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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954 Responses to Flirting With Disaster

  1. Moscow Exile says:

    Check this out!

    What exactly does does the chief porker in Kiev mean when referring to the Soviet Union and Soviet mentality?

    Порошенко обвинил СССР в коррупции на Украине

    Poroshenko has accused the Soviet Union of corruption in the Ukraine

    MOSCOW, 28 Jun — RIA Novosti. President of the Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has explained the high level of corruption in Soviet mentality.

    [Is he talking about the attitude of USSR government officials and USSR citizens during the course of 80 years up to 1991, or is he talking about “The Kremlin” and Russians in general and now?]

    “It comes from the past, from the corruption of the Soviet system, which is deeply rooted in the system of society and in the spirit of everyone”, said Poroshenko in an interview with the French daily Figaro, answering a question about why the fight against corruption in the Ukraine is such a “long and complex” one.

    [So he was talking about now, about the government of the Russian Federation, its bureaucracy and the citizens of that state — each and every one of them, was he? And if so, what has this got to do with this prolonged fight against corruption in the Ukraine, which has been a sovereign state since 1991 and, therefore, since that time no longer part of nor administered by the Soviet Union Russian Federation.]

    Last week it became known that several factions of the Verkhovna Rada are planning to launch impeachment procedure against Poroshenko. According to the leader of the party “Fatherland”, Yulia Tymoshenko, “corruption and abuse of power can no longer be tolerated”.

    [That’s a bit rich, coming from her of all people!]

    In late May, the European Commission recognized the high level of corruption in the Ukraine. European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmstrom, urged Kiev to continue reforms, noting that “they are still working on it”.

    Granted, Porky really is fully aware of the level of corruption of Soviet officials in UkSSR that was just as commonplace there over 20 years ago as it still is now in present-day “Independent” Ukraine that has adopted “European values” — because he was part of it!

    Billionaire Poroshenko started his business by laundering the money of Soviet times’ administrators. He has never been an entrepreneur to start a business of his own. The story is invented. He made a head start thanks to the criminal connections of his father sentenced for large-scale theft in 1986. Having served the sentence, Poroshenko Sr. launched his own business making his son involved in the activities. The business was dirty, it all started with plundering state property by armed gangs. The Poroshenko family had plans to expand the activities beyond Ukraine. Tatyana Mikoyan, a well-known Kiev-based lawyer, remembers what the family did in Transnistria, «It was horrible back in the 1990s: illegal arms, prostitutes, drugs – all bringing profits to father and son». Poroshenko Sr. was awarded for his merits – in 2009 he received the Hero of Ukraine decoration bought for him by his son who paid to then President Yushenko, the Godfather to Petro Poroshenko’s children. The would-be President-elect is well known for misappropriating budget funds. He has the reputation of someone who knows how to make money out of thin air. Many times he has been accused of being involved in large scale corruption schemes, open lobbying, embezzlement of budget allocations, tax evasion, illegal operations to acquire shares and physically threatening political opponents and competitors. Certainly he is not just another swindler but a tycoon, an owner of huge and diversified business empire.

    See: Weapons, Prostitutes and Drugs –These are Things Petro Poroshenko is Associated With


    Would you buy a used car off these people?

    And he still is part of it!

    See: Panama Papers Show Ukraine’s Candy Kingpin Hasn’t Changed

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Your time is approaching, Porky!

    • marknesop says:

      And yet the near-absence in the western media of any criticism of Poroshenko and his regime signals the west has not yet given up hope that he will achieve more for them before he must be removed. All the while, they keep throwing more of your money away in aid payments to keep Ukraine staggering along when they know full well that much of it is being stolen and diverted. This suggests they do not believe his corruption is yet plain enough to ordinary westerners, and that his usefulness is not so compromised that he cannot continue to serve his purpose.

  2. Evgeny says:

    Recently I’ve learned of a Russian music band “Slot”…

    “Uncle Sam, it’s you who made me a patriot”. I know what he’s talking about…

    • Evgeny says:

      Actually their entire last album (“Septima“) is very political. “Страх и агрессия”, “Верю/не верю” — I share that feel! And of course, I could endlessly listen to “Круги на воде”, although it’s not about politics but raises important points about personal responsibility:

    • marknesop says:

      They’re actually not bad; and it’s reassuring that the west has not been successful at co-opting Russian youth, since youth is traditionally the rebel group and under ordinary circumstances are the demographic most likely to become pliant liberals.

  3. Cortes says:

    The Garcia Report on the bidding for FIFA 2018 and 2022 analysed:

    https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/jun/28/michael-garcia-report-russia-qatar-laughs-not-outrage-fifa

    Top quote: “the total lack of any evidence.”

    • marknesop says:

      Oh, I don’t know – I’m kind of fond of this one;

      “Or at least try to be a bit more like Russia, who are the real winners here, who stood aloof from the Garcia report from the start, and whose World Cup bid emerges basically untouched from these 400 pages.”

      It should go without saying that this emerges from the sports pages and not the current events section, where the urge to politicize it would be almost instinctive.

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, of course; it’s so obvious now, innit? Russia maintains a separate bank of clean samples for every athlete in every sport, and whenever the regulatory bodies want a test, why – they just make some excuse which will give them time to fly back to Russia and get their clean sample. Maybe they say, Uhhhh….but I don’t have to go right now. Or, wait; hold on! Maybe the Russian coaches bring a huge suitcase with them to every game and sporting event in which a Russian team or athlete participates, and that contains the bank of clean samples. But otherwise, they’re all doped to the eyeballs, all the time. Even the ones who don’t win, and that’s kind of sad, isn’t it?

          McLaren should have his Canadian citizenship revoked and be forced to go live in Los Angeles or something, he’s such a fucking embarrassment.

          Meanwhile, turnabout is fair play, and the Los Angeles lab has been suspended. Oops; I mean, ‘partially suspended’. Look at the difference in how it’s reported, though – WADA sort of shrugs its shoulders and makes it sound as if it’s no big deal, the kind of thing that happens all the time. They’re just not allowed to diagnose a violation using certain substances unless they get a second opinion first. A world of difference from the scandal-squawking and screaming of the McLaren Report.

  4. Moscow Exile says:

    First part of clip
    US 173rd Airborne Division Training

    Military equipment drop

    Weather conditions — excellent

    Visibility — excellent

    We request that you switch off your cell phone and …

    AND DON’T LAUGH

    second part of clip
    Russian airborne unit training in the Arctic

    Air temperature — minus 40 degrees Celsius

    Visibility — bad

    Wait! That’s still not everything

    There then follows a news report on a NATO beach landing exercise in Portugal…

    They finally gave up after the bogged down vehicles had run out of fuel.

    • Special_sauce says:

      I’m sure the Hummers didn’t whistle as they fell. Or hum.

      • marknesop says:

        And everybody just laughs, because the USA is so rich that they can afford to destroy vehicles in stupid accidents or by slipshod procedures.

        Or so they think.

        But the Republicans will totally fix it. By raising the debt ceiling again, something which has become so routine that nobody even pays attention any more.

        On March 16, Washington reached the end of an 18-month period in which it had suspended the debt ceiling, meaning it could borrow whatever it needed without worrying about limits. Once that ended, the total amount of government debt, $19.486 trillion, became the new ceiling.

        The Treasury Department immediately took steps to reduce borrowing to keep the government from breaking through the ceiling. But Treasury can juggle the books for only so long, and is expected to require a higher ceiling by the fall.

  5. Moscow Exile says:

    And don’t forget folks — there is no culture in Russia:

    The State Academic Choreographic Ensemble “Birch” (Государственный академический хореографический ансамбль «Берёзка»), created in 1948.

    And no, they are not on motorized skateboard contraptions!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Miley Cyrus anyone?

    • yalensis says:

      If I am not mistaken, Russia borrowed these “gliding” skills from traditional Caucasian dancing cultures.
      It looks so cool, and I bet it isn’t easy to do!

      P.S. – they’re secretly on rollerskates! (I jest.)

      Other cool fact: The English guy who invented the Dr. Who Daleks (I think his name was Terry Nation) said that he was inspired by these gliding motions of traditional Russian/Caucasian dancing troupes that he had seen.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Their footwork must be motoring along at an amazing rate of knots and what fortifies the impression that they are gliding is that their long dresses hide this rapid motion, of course, whilst their upper bodies remain motionless and their faces expressionless, as though their gliding across the stage were being undertaken as effortlessly as though they were just gliding under one’s own momentum along a frozen surface on ice skates.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Expressionless that is, apart from a slight though pleasing smile, but no signs of exertion on the part of each dancer. They must only be moving their lower legs rapidly, not making any strides and, therefore, displaying no movement or swing of gait from the hips.

      • Cortes says:

        Beat me to it!!!

  6. et Al says:

    The American Conservative via Antiwar.com: <b?Tillerson and Mattis Cleaning Up Kushner’s Middle East Mess
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/tillerson-and-mattis-cleaning-up-kushners-middle-east-mess/

    Are the adults in the room being thwarted?

    On March 25, 2011, a Qatar Air Force Mirage 2000-5, took off from Souda Air Base, in Crete, to help enforce a no-fly zone protecting rebels being attacked by Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi. Qatar was the first Persian Gulf nation to help the U.S. in the conflict.

    Qatari operations were more than symbolic. The Qatari military trained rebel units, shipped them weapons, accompanied their fighting units into battle, served as a link between rebel commanders and NATO, tutored their military commanders, integrated disparate rebel units into a unified force and led them in the final assault on Qaddafi’s compound in Tripoli.“We never had to hold their hand,” a retired senior U.S. military officer says. “They knew what they were doing.” Put simply, while the U.S. was leading from behind in Libya, the Qataris were walking point.

    The Qatar intervention has not been forgotten at the Pentagon and is one of the reasons why Defense Secretary James Mattis has worked so diligently to patch up the falling out between them and the coalition of Saudi-led countries (including the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt), that have isolated and blockaded the nation. In fact, Mattis was stunned by the Saudi move. “His first reaction was shock, but his second was disbelief,” a senior military officer says. “He thought the Saudis had picked an unnecessary fight, and just when the administration thought they’d gotten everyone in the Gulf on the same page in forming a common front against Iran.”…
    ####

    Much more at the link.

    Well, it’s no surprise that the Qataris have been backing terrorists for a long time and played an important role in bringing down Ghadaffi. Ideally the Gulf would descend in to chaos and rip itself apart, something that would get the West out of a hole of its own making, and events in Saudi Arabia look like they could head that way, but I fear it won’t.

  7. et Al says:

    Russia Schmatters Interview of Sam Nunn via Antiwar.com: Sen. Sam Nunn: ‘We Have a Choice Between Cooperation or Catastrophe’
    https://www.russiamatters.org/analysis/sen-sam-nunn-we-have-choice-between-cooperation-or-catastrophe

    As a U.S. senator, Sam Nunn played a key role in conceiving the legislation—and then securing Congressional and government support—to fund the dismantling and safeguarding of nuclear weapons and materials in the possession of a disintegrating Soviet Union. This effort came to be known as the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, and June 17 marked 25 years since the signing of the first general framework agreement for CTR-funded projects by presidents George H.W. Bush and Boris Yeltsin. To learn more about this painstaking process, see our timeline of nuclear-security cooperation among the U.S., Russia and the other Newly Independent States….
    ####

    More at the link.

    Unfortunately Nunn also thinks Russia interfered in the US elections.

  8. et Al says:

    Neuters via Antiwar.com: Russia starts cleaning up Cold War-era nuclear waste
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-nuclear-andreyeva-idUSKBN19I1GA

    The radioactive fuel from more than 100 reactors of over 50 submarines has been stored at Andreyeva Bay in north-western Russia, closed as a naval base in 1992, for the past 35 years….

    …From Andreyeva Bay, the spent fuel will be shipped on board a specially-equipped vessel to Russia’s Arctic port of Murmansk, then on to its final destination, the Mayak nuclear reprocessing plant in Chelyabinsk, near the Ural Mountains.

    The project aims to remove all of the 22,000 nuclear fuel assemblies stored at Andreyeva Bay. It is likely to take several years, the EBRD said…

  9. et Al says:

    JohnHelmer.net: EBRD CORRUPTION – MI5 TRIES TO EXCHANGE BRIBES TO RUSSIAN BANKERS FOR ESPIONAGE AGAINST RUSSIAN OFFICIALS
    http://johnhelmer.net/ebrd-corruption-mi5-tries-to-exchange-bribes-to-russian-bankers-for-espionage-against-russian-officials/

    The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the government-owned bank established in London in 1991 to finance market boosting projects in the former Soviet Union, has been secretly aiding UK and US intelligence services in espionage targeted at Russia. The US is a 10% shareholder in the bank, the UK holds an 8.7% stake; Russia, 4%.

    The disclosure appears in the records of a trial this month at the Central Criminal Court in London of Andrei Ryjenko (Рыженко, usually Anglicized as Ryzhenko), a senior banker at the EBRD who is a dual Russian-British citizen. Early in June, Ryjenko was convicted of taking and then laundering $3.5 million in concealed bribes for helping applications to the EBRD for loans and equity investments from two Russian oil and gas companies win approval for a total of $275 million. MI5, according to testimony in open court, offered Ryjenko the opportunity to keep his money and avoid prosecution if he agreed to spy for the British against Russian foreign intelligence service (SVR) agents who, MI5 told Ryjenko, were under cover in London. Ryjenko refused for several months. He was then arrested and subsequently tried. On June 20, Ryjenko was sentenced to six years in jail.

