The Credibility Gap That Ought To Be

Uncle Volodya says, “The habit of disguising ideology as expertise has created a deficit of legitimacy.”

Leap aboard the Lyttenburgh Omnibus; what follows is a looonnngg guest post by Lyttenburgh, one which is going to be like the blind men who are trying to describe an elephant. “An elephant is like a rope”, says the one who is holding the trunk. “An elephant is more like a tree” says the one standing at the foreleg. “An elephant is warm and squishy”, says the one standing….well, never mind that for now. I suspect it is going to be about different things for different readers, but I believe I can promise it will make you think. We are all aware that English is Lyttenburgh’s second language, and he has a unique – though accomplished – delivery which I have not edited (much) so as to preserve its colourful flavour. Without further ado, light it up, Lyttenburgh!

On the current problems of Shamanism of the Global North.

“Let’s decide already,”  the PhD began seriously,  “what we’re talking about.

Okay. The second question: how do you personally feel about the problem of shamanism in certain areas of the North?

The PhDs laughed. Gleb Kapustin also smiled. And patiently waited for the PhDs to finish laughing.

“No, you can, of course, pretend that there is no such problem. I’m happy to laugh with you, too… ” Gleb smiled generously again. Especially he smiled at the PhDs wife, also a PhD, a PhDess, so to speak.  “But from that, the problem as such will not cease to exist. Right?”

” Are you serious about all of this?”  asked Valya.

“With your permission, ”  Gleb Kapustin rose and bowed slightly to the PhDess. She blushed.  “The question, of course, is not a global one, but, from our point of view, it would be interesting to know.”

“But which question? ” exclaimed the PhD.

“Your attitude to the problem of shamanism. ” Valya again involuntarily laughed. But she quickly stopped and said to Gleb, “Excuse me, please.”

“It’s nothing”, said Gleb. ” I understand that maybe I did not ask a question within your specialty…”

“There is no such problem!”  the PhD again rushed with a categorical answer. That was his mistake. He should’ve known better. Now Gleb laughed. And said:

“Well, that solves it!”

The local folks looked at the PhD.

“Good riddance”,  Gleb said. “There is no problem, but these …” Gleb showed something intricate with his hands,  “they dance, they beat their tambourines… Yes?” But if you wish… ” Gleb repeated ” If-You-Wish they do not exist. Right?”

Vasiliy Shukshin

Paging through old blogposts of the fallen Russia-watcher, I’ve been always thinking about Russia and the fates (c). “How come?” and “Why?” are the questions I most often ask myself – facepalming all the way.

For my more than 6 years of Russia-Watching (as, if you will, an “insider” from Russia’s side) I saw a… process… so to speak… of this field both changing and staying the same. i.e. I saw a general trend of it getting worse and worse. No, seriously – the book of Ecclesiastes makes more fun reading, and leaves a much more positive lasting impression afterwards, than any attempt to delve deep into the Wonderland, which is the collective world of those who, correctly or not, are considered to be gurus of Russia Watching.

If you’d like a (probably completely inaccurate, but very colorful) comparison, then the modern and much lauded Global Village of the highly opinionated people is a village indeed. They have at their fingertips the highest amount of data ever accessible to humanity and who either don’t access it at all, or access it without thinking, replacing with this raw, undiluted knowledge without the understanding.

But don’t worry – the globalized world of all-knowing know-nothings is not really a Village! It’s a Cave. Populated by the primitive cavemen. Yup.

Primitive early humans had their own primitive, early worldview. One of the many things they did believe in was the Magic. Before going out and try to hunt a savage beast that could easily defeat and devour one of them, they took all possible precautions. Besides arming themselves with spears they will surely go and visit their local Guru, Shaman, a Wise Person, reputedly all-knowing about the unsafe world beyond and above. Here in Guru’s personal Cave (who, despite not engaging oneself in the daily chores of the Tribe, was always well-fed and taken care of no matter what) they underwent the Ritual, which was, they were assured, to make them successful in their hunt and helping them slay the Beast. After working themselves up into rage, the hunters will then participate in the piece de resistance of the ritual – they will come to one particular wall in the Shaman’s cave where the dreaded Beast is pictured and start hurling their spears at it, imaging that this flat surface with some pigment on it is something more, that it IS the Beast itself, and that they with their sticks do magic – that they are harming the Beast even without engaging it.

Our continuing existence today demonstrates that the Hunters of yore were, mostly, successful in their beast-slaying food-procuring expeditions. The same cannot be said about modern Us. It’s because of the progress, and the urgent need for one. Primitive Hunters were not content to stay Primitive – they had all the incentives to see their “Spears”, to be something more than Pointy Sticks, they fought the Beast, survived the encounters, gained invaluable experience and passed it on to other hunters. Moreover, they took a logical jump from “engaging your enemy from afar” on the example of spear-throwing sessions during the Ur-example of the future “5 Minutes of Hate” at the cave painting of the Beast, and they DID invent something to make it a reality. Because more often than not Shaman’s magic sucked. Still, the sly wily bugger got his share of the kill and was taken care of.

Nowadays, wherever you cast your gaze you find instead our modern-age Cavemen engaged in fighting their Beast of choice in its harmless, painting-on-the-wall incarnation, and calling that process a real fight – while abstaining from the real, physical, up close thing completely. This arrangement is to the mutual enjoyment of both the highly opinionated Hunters/Warriors for such and such cause, who simply MUST have their very valuable opinion (and we are told that ALL opinions are valuable, even the wrong ones, and that trying to suppress the factually incorrect opinions is a despicable Censorship punishable with the Civilian Death) while avoiding making any effort over themselves and to the modern day. And Wise People/Gurus can still live in comfort while basically doing nothing, compared to their less wily and sly Cavemen.

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There shall not be found among you any one that makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that uses divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.”

– Deuteronomy 18:10-11

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Magic(k) operates on one basic principle – it works with the Symbol (image, representation, effigy, etc.) of the Target with the aim to influence it – like throwing Pointy Sticks at the painted Beast. Or the Symbol of an Action is enacted, to bring forward said action in reality – like beating in the drums, calling forth the rain. i.e., if the event “A” is followed by the event “B”, then in order to cause the event “B” you must symbolically recreate the event “A”.

These truly venerable principles are alive and well to this day. Symbolic dumping of “Russian” (actually – Latvian) vodka by the proponents of the Universal and LGBTIQ+ rights serves the ritual denunciation of the “widely condemned” ™ Russian law about “gay propaganda”. Changing your social media userpic to #JeSuis[something currently trending] serves to show solidarity and (magic(k)al) reversion of the aftermath of this or that tragedy. Ritualistic demolition of yet another statue to Lenin in now Free and Independent Ukraine ™ serves as the Symbolical (i.e. – magic(k)al!) act of severing all ties with the past, while summoning the Bright European Future. Also, the now toppled bronze Ilyich could always be sold to the scrapyard dealers .

It might all look funny, clumsy or even sickly adorable – on the outside. Unfortunately, the laws of the magic(k) are implacable and are not the stuff of the jokes. In the end, the most powerful medium and symbol to conduct it is the Blood. Seeing that beating the drums failed to summon the rain, Shamans and Gurus of the world (and blindingly trusting them ordinary population) won’t take the cue that, you know folks – magic doesn’t work, so you better start working hard if you want to survive. No – they will resort to the plan “B”, where “B” stands for “Blood”. They always do. When all the whining and highly publicized coverage by the Free and Independent Media of this or that “peaceful protest” fail to result in the desired magic(k)al effect – a Sacred Victim is bound to be sacrificed. If your country 3 years after the glorious Peremoga of the Revolution of Dignity looks worse than under the Zlochinna Tyranny – you find the scapegoats, lots of them, and sic the crowd (and the TerrBats of the NatzGuard) on them. And when you lose elections to a Deplorable – use your magic(k) to start a Witch Hunt.

Nowhere is this Shamanistic, magical approach more apparent than in the sphere of Russia-Watching, Russian analysis and, the so-called “Putinology” (a personified “Kremlinology” v. 2.0.). The sad thing is – people, so-called professionals, “respected scholars” with a lengthy shop-list of awards and recognitions, published in all handshakable mainstream Free and Independent Western Media ™ – virtually all of them SUCK. And when they suck – it blows. Nevertheless, the wide desperate and ignorant cavemen masses of the so-called “thinking” people keep coming to them, not hindered by the fact that the faces of their Holy Gurus are always smeared by crap they eat regularly.

One of such lauded, respectable and nearly worshipped by both the ignorant masses and the political class of the Western establishment (which is also none the wiser about Russia than the people they rule over) is Mark Galeotti,  owner and proprietor of the “In Moscow’s Shadows” blog full of self-aggrandizement and Russophobia du jour.

Actually, it doesn’t matter who in particular we gonna discuss as the example of the present day horrifically degraded level of the Russia-Watching professional (read: paid) or not. They’re all more or less the same. Modern Gurus fulfill several important functions to their easily panic-stricken passive-aggressive and tad bit butthurt flock. First of all, there is a task of Explaining the World. It’s done in the typical Shamanistic way, i.e. with as little scientific support as possible, while committing an absolute maximum of false cause and effect equivalences. Why the rain pours and the lightning flashes in the sky? Why, because the Sky Spirits are unhappy with us! Is it true that Putin is trying to re-create Russian Empire/USSR? Why, of course – otherwise why would he order the return of the old Soviet anthem and embrace the pre-Revolutionary paraphernalia? This type of “analysis”.

This magical worldview operates on providing the Masses with 2 essential thing. First – the Poison. People are told that the world is ultimately Unknowable by them (emphasis here – on “them”). This serves, primarily, as a venue to scare these poor “them” (because, what’s bigger than the fear of Unknown?), while, simultaneously putting them at a resigned ease of a wounded animal, who found itself sucked into the swamp. People in the West don’t really know a thing beyond the obvious stereotypes about Russia – now you ensure that it stays the same, by claiming that any knowledge they access pertaining to the real picture of Russia and which is not vetted and approved by the Shamans is a false one. Thus, not only the minds of the people are poisoned – entire wellsprings of knowledge are poisoned as well, along with the desire to independently go forth and get the world around you known.

Pre-existing fears are worked with, i.e. they are pandered to and exaggerated. Everyone now in the West knows about “Russian Aggression in the Baltics” ™. It doesn’t matter that any given American can hardly point out where Estonia is, or who knows a thing or two about Lithuanian medieval history, but your average member of the Flock knows like a Gospel (now fallen out of use, ‘cause, you have to actually read it) that The Russians shall not have Constantinople Vlad Putin must be stopped from invading Europe. The best way to conduct that is to be super aggressive towards Russia. Pathetic dangerous weaklings “understand only the language of  force” (c) and “the negotiation from the position of strength” (c) are the must. The West is bound to Win! After all, “We’ve fought the Bear before”!

See? Our Shamans prove themselves the Medicine Men! After delivering poison, they are right here peddling their Cure, while ensuring that they will remain the monopolists on the market and that no one will denounce their snake-oil wonder drug as a fraud. In this, they are no different from drug pushers indeed – they get the people “hooked” on their expensive poison, and then use the same poison to “cure” them from their developed craving addiction… for a time.

They are a class of  parasites (both in the biological and the Ancient Roman sense). And they are here to stay and feed.

________________________________________________________________I.47. If a man or a woman practice sorcery, and they be caught with it in their hands, they shall prosecute them, they shall convict them. The practicer of magic they shall put to death.

– Assyrian Law, c. 1075 BC.

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Magic(k) is awe-inspiring to the people ignorant of its inner workings. When your computer suffers some trouble, glitch or problem – as they often do – you, for the most part, go to techno-shamans of the Technical Service, who, by means arcane and profane (the last thing is obligatory) try to cajole the Machine Spirit to perform the task properly. Awed by their shiny instruments, mysterious slang and ease with which they make the impossible (for us, mere mortals) become a reality, an adoration replaces all other thoughts in the brain. So we are willing to follow their advice, to do as they say in fear of, accidentally, incurring the displeasure of the Machine Spirit again, and don’t try to do anything ourselves.

At the same time we are willing to pay any price they charge, to acquire any bell and whistle they claim would be working as a magic(k) talisman and ward for our temperamental Machine Spirit, and, most of all, we are left beholden to them. After all – you’ve just witnessed a work of magic(k), something impossible (for you) made possible (by them). How can you question this authority?

The tragic fact of human life is that we can’t know everything. None of us has the time, or inclination, or the capacity to become an all rounded specialist in all possible fields. So we will have to delegate our trust to often complete strangers, who are specialists in their respected field and that other people will trust us in return, when they will be in need of our skills and knowledge. Ideally, such a system is easy to maintain. If you do deliver a net positive, satisfactory or even above the average result as a specialist there is a good chance that the people around you will keep regarding you as the worthy depository of their trust. If you repeatedly fail to do that due to any combination of factors, the trust in you will disappear sooner than the unlucky caveman hunter’s body parts into a bestial maw.

But we don’t live in the ideal world – and yet strive to perfect the world currently existing, as to make it more resembling said ideal. Rightfully not trusting human nature, we have Rules and Regulations since time immemorial. Amazingly straightforward Assyrian laws punished the architect of a collapsed house with death, and the doctor, whose patient dies due to his actions, should also have his life taken. Thus it’s been ensured that even if the people themselves would be incapable of punishing the one whom they trusted, there will be some external force (e.g. the state) that will do so.

None of these seems to work with the post-modern magic(k) of the Gurus and the Shamans of the Global North. They suffer no consequences for misplaced trust, for either making mistakes or lying outright repeatedly to the very people, who held them, previously, to be the Voices of God(s). They always have an appropriate explanation! What, your horoscope predicted a good fortune and success in all endeavors in the coming week but the opposite happened? Why, the Venus was in Mercury, d’uh! Russia failed to act in accordance with your prediction? Oh, you know – those Russians! Sounds lame? Because it is. It is lame. But no one is calling their bluff – the Flock lacks both the knowledge and the will to exercise this knowledge in order to get their Gurus in line. And, besides – the Shamans are on your side, buddy! Arguing against them is like, siding with the Beast – the dark, always hungry ravenous Beast that’s simultaneously everywhere in the surrounding Darkness beyond the cozy Cave – and nowhere to be found.

By means foul and fair the so-called Russia-Watching experts acquired their own “street-cred” years ago – and now they just live off it, like the rentiers. Maybe there was genuinely a time when they were spry and active, and did try to make an effort over themselves while writing articles, conducting the research or pontificating on this or that issue. Say, when the field of Russian studies and Russia watching became a barren desert following the collapse of the USSR in 1991, only to become a hunting ground for a few crazies with outdated or just simply too wrong to sustain beliefs, they established their respectability just by stating things less crazy and more grounded in reality. When everyone and their dog were barking, that “Russia is dying out fast” (c) or “The territorial collapse of Russia will happen any moment now” (c), they cited hard data showing the amazingly persistent (and still alive and kicking among the Flock) myth about the “Dying Bear” to be a matter of fiction. As for the “Crussionality” of Russia, they had to be more circumspect – after all, denying it outright would be akin to saying that the Beast will always threaten the Flock. So, if these Shamans had the “Hawk” as their Totem, they just postponed the “inevitable” (while not contradicting it), while their colleagues following the “Dove” spirit claimed that the Beast, while still sub-human animal with no positive qualities at all, is too old and frail now and of no danger to the Flock.

With their credentials established, trust gained and then steady flow of income assured, the Gurus became lazy and opinionated. They no longer conducted the actual research or used their brainpower for the lowly matter of real analysis. No, they found out that they can still maintain their life-style, all perks and benefits plus the love and adulation of the not so Enlightened Masses, simply by conducting the most primitive of the rituals. Instead of Research and Facts, they now peddled as the Real Thing their own Opinion. Their opinion was so wrapped in thunder and bluster of the ritualistic magic(k), that the Flock (already not the ones to question their trusted objects of worship) was incapable of distinguishing something that might not be true with the truth itself.

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“…You, who talk of superstitions, have you realized that this house is a house of spells? Don’t you know it is chock full of charms and magic rites, only they are all done backwards, as the witches said the Lord’s Prayer? Can you imagine how a witch would feel if two words of the prayer came right by accident? Crundle saw that this clown from the country was reversing all the spells of his own black art. If salt was once thrown over the shoulder, all the great work might yet be undone…”

– Gilbert K. Chesterton, The House of the Peacock

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To showcase how the supposedly “professional” (read: paid) analysis of Russia, its past, present and future, have become a shallow exercise of empty formulas and chants of no substance, I’ve chosen the recent activity of the Big Name in the World of Russia Watching – Mark Galeotti. My hope is that my attempt will show all those who are willing to see, that this one Guru (and many, many like him) is not only “naked” like a pretentious king from Andersen’s fairy tale, but also covered in some icky and non-hygienic substance of repugnant manner.

With the power granted to me by Time itself, I will dissect and analyze some of the “analytical pieces” and predictions made by the esteemed (by some) Mr. Galeotti in the November 2015 – March 2016 period, plus some earlier predictions made about 2016 in general, and compare it with the reality at hand – nearly a year after these “prophecies” were made.

Mr. Galeotti is not a shy one. He rushes head-first into the ugly business of making predictions about Russia’s future, knowing full well he won’t suffer the consequences. This “Three Russias” fantasy by Galeotti reads like a “program statement” of what he wants to be true and in accordance to which he conducts his further analytical activity – ignoring the facts and changing circumstances when needed. The following theses were made by Galeotti, the all-knowing Guru of How Russia works:

A) Russia is facing increased dissatisfaction of the general population with the “Regime”, as it is exemplified with the “increased” labor “unrest” (gee, if he calls the heavy trucks dalnoboishiki drivers protest an “unrest”, then how’d we call a riot in Ferguson and all the fracas past Trump’s election?).

B) The three causes of the “failing standards of life” of Russians are the fall of the oil prices, the international sanctions and “official corruption”. We are not told how, why and to what degree.

C) On Duma Elections of 2016: “[I]t will crucial to the government to ensure a high turnout and strong support for its chosen candidates”. Why? We are not told why. We are kinda bludgeoned to assume that low (as in – European and American low) turnout in elections would be something bad for the “Regime”. We are also told that while not an outright revolt (as some Westerners did hope back in early 2016!), the combination of “active anger from the working class (increasingly Putin’s main support base)” and the krealkian bitching over (naturally!) “blatant rigging of the elections” could “prove a serious embarrassment… – and a major challenge” for Putin. He also predicted that “the more vocal and effective Kremlin critics [will be] systematically excluded, vilified and pressurised”.

