Flirting With Disaster

Uncle Volodya says, “It’s like when you make a move in chess and just as you take your finger off the piece, you see the mistake you’ve made, and there’s this panic because you don’t know yet the scale of disaster you’ve left yourself open to.”

…Speeding down the fast lane, honey
Playin’ from town to town;
The boys and I have been burnin’ it up, can’t seem to slow it down.
I’ve got the pedal to the floor, our lives are runnin’ faster,
Got our sights set straight ahead,
But ain’t sure what we’re after…

Molly Hatchet, from Flirting With Disaster

Any Darwin Awards fans out there? For those few who have never heard of them, the Darwin Awards celebrate those individuals who have rendered a significant service to mankind by taking themselves out of the global gene pool. In preparing to discuss today’s subject, I am reminded of unfortunate 1999 award-winner ‘James’ from Missouri, who became so fixated upon his love interest that he tried to lop off his own head with a chainsaw to demonstrate his commitment to an outcome on his terms. Although he was ultimately unsuccessful on both counts, he did fatally injure himself, and died in hospital. Ashes to ashes; dust to dust.

My intent today is to demonstrate clear destructive similarities between the above emotional decision and the equally simpleminded decision of the US Senate to impose further economic sanctions on Russia, this time explicitly tying them to penalizing of European companies which do business with Russia – moreover, in a clear attempt to stop the latter from proceeding with the Nord Stream II gas pipeline project. This, in turn, is clearly an attempt by the USA to make Europe a captive market for its own energy products, in the form of shipborne LNG. Significantly, that goal is also finally becoming clear to Europe; or at least to the parts of it that matter, such as Germany (thanks for the tip, James!)

Try to put aside, for the moment, the insufferable arrogance of American meddling in Europe’s energy market, with a view to restricting its choice while – laughably – pretending it is broadening European energy options.

The readers and commenters of this blog will be well aware, since it has been a topic of discussion for years here, that a critical underpinning of the western plan to seize Ukraine and wrest it into the western orbit was the premise that Russia would be forced by simple momentum to go along with it. As long as events continued to unfold too quickly to get ahead of, Russia would have to help supply the sinews of its own destruction. And a big part of that was the assumption that Russia would help to finance Ukraine’s transition to a powerful western fulcrum upon which to apply leverage against it, through continued trade with Ukraine and continued transit of Europe’s energy supply through Ukraine’s pipeline system.

But Russia slapped a trade embargo on most Ukrainian goods, and rescinded its tariff-free status as it became clear Brussels planned to use it to stovepipe European trade goods into the Russian market, through Ukraine – thus crushing domestic industries which would not be able to compete on economically-favourable terms. The armchair strategists nearly shit a brick when construction of the South Stream pipeline commenced, bypassing Ukraine and depriving it of about $2 billion annually in transit fees. But pressure ultimately forced Bulgaria to throw a wrench into the works, and the pipeline plans were shelved, to much victory dancing in the west. There was not quite as much happy-dancing in Bulgaria, but they were only ever a pawn anyway.

Sidebar for a moment, here; while the $2 Billion annually in transit fees is extremely important, Ukraine’s pre-crisis GDP was $163 Billion. The funds realized for transit fees are important because (a) Russia has to pay them and (b) the west will have to come up with the equivalent in aid if Ukraine loses out on them. But the real value intrinsic to Ukraine as a transit country is its physical reality as an interface for Russian gas transit to Europe – what is a bridge can be easily turned into a wall. Any time Washington thinks Russia needs some more shit on its face, Ukraine can be prodded to announce a doubling of its transit fees, or to kick off some other dispute which the popular press will adroitly spin to make Russia appear to be an unreliable supplier. Therefore, it is essential to western strategy that significant amounts of Russian gas continue to transit Ukraine. Sufficiently so that Europe continues to evolve ever-more-desperate contingency plans in order to keep receiving gas through the country which was known to have provoked the previous shutoff of European supplies by siphoning Europe-bound gas for its own use. That’s despite the assurances of Germany and western partners of Gazprom in the Nord Stream line that it will mean cheaper gas prices for Europe.

But we knew this was coming, didn’t we? Yes, we did, because as recently as last month, Democratic senator Jean Shaheen, who sits on the Senate Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on European Affairs, announced that the United States was considering involving itself in the Nord Stream II pipeline project, with a view to killing it stone dead. The purpose, as already mentioned, is to make way for LNG cargoes to Europe, cutting Russia out of the business, on the assumption that without energy sales the Russian economy will crumble and the country will collapse. Destroying Russia remains Washington’s overriding strategic objective.

So the stakes are high; high enough to provide context for Washington’s bizarre and aggressive behavior, and for its continued ridiculous insistence that Russia tampered with the 2016 US presidential election. What are the chances Washington will succeed with its latest adventure in global bullying?

Not good, according to multiple sources. Let’s take a look at how Platts views the prospects; Platts, a division of S&P Global, is headquartered in London and employs over 1,000 people in more than 15 offices worldwide. These include global business centers such as New York, Shanghai and Sao Paulo, and major energy centers such as Houston, Singapore and London, where Platts is based. Having hopefully established the firm’s credentials as someone who knows what they are talking about in the energy business, let’s see what Platts has to say about the potential American LNG market in Europe.

Mmmm….the review is mixed. At the outset, Platts is admiring of Cheniere Energy’s go-to-hell expansion. But a couple of things about that are cause to curb enthusiasm. One, only 8 American LNG cargoes had gone to Europe so far; that was as of April this year, when the report was released. Of those, 4 went to Spain, 3 to Portugal and 1 to Italy. Two, the Iberian Peninsula is acknowledged by Platts as not particularly significant in terms of gauging Europe’s welcome of American LNG.

“Indeed, the fact that Portugal and Spain were the first European countries to import LNG from the US is telling…The Iberian Peninsula is considered an “island market” with poor interconnection to the rest of Europe, so the delivery of US LNG into the region is not likely to be seen as a sign that it will take hold in the wider European market.”

The same passage points out that Russia does not supply the Iberian Peninsula with pipeline gas, and so is unlikely to be very concerned about the impact of US LNG on that market.

Three, Cheniere’s rapid expansion has come at a terrifying cost, and the company is currently – as of fall 2016 – overleveraged with approximately $20 Billion in long-term debt. It is unprofitable, with interest payments representing 60% of revenues, the living embodiment of ‘bicycle economics’; the second you stop pedaling, you crash.

For what it’s worth, few great business breakthroughs have occurred without risk, and while Cheniere is plunging ahead with what seems like recklessness, it could just as easily pay off with complete domination of the North American export market. That’s a hell of a debt load, though; not much margin for bad news. That does expose a flaw in the American strategy, as well – wrestling control of the European supply market from Russia would be frighteningly expensive.

Consider; apart from the ruinous expense of constructing LNG terminals and processing facilities and getting planning and development permission (which I imagine could be shortcut pretty quickly if such a juicy prospect as seizing control of the European market seemed an achievable possibility), you need tankers to ship your product. The average LNG tanker which can dock at most terminals (remember, the tanker has to be able to get to the terminal as well as berth alongside it, so you may need to dredge a channel all the way through a shallow harbour) can hold a little better than 3 Billion Cubic Feet (BcF) of natural gas, which is mostly methane. That equates to about .85 Billion Cubic Meters (BcM). But Europe uses about 400 BcM per year. That would be more than a full tanker cargo every day, assuming LNG could supply the whole European market, which is of course unrealistic. Especially considering the entire global LNG shipping fleet consists of about 410 vessels. No LNG carriers are currently registered under the US flag, and if the USA plans to be a serious exporter it is going to need about 100 new LNG carriers over the next 30 years, something which is frankly not practically achievable considering it takes about 2 years to build one, at a cost of about $200 Million apiece. Of course, miracles can be made to happen if you pour enough money into them. But we’ve already somewhat nervously mentioned how much all this is costing – how does the likely return on investment shape up?

Well, what the fuck? Platts comes right out and says that Russia has the option of cutting its prices to ensure it undercuts LNG costs in order to keep its share of the European market!

“Russia clearly does have the option to undercut the US LNG price to ensure it keeps its share of its key European markets and could flood the market with cheap gas, maximizing revenues and cash flow at a time when producers worldwide are suffering from the impact of such low prices.”

So, let me get this straight. All the attempts by the west, led as usual by Washington, to force energy prices down and keep them low…actually benefit Russia by putting the USA in an unacceptable profit/loss loop so that it cannot afford to sell its LNG to Europe and still make money? That appears to be pretty much how it shakes out.

“Russia, thanks to the bearish oil price environment and an enhanced export strategy from Gazprom, increased its exports to Europe by 15% (through the Nord Stream, Yamal, and Brotherhood pipelines) to 118 Bcm, taking back its place as Europe’s largest gas supplier in the process.”

Wait! I think I see a solution. All the USA needs to do is apply its global leverage to make energy costs rise!

“But US LNG could face problems of its own – the current low prices are forcing ever growing numbers of US producers into bankruptcy. According to a recent report by Haynes and Boone, 90 gas and oil producers in the US and Canada have filed for bankruptcy between January 2015 and the start of August 2016.”

Oh, hey; I just realized – if forcing energy prices back up were an option, how is that  going to hamstring an opponent who was already able to undercut you at the lower price, and still turn a profit?

Platts closes out this dismal synopsis with the consolation prize that, while US LNG is less competitive with pipeline gas given narrow Henry Hub-NBP spreads, it is coming to Europe regardless. More of that old American can-do. It will have to be, though, on what is described as a short-run marginal cost basis. Would you feel comfortable with that forecast if you were carrying, say, $20 Billion in debt?

And it’s not just Platts who sounds a warning; Forbes has a similar, if slightly more mocking outlook of the situation.

“Most of this is just political posturing and noise. The U.S. is not now and nor will it be in the near future a key resource for Europe’s energy needs…According to EIAs Annual Energy Outlook, published in April, the United States remains a net importer of fuels through 2040 in a low oil price scenario. In a high oil and gas price scenario, the United States becomes a net exporter of liquid fuels due to increased production by 2021. A lot can happen in seven years. By then, Exxon will likely be back to its deal with Rosneft in Russia’s Arctic Circle.”

As well, Forbes adds the interesting perspective that foreign sales of American gas will be a tough sell domestically if the pressure remains on the American leadership to achieve greater energy self-sufficiency and reduced dependence on foreign sources. This situation can only be exacerbated by a rise in anti-American sentiment around the world, and is likely to spike if energy prices rise. But if they stay low, American LNG exports won’t make any money. If they go up, pipeline gas will undercut LNG prices and make it noncompetitive. Jeez, we just seem to be going around in circles. Say, did you notice that little item in there, in which the author mentions the only possible way the USA could compete with Russia in the natural gas market in Europe would be if it had national rights to substantial supplies of gas abroad? Did that give your memory a little tickle, and make you think of Burisma Holdings, and Hunter Biden?

The Brookings Institute, for God’s sake, warned that US LNG could not compete price-wise before the first LNG cargo ever left the USA. Given its sympathies, it seems probable it was intended as a sobering restraint meant to keep the United States from doing something stupid that might expose it to failure and even ruin; it is much less likely to have been an endorsement of Russia’s global business practices.

As so often happens, an unhealthy fixation on taking down a largely imagined enemy results in increased risk-taking and a totally unrealistic appraisal of the likelihood of success – it becomes worth doing simply to be doing something. The costs in this instance have included the alienation and infuriating of Germany, the European Union’s anchor economy, and angry murmurs from the Gulf States that Washington negotiated production cuts simply to make its own product more competitive. All for nothing, as it happens, because a nation with surplus swing production can always undercut your price, and the nation with the world’s lowest production costs should be last on your list of “People I Want To Start A Price War With”.

If you were opposed to official Washington’s swaggering, bullying modus operandi, this whole unfolding of events probably seems pretty delicious to you. But I’ve saved the most delicious for last – Trump dares not make any effort to overrule the Senate vote, or get it reframed, because of the successful media campaign to portray him as Putin’s secret agent. Any effort to mollify Germany’s fury will be seized upon by the reality-challenged Democrats as an opportunity to further discredit the Trump government, by making it appear to be negotiating in Russia’s behalf.

You couldn’t make it up.