    Treason against Russia was one crime Ryjenko refused to undertake, the Old Bailey testimony reveals. Also revealed, and for the first time, is EBRD’s role in operating the scheme of lures and inducements MI5 proposed for Ryjenko, and other Russian nationals at the bank. “Honey traps,” comments a London banking veteran, “are generally illegal. Otherwise, the honey wouldn’t be so sweet, or entrapment worth plotting. It looks like Ryjenko trapped himself. It also looks like the bank was happy to make its money baiting the trap for MI5.”…

  10. Moscow Exile says:

    I regularly get such notifications in GOV.UK Daily Digest Bulletin:

    Guidance: Financial sanctions: consolidated list of targets
    27 June, 2017 at 03:45pm

    [Updated: Updated with latest HM Treasury notice, 27/06/2017, Iran (Nuclear Proliferation) (Reg 2017/1124)]

    A guide to the current consolidated list of asset freeze targets, and a list of persons subject to restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in the Ukraine.

    I wonder why the bombardment of targets by Ukrainian armed forces active in the Donetsk and Lugansk provinces of eastern Ukraine are not considered by Her Majesty’s Government as actions that lead to the destabilizing of the situation in the Ukraine?

    What is it exactly that Russia is doing at the moment that is destabilizing the situation there? Is the Russian army bombarding Ivano-Frankivsk or whatever after its having invaded the Ukraine at least 11 times over the past 2 years, according to regular statements from Kiev, though there seems to be scant evidence to support such claims, if any.

    Well at least HMG has got one thing right in its latest Ukraine bulletin: it places the definite article in front of “Ukraine”.

    Porky and his chums won’t like that one little bit!

  11. Northern Star says:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/missile-defense-counter-measure-north-korea-russia-2017-6

    “Because the warhead is now outside the atmosphere, the light balloons travel just as fast as the heavy warhead, and they all have the same radar signature. When the interceptor missile goes to hit the warhead, it finds dozens of balloons.
    Hit-to-kill missile interception has been described as hitting a speeding bullet with another speeding bullet. Now imagine there are dozens of bullets, and some are fake.”

    Ummm..The Northern Star *Advanced Defense Research Team for Peace and Prosperity*
    recently published remarks to the above effect on this Blog !

    :O)

  12. Moscow Exile says:

    WARNING!

    Kremlin controlled “news” source

    Radar data debunks official MH17 findings, locator could not ‘miss’ missile – Russian air regulator
    Published time: 27 Jun, 2017 19:41

    Russian radar could not have failed to notice a projectile approaching Flight MH17, despite the claims by a Dutch minister, the head of Rosaviatsia says. The lack of radar marks shows nothing approached the plane from the east, despite official findings.

    Last week, the Dutch government published a series of replies by Security and Justice Minister Stef Blok, who explained to a parliamentary commission why radar data provided by Russia did not show any objects approaching the MH17 flight, including a Buk missile.

    The radar, according to Blok, could simply miss a missile. The minister compared the radar to a lighthouse, claiming that a missile could slip through during its “turn” and therefore leave no trace on Russia’s Utes-T air route radar system. Blok also claimed that the radar could not register such a relatively small object as a Buk missile.

    “It is inappropriate to say that a radar station could miss the missile,” the head of Russian aviation regulator Rosaviatsia, Oleg Storchevoy, said Tuesday, commenting on the latest Dutch claims.

    It sneaked in while the radar antenna was looking the other way???????

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Correction to above translation:

      The radar, according to Blok, could simply have missed the missile. The minister compared the radar to a lighthouse, claiming that the missile could have slipped through during its “turn” and have therefore left no trace on the Russian Utes-T air route radar system. Blok also claimed that the radar would have been unable to register such a relatively small object as a Buk missile.

      “It is inappropriate to say that the radar station could have missedthe missile”, the head of Russian Aviation Regulator Rosaviatsia, Oleg Storchevoy, said on Tuesday, commenting on the latest Dutch claims.

      See also: Политическое направление: почему локатор не увидел ракету, сбившую MH17

      Political direction: why the [radar] locator failed to see the missile that downed MH17

      “The fact that something was not visible on the radar, doesn’t mean that something was not there” — noted the Minister of Security and Justice, Stephen Blok, in answering a question from the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives of the Dutch Parliament (the States General).

      The question he was asked concerned radar data provided by Russia that showed that the radars had not detected a “Buk” missile. Bok reinforced his argument by speaking about the 360-degree sweep of a “Utes-T” radar locator, which before the crash of flight MH17 in the sky over the Donbas could have been sweeping in the opposite direction in the same way as does a lighthouse beam.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I wonder if Blok has ever actually observed a radar display that is tracking a Buk missile? Or any such tracking display for that matter.

        • marknesop says:

          As the article points out, the missile could not have reached the target from the launch point specified by the JIT in 10 seconds. And radar does not just illuminate targets, it records having received an echo return from bouncing off something, so that as the operator you see a dot – which they referred to as a tick – which is the accumulation of ‘hits’ by the radar, so that you can distinguish a target from the innumerable random dots which result from the characteristic known as ‘scatter’. Most radars have a feature known as history recording or target trails, in which you begin to see the contacts progress by the trail of ‘hits’ it leaves behind.

          In any case, it is significant that the Dutch investigation team did not bother to get a radar expert to summarize its findings in that area, but a political appointee with no experience in that field.

          • Jen says:

            Doesn’t the BUK missile delivery system itself also rely on radar to locate and target any objects? So had there been a team or unit of soldiers operating such a system in the area where the Dutch claim they were in, then wouldn’t Russian military have been able to work out the radar frequencies the group was using and contact it?

            • marknesop says:

              Well, the Russians would hardly contact this group, would they? Not knowing the SBU and their crack communications-intercept teams were listening and ready to record another admission of Russian culpability. Over several days of observations it would be possible to identify unique Buk systems by their operating frequencies, yes. Typically they are identified as operating in the band of frequencies which identify them as a Buk system, and that’s good enough, but it is possible to identify one among others if you have the opportunity to match its frequencies to observation and watch it move around, although if there are several systems, their operating frequencies will all be close.

              But the Dutch story is that this system was smuggled in just long enough to take the shot and then quickly smuggled out again, and that it was only one launcher and not a complete system. The radar on the launcher is highly directional, and electronic warfare systems might not pick it up unless they were along its line of sight, whereas the emitter which is usually correlated to the Buk (by electronic intercept) is the search radar, which is its own separate vehicle.

              Russian electronic warfare did report several Buk systems active in the area – all Ukrainian, presumably, since the Ukrainian command insisted the rebels did not have any – the day prior to the disaster. That statement (that the rebels did not have any Buks that were captured from the Ukrainian Army) and other realities are what force the crazy story whereby Russia supposedly smuggled in a partial system, took the shot and ran for it. It’s the only one they can make fit.

              • kirill says:

                The Dutch are peddling one of the most inane tinfoil hat theories ever. If Russia smuggled in that single component for an in and out atrocity, then why the FCUK didn’t they just help the Donbas “terrorists’ fix up the system that fell into their hands that fits the same description (i.e. one lacking a separate radar unit). Hiding a few Buk missiles in the back of a truck is vastly easier than lugging around a whole mobile unit on a flatbed.

                This is shit is the same “feed the retards some ‘plausible’ story” ploy as the Polonium murder of Litvinenko. Smearing Polonium on a Moscow circuit plane is the ultimate in inanity. Let’s use an exotic murder weapon that is messy and hard to use and make sure to trace it back to ourselves. For fuck’s sake, using a hand gun with a silencer is orders of magnitude easier and less traceable since throwing the gun in the river actually works and it will have negligible chance of being found by the cops unless they have a witness.

              • Jen says:

                Of course! – I hadn’t thought the SBU would be monitoring communications between the rebels in Donetsk and any outside supporters. My oversight. I had in mind a hypothetical situation where the Russian military detects such a “unit”, observes its activities to determine their intended objective and then warns the “unit” that it is under surveillance.

    • marknesop says:

      As I’ve pointed out before, any emitter with such a slow scan rate as that would be useless for air traffic control. There are radars with huge antennas and very slow scan rates, but they are high-power emitters used for Early Warning, not for controlling fast-moving aircraft and deconflicting a busy air picture at various altitudes. But the Dutch ‘investigators’ who are helping Ukraine wash itself out of the picture hope that you are stupid.

  13. Northern Star says:

    Repercussions of and reactions to Grenfell continue to globalize:

    “Florlisa, a resident who has been actively exposing the Flint water crisis since the switch to the Flint River, told the WSWS: “What happened at Grenfell Tower was horrific. The authorities used siding knowing that they were shoving people into an unsafe situation. They made the outside shiny and pretty with no regard for the working class and poor people who lived inside. Just as in Flint, the decision-makers in London are not concerned about the health or safety of their citizens.”
    Residents of Grenfell Tower had complained for years that the 24-story public housing block was unsafe. The Grenfell Action Group predicted a “serious and catastrophic incident.” The apartment building lacked fire alarms and sprinklers and had only a single staircase.
    “Like those residents, I know from experience that people don’t just look for things to complain about. But when you are hurting and suffering, that’s when you start complaining. We did the same thing in Flint. We noticed the foul smell and color and taste of the water a few months after the switch from Detroit to the Flint River. When we protested and tried to bring this to the attention of the authorities, we were treated with hostility. The powers-that-be accused us of being crazy. Poisoned water was pouring into our homes and bodies for 18 months before the officials even admitted a problem!”
    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/06/28/fllo-j28.html

  14. Moscow Exile says:

    Looks like Navalny the Bullshitter’s popularity has taken a nose-dive after his failed street-party-wrecking spree on Tverskaya Street on Russia Day.

    His you tube channel hits have plummeted since then:

    and his You Tube clips have been overwhelmed with “dislikes”.

    So US agent Navalny says that there is a clearly understandable reason for these attacks, namely that “they” (I presume that “they” are the “powers that be”, the “regime”) have finally realized that the people are “for Navalny”.

    See: #Навальный2018: дешевый пиар умирающего детища

    • Moscow Exile says:

      For criticism of the latest Navalny clip (above), see: Примитивная и глупая агитка от Навального

      Primitive and stupid agitation from Navalny

      … The three-minute clip allegedly shows ordinary people from different cities who are mostly sitting on their sofas or in the kitchen and agitating for voting for the opposition. As for me, I find the video to be very amusing. Where do you think it easier to persuade a person to make a recording like this – at home or on the main street of a city against a backdrop of the city sights? Firstly, few people want to let into their apartment a team of strangers under the pretext of filming a video. Secondly, even those rare shots of the trees in the background or on the waterfront have been so shot that it could be absolutely any city in our country. Although, not ours. An obvious set up. But that’s not the most annoying thing about it.

      The funny thing is that the people on the video criticize the government and call upon others to vote for Navalny without giving any argument. Seriously, sixteen people – and nothing else from them apart from “Putin is bad, but with the advent of Navalny things will change”. Nobody even bothers to explain what will change. For whom is the video intended? Again, for students who see the words “Ufa” and believe that the Navalny team went there to persuade some avuncular adult to star in propaganda material? And why should anyone be convinced by the opinion of some guy from Ufa who says “Vote for Navalny?” Where is there at least one argument? What nonsense all this is! Who would believe it?!

      I was most amused by the phrase at the beginning of the video: “My father fought against the Nazis in Sevastopol and Odessa, and I support Alexei Navalny, who is considered to be a foreign agent and a traitor”. Well, very funny!

      In General, the whole video looks more like bad propaganda. It is truly stuffed with such phrases as “Vote for Navalny because I want change” or “If you don’t vote for him, it will only get worse”. Is it possible to deal adequately with such opposition “creativity”? I’m okay because I do not take Navalny and his activities seriously: I just find it amusing. But there are people who believe him. Such a video is tantamount to spitting in their faces. “Vote for Navalny, the country will be fine.” WTF? Are you serious?

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, of course – the more unpopular you appear to be, the more popular you are in reality. Makes perfect sense.

  15. Lyttenburgh says:

    An explanation – of sorts – of why the ageing arse-clown Colbert went to Russia:

    Vanity Fear: Why Stephen Colbert really went to Russia
    The Late Show host is back in the U.S., with a week’s worth of episodes from his trip—but there’s another, bigger reason for his jaunt abroad

    “In total, the Late Show team shot four or five pieces in Russia, but the host didn’t specify when these remote segments might air. The trip took months of planning, Colbert said, and yielded a week’s worth of content. Perhaps not coincidentally, Emmy nomination-round voting closed Monday night — just days after Colbert made his trip public, first through a snarky tweet addressed to Donald Trump.

    Though we don’t know when his Russia segments will air, it seems safe to assume they’ll broadcast some time before final-round Emmy voting begins in August, or during the voting period itself. Colbert will host this year’s Emmy ceremony in September, and after a year of hard work to overtake Jimmy Fallon in the ratings, the comedian and his team would love to walk home with some statuary as well. It’s almost certain that Late Show itself will be nominated — and ambitious pieces filmed off-site could boost the host’s chances of actually winning. After all, it was during his week of episodes from last year’s Republican National Convention that Colbert found his groove as a network late-night host in the first place.

    Colbert isn’t the first late-night host to travel to Russia. Two years ago, John Oliver made waves when he interviewed Edward Snowden there. And last fall, Samantha Bee’s team tracked down some Russian trolls for fascinating interviews. Outside the late-night sphere, Megyn Kelly also made the journey earlier this month for her dull interview with Vladimir Putin. Colbert’s trip could carry even more weight than those of his late-night contemporaries simply because of timing — Oliver went before the presidential campaign had ramped up, and Bee went before Trump’s victory.

    By planning a week’s worth of content, it seems Late Show wants to make certain that its trip to Russia lands with the greatest impact—and ends with a shiny new Emmy. After all, what would bother the president more than his archenemy in late-night taking home an award that Trump never managed to win himself?”

    Here you go! Russia is a “commodity” on the Media market. You know – this “internationally isolated” (c) “gas station masquerading as a country” (c) that “produces nothing” (c). Here how it works. Talking heads create the illusion of “oppressive” and “forbidden” Russia, that is oh so dangerous to visit. And then they “brave” to visit it – woo-hoo! Surely, if they are so brave, that they MIRACLOUSLY survived numerous assassination attempts (remember, kids – billions of journos are killed in Russia daily!) then everything they say must be true.