D) Finally – the main part. The pulsating core of Galeotti’s Credo, on which he bases all his analysis – an attempt of strawmanning and an illusion of choice. It’s a staple of Russia watching. A must-have. In reality, it’s nothing more or better than a juvenile faux “prison folklore” attempt to troll your equally juvenile (and, therefore, not so bright) interlocutor, with the “riddle”, when your interlocutor is faced with the moral dilemma of choosing sitting arrangements for oneself and one’s mother, while having to do with two chairs of  unusual construction. In Galeotti’s edition these “two chairs” are rebranded as “Three Russias” (no proof provided to, well, prove his point that they exist in the first place, besides the usual bleating of chants and spells) and Putin is forced by Mighty Marko to deal with the dilemma – or else! And no matter what Puny Putin (compared to Mighty Marko) chooses – he will lose, and his Regime will face the inevitable, right-around-the-corner-but-not-quite-immediate collapse.

E) Mr. Galeotti calls his exercise in soothsaying “a potentially upbeat one” (c). That, I remind you, was done by the people and for the people who considered the election of HRC an inevitability.

That’s the core of his predictions for Russia in 2016. Well, how did he fare in this regard? Abysmal. No – pathetic. Yeah, that’s the word – pathetic.

Galeotti insisted that the upcoming (for him, now safely passed for us) Duma elections of 2016 in Russia will be seen as “a referendum on the regime” (c). Whyyyyy? We are not told. Again. Nevertheless, United Russia won the elections, steamrolling through all opposition like an unstoppable Juggernaut. Butthurt (as always) free and independent media-sources had to admit that EdRo won fair and square – i.e. without unnecessary ballot-stuffing, carousel voting and other vote-rigging shenanigans. Galeotti also began with a strawman in his prediction, claiming that only the UR and “its affiliated pseudo-parties” will control the Duma in the aftermath of the elections, while all brave, talented and potentially successful Real Opposition Parties would be brutally shafted by the Regime.

If we are to believe Mr. Galeotti’s narrative, then according to dear Marko, “the liberal leader” Mikhail Kasyanov’s ParNaS, Grigoriy Yavlinskiy’s “Yabloko” and once again re-animated pathetic rotten liberal undead of a party “Party of  Growth” (all very handshakable so-called liberal, democratic parties), plus 30+ “independent candidates” funded and supported by Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s “Open Russia”, were Kremlin Stooges (™). Because the Regime not only allowed them to run in the 2016 elections, it also (unbelievable!) allowed them to have a free time on the national (read: Kremlin controlled TV) where they amazed the commoners with their agitation and propaganda, and also engaged each other in the political debates – uncensored and unhindered. Horror, horror!

And with all these incentives, the long-suffering Russian people still voted for the “Party of the Crooks and Thieves” (™), plus for the Systemic Opposition. Even Yabloko finally fell below 3% of the vote, a direct result of their anti-Crimean rhetoric – not some dark Kremlinite magic. Galeottis of this world not only exploit other people’s ignorance for their own profit – they are themselves often clueless and ignorant when it comes to Russian realities, of which they are supposed to be “experts”. All and any accusations of something untoward done by the “Party of  Power”, or of some suppression of the votes for the “True Opposition”, i.e. these typical conspiracy theories that “the vote results doesn’t really reflect the opinion of Russian people” (remember how earlier I mentioned Shaman’s desire to poison the well of knowledge?) comes crashing down if you compare the results of regional elections with the federal. The correlation is obvious to anyone – both the total percentage of votes given to United Russia, let alone in the number of the single-mandate districts won by the EdRo candidates, not to mention the general pattern of the voter’s turnout for the last 2 years.

Elections happened and… nothing happened. One might expect this from some old, boring, “civilized” European country, but, apparently, not from Russia. Because, indeed, there was a faction expecting blood-curdling news coming from  Northern Mordor – a faction supported, to a degree, by a team of professional soothsayers like Galeotti. For them, Russian “Regime” must time and again “prove” its legitimacy to… someone. Once again – they don’t regard Russia as a normal country. No one really spends so much ink and energy writing how, say, Danish government must once again prove their “legitimacy”. Why? Apparently, Danish legitimacy could be sourced by the Heavenly Mandate coming from the twin capitals of the Western World – Washington, D.C., and the Brussels. Works kinda like the Pope’s blessing for the monarch… only with less theology. Oh, and on the inside these old, boring, predictable European countries have their own Regimes legitimacy ensured by the Competent Minority, i.e. by the Creative Class and Big Capital.

Russia, understandably, does not fit into this Procrustean frame – it frankly never did, what with Russia being an Orthodox country and the so-called European Christendom starting out as Roman Catholic. The way Galeotti wrote everything he wrote demonstrates not only his ignorance. While soaking every line on every page of his diatribes with an enormous dose of disdain, typical for a person, who won’t work for a living with his hands even if his own Shamanistic life would depend on it, he stumbled upon the fact that the working class Russians (i.e. the absolute Majority of Russians) DID support Putin. This, paradoxically, makes him less legitimate from the Western point of view – as Galeotti will surely tell you.

So the Gurus had to lie. They had to present the “the growing rash of local labour and social protests” (without providing evidence, naturally), as the proof that Putin’s personal popularity is made up, and that the “unrest”, or better yet (for the West), the proverbial Russian Revolt (Senseless and Merciless (™)) is around the corner, as the facts – not as their deluded opinions.

Galeotti, in his “upbeat” prophecy about Russia in 2016, talked about “labour unrest”, “suicide rates” and “support for local civic initiatives” seen by everyone with the eyes to see as the sure signs of the Regime’s unraveling and the quiet, huddled masses of Russians reacting to that. Did it come to pass?

A little bit of history about the “labour question”, and then we will tune back to the “Downtrodden Russian masses”, and how they reacted to the policy of the Regime. First, the data about the strikes in the Russian Federation’s modern history:

By Heaven Above – what do I see here!? The peak of the strikes happened during the Blessed Democratic 90s?! Why – the West, probably, doubted the legitimacy of Boris Yeltsin’s (Truly) Bloody Regime and predicted with glee its downfall any day now! And the second peak coincides with the still very controversial and the one and only, to boot, genuinely widely unpopular reforms of Putin – the so-called “monetization” of the benefits for the retirees and receivers of the social payments. Were there also talks about the Regime’s imminent collapse then?

The answer to both of these questions is a resolute “No”! Boris the Drunk was the Friend of the West. And even post-Khodorkovsky Putin was still fairly handshakable person, whose soul-possessing trait had been confirmed by the today’s newest darling of the Free and Independent Press (and back then – by Buffoon in Chief) George W. Bush.

Right, but what about the 2008-2012 period? After all, the World Financial Crises surely had done its share of damage to the Regime in Russia! What about the pinnacle of the working class protest, the “strikes” in this period?

According to not “neutered by the Kremlin” yet Lenta Ru, 2012 saw the absolute 5-year maximum of worker strikes in Russia. The progression since the beginning of the World Financial Crisis was the following:

2008 – 93

2009 – 272

2010 – 205

2011 – 262

These were the alarming days, full of (for the time being) vague allusions, like the fact that according to one think-tank’s research, the index of social anxiety has reached the early 90s level. These, I remind you, were the times of the fashionable Bolotnaya Fronde, and when a not so insignificant number of the so-called professionals fell into the trap of wishful thinking, passed as their own analyses.

And so – what can be said about Neo-Putin labour protest?

Huh. How odd! One can imagine that the egg-headed Gurus (with no knowledge of Russia, labour relations or economics) just chanced upon a trend that was, well, trending right before their eyes and then just simply extrapolated it into the future because, obviously, what else is our life if not one giant exponent? Just ask the Sci-Fi authors from the 1950s about the all-conquering atom. Or their counterparts slightly down the historical road who couldn’t ever imagine that humanity by 2010s will not only abandon all attempts to break through to other planets, but instead trust blindly the commercial spacecraft design to a modern version of the carney-barker and all-round fraud Elon Musk. And while you are doing these inquiries, go and troll “futurists” of 1920-30s on whether the fabulously novel invention known as the “airplane” managed to replace the car as the go-to common mean of transportation for the masses.

In short, those who have eyes and can see are gonna notice that despite all doom and gloom, the deepest heart desires of Galeottis of this world failed to materialize. Moreover – Russia have withstood much more serious problems and “unrest” with not much ado.

Right, what’s next? Suicide rates? Anti-Kremlin feisty pro-liberast RBK reports that 2016 was the 50-year all time low in suicides in Russia (yes, that’s right – lowest in FIFTY years), and that the trend of them dropping yearly was not interrupted in 2014-2015 period by the “annexation of Crimea” or the sanctions. Galeottis must be inconsolable! How come Russians are not killing themselves in droves over the lack of jamon and having to withstand the “diplomatic isolation of Russia”!?

Galeotti singles out something ambiguous as the “support for local civic initiatives”, as if it must be something anti-governmental by default. He doesn’t supply us with criterion by which we can judge what he means by that. Did the Russians became suddenly enamored with the foreign NGOs, or the foreign agent local NGOs? Nope. Did they vote for the “true opposition” in the protest of the Regime? No. Are we more likely to embrace freaks and weirdos, who claim to be the “true voice of the Russian civil society”? No again. Is there any sympathy for the “artist” (sorry for the word artist) Pavlensky among the ordinary Russians and his “art performances”, i.e. the acts of criminal hooliganism? Na-ah. Are Russians becoming in their values more like Westerners? What a silly question.

On the other hand – you know what’s true? That by the end of 2016, 81% of Russians considered themselves happy. And that during “crisis” 2014-2016 the index of happiness of the Russians never fell below 80%. Want more Zradas for Russophobes? I’m always happy to oblige! Nearly 150 000 Russians have returned to their ancestral Homeland in 2016 alone, thanks to the state-sponsored program of repatriation – 30 000 of them from the EU countries. Hard year, hard year indeed! Well, so much for the downtrodden masses.

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I know of a magic wand, but it is a wand that only one or two may rightly use, and only seldom. It is a fairy wand of great fear, stronger than those who use it – often frightful, often wicked to use. But whatever is touched with it is never again wholly common; whatever is touched with it takes a magic from outside the world.

“What is your wand?” cried the King, impatiently.

“There it is,” said Wayne; and pointed to the floor, where his sword lay flat and shining.

“The sword!” cried the King; and sprang up straight on the daïs.

“Yes, yes,” cried Wayne, hoarsely. “The things touched by that are not vulgar; the things touched by that-“

King Auberon made a gesture of horror.

– Gilbert K. Chesterton, The Napoleon of Nottinghill.

________________________________________________________________

Another quite predictable augury by Galeotti was made regarding the ultimate “futile” attempts of Russian “intervention” in Syria, with this ageing Guru demonstrating what an agile contortionist he is, turning himself into a human-pretzel, trying to unite his desire to jump on “Russia’s Syrian Quagmire” (™) bandwagon (he uses the term “mire”) and to dodge the blame for a factually incorrect and sometimes simply lying narrative of this prophesy.

The genre of “Russia in Syria” predictions is yet another one of those, when the supposedly mature and thinking analysts fall to the level of the above-mentioned prison themed “riddles”, with which they try to “contain” Russia in reality. Mark Galeotti surely does it a lot in his other “program work” of  “Russian Intervention in Syria can only Slow Down Assad’s Defeat” (25 November 2015).

As he points out elsewhere, Mighty Marko truly believes that Putin is surrounded by lying sycophants and, therefore, has no idea about the reality around him. These lackeys are either too afraid of the “Tsar” or have ulterior motives for distorting the information. Naturally, we are told to simply accept this dogma with no proof presented – and then carry on with the wild-wild ride which is the thought-train of one certain professional (read: paid) Russia Watcher, who, subsequently, bases constantly all of his conclusions on something he didn’t even bother to prove.

Magic of spells, chants and words is amazing thing – and as helpful as Dale Carnegie’s self-help books which, nonetheless, are sold by the millions. So it’s no wonder, that Galeotti resorts to it, repeating ad nauseum all the usual clichés and tropes about post-2014 Russia, that it is “diplomatically isolated”, that it’s “bogged down in the Ukraine”, that “attempts to persuade the West to lift its sanctions regime have failed” (no arguing here that Russia ever tried to do that in the first place!) and that Russia spreads chaos around the world for… evulz. Couple the fact that this meme (“Chaos as the only Russian export”) with, apparently, the sincere dogmatic belief of Galeotti that Putin is not a rational actor, and you have a recipe to create an ideal villain for the Western propaganda to crush repeatedly from the safe confines of their Cave.

Galeotti gives voice to his belief when saying the following:

“[T]hey’d like to get out of that particular mire, it’s costing them money and political capital, so given that the West isn’t willing to cooperate, they intervened in Syria and more or less said: “Look, we are willing to play nice in Syria as long as you basically allow us to rectify ourselves from the Donbas,” which is really what they’re after.”

Ah, Mr. Galeotti, Mr. Galeotti, sir! When you say “and [the Russians] more or less said” do you have, more or less, proof or is this yet another of your opinions pulled out of your all-knowing  aphedron? Hey, did you see what I just used here? I ran with the idea (unproved!) that Mr. Galeotti, literally, pulls insubstantial ideas out of his rectal orifice, and then capitalized on that claim even more by going an extra mile, with the claim that Mr. Galeotti’s end of the feed tract possesses the absolute knowledge! And you know what? This is exactly what Professor Galeotti does ALL THE TIME in his so-called analysis. Galeottis of the Russia-Watching world simply dictate us the terms of the narrative. You dare to disagree with them? Bash-bash you on your stupid head, you… stupid caveman!

Pfft – who cares about other damned facts?! Not Galeotti, that’s for sure. Otherwise, he’d know that Russian Ministry of Defenselily-livered market liberal zealot and ex-Finance Minister Kudrin, sickeningly handshakable kvetching hole of RBK and openly Russophobic rag Financial Times were of one opinion – the military operation costs Russia mere peanuts, figuratively speaking, probably in the area of 10% of the overall military budget. And it became apparent to none other than the guys in the Pentagon just one month after Galeotti made his prediction, and 3 (three) months since the inception of the campaign. The same article stresses that:

Russia’s intervention also appears to have strengthened its hand at the negotiating table. In recent weeks, Washington has engaged more closely with Russia in seeking a settlement to the war and backed off a demand for the immediate departure of Assad as part of any political transition.”

There you go, Mr. Galeottis’ claim about “wasting” political capital – in the trash can where it belongs. And that was, I remind you, just late 2015. Further down the road to the future (our present) all think-tankers will keep wailing and gnashing their teeth, that Russia “cheated” and “unfairly” inserted itself in ranks of decision makers and lords of fate for the entire Greater Middle East. Where was the promised “tradeoff” of Assad for Donbas – or vice versa? I remember how such speculations were all the rage for anyone who is someone in the tight knit of professional (read: paid) Russia watchers.

No, we are told – “Ignore that! Don’t pay attention to the man behind the curtain”. Didn’t Marko – The Magnificent Prestidigitator! – explain to the dumb-stuck audience in no-uncertain terms that:

Assad’s losing, the ground offensive they launched has bogged down, they’ve had a few minor gains but nothing else. All this current intervention can do is slow down the rate at which Assad losses, that’s the best they can really offer.”

and

Perversely, although everyone thought that Russia went to Syria to save Assad, what they are actually doing is going there so that Assad can be negotiated out rather than just losing power or facing a coup or whatever.”

And when asked about Putin’s prospects in 2016 vis-à-vis the West:

He basically burned his bridges in terms of friendship [with the West]: No one is going to be a friend of Russia in the West under the current regime”.

It was, I remind you, late November 2015, when all interviews with the Big Names of Russia-Watching were the same. I wonder – does Professor Galeotti feel himself, now, in the Year of Our Lord 2017, a tad bit… stupid? Humbled? Proved wrong? Or does the money he receives regularly for his chutzpah-filled auspices indeed, act as the best healing balm for a so-called expert proved time after time wrong and full of it?

Because come late February of 2016 and Mark Galeotti was singing a different kind of tune. Suddenly, a heretic notion has wormed its way into the esteemed Guru’s cranium – and writings. His Faithful would suddenly have to deal with the uncomfortable to even read and comprehend notion that “many of the rebel groups, some of which are little more than bandits and warlords’ retinues” are, maybe, not so brave, courageous and democratic after all. And saying out loud, in the early 2016, that “the rebels are a ragtag collection of units, leaders and movements, with often wildly different aims and approaches” – gah, what made the Professor so courageous after all?! Did the Kremlin pay him to write that?

What about yet another Downfall of the Regime (™) , propagated by the West – the one of Bashar al-Assad? Nothing… and Galeotti’s moaning could be practically heard while reading this comment:

The Assad regime, which had been on the defensive and even facing potential fragmentation, has been stabilized and revived. Moscow’s claim to a say in Syria’s future cannot now meaningfully be challenged.”

But-but-but! What about Russia’s diplomatic isolation then?! What about “wasted political capital”?

In the process, Western attempts to isolate Russia have been all but abandoned — most vividly shown in January, when US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland sat down with Russian Presidential Representative Vladislav Surkov to talk about the future of eastern Ukraine.”

Obviously upset (and extremely… astral-fisted) Marko the Magnificent had to admit:

“[T]he Russians defied Western expectations and their own track record. The furious “optempo” (operational tempo) was maintained, with sometimes a hundred sorties a day being launched. Planes were generally kept flying; there were not the disastrous mechanical failures one could have predicted.”

By withdrawing, Putin avoids getting sucked into an open-ended commitment, reassures the Russian public that this is no rerun of the 10-year Soviet war in Afghanistan, presents himself as a peacemaker, and reduces the risks to his forces in Syria….”

Suddenly, our brave and outspoken Mr. Galeotti becomes more and more morbidly subdued and quiet on that. What a miraculous transformation indeed – no doubt, a result of this particular Guru’s constant exercises aimed to open all of his chakras and clean his Third Eye’s connection with the Supreme Realm of Gods and Spirits! And, btw – from this very moment onward his articles will go downhill – less blister and jingoism and more whining and pleading. Improvement in quality? Naaaah.

________________________________________________________________

Modern civilization has bred a race with brains like those of rabbits and we who are the heirs of the witchdoctor and the voodoo. We artists who have been so long the despised are about to take over control”.

– Ezra Pound

________________________________________________________________

But there were other – many-many of them! – screw ups in the analytical and saying of sooths field by Mark Galeotti – less global but screwy none the less. Here are some of them, “worthy” of mention.

1) Galeotti infamously claimed on the pages of such “august” magazine as  “Foreign Policy” that Putin “has even physically withdrawn…”, that “in today’s Russia, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu appears not to have been part of the final discussions on whether to seize Crimea” and, most of all, that Sergei Lavrov – of all people! – is sidelined by the increasingly insular and paranoid Putin. Obligatory unsupported claims of “a distinct neo-Soviet flavor that doesn’t even play well on domestic TV” from Galeotti are… obligatory.