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953 Responses to Flirting With Disaster

  1. marknesop says:

    *Yawn* Ukraine lying again. You have to wonder, at what point will their bare-faced and unashamed falsehoods get so cheeky and reprehensible that the west realizes it is being used as a convenient patsy to help Ukraine’s wealthy get wealthier for absolutely no outlay whatsoever? And that they intend to continue doing business as usual, and only make noises about reform until they get another tranche of moola from the simpleminded moneybags in the west? I tell you, Russia is well shut of them, while the EU does not recognize the millstone it has taken on to wear round its neck. Even when – not if – the crisis is resolved with Ukraine still rootless (although they would probably prefer to call it ‘independent’) and not a member of the EU, Russia should set some very tough conditions for resumption of brotherly friendship, including a massive purge of the oligarchs and all the known Galician ziggers. The former should have their assets frozen and returned to the people of Ukraine under reliable disbursement, and the latter should be deported to Poland to shift for themselves as best they may.

  2. marknesop says:

    Nazis?? What Nazis? You Moskali propagandists are always evoking the spectre of Nazis in Ukraine. Well, it’s just not true.

    Lviv – jackboot central. Why am I not surprised?

    • Jen says:

      A Shukhevychfest? What sort of activities would constitute Shukhevychfest? How many torchlight parades can be held throughout the evening? How many towers of tyres need to be built croque-em-bouche style so they can all be burned down? Where are all the bad tattoo parlours? What fun activities for families and children are held during a Shukhevychfest: jumping castles that are set alight with all the kids still on them, or farm displays where preschoolers can pet rabbits and lambs and then be shown how to kill the animals? Are there competitions where teams of Yukies dig their way all the way hundreds of metres into the ground to simulate the digging of the Black Sea? Where would they get fighting mammoths from?

    • yalensis says:

      That piece has a small, but actually quite good, discussion forum. Not the usual trolls, although it’s early in the day.
      One commenter (Mikhael34) points out the ratio of the Lviv population at the time: roughly 15% of Ukrainians and 85% Poles.
      Of which, although the Poles were not angels either, most of the really rough stuff was done by the Ukrainians.

      Ukrainians and Poles have a terrible relationship in history. I could be more sympathetic to Ukrainians if they took out their rage on the Polish Pans, or even the Jewish courtiers who served the Polish Pans.
      However, Western Ukrainians always seem to go for the easiest targets and the low-hanging fruit: ordinary women and children who never were in a position to do anything to them. It’s all part and parcel of their Uriah-Heep fake-humble methodology: Bow and scrape and grovel on the ground, while sharpening one’s knife for the passing lamb.

      Still, Western Ukrainians are not ALL Ukrainians. One needs to keep this in mind also in the context of the Great Patriotic War, in which literally millions of Ukrainians fought AGAINST the Nazis, and only a measly 100K or so fought ALONGSIDE the Nazis. Fast forward a few decades, and this tiny Galician minority was able to come to power over all the majority. It’s like a twisted version of the Bible, in which the evil mustard seed crowds out the healthier plants. Due to the efforts of a twisted and wicked gardener.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        And I’m sure that evil seed grew because its existence was not officially recognized by the central government. Somebody pointed this out way back on this site, namely that this “friendly brother-nation” crap was an attempt to gloss over the unpalatable truth about some Soviet citizens. And not only in Western Ukraine.

        My first Russian girl friend often used to go to Tallinn because it was the closest place where she could experience something like a “Western” lifestyle. She made these forays to Estonia before I met her in the late ’80s. She used to tell me of the Nazis that she had met there and whose assemblies, parties gatherings she was on several occasions invited to attend. She was only 17 then and she had a morbid interest in these creatures who, she insisted, she had witnessed parading around in full Nazi regalia.

        When she first told me about this, I thought she was exaggerating. And I remember when she told her grandma and mother and they thought she was just fantasizing. Her grandma, by the way, was an old Bolshevik. She had witnessed the October Revolution first hand and had been part of it.

        Anyway, Natasha №1, for it is she about whom I write, got over this interest in Estonian Nazis and shortly after 1991 she got christened into the Russian Orthodox faith, much to the great disappointment of her grandma, who was still then, in her advanced years, very red in both tooth and claw.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I used to get into disagreements with some of my Anglophone colleagues when they beat that tired old drum that accusations of there being Nazis in Western Ukraine
          were all “Kermlin propaganda”. In their smart-arse mockery they used to say to me: “So where did all these so-called Nazis suddenly appear from?” to which I always replied: “Come from? They never fucking well went away!”

          They have been there (apart from those who buggered off to Canada, Australia etc.) since the Red Army ceased its seek out and destroy offensives against the Ukraine Insurgent Army (UPA) in the Galitsian badlands in the early ’50s after the government had offered them an amnesty in 1947.

    • ucgsblog says:

      Lvov – the city that accused Kiev of imposing a trash blockade against it. Oh Stalin, why did you take it away from the Poles? They would’ve done a better job running it. You cannot make this shit up:

      http://www.politico.eu/article/trash-talk-ukraine-lviv-garbage-kiev-bad-blood/

      “LVIV, Ukraine — A pile of garbage in a courtyard in the Frankivsky district is growing … and growing, and growing. Every few minutes, residents throw their trash onto the already massive mountain of refuse. Welcome to Lviv in western Ukraine, where the phrase “politics is a dirty game” isn’t just a cliché but a description of day-to-day life. Trash is piling up in the city’s courtyards and backstreets, and landfills are full to capacity, all because of a standoff between the mayor and the government in Kiev. Local officials say it would take 850 trucks to remove some 8,500 tons of rubbish from the city — and while some of that garbage has been removed in the past few days, it’s moving at a very slow pace. Who’s at fault is a matter of dispute — but no one involved comes out smelling of roses.

      The mayor of Lviv, Andriy Sadovyi, says Kiev imposed a “trash blockade” in May 2016, preventing the city from transporting its garbage elsewhere, after his Samopomich (Self Reliance) party left the national ruling coalition. Kiev officials, however, say that Sadovyi himself bears responsibility, since he ignored Lviv’s rubbish issues by allowing landfills to overflow and failing to build a long-promised garbage processing plant. As the hot summer approaches, the bad blood between Kiev and Lviv has reached boiling point… Three years after the Maidan Revolution, Ukraine has gone from promoting pro-Western values to haggling over trash.”

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        [Partially ninja’d by UCG, but – still!]

        This reminds me of an old (i.e. pre Maidan) anecdote. Verkhovna Rada’s session. The speaker asks the hard-core “Svoboda” deputy from Lviv to come and speak at the rostrum.

        Shanovni deputati! Let’ talk about bloody Moskals!

        – No, no! – shouts the speaker – Stop with that, we all know how it ends!

        – Okay then. Let’s talk about bloody Jews !

        – No, no! It’s even worse!

        – Right – then let me speak about the ecology.

        – Ecology? Well, there can’t be anything wrong with that. The rostrum is all yours.

        Shanovni deputati! What have we done to our ecology? Soon, there will be no pond to drown a Jew, nor a tree to hang a Moscal!

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        UPD.

        The article lost me here:

        “Last week, Groysman dispatched top officials to Lviv, including the popular health minister Ulana Suprun, and called on officials in Ukraine’s other cities to take in Lviv’s trash.”

        “Popular!” Suprun is responsible for elimination of the federal subsidies for the needy (pensioners, people with chronic diseases and Chernobyl survivors) for prescription drugs, for annihilation the very agency that would combat epidemies and pests threateneing Lviv now while amassing literally millions of hryvnas in personal wealth! Ukrainians themselves call her “doctor death”. But, yeah, sure, for the ignorant audience of the Politico she must be “popular” – why, the article says so!

        “If this was the aim, then the strategy of cutting off Lviv’s ability to dispose of its waste has hit home: It’s the number one topic of discussion throughout Ukraine, and Sadovyi’s popularity ratings have nosedived.”

        But-but-but! Lyonya Bershidskiy in his article (see below) called him “popular mayor”! What kind of zrada monsiuer Stern is spreading here?!

        “…since then authorities have been forced to strike ad hoc, one-off agreements with other municipalities — transporting the rubbish as far as the war-torn east.”

        You mean – volunteer battalions? Yeah, plenty of them were liquidated and buried there.

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          They also called Saak ‘popular’ during his tenure in Odessa – It’s in the style guide I expect.

        • ucgsblog says:

          The article was partly inaccurate, but I wasn’t using it to showcase the author’s accuracy; I was using it to showcase garbage wars in Lvov, partly because I never heard the term, garbage wars, be used so literally!

  3. marknesop says:

    You have to wonder sometimes if Pavlo Shrimpkin reads over what he’s told to say before he actually says it. I mean, look at this nonsense:

    Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin told Reuters in an interview Paris that the pipeline “would have disastrous consequences for the energy security of the European Union and would make the EU dependent on one source.”

    Okay, Pavlo – explain to me how abandoning plans to build the Nord Stream II pipeline, and to instead continue transiting the EU’s gas supplies through Ukraine addresses the disastrous consequences to EU energy security by offering the EU another source for its gas supplies. Isn’t it all Russian gas, no matter which pipeline it comes through? You fucking idiot, go to your naughty corner.

    “We made the point that the project has no economic viability,” the Ukrainian minister said. “Maybe some companies will benefit for the time being but in the long run it will lead to nowhere.”

    No economic viability for who? Germany will make money. Russia will make money. Europeans will save money. Ukraine will…lose money. Oh. So what you actually mean is that it has no economic viability…for Ukraine. Yeah. I’m still a little fuzzy on how Russia owes Ukraine a living – and why the EU should care how the fiscal situation is in Ukraine over their own economic concerns; could you go over that again?

    • et Al says:

      I read recently that the first shipment of American LNG is due to arrive shortly in the lo-land of Po-land. Now Lithuania is on the list…

      Oilprice.com: After Poland, Lithuania Becomes U.S. LNG Buyer
      http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Lithuania-Also-Becomes-US-LNG-Buyer.html

      Seeking to diversify its gas imports away from Russia’s giant Gazprom, Lithuania’s state-held gas trader Lietuvos Duju Tiekimas said on Monday that it had signed a deal with Cheniere Marketing International to buy LNG directly from the U.S., adding to the growing list of customers of America’s LNG cargoes.

      The Lithuanian company expects to receive the first LNG cargo delivery in the second half of August….

  4. Moscow Exile says:

    Ответный удар Кремля: Россия продлила контрсанкции еще год
    Европа не сможет продавать свой пармезан и яблоки в Россию. Но дело не только в сыре. Это еще и сигнал Трампу

    Retaliation for the Kremlin: Russia counter-sanctions extended for another year
    Europe will not be able to sell its cheese and apples to Russia. But this is not only about cheese. This is also a signal to Trump


    Europe will not be able to sell its cheese and apples to Russia for another year. But this is not only about cheese

    On June 30 Vladimir Putin signed a decree on the extension of food counter-sanctions for another year. It comes into force from the moment of signing and shall be valid until December 31, 2018.

    That is to say, those who have wept beautifully at their cozy Internet gatherings about what a pity it is that there is no French Parmesan, Spanish ham and Polish apples can again openly wring their hands. And Russian agrarians can rub their hands — money invested in Ryazan farms, Moscow dairy farms, Krasnodar greenhouses and Voronezh market gardens will not be going to waste. Thanks to counter-sanctions, agriculture in Russia has in recent years managed to grow, even when the rest of industry has been stagnant or falling.

    But these are the economic tops of the decree: its political roots, of course, run deeper.

    Formally, our counter-sanctions are a response to the EU’s anti-Russian sanctions, which the EU Council extended this week, on June 28, until January 31, 2018: from them to us for half a year, and from us to them for a year. This is already something like political volleyball, only it is not a ball that is being transferred in play, but a prickly hedgehog.

    The United Nations has estimated that Russia lost $50 billion from sanctions in three years, and the countries that introduced them against us lost $100 billion. Do you want to play on and suffer further losses? Well there you go then — sign here!

    However, there is another underlying reason for Putin’s Decree. Next week he is meeting Trump. And the US has already approved a new package of sanctions against Russia. For example, American banks will be prohibited from lending to Russian corporations for more than 14 days (the old sanctions allowed up to 90 days). This can become a sensitive blow to the Russian financial sector. And in the United States they are pressurizing Trump to sign this package sooner: they are howling into his face that if he does not sign, then that means he is a Kremlin agent. Trump is putting up with this, biding his time until he meets Putin. As a businessman he realizes that if he signs before this meeting, then there will be nothing to bargain for with the President of Russia.

    And in Moscow they understand that it is better to show Trump immediately their determination to make a tough response. This has already become something like political poker: the cards have been laid out on the table and the end-game begins — the psychological game with the eyes, with the hardened facial muscles …

    In the end, of course, pragmatism will win: both Putin and Trump will defend the interests of their countries and no others.

    The decree on the extension of counter-sanctions is just super-pragmatic. But if they can play another game just by putting a flourish at the bottom of a document, then the time to do this is right now. So why not do it?