    Poison and antidote. Hooking them up on a drug and then extorting junkies for all their money for a new dose.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Addendum.

      On the previous page yalensis made a very important observation – Colbert, Oliver, Stewart etc. are court jesters of the so-called Western liberal democracy. In ages past, court jesters were (wait for it!) present at this or that feudal lord’s court… but they were not of the court themselves. They were anti-court, and they looked the part: instead of a crown they wore a cap with bells, instead of regal scepter and orb – a stick with pig’s bladder, instead of rich vestment and mantle – an eyegouging ridiculous attire. No one could possibly mistake them for “normal” people.

      That was the point. They were tolerated because they were not perceived as normal.

      Modern day court jesters don’t stand out. They wear suits, and ties and expensive shoes – just like the members of elite they diss/serve under. They look normal and thus are perceived as normal. Which is wrong and deceitful. People consider them “journalists” and “reporters” – which they are not. The fool’s role is to embellish, to tell parables and to exaggerate – and, yes, to lie.

      They are fools, all right. But how would you call the people, their enormous audience, who listen to fools and believe their every single word?

  16. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    http://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/3509729.html

    SBU colonel obliterated in occupied Donbass. The instrument – an explosive device on his car.

    Somebody is waging a serious campaign against Ukrainian intelligence, perhaps?

    • kirill says:

      It may be the Donabs rebel republic security services that are doing this instead of mother Russia. Mark et al have a good point that it could also be some sort of internal purge of potential Russian or Donbas spies (or information leakers).

  17. Moscow Exile says:

    For pity’s sake give it a rest, Porky!

    This time he is on one of his pudgy knees in front of a memorial to Anna of Russia Kievan Rus’ Ancient Rus’ the Ukraine, Ukraine or Kiev, in Senlis, France, in order to meet part of the French “Ukrainian community” there.

    Much better than Canada, eh?
    [Beaucoup mieux que le Canada, hein?]

    Va te faire foutre, gros gueule!
    [Please go away, you obscenely obese and offensive person!]

  18. marknesop says:

    The world’s most reprehensible newspaper, The New York Times, is quick to blame the ransomeware attack which crippled computers in Ukraine on Russia. Never mind the evidence; Ukrainians say Russia did it, and Ukrainians never lie. Moreover, they say it was Russia because just a couple of days ago a senior government official was blown up in a car bomb attack, and that was Russia, so they probably did this, too. QED.

    Curiously enough, another Times story from just a little over a month ago reported a near-identical attack, which it said was executed using malicious software ‘stolen’ from the NSA’s tickle trunk.

    Uh huh. Sure it was. And Cisco Systems is right there in Kiev, ‘helping’ Ukraine pin down the origin of the attack.

    For what it’s worth, one of our favouritest authors, Molly McKew – at the Washington Post, the world’s second-most-reprehensible newspaper – quickly makes the connection between Shapoval’s murder and Russia, which she says is the wide assumption of experts.

  19. Lyttenburgh says:

    Never underestimate the desire of rabid ideology-driven self-centered imbeciles belonging to the 5% of the self-proclaimed “urbanite” to deny the obvious.

    The latest poll by Levada CENTer, naturally, prompted them to wade into the deepest depth of de Nial. On one western forum (where your’s truly – surprise-surprise! – is banned) one of handshakable mildly Smerdyakovish Russian liberasts protested before the Western crowd his innocence. According to him, this recent poll, actually shows that Russians are becoming more liberal-minded! He just chalks it away (i.e. the 38% result for Stalin) because:

    a) It’s just “old fogies and commies” who voted for him (which, using his logic, makes said demographic one of the biggest in the country)

    b) Non-commie youngsters and middle class are more ambiguous about “Ol’ Moustachio” (that’s why the 2nd place is taken by Putin and 4th by Lenin – sooooo liberal!)

    c) People were confused (i.e., once again, liberasts wail, at the dumbness of These People of This Country).

    Now go by the link to Levada’s poll. Their trick was not to poll the people about the Greatest Russians – they asked the people to name the Greatest people of All Time. So, Einstein, Newton (he is at his all time high!) and even Napoleon made it into Top-20 (all others failed to pass 5% barrier). Kinda cheating, when we’d like to talk about Russia, right? But, well, that foreign agent Levada for you.

    On the other side of the Westernizers coin we see wailing and gnashing of teeth from гussian natZionalists.

    “Putin’s #2 position is absurd, even if you have a positive opinion of his record, while places #1 and #4 are just depressing.”

    [You see, Tolya is butthurt, cuz Putin is not Putler, really, and refuses to bow to him and his overlord Prosvirnus’ demands]

    “Stalinophilia is a joint creation of sovoks and liberals.

    The sovoks because many of them are the equivalent of America’s 95 IQ patriotards, and the ethnoliberals because they want to demonize and further dismantle Russia.

    On the plus side, at least Lenin is slowly fading from the scene, the traitor and outright Russophobe made into the secular equivalent of a founding prophet in the USSR.

    This suggests something encouraging – that it is not sovoks, but vatniks, who are beginning to worship Stalin.

    But they are doing so not out of any love for scientific communism and similar crap, but because of their misdirected nationalist instincts.

    With the correct changes in propaganda, vatniks will be demanding the toppling of Lenin statues and the restoration of the Russian Empire in no time at all.”

    It’s amazing how there is so little difference between liberasts and natZionalists! Little wonder, that they worked so wonderful during Euromaidan. Here we go – stupid bydlo people, hatred of Lenin (he “fades” soooo slowly – from 34% in 1994 to 32% in 2017… but imbeciles are still hopeful) and the desire to crunch on the french bread of the “Russia That We Have Lost”.

    Also note, how Karlin is advocating the illegal practice of the Ukraine by calling to vandalize Lenin’s statues. The law for him, the single-minded proponent of the “unrestricted free speech” means precious little. Also, he either doesn’t know the history of the Russian empire if he wants to recreate it (I hardly can imagine him conforming to the plethora of the laws of that era, which make such thing as, say, confession once a year to the Most Holy Synod affiliated priest obligatory for all truly Russian (Russkiye) subjects of His Majesty)… Or he sees himself among 5% of the French bread munchers, and not among those, who are routinely whipped on his lordship’s stables.

    With the pigheadedness deserving some svidomite, Tolya Karlin demonstrates his yet undiagnosed autism, by proclaiming that the one and only true way to determine the Greatness of a historical person is… their memeticness.

    Here how it works. Say, earlier this year Russian TV channel НТВ (Scandals! Intrigues! Exposes!) ran a story about has been actor Alexey Panin, committing ah, a coital act with his dog. Since then, the mentioning of Panin in various Media (be it “traditional” like papers, radio or TV, or “new”, like news aggregator sites, blogs, social networks) shyrocketed. He became a meme. People even joked, rather rudely, that should Rex (“Rex” is a common name for the dogs in Russia) Tillerson during his visit to Russia, Lavrov should sic Panin on him. In Karlin’s/Murray’s approach, this makes Alexei Panin “Great”. Why? Because the total pagecount of this or that person mentioned is the sole criterion for them – that’s why! That’s why memetics. Should someone conduct a censorship campaign, or a book-burning orgy, or wipe out in one gigantic EMP charge all computers shut down the Net – these people will “cease” to be for Karlin/Murray. They so hate human beings and their memory, that are no different in that respect from liberasts. And this, btw, explains why AK was betting so hard on Navalny in past months.

    The mere idea that Tolstoy and Stravinsky were much more “influential” in Russia than Stalin is… Well, I can only quote equally memetic scene from the “Down House” movie (a “post-modern” adaptation of #3 of their list famous work) to describe such people.

    • yalensis says:

      The sheer arrogance of these “Russian nationalists” is absolutely breathtaking.
      At the bottom of it all is, I believe, a yearning to commit violence.
      These people are like something out of a Dostoevsky novel, they believe they have been undervalued and abused in their lives, and they want payback.
      It’s all just a humdrum psychological thing, nobody should take them seriously as political thinkers.
      Plus, Tolya’s calling for the destruction of statues is an act of criminality in waiting.

      Not surprising since Tolya spent a decade or so as a guest in a country, in which he then attempted to incite race war between two sets of indigenous citizenry.
      Not very polite thing for a guest to do in a country which hosted him.

    • marknesop says:

      By this metric, if you have represented it correctly (I didn’t look) Trump is one of the greatest people in America!

  20. Lyttenburgh says:

    Russian writer Zachar Prilepin have summed up the results of this recent Levada poll – and of many, many others before it – as to present you the picture of the Russian people:

    The country stepped back on a communist way of correction. Why does the government lag behind?

    “Changes that have occurred in the past three decades with the peoples of Russia, and primarily with the Russian people are just amazing. The people proved to be stronger and smarter than propaganda.

    During these years, the country received tons of tons of printed materials devoted to the creation of a “black myth” about the USSR and socialism. The collective [liberal historian] Svanidze dominated the television, airtime was occupied by endless anti-Soviet serials, which, it must be said, are still churned out to this day.

    Being an anti-Soviet in all these years has meant being fashionable, promising, attractive to the Powers That Be. The richest people of the country, the most fashionable actors, singers, clowns and talk show hosts considered it their duty at any opportunity, with and without reason, to make a jab: “We know how these Soviet tales ended!..”

    They did not really know anything. And ,most importantly: nothing has ended yet.

    Here are some examples.

    If in 1995, 48% of Russians held negative views towards Lenin, then twenty years later the situation changed exactly the opposite: now more than half of the adult population of the country perceive Lenin positively. (Negatively – slightly over 20%, the rest “have not decided”). The explanations are, I think, simple. There is no need to philosophize slyly.

    First, Lenin is perceived as the defender of all humiliated and insulted: a man who has thrown the most terrible challenge to capitalism – or, if you will, to the world’s financial system. Lenin – an antonym to oligarchy and glamor. It does not matter what this has to do with real historical Lenin. It is important that the myth of the “German spy” and “maniac” in the minds of most residents of Russia did not take root.

    Lenin is a fanatic, completely devoted to his idea. Now such a breed has died out.

    But people are tired of seeing “all too human” traits in our leaders, sometimes you want to deal with a “superman”. Lenin is an unconditioned superman: a swanky type from Simbirsk that made Russia the central figure in the world history of the 20th century and the object of hopes and aspirations for millions and billions of the people of the Third World. Looking at Soviet Russia, they believed that the “world order” is not forever, that one day a certain stubborn, unconquerable leader may appear – and that all of this (the colonial system in one form or another, the system of international financial manipulation, etc.) he will break mercilessly.

    An even greater upheaval occurred in the minds of the population of our country in connection with the name of Stalin.

    According to the experts, if in 1989 Stalin’s rating in the list of statesmen who had the greatest impact on Russian history was only 12%, then in 2012 he was already in the first place with 42%. And in 2015, 52% of Russians said that Stalin played a “definitely positive” and “rather positive” role in the history of Russia. Less than 30% of respondents are of the opposite opinion. (There are reasonable data that Stalin’s rating in Russia aspires to 70 percent: but to recognize such thing publicly is simply not possible for the pollsters).

    The perception, or rather, the acceptance of Stalin, is not at all a sign, as our kind liberal democrats like to say, of the “serf consciousness” of the country’s population and certainly not the desire to resume repression and purges. First and foremost, Stalin is a symbol of Victory in the most terrible world war, a symbol of industrialization and modernization. Finally, Stalin (like Lenin) is an ascetic. It is important! This quality in modern Russian, and world politics, is seen badly.

    But Russians highly appreciate modesty and unselfishness.

    (All the arguments on the topic that “Lenin drank beer in Switzerland”, and “Stalin had a special spree at war” – especially coming from the lips of the people who bought up the blocks of real estate in all conceivable parts of Europe and Asia – sound not just anecdotal, but idiotic. They should be ashamed to even open their mouth).

    “Stalin is the only thing that can cause horror on the shopkeeper’s lecherous face,” one professor once said. Under the “shopkeeper” here, naturally, we do not mean a banal representative of small and medium-sized businesses (we wish them all luck and strength). But the type of a person for whom everything is sold and bought and the price in one or another currency is the only measure of all things.

    This kind of “shopkeepers” took too much space in our lives – and not by right.

    Seeking justice, people do not understand why traders have become a national aristocracy: they have taken a place where warriors and philosophers must rightfully be (successful merchants and manufacturers are also required to represent the aristocracy – but they can not hold monopoly on it).

    Finally, we came to the conclusion that similar transformations also occurred in relation to the Soviet past as whole. Today more than 40% of Russians view the experience of the USSR as positive (and only 9% as negative). For comparison: 52% of Russians can not name any achievements of Boris Yeltsin; But numerous negative results of his reign are called by over two-thirds of Russians. (Only 11% of Russians are convinced of the “usefulness” of Yeltsin).

    And here we come to the simplest question: do we have a democracy or not?

    It can hardly be doubted that the vast majority of Russian elites, who have full executive power, came from the 90s. As a matter of fact, this is a liberal-bourgeois generation, the “children of Boris Nikolaevich!”

    But who should represent the majority of the population?

    Let’s repeat it once again: according to different estimates, from 40 to 60% of Russians adhere to the “left” views, they expect the economy to “float” left as well and experience, in one way or another, interest or sympathy for the “left” figures of Russian and world history. No ideology in Russia – neither liberal nor right-nationalistic one – has such obvious and real support.

    More than half of Russians, according to official statistics, want a reassessment of the era of “Perestroika” and “Yeltsin’s reforms.” And they certainly do not want to live in the same system, with all its obvious costs – at least in the form of social inequality and apparent dependence on the world financial institutions; As a maximum – in a society built on the principles of money-grubbing and conformism.

    So why are we still in a society that does not meet the expectations of the majority?