This moment is probably as good as any to inform the general public that Professor Mark Galeotti has neither Diplomatic, nor military, no, Heaven forbid, actual political (as being in charge of anything) background. He, as I’ve been saying since the beginning of this essay, is a Guru – a person lacking needed experience in the vast majority of the spheres and who, nonetheless, gets his valuable and purely dilettante’s opinion taken seriously by everyone.

This is also a good moment to draw your attention to the fact that Galeotti claims to have access to many numerous “insiders” all across Russia… and that no one questions his bullshit claim. Like the one source of his, allegedly “close to the Foreign ministry”, which claimed that: “…what Assad was given is you are going to be going. We’re going to help you make sure that it’s as congenial a process for you and your family as possible, but frankly start getting your head around that, you are going to be going.”

We are talking about 100% reliable Mark Galeotti, trusting however imaginary obscure source way back in late 2015 – early 2016. Well… look at the world we live in now! Either our esteemed Russia Watcher was owned, or he made up the source to begin with.

2) An obligatory exercise in Putinology, when Mark Galeotti explains (without any proof, of course!) to the hoi polloi what Vladimir Putin wants; really, really wants:

In many ways Putin’s view of Russia these days is that he wants it out of the global order… Now he’s come back, in part because his views have changed, in part because he feels the West betrayed him and in part, I think, because he is increasingly looking at his historical legacy. In some ways his catchword these days is sovereignty, but when he says sovereignty it’s a slightly different sovereignty than we might understand it. His notion of sovereignty, to be blunt, is that Russia stands alone and that Russia should not be dictated to by any outside force or power—so not the United States, not the European Union, but also not necessarily international law, not necessarily international institutions. It’s frankly a very 19th century notion that we are strong enough to ensure that no one can tell us what to do. And it’s a sovereignty that is clearly linked to your capacity to defend it.”

Perceptive readers, who’ve read all linked articles provided by me here, might notice that in virtually all of them Professor Galeotti basically just repeats the same old and tried clichés one article/interview after another. He said the same thing in the previously mentioned article, when he talked about the horrible gall and nerve of Russia’s which, therefore:

“…deserves to have a voice, to be listened to, he feels Russia deserves to be able basically to veto the impact of international norms and organizations inside its own borders. His sense of Russian sovereignty is that the Kremlin should be able to control everything that happens within Russia’s frontiers and have influence over what happens beyond it.”

For Mark Galeotti, these are Bad Things! In this regard, he reminds of the slavishly faithful to their barin “house serfs” (rus. “дворня”), wistful and hateful when they see another ordinary peasant serf buying himself and his family out of the bondage and becoming a free man. Envy and horror drives them nuts, because serfdom became in their minds a norm and a preferable alternative to the repugnantly dangerous freedom.

3) Most hilariously (and unfortunately) of note, was Galeotti’s prediction that KPRF will turn into a serious challenge come the September elections in 2016. He wasn’t alone – a couple of other pundits on the West (most notably – Fred Weir from the Christian Science Monitor) raised their hopes high in regards of the KPRF future prospects, while, deep inside, they surely were trembling at the thought that their own Russophobia and the personal dislike of Putin made them to root for the gosh-damned-commies! Galeotti in one of his previous articles called the KPRF electorate lumpens (wow… how… thoughtful, humanistic and… handshakable!).

Galeotti is, of course, lying in his piece while perpetuating the fable that Bolotnaya protests were “the largest anti-government rallies since Soviet times”. Saying otherwise would draw attention of goldfish-attention-span Westerners to such “ancient events” as the iconic (back then in 1998) miners’ strike on Gorbaty Bridge in Moscow, or, indeed, to the hundreds-of-thousands-strong protests against the monetization of benefits in 2004-2005. No, the West desires to feel the Sympathetic Magic – to see kreakls and so-called members of the “middle class” protesting – not the filthy proletariat! They, for the west, don’t count.

Another extremely naïve belief held by Galeotti (and by a few western so-called “honest” journalists who bothered to report on KPRF in the 2016 electoral year) was that there appeared “a new generation of Communist Party members, disgruntled 20- and 30-somethings, for whom it offers the only structure able to articulate any kind of opposition politics. They are generally not Soviet-style communists, actually being closer to European social democrats”. Needless to say – not true. Believe me – the Russian LEFT is nothing akin to the SJW-ridden Western Leftists hell of Trots and Identity politics fanatics, though the West did have short period of wishful thinking and Galeotti serves here as an apt example of such misconceptions.

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Of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh

– Ecclesiastes 12:12

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In the late Perestroika period there was a gigantic paradigm shift, as the people saw old truths and their entire world around them crumble. Non incidentally, it was a time when the great “Healers” and “ESPers” like A. Chumak and A. Kashpirovsky became idols of millions all across the USSR and then Russia. People believed them more than they believed the political leaders and their promises of the miracle. Instead, the people chose to put their trust into words (and intricate hand waves) of peculiarly dodgy characters, who claimed to be “instructed in Arcane arts” by the voices in their heads and who propagated the ideas of “non-traditional medicine”.

They were superstars. They were media legends. They were unquestionable authorities for a people who suddenly rushed with reckless abandon into the dark area of thought of “Nothing is True – Everything is Possible”.

The most memetic achievement of Kashpirovsky and such was the fact that they were allowed on the central Soviet TV (obligatory – state controlled) in prime time for the retranslation of their “séances”. The power of mighty “wizards” was such, that they could “charge” various liquids, salves and objects with their “positive energy”. And they were SO mighty, that could do this even through the TV screen! A picture of 3 liter glass jars, usually used to can tomatoes or cucumbers for winter, now filled with water instead and now standing in line before the TV screen, while the entire family was watching with half-beating hearts the act of magic – these were the pictures of that era.

“Blessed Democratic 90s” (well, “Blessed” according to a certain rather tiny group of people) saw a sucking hell-hole of irrationality and massive all-believing psychosis taking a bold step forward to a full blown Abyssal Pit. It was a time of various totalitarian sects and cults running free and unhindered (Russia’s Western partners call it “freedom of consciousness and religion”), when people were willing to surrender their will, personality – and personal wealth – to various mystic Gurus. It was a time of financial pyramids and fraudsters, of banks going bust on a regular basis and of people willing to surrender their trust, their future – and their remaining personal savings – to various financial Gurus. It was a time when Kashpirovsky volunteered to help resolve the hostage crisis in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on Budyonovsk in 1995 – by using his mighty hypnotic powers to put Shamil Basayev and his goons to sleep. Kashpirovsky fainted at the sight of the hostages, bloodied and frightened, kept in an animal-like state in small tents, 20-30 in each.

It was the time when the Russians were told to “vote with their heart” and surrender their trust, their future – and a mere remaining handful of money somehow preserved to that moment – to the Great Democrat Boris Yeltsin.

…Magic. Hell, yeah… Do you think that you are immune to it?

Magic is a prosthesis of thought for a monkey-like creature which “thinks” itself human, but which, in fact, has not yet learned how to think (or, in our case, it has already forgotten how). Magic is this terrible Law of Simulacrum, unequivocally demanding to eat worthy fellow cavemen to become like them. Magic is the Law of Symbols, when for self-assertion it is important not what you are, but what you have.

Magic is the Law of the Herd, of flocks and generic thinking, when you are not separate, when you are self-identified in the world only insofar as you identify yourself with some gang (group, clan – or a “safespace” in the web). After all, what is “magic(k)”? Magic(k) by definition is the manipulation of information (words, symbols, signs) in order to manipulate reality.

That’s what they do – Gurus. The proverbial Legion of them. They lead the process (and in some areas – the Progress) so back in time to the magical, to the tribal form of existence, as was necessary for them to eke for themselves a lofty parasitic niche, which would allow them carefree irresponsible lifestyle for centuries to come.

And while I don’t hold high hopes for humanity to come back on the road of rational thought and march away from these self imposed intellectual Dark Ages any time soon, there is one nasty thought that makes me smile nevertheless. Even early civilizations, even Dark Ages primitives despised magic – and fought against it and its practitioners. Having for a change one particular parasite stripped of his patchwork “sacral” cloak, magic wand or stuff, of his poultices and potions and just thrown out of his cozy picture-covered cave into the world and told to pull his weight like everyone else – that would be nice. Because the patience of the Tribe is not boundless. And one day, one mistake and false incantation too many, the Guru, the Shaman will find on its own skin a plethora of problems typical for our Global North.

 

View story at Medium.com

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1,914 Responses to The Credibility Gap That Ought To Be

  1. Cortes says:

    Another scandal is the deteriorating public health situation in Banderastan.

    https://sputniknews.com/europe/201707221055788970-ukraine-health-care-crisis/

    Do none of the “leaders” have even a smidgeon of shame over the disgraceful dismantling of a system built on lessons learned over two hundred years of advances in measures to improve public health? Disgusting doesn’t come close to summing up the effects of the “reforms.”

    • yalensis says:

      “Unfortunately, experts say that Ukrainian-American health minister Ulana Suprun, who replaced Kvitashvili in April 2016, is too busy lobbying for the closure of hospitals and clinics to pay attention to the looming crisis.”

      Suprun is the one we talked about before, the offspring of a Canadian Banderite family.
      Dubious that her conscious goal is to destroy the Ukrainian people; but in essence, that’s what she is doing, brought on by a false ideology.

    • marknesop says:

      Sounds like they are almost EU-ready. Should be any day now.

    • Patient Observer says:

      The initiative to liquidate the State Sanitary and Epidemiological Service was begun in May 2014, as part of a broader reform of the Ukrainian health care system.

      Interesting how the world “reform” has come to mean a rollback of societal progress. “Reform” now means privatization, reduction of quality of services and elimination of assistance to the not-wealthy. A more accurate term would be “regression”.

      • rkka says:

        “Interesting how the world “reform” has come to mean a rollback of societal progress.”

        In the 1990s, ‘reform’ in Russia boiled down to ‘The systematic destruction of every aspect of a civilized life for everyone but a Yeltsin crony.”

        As it was in the beginning, is now, and shall ever be, as long as the daemonic shades of Reagan and Thatcher possess modern leaders.

  2. Moscow Exile says:

    The Deputy Foreign Minister of the Ukraine raised the issue of the Crimea at the UN Security Council meeting on Africa, July 19 – RIA Novosti.

    The Deputy Foreign Minister of the Ukraine, Sergey Kislitsa, saw the similarity of the situation in Rwanda in 1994 and in his country today. He raised the issue of the situation in the Crimea at a meeting of the UN Security Council on Africa.

    Reminder:

    The Rwandan genocide 1994, also known as the genocide against the Tutsi, was a genocidal mass slaughter of Tutsi in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority government.

    Now whose actions in 1994 Rwanda might the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Ukraine be comparing those of the present Ukraine government with?

    Hmmm…

    That’s a tricky one, that is.

    Or might he be comparing the alleged actions of the “aggressor state” against the Ukraine with those of one of the 1994 belligerent Rwanda parties?

    Tough question to answer!

    • Trond says:

      “The Rwandan genocide 1994, also known as the genocide against the Tutsi, was a genocidal mass slaughter of Tutsi in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority government.”

      The genocide was done by US and Ugandan supported Tutsis against Hutus.

      Paul Kagame and Poroshenko has something in common: Blaming the victims for their genocidal wars.

    • saskydisc says:

      That is the party line. There are two basic problems with it, that may be expressed with three numbers. The death toll is allegedly in the range of 800 thousand to one million two hundred thousand. The Tutsi population according to the 1991 census was just shy of six hundred thousand. The Tutsi rights advocacy organisation IBUKA estimated initially that half of Rwanda’s Tutsis had died, but later changed their estimates to one to two hundred thousand, under Kagame, where there is an institutional desire to inflate the Tutsi dead, which they resisted in revising their numbers. See Herman and Peterson, Enduring Lies. Kagame was Uganda’s military intelligence chief, trained at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the defence at the ICTR (Military II trial) produced several witnesses recording multiple resupply flights by USA and Canada for Kagame’s occupation army of Rwanda (original invasion was 1 October 1990). Former Kagame comrade Eric Hakizimana said that the RPF (Kagame’s Ugandan/mercenary invasion army, which in the official history had “ended the genocide”) had killed two million Hutus in 1994. Kagame went on to invade, again with western blessing (mineral wealth) Zaire/DRC, with about ten million dead by now as a consequence.

      • Trond says:

        The tutsies were a tiny minority and suddenly a lot more tutsies than existed were killed.

        Something is wrong with that story….

      • saskydisc says:

        I neglected to list the two problems—not enough baTú:tsi (u two morae, with high tone on first mora, hence high long; see Nibagwire and Zorc, Kinyarwanda and Kirundi comparative grammar) existed to be killed, and the bulk of the remainder of the population were Hutus. There weren’t enough baTwa (an insignificant pygmy population) to be killed. If Ibuka’s revised numbers are correct, and the death toll (800k-1M2) is correct, then between 600 thousand and 1 million Hutus were killed.

        • kirill says:

          The invisible holocuast. Just like the one in the Congo from the late 1990s to the 2000s where over 5 million civilians were butchered. I never heard a peep about in the “free media”.

          • saskydisc says:

            Some suggestions now of ten million, as Kagame and Museveni were busy until a few years ago—they did not stop at five million.

            After all what is the value of civilians against strategic minerals?

  3. Moscow Exile says:

    Вятрович анонсировал полную дерусификацию Украины

    Vyatrovich has announced the complete de-Russification of Ukraine

    The warnings of many experts, namely, that de-communization is just an excuse, the first preparatory stage or a smokescreen for the principle action, namely the de-Russification of the Ukraine, has acquired real and official confirmation.

    The Director of the so-called Institute of National Memory, Vladimir Vyatrovich, who is, in fact, the main ideologist of the current regime in Kiev, has announced that the end of de-communization will conjoin with the start of a campaign for the complete de-Russification of the Ukraine. De-communization does not solve the basic problem of the Kiev regime, that of a complete separation from Russia. De-Russification, if it is successful, will make the process complete.

    “We understand that for the formation of the Ukraine as a strong, independent state not only is de-communization necessary, but also de-Russification”, he said.

    In 2004 Vyatrovich, a graduate of L’vov University and true son of Galitsia, defended his doctoral thesis:

    “UPA raids beyond the Ukrainian borders as part of the creation of an anti-totalitarian national-democratic revolution among the nations of East-Central Europe”.

    He had already had a book published on the same subject in 2001.

    It seems that butchering Poles and Jews — including men, women and children — was, according to him, part and parcel of an “anti-totalitarian national-democratic revolution among the nations of East-Central Europe”.

    I wonder if he has ever tried to present his thesis in Poland?

    • kirill says:

      But he will be feted if he comes to Turdeau’s (spelling intentional) KKKanada.

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        When Ukraine falls, he’ll get a teaching spot in a Canadian university – just like Dmitry Dontsov.

        • marknesop says:

          And that fat fuck Taras Kuzio. Aside from his moonlighting job, of course, when once a month they pull him through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel to clean the sides.

          • Patient Observer says:

            My only memory of that tunnel was a a child – my recollection was that the walls were yellow tile and quite dirty looking (perhaps the tile was at one time white). The tunnel triggered feelings of claustrophobia in many people forcing a greater reliance on the bridge to Canada.

            BTW, that bridge is the only privately owned international crossing in the US which is creating unending drama around here. A new bridge, financed by Canada, is in the works. However, the owners of the current bridge are launching PR campaigns and lawsuits to stop it. Lots of dirty real estate deals as well add to the mess.

          • Trond says:

            “Aside from his moonlighting job, of course, when once a month they pull him through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel to clean the sides.”

            Ha ha 🙂

            Hmmm… The PM of Norway, Erna Solberg, is from my hometown Bergen, and she is really, really, really fat and useless.

            Bergen has a lot of tunnels (An article in Bergens Tidende many years ago claimed that Bergen had more tunnels than any city on this planet).

            They used to clean the tunnels with some big trucks “splashing” water on the dirt.

            Now they spray some white paint on the dirt.

            You have found a use for Erna Solberg, but she may be to big to fit into a tunnel?

            Erna has become a popular name for pigs in Norway…

            • marknesop says:

              The best method seems to be to insert a stout peg in the person’s navel, and then turn it sideways. You can attach a ring to it for the rope, or just tie it around the peg. Then the useless fattie can be pulled through the tunnel, ideally wearing a flannel suit so the tiles don’t get scratched, but are instead buffed to a nice sheen.

    • Cortes says:

      Shouldn’t his name be Volodomyr? Or is he a Moskal mole?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        True, his name is Volodomyr, but the article that I translated was written in Russian.

        Farion will have my guts for garters for doing that, giving him a Moskal moniker!

        Note how Vyatrovich uses the term “East-Central Europe” as part of his thesis title.

        Perish the thought that the Ukraine should be labelled as an “Eastern European” state.

        Eastern Europe is where Eastern Orthodox subhumans live, innit?

        Reminds me of when a Polish lady friend of mine in Manchester, after I had casually said to her whilst reminiscing about my student days in Eastern Europe that Poles are Slavs, once hissed in indignation at me that she hated being called a Slav and that I was not to do that again.

        I let her off, though, because she was a fine end, as are most of her countrywomen for that matter.

        Russian ladies are alright as well.

        In my humble opinion, that is.

        🙂

    • marknesop says:

      I wish him much success. It ought to be quite a bargain to purchase a home in Ukraine once he’s finished purifying it – there will probably only be about 2 million people in the whole country.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Institute of National Memory

      Now, that is perhaps the most chilling term I have ever heard.

  4. Cortes says:

    The embedded video of VVP talking to the participants in the Sirius Programme for gifted young people is, I think, worth a look:

    http://theduran.com/putin-undecided-running-another-presidential-term/

    I’ve just watched the first 20 minutes and am impressed by how seriously the whole concept of treating the young well is taken and the emphasis placed on aspiration and application.

  5. Patient Observer says:

    Can you imagine Trump or Obama without a teleprompter in that forum? Putin is a true and credible leader because he is truly himself.

    • Cortes says:

      No doubt there’s an element of choreography in play but he wasn’t just giving out bland answers. The girl who asked about access to art school in Moscow or St Petersburg for students from provincial cities didn’t seem very happy with his response. And I agree, the format – with several moderators selecting questions from hundreds of people – would have been nightmarish for most western leaders.