    • marknesop says:

      Agreed, although I have a couple of minor quibbles; Parmesan comes from Italy, not France, and it is their camembert and brie the kreakly weep for. And I do not see at all that money invested in Russian agricultural improvement with a view to gaining more market share would have ‘gone to waste’ if the countersanctions were not reimposed. I think, as I have suggested before, that Russia is perfectly capable of producing superior products, and there are in many cases talented foreigners at the helm of specialized Russian production so that the final product should be indistinguishable from that produced in Europe save that it is made with Russian materials. I think Europe’s market share is gone forever. In fact, I think Europe’s cowardly kow-towing to Washington has made Russia that little bit more European in its business practices; when the sanctions come off – as they one day must or be steadily eroded in observation until they are useless – Russia will have an eye to its domestic industries when it sets import quotas, and will ensure only enough European products are imported to maintain a healthy competitiveness, rather than relying on Europe for broad ranges of foodstuffs outright. It will be a long, long time before European production regains dominance, if ever. And the best lessons – such as those which teach you that sycophancy has a price – are those which remind you over and over again of your folly.

      Ukrainian arguing against Nord Stream II, purely in its own interests, is beginning to piss Germany off, and Germany plainly intends to go ahead with the project regardless the nervous fluttering of the East-European republics now that it has been established that no legal impediment to the pipeline exists. It is not difficult to imagine angry muttering from other European business communities at being further closed off from the Russian market and the opportunity to expand, so difficult to execute in protectionist Europe. And America, we should remember, has little exposure to the Russian market; consequently, its own rigidity where sanctions are concerned is mostly posturing. Moreover, the trade balance is steadily narrowing year by year as Russia buys less and less from the USA; exports to Russia halved between 2013 and 2016, from $11,144.7 Billion to $5,791.7 Billion, while imports during the same period went from $27,085.7 Billion to $14,536 Billion. The USA still runs a negative trade balance with Russia, and has eliminated pretty much all trade except things it cannot get anywhere else at a competitive price, such as the RD-180 rocket engines.

      Trump is in a very poor position right out of the gate to negotiate about trade, and I suspect that will not be the basis of his discussions with Putin.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I remember how a couple of weeks ago there was a picture in the press here showing a well-known Russian cheese maker who sells on an upmarket Moscow food market his cheeses, which he produces at his own dairy farm, expressing his gratitude to the US Ambassador, who was visiting said market, for the US sanctions against Russia policy, which policy has helped him launch a very successful business.


        Russian cheese-maker and farmer Oleg Sirota thanks the US Ambassador for the sanctions

        And you’re right: the KP journalist was wrong when he wrote of “French Parmesan”, but I just wrote in English what he had written in his mother tongue.

        However, I should add that there is a Russian “Parmesan”, and it’s good: I’ve tried it!

      • Jen says:

        Even if sanctions and counter-sanctions are lifted, there may not be much need for Russia to impose import quotas. The EU suffered more from the sanctions / counter-sanctions regime to the extent that those EU firms reliant on Russia buying from them either have closed down, shrunk (by laying off staff) or stagnated by not reinvesting profits into improving their operations, upgrading their technology and methods, and teaching their people new and improved ways of producing goods. Russian firms that have benefited from the sanctions / counter-sanctions regime could actually be better and more efficient producers and suppliers than their EU counterparts if the blockading has allowed them to invest in newer technology and production methods. The sanctions and counter-sanctions have effectively acted as a programme of tariffs that have protected and enabled Russian industry to thrive.

  5. Moscow Exile says:

    Anybody else tuned in to Inessa S?

    I found her via her translations in Fort Rus.

    She’s bi-lingual, brought up in NZ. She spends a hell of a lot of time translating what Putin has actually said in order to put right what the liars in the “free world” publish in their “free media”.

    Inessa S’s latest clip:

    I think my elder daughter is going to be another Inessa S. She’s already bilingual and this incessant Russophobia that she is coming across more and more now as she surfs the Internet (she’s 17 on Christmas Day) is really, really annoying her.

    She is very patriotic (goes on the “Immortal Regiment” parade): a tall, blonde, blue-eyed, typically Mongol-Tatar-Ugric semi-Asiatic sub-human.

    I missed out English and Irish in that hodge-podge of mis-matched genetic make up that she possesses: she’s clearly not a child-of-heaven Aryan, as some Galitsian freak claimed Ukrainians are and to whom I referred to yesterday.

    • Cortes says:

      Such talents!

      But can she glide across the dance floor like a Dalek?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        No, but she’s got a cracking voice!

        For several years now her music teacher has been mithering my wife to have our elder daughter take voice coaching, training or whatever — Tchaikovsky Conservatory sort of stuff.

        I’m not kidding! She often sings at concerts, but they always give her such bloody awfully sad and miserable traditional Russian dirges to sing, such as this:

        Черный ворон [Cherniy Voron] — Black Raven

        Bundle of laughs, ain’t it?

        Lena, my girl, does that sort of stuff, but in more of a traditional style than the jazzed-up version above.

        Here’s a bloke singing it with a male chorus as it should be sung, in my opinion, because it’s about a soldier telling death to keep its distance from him.

        When you got drafted into the Imperial Russian Army, it was pretty well goodbye to the folks back home for ever: it certainly was up to 1795, when you were conscripted for life because you were a hybrid-slave/serf/bondsman or whatever, so the state just took you off your owner, your landlord, for ever.

        Things got better in 1795: conscription was reduced to 25 years. Then after Buonaparte’s little Russian adventure, compulsory years of service remained unchanged for line regiments but slightly reduced for some others, such as guards regiments.

        By the last quarter of the 19th century, army reforms led to compulsory service being reduced to 6 years with the colours and 9 with the reserve.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          And the wounded Cossack did not “lied” under a willow, he lay under it!!

          [error in English subtitles to the first of the previous two videos]

          Russians often get confused with “lie” and “lay”.

          So do many North Americans as well, in my experience.

          The “lay of the land” indeed!

          🙂

        • Jen says:

          If your daughter has the talent and the music teacher’s support, I would think it worth her while to have voice coaching. Even if she never becomes a professional singer, the training would be invaluable: she would be taught to breathe properly, how to stand and correct her posture, and how to project her voice. This is useful advice to carry into most careers especially careers that might call for public speaking. Quite often the things that children and teenagers learn in extra-curricular activities (such as music, art, sport and school-linked community activities and events) are the most valuable to them in their lives after they leave school.

    • marknesop says:

      That’s quite good; I guess I never really thought about it in quite that way before, but the western system of constant seesawing back and forth between parties, “It’s time for a change”, actually does contribute to an environment in which past fiddles are forgotten while everyone yells, “We’ve a new government now, no more of that stuff”. But nobody really gets punished, or not very often. They do their four years of penance, sometimes eight, and then the party of fiddles is back in again with a new face at the masthead. And in American politics – perhaps in many other two-party systems as well, both are parties of fiddles. I have to say Canada is mostly different there – not that both parties don’t regularly get caught in graft or nest-feathering, because they do, but there are distinct ideological differences between the Liberals and Conservatives. And Canada is not really a two-party system except in the national sense, as the NDP frequently runs provincial governments.

  6. Moscow Exile says:

    Well I never! …

    The Security Service of the Ukraine (SBU) suspects Russian secret services of involvement in the attack of the virus Petya.A on the IT systems of companies in several countries, the SBU press centre reported on Saturday, June I.

    “The data obtained in the framework of cooperation with international antivirus companies give reason to believe that the attacks involved the same hacker group that launched attacks using Blackenergy and TeleBots in December 2016 for the financial system, objects of transport and energy of the Ukraine. This indicates involvement in the attack of the Russian special services” the departmental message stated.

    The Ukrainian side also said that the attack was made in order to destabilize the political situation in the country.

    “The main purpose of the virus was the destruction of important data and disruption of public and private institutions of the Ukraine and to spread panic among the population”, stated SBU.

    How surprising of the SBU to make such a claim!

    See: Киев признал Петю русским

    Kiev recognizes Petya as being Russian

    • marknesop says:

      I see. The virus originated with the NSA (EternalBlue) and first showed up in Ukraine, and also affected Russia…but Russia must have done it. How is it supposed to have happened that Russia managed to steal it from the NSA? And if the NSA used it against targets and it was out there to be copied, why does it have to be Russia who used it to target Ukraine?

      Ah. Because it attacked Ukraine’s power grid. “The origins of the attack are still unclear, but the involvement of Ukraine’s electric utilities is likely to cast suspicion on Russia. Ukraine’s power grid was hit by a persistent and sophisticated attack in December 2015, which many attributed to Russia. The attack ultimately left 230,000 residents without power for as long as six hours.”

      Because Russia has so much motivation to attack Ukraine, whom it continued to supply with coal and gas when it was desperate for fuel, even though it spit on Russia daily. I don’t suppose it could have occurred to anyone that the NSA might have done it themselves, to keep the animosity between Ukraine and Russia running hot? Or that it might even be a very convenient excuse for Kiev itself to not have to supply power, for which it has no money, and blame it on Russia. After all, the December attack was ‘widely attributed’ to Russia, which is almost the same as proof.

      The dogs bark. The caravan moves on.

  7. ucgsblog says:

    Are there any updates on the Syrian Shootdown or the GazProm Senate Ban?

    • niku says:

      The Syrian pilot is said to be in US custody.

      His cousin says, “I am almost entirely certain that the captured Syrian pilot Ali Fahd is currently being interrogated by CIA at a US military base north Syria”
      https://mobile.twitter.com/Syria_Protector/status/880802873097031680

      And an authoritative source says, “Currently in NATO custody
      https://mobile.twitter.com/sayed_ridha/status/881133991713165314

      • marknesop says:

        They make an excellent point that he is effectively being held as a Prisoner of War in his own country, by forces hostile to his government who are conducting a creeping invasion of the country with an aim to partition it for their own foreign-policy goals.

        Good to hear that he is alive, anyway – I read on Sputnik that he had parachuted out and gone down in rebel-held territory, and I feared the worst for him if captured.

        • niku says:

          The ‘rebels’ in the above is the Kurds (SDF/YPG). They have often cooperated with the Syrian government, but now they are openly allied to the US: signed a 10 year agreement with the US for troops placement on SDF/YPG occupied land, recently praised Saudi Arabia and condemned Iran for its “sectarianism and nationalism”, and in the above, captured the Syrian pilot and have apparently handed him to CIA.

          Elijah J. Magnier — a journalist in the Middle East — says that the “Kurdish choice of alignment with the US an incredibly suicidal naïve strategy”.
          https://elijahjm.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/syrian-kurds-will-be-the-biggest-losers-america-and-russia-on-the-verge-of-the-abyss-in-syria/

          • yalensis says:

            Egads – no wonder the Kurds don’t have their own nation – they ALWAYS make the wrong choice!
            If they had picked the winning side (=Syria), then they would have their own autonomy probably within 5 years. Now they will be left with nothing. As usual.

            • niku says:

              Actually, upto very recently, they were doing well. They had worked out a modus vivendi with the Syrian government (Syrian and Kurdish troops moved through each others’ areas — probably still doing so) and they had a good relationship with the two elephants in the room (Russia and the US).

              No doubt they have historical grievances with all their neighbours, but those that can praise Saudi Arabia (for not being sectarians!) — you know, “realpolitik” — also ought to understand that US would not support them for long, whatever it may promise now.

          • marknesop says:

            I suppose hope springs eternal, and Washington is frequently very free with exorbitant promises it apparently feels no obligation to observe once the event has been concluded to its satisfaction. But that’s interesting, and another piece of the puzzle as to why the USA is so persistent in Syria and keeps making up such ridiculous excuses to stay where it knows it is not wanted. I did not read about the agreement reached with the Kurds, but now it makes more sense why Washington is so determined to partition Syria. We always assumed they had a target population in mind for the new state they obviously were set on carving out from Syria proper, but I figured it would be the motley collection of extremists lumped under the banner of the SDF, although many are actually al Nusra and ISIS. But a Kurdish state has long been a dream of the Kurds, and Washington likely knows they can be easily reeled in with promises of their own homeland.

            All the more reason Washington must be decisively defeated and driven out. If they were able to successfully remove Assad, a likely pre-exam for the new leader would be how accommodating he or she was to the idea of partitioning and a Kurdish state – in exchange, of course, for ‘peace’.

            • yalensis says:

              Turkey would never accept a Kurdish state, unless crammed down its throat.
              The nice thing about the “Syrian” scenario (if only the Kurds had played their cards right), is that they would have gotten an autonomy (on the case of Syrian victory), whether the Turks approved or not.