    Just because someone told us that the communism is the past, that it already “was”? And liberalism – what, we didn’t experience it? Is nationalism just invented?

    Communism is both our tradition and our only hope for a breakthrough into the future. Moreover, communism is also a desire for freedom, a manifestation of truly insolent, freedom-loving, violent qualities of our national character.

    The riot of the Don Cossack Stepan Timofeevich Razin, the daring of the Bashkir ataman Salavat Yulayev, Decembrists idealism, Mayakovsky’s and Yesenin’s poetry, the partisans of Sidor Kovpak, Gagarin’s smile – that’s also communism.

    Remember Yesenin’s: “And Russia – that’s a boulder… If only the Soviet government!”

    Communism is the choice of the people. We have seen more than once in recent years, where people gather in the name of preserving their Russian identity. They gather near the monuments of Lenin. Those who stayed at the monument preserve the right to speak Russian, live in the space of national history, be proud of their victories, and not look at torchlight processions.

    A red flag over Russia is inevitable.

    We took the Reichstag – and we will do the right thing again”

    P.S. It will take me some time to gather all the links to relevant polls conducted by Levada, VTSIOM etc., and by posting them all at once I risk to hang a comment into pre-mod limbo. So I’ll post all referential data later in smaller batches so as to not to overload the blog engine.

    • yalensis says:

      Lyt: You have so much material, this should really be a blog post!

      • yalensis says:

        P.S. – most Russians are not going to believe that “German spy” slander against Lenin.
        A real German spy would not have been half so effective in dismantling capitalism.

        I notice that Tolya is promoting this meme now as well, the “Lenin traitor” thing.
        But Tolya is not an effective propagandist, because his wounded-ego rage shows through all too clearly everything he says.
        One of the things that made Lenin so great is that he didn’t allow his anger to rule him.
        And he was even able to relax and have a good time every now and then.
        But he never took his eyes off the main goal, which was to bring down the oppressors.

      • marknesop says:

        “The first thing the Bolshevik leader did was to bury the law,” Reznik wrote on his blog on the website of Ekho Moskvy. “Stalin embodies massive extrajudicial mechanisms and repressions, including personal summonses, two- and three-judge hearings, legalized torture, and the liquidation of the independent judiciary, the presumption of innocence, and the principle of legal advocacy.

        I guess now we know how he came to be ‘respected’ by RFE/RL.

        Let me see….who else uses….multi-judge inquistorial panels? Check. Personal summons? Check. Legalized torture? Oh, snap.

        “The State Department’s 2003-2007 Human Rights Reports on Sri Lanka classified “near-drowning” as among “methods of torture.” In the reports on Tunisia from 1996 to 2004, “submersion of the head in water” is classified as “torture”.

        More? Sure. Liquidation of the presumption of innocence? Check; thank you, Canada, for embarrassing me. Making a mockery of the principles of legal advocacy? Check.

        And that’s now. Right now. Stalin has been dead for 64 years.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        I have da kunnin’ plan! Place palques commemorating Stalin on the Higher School of Ecnomics (aka “The bastion of liberastia”), Economic Ministry of Russia and Yeltsin Center in Y-burgh. As Imps and Devils can’t stand the sign of the cross and icons, so the liberals can’t stand anything Stalin related!

        Oh, and should such person with god face like Reznik decide to emigrate from Russia – he must avoid Austria by all costs!

        And UK:

        And France

  21. Moscow Exile says:

    From Auntie BBC (which is not a state-run organization!) —

    How much of a threat does Russia pose, and to whom?

    Oh do tell — pleeeeease!!!!

    And get this:

    If Moscow could tear up the rule-book of security in post-Cold War Europe by carving off a slice of Ukraine (as it previously did in Georgia), many feared the Baltic republics – also territory of the former Soviet Union – could be next…

    Tearing off a slice of Georgia, eh?

    According to Michael Kofman of the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute, “by 2012 Russia had reorganised its armed forces from a Soviet mass mobilisation army into a permanent standing force, and began improving quality across the board”.

    This was coupled with an intense regimen of snap checks on readiness and countless exercises, to the extent that “by 2014 the Russian military was markedly improved compared to its lacklustre performance in the Russia-Georgia war in 2008”, he says.

    Lacklustre?

    So they got whupped by the US trained and equipped Georgians, did they?

    All the experts I spoke to insist that the initial focus of the Russian effort has been on Ukraine, not the Baltics. Indeed, Michael Kofman argues that the war in Ukraine imposed unexpected requirements on Russia’s military, which found itself lacking permanently stationed forces on the country’s borders, and ill-positioned for the conflict.

    The war in the Ukraine?

    He means the civil war there, right?

    He can’t mean that Russia is waging against the Ukraine, can he?

    “Russian armed forces”, he says, “were, and still are, in transition”.

    To address the prospect of war with Ukraine in the medium to long term, he says, Russia “has spent much of the past three years repositioning units around Ukraine, building three new divisions, rebasing several brigades, and creating an entire new combined-arms army.

    So now it’s “the war with Ukraine” not “in the Ukraine” is it?

    So he did mean above that Russia is at war with the Ukraine?

    The intent is for Russian ground forces to be in place just across the border should they need to reinforce proxies in the Donbas, invade from several vectors, or simply deter Kiev from thinking it could quickly retake the separatist regions by force”.

    So they are at war with the Ukraine, but they are not actually in the Ukraine?

    I see.

    And they have “proxies” waging war for them in the Ukraine, right?

    Michael Kofman notes, “Russia is a Eurasian land power, bringing a lot of firepower to the fight, but its strength shines when fighting close to home”.

    Well I’m so pleased you’ve grasped that point, Mr. Kofman!

    The consensus among the experts seems to be that Ukraine was a warning bell. Russia’s newfound assertiveness is not to be confused with a desire to launch a military attack westwards.
    Indeed, the immediate Russian threat may come from its information warfare and cyber campaigns directed against the West. That’s a battle that has already been joined. And it is one the West is equally ill-prepared for.

    Well that’s good news, isn’t it?

    By the way, when did Russia last launch an attack westwards?

    1944 you say?

    Well I never!

    What on earth for?

    What? They invaded Germany?

    You”ll be telling me next that they invaded France!

    They did?

    In 1814?

    What the hell for?

    Right! I get the picture.

    The Russians are aggressive.

    Clearly.

    • kirill says:

      Yeah, the 7 million people in the Donbas are all Russian proxies. Gotta love the NATzO propagandist systematic omission of numbers to twist the context. In case my point is not clear, if the Donbas population was really Ukr and loyal to Kiev, then Russia would hardly be in any position to wage war there by proxy or directly. This is basically proof by induction; if Kiev loyal regions of Banderastan were as easy to disrupt like the Donbas, then all of Banderastan would be in this condition. Clearly, the narrative being peddled by the NATzO propaganda chorus is inane. The only explanation of the situation in the Donbas that fits the facts is that it is rebelling against Kiev.

    • marknesop says:

      ‘Russia’s newfound assertiveness’ is no more or less than an abandonment of hope in NATO’s promises and flannel, and a decision to stop backing up. It’s nice of them to telegraph their moves so far in advance, though, and point to the Baltics as their designated flashpoint.

    • Cortes says:

      The Beeb definitely falls within the EU legal concept of an “emanation of the State.”

  22. ucgsblog says:

    CNN learns what the “Ratings Game” feels like from the other side:

    One of CNN’s leaders stated that it’s ok to randomly attack others, without any evidence, as long as its newsworthy and ratings driven. And now it turns out that attacking CNN is newsworthy and ratings driven. CNN is on the defensive, referring to the “Ratings Game” as “unprecedented hostility towards the media!” after its been turned against them.

    Meanwhile in 2006, CNN demoted Tucker Carlson for doing what CNN told him to do. He is now on Fox News, and is enjoying this quite a bit:

    • ucgsblog says:

      I should clarify that the above reply is my opinion, as are most of my replies.

    • marknesop says:

      I can’t stand Tucker Carlson from his time as a loyal footsoldier in the ranks of the George Dubya Bush Apologist Army, but it’s easy to feel in synch with him here just because CNN is so deservedly hated. Can’t argue with your conclusions, either.

      • ucgsblog says:

        Then this will make you chuckle Mark – when I was discussing CNN at a meeting, one of the smarter analysts commented: “yet another reason to hate CNN is because they’re making Tucker Carlson look good! Why doesn’t anyone bring that up?”

        The room responded with laughter. Remember the days when CNN used to claim that they’re “the most trusted name in news” – well they’re not doing that anymore:

        http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-01-09/cnn-now-least-trusted-news-network-among-viewers

        “In the poll published Wednesday by Rasmussen Reports, 1,000 likely voters were asked to describe their media viewing habits. Seventy-five percent said they watch at least some form of cable news each week, with 42 percent saying they most frequently watch Fox News, 35 percent usually choosing CNN, and 19 percent favoring MSNBC. An even 50 percent of frequent Fox News viewers agreed with a followup question, “Do you trust the political news you are getting?” By comparison, 43 percent of frequent MSNBC viewers and just 33 percent of those who mostly watch CNN said they trust their political news.”

        http://www.dailywire.com/news/18088/death-spiral-along-its-credibility-cnn-ratings-john-nolte#exit-modal

        “For instance, on Tuesday, over the course of the day, CNN was only able to attract a measly 670,000 viewers. For context, MSNBC nearly doubled this number; Fox News nearly tripled it. CNN has almost always lagged a bit behind MSNBC in total viewers, but not like this.”

        Why couldn’t it be 620,000? The reason I’m asking, is because 6.2 million Americans watched Putin’s interview with Megyn Kelly. I’m not yet sure about Stone’s Putin Interviews – but that number also seems to be very positive and in the millions. Of course losing to Discovery Channel didn’t help CNN:

        “Furthermore, throughout this same quarter, CNN lost to MSNBC in total and primetime demo viewers. This is the first time since 2014 that CNN has lost that demo crown to its leftwing rival. In total viewers last quarter, among all cable news channels, Fox News placed first, MSNBC third, and CNN is all alone in tenth place, just barely ahead of Investigative Discovery, a second-tier offshoot of the Discovery Network.”

        I predicted this would happen back when they fucked up their coverage of the Ossetian War. Now I’m just watching the train-wreck, thinking “am I really eating the best tasting popcorn? Have I finally found it?”

        • marknesop says:

          I hope they are driven right out of existence – I can’t wait to see Wolf Blitzer sitting on a bench outside Hope Cottage in downtown Halifax, bleary-eyed and waiting for the free soup line to open. All of a journalist’s enemies should be among the corrupt mages of the state apparatus – when the common man earnestly prays for you to be brought low, you’ve lost your way, and are feeding on a projected image of yourself. I think it’s safe to say that we have seen the most precipitous decline in ethics in journalism, this past decade, that has occurred since its humble beginnings.

  23. Moscow Exile says:

    An Awara Accounting Economic Analysis::

    What Does Not Kill You Will Make You Stronger – The Russian Economy 2014 – 2016, the Years of Sanctions Warfare

    This report is based on Awara Accounting’s research on how the Russian economy managed in 2014 – 2016 to cope with the dual shocks of Western sanctions and the accompanying precipitous fall of the oil price.

    KEY FINDINGS:

    Russia’s economy has successfully adjusted to dual shock of sanctions and oil price plunge
    Minor GDP loss of -2.3% for 3 years of sanctions will be completely recovered in 2017 with expected 2-3% growth

    Oil & gas share of GDP drops to below 10%

    Industrial production stable 2014-2016, soars in May by +5.3%

    Russia’s economy now the most diversified in the world. Exports remain relatively undiversified, but domestic production highly diversified and self-sufficient

    Debt Crisis predicted by Western pundits failed to materialize

    CB reserves intact and sovereign wealth funds solid

    Budget deficit never went below -3.9%. Tax collection soars in 2017, budget now balanced

    Oil & gas only 17% of budget revenue (2016)

    Inflation falls to near 4%

    Unemployment remains low at 5% level

    Demographic indicators reach all-time best

    Population at 146.8 million – all-time high

    Only clearly negative data: Salaries, disposable income and consumption.

    Retail sales down more than 10%

    Full Awara report here.

    Source: Russia Insider Special Report by Awara Accounting: Russia’s Economy Emerges Stronger Than Ever After Sanctions, Years 2014 – 2016

    Do I detect any loud “hahaha” out there?

    • marknesop says:

      That’s excellent news. Oh – unless you work for the State Department or the Poroshenko government. Keep those sanctions on, Washington! How’s your market share doing, Europe?

    • kirill says:

      I love the skewering of the idiots/propagandists who use Russia’s exports profile to infer its diversification level. Since Russia has the smallest imports per GDP of any large economy on the planet, by definition it must be producing the goods and services that it consumes within its own borders. The propaganda would have everyone believe that Russia is a resource exporting banana republic that imports all of its value added goods and services.

      The report also repeats the points I raise about the CBR. The CBR is acting to undermine the Russian economy since it operates on false assumptions. In particular it drinks the propaganda koolaid that Russia has an import economy due to lack of diversification. So the CBR thinks that there is more inflation pressure on the economy (i.e. via import price increases due to ruble forex drops) than there actually is. Putin is failing big time letting Nabiullina carry out her nonsensical inflation fighting prime rate policy:

      Note how the CBR prime interest rate was closer to the inflation rate before the arrival of Nabiullina. Also note that the inflation rate shows no signs of instability after 2015 so there is no need for the large spread between the prime rate and the inflation rate. That is, the prime rate should be at most 4%.

  24. Special_sauce says:

    Get a load of all the crazy memes! https://twitter.com/LaterCapitalism

  25. marknesop says:

    Somehow, in all the kerfuffle, I appear to have missed Russia’s first venture into actual air defense since shutting down the deconfliction line with the USA, when a $240 Million Global Hawk is alleged to have been blasted out of the sky over the Med by an S-300. But you all missed it, too, so I don’t feel too bad. Let’s await developments.

