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

________________________________________________________________

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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1,646 Responses to The Credibility Gap That Ought To Be

  1. Turkey buys S-400 from Russia with a price of $2,5 billion: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-13/turkey-is-said-to-agree-to-pay-2-5b-for-4-russian-s-400-sams

    Quite a risky move for Russia to transfer this technology to Turkey. It wasn’t that long ago that Turkey shot down a Russian military jet.

    • I guess Russia thinks that S-500 is so much better than S-400 so that they can afford to make this deal.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Somehow, I think that they thought about that.

        Also, the S-400 can not be linked or communicate with other NATO systems suggesting that Turkey may be starting a disengagement from NATO. Too soon to tell but something for NATO to worry about.

        • shargash says:

          There is also the possibility the S-400s won’t work when the Russians don’t want them to work.

          • marknesop says:

            I don’t think they would deliberately sabotage them, and military equipment is not well-suited for an electronic ‘back door’ because of its constant planned-maintenance routines and regular fault-finding practiced during training. It is possible it might be discovered. I imagine Russia knows its weaknesses, and every weapon has some, and Turkey has no permission to build them under license – therefore it must order all replacement missiles, to replace those expended in training, from Russia. The system would not be very effective without missiles. I don’t doubt NATO will be crawling all over it in no time, but these will be the export version – as I and others have said – and I doubt the Americans will discover very much new. They will be looking for a weakness they can exploit, but it’s important to remember they don’t have it, and the Russians do. If I were a pilot, I wouldn’t want to be the first one to try out a sure-fire tactic against it that the boffins said was guaranteed to trick it. And the S-500 has already passed it.

            The Russians often like to site their missile defenses in company with another system which is not the same – an S-400 with an SA-11, for example. Then they illuminate the target with the acquisition radar of one system, but leave the other in standby, knowing that the western tactic against the system the enemy pilot knows he is facing will take him straight into the engagement envelope of the other; it is a technique called “SAMbush”. If the avoidance maneuver was to dive and approach at a low altitude, say, because the known system had a low-altitude limitation, the pilot would learn too late that there was another system co-located which had no such limitation.

            Nasty.

        • GreyHog says:

          Also, it’s export model. It will have different specification compared to the model for domestic use.

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      If the Iranian experience is any indicator they should get the things by about 2030.

  2. et Al says:

    Neuters via Antiwar.com: EU puts sanctions on Syrian scientists, military officials over gas attack
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-eu-idUSKBN1A20ZI

    The European Union imposed sanctions on 16 Syrian scientists and military officials on Monday for their suspected involvement in a chemical attack in northern Syria in April which killed scores of civilians.

    Western intelligence agencies accuse the government of Bashar al-Assad of carrying out the attack, arguing that rebels in the area would not have had the capabilities. The international chemical weapons watchdog said in June the nerve agent sarin was used.

    Syrian officials have repeatedly denied using banned toxins. …
    ####

    More at the link.

    PUSSIES!

    And more crap from the EU:

    AFPee: via Antiwar.com: EU curbs rubber dinghy sales to Libya to stop migrants
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/eu-curbs-rubber-dinghy-sales-libya-stop-migrants-163741424.html

    The European Union on Monday adopted limits on the export of inflatable boats to Libya in a bid to make it harder for smugglers to send migrants to Europe.

    The decision by the foreign ministers of the 28 EU states, which also covers outboard motors, is the latest to help a chaotic and violence-torn Libya stem the flow of migrants to Italy, now the main route to the bloc.

    “We took a decision to introduce restrictions from today onwards on the export and supply to Libya of the inflatable boats and motors,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said…
    ####

    See what I mean? Completely £”^$&g useless. The normal rule is “If you break it, you pay for it” – but not in the rule and human right’s luvvin’ EU! If you break it, try and sweep it under the carpet and blame it on the dog! France, the UK, Italy & the USA destroyed Libya. The EU’s Operation Triton to ‘help’ refugees orders its ships to sit far outside LIbyan waters, well past the danger zone within 15km of the coast where most refugees drown. Even the previous Mare Nostrum operation by the Italians wasn’t so evil and heartless. You couldn’t make this up and be believed. Now if I go in to a china shop…

    • yalensis says:

      They say that humans are the only animals who experience a sense of shame.
      Based on this, the EU simply aren’t human.
      If they had any human feelings, they would send luxury yachts to pick up those Libyan refugees instead of denying these huddled masses to their teeming shores.