  6. Lyttenburgh says:

    Incredible, but the “Foreign Policy” magazine made me laugh! While trying access their article, I was “greeted” by this ad:

    “Today, truth comes at a cost”

    “In the war on truth, honest reporting matters. Sign up for an FP Premium subscription today for the best fact-based source for breaking news, analysis, and insights into the most pressing stories of the day, all for about a quarter a day!”

    >source for breaking news
    >fact-based

    [Looks at the titles of the articles in the site]

    Pick up one, FP! Actually, this just proves the point, that, no, we do not live in the “post-truth reality” now. We were living there since time immemorial, just now some people learned how to monetize their pretentiousness they call “reporting of the truth”, which, of course, isn’t one.

    Oh, and the article in question: 64 Years Later, CIA Finally Releases Details of Iranian Coup
    New documents reveal how the CIA attempted to call off the failing coup — only to be salvaged at the last minute by an insubordinate spy.

    “Declassified documents released last week shed light on the Central Intelligence Agency’s central role in the 1953 coup that brought down Iranian Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadegh, fueling a surge of nationalism which culminated in the 1979 Iranian Revolution and poisoning U.S.-Iran relations into the 21st century.

    The approximately 1,000 pages of documents also reveal for the first time the details of how the CIA attempted to call off the failing coup — only to be salvaged at the last minute by an insubordinate spy on the ground.

    Known as Operation Ajax, the CIA plot was ultimately about oil. Western firms had for decades controlled the region’s oil wealth, whether Arabian-American Oil Company in Saudi Arabia, or the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in Iran. When the U.S. firm in Saudi Arabia bowed to pressure in late 1950 and agreed to share oil revenues evenly with Riyadh, the British concession in Iran came under intense pressure to follow suit. But London adamantly refused.

    So in early 1951, amid great popular acclaim, Mossadegh nationalized Iran’s oil industry. A fuming United Kingdom began conspiring with U.S. intelligence services to overthrow Mossadegh and restore the monarchy under the shah. (Though some in the U.S. State Department, the newly released cables show, blamed British intransigence for the tensions and sought to work with Mossadegh.)

    The coup attempt began on August 15 but was swiftly thwarted. Mossadegh made dozens of arrests. Gen. Fazlollah Zahedi, a top conspirator, went into hiding, and the shah fled the country.

    The CIA, believing the coup to have failed, called it off.

    “Operation has been tried and failed and we should not participate in any operation against Mossadegh which could be traced back to US,” CIA headquarters wrote to its station chief in Iran in a newly declassified cable sent on Aug. 18, 1953. “Operations against Mossadegh should be discontinued.

    That is the cable which Kermit Roosevelt, top CIA officer in Iran, purportedly and famously ignored, according to Malcolm Byrne, who directs the U.S.-Iran Relations Project at the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

    At least “one guy was in the room with Kermit Roosevelt when he got this cable,” Byrne told Foreign Policy. “[Roosevelt] said no — we’re not done here.” It was already known that Roosevelt had not carried out an order from Langley to cease and desist. But the cable itself and its contents were not previously published.

    The consequences of his decision were momentous. The next day, on August 19, 1953, with the aid of “rented” crowds widely believed to have been arranged with CIA assistance, the coup succeeded. Iran’s nationalist hero was jailed, the monarchy restored under the Western-friendly shah, and Anglo-Iranian oil — renamed British Petroleum — tried to get its fields back. (But didn’t really: Despite the coup, nationalist pushback against a return to foreign control of oil was too much, leaving BP and other majors to share Iran’s oil wealth with Tehran.)

    Operation Ajax has long been a bogeyman for conservatives in Iran – but also for liberals. The coup fanned the flames of anti-Western sentiment, which reached a crescendo in 1979 with the U.S. hostage crisis, the final overthrow of the shah, and the creation of the Islamic Republic to counter the “Great Satan.”

    The coup alienated liberals in Iran as well. Mossadegh is widely considered to be the closest thing Iran has ever had to a democratic leader. He openly championed democratic values and hoped to establish a democracy in Iran. The elected parliament selected him as prime minister, a position he used to reduce the power of the shah, thus bringing Iran closer in line with the political traditions that had developed in Europe. But any further democratic development was stymied on Aug. 19.

    The U.S government long denied involvement in the coup. The State Department first released coup-related documents in 1989, but edited out any reference to CIA involvement. Public outrage coaxed a government promise to release a more complete edition, and some material came out in 2013. Two years later, the full installment of declassified material was scheduled — but might have interfered with Iran nuclear talks and were delayed again, Byrne said. They were finally released last week, though numerous original CIA telegrams from that period are known to have disappeared or been destroyed long ago.

    Byrne said that the long delay is due to several factors. Intelligence services are always concerned about protecting “sources and methods,” said Byrne, meaning the secret spycraft that enables them to operate on the ground. The CIA also needed to protect its relationship with British intelligence, which may have wished some of the material remain safeguarded.

    Beyond final proof of CIA involvement, there’s another very interesting takeaway in the documents, said Abbas Milani, a professor of Iranian studies at Stanford University: New details on the true political leanings of Ayatollah Abol-Ghasem Kashani, a cleric and leading political figure in the 1950s.

    In the Islamic Republic, clerics are always the good guys. Kashani has long been seen as one of the heroes of nationalism during that period. As recently as January of this year, Iran’s supreme leader praised Kashani’s role in the nationalization of oil.

    Kashani’s eventual split from Mossadegh is widely known. Religious leaders in the country feared the growing power of the communist Tudeh Party, and believed that Mossadegh was too weak to save the country from the socialist threat.

    But the newly released documents show that Kashani wasn’t just opposed to Mossadegh — he was also in close communication with the Americans throughout the period leading up to the coup, and he actually appears to have requested financial assistance from the United States, though there is no record of him receiving any money. His request was not previously known.

    On the make-or-break day of Aug. 19, “Kashani was critical,” said Milani. “On that day Kashani’s forces were out in full force to defeat Mossadegh.””

    The USA was operating not on ideological grounds but based on greed and self interest. Also – Pope is (still) a Catholic and bear poops in the woods. Those who keep claiming that the Cold War was based primarily on ideology (a popular trope for palecons and liberasts) are idiots. News at 11.

  7. Lyttenburgh says:

    True story, 100500% legit! Quick, call the CNN!

  8. marknesop says:

    US Special Envoy to Ukraine – where the USA is determined to become the dominant decision-making body despite its not being invited to or a party to the Minsk Accords – Kurt Volcker says that Russia is to blame for the ‘hot war’ which is currently raging in the east of that country, and amplifies that the USA must get a lot more involved.

    I nearly fell off my chair; I was that surprised.

    • marknesop says:

      So when you cut through all the steam and the boilerplate, how do they plan to do it so it’s fairer to poor Ukrainians, but the state spends less?

      Ah. They plan to raise the age at which you qualify for a pension, doubtless among other money-savers. If the state plays its cards right, the target demographic wil work all its adult life and then die before reaching pensionable age. But as usual, we must be subjected to the usual western sermonizing about how the whole initiative is all about helping people and doing good.

      This is borne out in one of the other ‘critical reforms’ the IMF insisted upon before releasing its next tranche of ‘aid’ – a land reform act which would allow Ukraine to sell off its agricultural land in the interests of ‘creating a market’. Sure: as if. Land-hungry western agricultural giants like Monsanto are drooling at the thought of getting their hands on Ukraine’s rich black earth plus a chink in Europe’s armor against GMO crops. Another possible weapon to use against Russia would be the growing of huge volumes of GMO grain so as to weaken the market for Russian grains.

      • Cortes says:

        And pollution of areas of Russian soil from blown in GMO seeds. Creating facts on the ground.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Another element of the plan to reduce pension obligations is the dismantling of whatever health care system that remain in the Ukraine. That is a twofer – save money on providing medical services and shortening the life span. This would be another optimization of wealth generation for the oligarchs and for those holding Ukraine debt.

        • Jen says:

          I can just see Ukrainian health authorities giving away free cigarettes to patients and their families next!

          That remark was partly facetious and partly serious: life these days in the Ukraine sounds so surreal that I wouldn’t put it past the Ministry of Healthcare of Ukraine to come up with the most hare-brained “reform” initiatives.

          • yalensis says:

            Nine out of ten doctors recommend Camels.
            The other one doctor is a woman, who smokes Virginia Slims.

          • Patient Observer says:

            I recall a news story about the adverse effects of a reduction in smoking on the US Social Security Trust Fund. Those actuaries make those calculations for a living. The trouble with shortening life spans via cancer is that end-of-life treatment tends to be very expensive unless people do not have or have very basic health insurance, then there is a likely net gain. Alcohol, murder and suicides are generally much more efficient economically. I just depressed myself.

            • kirill says:

              Something does not add up. Any government expenditure is an economic stimulus. The only potentially negative aspect is taxation. Since taxation is not excessive and in fact too small on key layers (e.g. companies and the rich), there is no negative aspect to government spending on pensions. So we have here narrow-definition accounting BS.

              • Jen says:

                Agree that in a world where the people, represented by their governments, are in charge of money creation and governments ran their financial systems independently of Wall Street and Washington, any government spending would be welcomed as stimulating economic production and development. The money later recirculates back to the government when the people who have jobs created by government spending pay the money back through purchases of various other government goods and services or through their taxes.

                But in capitalist societies where increasingly banks are becoming the sole creators and suppliers of money, government spending incurs debts that have to be paid back with interest. In the past governments also raised money for major public projects by issuing treasury bonds and securities but that doesn’t seem to happen much these days.

                Unfortunately also Ukraine is surviving mainly on IMF loans and the IMF certainly doesn’t want the money to go towards social welfare spending.

                • marknesop says:

                  In fact, the IMF specifically intervenes to prevent spending loan money on social welfare, as a condition of extending the loan. That might have been true since time out of mind for all I know, but it certainly was true after the first Greek bailout, when leaders blew the whole wad on pensions and social spending so as to ensure their re-election. They then went sheepishly back to the IMF for a second bailout. So there are good and substantial reasons for insisting the loan money not be wasted in this fashion, as that kind of spending customarily does not generate any meaningful follow-on spending by the recipients, and is usually absorbed by the cost of living.

                  But as we are all aware, such IMF interventions have a definite political agenda as well. In Ukraine’s case, the IMF with all its political inveigling is matched against a crafty oligarch who will lift the whole lot if he is not watched. Alternatively, he might well blow it all on social spending to ensure his re-election, thus presenting the IMF with a dilemma in which it must either continue to support him, or cause him to fall.

              • Patient Observer says:

                In an economy based on looting, it makes perfect sense. Money flows only one way until its all gone.

  9. Lyttenburgh says:

    Move along, nothing to see here, citizen! It’s not “butchered Aleppo” (c). There were no lil’ girl Bana with verified Twitter account. These people were collateral damage of the Freedoom and Mockracy. In Aleppo they all were innocent victims of the Bloody Regime. Cuz you need to live not by a lie!

  10. Drutten says:

    Main supports taking shape:

    As can be inferred from the top photo, the railway bridge still has a long way to go but it will nevertheless receive its arch at the same time as the automotive bridge, well, in fact before the automotive bridge. For technical/logistical reasons.

    Anyway, everything’s on schedule or slightly ahead of it. Both arches will be put into place in September and then they will go full steam ahead on getting the automotive bridge ready.

    This drone footage is a month old:

    Now, actual paving has begun on the finished stretches:

  11. Lyttenburgh says:

    I only now learned, that there was a “March for the Freedom of the Internet” in Moscow this weekend. As the marches go, it was your typical oppositionis “March of the Millions”:

    I.e. about 800 “protesters”, and hundreds of thousand of their imaginary friends. Also – note the flag. Even Navaly (who gladly whores himself and crashes any protest action, where he might not even be invited) decided not to attend, and send his second-in-command Volkov in his stead:


    ^Leonid Volkov and some civil right activistess with low feeling of the social responsobility.

    There are already conspiracy theories abound, that Navalny didn’t attend, because he still has to cool off his arse after the defeat in the epically boring rap battle vs Strelkov.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Yes, it was sanctioned as well and the organizers told the authorities that several thousand were going to turn up.

      As usual, the crowd consisted of hundreds.

      That’s what the cops say, anyway, and we all know that their figures always bear a scant relationship to the truth, don’t we?

      School’s out for summer, I see above … and below:


      Russia: Thousands protest online censorship and demand web-freedom in Moscow

      Ruptly TV is a Berlin based outfit whose staff apparently suffers from innumeracy.

      Even MT said only 800 turned up: RFERL said “hundreds” were there.

  12. Jen says:

    Got to feel a little bit sorry for Canadian Brigadier-General Daniel MacIsaac having to fend off questions over why Canadian military aircraft haven’t been flying over Syria for the past several weeks. His responses suggest he’s like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming semi-trailer.
    http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2017/07/21/canadian-military-aircraft-have-not-flown-in-syria-for-weeks-commander-3/#.WXXXvhWGPIW

  13. ucgsblog says:

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/why-ukrainian-forces-gave-crimea-without-fight-nato-061847289.html

    “Russia’s actions were not the only factor in the Crimean events. Ukraine’s military had suffered years of neglect, there was a power vacuum in Kiev after the government was overthrown, and many Crimean residents felt more affinity with Moscow. Still, Ukrainian service personnel with Russian ties switched sides when the annexation began and some officers pretended to put up resistance only to avoid court-martial. Moscow also intercepted orders from Kiev so they never reached the Crimean garrison.”

    What the fuck did I just read? So the author is telling me that Ukraine’s military in Kiev could not contact Ukraine’s military in Crimea? I knew Ukraine’s military was poorly funded, but daaaamn. Even if all communications were jammed, such as email and Skype, did they not have instructions on what to do in case of an invasion? What about laying underground cables that couldn’t be jammed?

    “Voronchenko, who was another deputy commander of the navy at the time of the annexation, said he had received invitations to defect to Moscow’s side soon after the Russian operation began. These, he told Reuters, came from Sergei Aksyonov, who was then head of Crimea’s self-proclaimed pro-Russian government, as well as from the commander of Russia’s southern military district and a deputy Russian defense minister.”

    Wasn’t Aksyonov also the democratically elected deputy of the Ruling Coalition in Crimea since 2010? Why yes, yes he was. Funny how that’s the fact that “fair and balanced” Reuters chose to omit.

    “Pro-Russian civilians were allowed to force the base’s gate without reprisals. The Ukrainians “supposedly could not do anything; you cannot shoot civilians”, the member of the unit said on condition of anonymity because he is still living in Crimea and feared repercussions.”

    Considering what happened in Odessa, Donetsk, Lugansk – they had no quibbles shooting civilians. The full quote was “you cannot shoot civilians backed by the Russian Armed Forces who will kill you if you do!” Another interesting “accidental” omission.

    “NATO’s Baltic members differ significantly from Ukraine.”

    Indeed, they’re actually paid a living wage.

    • Northern Star says:

      As for any military personnel who even look as if they are thinking about going along with this garbage:

      “(a) Any person subject to this chapter who–
      (1) with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority, refuse, in concert with any other person, to obey orders or otherwise do his duty or creates any violence or disturbance is guilty of mutiny;
      Elements
      (1) Mutiny by creating violence or disturbance.

      (a) That the accused created violence or a disturbance; and

      (b) That the accused created this violence or disturbance with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority.

      ***(2) Mutiny by refusing to obey orders or perform duty.
      (a) That the accused refused to obey orders or otherwise do the accused’s duty;
      b) That the accused in refusing to obey orders or perform duty acted in concert with another person or persons; and
      (c) That the accused did so with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority.***

      Remember, Trump is CIC…..so military personnel-particularly those in the Officer Corps-who refuse to obey his orders are in a state of mutiny and can be so charged pursuant to the UCMJ (supra).
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commander-in-chief#United_States
      https://www.thebalance.com/punitive-articles-of-the-ucmj-3356859

      But there is another more profound reason why the advice of Clapper and Brennan to disobe or ignore Trump commands is moronic: Unless they are plainly unlawful:

      (Maybe) https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-military-wouldnt-save-us-from-president-trumps-illegal-orders/2016/03/04/9ef8fd44-e0ea-11e5-846c-10191d1fc4ec_story.html?utm_term=.329852f1e388

      **The LAST thing one wants is a governmental hierarchy that is, nter alia, charged with the safeguarding and safekeeping of a vast nuke arsenal appear to fall into a state of leaderless chaos with no clear cut chain of command.** (IMO)
      The crew of a ship under fire in combat MUST work with the Captain she has-short of outright mutiny-otherwise her adversaries WILL capitalize on the breakdown of command structure and sink her….no two ways about it.

      • marknesop says:

        Just one niggling point, although I somewhat agree – the Captain in a warship in combat is mostly not much more than a veto. The Operations Room Officer (ORO) fights the ship, and passes his/her recommendations to the Captain for approval. In anti-air warfare (AAW) action where things happen very quickly, the Captain would only intervene if he/she saw something about to go wrong, like firing at an unidentified/friendly contact. In Canadian ships, there is a veto panel on the bridge, and the Captain could veto any of the weapons individually or just select ‘Master Veto” and render them all inoperable. That’s mostly for a safety situation. But here’s a typical peacetime scenario, just to illustrate how small a part the Captain plays in weapons engagements:

        ORO: “Captain, Sir/Ma’am, ORO: SAWS (Surface/Air Weapons System) Standing To, Air. Range clear bearing 276 by radar, IFF and visual. Air unknown XXXX bearing 276, range 30 miles, closing fast. Intend taking with SAM at 20 kyd, salvo size two, gun backup. I am satisfied the system is tracking the target, request permission to carry on with the engagement”.

        Captain: “Yes, please, carry on with the engagement”.

        Of course that is a peacetime shoot, and in wartime and a period of tension or outright war the vetoes would be off and the system ready to engage at the ORO’s discretion; the Captain is rarely in the Operations Room and is customarily on the bridge – the sensor suites and the respective warfare directors (AAWD/ASWD) are in the Operations Room. If the Captain took one step too many in the dark and walked over the side, the Executive Officer (XO) would assume command by default, but the ORO is perfectly capable of fighting the ship himself/herself, and more or less does. The departmental structure is slightly different in USN ships (ours is patterned after the Royal Navy), but the principle is essentially the same.

        The Army is even more a delegate-responsibility-down structure, and I would not be surprised to see a Warrant Officer – which is an enlisted rank – able to command a battalion in combat. Army formations are a lot more susceptible than naval ships to having their command structure abruptly wiped out.

        But essentially you’re correct – the military must obey its civilian overseers without question, that is the very nature of military service, and delegation down to individual initiative is commonly seen only in societies which trust the military to do that. After all, who is better equipped and trained to execute a coup than the military?