              • marknesop says:

                Turkey will never accept a Kurdish state within Turkey. But it would have little say in a Kurdish state within Syria or Iraq, and might be secretly pleased to see some of its own Kurdish troublemakers leave.

              • yalensis says:

                I don’t think the Turks want a Kurdish state anywhere close to their borders. They would see it as a national threat, just like the Israelis regard a Palestinian state.

      • ucgsblog says:

        Thank you for the update!

  8. Warren says:

    From boring to hip: Canada’s changing international reputation

    It’s hard to forget that first rude awakening when you realise what others really think of your country.

    For me, it was February 1988.

    There I was, living in the great city of London, after I finally obtained a work permit.

    And there it was, in black and white in a British newspaper covering the Winter Olympics in the western Canadian city of Calgary.

    “One of the world’s coldest countries in winter excels in its sports”. And, the columnist wrote, if there was an Olympics for being boring, Canada would also win gold.

    A gold medal for boredom? How could that be? For years, that’s what I heard about Canada.

    Look what they write now.

    The Lonely Planet Travel Guide’s top destination this year? Canada.

    And last year, the New York Times Style section asked “Canada is suddenly… hip?”

    The notion, it wrote, that “our neighbour to the north is a frozen cultural wasteland populated with hopelessly unstylish citizens is quickly becoming so outdated to be almost offensive”.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40448072

    • kirill says:

      Pure propaganda rubbish. Canada has done nothing to earn any great respect and to become “cool”. Chretien was the last sane Prime Minister and that is why Canada did not help to invade Iraq. Harper-ass turned Canada into a US neocon appendage and Justin Bieber Trudeau is, as I feared, nothing more than caretaker who is there to consolidate the Harper-ass legacy, just as Mcguinty did in Ontario after Harris and his “common sense” neocon “revolution”.

  9. Warren says:

  10. Warren says:

    Canada 150: Huge crowd celebrate nation’s anniversary


    Canada’s capital is marking the country’s 150th anniversary in soggy conditions

    Revellers, police and some protesters have converged on Canada’s national capital on Saturday for a party that has been years in the planning.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40468161

    Happy Birthday Canada, Many Happy Returns!

  11. J.T. says:

    New batch of upcoming Russia books, for interested parties:
    https://russiareviewed.wordpress.com/2017/07/01/july-booklist/

  12. Cortes says:

    For those who ponder about how exactly to illustrate the expression “damning with faint praise” here’s a prime example from Shaun of the Dead:

    https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jul/01/russia-confederations-cup-world-cup-dress-rehearsal

    • marknesop says:

      Did you see something in there that might be interpreted as praise, then?

      “Intended as a scaled-down dress rehearsal to test World Cup hosts a year before the real thing, this tournament for Russia has been about trying to push back against the international perception of the country. That has been shaped mainly by horror stories of Russia’s own making: hooliganism, racism, labour rights, and that is before we even start thinking about yet another Russian doping allegation.”

      Yes, surely those charges result from horror stories of Russia’s own making – it is naturally at pains to cast itself as a nation of racist hooligans. And he’s certainly ginning things up for another ‘doping scandal’, fairly licking his fat chops. Why not, when you can simply make it up, without substantiation and with attribution to only unidentified sources, and a broad audience will swallow it whole?

      • Cortes says:

        On reflection, you’re right to question my comment. The only positive things were the photo caption and the Mexican fan’s comment.

  13. Jen says:

    Happy 150th Canada Day!
    And a Happy 50th Birthday to the 1967 Canadian Centennial Baby – Pamela Anderson.

  14. Lyttenburgh says:

    Breaking! Stop the presses! Russia weaponizes… garbage! No, not the nuclear one as plucky Norvegian investigative journalists claim (they shouldn’t watch “Okkupert” so much, in my opinion). Ordinary trashy garbage:

    Blurb-blurb-bloomberg’s very own Lyonya Bershidsky: To compare Russia and Ukraine look in the trash

    “Look in the trash”? What, Bloomberg now selflessly and for free of charge endorses NYT, WaPo, Newsweek and the Economist?!

    “The former Soviet Union wasn’t concerned with recycling or even burning garbage”

    What is one itsy-bitsy lie for a professional bullshitter like Lyonya, who can’t expect his Enlightened Western Audience ™ to take him accountable

    It might surprise you, yes, USSR did have garbage disposal industry and initiatives beyond “let’s dump his this crap over here”. How can someone born in the USSR (like one certain journo, who’s eyes project millennial sadness of his people) claim to not know a thing about that? ? So let’s (puts on sunglasses) trash-talk dear Leonid!

    PediWikia to the rescue!

    “In the USSR, recycling was given great importance. There were developed standard uniform bottles for milk and soft drinks, there were glass container collection points all over the country [rus. – «пункт приёма стеклотары»]. Schoolchildren and members of the pioneer organization were involved in collecting scrap paper [rus. “макулатура”] and scrap metal [rus. “металлолом”]. There was established a strict accounting of precious metals used in industry, in particular in electronics.

    The secondary raw materials were harvested by four glavks:

    – Glavtokorsyryo (Ministry of Light Industry) – waste collection in cities and workers’ settlements;
    – Centrosoyuz – rural areas;
    – Glavvtorchermet (Ministry of Ferrous Metallurgy) – industrial enterprises, state farms and MTS;
    – Glavtopertsvetmet (Ministry of Non-Ferrous Metallurgy) – industrial enterprises, state farms and MTS”

    But then came the “Blessed 90s” so beloved by Bershidsky and his ilk, and there had been dealt a resounding blow to the oppressive Soviet System all across the newly formed states of the former SU. Suddenly, it turned out that when you annihilate the state and state power, the people busy just surviving day in and day out do not self-organize themselves to become Western style ecology nuts.

    “ Separating garbage, as it’s done in Europe and, to a lesser extent, in the U.S. has been half-heartedly tried and abandoned many times because of poor uptake and the impossibility of enforcement.”

    Ding-ding-ding-ding! Lyonya lies! Again!

    “It should be noted that many instruments of state regulation in the field of waste processing, used today in the United States, Japan and other countries, were borrowed from the experience of the USSR, where great attention was devoted to this issue.

    […]

    For the technological part of the process was responsible entire Research Institute – All-Union Scientific Research and Technological Design Institute of Secondary Resources (VIVR) of Gossnab [i.e. State Supplies] of the USSR. By 1990, its employees had created and implemented a number of technological lines for the collection and processing of waste paper, textile, polymer and wood waste, worn tires, broken glass, waste oil, mercury-containing lamps, galvanic cells, etc.

    Of course, not all categories of waste could be “put into action” again, thus recouping their processing. But the costs of recycling “unprofitable” waste were included from the beginning in the cost of production. And since 1986, a general provision has been introduced in which an organization developing new types of materials or finished products should simultaneously create a technology for their reuse or recycling after the end of their service life.

    Since 1991, in the process of reforming the economy, all state policy instruments for the management of secondary material resources created in the 1970s and 1980s have been gradually abolished.”
    Source

    Back to Lyonya:

    “Ukraine has had a separate collection law since 2013, but it’s being ignored. Only 1 percent of the country’s garbage is incinerated and a further 4 percent recycled. By contrast, Sweden — one of the global leaders in garbage treatment — recycles or burns 99 percent of its household waste. At least 4 percent of Ukraine’s territory is reportedly occupied with 6,000 legal and 30,000 illegal dumps, according to the Ukrainian business news portal Delo. ”

    Noticed how he avoids to provide the hard data about Russia? From the abovementioned source:

    “In Russia there are only 7 such [garbage incineration] plants and uncountable number of landfills (only about 12 thousand of them are legal)… About 26% of all waste is recycled and just 3-4% of the SHW (solid household waste).”

    But that would mean that Russia is actually better than the Ukraine – which is an act of treason for any living not by a lie ™ durnalist.

    “In Ukraine, Andriy Sadovy, the popular mayor of Lviv, the biggest city in the country’s staunchly pro-European west, has been waging a garbage war with the central government in Kiev. Since a fire at the city’s main dump last year killed three first responders, the city has been forced to stop using the 82-acre site. Sadovy has begged other regions to take Lviv’s waste, but hundreds of towns have refused.

    Sadovy has accused the central government in Kiev of running a “garbage blockade” of Lviv as a revenge for his political party’s decision to quit the governing coalition in 2016. Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroisman has denied this, accusing Sadovy of incompetence and politicking. President Petro Poroshenko, Hroisman’s political patron, has blamed the mayor for “literally burying Ukraine’s most beautiful European city in trash.”

    As the politicians wrangled, garbage accumulation threatened to become catastrophic. Lviv’s economy is tourism-based, and Sadovy has largely managed to keep mountains of refuse from building up in the city’s quaint historic center, built under the Habsburgs. But in some residential areas, waste hasn’t been collected for weeks, breeding rats and a fear of epidemics.

    On Thursday, a temporary solution was reached: Sadovy agreed to pay the surrounding region, run by a Poroshenko appointee, to lease a parcel of land for two years so that waste could be dumped there. Sadovy now promises to run a “zero waste” program in the city and make sure recycling plants are built. Whether he can keep those promises, or whether the waste will bury his rumored chances at the presidency, remains to be seen: Sadovy’s resources and power are limited even compared with the cash-starved central government. ”

    When you stop giggling at the phrase “popular mayor” as the way to describe Kolomoysky’s creature Sadovy, here I have something for you – just the top pick of the photos from the “Western Ukrainian Venice” of Lviv:

    Дуже файно! СУГС!

    Back to Lyonya:

    “Russia lacks Ukraine’s lively political scene.”

    Translation: “Russia is not a fucking flaming circus with hookers and horses”.

    “It has President Vladimir Putin instead. During his latest annual call-in show with voters on June 15…”

    With “voters”? Why such strange turn of phrase? Why not use “Russian citizens” instead? Besides, one of the callers was Ukrainian citizen, who won’t be able to vote for Putin anyway. In such little ways Bershidsky lies constantly.

    “…he was shown footage of the Moscow region’s biggest dump, located right next to a residential area in the town of Balashikha. The residents petitioned the president for the dump’s closure, complaining that they regularly felt sick and vomited because of gas eruptions from the mountains of waste. Putin promised to “try to do something.”

    Such a televised promise never goes to waste. Andrei Vorobyev, the governor of the Moscow region immediately drove to Balashikha and promised to close the dump by 2019. But at a government meeting a week later, Putin remembered his promise. “Listen to me,” he said, “and I want Vorobyev to hear me: You have a month to close that dump.”

    It was closed the following day, and the mayor of Balashikha resigned four days later. In less than a weak, the area was cleaned up; the authorities now plan a ski park there. The waste was taken to the region’s other dumps, which are also receiving the tons of refuse that Balashikha used to get from Moscow every day. That strains their own capacity; the mayor of Mozhaisk, one of the towns forced to take the garbage, said the local dump would now be full in 18 months. It’s a temporary solution, like in Lviv; like the Ukrainian city, the Moscow region also has big waste treatment plans, including the construction of several incineration plants and a separate collection scheme meant to train locals to sort garbage into “dry” and “wet.” Anything more sophisticated would be doomed to failure.”

    Which, tells us Lyonya, is bad. Everything done by Putin is bad for him. And his readership must agree, lest they will be accused of being Putin-bots! Putin fulfilled his promise to the Russian citizens/voters/people? How totalitarian of him! Invisible hand of the Market reigns supreme in the Best Ukrajina of Lviv oblast? How progressive of them!

    “Neither Ukraine’s chaotic democracy-like system or Russia’s autocracy have found a lasting fix to a problem that originates in their shared Communist past.”

    Which, as I demonstrated earlier, is a lie. Problem emerged in the “Blessed 90s”, when both countries dealt with their “Communist past”. But Lyonya began with a lies – and he had to end his piece with it.

    P.S. The best commentary to the article was this one:

    Popcorn
    LOL. At last Bershidsky has come out! Lenny, garbage is your real calling in life. You definitely sound like an expert here))) Stick to it. You’re worth each other;)

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, I saw that one yesterday and was going to mention it, but I got distracted and forgot. Anyway, I laughed all the way through it – people are always coming up with new ways to measure Russia against other countries so that it always comes up short, but that was definitely a cutting-edge one. It was my impression, though, that Lyonya panned Russia only grudgingly, and that Ukraine came out looking much worse. Granted, that’s not a high standard to beat, but I didn’t see very much focused criticism of Russia. I’d like to see Russians throw less away, of course – if for no other reason, to stop the mountains of discarded plastic bottles at beaches. Recycling only really caught on in the west when companies noticed there was money to be made – before that, it was limited to a few enviro-nerds. But when companies realized you could get the work force (separating the trash) to do it for free and also to deliver the product (recyclable metal, glass and plastic) to the curbside so that the paid workforce is minimal, why, then the cities developed an admirable environmental conscience. I don’t know quite what they do with everything but I assume the metal and glass are melted and reformed. I do know the plastic bottles are ground and formed into pellets which are used to make car dashboard forms (before they are covered with the vinyl finished surface) and an excellent wood product which cuts, sands and paints like wood but does not rot in water, making it excellent for recreational docks and outside furniture. I’m sure Russia could run with those ideas and probably come up with new ones.