      Pottery Barn Rules.

  3. Cortes says:

    A good read, and some excellent comments:

    http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/fracking-around-with-the-russians/#new_comments

    Patrick Armstrong at #68 introduces a healthy dose of reality into discussion of the economy of the RF.

  4. ucgsblog says:

    Quick question for the Historians here: when was the first Russian Flag raised in Crimea? I always thought that it was raised by Mstislav the Brave, in the 11th century, around the place where the current bridge between Krasnodar Krai and Crimea is being built. Someone recently mentioned an earlier time period, so now I’m curious. Halp!

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “when was the first Russian Flag raised in Crimea?”

      First we must decide, UCG, what do you understand by:

      1) “Flag”

      2) “Russian”

      Then we might try to answer that. If by “Russian” you understand “Eastern Slavic tribes under the leadership of Rurikid princes” and by “flag” you mean “a military banner of sorts”, then it could very well be the times of Oleg the Seer, during one of his raids in what was Byzantine/Khazar held territory of the modern Crimea.

      If you mean “Russian tricolour”, well, first of all – it has only recently became a state flag of us. Please, elaborate.

  5. karl1haushofer says:

    New US “laser weapon” deployed on board the USS Ponce amphibious transport ship: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/07/17/politics/us-navy-drone-laser-weapon/index.html?sr=twCNN071817us-navy-drone-laser-weapon0119PMVODtop

    The laser beam moves at the speed of light and can “destroy” any object on its way, according to the source.

    • karl1haushofer says:

      Apparently the weapon can also be used in shooting down missiles.

      • marknesop says:

        Firing a laser mounted on a tank-size ve­hicle, U.S. Army scientists shot down two target aircraft. Delighted defense officials predicted that in just a few years, the ex­perimental laser would be turned into an operational battlefield weapon.

        That was 1976.

        https://www.wired.com/2008/09/why-lasers-wont/

        So they say. But would it be cheaper, do you think, to build a laser weapon or apply a coat of reflective paint? A laser has to have incredible power to heat up a polished object, and requires an irregular surface upon which to concentrate its focus. Also – and this is the one which spiked the deep-space laser weapon – the surrounding atmosphere tends to ionize the beam and reduce its strength below the MHPL, or Mean Hull Penetration Level: lasers need a concentrated beam. In the case you’re describing the laser would not necessarily be firing outside low-earth orbit range, but a similar effect is seen with fog or rain.

        In perfect conditions, it would work. Does that sound like a good set of circumstances for a weapon?

        • kirill says:

          People’s perceptions about lasers are shaped by popular fiction on TV and in the movies. What they see in scifi are not lasers but some sort of mythical ion bolts. If we could create such entities then they would have enough mass and electromagnetic (ion) effect to literally blast any surface no matter how shiny and smooth.

          But in the real world a clump of ions wants to disperse as fast as possible and would not survive travel from the gun to the target. Trying to fire a neutral plasma (consisting of
          equal numbers of charges of opposite sign) is a challenge. If it consists of electrons and protons, then the two different components would need to be accelerated at different rates (reflecting the vast difference in mass of protons relative to electrons). But at the end of the day the “laser” bolt is doomed to disperse just due to kinetic energy even if it is a plasma state.

          • marknesop says:

            Well, of course you can ‘fire’ a laser beam over a considerable distance – laser rangefinders have been around for a long time and provide a very high degree of accuracy. But a laser ‘kills’ by heating up the area it contacts until the hull is breached, perhaps but not necessarily causing an explosion. In order to inspire the sort of resistance to build up that kind of heat, the laser must generate enormous power. The weapon in PONCE may well have been able to do that under test conditions. But I would not like to have to rely on a weapon which needs ideal conditions to perform.

            • Jen says:

              I should think also that if the laser has to generate a lot of power, wouldn’t it also burn the weapon launching it and create problems for the ship or whatever construction is housing it?