  14. Cortes says:

    VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity) assessment of the “hacks” of the DNC in June and July 2016 aka “Russiagate”:

    https://consortiumnews.com/2017/07/24/intel-vets-challenge-russia-hack-evidence/

    Not hacks but leaks to recipients on the eastern seaboard of the USA.

  15. Cortes says:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-isis-russia-kurdish-ypg-happening-in-secret-a7857471.html

    A fascinating article about coordination of anti ISIS/Daesh forces in Syria. The link was provided by Colonel Lang at his turcopolier blog.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      The “meatiest” part is buried deep inside:

      “When I left the area, 29 families – cartloads of children and black-shrouded women and upturned sofas – had just arrived in Rasafeh from Deir ez-Zour to seek the Raqqa governor’s assistance. Another 50 had arrived the previous day. It seemed perfectly obvious that if the Syrian army lets America’s largely Kurdish friends occupy Raqqa, it is going to help the Syrian government civilian administration take over the city by the force of bureaucracy. How would that be for a bloodless victory?

      And there are all reasons to believe that. Why? Because Kurds cannot into nation building on the dominantly Arab territories. They either prove to be incompetent administrators, or, worse, they start discriminating against locals, ‘cause for them every Arab that lived under ISIL in the past is a collaborator with the jihadis. Even increasingly unhinged and proving itself wrong time after time War on the Rocks basically admits that:

      “Raqqa needs a new governance model, informed by the experiences — positive and negative — of the YPG’s “democratic self-administration” of areas under its direct control. The “democratic” moniker notwithstanding, real power in YPG-held areas is concentrated in the hands of Kurdish cadres with PKK backgrounds. This approach has some significant advantages: the cadres’ organization and competence have enabled the self-administration to achieve an impressive degree of stability under difficult circumstances. But it also entails huge drawbacks, particularly in majority-Arab areas.

      As I observed in my visits, throughout most YPG-held territory Arabs who join the self-administration are given impressive titles but little authority. As a result, the acceptance of what in practice is Kurdish dominated governance rests narrowly on the provision of security and services — and those pillars already appear strained in some places. Services are meager, and security is a double-edged sword: Arab residents I’ve met express appreciation for the relative stability, but also frustration at what some perceive as the draconian tactics of outsiders.

      There have been some improvements of late, as I learned during my most recent trip. In Manbij, increased prodding by U.S. officials and deft coalition-building by key self-administration personnel yielded notable changes in style and substance: The YPG flags and posters of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan that blanket much of northeastern Syria (including majority-Arab areas) are absent in the city. Day-to-day security tasks are handled by local recruits. And Arab members of the local governing council have been afforded more responsibility than is evident elsewhere. That said, Qandil-trained Kurdish cadres are still widely seen as the ultimate authority and backbone of local governance.

      Those adjustments have been sufficient thus far in Manbij, but more will be required in Raqqa. There, the YPG is preparing to expand a strained governance network to the largest Arab-majority city it has yet attempted to control. Without significant changes to its model and increased external support, there is a real danger of overstretch — which would present opportunities for jihadists to exploit.

      Avoiding this trap will require increased engagement and investment from the U.S. and European members of the anti-ISIL coalition — both to incentivize appropriate shifts by the YPG, and to ensure that the nascent local government in Raqqa has sufficient resources to establish stability and earn local credibility.”

      Thank you, kind sir, for giving up your goals in the game (as it is often the case with the articles on “War on the Clays”). Only it looks like the Kurds themselves are unwilling or incapable of dealing with this kind of headache. And I don’t see US or other members of the “Coalition of Unwilling” paratrooping squads of clerks, administrators and bureaucrats into the “liberated” areas of SDF.

  16. Cortes says:

    For aficionados of “a gas station masquerading as a country”:

    http://thesaker.is/made-in-russia-v-sitrep/

    A summary of recent manufacturing activity in the RF.

  17. kirill says:


    According to Obummer and various pundits this was supposed to be a quagmire for Russia.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Did you see the analysis on the above maps in Russia Insider?

      http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/latest-russian-ministry-defense-briefing-syria-was-big-disappointment/ri20480

      The “analysis” bordered on the absurd suggesting that Russia overstated how precarious the position of the Syrian government was at the start of their intervention thus, the present map is likely false as well.

      Normally each of these would be considered downright explosive information, except for one little detail. At the same briefing the Russian Ministry of Defense also presented this map (1st map above – PO):

      The Russian MoD claims this was the front line situation in Syria on September 30, 2015—the day of its entry into the Syrian war.

      The map is grossly inaccurate. It gets the general shape of the government and rebel-held areas at that time right, but enormously enlarges the rebel areas, and makes the government territory far thinner than it actually was.

      According to it, the rebels (dark blue) held much more of Syria than the government, which is nowhere near the truth. It makes it out as if the Syrian army was in its last throes before it was heroically rescued by the Russian MoD on September 30th, 2015.

      If the Russian briefing is this wrong on the situation in 2015—and seems inclined to greatly exaggerate the impact the Russian military intervention has had on the battlefield so far—it makes it harder to trust it on the details of the situation in 2017.

      That’s a shame because with a war with so much misinformation, cheerleading and exaggeration floating around from all sides we really need somebody you can rely on to tell it like it is.

      Someone at Russia Insider (hint: Marko Marjanović) is butt-hurt that Russia has had such a level of success. Syria was indeed at the point of collapse prior to the Russian intervention. IIRC, Damascus itself would have been endangered in 3-4 months according to US analysts. This fact is not a negative reflection on the heroic efforts of the Syrian government and its allies fighting a well-armed, well-financed and ruthless invading force.

      For Marko to so breezily dismiss Russia’s success and to seek to diminish its credibility suggests a hidden agenda, at least to me.

      • kirill says:

        Russia Insider’s format makes me doubt their intentions. Pretty much every thing is one big joke and the website is like a variant of The Onion. The second map above is definitely accurate (in as much as blocks of the desert are shaded contiguously, in reality control by Daesh and SAA is concentrated around roads, villages and oil/gas fields). The first map has indeed an exaggeratedly small SAA zone, specifically around Aleppo. The Daesh zone looks excessive to me for September of 2015. But it is a fact, as you point out, that the Syrian government was on its last legs. If Russia did not intervene it would have fallen. This would have consolidated Daesh and resulted in long term problems inside Russia associated with jihadi infiltration.

        • Skandalwitwe says:

          That map IS totally incorrect and the claim that the Syrian government controlled only 12k km2 before the Russian rescue ops is plain ridiculous…in fact it’s another western propaganda narrative. The hardest times for Syria were in fact 2012 (widespread defections of SAA units) to 2013 (maximum expansion of ‘rebels’). How dire the situation was at that time a few reminders:
          ○Homs (so-called capital of the revolution) still contested
          ○W-Aleppo with 1-1,5 million people totally cut off as well as a few scattered enclaves like Kweiris airbase and the Shi’ite twin towns of Nubl and Al-Zaraah
          ○ border area to Libanon largely under terrorist control
          ○ at least half of the capital not under government control as well as the rural areas around
          ○ the rebels stood deep in the Alawite heartland in Latakia governorate

          But in the 2nd half of 2013 and 2014 the situation somewhat stabilized…with the invaluable help of the Hezbollah. A (vulnerable) land corridor to Aleppo was re-established, Al-Quseir area and later much of the border to Libanon was secured, Homs was largely freed except of a few quarters in the city center and the presence of the beardies in Damascus was slowly reduced to a number of pockets. It’s true that the government controlled only roughly a quarter of the country but at least 2/3 to 70+% of the poulation with all major cities (Daraa and Aleppo only partially of course). The rapid ISIS expansion which conquered half of the country in 2014 didn’t turn out to be lethal because it didn’t affect strategic important areas.

          What the SAA failed was to reform itself…like for example the Red Army did during the Great Patriotic War.

      • marknesop says:

        I don’t know why the information is so distorted, but I find it hard to imagine Marko would do so deliberately. He’s pretty pro-Russian and I have not noticed a predilection for making things up to suit a western agenda from him.

        • Patient Observer says:

          A mean thing to say perhaps, but Marko may be pro-Russian only if he thinks that they are losing. Perhaps not.

          • marknesop says:

            I don’t think so. As hoct (Hero of Crappy Town), he posted a lot of pro-Russian stuff here and was never noticeably concern-trolling (“I sure hope this doesn’t happen, but did everybody hear about this terrible thing that might have happened in Russia?”). He was also responsible for that great historical paper on the Soviet war casualties in World War II. On reflection, I don’t think he is so much pro-Russian as he is anti-western-establishment with its corporate worship and non-stop lying.

            I noticed the comments there pretty much reflect the opinion here, so perhaps there will be some amplification later on in which he explains his rationale. I’m sure he wouldn’t write that the map was a crock if he didn’t believe it. I’m just not sure why he would say such a thing, not to mention soft-pedaling the contribution Russia made to the conflict – I don’t think too many are in doubt that the SAA was on the verge of losing, and Russia turned that around in less than a month. Not by just swaggering and threatening, either; the Air Force went to work right away with aggressive and sustained bombing missions. Given the USA was already in combat in Syria for nearly two years, during which time ISIS steadily advanced and took more territory, Russia’s mission also exposed America’s puppet show in Syria, in which it claimed to be ‘fighting ISIS’ but was actually helping their advance. What other conclusion can be drawn from the rapid results achieved by Russia – that the USAF is incompetent, or poorly armed or too scared to fight or undermanned? Of course not – it is capable of delivering a massive blow to ISIS and sending it running just like Russia did. But it wasn’t doing that, so it was obviously not trying at all, and there was – equally obviously – a reason for that.

            The SAA had fallen back to where it was defending the capital from being overrun, and the western media reported dolefully (although its leaders were jubilant) that ISIS was in the suburbs of Damascus itself. Therefore the entirety of the Syrian state bar Damascus was more or less in ‘rebel’ hands, from the standpoint that the SAA could not be called upon to drive them out anywhere, and was fighting for its life in the capital.

            • yalensis says:

              From what I was reading at the time (mainly Krutikov, who is an excellent if pessimistic military analyst), the legitimate Syrian government was pretty much on its last legs, when Russia entered the fray and turned the tide.
              Russia can be annoyingly Oblomovite in that way — they have a tendency to hold back until it’s actually a “Perils of Pauline” type cliffhanger.
              WILL ISIS SEIZE THE CAPITAL TODAY? TUNE IN NEXT WEEK TO FIND OUT!

            • Patient Observer says:

              Thanks for putting this matter in perspective. Perhaps Marko’s concern was that Syria’s valiant resistance was not being fully appreciated.

            • Lyttenburgh says:

              “He was also responsible for that great historical paper on the Soviet war casualties in World War II. “
              My, what a coincidence, given what I’ve been up to lately… Challenge accepted (c).

      • kirill says:

        This map is more realistic and you can see that the map I posted before is finagled.

  18. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    http://sharij.net/91153

    The widow Boronenkov pipes again.

    (TRIGGER WARNING: Now looks like a drag queen)

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Her scumbag thief of a husband was very likely bumped off by scumbag Ukrainian criminals whom associated with.

      No doubt that is what the Evil One wants the world to think.

      See: Denis Voronenkov Dossier – Russian Mafia

    • yalensis says:

      Maksakova used to be beautiful, but her looks were ruined by plastic surgery.
      Especially the lip thing, I have NO idea why any women would want to have their lips blown up like that, so they look like fishes. I understand why people want to tighten the skin, but why augment lips and breasts – it just looks ridiculous!

      This video shows how beautiful she used to be, and how her looks were ruined by an incompetent plastic surgeon:

      • Jen says:

        I suppose in her profession, looks are as important as singing talent and even when female opera singers are established and are assured of regular offers of work, they will always be looking over their shoulders at the upcoming generation. Female opera singers’ careers often do not last long as those of male opera singers; women’s voices can be surprisingly hostage to their menstrual cycles and menopause (when menstruation ends) can end a woman’s singing career – it did for Maria Callas, apparently. Looks can be affected by menopause as well. It probably takes just one critic or well-meaning friend to suggest an injection or a nip-n-tuck somewhere, the singer takes up the idea, and next thing you know the rest of the face looks tired and needs work.

  19. Patient Observer says:

    Every so often some people in the MSM and the political class have the opportunity to tells the truth:

    http://theduran.com/tulsi-gabbard-sides-with-trump-on-dismantling-cia-program-to-fund-al-qaeda-and-isis-in-syria-video/

    • marknesop says:

      Ha, ha, ha!!! “Russia seems to have corrupted rational conversation about foreign policy”!!! I couldn’t believe it – that suety smug dick Tucker was doing so well, but he had to blame Russia for the fact that the United States made up so many things that Russia allegedly did, but in fact did not. The reflex was just too strong.

      You could almost hear heads exploding in Washington, too, when she said “Our so-called allies like Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar…”

  20. Lyttenburgh says:

    Twitted right after Herr Kurt [Ein] VOLKer tour of the Ukraine and shoot his mouth off suggesting it’s a high time to arm the Brotherly Nation.

  21. saskydisc says:

    Counterpunch: Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job? Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

    Forensic studies of “Russian hacking” into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2017, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computers, and then doctored to incriminate Russia.

    The article contains a damning time-line: Wikileaks made their announcement on 12 June, the DNC/Crowdstrike malware announcement was made on 15 June, and the alleged “hack” occurred on 5 July.

    Another damning detail is that the data rate of the hack suggests either four simultaneous T3 connections, two internal 100MBPS ethernet connections with load sharing, or a USB or similar mechanism. It is doubtful that a SMTP (email) server would use anything as fast as a T1 (one thirtieth the data rate of a T3), let alone four T3s especially for a smallish group of people such as the DNC, which suggests very strongly either internal ethernet (they might have had gigabit/s ethernet in their intranet) or a USB copy doctored to make it look like a hack.

    This also suggests that the purpose behind the hack was purely to taint information that had already escaped, which is akin to hiding information for its incriminating content. I would think that that constitutes evidence of mens rea.

    • kirill says:

      The details are always the key. But the average media consumer sap can’t tell the difference between one technical detail and another and every detail is treated not as a show-stopping fact, but as a fuzzy entity that somehow can be ignored if needed. This is why the rapid Russia meddling narrative has any staying power. All the lemmings who basically run with what they are told and do not engaged their brains to do any analysis.

      • saskydisc says:

        Analysis requires a baseline of curiosity. Curiosity requires a baseline of suspicion, and absence of fear. My impression is that much of the population is actually scared, and that they remain scared despite surviving various dangers. This I do not understand.

  22. Northern Star says:

    http://www.newsweek.com/russian-forces-host-china-india-and-20-other-militaries-international-army-640844

    India??????? I got the -possibly wrongheaded- notion that India was fast becoming America’s bitch in that neck of the woods:
    http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1003574.shtml

  23. Northern Star says:

    Well…maybe..just maybe.. the JCOS isn’t made up of completely crazy warmonger nutjobs…!!!!

    https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/07/24/us-general-says-north-korea-military-engagement-would-be-horrific/23045628/

    Let’s hope so !!!!

  24. Northern Star says:

    http://www.newsweek.com/trump-may-arm-ukraine-says-new-us-special-envoy-641512

    “Fresh from his first official tour in his new role, during which he claimed to be “astonished” with the “hot war” he had seen in the east, Kurt Volker said in an interview on Tuesday that arming Ukrainian troops could shift Moscow’s tactic but would not be provocative.”

    Volker went into the private sector in 2009, becoming an independent director at The Wall Street Fund Inc[5], where he worked until 2012. He was a member of the board of directors at Capital Guardian Funds Trust[6] beginning in 2013[7]. Volker was also an independent director at Evercore Wealth Management Macro Opportunity Fund until 2012[8].
    Volker served as a senior advisor at McLarty Associates, a global consulting firm from 2010 – 2011.

    ****In 2011, he joined BGR Group, a Washington-based lobbying firm and investment bank, where he currently serves as a managing director in the firm’s international group.***

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

    http://www.uawire.org/news/ukraine-hires-bgr-group-to-lobby-in-washington

    Sooooo..Let’s see..Volker has a clear personal pecuniary interest in *one side* of a conflict that he is involved in assessing and mediating in his *official capacity* as ambassador to Ukraine and Tillerson appointee:
    https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/07/272412.htm

    • Northern Star says:

      If Volker can be a prostitute for Kiev-pimped out by BGR-..Then what’s wrong with Kushner whoring for Moscow???. .(*IF* that is in fact what he did)

  25. marknesop says:

    Russian passenger kicked off of Delta Airlines flight for being an invader in Crimea, despite his having lived in the USA for 22 years. You just have to shake your head in amazement. I wonder how long it will be before some of us are seated on international flights next to Americans who invaded and destroyed Libya and Iraq?

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      I support throwing Americans off international flights – after takeoff.

      • marknesop says:

        Well….let’s not get carried away. I only meant to highlight how unjust it would be to demand the removal of some old couple from the Midwest just because some of their countrymen do the bidding of neoconservative ideologues in Washington. So far as I am aware neither Syria, Libya nor Iraq were ever part of the United States of America. and until I hear otherwise I’m going to assume none of those countries held a referendum in which a solid majority voted to join the United States.

    • yalensis says:

      According to the latest news , Eremin plans to sue Delta Airlines. If Eremin is telling the truth, then the airline made a mistake, they should have just reseated him, further away from the asshole, instead of taking the asshole’s side.

      According to Eremin, Delta offered him a peasly $100 as compensation for his inconvenience. That was also a mistake. Once they made the first mistake, Delta needed to stick by their guns and double down. By offering Eremin any money, they were essentially conceding that they were in the wrong.
      And now he plans to take them to the bank. He says he won’t forgive them and will sue them for everything they got.

      Now, Delta tells a completely different story: According to them, Eremin was late for boarding, then just burst through the hatch after they had already closed it. This interfered with the electrical signals, and the flight was delayed. They claim that Eremin was questioned, and then removed for reasons of safety. In which case, if they were telling the truth, then they shouldn’t have offered him the $100, they should have prosecuted him to the full extent of the law.

      Well, eventually I reckon we will find out who is lying!

      Χρόνος δίκαιον άνδρα δείκνυσι μόνος.

      • marknesop says:

        Seems a little unlikely they decided to remove him for arriving late and bursting through the hatch if they had already seated him. What part did the American who did not want to sit next to a Crimean invader play in that scenario? Or did that never happen at all? If not, as you say, why the cursory offer of compensation? If he made up the story of getting kicked off for being Russian, Russia should make a big stink about it and tell all Russians not to make up sensational stories trading on their nationality.

        For the record, I believe him. Nobody in their right mind would sue an airline with its platoon of lawyers if they knew they had no case at all.

