In just last couple of years the followers of Islam became the second largest religious group in Suomi, and the name of Fatima is now the most popular female name among the newborn girls. Now people from Arab countries can be found in large numbers on the streets of major Finnish cities. They work in local pizzerias, open their national cafes, where they sell shaurma and kebabs. Helsinki have long becom accustomed to the sight of women in hijabs. The only problem is that the Finns themselves know very little about the traditions of Muslims, the Arabic language in the country is studied only be few. This ignorance has led to an increase in the intolerance of the population of Suomi to immigrants from the countries of the Middle East and racist manifestations. In Finland, cases of beating and insulting of refugees on the streets of cities are not uncommon, as well as the burning of centers for the reception for asylum seekers. Over the past year alone, more than 30,000 migrants from the Middle East and Africa have moved to the country. Two years earlier, their number did not exceed 4 thousand. Finland has now tightened its migration policy to restrict the entry of refugees.”

    I furiously approve of this development, mashallah! Maybe now these people will bring some semblance of the Civilization to this forsaken part of the world. Besides – surely there must be someone to cure the Finns from their irresponsible alcoholism and high suicide rates!

    • Cortes says:

      Has there been a spike in Vitamin D prescription since the influx of Arab speakers? Not sure that getting all wrapped up as per the Med or the Red Sea or the Sahara is going to be very clever in Finland.

  17. Northern Star says:

    I don’t follow Trump’s reasoning-expecting Seoul to pay for the THAAD system-in terms of it being consistent with:
    “The United States currently has six THAAD batteries worldwide and a former U.S. State Department official, who estimated the cost of each at about $1.2 billion, said Washington would not want to sell THAAD to Seoul.
    “We want to retain THAAD in our arsenal, consistent with all other U.S. weapons systems deployed on the Korean peninsula. We own them. We retain them. We have the right to redeploy them,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.”
    Furthermore ,once it’s installed and the SKs tell Trump the same thing Vincente Fox told him:
    “Go fuck yourself”…in so many words
    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/313122-vicente-fox-to-trump-we-wont-pay-for-that-fken-wall
    What’s he gonna do?? Uninstall It?? LOL!!!
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/south-korea-presidential-front-runner-adviser-says-seoul-023458307.html

    • Jen says:

      Trump’s reasoning is at one with his notion that NATO countries should be paying for their defence. It would be useful to think of Seoul’s payment (or rather, payments, since any such money flow from South Korea to the US won’t be a single transaction but rather in the form of periodic payments) for THAAD as hire purchase.

      Ideally the US would be paying rent to South Korea for providing the land on which to operate the THAAD system but in current twisted US-exceptional-centric neocapitalist ideology, the South Koreans have to be screwed for protection money just like all the other US allies.

    • Jen says:

      News I just found won’t please the Trumpster: the South Korean Defense Ministry pole-axed the idea of having to pay for the THAAD missile system.
      https://sputniknews.com/asia/201704281053091030-seoul-rejects-thaad-bill/

      • marknesop says:

        But they still intend to deploy it in South Korea at the behest of the United States. The net positive in it – if you are not American – is that it will inflame relations further between China and the USA, bringing China closer to foursquare opposition to Washington, something the Chinese have carefully avoided to date. In my estimation, the most daunting effect on western war planning is achieved when the west believes it will have to face both Russia and China.

        Here’s a fairly realistic look at THAAD, from the viewpoint of a booster for the system, who believes it is a practical and necessary solution. It dispenses quickly with the contention that THAAD was never designed to intercept short-range ballistic missiles (yes, it was) and consequently it is directed against Chinese missiles. Depending on the direction of travel, it is just possible a system in South Korea could be used against Chinese ballistic missiles transiting over that nation, although intercept is a decreased probability. But that’s not really what the Chinese dislike about the siting of such a system. What they are uncomfortable with is (1) the radar, looking into Chinese airspace; like the radar deployed with the similar systems in Poland and Romania infuriates Moscow, the radar in South Korea would be able to see far beyond the range of its interceptors: (2) THAAD will provide the interface which links close-in systems like Patriot (which South Korea already has) with upper-envelope systems like AEGIS, making them components of a single networked system capable of sharing data. Theoretically, the USA could use information from THAAD’s radars to feed targeting data to its other systems.