      I also laughed at Lyonya’s barb that Russia ‘lacked Ukraine’s lively political scene’. To that, Putin would doubtless remark that Russians are grateful for having a little less of Ukraine’s brand of excitement.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        There were glass recycling depots all over the place in the USSR and in ’90s Russia, which glass recycling only took off much later in my homeland.

        In the USSR/Russia, people took all bottles and jars to a local depot for recycling. Back in those days, all dairy produce was sold in bottles in state grocery shops, and Russians consume a large amount of such produce, hence the recycling of glass. These bottle depots seem to have all but vanished now because of cans and cartons having come into use.

        Paper is also recycled systematically here. In fact recycling seemed to me to be quite widespread in the USSR. I at first thought this drive for recycling was because of the parlous state of the Soviet economy, because I had arrived in the Soviet Union, of course, well pre-conditioned about what to expect there.

        People collecting paper waste paper (макулатуyра — makulatura) and the sight of schoolchildren, usually assisted by their grandmas, toting it to school, soon caught my attention back then. I then discovered that there were at that time mandatory paper collection quotas for every school class. (I used to have visit schools, sometimes way out in the sticks, when I was a student in the USSR). In fact, some books could only be bought by collecting tokens from turning in recovered paper. Once you collected the first 20 kilograms of waste paper, you got a booklet where you put stickers for every so many kilograms you turned in. Once the booklet was filled, you could exchange it for a book.

        Every few months, this makulatura still takes place here, but they no longer do it so as to be allowed to purchase school books: children still take paper and old magazines, cartons etc. to their schools for collection, though, and I have often helped my children do this.


        Weighing in at school


        Recycling old school books in Mytishchi, just outside of Moscow — the sign reads: “Hand in waste paper! Save a tree” .

        And in the stair well of the house where I live is a big cardboard box near the battery of letter boxes attached to the wall, into which big box folk chuck all the unsolicited mail that they receive as well as freebie newspapers and stuff and cardboard boxes, cartons, wrappers etc. that they bring down from their flats.


        (above) Soviet dairy produce bottles: a different coloured foil top to indicate which product the bottle contained.

        I used to start my Soviet day by calling into the local gastronom and buying a bottle of buttermilk.

        And then these bloody awful cartons started to appear:

        Who the hell dreamt them up I just don’t know, but I recall the same pyramidical cartons appearing in the UK in the ’60s.

        Now it’s all regular shaped cartons and plastic bottles.

        Isn’t it strange that Bershidsky never noticed these things when he was a lad back in the bad old days?

        But then again, he was a privileged rich kid and was probably well cocooned from the horrors of the totalitarian state.

        One aspect of recycling has, however, vanished since that time when I first set foot in the Evil Empire: old car tyres used to be systematically recycled in the USSR and after, but all that stopped about 4 years ago.

        Now old tyres are exported to the Ukraine, where for some reason or other they seem to be in very high demand.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          As a footnote, as it were, to the above:

          If that prick Bershidsky is so enthralled with the “Ukraine’s lively political scene”, why doesn’t he move to there from Berlin — to Lvov perhaps, where I am sure someone with a name such as he has would be welcomed by many with open arms?

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Waddya think of this, Leonid Davidovich?

            Вывоз макулатуры!

            The wastepaper recycling plant is in Podol’sk.

            Ever been there?

            Did you ever find time to go there after you had dropped out of Moscow State Linguistic University and spent a year “bumming around in France” before heading off for the US of A, where you dropped out your studies again before returning to the land you hate so much in order to earn an honest shekel?

            Wiki on Bershidsky is interesting.

            Below are links to the English and Russian language versions on him.

            Compare and contrast!

            English version

            Russian version

            • Moscow Exile says:

              And waddya think of this, Leonid?

              Пункт приема вторсырья

              Collection point for recyclable waste

              It’s in Degunino, a Moscow suburb, Leonid.

              Don’t suppose you’ve ever been there either.

              It’s a private concern, you know: it’s not Kremlin controlled.

              That should please you.

              How’s Berlin by the way?

              Still sulking there because of the “annexation”?

        • Trond says:

          “Who the hell dreamt them up I just don’t know, but I recall the same pyramidical cartons appearing in the UK in the ’60s.”

          Invented by Erik Wallenberg. His boss, Ruben Rausing, became one of the richest people on this planet.

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

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Yes, I recall the special metal frames that they still used for delivering those tetrahedral packs to the stores in the SU in the late ’80s:

            As it happens, though, many of my neighbours still use these to bring the milk home:

            Even though I live right slap bang in the middle of Moscow, a pick-up truck loaded with milk churns parks a couple of days a week in our street and folk toddle off to it in order to get their supply of fresh milk.

            Where exactly the milk comes from I don’t know: from the countryside, of course, but it is only recently that this dairyman has started selling milk here on a regular basis.

            A result of Obama’s sanctions and the shredding of the Russian economy into tatters, I suppose.

            • yalensis says:

              Plus, people needed a new generation of milkmen, to keep up the “milkman” joke series.
              Wouldn’t do to start a joke about “your mom and the milkman”, only to have the younglings go, “What’s a milkman?”

          • marknesop says:

            When I first visited British Columbia as an adult (I was born here, but moved with my family as a child to Nova Scotia and grew up there), BC Ferries used to have those mobius-strip containers in miniature, for cream for your coffee. They had a little peel-off sticker at one end where the cream came out. But because of the design they were very difficult to hold on to without putting pressure on the sides, with the result that as soon as you peeled off the sticker you would squirt cream everywhere, usually on yourself until you learned to point them the other way. They were an enormous design failure, especially considering they already had those little plastic tubs which were much more stable to handle. They used to have a lift-off cardboard cap which was a miniature of what was used on glass milk and cream bottles. These days they have compromised; it’s a little white plastic tub, but it has a peel-off top which extends across the whole upper surface. I think the design now is pretty much universal; at least, I’ve seen them or a similar design everywhere I go.

        • marknesop says:

          That’s very interesting; I never saw anything like that in Vladivostok, and I remarked on it and the missus said they didn’t do it. I noticed when we went to the beach or to a popular riverside park that there were drifts of empty plastic bottles everywhere, and it was a real eyesore, I wondered why nobody seemed to feel any apparent responsibility to pick them up and put them at least into a waste container; it’s very unsightly and really detracts from the natural beauty. And I remember well that everything we brought into the house that we didn’t eat or otherwise consume went into the trash chute, including all bottles and containers.

          We have a fairly comprehensive recycling program here, called the blue box recycling program. They’re quite militant about it, and in a quick look for a picture of the recycling containers I stumbled across this interesting story; apparently MMBC (Multi-Material British Columbia) collects some fairly serious money, around $100 million per year, from businesses which are forced to funnel their recycling through the program. And the agency gets all the recycle product for free as well, and the scrap metal is worth quite a bit; I imagine the glass and plastic bring in a bit as well. Graduating from the blue box program, we also now have large containers for garden and kitchen waste, which is composted for soil which is either sold back to the public or used as topsoil over landfills.

          They have crews to drive the trucks and pick up and empty the boxes, of course, so there’s some employment, but much of the front-end work of pre-sorting is already done by the public for nothing; paper and cardboard in large plastic bags, glass, plastic and cans in the blue box, garden and kitchen waste in the tall containers. So I would guess it is a fairly profitable racket.

          I think much of the metal and glass goes to the USA for further processing, but I’m not sure. The compost field are not too far from where we live; they spread it to dry, and the family of our little un’s schoolmate moved from their fairly-new, very impressive home because of the stink from the compost field, which was a source of neighbourhood fury. It’s far enough away that we don’t get any of it.

          But you never know what is done with recycled material which is supposed to be saving the environment (although BC is quite a clean province); we hope it is being re-used as the program promises. I’m reminded of our naval visits to San Francisco on the old steam destroyers, which had no onboard sewage processing facilities, or none which would satisfy the Bay State’s stringent environmental regulations to keep San Francisco Bay clean – they were designed to vent directly into the sea, and such holding tanks as we had on some ships were not good enough for them. So we had to use portable toilets on the jetty, which was extremely galling in the middle of the night. Every day a tanker truck would arrive to pump them out, and we could watch it proceed around the perimeter roadway to the point where the bay opens to the sea, and there discharge their load into the ocean.

          That was years ago, and I imagine things have improved since.

    • kirill says:

      Basically NATzO propaganda is pure Orwellian in character at present. To actually try to paint the failed state pathology of Banderastan as being better than Russia is pure fact inversion, black->white, white->black.

      Note the obfuscated manner of describing Russian and Banderastani political scene. The word “lively” carries basically zero content. How many parties are vying for power in Banderastan vs. Russia? Banderastan is not a pluralistic democracy since Stepan Bandera is elevated to a national hero and any parties that might disagree are banned. This is dictatorship, pure and simple.

      Of course trying to whitewash Banderastan’s political scene and massive problems makes these NATzO journalists the lowest form of scum. In some other context they would be excusing genocide. They are essentially already doing this in the case of the Donbas, but Russia is preventing the Banderastanis from getting to the death camp mass murder stage.

  15. Cortes says:

    The section of the linked article on “What caused the fire?”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-40272168

    contains a link to a Hotpoint service which has a coy reference to an issue with a model of fridge-freezer.

    The issue may be that tests on the EU built version of the model versus the US built one showed the EU version (plastic-backed) burning like a candle while the US one (metal-backed) burnt itself out with no fire spread. In combination with the failure of contractors to maintain the integrity of the concrete building by application of (for example) expanding fire-retardant foam to infill gaps around new cabling and pipes punched through walls during upgrades the faulty appliance going on fire could spread to the cladding through gaps and eventually onto the cladding which has been the focus of so much attention. And the cladding issue, I’m led to believe, is a distraction from a better understanding of how to avoid a recurrence of such a disaster. (Cosmetic “improvements” by tenants/occupants such as unauthorised replacement of fire doors with UPVC substitute doors may also have been a factor in fire spread).

  16. Special_sauce says:

    Anybody else tune in to Lionel Nation? Here he is making a good case for a looming palace coup a la Watergate. Again, instigated by Carl Bernstein.

  17. Special_sauce says:

    Now that Sean Spicer is gone at White HOuse press briefings…

  18. Ukraine kills two and takes four LNR fighters in Lugansk: http://www.interfax.ru/world/568290

    On June 24th Ukrainian group went into LPR territory and reached house where LPR fighters were sleeping, they killed 2 of them using knives, cutting their throats and stabbing them. Then they waited and when 4 other LPR fighters were back, took them as POWs.

    • According to this video Ukraine used brutal torture to kill these LNR fighters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3j9pyFQeOs

      Don’t expect LNR or Russia to do anything to avenge this.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Thanks for the reminder!

        • Moscow Exile says:

          The reminder of how weak Russia and its proxy state is, of course.

          I realize, of course, how distraught you must be in having to reveal to all on here this frightful news.

          Thanks again!

      • yalensis says:

        The torture stuff must have turned you on, Karl.
        Ordinary people, of course, are repulsed and outraged.

        • “Ordinary people, of course, are repulsed and outraged.”

          And yet no revenge against the perpetrators is to be expected.

          • marknesop says:

            You certainly are a major activist for vengeance, aren’t you? Finland lost about €300 million a year in exports to Russia as a result of the sanctions against Russia and counter-sanctions imposed by Russia – both can be laid at the door of the US State Department in Washington. They’re at 2201 C Street Northwest, just a few blocks from the White House; I mention that because I’m sure you will want to launch a Finnish cruise missile attack against them, in revenge. Anything less is just weak. You’d better get out there, and start drumming up support. Don’t forget to take a lunch.

            • yalensis says:

              One can only imagine what life is like with Karl.
              A motorist cuts in front of him on the freeway – I am betting he whips out his machine gun and starts firing away, screaming like Rambo.