    • ucgsblog says:

      Is this where Karl tells us how weak Russia is?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      As a matter of fact I did pick it up when the story first appeared but didn’t follow it up, thinking it was a piss-taking article about how incompetent Russians clearly are in that they had stupidly launched one of their missiles in the wrong direction and into the sea,

      • marknesop says:

        Well, still no confirmation but lots of discussion. There was even a YouTube clip in which the guy reporting it said there were three people aboard; a pilot (remember, this is a remotely-piloted drone with its ‘pilot’ frequently not in the same country as the drone, this one was reportedly flown out of the United Arab Emirates), a gunner (what the fuck for??) and somebody else whose position I don’t remember, I was probably laughing too hard.

        Oh, he also reported that was the sixth US drone shot down in 24 hours. I’m not sure what’s up with that, but it sounds like it would be pretty hard to keep a lid on.

        • et Al says:

          According to Moon of Alabama the US is pulling out of Al-Tanaf on the Syrian/I-rackiborder having been caught out by lightning pincer movement by SAA/I-ranians etc. and I-racki PMU from the other side.

          Moon of Alabama: U.S. Retreats From Al-Tanf – Gives Up On Occupying South East Syria
          http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/06/us-retreats-from-al-tanf-gives-up-idea-of-occupying-south-east-syria.html

          ####

          As for the drone downing, I could imagine that whether true or not, if the US is pulling out of south east Syria, announcing the drone news would be better delayed to stop a demand to do something, not to mention that US and other foreign troops leaving Al-Tanaf are vulnerable until they make it back in to Jordan.

          In other news, the OPCW says that there was sarin or ‘sarin like’ (personally, I find sarin ‘not like’!) at Kahn-Sheikoun (sp?), but does not ascribe who ‘used it’. The report – not that I’ve seen it and am going from press reports – curiously doesn’t say what kind of sarin it is, i.e. produced at a professional facility or of the kitchen sink kind previously prepared by IS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever…

          IBTimes: UN watchdog confirms sarin gas used in deadly Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack in Syria
          http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/un-watchdog-confirms-sarin-gas-used-deadly-khan-sheikhoun-chemical-attack-syria-1628375

          The OPCW will now investigate who had ordered the chemical attack on Syrian civilians.

          • marknesop says:

            I find it hard to believe the USA is striking its tents after the cheerful statement by General Townsend that American forces would remain in Syria even after ISIS is defeated, to fight ‘ISIS guerillas’. This might signal a minor tactical withdrawal, but certainly does not mean the Americans have abandoned their grand plan for Syria.

            • et Al says:

              That seems to be the consensus among a few of the commenters to the Moon of Alabama piece. The US may have been caught short, but they are not packing up shop yet. The Israeli Something minister Eismann or something has just been to Moscow apparently and said publicly that he has laid out Israel’s RED LINES to Moscow. Yes, sure, that’s all nice and fine for the media, but it is Eismann that has gone to Moscow, not Lavrov to Tel Aviv. That says volumes.

              The other thing mentioned by Eismann is that Russia & Israel ‘co-cordinate’ over IAF ‘pin-point’ strikes against Hezbollah. Uh-huh. If you ask me, Russia could do Syria a favor and also and Israel an unwanted favor by taking control of the Golan Heights. No Hezbollah, Israel has to give up meddling in Syria but on the other hand has one less attack vector to worry about and can concentrate its limited resources on less fronts. It may seem like a radical idea, but I think it would work. For Russia, yet another stake in the Middle East ground for decades to come, for Syria one less vector to worry about. If I was President of Russia, it is exactly the kind of thing I would do and I wouldn’t ask Israel for their blessing. I’d just do it full throttle.

  26. Warren says:

    Court Rules In Favor Of Slovenia In Sea Border Dispute; Croatia Rejects Decision


    A ship passes along the Croatian coast through Piran on June 27. A court at The Hague has ruled that Zagreb should grant neighboring Slovenia “uninterrupted access” to the high seas via the bay

    An international arbitration court has handed Slovenia a victory in its long-standing border dispute with Croatia, awarding it direct access to international waters in the Adriatic Sea in a decision Zagreb says it will not honor.

    The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration on June 29 ruled that Slovenia should have “uninterrupted access” to the sea in the dispute over 13 square kilometers comprising the Bay of Piran and a stretch of mainly uninhabited territory.

    Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar called the ruling an “historic moment for Slovenia,” adding that the judgment “is definitive and must be applied on both countries, Slovenia and Croatia.”

    However, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said Zagreb will refuse to implement the ruling, despite having originally agreed to take the matter to arbitration.

    “Today’s arbitration decision for Croatia is a decision which is not obliging us in any way…. nor do we intend to implement its content,” Plenkovic told reporters.

    https://www.rferl.org/a/slovenia-croatia-sea-border-dispute-hague-ruling-piran/28586589.html

    If the Croats aren’t going to respect this decision, what are they going to do? Intercept Slovenian vessels that violate Croatia’s supposed “territorial waters” within the Bay of Piran? Croats had no problems with international arbitration when litigating against Serbia and winning. But now the Croats reject a judgment by the PCA?

    • ucgsblog says:

      Croatia used the status of the most favored nation when it sued Serbia. Slovenia did the exact same thing to Croatia, that Croatia did to Serbia. You reap what you sow.

    • Jen says:

      I see this is what Slovenia is challenging Croatia over:

      The part of the Bay of Piran that Slovenia claims and the corridor are what Croatia is disputing. When you see what is at stake on a map, you realise that the Croatian position is amazingly arrogant. How else are Slovenian vessels able to leave Slovenian waters and enter international waters in the Adriatic Sea?

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        This is the country that produced Miroslav Filipovic – it is best to expect the worst from them in all circumstances, both individually and collectively.

  27. Northern Star says:

    “Over the course of a decade, in doing the research for my first books and articles on US foreign policy, one of the oddities to me of the Cold War was how often the Soviet Union seemed to know what the United States was really up to, even if the American people didn’t. Every once in a while in the 1950s to 70s a careful reader would notice a two- or three-inch story in the New York Times on the bottom of some distant inside page, reporting that Pravda or Izvestia had claimed that a recent coup or political assassination in Africa or Asia or Latin America had been the work of the CIA; the Times might add that a US State Department official had labeled the story as “absurd”. And that was that; no further details were provided; and none were needed, for how many American readers gave it a second thought? It was just more commie propaganda. Who did they think they were fooling?
    ****This ignorance/complicity on the part of the mainstream media allowed the United States to get away with all manner of international crimes and mischief.”****

    http://www.truth-out.org/speakout/item/23785-the-russians-are-coming

    Best and brightest ???
    http://thoughtcatalog.com/gaby-dunn/2012/11/the-best-movies-about-journalism/

  28. marknesop says:

    Ha, ha!!! Just when you thought the trashy spectacle known as Eurovision was over – it ain’t over! Nope; the EBU has announced it is fining Ukraine €200,000.00 for “severe delays which created unnecessary difficulties” and for its jack-off display of prohibiting the Russian entrant from participating. Rumbles about also fining Russia for refusing to televise the spectacle were dropped.

    Ukraine, of course, is appealing the decision, something else it has learned from its western puppeteers – when you haven’t got two hryvnia to rub together, delay by launching endless appeals and maybe you’ll come into some money (another way of saying maybe some western sugar-daddy will give it to you) or your opponents will get tired of trying to extract blood from a turnip, and give up.

  29. Warren says:

    Published on 29 Jun 2017
    Matt Kennard reviews the impact corporate funding has on scientific research and looks at the media’s complicity in shaping public opinion when reporting the findings.

    • kirill says:

      The overall point is valid. But the brush stroke of this analysis is a bit too broad. I wish I had access to corporate money but there simply was none for atmospheric, ocean and climate science. Companies care about products and profits so they target research that is relevant to them, in particular branches related to medicine. I suppose they also fund engineering research. So there are science branches that are not tainted by corporate interests.

      It should also be recalled that back in the 1800s basically all of the ground breaking pure science research was funded by rich patrons and not some egalitarian public purse.

  30. marknesop says:

    Ha, ha!!! Maybe today is just an unusually funny day, but all my comments seem to be starting with laughter. But I don’t know what other response would be appropriate to learning that Porky is a corrupt oligarch who now controls 19 of 24 seats in the Cabinet of Ministers, and that the hot pick to succeed him is….(drumroll, please)…Arseniy ‘Wabbit Senya’ Yatsenyuk!! Yes, I wish I were kidding, but that actually is the proposed strategy according to Open Democracy author Mikhail Minakov. Hey, who knew? Porky is a self-interested power-broker who is only interested in the presidency as a vehicle for increasing his own power! Meanwhile he still has not sold off any of his business assets, and the leading candidate to take over his job is the Gas Princess, Yulia Tymoshenko, although she herself is so unpopular that she could only do it by a win of the party slate. Hey, you’ll love the part where the SBU has started up a Facebook page where Ukrainians can report their neighbours for being insufficiently patriotic. you get that a lot in…oh…well, I guess you don’t get it a lot anywhere except in a dictatorship.

    If you were getting the feeling that the west is becoming a little disenchanted with this tar baby it dragged from the clutches of Brer Putin, you are more perceptive than most of the clods who still perk up when you say “Euromaidan”. We keep saying Ukraine is the walking dead without support from Russia, but nobody wants to listen. Sorry, Ukrainians – we tried.

  31. marknesop says:

    Aaaaand Buzzfeed just keeps trying. Maybe Hillary will give them the Presidential Medal of Freedom when she’s….uhhh…well, you know.

  32. Moscow Exile says:

    Трамп заявил, что Украина запросила у США «миллионы тонн» угля

    Trump has said that the Ukraine had asked the US for “millions of tons” of coal
    On 29 June 2017, 23:23

    During his speech at the Energy Ministry, The American leader Donald trump said that the Ukraine had asked the U.S. to supply coal.

    “The Ukraine has asked us for millions and millions of tons of coal right now”, said the President.

    In addition, Trump said that “the United States wants to sell coal” to the Ukraine and other countries.

    Earlier, the Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko in an interview with Fox News said that during his visit to the United States he had discussed the possibility of deliveries to the Ukraine of coal and gas from America.

    Director of the Energy Development Fund, Sergey Pikin, in conversation with RT, explained why the Poroshenko’s statement is not about economics, but political. According to him, Kiev is thus once again trying to attract attention.

    Эксперт: заявление Порошенко о поставках угля и газа из США носит политический характер

    Expert: Poroshenko’s statement on the supply of coal and gas from the US is political in nature
    21 June 2017, 10:48

    Director of the Energy Development Fund, Sergey Pikin, in an interview with RT, explained why the statement of the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on the possible supply of coal and gas from the US is not an economic one, but political. According to him, Kiev is thus once again trying to attract attention.

    “Discussion with the government of the USA about coal and gas, to put it mildly, is more of a political gesture than economic, because the U.S. government does not own a single mine for the extraction of coal, let alone any gas fields. This all belongs to private companies. Such statements are just a means for the Ukraine to have something to discuss with the United States. I also see here the problem of financing. In addition to the fact that Poroshenko could discuss the issues concerning supplies, I think there were also financial issues for arranging all these supplies. Here a question arises for the US government: are they going to buy their own resources with their own money? That’s a good plan”, he said.

    Pikin noted that at the moment the supply of coal and gas from the United States to the Ukraine may be difficult for a number of reasons.

    “Theoretically, it is possible to supply coal from the United States to the Ukraine, but the issue is the cost, which may increase owing to transportation. As for gas, the situation here is more complicated. If we are talking about direct deliveries of liquefied gas, then there is a big problem related to the passage of the tanker through the Bosporus Strait. Turkey does not and will not intend to give permission for transportation, therefore direct deliveries are impossible. The only option is to deliver gas through some of the ports of Europe, and through the trading mechanisms and various financial instruments in order to have it hypothetically delivered”, the expert concluded.

    Earlier, Ukrainian leader Pyotr Poroshenko, in an interview with Fox News, said that during his visit to the United States he discussed the possibility of supplying coal and gas to America from Ukraine.

    Porky just trying to appear centre stage, trying to keep Banderastan in the limelight.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Так называемой галицкой элите
      Елена Фоминична Лаврентьева

      Лакеи вечные Европы,
      Ее духовные рабы,
      Вы извратили отчий опыт
      И предков предали гробы.

      По прихоти дурной холопы,
      Прислужники чужих затей,
      Вы быдлом сделались Европы,
      Вы полюбили свист плетей.

      Вы предавали Русь стократно,
      Чужому вверившись уму.
      Вас Русь прощала, но обратно
      Тянули шею вы к ярму.

      Вам Родины милей чужбина.
      И суждено вам потому
      Знать волю… только господина,
      И вечно кланяться ему.
      23 октября 2003

      The so-called Galician elite
      Elena Fominichna Lavrent’eva

      Lackeys to eternal Europe
      Her spiritual slaves,
      You have perverted your fathers’ experience
      And betrayed your ancestors’ graves.

      With a bad bonded servant’s whim,
      As servants of foreign ploys,
      You have become the cattle of Europe
      Enamoured with the crack of the whip.

      You have betrayed Russia a hundredfold,
      Entrusting yourselves to foreigners’ wiles.
      Russia forgave you, but again,
      Your neck was dragged under the yoke.

      You homeland miles are foreign to you,
      Because you are destined
      To know only the will of your lord and master,
      And always to prostrate yourselves before him .

      23 Oct 2003

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, and supplies of coal are going to be further complicated by the fact that the United States produces almost no anthracite coal whatever – a piddling 0.3% of its total production as of 2010. It is typical that that was evidently not even brought up, but if it was merely an attention-getting tactic, then Porky doesn’t care. He knows Ukraine is highly unlikely to receive it anyway; they have almost none of the type Ukraine needs (by far the majority of American production is bituminous and sub-bituminous), and the cost of getting it there would be prohibitive as anything but a gesture.