        As Lockheed-Martin’s business guru is eager to point out in his straight-out-of-the-company-brochure article which The National Interest was kind enough to let him transpose, THAAD is rapidly and tactically deployable as it was designed to be mobile, so the USA was always going to move it up anyway as soon as it could find an excuse to do so; South Korea refusing to shell out a billion dollars for its siting and upkeep is not much of a sticking point, seen in that framework.

        What it boils down to is that the United States is slowly but inexorably building a ring of steel around China and Russia, all the while blandly assuring the public at large that it is not directed against those countries. Both Russia and China believe Washington is working towards a point where it believes it has enough insurance in place to launch its own unalerted first strike, comfortable that it will be able to deal with the counterstrike. The Pentagon can covertly switch OUT ABM interceptors for the latest Tomahawks, poising a cruise-missile strike right on the doorstep where reaction time would be minimal. Does anyone think the United States, wallowing as it does in it’s-all-about-ME exceptionalism, would shrink from such a move?

        So the real question is what Russia and China are going to do about it. The country best placed to thwart America’s neoconservative ambitions is China, through trade and economic measures which threaten to bankrupt America if it does not visibly back off. The USA is sufficiently insulated from trade with Russia that it is an insignificant factor, does not care at all what damage Europe suffers to its trade as a result, and Europe is led by pliant and spineless leaders in total thrall to Washington, so that it will not collectively object.

        On the military hardware side, kinetic-kill vehicles depend on pinpoint accuracy, and while I was not invited along for the THAAD tests, I would be willing to bet all were carried out against non-maneuvering targets, which is to say those whose approach course did not vary. It is extremely difficult for defensive systems like Patriot and THAAD to hit a maneuvering target because the predicted intercept point is always being recalculated. Russia long ago (when it was still the Soviet Union, in fact) demonstrated an ability to engineer a missile which executes a narrow weave each side of the base course during the terminal phase, with the SS-N-22. American missiles also employ this technology in their later variants, but the viability of point-defense systems against them will not be known as long as operators continue to test against non-maneuvering targets.

  18. Warren says:

    Навальный здорового человека

    Автор Александр Храмов

    Я хорошо помню, когда я впервые увидел Навального. Тогда это был Навальный здорового человека. На дворе стоял октябрь 2006 года. Я, первокурсник, только-только начавший интересоваться политикой, оказался в офисе движения «Демократическая альтернатива», который располагался недалеко от Овчинниковской набережной. Не очень многолюдное собрание во главе с Машей Гайдар (да, той самой, что за бочку варенья да корзину печенья 10 лет спустя отказалась от российского гражданства и стала советником Порошенко) обсуждает, что же делать с предстоящим «фашистским шествием», то бишь Русским маршем.

    http://rueuro.ru/item/18-navalnyj-zdorovogo-cheloveka

  19. Warren says:

    North Korea crisis: North ‘test-fires ballistic missile’

    North Korea has test-fired a ballistic missile, the South Korean military quoted by Yonhap news agency says.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-39750240

    OK, then, what are you gonna do now America?

  20. Warren says:

    Published on 28 Apr 2017
    The Conservative Party has rehired infamous election strategist Lynton Crosby. David Grossman compares the campaign messages of 2015 and 2017. Does anything sound familiar?

    Newsnight is the BBC’s flagship news and current affairs TV programme – with analysis, debate, exclusives, and robust interviews.

    • marknesop says:

      That look like a majority to you? There look to be a lot of empty seats, if that represents the actual vote.

      However, the time is now upon us when nobody cares what the people think, and although public opinion is strongly against this, it is plain Montenegro’s western-stooge government is going to push through the initiative anyway. I imagine the application will be accepted with unseemly haste, and the usual bullshit about how the admission of Montenegro will enhance the security of the NATO alliance – although its military is 17 times smaller than the New York City Police Department – will be trotted out to rave reviews from the usual chowderheads.

      Sadly, thanks entirely and wholly to prodding and provocation by the world’s biggest spoiled kidm – America – and its homies, yet another enormously destructive world war looks more and more inevitable every day.

  21. Moscow Exile says:

    Way off topic!

    Le rugby à XIII, appelé rugby league dans les pays anglophones, est un sport collectif opposant deux équipes de treize joueurs qui se disputent un ballon ovale …

    And in the Frog version of Rugby League, you can flop the ref!

    Well, not officially anyway.