      • marknesop says:

        Well, that wasn’t very neighbourly, was it? Of course, what a don’t-fuck-with-me nation like The United States Of America would do would be to immediately launch a cruise-missile attack on Kiev. that would keep them in their place. It’s a mystery to me why Russia and its possession, colony, call it what you will, of the DNR and Lugansk are not more aggressive. I mean, they call Russia “The Aggressor Nation” for a reason, right?

  19. Moscow Exile says:

    King James Version
    Romans 12:19 – 21

    19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
    20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
    21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

    🙂

  20. Moscow Exile says:

    Vladimir Putin readying NUCLEAR WAR bunkers amid threat of ‘US strike on Russia’
    VLADIMIR Putin is preparing huge nuclear bunkers buried beneath Russia amid fears of a nuclear attack by the US, it has been claimed.

    Vlad is allegedly convinced the US plans to overthrow him and is building huge underground complexes capable of housing 10,000 people.

    [Who the fuck is this “Vlad”?]

    The revelations come from US military officials in a report prepared by the Pentagon.

    Russia’s bunkers are claimed to be 985 feet beneath Moscow and are primed for nuclear holocaust, reports The Times.

    [The Times? Which Times?]

    Spooks at the Defense Intelligence Agency prepared the report on Russia’s capability – which is the first of its kind since the Cold War.

    Agents claimed “the Kremlin is convinced the US is laying the groundwork for regime-change in Russia”.

    Putin’s shelters are said to be linked to a network of bunkers beneath the city and are connected to a VIP terminal at Vnukovo airfield.

    The report – prepared before the election of Donald Trump – said Vlad believes the US wants to oust him as part of its “efforts to promote democracy around the world”.

    Russia held a defence drill last year as they rehearsed nuclear war-style evacuations.

    Trump had been expected to warm-up relations with Putin after talking up a possible friendship on the campaign trail.

    But hopes have soured as the White House becomes embroiled in a scandal linking the Republican campaign to the Kremlin.

    Tensions have risen between the two powers as Washington and Moscow clash over Syria.

    World War 3 fears rose as the US pledged to take action against Bashar al-Assad – a close ally of Putin.

    Vlad’s defence bosses this week mocked Britain’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth as they branded it an “easy target”.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I thought that UK Sun had gone out of business yonks ago!

      One of the world’s worst rags!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Nope, the “super soar-away” Sun was telling the truth (for once) when it referred to the Times as its source for the above story:

      June 30, 2017:

      Kremlin nuclear bunkers ‘show Vladimir Putin is preparing for Armageddon’

      President Putin maintains two “enormous” nuclear bunkers 300 metres beneath Moscow that could accommodate 10,000 people in time of war, the Pentagon says.

      The Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) warns that Kremlin planning for some form of Armageddon underlines Russia’s belief that the US is plotting to overthrow Mr Putin. “The Kremlin is convinced the United States is laying the groundwork for regime-change in Russia,” a report says.

      It adds: “Moscow worries that US attempts to dictate a set of acceptable international norms threatens the foundations of Kremlin power by giving licence for foreign meddling in Russia’s internal affairs.”

      The DIA report on Russian military power is the first to be published since the end of the Cold War and offers a reminder of the paranoia…

      Murdoch Wall!

      Same story —9 months ago! — from the UK Daily Express:

      WORLD WAR 3? Vladimir Putin builds nuclear bunkers as chance of all-out war soars

      I wonder where they put the all that waste that they excavated beneath the Kremlin in order to construct this huge bunker?

      How did they transport it?

      Illya Nickovitch Kuryakin to the rescue, no less, aided and abetted by Lithuanian Lipka Tatar Karolis Dionyzas Bučinskis!

      • Jen says:

        They had help from Gordon Jackson so the waste must have been stored in that huge Edwardian house in Belgravia where Jackson was disguised as butler Hudson as cover for his espionage activities.

    • marknesop says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised – it sounds quite a bit like much of the other acid-trip revelations coming out of the Pentagram these days.

      I imagine western media outlets know full well that ‘Vlad’ is not the diminutive of ‘Vladimir’ – they’ve had it pointed out to them enough times. They like to use irritating casual names for figures they aim to demonize, because they’re irritating. But you don’t often see British newspapers referring to Prince Charles as “Chuck”, although they would brand it a gross imposition if a ‘colonial’ newspaper from Canada did it.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      From my comment on Irrusinality about this glorious military report, a gift which keeps delivering.

      You thought that Putin is new Stalin? Ha! You are wrong – he’s (apparently) new Enver Hoxha!

      Quote from said report:
      “Deep underground command posts both within and outside of Moscow are interconnected by a network of special deep subway lines that provide leadership a quick and secure means of evacuation. The leadership can move from their peacetime offces through concealed entryways to protective quarters beneath the city. A deep underground facility at the Kremlin and an enormous underground leadership bunker adjacent to Moscow State University are intended for the National Command Authority in wartime. They are estimated to be 200–300 meters deep and can accommodate an estimated 10,000 people.

      The leadership can remain beneath Moscow or travel along the special subway lines that connect these urban facilities to their preferred deep underground command posts outside the city, and possibly to the VIP terminal at Vnukovo Airfeld, 27 kilometers southwest of the Kremlin. Two of the most important underground complexes for the National command. Authority and General Staff are located some 60 kilometers south of the city.

      The support infrastructure for the UGFs in and around Moscow is substantial. A highly redundant communications system, consisting of both on-site and remote elements, allows the leadership to send orders and receive reports. Highly effective life support systems may permit independent operations for many months following a nuclear attack.”

      Putin – behind 700 000 bunkers!

      Their source? “1991 Military Forces in Transition. U.S. Department of
      Defense, Sep 1991, p. 40”

      That’s right. They use a paper from 1991 to speak about the present policy of “Putin’s Russia”. Because…. because! So – yeah. Totally comrade Hoxha:

      • kirill says:

        The authors of these pieces of intellectual excrement are worried that somehow Russians may survive a first strike by Uncle Scumbag. The are compulsive obsessive liars and paranoiacs who are afraid that Russians will get a chance at retribution. This is why Russian retribution must be in flight the moment that Scumbag launches his “final solution to the Russia problem”.

  21. et Al says:

    Bloomturd: Total to Sign Milestone Iran Gas Deal Since Sanctions Eased
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-02/total-to-sign-milestone-iran-energy-deal-since-sanctions-eased

    Iran plans Monday to sign a formal contract with Total SA and China National Petroleum Corp. to develop its share of the world’s biggest natural gas field — the first investment in the country by an international energy company since sanctions were eased last year.

    Total and CNPC signed a “heads of agreement” with National Iranian Oil Co. in November to develop phase 11 of the South Pars offshore gas field, a deal that was valued then at $4.8 billion. Total Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne will be in Tehran for the signing of the formal agreement, Parastoo Younchi, the Iranian oil ministry official in charge of foreign media relations, said Sunday…
    ####

    Knowing Washington’s predeliction for taking actions that hurts the European economy far more than that of the US, I expect some squealing by US pols in 5…4…3…2…1…

  22. marknesop says:

    There you have it, right straight from the horse’s big fat Washingtonian mouth:

    Americans misread this. For example, Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and John Hoeven (N.D.) wrote a 2014 Wall Street Journal op-ed in which they implored the United States to use its LNG potential to “liberate our allies from Russia’s stranglehold on the European natural-gas market.” The problem is that Europeans don’t necessarily want to be liberated. Russian gas is much cheaper than American LNG, and could become even cheaper to undercut the United States if it entered the European market. American LNG suppliers prioritize their own profits over America’s strategic advantage anyway, and are likely to want to target more lucrative markets than Europe, such as Japan. Finally, the Russian gas supply is likely to be more reliable than the United States’, since it involves predictable long-term contracts, whereas U.S. production capacity rises and falls, as it becomes cheaper and more expensive to extract American unconventional hydrocarbons. Until U.S. exporters can deliver gas more cheaply than Russia, and match Russian reliability, they are unlikely to have much impact on EU markets.

    But nobody will pay any attention, because people don’t read newspapers to find out what is happening any more. They read newspapers to be told that what they want to happen is already well underway, that they’re just one step away from Neverhaditsogood.

  23. Cortes says:

    Back in the 1990s/early noughties emailed “letters to the editor ” used to be prefaced by

    “as from [address]”.

    The following Ray McGovern piece of advice ought to be rubriced “as from an adult”:

    https://consortiumnews.com/2017/07/01/what-trump-can-expect-from-putin/

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, that’s a very good piece – an appeal to reason. But reason is not in vogue in Washington right now. I’m afraid it will fall upon deaf ears.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      In case anyone here has missed it (because there’s a prat going on and on about Russian aggression for a great deal of time and who clogs the comments), buried deep in the above linked by Cortes Consortiium News piece this from Alexandr, who, to me at least, is clearly a Russian citizen:

      OK. Here what I made for now. Unfortunately I cannot dub it right now. It is just impossible for me to get suitable environment at the moment and I simply unable to keep pace with the speakers in the program. I mean they are saying so fast sometimes and I cannot reproduce it in English. Anyway, I did my best with the subtitles. Unfortunately the program is completely outdated but I guess it is useful for you GUYS to get an example of our political talk-shows. Another thing is accuracy of the translation. Sorry for any mistakes though. Don’t judge too strict. I will do my best trying to dub it later, but cannot guarantee anything. This is the first part because Vimeo is not allow to upload more than 500MB per week with Free Account. Thus, I will upload the final 30 minutes next week. If you know any other way to display it for all who interested let me know, please. Thanks and be well!

      Rossiya 1 On Air: An Evening With Vladimir Solovyev, April 9th, 2017

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Again, a link from deep within the comments referred to above, a translation, courtesy of Inessa S, of what Putin said last year at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum:

        And the troll, also referred to above, in the comments section bangs on and and on about Russian aggression and the evidence of Russia’s vile doings, about which everyone is now acutely aware thanks to …

        Putin has underestimated the level of communication in the 21st century. These days everybody is walking around with a camera and gps-tracker in his pocket and has a communication channel to the whole world. Keeping secrets in these times is very difficult. If you underestimate this and lie, and lie again, and again, and again. You loose credibility and then people will not believe you anymore, even if you tell the truth. Example: – no those are not Russian special forces in Crimea! – no we didn’t shoot down that Malaysian flight! – no there are no Russian military in Donbas! – no we didn’t cheat with the doping tests! – no Russian politicians like Medvedev are not corrupt! – no we don’t kill or imprison our political opponents! …

        The troll that typed out the above gem calls itself “Patrick”..

        Patrick O’Higgins, perhaps?

        • marknesop says:

          Whoever he is, he subscribes to the theory that to have something, and then suddenly no longer have it, is to “loose” it. That would be true if and only if ‘it’ were an arrow. I can’t fathom why people – more numerous than you might think – insist on adding the extra ‘o’ to that word, the same as many people insist on adding an apostrophe to every word that ends in ‘s’. The trouble with it is that if enough people do it, it becomes an ‘alternative spelling’, and then everyone who can spell and write properly is forced to accept this idiot cousin just because its usage is common in certain communities. I can’t wait until the glorious day ebonics achieves broad acceptance, probably in one of those cultural initiatives the USA indulges in from time to time, to appease the masses and make them believe they’ve won something. Then when I wish to borrow a cigarette from someone, I can say, “Say, bro; lemme hold one o’ your squares”, and take offense at those who stare at me blankly as if they don’t understand.

          In any case, if everyone has a GPS tracker in his pocket and a communication channel to the world, not to mention a camera capable of taking pictures such as you might have gotten out of a mid-range Nikon only about 10 years ago….THEN WHERE’S THE FUCKING EVIDENCE, YOU TWAT??????? It should be child’s play to disprove Putin’s fumbling lies – here’s the Russian army shooting down MH17, at 42.028 N, 35.765 E. Note the regimental badges, the smoke trail, the single launcher unsupported by other vehicles, just like Bellingcat said. Here are Russian Special Forces in Crimea, menacing groups of voters who are being forced to the hustings at the point of a Kalashnikov. Here’s a picture of Medvedev’s offshore bank statement, showing a huge cash transfusion from Oligarch X. Here’s a video clip clearly taken in Donbas – because you can see recognizable buildings in the background – whose timestamp says it was made last week, in which Russian active-service troops are headed to the front riding on their Infantry Fighting Vehicle. We have heard any amount of such declarative statements, and thank you very much, Patrick, for heading off the usual excuses for not having any proof. There is no excuse – every fucker is a fucking walking newsroom. So get the fuck on with it. Jesus Christ.

  24. marknesop says:

    New York Times retracts its “17 Intelligence Agencies confirmed Russia hacked the American Presidential Elections” bogus horseshit claim, and Caitlin Johnstone was there to skewer them right through the ribs. Well done. Caitlin is becoming a really good resource on Russia, I’ve mentioned her here before.