  26. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    http://www.russiadefence.net/t5484p900-the-situation-in-the-ukraine-26#200208

    In short, some sort of battle in the Krasnogorovka sector, which the Ukrainian forces lost:

    “Here is a chronicle of events:

    On the night from Thursday to Friday, from 13 to 14 July, the APU opened a mortar shell at Staromikhaylovka. I emphasize, not our positions, namely residential buildings. Two houses were damaged. One civilian was wounded. In the morning there was a report of the correspondent of VGTRK Alexander Sladkov.
    – On the night from Friday to Saturday from 14 to 15 July, the shelling was repeated, but already more powerful, artillery worked.
    – On Saturday evening, July 15, again, there was artillery shelling.
    – On Sunday evening, July 16, again shelling and again destroyed houses in Staromikhaylovki.
    – In the morning there was a report about the press service of the NM DNR.
    – In the night from Monday to Tuesday 17 on 18 July, a civilian died in Staromikhaylovka, one more civilian was killed and another two were injured, another civilian was injured in Kuibyshev district.
    – On Tuesday, July 18th, that part of the front was quiet.
    – But on Wednesday July 19, Thursday July 20 and until Friday July 21, every evening and night Petrovsky district, Staromikhailovka Kirov district and the Kuibyshev district was subjected to strong mortar and artillery strikes. Every day there were wounded civilians, as well as destroyed houses and infrastructure.

    Most likely, from 19 to 20 July, an order was given to suppress the mortar and artillery batteries of the APU with available means, which have been killing civilians and military republics for a week already. The next day, Ukrainian media filled the news with the fact that Novorussians attacked their positions and even beaten something there. Reported about the many dead servicemen of the Armed Forces and so on. Although according to the information provided by the Ukrainian media, 9 soldiers were quoted, and only 4 were killed in the Krasnogorovka district.

    Notice in the Svetlodarsk arc area in December 2016, they had killed 80 soldiers and injured more than 200, but there was a silence in the Ukrainian media. The same situation occurred with the exacerbation of the YaBP in January 2017, there were also many deaths of about 60 servicemen and about 120 were wounded and were also quiet.

    And here 9 was lost, and on all 450 km to the front and such attention.”

    As always, not the least indication that the Ukrainian forces have upped their game since February 2015 – but perhaps this wonder weapon of theirs will turn the tide?

    (The wonder weapon is Turchinov’s prominent man-tits).

  27. Moscow Exile says:

    BREAKING NEWS: RAF typhoon scrambled to intercept Russian nuclear bombers over the Black Sea

    A Royal Air Force Typhoon based in Romania has been launched as a response to Russian nuclear bomber operating near NATO airspace over the Black Sea.

    Operating from the Romanian Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base near Constanta on the Black Sea coast, the RAF Typhoon responded to Russian Federation Air Force TU-22 Backfire strategic bombers heading south near NATO air space.

    The Russian military jets were flying over the western Black Sea and were monitored by the Typhoon.

    The Tupolevs – the first supersonic bomber to enter production in the Soviet Union – were tracked as they departed south but the jets did not come within visual range of each other.

    Comments are interesting:

    When did the RAF start flying the American F-16 Eagle with Royal Norwegian Airforce markings on the tail?”

    [In the past 10 minutes while I have been writing at 08:35 Moscow time, the photograph of the Norwegian F-16 has been taken down.]

    Does anybody actually have a definition for “NATO airspace”? 2. Given that these aircraft had crossed from Russian airspace into International Airspace, what was the reason and/or justification for scrambling fighters to “do something”? I know you said “intercept” but that is nonsense because if RAF fighters were to actually intercept Russian aircraft in International airspace, they would be entitled to view such action as hostile and respond accordingly. So is that the point of the game then? To see if you can provoke some sufficiently inexperienced Russian Pilot into taking umbrage at unwarranted intrusion? If so, any Officer stupid enough to give such an order should never be troubled by the demands of Office in the future – and the same goes for any Minister who would either order or authorise it. Grow up – you’re not Mutti Merkel’s headless chickens any more!”

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Again, from the worst UK rag of all:

      AIR SCARE RAF RAF Typhoons scrambled to see off two Russian jets racing towards Nato airspace in the Black Sea

      And again, readers’ comments are generally critical of the newsworthiness of this article.

        • Jen says:

          Was this the article from The Sun?
          https://www.democraticunderground.com/10141829097

          Source: The Sun (UK)

          By Danny Collins
          25th July 2017, 4:31 pm

          “RAF Typhoon scrambled to see off two Russian jets racing towards Nato airspace in the Black Sea

          THE RAF this morning scrambled one of its fighter jets to intercept two Russian bombers in the Black Sea.

          A British Typhoon raced towards Moscow’s TU-22 Backfire bombers as they approached Nato airspace off the coast of Romania.

          The supersonic Brit jet – capable of reaching speeds of 1,500mph – was based at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base on the western Black Sea coast. Russia and Ukraine occupy the northern extreme of the sea.

          The jets did not come close enough to see each other and the Russian aircraft departed southwards.”

          Helpful of Danny Collins to let readers know the RAF Typhoon is capable of leaving the sound barrier far, far behind in its attempt to accost the nasty Russians. Just what was it doing at Mihail Kogalniceanu airbase in Romania in the first place though? Shouldn’t it be, uh, at home to intercept any Russian bombers flying too close to UK airspace?

          • marknesop says:

            If the aircraft were never within visual range of one another, how does the UK even know for sure they were Russian? Electronic warfare intercepts? EW is a passive technology, and unable to provide range with any degree of accuracy whatever. You could correlate it with a radar intercept, but that means something down that bearing line has that radar fitted and is operating it. In a crowded sky, that might be sketchy.

            The more likely answer is that they were operating their IFF and thus declaring themselves to be Russian military aircraft. Odd behavior for a scurrilous enemy trying to sneak up on the Forces of Goodness and Light.

    • marknesop says:

      Given that it is not very likely Russian aircraft on sovereignty patrols or surveillance duties are actually carrying nuclear weapons in other than wartime, but are merely capable of carrying nuclear weapons, it is curious that nobody in the press ever refers to the venerable B-52 as a ‘nuclear bomber’. Because of course it is capable of carrying nuclear weapons, although the USAF is in process with a plan to reduce its nuclear-configured bomber fleet to about 60 aircraft by next year.

      La Russophobe used to twitch over this regularly – she had a stock phrase that Russia was ‘buzzing the American coast with nuclear bombers’. It was to no avail that I regularly pointed out the aircraft consistently stayed out of national airspace – and thus could not be ‘buzzing the coast’ – and were unlikely to be carrying nuclear weapons just because they could, given no state of war existed between Russia and the United States.

      It appears from the comments that people are becoming tired of the contempt shown us by not even trying to cover up that the clips and photos do not show what they are purported to show, and that the west is consistently provoking Russia in hopes of getting the kind of ‘rise’ which might start a war.

      The USA sometimes clarifies that when it says ‘NATO airspace’, it means inside NATO’s ‘area of interest’. And since NATO – and, primarily, its biggest partner – is ‘interested’ in what goes on everywhere in the world, then everywhere in the world (including in Russian national airspace) is within its ‘area of interest’.

  28. Cortes says:

    America strong:

    https://www.rt.com/usa/397578-transgender-military-wont-serve/

    Phew! What a relief. The world is safe from the rampages of Candy Nesbit (q.v.).

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      How intolerant of them! They should instead take as example these queer folks:

      They are literally [puts on the sunglasses] peshmergays [metal guitar riff is played in the background].

      Seriously, that’s a fucking shame and haram, astugfirullah.

    • marknesop says:

      It is just creepy how Trump announces radical changes in American domestic and foreign policy via Twitter. That sort of decision is supposed to take place only after lengthy debate in the appropriate forums – either the Senate or Congress or by empaneling recognized experts if that sort of expertise does not exist in legislative bodies. I realize he said ‘After consultation with my Generals’, but that’s just not good enough – although the senior ranks of the military are by nature intensely political, they are not politicians and have no experience with the law except for military justice. Did he consult anyone else, for balance? Or is Trump running the country with the backing of a military junta? The USA might have a huge military, but it is far, far smaller than the general non-military population.

      As a total aside, Chelsea Manning is looking pretty good these days. If I was single, I would date her. If invited, of course.

  29. Lyttenburgh says:

    In my article, I make a claim that Mark Galeotti not only remained preachy, unhinged and continued his practice of unsubstantiated claims, but, actually, gone from bad to worse. I did not provide any link to prove it with the example, thinking that (a) it’s obvious (b) there is no need to promote his blog anyway.

    This is a wrong approach, and no one should believe any unsupported claims even mine. Thankfully, there is an excellent example of his recent “prophesying”, the one which surely belong to the Paris Chamber of Weights and Measures (the same room where there are held articles by late and unlamented Andre Gluksman, which constitute 1 “Gluk” of Russophobia) as a new measuring unit for the levels of wishful thinking “Crussionality”.

    Soon to be croaking “The Moscow Times” decided to dedicate their last printed volume to the publishing of various trash, waste and sodomy insanity, like Galeotty’s article. It begins with a whimpering bang:

    “First of all, the Putin system is dying, and few seem to be mourning it.”

    There are 4 things upon which you can gaze eternally – how the water flows, how the fire burns, how someone else works and how mentally retarded Westies/EuroUkrs predict Russia’s destruction. Btw – I think Lev Nathanovich Scharansky (and the crème de la crème of the Brighton Beach intelligentsia, residing in the café “Matryoshka”) should patent the expression “Downfall of the regime is inevitable” and sue anyone who uses it without their consent, thus earning a hefty gesheft to be spent on vodka “Tear of kreakl”, Scotland whiskey and elite Polish moonshine sold in this fine establishment. For yours and ours freedom, of course.

    Okay, Google! I have two request for you – first, how to stop laughing at silliness? Second – let’s google similar predictions.

    Wow! So much?! Topmost three picks are, actually, nothing compared to the incredibly precise and wildly accurate ones done by the trusted experts, who are routinely allowed to reiterate their position on the pages of the Free and Independent Ukrainian press. I’m talking, of course, about the famous prediction of none other than Victor Suvorov (nee Victor Bohdanovych Rezun) on the pages of the Gordonua.com site, a media outlet which has as much unbiased and accurate articles, as its owner and propertitor Alexander Gordon has hair on his head. Rezun (in)famously predicted that “Putin’s regime will fall within a year”. It was 23 July 2017. Just recently, we had opportunity to celebrate the second anniversary of the Regime’s fall – according to Rezun. Do you think he apologized for his utter failure, or toned down his insane predictions? No, of course not! If anything, Victor Rezun, a well known liar, and current resident of Bristol, UK, who didn’t visit Russia since his defection in 1978, doubles down his insane predictions, casually throwing away such things like “Russia Far East is occupied by the Chinese – believe me!”. This unhigeness and the fact, that he tells thing they want to hear is the reason why he is popular on Gordonua.com, and why he is furiously handshaked as the “revealer of the burning truth” by such examples of Living Not By A Lie, like Mikhail Veller and Yulia Latynina.

    And now Mark Galeotti should be viewed as the member of the same club. Trust me – he doesn’t mind. To paraphrase Shakespeare’s “Richard III”, thigh conscience now is lying in his paymasters purse. But when the purse will be opened to reward him for his next “exploit”, nothing gonna fly away – it’s dead. Good riddance, lest having one would surely make a man like Mark Galeotti a beggar.

    But back to the article!

    “Putin will want to pick a successor who will protect him and his legacy. But he was a political artifact of the 1990s near-collapse of the Russian state and immediate post-imperial backlash. His mini-me will likely be constrained by an elite more interested in economic performance, which means improved relations with the West, reduced defense and security spending, meaningful property rights, and diversification.

    In the first instance, that means putting pressure on the individual in the Kremlin, and one of the best ways of doing that is through a re-institutionalization of the state. Democracy in Russia today may largely be sham, but it seeps into public consciousness, and constitutions have a tendency to demand attention over time.

    This requires real political parties. Whatever happens to Alexei Navalny – realistically, he was never a candidate for 2018 as the election after – the more his movement acquires structure and nationwide reach, the more it is laying the foundations for such a party.”

    Wow. “Mini-me”. How… “brave”! You can also notice that Galeotti provides (once again) no basis for his predictions – he simply claims, and you are told to believe him. He seems to be enmoured with the simplistic view that the “elite” in Russia consists solely of the liberal-leaning members of Medvedev’s economic block, or that the West, you know, won’t be going from Russia’s border, that it will continue to meddle in Russia’s inner affairs and that the ruling elites would have to fight it all off instead of throwing the towel. He won’t say that because it’s not what he wishes for. And his jerking off on Navalny is outright cringeworthy.

    “It is striking that even the sons and daughters of the upper elite are, in the main, not being groomed to run the government, nor wanting to be part of it. A political career in the moribund Putinocracy is neither cool, nor desirable.”

    Here Galeotti throws his full weight in support of the aristocracy, as opposed to the meritocracy. Such democrat and liberal!

    “We will see the rise of a new generation of political, business and social movers-and-shakers who are, well, normal. They are not hold-out homo sovietici, nor traumatized survivors of the 1980s and 1990s. They have been exposed to a barrage of toxic propaganda, and yet are not goose-stepping stormtroopers of neo-tsarist imperialism.”

    Here Galeotti says out loud that he considers both the people, who were formed as personalities in the USSR and those who were formed during the “democratic” period of Yeltsin’s Russia to be “not normal”. Aka – untermenchen. And I’m actually not surprised in the slightest, that the so-called liberals hold such fascist views – there is a great deal of correlation between the two, who sprang from the same compost heap. But even his ageist idea of the political “Logan’s Run” might come to naught, because there is totally no guarantee that the new generation of the elites will subscribed to approved by him PC ideas. In fact, the majority of those who support the commemoration of Stalin in the form of statues, plaques and those who think that emphasizing his better qualities over worse is important (a move with which Mark Galeotti surely can’t agree) is overwhelmingly prevalent among the younger generation of Russians. This, coupled with the Levada’s poll about the most important historical figure, which placed Stalin on the first place (again) and other earlier polls, which shows that the majority of Russians dislike unregulated capitalism, take pride in their history and simply don’t like “western values”, Galeotti’s of the world are into some big disappointment. He already claimed, that the current elite (which, let’s be honest, is somewhat corrupted by the liberal ideas) is not grooming their children to take their place, then the new elite will have to come from somewhere else – like the Russian people. And Russian people demonstrate all those deplorable traits, about which Galeotti has no desire to talk.

    “Instead, Russians are looking increasingly beyond state media for their news, building networks and communities both virtual and physical, and, whatever some outsiders may think, they are not passive.”

    I’m tired of saying that, but, AGAIN, Galeotti simply claims. He never proves. For him any form of protest is the death knell for the “Regime” in Russia. Not in the West, though. I’m honestly surprised, why he and the likes of him are jumping on the bandwagon of “That’s IT! The Beginning!”, when someone is protesting in Russia (which is hardly a victory in itself, because it is not illegal), but none of them dare to employ the same strenuous logic and argue that, say, Ferguson and Baltimore riots/acts of civil disobedience lead to the downfall of the Democrats regime. Why not?!

    “I am not expecting rapid change for the better, nor that 2024 will see some liberal, law-based democratic state flowering.

    But in the long term, Russia has extraordinary potential and will take its place as a European nation in values and institutions, not just geography”

    The ending is done impeccable – all usual “feelgoodism” of the Prosperity Gospel, only this time – in the Promise of granting the bleeding heart liberasts their hear desire. Awwww!.. Only I read such hopey-teary articles about “bright liberal future of Russia” right after and during Bolotnaya affair – often by the same usual suspect. And before that – I read about the “coming of new political generation in Russia” in 2007, after Yeltsin’s deaths and when the “31 initiative” were peaking ip steam. And if I go sufficiently back in time, I will surely encounter nearly identical copies of what Marko the Magnificent prophesizes that – nearly word for word. Hmmm… Maybe they have a basic template to write such things? Would make sense.

    But now he doesn’t make any prediction tied to the concrete date – which allows him to sound generally handshakable, PC and deflect the flack when his predictions – invariably – would fail. Like I mention elsewhere the punch line of the old Eastern tale: “And in 20 years either shah, or me or this horse will be dead”.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Typo! Here’s a proper link to the Paris Chamber of Measures and Weights (Bureau International des Poids et Mesures). Yes, mentioning or referencing it in Russia is an often ironic practice, instead of just saying “trademark”.

      Second – the downfall of Putin’s regime dates back as early as 2001 after this:

      The headline has a double entendre meaning, because Russia word for the “end” (“конец”) is also a colloquial term for the Male Reproduction Organ (MRO) aka “penis”. Since then the phrase “конец Путина в устах [Х]” became a meme.

      Another good retrospective of predictions that came absolutely wrong would be yearly claims by this or that delusional person (who are, strangely enough, not only not put in the mental wards, but, in fact, allowed to publish their ramblings in the press) is, of course, the claim that “Putin ran himself into the corner/a trap”:

      This trope became trendy after YUKOS affair.

      Another thing popular in the Special Olympics discipline of the Crussionality – the “ultimatum” issued to Putin.

      The only thing that can compare with the persistence and object failure of these attempts to Nosradamize future are the promises that THIS [current year] will be crucial for the future of the Ukraine.

    • marknesop says:

      I just don’t care for the contemptuous curl of his lip as he refers to Russian politics, as if he were speaking of a society of dogs which walk upright. And what is with this rote insistence on ‘real political parties’? The United States is a two-party Constitutional Republic, and the two parties differ mostly in their name and to some extent in their government spending – their foreign policies are virtually interchangeable; but, more importantly, no matter which party holds power, there remains a cabal of neoconservative ideologues who are political appointees and unelected and who continue to wield tremendous influence whenever decision-making departs from the preferred course. I suspect when the Russophobes speak of ‘real political parties’, they mean liberals who would win despite their manifest unpopularity and then somehow wrench the country in a new and western-approved direction without anyone in Russia noticing or taking action to stop them – apparently the only body politic which is expected to protest is the hardcore liberal protest community.