              Plus if it needs ideal conditions to perform in, then it cannot be used as a defensive weapon. It would always have to be a weapon of first choice, to be used to pre-empt enemy attack, and that brings with it a moral dilemma for the people who have to operate it.

              • marknesop says:

                No, the transmitter is shielded and a laser is essentially a direct beam – so long as it doesn’t touch anything else on its way to the target its intensity is undiminished. But just passing through the air bleeds off some of its strength due to the presence of dust or moisture. It’s just amplified light, but the amplification is generated by radiation.

                The moral dilemma usually lies in use of an indiscriminate weapon which might kill many and will kill all in its area of destruction. You couldn’t get much less indiscriminate than a laser, although if it really took out a ballistic missile it would have to fall somewhere. But it’s not enough to simply hit a missile – you have to hit it in the same spot, while it’s moving, for long enough to burn through the body.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Might be useful for swatting small drones or damaging sensors and blinding personnel. There are many means to defeat laser weapons and as Mark and Kirill have indicated, the atmosphere is a huge detriment to laser effectiveness. Perhaps in space they could have some utility such as damaging sensors or communications antennae for example.

        I urge all Stooges who are interested is speculative space/weapons technology to visit:

        http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/

        The site is vast, easy to navigate, entertainingly written and a credible source of such info in my opinion.

  6. karl1haushofer says:

    Regarding the newest row between Russia and US about US seizing Russian diplomatic compounds, why does Russia again only complain but doesn’t really do anything?

    If the US seizes Russian property on American soil the correct countermeasure would be to seize American property on Russian soil.

    The same goes for those diplomats that the Obama administration deported. Russia has still not extradited any US diplomats in return.

    Usually countries answer to provocations like these with similar actions, but Russia chooses not to.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I don’t know.

      Do you?

      If you do know, please tell us all, because I’m sure I’m not the only person here who is losing a lot of sleep over this pressing question.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Wow, karl! So much activity in just one day! One has to imagine you, sitting tight in the badly lit poorly airconditioned bunker beneath Helsinki, reading one newspice about Russia after another, then, with you shaly hand, taking off the glasses from your red with rage sweaty face and exploding in:

      “DAS WAR EN BEFEHL! DER ANGRIFF STEINER WAR EIN BEFEHL!”

    • Jen says:

      Well, Karl, it would be a dull world if everyone behaved like robots engaging in tit-4-tat behaviours that by their very nature increase the chances of all-out war and annihilation. If Russia has a choice between two actions or a choice of several actions against US provocation, why should Moscow behave the way you (and the Americans) expect?

    • Hoffnungstirbtzuletzt says:

      Prof. Stephen Cohen discusses this in this week’s interview on the John Batchelor show. However, he says Putin is under a great deal of pressure from the Russian public to get this sorted out. True or not, I don’t know. Listen for yourself: https://audioboom.com/posts/6120078-tales-of-the-new-cold-war-will-moscow-retaliate-for-washington-property-confiscations-stephen-f-cohen-nyu-princeton-part-2-of-2

      • cartman says:

        As soon as Mike McFaul was appointed Spaso House was hosting one kreakl after another. Confiscating that property would make it a lot more difficult to do that. Taking the Anglo-American school might cause the United States to cut back the number of embassy employees. With relations as they are, I would say that it is bloated and unnecessary.

        • marknesop says:

          They could build the American Ambassador a new residence which reflected the current state of the countries’ relations; perhaps something like this. It should be on the outskirts of the city, far away from everything to minimize his meddling, and be in the center of about an acre of asphalt so that he could not leave without being spotted. Better still, just break off diplomatic relations and send him off to be the Russian Ambassador in Prague, like RFE/RL is.

          The Russian government actually owns Pullman House, which serves as the residence of the Russian Ambassador to the United States, having paid $350,000.00 for it in 1913. Spaso House, though, does not belong to the USA – the first US Ambassador to the Soviet Union, William C Bullit, ‘selected’ it as his official residence, and leased it for three years. I suppose the US government still pays something for using it, but the USA doesn’t own it.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        How does Cohen arrive at this conclusion?