  25. cartman says:

    Kyiv is the anti-Russian spelling that svidomites are trying to make a thing. I guarantee that 99% of all English-speakers will read it as “Key-iv” because that combination of vowels in the order is so rare and unprecedented in English, whereas ie is very common.

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      The frogs could never force the Anglosphere to say ‘Par-ee’, but I’m sure the orcs from Stariy Bumfukivsk will succeed in forcing their shibboleths on the wider world.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        The Frog Eaters call London Londres and Dover Douvres. No one castigates them for doing so. So why shouldn’t places have different pronunciations in different languages?

        Germans don’t say “Milan”, they say “Mailand”; the French don’t say “Mainz”, they say “Mayence”.

        And Russians don’t say Moscow, they say Москва

    • Moscow Exile says:

      And the place is called “The Ukraine”.

      Svidomites, who use no articles, either definite or indefinite, in their mother tongue, insist that native English speakers do the same when referring to their “country” that the USSR created.

      Same Svidomites don’t seem to be bothered about the the Frogs saying l’Ukraine or Fritz saying die Ukraine though.

      Wonder why?

      See:
      Histoire de l’Ukraine

      History of the Ukraine

      Sacré bleu, my silly Froggie chums!!!!!

      Get it right or the Yukies will become hopping mad — at least, some of them will.

      Russland und die Ukraine

      Russia and the Ukraine

      Ach du lieber Gott!

      No article for Russia but an article for “Ukraine”?

      Deutsche idioten!

    • kirill says:

      The proper name is: Khuyiv.

  26. Warren says:

    Published on 2 Jul 2017
    President Xi Jinping of China is scheduled to sign agreements that will increase economic ties with Moscow during this month’s visit to Russia. Trade between the two countries has been growing during the past year. European economic sanctions against Moscow have created opportunities for Chinese businesses, but Chinese investors have been slow to take advantage of them. CGTN’s Grace Shao reports.

  27. Lyttenburgh says:

    As Everybody Knows (™) – there is no corruption in the USA. Only in Russia.

    The Burial Mound: Watchdog says State Department failing to adequately track foreign aid

    “The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have failed to adequately track the more than $30 billion they spend annually on foreign aid, according to a government watchdog report released Friday.

    The report released by the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General noted that the department has failed to build infrastructure for tracking billions of dollars in foreign aid despite being ordered to do so in 2015.

    “Because the Department had made such limited progress in building the capacity to centrally track foreign assistance data, [the Office of Inspector General] strengthened and reissued the recommendation in the original report and made an additional recommendation focused on the need for executive leadership to address this Department-wide management challenge,” it read.

    Despite the recommendation made by the inspector general in 2015, the State Department “cannot obtain timely and accurate data necessary to provide central oversight of foreign assistance activities and meet statutory and regulatory reporting requirements.”

    According to the report, little progress has been made at all. The report’s summary faults the State Department, saying it “had not complied with the report’s recommendation” in 2015.

    The Trump administration has suggested cutting the State Department’s budget for foreign aid by 37 percent. The move was blasted by members of Trump’s own party, who called the idea a “disaster.”

    “It’s not going to happen,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in late February. “It would be a disaster. A budget this lean would put those who serve overseas for the State Department at risk. And it’s not going to happen.”

    Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan responded to the report in a memo, saying the department accepted the watchdog recommendations and would begin implementing them.”

    Like a cold shower! Immediately, I felt conscientious and sad deep down in my soul. Even here Kremlin had protruded its hairy tentacles – in the sacred halls and rooms of the Glorious State Dept.!

    [All who claim that this is not connected with Russia and that corruption did not took placed based on direct orders of Lord Sauron-Putin will be immediately labeled as pro-Kremlin trolls]

    Well, I hope this report will spur the people of America into action! They, lead by shy and modest artistic intelligentsia members, like Madonna, Sting, Bono, de Niro, Scarlet Johansson and M. Strip, they would dust out their pink pussy hats, grab rubber ducks and march in throngs throughout the streets and avenues of the America, demanding the stop of the unlawful theft of their taxpayer money! Only massive lustration (and self-lustrations) of the State Dept personnel, past and present could save the country!

    Given that said amount of “untraceable” money was generated since the blunders of 2015 A.D., it would be only just to lustrate and send into Re-Educational Camps of Freedom then higher ups of Obama’s cabinet. E.g. – Vicky “Cookie Monster” Nuland, should find for herself a cozy room in the Liberty Camp of Gitmo.

    P.S. And Senator Lindsey Lohan Graham proved himself once again a chief champion of all grant-suckers around the world, who’d surely would have perished (or had to find a regular job) without State Depts handouts to “promote democracy”.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      “Even here Kremlin had protruded its hairy tentacles – in the sacred halls and rooms of the Glorious State Dept.!”

      Could have been worse, of course: the Kremlin could have protruded its hairy testicles there.

      🙂

    • kirill says:

      This piece is a type of soft propaganda. It insinuates that corruption is associated with foreigners and dealing with them. That is, the squeaky clean Americans remain kosher. But in reality, internal corruption is epic in scale in the USA. The US defense budget is a good example, vast quantities of money are pumped into a few defense contractor pockets so that they can produce garbage such as the Zumwalt and the F-35. American propaganda would have the world believe that the size of the US defense budget reflects US might. No, it represents epic scale US corruption. The true size of the US defense budget, accounting for the waste, is likely at least a factor of three smaller.

  28. Moscow Exile says:

    The end is nigh!

    Fom Moskovskiy Komsomolets:

    Апокалипсис отложили на осень: пять факторов глубокого кризиса российской экономики

    The Apocalypse has been postponed until the autumn: five factors in the deep crisis of the Russian economy

    What the experts disagree with Putin about

    Up to now, Russians have only heard that the good times are coming as regards the economy and when this crisis has been successfully overcome, the economy will continue to grow. This is enthusiastically repeated by all the power elite — from the ministers of the economic block right up to the President. The head of state at a recent direct line TV-link with the people tried to convince Russians that the recession was ending, that we have had three financial quarters of consecutive GDP growth, an increase in capital investments and foreign exchange reserves; that industrial production was growing, and inflation has fallen to a record low. However, independent economists are not in a hurry to share this optimism of the authorities: from their point of view, there are appearing more and more troubling risk factors, indicating the onset of a new crisis, which could prove fatal for the Russian economy this autumn.

    Risk No. 1. Oil is getting cheaper: the ruble is falling

    The main export product of Russia and the main source of income for the public Treasury is oil and over over the past month it has not been enjoying high prices. In the past five weeks alone, the price of “black gold” has fallen by 16% to $45 per barrel. In January, however, the raw material was trading at $58 per barrel. No one expected this rollback in prices: the upward trend lasted for more than one year, but the oil market, apparently, has finally broken. The efforts of OPEC and a number of exporting countries, including Russia, to cut oil production to 1.8 million barrels per year in order to balance the market have not helped the situation …

    Risk No. 2. Capital flight

    In June, the Central Bank said net capital outflow from Russia in the five months since the beginning of the year had more than doubled to $22.4 billion as compared with $10.3 billion a year earlier. By the end of 2017, the Central Bank has forecast a net outflow of $37 billion, There are more recent stats: during one mid-June week investors withdrew from funds focused on Russian assets 9.5 times more money than the week before: $181 million versus $18.9 million.

    The head of the Bank of Russia, Elvira Nabiullina, has said that there is nothing wrong in money, so necessary for the economy and investment, fleeing the country. According to her, countries with a strong export performance and a strong current account balance — Germany, Norway, Canada — also have a large outflow of capital.

    However, experts believe that the flight of capital from Russia has not been due to positive developments in the economy, including an increases exports. According to Sergei Zhavoronkov, the withdrawal of funds to abroad is due to internal reasons and has been going on since 2008. “Structure outflow from Russia is very unusual: we have a withdrawal of money and businesses, both large and small, and individuals”, says the economist. “The trend will not change while the situation in Russia remains unfavorable for business”.

    Why investors are pulling out money is no secret to anybody: the conditions for entrepreneurial activities in this country leave much to be desired. The reason for this is, to put it mildly, controversial: the judicial system, heavy taxation and a high degree of state involvement in the economy…

    Risk No. 3. New sanctions

    In addition to indications that there is a flight of capital from Russia, there could be another serious challenge facing Russia in June: the introduction of a new package of sanctions from the United States. In the wake of American economic sanctions against Russia, the European Union has extended its sanctions for another six months. We are talking about restrictions imposed on a number of Russian companies in the oil, defence and financial sectors, as well as against individuals in the form of financial and visa sanctions on some Russian citizens…

    Risk No. 4. The budget deficit

    The Federation Council has approved amendments to the budget for 2017, previously adopted by the State Duma. They have assumed a reduction of the deficit of the Russian budget in 2017 at 1.9 trillion instead of the previously estimated 2.7 trillion rubles. In other words, the hole in the budget will amount to 2.1% of GDP instead of the planned 3.2 percent. Thus, the state Treasury revenues have increased from 13.5 trillion to 14.7 trillion rubles, and expenditures from 16.2 to 16.6 trillion trillion. Seemingly good news, but the deficit remains a deficit, except that it is not six times less than the budget, but seven.

    According to the analysts, it is clear that reducing the deficit will only be possible by reducing the volume of consumption, and this is not good….

    Risk No. 5. Incomes continue to fall

    According to estimates made by Roman Blinov [Who the fuck is he? — ME], for almost all of last year there continued a collapse of consumption amongst the general population, as indicated by the commodity and money circulation in retail stores: for many retailers last year had
    the lowest revenue growth over the last decade.

    This decline in consumption is a natural consequence of the continuing decline in real incomes. No matter how much the authorities assure us that that the economy is rising from its knees, for ordinary citizens it is growth in income that is the main indicator of recovery. But we still have no growth in incomes. For the first five months of this year, real incomes fell by 1.8%, just as they have continued to tumble for the fourth consecutive year. From October 2014, Russians have been becoming considerably poorer: their wallets have lost more than 15%, returning to the 2009 crisis levels, and the total number of officially recognized poor people is now 22 million. “The continuing decline in the incomes of the population is really frightening. The situation will not change until there is a large-scale, price-indexed rise in state employees’ salaries”, emphasizes a senior analyst at GK Forex Club Alena Afanasyeva. According to her, with the growth of prices, unemployment and the freezing of salaries, the population uses up its savings and goes into debt….

    Meanwhile, things are becoming critical for Russia as August approaches. August was the month of the 1998 default and there are now appearing once again sufficient prerequisites for the new impact of a crisis — if not in the summer, then in autumn for sure.

    Inna Degot’kova

    This is Inna:

    She remembers the crisis of 1998 as though it were yesterday.

    She must have been about 5 or 6 years old then

    I’ll check out what you have to say on December 1st, Inna, when this coming autumn has passed.

    I think you are, to put it mildly, a privileged member of the kreakl class.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Bollocks to the formating!

      Forgot to close the the thick print after Risk No. 2. Capital flight.

    • kirill says:

      A pile of fetid propaganda BS. Not a single reference to the CBR and its insane 10% prime rate. This means that consumer lending rate is around 15%. In the whole of the OECD, consumer borrowing is what drives the consumption of big ticket items. To expect any different in Russia, where incomes are lower is simply insane. Yet these propagandists pretend that Russian consumption is dropping for reasons other than a 15% lending rate (e.g. for car purchases). I know that innumeracy is rampant, but 15% is basically a loan shark rate. It is not affordable for the western middle class, and certainly not for most Russians.

    • marknesop says:

      I have had it up to here with ‘many experts believe’. Anders Aslund, technically, is an expert – he’s had an enormous amount of experience and schooling in the field of economics, and yet you couldn’t be sure he was correct if he said his name is Anders Aslund, he’s been wrong so many times. Suffice it to say that state growth predictions for Russia are pretty close to what international institutions such as the IMF believe as well, or say they do. And you can always find an expert like Pavel Felgenhauer who will say something completely off the wall, on the off chance that he will be right and consequently thought one of the greatest geniuses of his time; facilitated by the fact that nobody remembers you were wrong five hundred times before that.

      Yes, let’s plan to revisit Inna’s apocalyptic predictions this winter, so we can hold her up to mockery. That’s if the USA hasn’t wrecked the planet by then.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        And don’t forget, Inna is a journalist with the Kremlin controlled Russian news media, where one dare not criticize either the government or the Dark Lord, or else …

        We all know what happens to Putin critics, don’t we? …

  29. et Al says:

    The American Conservative via Antiwar.com: Ex-Weapons Inspector: Trump’s Sarin Claims Built on ‘Lie’
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/ex-weapons-inspector-trumps-sarin-claims-built-on-lie/

    Scott Ritter takes on White House Syria attack claims.