      I’m almost sorry for him when he continues to speak wistfully of a rising tide of liberalism in Russia, of a totally-imaginary trend toward ‘democratic institutionalism’ and a yearning for more western advice, regulation and intervention. Let me say it here and now: there is no real evidence which suggests the Russian population in any meaningful strength hungers for the country to become more American in its institutions, laws, policies, social mores or leisure habits. In fact, I think it is only Russians’ live-and-let-live and to-each-his-own public attitude, in which they refuse to condemn the western lifestyle so long as it is westerners who wish to live it, which encourages would-be ‘liberators’ to agitate for ‘Russian freedom’ and ‘civil society’. Russians believe in minding their own business, and this approach is incomprehensible anathema to western do-gooders. Even those Russians who do express publicly their belief that the west is a cesspit of immoral degradation and hedonistic abandon are regarded either as charmingly crazy – like Zhik-Zhik Zhirinovsky – or politically useful as an example of Russian immorality. The public is just assumed to hunger for freedom and democracy. In what other circumstances would that be a feasible policy? Would it make sense to assume huge Russian demographics wished to learn French, or salsa dancing, or origami? Don’t assume people want something unless large numbers of them tell you they do. But once again, the west has a core community it listens to, and that’s the intelligentsia it cultivates as a regime-change state-in-being.

      Let me make one further prediction – Alexey Navalny is never, ever going to amount to anything politically. He is not ever going to even be in the Duma, never mind President or even some other significant cabinet post. He simply does not have the public support, and what support he does have is not gathering momentum. It’s the same yappers and nutbags and disillusioned bitter self-haters, just a few new ones every year to replace those who lose interest in Navalny 20XX, and wander away.

  30. Lyttenburgh says:

    In other news:

    1) London’s High court confirmed Ukraine’s obligation to repay Russia $3 bln plus 8% per year. That means that any day of delay of the repayment will cost the Ukrainian Western taxpayers $643 000. Plus the losing side have to cover Russian expenses in the court – that’s 2.8 mln. pounds, half of which they must pay before 30 September 2017.

    SUGS!

    2) SUDDENLY batono Mishiki Saakashvili was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship. Vah-vah-vah! The official reason voiced by the Migration Service of the Ukraine – “Saakashvili filed false date in the application papers” (which one they won’t tell).

    During his state visit to Georgia, 24 July Poroshenko said that he is ready to discuss the prospects of Saakashvili’s extradition back to his homeland. “Coincidence? I don’t think so!”. Mishiko should not try to play in the field of the cutthroat Ukrainian politics, and, most of all, he should have not criticize and diss Poroshenko.

    Given that he is no longer a citizen of the Ukraine AND Georgia… who is he? “A rootless cosmopolitan”?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Yukie media calls it “Yanukovich’s Debt” and makes out that the Russian loan was a “bribe” offered to Yanukovich for the rejection of integration with European integration.

      Hearings in the Court of Appeal are scheduled for January 2018.

      See Evil Empire MinFin Press Report.

      • marknesop says:

        What Yukie media makes it out to be is irrelevant, as the court has ruled it is a legitimate debt owed by Ukraine. If it truly were in any way a personal bribe offered to Yanukovych, the court would not have ruled as it did – there must be plenty of evidence that such was not the case, they’re not stupid.

        It will be a hell of a long time before Russia ever sees that money, because the Yukies will exhaust every appeal and then plead poverty to see if they can get the west to ‘lend’ them the money. Nonetheless, the Russian approach of remaining patient and keeping the histrionics and shirt-tearing to a minimum is vindicated,

  31. Evgeny says:

    Just returned from a short trip to St. Petersburg as a tourist. The unexpected thing was lots of South-East Asian tourists. Unfortunately I don’t speak those languages, and couldn’t likely distinguish Koreans from Chinese, but on the two trains I boarded (to and from St. Petersburg) may be like 90% of passengers were Asians. Many seniors among them, but lots of young folks too.

    It won’t be reported in the Western press, of course, but it’s actually old news. Just a couple links for the amusement of the KS community:

    http://www.shanghaidaily.com/business/consumer/Tourists-revel-in-new-destinations/shdaily.shtml

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2017-07/11/content_30065368.htm

    • marknesop says:

      The latter link just proves that Putin is trying to recreate the Soviet Union.

      • Evgeny says:

        That’s a surprise to me that it can be interpreted that way! Because it’s clearly a supply-and-demand thing. There are people willing to visit historic communist places. So the local tourist agencies organize the tours. Such activities are benefitial to the local economies, that’s why the Governments should welcome them.

        In Russia, Communists are the largest opposition party. For example, I voted for them because I’d like to see greater competetion in the state Parliament. And also because I believe that as a society Russia would benefit from adopting some socialist policies. But I presume that there are also hardline communists among KPRF supporters who would be glad to visit China and historic places there.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          If I were Russian, I would vote Communist as well and for the same reason. Pity that Zyuganov is such a boring a dick, though.

          Mrs. Exile has almost always voted Communist.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          “For example, I voted for them because I’d like to see greater competetion in the state Parliament. And also because I believe that as a society Russia would benefit from adopting some socialist policies.”

          Evgeny! I’m pleasantly surprised! You’ve never before told us about your political leanings (as opposed to me – I’m not shy about it).

          • Evgeny says:

            Lyttenburgh, well, I guess, nobody has asked me before? 😉

            What I mean is the basic things. We should have decent and free public healthcare and education. That might require raising the taxes, so be it! Let’s have less growth as the economy, but more equality regarding access to healthcare and education as a society. That feels fair to me.

      • Evgeny says:

        Actually I’m more surprised that Chinese tourists find something interesting for them in Russia.

        But of course, and especially given Russia’s strained relationships with the West, Russia should use any economic opportunity, including Chinese tourism.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I see crowds of them every summer in Moscow. They show great interest in the usual things that interest tourists: the Kremlin, St. Basil’s, the metro, the Stalin Towers.

          I used to see them nearly every afternoon piling out of their luxury tourist buses in front of the Foreign Ministry tower, where they all began clicking away furiously with their cameras. And then they used to pile into the up-market Sedmoi Kontinent store and come out pleased as punch with jars of honey and bars of Russian chocolate.

          They had a thing about honey: they used to empty the shelves. I used to see this twice a week every week when I was working at BP near Spaso House, just down the road from Smolenskaya metro station and the FM at the end of the Arbat.

          I too have the same interests, even after having been resident here for a very long time.

          I also like honey, of which there are very many varieties here.

          • Evgeny says:

            Well, I live in the Moscow District, so being on a major tourist route among the Chinese was a novelty.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              The very wealthy, geriatric German tourists whom I used to see in the ’90s often amused me. I used to see them shuffling out of the 5-star “International” in a morning, many with Zimmer frames, some in wheelchairs, accompanied by specially trained German guides for geriatrics.

              I wondered what interested them so about Moscow. And they were of my father’s generation: in their 70s and 80s back then.

              And then I suddenly realized why: they had come back to see where they had nearly got to in 1941.

              I bet some of them had even gazed at those same Kremlin spires that were facing them as they slowly shuffled out of the “International” as they had peered at through their binoculars back then in December 1941 — while their balls were freezing off!

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Where I used to live, if I rightly remember, but it was called Kaliningrad back then in 1995.

              Not the Königsberg one, natürich!

              🙂

  32. Northern Star says:

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/07/26/vene-j26.html

    “The growing aggressiveness of the opposition is largely a response to its support by the US government. On Monday, the Venezuelan foreign minister condemned statements made by CIA Director Michael Pompeo at the Aspen Institute think-tank last week, which amounted to indications that there is a plot to overthrow the Maduro government.
    “We are very hopeful that there can be a transition in Venezuela and we, the CIA is doing its best to understand the dynamic there,” said Pompeo, adding that he had just returned from Mexico and Colombia, where he had told them “how to get a better outcome.”

    Racist european (white) South American elite whores to their American master pimps:

    • marknesop says:

      It is up to the Venezuelan people to stop the political opposition by refusing to go along with its transparent elitist regime-change shenanigans, and to oppose its public demonstrations with a decisive show of support for the government. If the population is too lethargic to do that, it will have ‘progressive’ regime change foisted upon it. And believe me, neoconservative Washington has hungered to get control in Venezuela long enough that if it ever does, it will take immediate and decisive steps to ensure it is irreversible.

      Up to now, the opposition’s ‘growing aggressiveness’ is limited to acting as if it were the actual legitimate government, which the west of course pretends it is. These actions are totally illegal, and everyone knows a homegrown opposition would never be allowed to proclaim itself the legitimate and ‘real’ government of the United States of America. The military would be called out to shut it down, and no other country would recognize it. What the Venezuelan Washington patsies are doing is completely illegal, and if Maduro continues to passively appeal for calm he is going to have a riot on his hands. If that happens, there is every chance he will be overthrown and removed.

  33. Northern Star says:

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/07/26/pers-j26.html

    “The new sanctions expose the essential issues behind the “election hacking” campaign of the US media and political establishment, spearheaded by the intelligence agencies that are opposed to any shift away from the anti-Russia policy developed under the Obama administration.
    ****The near-unanimous vote in both houses of Congress (all “no” votes in the House were from Republicans) testifies to the degree to which the CIA, NSA and other spy agencies directly control the institutions of the state and the personnel that compose them.”***

    • Northern Star says:

      http://www.newsweek.com/how-do-sanctions-work-new-us-bill-targets-russia-and-europe-nervous-642136

      “One key question now is how Europe will react,” Sir Lyne says. “Over Ukraine, the US and EU marched in step. That is not the case now; and the new bill has the potential to make Europe pay a much higher price than the US.”

      The EU has never been more dependent on Russian gas, according to Bloomberg, as Russia’s state-run gas monopoly Gazprom now pumps over a third (34 percent) of Russia’s gas. At present, Gazprom has put the kibosh on one pipeline to the EU, known as South Stream but agreed one that will bring gas on the EU’s borders, to Turkey.

      By far the new U.S. bill place the most distressing question mark on the pipeline to northern Europe known as Nord Stream II. Five of Europe’s biggest energy companies are all signed on to partner Gazprom in pumping gas westwards.

      Anglo-Dutch group Royal Dutch Shell, Austria’s OMV, France’s Engie and Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall have agreed to work with Gazprom on the pipeline, collectively covering around half of the nearly $11 billion cost.

      The European Commission President Jean Claude-Juncker warned Wednesday that Brussels needs to act “within days” if the U.S. does provide Europe with reassurance that the sanctions will not jeopardize EU interests. A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity told European news site EUobserver, that the European companies would likely not be punished by the U.S. as part of the sanctions but called the situation a “risk” regardless.

      “The Europeans intensely dislike U.S. extraterritoriality, and this will widen the breach between the EU and U.S.,” Sir Lyne says. “For the Russians, that is a silver lining.”

      All the europeans need do is tell Uncle Sam to go fuck himself with his sanctions…That will pull the rug out from under the American psychos behind the rabid sanction lunacy

      • marknesop says:

        All the Europeans need do is tell Uncle Sam to go fuck himself with his sanctions…That will pull the rug out from under the American psychos behind the rabid sanction lunacy

        Of course that is not going to happen, at least not publicly – there will be no outward sign of European rebellion, because that would be ‘playing into Putin’s hands’, and the European elite still loathes Putin enough to not want to be seen doing that. At the same time, Uncle Sam does not want to back down, and an arrangement – even secret – that America would not apply the sanctions to European companies would completely nullify their effect. European companies would simply ignore them and carry on with their plans. So the possibility they might be invoked has to stay, with all the attendant fury that is likely to cause. Juicy as a mango, I think. Official America has been a bully for so long that it’s the only problem-solving approach it remembers.

        The question that keeps nagging at the corner of my mind, though, is “What if the USA were successful at stopping the construction of Nord Stream II…and Russia ceased transit through Ukraine anyway?” After all, this whole effort is focused on forcing Russia to continue transiting a big part of Europe’s gas supplies through Ukraine, both to keep Ukraine viable by forcing Russia to engage with it despite its objectionable ideological government, and to keep Ukraine as a bargaining chip to make Russia appear to be an unreliable supplier.

        Washington’s assumption is that Russia will continue to transit gas through Ukraine if its alternatives are removed – after all, it’s just a big gas station, and it can’t live without its gas sales to Europe. But what if, once again, Washington guessed wrong? If I were running Russia – let’s pretend, because I’m not – I would orchestrate a series of ‘rebel’ sabotage attacks on Naftogaz’s pipeline network, blowing up substantial parts of it, and then use that as a reason to cease transit of gas through the line: it’s just not safe. I would then maximize transit through existing pipelines except Ukraine, perhaps accelerating the completion of Turkish Stream, and publicly and loudly blame any shortfall on American meddling – if Nord Stream had been twinned, you wouldn’t have this problem. If it were managed correctly and everything went according to plan, I think it would resonate.

        Also, Russia has reduced its dependence on energy exports. It might be worth it to allow a scenario in which Washington got the opportunity to make up for Russian shortfalls, because it would be a complete failure – the export capability is just not there, and if they redoubled their efforts they would lose money like crazy because they could not do it for Russia’s prices. Either they would flop at the delivery end, or the Europeans would squeal like pigs because their gas rates went out of sight, or Uncle Sam would take a bath on American exports. Those are the only possible scenarios, it should be emphasized.

        • kirill says:

          We have clear evidence that the politicians in the USA do not have a grip on Russia’s economy and exports dependence. By 2019 Russia will have a massive gas pipeline to China. Gas for this pipeline has to come from somewhere and filling it up with Banderastan transit gas would be a good start to put the USA and its EU colony in its place. According to the most recent Awara Group report, the fraction of oil and gas industry in Russia is down to 8% of GDP. Not only is Russia not dependent on oil and gas for its GDP, it will lose nothing by shifting supply away from the EU.

          American politicians are also under the bizarre delusion that they can replace Russia’s piped gas with LNG exports. This delusion is something else. America imports natural gas! It would have to take a major consumption hit, thereby driving up prices since demand will remain, to supply the EU with 150+ billion cubic meters of gas per year that currently comes from Russia. The USA consumed about 780 bcm of gas in 2016. It does not have a spare 150 bcm to sell.

          • Northern Star says:

            http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/07/27/euro-j27.html

            “The European powers reacted sharply yesterday to the US House of Representatives’ passage of a bill imposing sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, indicating that it was unacceptable to European interests and that the European Union (EU) was preparing retaliatory measures.”

            “Angry commentary over the sanctions bill in the German press underscore that influential forces in the German ruling class see the sanctions bill as yet further evidence of hostile US intent towards Germany and Europe.
            “What is particularly dangerous is that supporters of Russia sanctions in Washington are not only trying to put Putin and Trump in the same bag, but also helping the US economy against foreign competition,” wrote the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Under the bill, the daily added, “Europeans would be forced to burn less Russian natural gas and more American liquefied natural gas. This is an unfriendly act, especially against Germany.”
            The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote that, “with all due respect for the Senate and its ambition to tie President Donald Trump’s hands on Russia policy, the draft law is unacceptable from a European perspective. First, it breaks the diplomatic alliance between Europe and the United States in deciding on sanctions against Russia. … The argument that America is promoting Europe’s energy security is also quite insolent. That is Europe’s responsibility. This is how you lose friends.”
            The question that is emerging is whether the US-EU military rivalry and bitter trade conflicts will now coalesce and escalate into a catastrophic breakdown in US-EU relations—in the form of a trade war that would bring the world economy to its knees, or of outright military conflict.”

            Hmmm….So the RWETA is born.. Russia &Western EuropeTrade Allliance

            • marknesop says:

              Why make it more complicated than it is? The French are in the lead for once – such sanctions are a violation of international law. Consequently no other nations are obligated to abide by them. If America levied a massive fine against BASF Wintershall, and that company simply ignored it, what would America do? Start booting out German companies in the USA? Melt BMW’s and pour them down the drains in the street?

              As I alluded yesterday, the USA has staked out a position from which it cannot back away, one which is of surpassing stupidity, because it has accustomed itself to being obeyed and fancies itself such a clever manipulator that it will always get its way. It is critical now that Europe actually stand together and speak with one voice; otherwise, America will begin probing for lack of resolve and unlimbering its divide-and-conquer game.

              The really funny part in this, from my viewpoint, is the way the Europeans blame Trump and his presidency. Granted, he did frame the ‘America first’ policy, but that’s just a convenient handle for the angry Europeans to grab. Trump entered office with the declared intention of mending the damaged relationship with Russia, and it was the Democrats who created an hysterical firestorm of accusation that Russia had greased Trump’s way into office. It has been ideologues outside Trump’s circle who crafted the sanctions legislation with a view to preventing him from lifting the sanctions under his own recognizance.

              It will also be pretty funny if Russia struggled and pleaded and accepted all manner of small-minded insults just to get into the World Trade Organization, only to see it collapse only a few years later. Because I’m pretty sure what America is trying to pull off here is in gross violation of WTO rules as well.

  34. Moscow Exile says:

    Remember this “feminist punk rocker”?

    She’ written a “memoir” entitled “Riot Days”, albeit she confesses that “writing a memoir at 27 is blasphemy”.

    In her memoir, she whinges about her imprisonment in a colony. (That’s a “gulag” amongst Western prestitutes.)

    See: Написать мемуары в 27 лет – это кощунство

    Strange looking feminist.

    I thought she was a singer in a punk band?

    • Evgeny says:

      Kinda like acknowledging everything great that happened to her is in the past? That’s wise thinking. I doubt she has any future as a musician.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “She’ written a “memoir” entitled “Riot Days”, albeit she confesses that “writing a memoir at 27 is blasphemy””

      Was she stoned then? 😉

      “Strange looking feminist.

      I thought she was a singer in a punk band?”

      Nah, she’s a walking repository for the frozen chickens. What?! If what Pavlensky does constitutes “art”, surely what she did is art as well! Somehow…

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Please don’t mistake her for the woman who stuffed a supermarket frozen broiler chicken up her vagina and was filmed whilst doing this in a Petersburg supermarket aisle.

        This error of identity made on this site provided grist to the infamous Peter’s mill, he who often just posted the caustic comment “idiot” and who claimed he knew the name of the extremely stupid woman who performed this act (a dangerous thing to do), though as, usual, he wouldn’t reveal her name, and it wasn’t Alyokhina (above).

        I found out who the chicken-in-the-pussy woman was was, but I have forgotten her name now.

        She was one of the Petersburg Voina gang, and after the chicken performance she debunked, as did at the same time another leading light of Voina — to Finland, I think.

        Voina were not pals with those who liked to call themselves the Moscow branch of Voina, namely the sent-down from MGU philosophy student Pete the Pedo and his philosophy student wife Nadya. In fact, serious accusations were made by the one and only genuine St. Pete Voina that Pete was not only a thief (he nicked one of their laptops and the data it contained, they said) but also a police informer.

        See [warning: definitely not for family viewing!]: Vaginal Liberation of Food


        The artist: not Alyokhina.
        The performance was called “How to snatch a chicken”.

        Geddit?

        • yalensis says:

          After this important artistic performance, the chicken was sent to Kentucky to star in a new performance called “Spicy and Crispy”:

        • Special_sauce says:

          Hard to watch.

          “Debunked”? Don’t you mean “decamped” or “departed”?