      • Cortes says:

        What’s the point of owning the Canadian government if you can’t take advantage of its resources?

        “The Groundhog Anthracite Deposit, located in British Columbia, Canada, is the largest previously undeveloped anthracite deposit in the world. It is owned by Australian publicly listed company, Atrum Coal and boasts 1.57 billion tonnes of high grade anthracite.[23]”

        From Wikipedia.

        • marknesop says:

          Well, well; imagine that – and right in my own backyard, too. I have to confess, that is news to me. But Porky did not ask us. And I don’t know if Trudeau and Trump are particularly friendly; I suspect Trudeau was also hoping for a Hillary victory. Keep it in the political family, you know.

          However, a quick check shows the most likely port for shipping such coal from Canada would be Prince Rupert. That’s, let’s see….clickety click….more than 8,200 km from Kiev as the long-distance crow flies, and on the wrong side of Canada. Quite a long way to ship coal in exchange for nothing much but a kiss on the chest from Klimkin.

          Anthracite, interestingly, is mostly used in furnaces for forging steel. I wonder what possessed the planners in the Ukrainian Socialist Republic to build their utility plants that way?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          There’ s a load of it buried under South Wales, too.

          That’s “Old South Wales”, UK.

          There’s an estimated 40 years’ reserves of the black stuff buried where I once worked. They capped the shafts there in 1986.

          And there’s at least 400 year’s reserves of coal under the UK.

          Perhaps Porky might ask Schoolma’am May for some?

          • Moscow Exile says:

            WELSH ANTHRACITE

            They should have called it “King Kong Coal” — because he had large nuts as well.

            • Cortes says:

              I’m sure the inhabitants of S Wales would be happy to be forcibly removed to allow the whole area to be opencasted for the benefit of the Banderites…

              Incidentally, one of my favourite books is by the geologist Ted Neild “Underlands”; he grew up in South Wales and the book is almost a memoir of his nerdish expeditions around the UK. A fabulous work.

    • yalensis says:

      I’m not sure it’s even the right kind of coal for Ukrainian furnaces. Does the U.S. produce anthracite?

  33. Moscow Exile says:

    Serdyukov has been nominated for membership of the Board of Directors of “KAMAZ”

    Former defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov has been nominated to the Board of Directors of “KAMAZ”. He has ben marked down one of the candidates for the post and will stand for election at the annual meeting of shareholders, which is scheduled for June 23.

    Fucking stinks!!!

    • marknesop says:

      You’re not kidding. He should be permanently disqualified from any supervisory position in business. Who nominated him, I wonder?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        He got the job yesterday.

        Quelle surprise!

        See: Сердюков сменил Дмитриева в совете директоров «Камаза»

        Why doesn’t Navalny ever mention this?

        • marknesop says:

          Incredible. This is very disappointing. But now that you mention it, I wonder why the western press has not also seized upon it as an example of nepotism and corruption in Putin’s Russia?

          Perhaps because they always backed him as a western-oriented reformer – they love that word – who was shaking up the ossified defense complex by purchasing shiny new western kit instead of kludgy Soviet-era rubbish.

      • et Al says:

        Maybe because he is now owned and won’t put a foot out of place.

        After all, he does have skillz and kicked of proper reform in the Russian Army by helping it to transition to a part Контрактны/professionalized service. If he can handle such a large organization and have some effect, then a hand at Kamaz may not be so bad. Either/and he is put there as a placeholder until he is bumped on elsewhere. There’s certainly some reason he is being kept around and I doubt it is Компромат, but it could be.

        • marknesop says:

          From all I have read – granted, that was in English – he was hated by the military brass because of his tirades and browbeating, as if he were talking to servants. He shows many indications of being the kind of man who believes he knows it all and those under him are just clogging up the system with useless mouths to feed. I can’t imagine what could be the reason for keeping him around – it’s not as if he is personable and easy to like, so that you feel sorry for him, maybe he just made a mistake, and want to give him another chance. In fact, he just looks and acts like an overconfident prick.

          I also don’t know what skilz he has, since he used to run a furniture chain before he was appointed Defense Minister and showed no particular aptitude for the latter job – much like Saakashvili appointing 20-something lovelies to ministerial posts because he hoped it might give him a chance to fuck them. His biggest purchases, the MISTRALs, turned out to be a political pissing contest and the resolution, while it left Russia in a pretty good position and made the State Department look like the meddling assrockets they are, came about no thanks to any input from him, since he was already in disgrace.

          • et Al says:

            All true Mark, but he seems to lead an unnaturally charmed life and I don’t see that as mere accident. I’ve no doubt the military hated him but I cannot really be surprised as any large organization hates ‘reform’, but his ideas for the Russian Army made sense. As for the Mistrals, buying in capability and then building on it is not exactly alien to Russia (Peter the Great, innit?) and I don’t see how Serdyukov can be blamed for the consequences of the West biting off more than it could chew in the Ukraine, suffering from indigestion and then throwing a tantrum that it doesn’t get to have a second go for free. Anyways, the Mistral’s story kind of worked out in Russia’s favor. Egypt’s in the bag as one string of Russia’s strategic return to the Med and Middle East – nothing to do with Serdyukov of course but…

            Not one or the other but a professional core combined with volunteers well kitted out, especially considering NATO’s expansion and general naughtiness. He may have gone too far and no doubt rubbed people up the wrong way, and I don’t want to give him unnecessary credit, but for some reason he is being kept around. Mere speculation on my behalf, but it is extremely odd that someone with his history has survived to return to government.

            • marknesop says:

              I’m afraid he can’t take credit for planning a transition to a volunteer force rather than a conscript military – that was part of Yeltsin’s 1992 decree creating the Russian Army, and a plan to move to a 50% volunteer force by 2000 was drafted by his first Defense Minister, Pavel Grachev. And senior military members typically do not overly resent a telling-off from a leader they respect, who speaks from a background of extensive familiarity with military history and modern defense priorities. Serdyukov has neither.

              But he certainly does keep turning up like a bad penny.

  34. Pingback: Kampen om det europeiske gassmarkedet – flytende naturgass eller rørledninger? – Midt i fleisen

  35. Moscow Exile says:

    Another monsoon forecast to hit Moscow today. It was lovely this morning — I rise very early midsummer, around 04:00 — but I can feel it brewing up now: going very warm and I feel a bad wind a-risin’:


    June 2017

    No bloody summer this year!

    • marknesop says:

      What a breathtaking photo- did you take it? Summer arrived in Victoria about a month late, judging by the flowers and vegetation, some of which bloomed far later than usual. Currently we are enjoying the hot weather we were accustomed to seeing weeks ago, and no doubt after a couple of weeks that will be a nuisance as well.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        No, it turned up in a blog here. It was taken from the 5-star Moscow “Four Seasons” hotel that faces onto Manezhnaya Square.

        A quick run down of the sites as seen from this de-luxe pile:

        Manezhnaya Square is named after the Moscow Manege, the long, low, green-roofed building, right centre, which is now an exhibition centre.

        The square used to be full of traffic with trams turning around on it on a big circuit track or passing across it. Tverskaya Sreet leads off the square bottom right and just out of the picture.

        To the left is the northern wall of the Moscow citadel or “Kremlin”. Immediately in front of the wall is Aleksandrovskiy Garden, which covers part of the Kremlin moat, which was filled in early in the 19th century.

        From the ornate, wrought iron garden gates can be a seen a queue which consists of visitors to Lenin’s tomb on Red Square, situated up the hill and past the corner Arsenal Tower.

        Behind the trees near that tower and inside the garden is the Eternal Flame to the Unknown Soldier.

        Further away and in front of the wall can be seen another, much smaller tower. In front of this tower and in the garden is a grotto, on top of which is an esplanade. It was on top of this esplanade that feminists had their photographs taken whilst displaying a banner,. The picture was composed so as to make it look as though the women had scaled the Kremlin wall and were actually dangling their banner from the other side of the Kremlin wall, from within the Kremlin. This picture was widely published in the West.

        Beneath the square is a 4-level shopping mall. The glass cupola bottom right allows daylight to shine into the atrium of the mall. The cupola is a clock: it revolves and on its surface are stained glass and metal representations of cities in the northern hemisphere of the globe with their times shown in relationship to Moscow time, for that is what the cupola represents, namely part of that hemisphere.

        The buildings with the columns situated to the right of the Manege are part of the original Moscow University founded by Lomonosov.

        In the distance can be seen the reconstructed cathedral of Christ the Redeemer and the typically soviet concrete block favoured by Soviet architects that is right centre was formerly the Lenin State Library of the USSR, now known as the Russian State Library.

        As you will all no doubt agree, a typically deprived, third-world cess-pit of a place.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      June 30, 2017, Moscow, Mordor

      The end is nigh!

      15 minutes later:

  36. Moscow Exile says:

    Почему Порошенко оказался под забором Белого дома
    25 Июня 2017

    Why did Poroshenko appear in front of the White House fence?

    Lies have always been the basis of Ukrainian politics. In one way or another, all the presidents of the Ukraine have lied, both in foreign and domestic politics. And the further did the process of нэзалэжностi [“independence” in Ukrainian, term used by Russian commentators to mock the Maidan “movement”: Майдан Незалежностиidea means in Ukrainian “Independence Square” — ME] go, then the more fundamental and total were the falsehoods of the ruling Ukrainian elite, under the layers of which lies it has gradually become buried. One lie gave birth to another, which, in turn, became the basis for a third, fifth, tenth, an “nth” … and then over time they hardened into semi-official lies, on top of which piles of fresh, sticky, foul-smelling lies have since been piling up.

    The Ukrainian elite has particularly succeeded in “hanging thick, long noodles” onto its citizens ears [Russian idiom: to fool someone, pulling someone’s leg, kidding them with untruths, making fools of them by having them believe your lies — ME]. In fact, in the Ukraine, the whole internal political process has turned into a continuous competition between oligarchic clans for the sophisticated deception of society. And in this matter they have climbed to unprecedented heights. In fact, Ukrainian society has been relegated to the state of a flock of sheep that amicably bleats in unison with television impulses and political slogans. For more than a quarter of a century now the “Pans” [formerly Polish masters, now the “top people”, the ruling class, the “powers that be” — ME] have been promising so many of its servants that if only a negligible part of that which they have been promised to them were realized, then the Kingdom of Heaven would have already come to the Ukraine long ago. But as folk wisdom says, “обіцянки – обманка, дурню радість”. [“False promises give joy to fools” — ME]

    But a lie is still a lie and has nothing to do with reality, with the truth. Therefore, the Ukrainian elite continues to yap, and Ukrainian citizens continue to believe in the hope of the impossible and unreal. In fact, they have no choice, because they can choose not between lies and truth, but between different types of lies. Well, the one who does not want to do this is declared an enemy of the Ukraine.

    In foreign policy, the ruling Ukrainian elite has never felt any shame about its behaviour. The fact is that the sphere of international relations is built on a very sophisticated intellectual game in which these rural retards will “take” all and sundry because of its degeneracy. And the ruling elite of the Ukraine, as a class, represents just such a collection of degenerates, whose rural, primitive tricks stick out in their foreign policy as does shit on a snow-white bed-sheet. They are clearly visible, absolutely understandable and cause an extreme degree of dislike amongst all who are forced to contemplate them. In this matter, this applies to “great friends” of the Ukraine. Americans and Europeans use Ukrainians in their own interests whilst keeping on their gloves and clutching their noses. They have dealings with them politically and economically but not out of any pleasure in doing so: they do it for purely mercantile purposes…

    By and large, the Ukraine Foreign Ministry is not concerned at the moment with the protection of national interests in the international arena, but with the conduct of PR actions that must create a persistent illusion amongst the Ukrainian population of Ukraine foreign policy “victory”. In fact, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry makes use of the president’s “Channel 5”, which is to provide a convincing picture of the “great achievements” in the diplomatic field of Pyotr Poroshenko; and the cabinet ministers, instead of carrying out reforms, create a picture of Vladimir Groisman’s “great achievements” in the spheres of the economy and finance.

    Hence the recent shameful visit of the President of the Ukraine to the United States, which in fact was not an important diplomatic event, but an extremely primitive and utterly unsuccessful attempt at a PR campaign.

    After the “pro-Ukrainian” Hillary Clinton unexpectedly lost to her “pro-Russian” opponent in the presidential elections in the US, Poroshenko set himself the task of proving to everyone that nothing had changed in US-Ukrainian relations, and that Donald Trump supports the political regime in Kiev just as before him it had been supported by Barack Obama.

    However, the problem is that, firstly, Trump knows perfectly well that Poroshenko was for a Clinton victory and took part in discrediting people from his closest circle, and secondly, with the advent of the new administration, the Ukraine no longer has been a foreign policy priority for the United States.

    The fact that the new president of the United States did not give a damn about the country’s campaign for the “dignity” of its citizens being allowed visa-free access to the EU became obvious after he first cut military support for the Ukraine, and then prohibited the country from getting off without paying for such support.

    The financial support from the United States has been drastically reduced. In March, the US administration promulgated a budget plan for 2018, which provides for a reduction in international aid to the Ukraine by 68.8%.

    In addition, with the advent of the new administration, the Americans have begun gradually to phase out their large-scale presence in the Ukraine itself. The main part of the representatives of the US special services have left the headquarters of the Ukraine security service, having moved in there immediately after the coup. There also began to leave the Ukraine US military that has been engaged over the last few years with the combat training of Ukraine armed forces units.

    A plan of action on how to go about undertaking “negotiations with Trump” having been worked out by Klimkin and his associates, a visit to Trump by the Ukrainian president was then prepared, only they had to pay not $400 thousand for the visit, but $600 thousand. For this sum of money, the organizing of the meeting between Poroshenko and Trump was taken over by the “Reform in the Ukraine Support Fund” and the American lobbying firm BGR, which was hired by Peter Alekseevich a year ago.