  22. Moscow Exile says:

    Крым сегодня открывает туристический сезон

    The tourist season opens in the Crimea today

    Today is one of the most important events of the year in the Crimea – the opening of the tourist season. In many cities and towns of the Republic, there starts on this date a programme of events that last from April 29 to May 1. But the centre of the festivities, of course, is hospitable Yalta.

    The Republic authorities proposed that each year there be celebrations at the beginning of the tourist season according to a traditional theme. This year’s theme is going to be the journey that Catherine II made to the Crimea 230 years ago. This journey of the Empress is considered to have been the first tourist trip to the Peninsula and part of the early development of its recreation industry. This event will be the main theme of all activities under the slogan “The Catherine Mile”.

    In preparation for the season, residents have made great efforts to improve the tourism infrastructure of the Crimea. The purpose of the event has been the creation of conditions for an increase in the flow of tourist to the Peninsula. It is all about overcoming the threshold of 6 million people a year. These are the guidelines that have been set by the Crimeans. For the inhabitants of the Peninsula, which is rightly considered to be the pearl of Russia, and its national health resort, all guests are welcome in the Republic.

    Traditionally, the first influx of tourists into the Crimea is expected during the May holidays. [May 1st is a national holiday in Russia, as is May 9th, Victory Day — ME] Blooming tulips and magnolias, the beauty of the Nikitsky Botanical garden, the alluring appeal of the Yalta yaila [summer mountain pastures — ME] will not leave any tourist indifferent to it all. All the beaches of Greater Yalta are already prepared for receiving visitors: all that is left to wait for a little while now is the warming up of the Black Sea. [In my experience, the Black Sea can be bloody chilly up to August! — ME]

    The Republic authorities are making great efforts so that the term “The Crimea” be associated exclusively with a comfortable, interesting and welcoming vacation. After the return of the Crimea to Russia, more of our fellow citizens are discovering the beauty of the Peninsula. Having travelled there, most of them have a strong wish to visit this blessed land again.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Banderastan promo video just released for the Eurovision Song competition to be held in Kiev this year.

      Its theme: “celebrate diversity” — unless you are a Moskal Sovok from the Donbass, of course.

      The Ukraine promotion sung in English by a cute little girl who has a cute “American accent”.

      Better than this horror comic singing, I suppose:

      The Crimea is included in the clip (the “Swallow’s Nest” overlooking the Aurora Cliff) because, as Yats said: “It is our Crimea, it is our Yalta, it is our territory, Vladimir Vladimirovich!”

      Yats now lives in Florida, USA.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        They won’t give up, won’t give in until they reach the end, she sings.

        Tell you what kid —

        Hey, hang on a minute!

        Isn’t cutesy-pie in the clip shown filmed singing in a yacht at the foot of the Aurora Cliff?

        That means she has been at least in Crimea territorial waters, if not on the peninsula itself.

        So why hasn’t she been banned from entry into the Ukraine?

    • marknesop says:

      I imagine those numbers will be watched carefully – if they are low Ukraine and the west will howl triumphantly, and if Crimea is swamped with tourists they will simply not report it, or look for something else detrimental to report on.

  23. Moscow Exile says:

    США обеспокоены признанием “Открытой России” нежелательной организацией

    The USA is concerned over the recognition of “Open Russia” as an undesirable organization.

    I should worry!

  24. Moscow Exile says:

    Ukropy, Europe awaits you!

  25. Warren says:

    Published on 28 Apr 2017
    Tzeporah Berman, the Executive Director of PowerUp Canada, explains that the Trudeau’s government’s environmental policies are an important improvement over the previous government, but it is far from enough

  26. Moscow Exile says:

    Breaking news:

    Turkey blocks access to Wikipedia

    They never label Turkey as a “regime”, though, do they?

  27. Warren says:

    Published on 29 Apr 2017
    The train left China almost five months ago laden with clothes, bags and household goods.

    It returned carrying a cargo of pharmaceuticals, vitamin pills, baby milk powder and Scotch Whisky.

    Al Jazeera’s Adrian Brown reports from Beijing.

    • Special_sauce says:

      I wasn’t sure about that mixed gauge thing. Do they have to move all those containers to different cars and swap engines too? That’s a serious hiccup. Who gets to decide on a new gauge, or do they just choose one and rebuild the other?

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