          • marknesop says:

            Or ‘did a bunk’?

            • Jen says:

              I prefer “… after the chicken performance, she bunked off …” although one must be careful when typing fast else one ends up with “… after the chicken performance, she bonked off”. 🙂

              I always wonder what happened to the born-again chook.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Please do not try to infringe one of my fundamental human rights, namely to formulate my own vocabulary!

            Nobody criticized Shakespeare for doing that!

            The word “debunk” means to prove something or someone as being false or worthless.

            I used the verb “debunk” reflexively to indicate that by making a rapid exit from the country where she had performed was proof positive that she was a worthless pizda.

            That’s my argument, and I am sticking to it, grammar-nazi!

            🙂

            The “artist” that performed in a supermarket with a frozen chicken was a certain Elena Kostyleva: her given group-performance name translates as “Vacuous C*nt With Enormous Tits”.

            Ars gratia artis?

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Apparently, Свободная пизда с невероятно большими сиськами [that’s what they called her, her performance name so to speak: check it out], was not concerned about suffering from a vaginal yeast infection as a result of her stupidity, but she may well have suffered a dose of salmonella poisoning.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              A point that some may miss in this cunning Voina stunt with a chicken:

              There was a play on Russian words in naming the Voina chicken performance.

              The Russian noun пизда [peez-da] means “c*nt”, “tw*t” etc., in British and, no doubt Australian English, anyway: for me, “pussy” is an endearing term for a cat.

              The Russian verb пиздить [peez-deet — with a “soft-t” at the end, a little “yi” sond added, making the letter “t” sound something like “tyi” ] is slang for stealing: “nicking”, “swiping” “pinching” in English.

              The perfective form of the verb having various prefixes added other than c can have a variety of meanings.

              The verb пиздить can also mean to hit someone.

              Interestingly, this is similar to the British English “to tw*t someone”. (He got a right good tw*tting outside the pub!)

              Derived from the same root is пиздеть [peez-dyet], which means to complain about something. (Sort of making a “c*nt” of oneself by persistently complaining?)

              Anyway, Elena Kostyleva has apparently claimed never to have participated in Voina actions.

              She also claims that she is a poet and a journalist.

              At a conference called “No Radical Arts”, she stated that the core question of Voina’s “events was Кто кого ебет — “Who fucks whom”.

              Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a fuck!

              • Moscow Exile says:

                As long as they are not minors, of course!

              • Moscow Exile says:

                The perfective form of the verb having various prefixes added other than c can have a variety of meanings…

                For example, for some reason or other, выпиздить means to get rid of, throw out, eject somebody.

                Декан обещал меня выпиздить к хуям из универа, если на этой неделе не закрою сесию.

                The dean swore he’d fucking well throw me out of the university if I don’t finish off my exams this week.

                • Evgeny says:

                  Moscow Exile, so you are saying you cannot vote because you are not Russian?

                  I hope there are some legal foundations for you to claim citizenship, because that’s a totally authentic piece of the language. 😉

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  As a foreign national with a full residency permit, I have all the rights of a Russian citizen apart from not being allowed to vote in political elections and not being allowed to stand for political election.

                • Evgeny says:

                  Moscow Exile, it’s up to you of course, but perhaps you could get some gainful experience if you could exercise those rights? Given your interest in politics and (I presume) motivation, you could run in municipal elections. If you haven’t considered it, it’s never late!

                • Evgeny says:

                  Looks like I’ve misused English. I should have said rewarding experience, not gainful. Apologies!

                • marknesop says:

                  ‘Gainful’ is not actually a bad choice; the word is used in that context, as in ‘gainfully employed’. I agree ‘rewarding’ is a better choice, but you were not wrong.

                • Jen says:

                  @ Evgeny: Wouldn’t ME need to have Russian citizenship to able to vote and to be a political candidate? He may have a particular reason not to take out Russian citizenship – such as needing to visit the UK sometimes on a British passport without being hassled too much by UK officialdom. Plus he needs to send ME Junior somewhere should the Russian military draft the young fella to its eternal (?) misfortune.

                  This is all from someone in a country where two Senators and a Cabinet Minister have just had to resign their positions because they were all caught with dual citizenships. There is a fourth politician now who might be in trouble for having dual citizenship and if she falls our government here in Australia is going to be in trouble because its majority over the opposition parties is something like … one.

                • Evgeny says:

                  Mark, Jen, thanks for your replies.

              • Lyttenburgh says:

                To continue this philological discussion, my 2 copecks worth of input:

                1) “пиздить… is slang for stealing: “nicking”, “swiping” “pinching” in English”

                Or “to snatch”. Thus, Guy Ritchie’s movie “Snatch” in the “correct translation” of Dmitry “Goblin” Puchkov, became “Спизидили

                as opposed to the official “PG” version of translation, which made it just “Большой куш”. Excellent movie, absolutely memetic, still popular in “This Country”. I re-watch it regularly! It even has Russia character – Uzbekistan born Russian Cossack anti-semite Boris the Blade (aka “Boris the Bullet Dodger” (rus. Борис Хрен Попадёшь)).

                2) “Derived from the same root is пиздеть [peez-dyet], which means to complain about something”

                It also primarily means “to lie”. E.g. «Ой, не пизди!» (“Just stop fucking lying!”)

                3) Пизда is feminitive in Russian, but when you construct obscenities on its basis it quite often transforms and “transitions” to other genders. Thus, we have “пиздец” (m), which signifies something really, really fucking bad (e.g. – the very first word uttered in the beginning [00:21] of the video clip of the Leningrad music group “Сиськи/Tits/Boobies” (now available with wither American OR British English subs!) is exactly this word. At the same time, the neutral gender word пиздато means “fucking good” and is a synonym to “ахуенно”.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Oops! I thought it had been dubbed into English.

      What the prankster kidded the US Secretary of Energy about was that the Ukraine had on offers a new bio-fuel made from pig shit and moonshine and which Poroshenko himself had invented.

      Energy Secretary Perry, believing he was talking to Ukraine Prime Minister Groysman (who would have spoken in his official capacity with Perry in Ukrainian in any case) responded by saying right art the end:

      “I look forward to being able to visit with the president and getting a more in-depth briefing [on the pig shit-based biofuel]”

      The prankster told Perry that a tanker of this pig-shit fuel had already been sent to Limpopo [no such place, remember] and that Poroshenko drinks it every day because it is also good when taken internally for one’s health [21:59] and drinking it each day keeps him fit and healthy the whole day long, to which Perry responds “Well, if that’s the result, he [Poroshenko] is going to be a very, very wealthy and successful man…”.

      The prankster then says that Poroshenko talks with a squirrel every day and listens to the animal’s advice, as the creature is Poroshenko’s best adviser there is as regards international affairs.

      Surely then Perry realizes what’s afoot, as he then rather hastily ends the conversation.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “The prankster told Perry that a tanker of this pig-shit fuel had already been sent to Limpopo [no such place, remember]”

        On the one hand – there is a river Limpopo in Africa. On the other – there is no such country. But it’s telling that yet another American state official falls into this trap, honestly bleiveing that it do exist. I suggest next time they should solicit CIA help for the moderate rebels under Barmaley, who fight off the tyranny of Docotr Aybolit from their base near the mountain Fernando-po (where roams wild hippo-po!)

  35. yalensis says:

    Did a post this morning on the Eremin vs. Delta Air case.

  36. Cortes says:

    Further to earlier discussion of assassination fiction, Stooges may be interested in the following piece (on Jonathan Freedland’s “To Kill the President ”

    http://www.unz.com/article/jonathan-freedlands-trump-assassination-fantasy/

  37. Moscow Exile says:

    Gay Vitaly from St Petersburg on board a Moscow – Barcelona flight starts insulting passengers by shouting: “Russian people are the shittiest. That’s a fact, really! The shittiest people are Russians”.

    And then some typically shitty Russian criminally assaults him simply because he was voicing his opinion.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      I can watch and re-watch it hundred times! That’s what I did yesterday. Btw, this particular gay Vitalik already apologised and repented for his behavior. See what one well placed punch in a face does to the arseclowns!

      According to the passengers the whole incident transpired mid flight, when totally shit-faced gay Vitalik began smoking (something tells me he didn’t smoke just tobacco) and then proceed to use obscentive lexicon in front of minors. Thinking, that this is not enough for him he began dissing the whole lot of the passengers, who were trying to calm him down. After one healthy punch in the face he immediately ceased and desisted his activity, sat down and soon fell into sleep.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Wonder if his friends in Barcelona think his fat lip that he now almost undoubtedly sports suits him?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Fact is, though, he was criminally assaulted.

          I’m waiting for howls to start that Russian homophobia was the root cause of the assault.

          In fact, the idiot may not be gay, just has effeminate mannerisms.

          But he was insulting everyone and talking dirty in front of kids.

          However, that would not justify physical assault; at least, not in the UK it wouldn’t — allegedly.

          • kirill says:

            Fist to the face is the only language that some “people” understand.

            • Jen says:

              Two warnings would have been appropriate with the second warning escalating to a statement of the likely consequences if he persists in using foul language and slander. Physical assault is unnecessary unless he attacks first.

              • yalensis says:

                Dear Jen:
                Kirill shares a trait with our friend, Karl: They both believe that extreme violence (in Kirill’s case, inexorably including sexual violence) is the first, last, and only solution to any, even the mildest form, of human conflict.
                Thank goodness neither one of these psychos is in a position of government. (I hope.)

                • kirill says:

                  Thought police wannabe yalensis trying to engage in a circle jerk.

                • yalensis says:

                  Excellent point, Jen. Violent incidents often get out of control, therefore violence should not be the first response, necessarily, to routine conflicts or bad behavior, but only after other avenues have been attempted.

                  And Kirill’s response about the “circle jerk” just indicates to me, once again, that he must have been molested as a child, since his Pavlovian mind instantly goes to SEX. And not good sex either, not sweet, loving, caring sex. But to violent and pornographic images.

                  Knee-jerk calls for sex and violence are Kirill’s retort to everything he reads about on the internet. Boots to the face, sodomy, and forced fellatio. Why, our Kirill is like a male version of Sylvia Plath!

                  In conclusion, somebody obviously did some very bad things to young Kirill when he was just an innocent boy.

                  Then, as Kirill was growing up, he never got the psychological treatment he needed, and now vents his sexual rage on complete strangers over the internet. Simply as a human being, I can feel some empathy for him. But, as his enemy, I urge him to get treatment from certified psychological professionals before it is too late.

                  On the other hand, it’s probably too late already. Maybe he already became a serial killer, who knows?

              • kirill says:

                You assume that even after this display, this particular clown would respond to any reasoned dialogue.

                • Jen says:

                  You have to realise though that this display took place in a crowded plane. The twat who was punched could have had friends on board ready to fight back. When he was hit, he nearly fell on top of his seated neighbour. In the film, you can see a woman began moving away when the idiot fell over, possibly because she thought a fight was going to break out. In this instance, warnings and then the threat of restraint and arrest should have been enough and if the drunken passenger wanted to go further, the flight crew should have restrained him, handcuffed him if necessary and called on police at the nearest airport to hand him over, even if that airport was not on the itinerary.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  Jen – your recommendation is certainly a correct one. However, I suspect that the person who intervened sized up the situation and took minimal action to stop his apparently escalating rant. If the drunken buffoon continued his offensive rant followed by a slow escalation of efforts to stop him, the results could have been worse. A stitch in time sizes nine you might say.

                  I say this in only partial jest, the buffoon on the plane reminded me of US foreign policy and the passenger who intervened reminded me of Russia foreign policy, It’s not a perfect analogy but close enough for entertainment.

          • Patient Observer says:

            A passenger on a US air carrier acting in such a manner would likely end up zip-tied with a police escort waiting at the gate. The situation was quickly and efficiently ended by a single punch. The intervening passenger would be called a hero and a mini-series would be on cable in a few weeks.

            • Patient Observer says:

              There was something very “Russian” about this story – a loud mouth Russophobic buffoon Is, at first, ignored and then, without warning or bellicose threats, is put down with minimal force and very little fuss – no apparent victory dance, just taking out the garbage. So Russian.

            • kirill says:

              The passenger’s “violence” was wholly appropriate. The verbal diarrhea from the clown was itself assault. The clown threw the first punch at anyone he could hit. Too bad for him someone punched right back.

    • Warren says:

      That’ll teach him/her.

    • yalensis says:

      Why is everybody saying Vitaly is gay? There is nothing in the story that says he is gay.
      Except maybe the beefsteak shot of him on the beach – he looks very buff, by the way.

      The story says that Vitaly is a 22-year-old native of St. Petersburg. He is ethnic Russian.
      He says now that he doesn’t hate all Russians, he is Russian himself, he just hated the people on that plane.
      He had too much to drink, by his own admission.
      And yes, I agree with Patient Observer that this is a classic “Russian” story.
      In an American plane, things would have gone down very differently.
      As it is, no harm no foul, and everybody got to land on time.

  38. Warren says:

    Published on 26 Jul 2017
    As the House overwhelmingly backs new sanctions on the Kremlin, Russian lawmakers vow a “painful” response and the European Commission mulls retaliation of its own

    Visit http://therealnews.com for more stories and help support our work by donating at http://therealnews.com/donate.

  39. Warren says:

    Published on 19 Jul 2017
    On July 30th, Venezuelans will elect a people’s body called the
    “Constituent Assembly” comprised of hundreds of representatives across the country with the power to redraft the constitution.

    U.S. politicians, press and opposition in Venezuela are calling the
    process a “coup” that should be boycotted by all.

    Abby Martin addresses the criticisms with Head of the Presidential
    Commission to oversee the Constituent Assembly process, Elias Jaua, speaks to supporters and participants of the Assembly, interviews historian Chris Gilbert and explains what is at stake in Venezuela if the social programs instated under Chavez are terminated by the opposition.

  40. Patient Observer says:

    Cool tech – wish I had one:

  41. Warren says:

    Russia has retaliated to new US sanctions by telling Washington to cut its diplomatic staff to 455 and barring the use of some properties.


    The US embassy has been told to cut its staffing levels

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-40751973

    About time that Russia retaliated, the US interprets restraint and patience with weakness. Trump is beholden to the US Deep State with respective to US imperial and aggressive foreign policy. As much as Trump would like to reset relations with Russia and establish a modus vivendi with Russia. The US Deep State will simply not allow it, far too many people in the US political, military, intelligence, media, academia and think tank establishment have vested financial and career interests in maintaining enmity with Russia.

  42. Warren says:

    Though born in Russia, Ostrovsky makes no secret of his allegiance to the US – his adopted homeland, he is also an Israeli citizen for good measure. Very cosmopolitan is Ostrovsky.

    Separatists free American-Israeli journalist Simon Ostrovsky

    http://www.jta.org/2014/04/24/news-opinion/world/separatists-free-american-israeli-journalist-simon-ostrovsky

    • kirill says:

      Another congenital Russia hater who deserves a steel-toed shoe hit in the face.

      I bet the clown knows full well that Russia is vastly more powerful than Spain in terms of economy and military. But when it comes to Russia and Russians, these congenital haters flush facts down the toilet. In other words, they engage in blood libel.

      • Ilya says:

        If you can expect this bilge from a Ioffe or a Boot, why wouldn’t you expect it from an Ostrovsky?

        • yalensis says:

          Yeah, ’cause they’re all Jewish. And all Jews hate Russia.
          We know that because neo-Nazi Ilya says so.

          That reminds me, would this comment be the right place for a Jewish joke I heard yesterday?
          A Jew is at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, he keeps crying out and sobbing: “Oh, God, let me be among my own people!”
          Another Jew turns to console him: “Why are you crying? You ARE among your own people here.”
          The first sobs: “You don’t understand. MY people are all in Hollywood!”

  43. Warren says:

    Published on 28 Jul 2017
    Subscribe to France 24 now:
    http://f24.my/youtubeEN

    FRANCE 24 live news stream: all the latest news 24/7
    http://f24.my/YTliveEN

    Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili accused Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko of bowing to pressure from a Russian oligarch to strip him of his Ukrainian citizenship in an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24 on Thursday.

    There is no honour among thieves. Saakashvili says Poroshenko is a much a Ukrainian as he is, that they are both newcomers to Ukraine. Saakashvili came from Georgia and Poroshenko came from Moldova.

    • marknesop says:

      It is highly enjoyable to watch the spectacle unfolding between Poroshenko and Saakashvili, because the former appointed the latter gleefully in what he thought would be a dreadful insult to Russia, knowing how the Kremlin loathes him. Now the knife has turned in his fist, and is directed against him. Saakashvili never spoke a truer word than when he said there is no honour among thieves, but I doubt he intended to include himself. And who knows what is going on in the minds of those in the Puzzle Palace in Washington? Is it possible they realize how unpopular Poroshenko is in Ukraine, and are toying with the notion of replacing him with Saakashvili? The latter is not at all popular either, but I think we all know it is pretty easy to maneuver someone into power in Ukraine. The nationalists will vote for whomever they believe will launch an all-out war of extermination in the East, and the rest of Ukrainians will vote for whoever the State Department persuades them to vote for. The country is a beggar living on handouts, and has no national will of its own left save for the apocalyptic vision of the nationalists.

      • yalensis says:

        The latest I read is that Lithuania may offer Saak their Lith citizenship.
        He better take it, ANY passport is better than no passport, in this cruel world that we live in.

        “I am only one,
        But still I am one.
        I cannot do everything,
        But still I can do something;
        And because I cannot do everything,
        I will not refuse to do the something
        that I can do.”

        ― Edward Everett Hale

        (author of “The Man Without A Country”)

        • marknesop says:

          Meanwhile, Russia puts the USA on notice that it must reduce its Embassy personnel to the same manning levels as serve at the Russian Embassy in Washington – 455. Washington of course refuses to say how many people work at the US Embassy in Russia: state secret, you know, national security, could affect the lives of Americans. But Tefft is reported to be not at all happy, while Russian sources say ‘hundreds’ will have to leave.

          • Jen says:

            That’s ‘coz Tefft will probably lose the staffer who puts the toothpaste on his toothbrush, the staffer who lays his work clothes out for him every morning, the one who turns on his laptop and printer in his office every morning and shuts them off every night, the one who cooks his breakfast, the other one who cooks his lunch, and all his other personal staff whose combined weight probably comes nowhere near how much he weighs.

  44. Evgeny says:

    Soyuz launch — a nice sight:

    • marknesop says:

      Ah; but he says they were being paid ‘indirectly’ by a senior Russian government official. That just makes whoever gave them the money – if there actually was any money – a patsy of the Russians. Vague enough that nobody would ever be able to confirm it.

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