    That is why the news about Poroshenko’s visit to the US only appeared on the website of the White House whilst the aeroplane carrying the president of Ukraine was already flying over US territory, and why Poroshenko landed not in the government section of Washington airport, but at the military base of St. Andrews, near Washington, and without any formal ceremonies, red carpet and greetings. Poroshenko was met at the airport by only the Ukrainian ambassador. They even did not raise the Ukrainian flag.

    Thanks to the efforts of lobbyists, the Ukrainian president was taken to Trump’s office so that he could exchange with the head of the United States over a few minutes some meaningless phrases and be photographed with him. That is why the official transcript of the meeting is amusing because of its striking brevity, and the absence of the state Ukrainian flag during the “negotiations” is perplexing.

    Hence, the very strange “press conference” that Poroshenko held in the street in front of the White house fence and then in the park that is in front of the U.S. Congress, whilst in the background passers-by can be seen going about their business. The President of the Ukraine even had no lectern, which absence the organizers compensated for with a strange table from the foyer of the Ukrainian Embassy, which they had to carry with them all over Washington. Funny.

    Such a “working visit” to the United States and such a “press conference” could have been carried out by any citizen of Ukraine who was able to pay US lobbyists $600 thousand in order to shake hands with Trump before cameras and to be filmed in Washington against the background of administrative buildings – with the only difference being that to fly to the US with his proxies, he would have had to do it at his own expense, and not with money from Ukrainian taxpayers.

    So, basically, what are we left with?

    Shame? Yes. Such actions by the highest Ukrainian officials disgrace the country and its citizens throughout the world. But this shameful act, against the backdrop of all the other shameful acts of recent years, looks natural and justifiable and of great importance, though it is not of any importance at all.

    The main thing about all of this lies not in its shamefulness: the main thing is that the very fact of Poroshenko’s stupid efforts to show by means of a primitive deception that the US continues to support the Ukraine shows that this support is no longer available at the moment. The Kiev clique remains isolated. And where will this isolation lead to? We shall most likely soon find out at first hand.

    And in conclusion, this gem from a Yukie newspaper contributed by a dyed-in-the-wool Svidomite:

    IRINA OMELCHENKO28.03.2014 13:37
    Kievan Rus’ existed for 800 years and for 500 of those years KIEVAN RUS’ was a Christian country at a time when in a swampy area of the Moskva River there appeared a tribe of Mongol Turks. They were called Muscovites, which means “stinking swamp” or just “skunk”. This Mongol-Turkic tribe behaved aggressively towards everyone. They seized neighbouring land, took away property from the people living there. Then there came the princes of Moscow, who organized invasions of new land and of Kievan Rus’. The Ukrainians are a great nation, the descendants of the Aryans, sons and daughters of the sky. Russians were and are descendants of aggressive tribes of Mongol-Turks, who stole and appropriated the great Ukrainian history and religion. BUT GOD IS NOT IN STRENGTH BUT IN TRUTH. Now open up the great divine truth to the wild aggressive people of Russia about the Empire of Evil, which awaits the same fate as that of all aggressors: eternal shame and poverty.

    Oh why did those nice Nazis lose?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Typo:

      Майдан Незалежностиidea should be Майдан Незалежностиi

      Don’t know why those two Latin letters appeared there.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Typo again!

        Майдан Незалежностi

        It’s that bloody Yukie alphabet, see, that’s buggering me up with its occasional Latin letters.

        Russian used to be the same until 1917.

    • marknesop says:

      Descendants of the Aryans, sons and daughters of the sky. And they may now beseech it for help, since help is unlikely to come from anywhere else.

      The trouble with this kind of nutcase is that they never change their attitude – supposing they live in a battlefield, they are fiercely happy so long as nationalist leaders of whom they approve are in charge. If they live instead in a peaceful land in which all the necessities of life are plentiful and affordable, they chafe with frustration because the land has grown soft and weak and has forgotten its great militant ancestors. That type will never be happy with peace unless it is entirely on their terms, where Russia is a supplicant which minds its own business and stays out of Ukrainian affairs and the language of the land is 100% Ukrainian, where your bloodline carries no smudge of the Moskali tar-brush. The very values, in other words, that the west pretended to be at pains to stamp out in World War II.

      I’d like to say that bitter experience will teach them a bitter lesson, but it won’t. They are haters until their dying day, and if peace comes to Ukraine by some kind of reconciliation, they will be agitators against it for so long as they live. This, in fact, is a golden opportunity to record who they all are, while they are strutting and preaching in what they believe to be complete security. The west is demonstrably okay with keeping lists of ‘subversives’ – it did not demur at the SBU opening a Facebook page where citizens could inform on insufficiently-patriotic neighbours. Now is the time to be makin’ a list, and checkin’ it twice, so that when Ukraine eventually settles down, the naughty can all be expelled to Poland or the USA.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        22 June 1941:liberation from the Soviet terror.
        All power for the overthrow of Bolshevism!
        Help construct a new order in Europe!

        Don’t be crazy, be a smarty,
        Come and join the Nazi party!

    • yalensis says:

      Google etymology says nobody knows the origins of the placename for Moscow, which was pronounced something like “Moskuu” back in old Russian times. Probably a Finno-Ugric placename meaning “swampy” or “marshy”, because the old town was on the Moscow River.
      I googled what is Finnish for English “marsh” and it came up “marsh”. Same word – quel coincidence!
      I googled English “swamp” and it came up “suo” for Finnish.
      I don’t know any Finnish, but don’t they call themselves something like “suomi” – swamp people?? Heh heh!
      Swamp people are clearly not Aryans, who are people of the clear blue sky, just like Svidomites!
      Unlike those ghastly Turco-Tatars – ugh!

  37. et Al says:

    Antiwar.com: House Votes to Make ‘Space Corps’ the Sixth Branch of US Military
    http://news.antiwar.com/2017/06/29/house-votes-to-make-space-corps-the-sixth-branch-of-us-military/

    Space Branch of the Military Would Be Split Off From Air Force

    The US has an Army, a Navy, an Air Force, a Marine Corps, and a Coast Guard. The House Armed Services Committee today voted to create a sixth branch of the American military, dubbed the US Space Corps https://federalnewsradio.com/defense-news/2017/06/house-panel-votes-to-split-air-force-create-new-u-s-space-corps/ , which would be wholly responsible for fighting wars in space….
    ####

    Wooo! Buck Rogers! Even bigger WOOOO! Colonel Deering!

    I think I have to go and lie down….

    • marknesop says:

      Ummm….sure….why not? Let me guess – they will be headquartered in Latvia or Lithuania. I sometimes think Washington starts up a host of different ‘Commands’ just so it can have an excuse to build another base somewhere it would like to have a permanent military presence.

      • Jen says:

        If they were to be headquartered in Estonia, there will be no shortage of cute 180cm tall blonde girls armed with programming qualifications who can wear similar slick purple PVC jumpsuits and who can be employed as space corps cadets.

    • Jen says:

      Well as the Hollywood sci-fi movie cliche goes … in space, no-one can hear you scream.

      So if the US Space Corps went off to fight intergalactic wars and they all got swallowed up in a black hole before they even encountered any aliens to fight, that might be some relief.

  38. et Al says:

    Neiters: Putin receives former U.S. diplomat Kissinger in Kremlin
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-usa-kissinger-idUSKBN19K2QN

    Russian President Vladimir Putin received former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the Kremlin on Thursday, the Kremlin said in a statement.

    It did not elaborate on what the two men discussed, saying only that Kissinger was in Russia for the Primakov Readings, an annual forum of experts, diplomats and politicians…
    ####

    I’m always impressed how the Pork Pie News Networks fail to add ‘genocidal war criminal’ to Kissinger’s name, but I guess it depends on which side your bread is buttered.

    • Jen says:

      Did Chile, Cambodia and Timor l’Oeste manage to lodge their extradition requests for Kissinger with Moscow in time or is the relevant department in the Kremlin still trying to cope with the backlog of extradition requests from around the world for him?

  39. kirill says:

    Now where have I seen such hubris before, hmmm. That’s right, the Russian liberasts who deride the Russian people as bydlo. So the so-called liberals in the USA are a species of vermin similar to the liberasts. Given that most humans are not foaming at the mouth fanatics with some totalitarian agenda, this implies that US liberals are a minority just as they are in Russia. So the extolled US democracy and “free media” is actually hijacked by a lunatic fringe.

  40. Warren says:

    Published on 30 Jun 2017
    The Canadian Olympic Committee leads a programme to offer practical and emotional support for those retiring from sport.

    Al Jazeera’s Farrah Esmail reports from Toronto.

  41. et Al says:

    Alert5: SASC funds light CATOBAR carrier study
    http://alert5.com/2017/06/30/sasc-funds-light-catobar-carrier-study/

    U.S. Senators in the Senate Armed Services Committee has set aside $30 million in the FY18 National Defense Authorization Budget for the U.S. Navy to begin a study for a light aircraft carrier.

    U.S. Naval Institue says the new design is likely to be based on the existing America-class amphibious assault ship with two catapults for launching aircraft.
    ####

    I thought light carriers were for losers and wannabes? Is this evidence that there is someone in the US who realizes that they cannot still spend like there is no tomorrow? There has been recent suggestions that it is much more flexible and cost effective to have more small carriers mixed and matched for operations, easily scaled up or down rather than having a massively expensive carrier battle group swinging its balls…

  42. marknesop says:

    More clumsy comedy from the Exceptional Nation; America announces that it believes Syria has backed away from its diabolical plan to murder more women and children in another Assad-signature chemical attack – thanks, of course, to the fact that the United States of America has the Syrian airbase from which he planned to launch it under constant surveillance, and ample punishing forces on a hair-trigger alert. Have a care, Assad, you murderer!!!

    So now the absence of evidence that a chemical attack is in progress is proof that there was such a plan. In other news, Donald Trump has had to abandon his plan to sodomize the neighbours’ dog. Thanks to my having the pooch under constant surveillance.

    • yalensis says:

      Your surveillance must have broke down for a couple of minutes, because word has it, the Donald snuck in and fucked the pooch while you weren’t looking.
      It was all done very quickly, so don’t beat yourself up about it.

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      The blond moron has hit upon a solid tactic – issue warning, declare victory when nothing happens.

      If he wants to keep this up for the rest of the war, I don’t see a problem.

  43. Moscow Exile says:

    В тот день, когда был сбит «Боинг»
    Опубликовано: 29 Июня 2017 06:00

    On that day when the “Boeing” was shot down
    Published: 29 Jun 2017 06:00

    In a special operation on the destruction of Malaysian “Boeing-777” were involved Ukraine air force aircraft. An investigation by the newspaper “Top Secret”: To solve the mystery of the downing of Boeing-777 flight MH17. Part 3.

    On the day when the Boeing was shot down, combat aircraft of the Ukraine Air Force were involved in a special operation to destroy the Malaysian Boeing-777.

    Two months ago, the newspaper “Top Secret”, on the basis of “newly discovered circumstances”, began a search for the real culprits of the shooting down of the Malaysian Boeing-777. These new circumstances are copies of documents received from our “source N”, who, along with his colleagues carried out difficult and dangerous work on the “removal” of classified materials, on the Ukraine Security Service (SBU) and the Ukraine Defence Ministry and documenting the facts of their crimes….

    • marknesop says:

      More!! More!!!

      Here’s a site which tears it down a little more, in English. It includes this bombshell:

      “If it goes about a state-run special operation, it is clear that this was the Ukrainian administration. In our article, we pointed out a strange coincidence. On the eve of the tragedy, two top officials of the Ukrainian administration visited the air force unit in Chuguev: Yatsenyuk, who then served as the Prime Minister of Ukraine, and Parubiy. They also visited the tactical aviation brigade in Nikolayev. Strictly speaking, this is a coincidence, but we have published a photo, on which Yatsenyuk walks near SU-25 flight 08. It is the fighter jet, which Captain Voloshin could pilot, according to the flight map.”

      Speaking of the MH17 investigation, I thought they had already released their report and were satisfied with Kiev’s version – that Russia spirited a single launcher into Ukraine, shot down the airliner, and then fled for home. Why are they still calling for witnesses? Is it possible doubt persists?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Here’s the “Top Secret” article (above) fully translated into English There’s a link to this translation in the “Top Secret” article in Russian that I posted above:

        On the day when the Boeing was shot down

        “Two months ago the newspaper “Sovershenno sekretno” began to search for real guilty persons of the shooting of the Malaysian Boeing on the basis of “newly discovered circumstances”. The newly discovered circumstances were copies of the documents received from our “Source N.” who carried out a complex and dangerous work together with his colleagues to “take out” the secret materials of the SBU and MO of Ukraine and to document the facts of their crimes. In the article «To destroy the facts of conducting a special operation». Operation of the SBU “Clearing”. Part 1.

        Which was prepared jointly with the Agency for Federal Investigations FLB.ru we published the copies of four secret documents of the Security Service of Ukraine which demonstrated that immediately after the Boeing 777 wreckage the SBU conducted a state special operation to destroy the evidence of the mass murder in the sky over the Donbass on July 17, 2014. Then we published a certificate of the Main Processing Center for Special Information of the State Border Guard of Ukraine which indicated that “Crossing of the Ukrainian state border through Buk M-1 from Russian Federation is not captured.” The operation “The Buk Legend”. Part 2.

        What kind of facts did the employees of the “secret police” of Kiev want to clear out? In one of the top secret documents signed by the head of the Office of Inspector General of the SBU Anatoly Kalyuzhnyak it was quite definitely said: “As part of a special operation, to destroy all materials that indicate the presence of the combat aircraft and carrying out combat missions in the specified area on July 17, 2014; To carry out preventive measures and rotation of servicemen of the air squadron who made flights in the specified area. In particular, the servicemen of the Aviation Brigade No. A-4104, Chuguev city, Kharkov region.”