    On the night of June 26, the White House Press Secretary released a statement, via Twitter, that, “the United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.” The tweet went on to declare that, “the activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4 chemical weapons attack,” before warning that if “Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.”

    A Pentagon spokesman backed up the White House tweet, stating that U.S. intelligence had observed “activity” at a Syrian air base that indicated “active preparation for chemical weapons use” was underway. The air base in question, Shayrat, had been implicated by the United States as the origin of aircraft and munitions used in an alleged chemical weapons attack on the village of Khan Sheikhun on April 4. The observed activity was at an aircraft hangar that had been struck by cruise missiles fired by U.S. Navy destroyers during a retaliatory strike on April 6….
    ####

    Why? Because it is Scott Ritter.

    • marknesop says:

      That’s a great piece which systematically demolishes the entire house of cards that is the west’s Chemical Weapons in Syria jeremiad.

      • yalensis says:

        Scott Ritter is from a bygone era, in which specially-trained experts established the facts.
        Nowadays it’s all done via amateurs asserting shit on Twitter.

        • et Al says:

          After he got honeypotted twice (a 2001 failed attempt that the cops dropped, & the 2011 successful one by the cops) to destroy his career after having annoyed too many connected people..

  30. et Al says:

    The Register: Kaspersky repeats offer: America can see my source code
    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/07/03/kaspersky_repeats_offer_america_can_see_my_source_code/

    Fighting to head off Department of Defense blacklisting

    Eugene Kaspersky, founder of the eponymous antivirus firm, has reiterated his offer to give the US government access to his source code.

    The company is moving to try and head off budget legislation which, as we wrote last week, would shut Kaspersky out of American military contracts.

    The US Senate committee that’s proposed the ban cites concerns about the company’s alleged links to the Russian government….

    …He also claimed that unnamed government agencies – not necessarily Russian – had tried to gauge his interest in moving from defensive research to offensive, but he said: “I don’t even want to talk about it.”..
    #####

    Why kow-tow to the US government? It is not about the software, it’s about adding another layer of ‘Russians wot dun it’ or ‘Russians wot could dun it’ to their deliberate russophobic paranoid shitcake. There’s nothing Kaspersky can to change their minds except to give the company away to the USG. The Bill may not pass or will be dragged out to help fill out the pages of the lyin’ New York Times & Washington Post, so the less said the better. Don’t feed the trolls.

    • marknesop says:

      It seems to me that giving the source code to the US government would only make it easier for that selfsame US government to implicate Russia in future false flags. Might as well give them your passport, so they can leave it in a taxicab at the scene of the crime. The US government can already carry out cyber attacks at will and leave telltales such as traces of Cyrillic fonts or timestamps which suggest the virus was uploaded ‘during working hours in Moscow’, and the only thing left which is suspicious is how quickly they seize upon these ‘clues’, as if they had left them themselves. They don’t need gifts like this.

      Washington has become a lurching Moloch which is determined to destroy whatever it cannot control.

  31. Moscow Exile says:

    Экс-глава Минобороны Украины призвал взрывать автомобили на территории России

    The former head of the Ukraine Ministry of Defence has called for the blowing up of cars in Russia
    July 3,15:48

    Former Ukraine Defence Minister Anatoly Hrytsenko has called for the blowing up of cars in Taganrog and Moscow.

    According to him, this should be the response for every car bombing in Kiev and Mariupol.

    “If this really is a war, and not a game for the president, then for every car blown up in Kiev or Mariupol, there should be two blown up in Moscow or Taganrog”, Hrytsenko said on “112 Ukraine” TV.

    On June 27, a car exploded in Kiev, behind the wheel of which was a member of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry, Colonel Maxim Shapoval.

    A man after the Finn’s heart!

    • marknesop says:

      I would think somebody who is demonstrably unable to estimate the capability to escalate would be the worst possible choice for Defense Minister. Suppose it really was Moscow that was responsible for vaporizing the late and mostly unlamented Shapoval, although there is no evidence – beyond prejudice, bias and hate – which has been produced by Ukraine to suggest it was. Further suppose that Moscow’s response was, “For every car that is blown up in Moscow or Taganrog, one hundred will be blown up in Kiev and Lviv”. Could they do it? They certainly could. That is called the capability to escalate.

      Kiev’s problem – or one of many – is that whenever it talks tough it automatically assumes its western friends have its back.

  32. Northern Star says:

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/07/03/usch-j03.html

    Here’s how a SCC ‘War’ between the USA and China would play out:

    1) The Japs would be given a Hiroshima Refresher
    2) Taiwan would be glassed
    3) The remnants of The USA armada would declare victory and retire to an Australian port.

    • marknesop says:

      Washington continues its madcap policy of making even more enemies for the United States, in the spinny exceptionalist delusion that it is so powerful it need fear not only no country, but no combination of countries. I don’t think you will hear too many analysts, not even the Twitter variety, arguing that North Korea presents a major threat to the United States. Yet Trump seems to have settled on it as a major target of foreign-policy muscle. It suggests such tunnel vision that I would not be surprised if China was feeding it extra incentives to annoy Trump.

      Keep it up, boys. The USA has succeeded in making itself broadly unpopular, throwing down ultimatums left and right and dictating policies which are directly and immediately harmful to its allies. But it seems not to be willing to settle for just mere dislike; it wants to be hated. Very well, then.

      But it has bitten off more than it can chew with China, which is not your Granddad’s China any more. Starting an economic war with China is…well, it would be so breathtakingly stupid that I can’t quite think of the right word. China would not welcome it, because it prefers to move slowly, but it will not retreat, either. There is no reasonable dispute that the South China Sea lies in China’s area of regional interests – there’s a reason it’s not called the South American Sea. And freedom of navigation is as close as a courtesy call – passing through, hope you don’t mind, paying a nod to sovereignty, same as Canada expects for American vessels transiting the Northwest Passage. But the United States, for such a habitually polite country, does not like to ask permission to go anywhere, even when it is certain it will not be withheld. Doing so detracts from the picture of a mighty world power that makes everyone tremble. If any one thing will be said to be the downfall of the United States, it will be its childlike commitment to exceptionalism.

      • Northern Star says:

        Mark:
        You seem to forget that the Monroe Doctrine concept applies ONLY to ‘Murica wrt the ‘Western Hemisphere’…which BTW the extent of which is whatever the F ‘Murica declares it to be.

        The Chinese have NO business whatsoever asserting themselves over the waterways of the SCC…..

        What part of that duplicitous double standard horseshit don’t you get Mark???
        …Sheeesh..!!!

      • yalensis says:

        Speaking of China, I saw this piece in VZGLIAD this morning, I haven’t had time to read it yet, just skimmed it briefly. I might do a post on it later in the week, if I have time.

        Looks like Amurica has found their new Chinese version of Navalny. Some guy named Guo Wengui. Apparently his shtick is to bring down the Chinese government by playing the “corruption” card for his U.S. masters.
        No matter how many times Charlie Brown tries to kick that football, that whole “corruption” scam always seems to work. Because most people genuinely dislike corruption.
        What they don’t realize is that regime change and installing a U.S. puppet is not exactly the best way to fight against corruption – Porky is the proof of that – LOL!

        • marknesop says:

          And Saakashvili. Whom, you will recall, was held up by the west as a shining example of a corruption fighter although he was as corrupt as five corrupt things bound up in a sack, had a palace (while President of Georgia) built for him which is bigger than the White House and had a habit of hiring pretty young girls for ministerial posts although they had no training for their new area of specialization. On reflection, it might be fun to be President of Georgia, if you are a perpetually-horny guy who has no conscience whatever and does not care that his people live on an average income of less than $7,000.00 while he himself lives like a King.

          I’m halfway there.

    • Northern Star says:

      Correction:
      “play out”

  33. Cortes says:

    An interesting account of the current state of the Baltic Chihuahua countries:

    http://journal-neo.org/2017/06/25/second-tier-eu-states-are-barely-holding-on/

    Demographic collapse, poverty wages and unmaintained infrastructure. Paradise, in short.

    • marknesop says:

      In each case, “…the massive exodus of population since 1991..” Gee, what happened in 1991? Let me think…

    • yalensis says:

      In the New Glorious American Empire (NGAE), the Baltic states are relegated to the role of R&R bases for American soldiers. Plus hosting ABM sites, so they get to participate (and subsequently incinerated when the ABM’s don’t work) in that anticipated first nuclear strike against Russia.
      I wonder if the Baltic nationalists “get it” yet that their new American masters don’t give a shit about them? It was only the Lenins and Stalins of this world who gave a shit about them, their cultures and languages.

  34. Moscow Exile says:

    EXCLUSIVE
    Tillerson Ready to Let Russia Decide Assad’s Fate.

    Oh that’s big of him!

    And what say, if any, have the Syrians in this matter?

    Has not the President of Russia stated over and over again that is they, the Syrian people, who should decide Syria’s future?

    • marknesop says:

      It all sounds very nice, but I maintain that the USA has not given up on its dream of ousting Assad. It’s just putting a different face on it.

      Still, must be a bitter pill to swallow, given all the chest-beating rhetoric and unequivocal declarations that ‘Assad must go’. Lyttenburgh’s mammoth guest post, on which I am currently engaged (still a lot of work, even if I didn’t have to write it I have to re-enable all the hotlinks and put in the pictures and suchlike) bears directly and I hope to have it published very soon.

      • yalensis says:

        Mark: a technical tip: If you copy-paste Lyttenburgh’s text into the HTML (or “Text”) tab of the WordPress editor (instead of the “Visual” tab), then they come out okay, without re-linking. Because Lyt has already coded them in HTML tags.
        That will save you some time, then all you have to do is some grammatical editing and switching around the “the’s” and “a’s”, etc.

        • marknesop says:

          Good to know; I was opening it in Google Docs and copy/pasting from there. When you do that, all the coding for italics and suchlike remains and has to be manually removed, as well as the links have to be re-confirmed as I mentioned earlier. I’ll try it your way, and thanks!

  35. Moscow Exile says:

    Парубий: Тысячелетний украинский флот вернет Крым Украине

    Parubiy: The thousand-year-old Ukrainian fleet shall return the Crimea to the Ukraine

    Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Andrey Parubiy, expressed his confidence in a message on the Day of the Ukrainian Naval Forces that the Ukrainian fleet is more than a thousand years old. The text of the message is published on the website of the Ukrainian parliament.

    We celebrate the Day of the Ukrainian Navy in July for several reasons. It was in July 907 that the great naval expedition to Constantinople of Oleg, the Great Prince of Kiev, took place.

    The history of the modern Ukrainian fleet, according to Parubiy, began in July 1918.

    The Rada chairman also said that Ukrainian sailors would be able to “bring back” the Crimea.

    I am sure that the Ukrainian navy will go to the Crimea and return it to the Ukraine and restore our naval bases on the peninsula“, said the speaker..

    The naval forces of the Ukraine have only 11 ships. Their combat capability, however, remains questionable. Thus, in May 2017 the flagship of the Ukrainian Navy, the patrol ship “Hetman Sagaidachny” was at the centre of a scandal: the ship went down right after having been repaired.

    The Crimea returned to Russia after a referendum had been held there in March 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimean residents and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters voted for reunification with Russia. The will of citizens was expressed after the coup d’état in the Ukraine. Kiev still considers the Crimea as its peninsula, but that the territory is now “temporarily occupied”. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the issue of Crimean ownership is “totally closed”.

    Part of the mighty Ukraine fleet tied up at a wharf:


    The Ukraine “Silent Service”

  36. Warren says:

    Published on 3 Jul 2017
    Abby Martin goes on the deadly front lines of the anti government protests in Venezuela and follows the evolution of a typical guarimba—or opposition barricade.

    She explains what the targets from the opposition reveal about the nature of the movement and breaks down the reality of the death toll that has rocked the nation since the unrest began, and how a lynch mob campaign came after her and the Empire Files team for reporting these facts.

    Hearing from peaceful opposition marchers, to Chavistas to violent protesters at the guarimbas, this must-watch episode exposes the dark reality on-the-ground that is completely obscured from Western media.

  37. Northern Star says:

    In contemplation of July 4 and celebration of hot women on the planet:

  38. Northern Star says:

    Happy Birthday Murica..
    Coming soon to a Midwest Hamlet near you…..Once the Sheeple wake the F up….

  39. Warren says:

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