        So, the Chuguev city, m/u А4104, the aircraft carried out combat missions in the area of Boeing wreckage on July 17, 2014. The traces guide to the airfield “Chuguev”, the 203th training aviation brigade is based here which is a part of the Kharkov University of the Air Force of Ukraine named after Ivan Kozhedub. In 2014, Chuguev training was centrally subordinated to the “northern” – the Command of the Air Force of Ukraine (Vinnitsa).

        “Today the aviation of ATO forces did not go up in the air at all – neither helicopters nor aircraft nor fighters.” Do you remember? This statement was made by the head of the ATO informing group Vladislav Seleznyev and was spread by the agency Interfax-Ukraine on the day of the tragedy on July 17 at about eight in the evening. At our disposal there are several documents (a flight map, two orders, audio recordings with servicemen of the m/u A4104) which refute this primitive lie that became the official position of the Kiev authorities. We do not consider these documents as impeccable but we know from words of our “Source N.” that these photocopies “were definitely borrowed for a while and copied directly at the m/u staff and conversations with the servicemen were recorded as a result of an undercover operational approach to them”. In any case, if the world wants to find out the truth about the death of 298 passengers and aircrew members of the Boeing in the sky over the Donbass, these documents and evidence should be studied by an objective investigation. Or is everyone satisfied by the Ukrainian-Netherlands fairy tale with American tunes about a “Russian Buk?” ….

        Go to the link for further details, copies of letters, recordings of conversations, maps, flight plans etc.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          The alleged secret flight plan of Ukraine Air force pilot Voloshin

          • marknesop says:

            It is a continuing mystery to me why the bad guys always document their evil plans so that they can be caught later in true Hollywood fashion. You would think such a mission, if it ever took place, would be planned between the absolute minimum of people – say, for the sake of argument, Yatsenyuk and Voloshyn – and no documentary record of its existence would ever be made. The normal military chain of command was suborned and a self-appointed government ruled; they could do anything they wanted, there was no requirement for the squadron commander to be in on it if he was not an active part. And the plan is not complicated. Spy out the commercial air routes, select a sacrificial lamb in advance, and go up and blast it. Why the reams of official documents, even after the alleged SBU campaign to destroy everything?

            I have always believed Ukraine did it, and whether it was a deliberate and planned misattribution or an accident upon which Kiev decided quickly to capitalize is up for debate. It’s also possible somebody collected evidence before the SBU ordered it all collected and destroyed. I’d love it to be proven that Kiev did it, and that it was a government plan at the highest levels. But I won’t get too excited yet.

            Still, most would have to agree that the amount of circumstantial evidence piling up against the Dutch report makes it look embarrassingly political.

            • Jen says:

              So the attack on the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet was planned? That gives rise to another question: why that jet, and not the Singapore Airlines jets flying from Paris and Copenhagen over Ukraine to Singapore, or the jet flying from New Delhi to Birmingham, all of which flew within 30 minutes of MH17’s flight over Ukraine? What was so significant about MH17 or Malaysia Airlines to the Ukrainians?

              One conspiracy theory attached to MH17 is that there were HIV – AIDS researchers on board that jet en route to a conference in Melbourne who might have been targeted. The other conspiracy theory is that Malaysia was being punished for hosting war crimes tribunals that condemned George W Bush, his government, Tony Blair and the Israeli government for committing war crimes.

              • marknesop says:

                I doubt Ukraine bore them any grudge for that, and the notion that a foreign government was in on it as well is just a bridge too far. It’s certainly possible it was just random, and it remains possible that it was an accident (and that all this documentary evidence is faked), and it actually was an SA-11 missile from the ground, but accidentally fired by Ukraine, which was quickly capitalized upon by Kiev.

                All the realities about the way the system operates argue against an airliner being shot down by accident, though. With a full system including the surveillance radar, you would have the signal from its IFF transponder telling you it was civil aviation, as well as the distinct airliner flight profile, traveling in a known airlane. Nobody is a threat to ground forces at more than 30 kft and flying at more than 400 knots. Even if the Ukrainians were just fucking around and tracking civil aviation targets for practice (which is pretty routine as long as the system is not armed and ready to fire), they would have to know they were tracking civil air, and more modern systems which use link tracks will not let you fire on a friendly (so designated by its symbology). You would have to access the system and manually change the symbol, and even then you would only have until the next time the system polled its IFF transponder, at which time the symbol would change back to friendly.

      • Jen says:

        Calling for witnesses sounds like an afterthought on the Dutch Safety Board’s part. You would have thought they would be calling for witnesses when they first started their investigations back in 2015. There might also be panic on the DSB’s part too if Pravda.ru’s investigation and its access to secret Ukrainian intelligence papers becomes more widely known outside Russia and Ukraine. I believe there have been some Dutch journalists who have doggedly pursued their own lines of inquiry into the MH17 shootdown and the more they find out, the more skeptical they become of the DSB reports, and those journalists could very well be able to access the Global Reseearch website and see the Pravda.ru article for themselves.

        • davidt says:

          Or perhaps some individual(s) in the JIT “investigative” team remain skeptical about the teams “findings” and have been bought off with this latest appeal for witnesses.

          • marknesop says:

            That’s possible, too, but the sense I got from it is that the families’ appeals have resulted in another canvass for witnesses in hopes that a guilty party can be nailed down. I think the families feel, as I do, that the more the ‘Russia did it’ narrative continues to run into problems, the more the stage is being set for a “I guess we’ll never know” scenario, as a fallback position to protect Ukraine.

        • Jen says:

          Just found some news over at NLTimes.nl that may or may not explain why now the call for witnesses has become paramount and not before: a number of Dutch families who lost loved ones are now considering joining the lawsuit launched by Berlin aviation lawyer Elmar Giemulla, against Ukraine for not closing its airspace to civilian flights, currently going through the European Court of Human Rights. The news is fairly recent (May 2017) and its timing suggests a light-bulb has just gone on in the collective DSB head that the official narrative needs proper firsthand backing.

          http://nltimes.nl/2017/05/11/mh17-relatives-want-sue-ukraine-closing-airspace

          • marknesop says:

            Closing, sadly, with what has by now become a mandatory exercise in narrative reinforcement.

            Flight MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile system over Eastern Ukraine on July 17th, 2014. All 298 people on board were killed. The Joint Investigation Team concluded that the missile was fired from a field controlled by pro-Russian separatists, and managed to track the missile system being transported from Russia to the field and back.

            No matter how many times this is debunked, Eliot Higgins still reaps the wages of ignorance, as official narratives continue to support his conclusions. Once again, the only excruciatingly narrow set of circumstances which will get Ukraine off the hook is this silly story, and the Dutch have signed on to buy it. Their heads are made of the same material as their traditional shoes.

            The Dutch investigative team did not ‘manage to track the missile system being transported from Russia to the field and back’. That story was floated to them by Bellingcat, and they bought it because he is an international weapons expert who probably could not load a shotgun without blowing his toes off.

  44. Northern Star says:

    @Mark & Jen:

    May et al. (supra) on the following and similar protestatioms that are simply not…fading…..away:

    ” Jesus H C…Madre de Dios….Will they PLEASE shut the F up” !!!!!

    “More than two weeks since the June 14 Grenfell Tower inferno, authorities continue to conceal the real number of victims and full scope of this social crime. The police, who raised the official death toll to 80 on Wednesday, now say that they will not have an accurate count until
    *** sometime next year***. This callous treatment underscores the contempt of the ruling class, which views the Grenfell residents as little more than “collateral damage” in a class war against the working class and poor.”

    “Under the modern capitalist system of the 21st century, every aspect of life, including water, has been “monetized” and made the vehicle for financial speculation. It has become a matter of urgent public health and safety to expropriate the ill-gotten gains of these social murderers and stop the squandering of society’s resources on their mansions, private jets and tropical islands.”
    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/06/30/pers-j30.html
    BTW…If a year is needed to complete the necessary forensics-building is mass murder site- on the structure then it will remain standing hence subject to rain and wind spewing whatever carcinogenic pollutants it contains into the surrounding neighborhood. Is the polyethylene used in the cladding carcinogenic upon its combustion??

    • Cortes says:

      The recent indictment of six individuals for the Hillsborough football disaster of 1989 in which 96 people died suggests to me that the Thatcherite tide is ebbing very quickly. Grenfell Tower outrage is only just beginning and ridiculous remarks being made by the Inquiry chairman will serve to stoke it. In my opinion. Impatience with the enumeration of the death toll is growing (again in my opinion).

  45. Warren says:

    Published on 29 Jun 2017
    People in the UK feel “frustrated and squeezed” because their pay has flatlined for a decade, the Bank of England’s chief economist has said.

    Andy Haldane told BBC Newsnight that businesses had not invested enough to give the productivity improvements necessary to push up pay.

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

  46. marknesop says:

    How long you wanna let this go on? Huh? ‘Cause I can keep this up for as long as you can.

    Russia extends countersanctions on the EU for another year, until December 2018. Growth for the EU for 2018 is forecast at around 1.4-1.5%. We’ll see about that. It is forecast by the same sources to be 1.5-1.7% for Russia, so we’ll see about that, too. I sure hope Russia can survive another year without French cheese for the kreakly. I have to say, though, that extending economic sanctions against another country when your own prognosis says their economy will do better than yours sounds fairly stupid.

  47. marknesop says:

    As any fule kno, the way to get a good grade in higher education is to…buy it.

    Or so it seems in Lviv, ground zero for Ukrainian nationalism, where a recent survey and study found that 48% of undergraduates had paid bribes to get a better grade or to falsify attendance, while nearly all (the data sample was pretty small, 600) admitted to cheating on exams or tests.

    Keep working on those European standards, Galicia – you’re nearly there.

    • marknesop says:

      There you go – he’s received the ultimate shock; time to go home to the Pearl of Empire and spend his dotage rambling the moors in his wellies, or watching the sea thrash the Cornish coast, or something. Time to leave Russia, in any event; he’s been studying it for 45 years, and this is the best he can come up with, while he plainly does not understand it. Why does he spend his time there, if everyone is a thug and a hate leader – why, in the name of God, does he spend time in a country where people live who have never heard of George Orwell?

      By the bye, if you enter the UK on a visitor’s visa and then work as a journalist, you might be looking at a 10-year ban on a subsequent re-application, you parrot-faced wazzock.

      “The use of fraudulent or forged documents should be—there’s absolutely zero tolerance from us on this. If we find people submitting documents that are forged or fraudulent or they haven’t disclosed full facts to us, we will not only refuse their application, they then risk a ban of 10 years from the UK if they make a subsequent application,” Mackie said.

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        If he didn’t pad it out with invective, the article would be one or two paragraphs at most.

        The undeleted comments are the real hoot – the average guardian reader appears to be a human being who failed the Turing test.

        • Cortes says:

          I wonder how the comment by “timiengels” of a day ago evaded the cull:

          “Quite interesting…a piece encouraging to hate Russia and Putin while droning on about ‘Hate Week’ in Orwell.”

  48. Moscow Exile says:


    What a patronising, smirking piece of shit that spokesthing for the US government is!

    • marknesop says:

      She’s just what they’re looking for. They keep changing the spokesholes for the State Department pressers because they’re looking for a way to defend the indefensible. If the rest of the people in the room actually are reporters who eat, sleep and breathe news, they know very well that there is – at the very least – doubt that Assad actually carried out any chemical attacks on ‘his own people’. They know ‘rebel’ groups in Syria do possess chemical weapons, and there is considerable evidence of their staging events to pluck western heartstrings and initiate a western intervention to overthrow Assad. So when she just talks over him and repeats government talking points, they all know what she’s doing. They all also know that the United States government continually claims to have irrefutable evidence of this thing and that war crime which it will not disclose. None of it, except for the shite they get from social media. You’re just supposed to take their word for it.

      That would be fine if they had never been caught in a lie. Or even not very often. As the situation is, well…

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Compare the performance of the US blonde spokeswoman with that of the Russian blonde spokeswoman.

      Zakharova [09:57]:

      There are experts and they should be working. If we make conclusions that are based on politically charged motivations, then this is what we are witnessing now and shall continue to do so“.

      The US journalist, in response to Zakharova’s detailed criticism of the US policy of shooting first and not asking questions, namely of not using appointed specialists on the ground to check claims of who was/is responsible for chemical weapons attacks but instead just acting on what Washington thinks was/is the “reality” of the situation (and remember, there are some in Washington who claim that “reality” is their creation!), says that it is too dangerous for appointed investigators into chemical weapon usage to enter terrorist occupied zones in order to check on the facts [10:08]:

      But experts can’t [get there] …”

      Zakharova responds [10:15]:

      But why can’t they get there? Why exactly can’t they get there? Is it Damascus saying that they can’t go in? …

      The US journalist states that Idlib is a “different situation” [10:27]

      Zakharova [10:35], who now appears to be somewhat amused by the journalist’s line of thought:

      So what, then, is the logic? If there is no security there, then we can make binding resolutions that are based on absolutely nothing at all? Is that correct? But that’s … well, that’s … well that’s some kind of madness!

      The journalist then repeats that it still is very difficult, very dangerous, to enter the combat zones.

      Zakharova replies [10:55]”

      So let’s go to plan B — Colin Powell with a test-tube! Do I understand you correctly? If it’s too dangerous to go there, then let’s make decisions based on absolutely falsified grounds. But from our point of view, they have no basis upon which an objective opinion can be decided“.

      Zakhorova then goes on to rip the US journalist’s contentions apart in a manner vastly different to the way in which the US spokeswoman, Nauert, dealt with the journalist in Washington, who posed questions that she openly sneered and smirked at, as can be seen at the beginning of the clip.

      Nauert, by the way, who is a former member of the Council on Foreign Relations, is married to Scott Norby, an investment banker who works at Goldman Sachs.

      She is also employed by Fox News, FFS!

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