        I mean, it’s not an endless topic of conversation on the Moscow metro, buses and trolleybuses that I ride around on all day: and nobody spoke about this pressing problem during the 90 minute train journey I made returning to Moscow from my country estate yesterday evening.

  7. Moscow Exile says:

    The coming US ambassador to the Evil Empire, they say:


    Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah

    Prettier picture than the one in the linked Kremlin-controlled rag, doncha think?

    Jehovah Witnesses out: lizard worshippers in?

    He’s a Mormon, of course.

    Only one wife though.

    Huntsman is the son of a billionaire industrialist, whose company, Huntsman International LLC currently has several businesses in Russia, including factories producing pigments and polyurethanes, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

    Huntsman, Jr. played a role in the early business dealings of the family in Russia shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, the article says. His fortune is estimated at billion dollars. In 1983, he married Mary Kay.

    Huntsman is the father of seven children, including two adopted daughters from China and India.

    He is “a fluent speaker of Chinese”, they say and former US Ambassador to China.

    In February 2011, Huntsman made a controversial appearance at the site of a planned pro-democracy protest in Beijing. In the wake of the Arab Spring, Chinese democracy activists called for similar protests to be held in major Chinese cities, hoping to engender a large-scale movement they called the “Jasmine Revolution”. On February 20, Huntsman was captured on video at the Wangfujing shopping area, where an anonymous online appeal had called for a major demonstration on that date. When approached by an onlooker asking why he was there, Huntsman replied, “I’m just here to look around”. When further asked if he wanted to see “chaos” in China, Huntsman replied “No”, and left the area. Photographs of Huntsman at the scene and a video of the encounter, which further accused Huntsman and the United States of attempting to instigate an anti-government revolution in China, were posted on a Chinese website. The spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in China stated that Huntsman had been “unaware” of the planned protest, and happened to be “strolling through the area on a family outing”. Huntsman’s Chinese name, 洪博培 (Hóng Bópéi), was temporarily blocked from Chinese search engines.
    Huntsman resigned from his position as Ambassador, effective April 30, 2011, in order to return to the United States to explore a 2012 presidential bid — Wiki

    I smell a rat….

    • Chinese American says:

      Video of Huntsman’s Beijing escapade:

      (There were about 20 demonstrators and about 300 mostly foreign journalists at the “major demonstration”, by the way.)

      • marknesop says:

        Comical. I doubt he was trying to conceal his presence, though, or ‘hiding’ behind his sunglasses – not with that wall-size American flag patch on the shoulder of his jacket. I wonder if he was disappointed with the failure of brand America in China? Revolution-wise, anyway.

    • marknesop says:

      If I recall correctly, Huntsman was short-listed for the appointment back when Mikey McFaul got it.

    • Cortes says:

      Richard Carpenter is looking well.

  8. Moscow Exile says:

    Heather Nauert
    Spokesperson
    Department Press Briefing
    Washington, DC
    July 18, 2017

    QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

    MS NAUERT: Hi. Hi.

    QUESTION: On Ukraine.

    MS NAUERT: Okay.

    QUESTION: Russian-backed rebels in east Ukraine have proclaimed the creation of a new state, and I’m not going to attempt to say it, but “Little Russia,” translated. Could you comment?

    MS NAUERT: So here’s what we had heard: that the so-called separatists – and notice I call them “so-called separatists” – want to see a new state. That new state would be in place of Ukraine. That is something that’s certainly an area of concern to us, but I just don’t – beyond that, I don’t want to dignify it with a response.

    See: U.S. Department of State: Department Press Briefing – July 18, 2017

  9. Moscow Exile says:

    The United States has almost tripled the cost of metallurgical coal for the Ukraine compared to 2016 (report of U.S. Department of Energy). In January-March 2017 Kiev bought coal at $206 per tonne, and a year earlier the price was $71 dollars. The volume of supply has increased from 355 thousand to 865 thousand tons … over the same period this year the value of American coal for some countries has declined. In particular, Norway has purchased the fuel at $125 per ton, a year, and earlier for $140.

    Who can answer the question why the Junta pays nearly twice the price for the same coal pay.

    See: ,a href=”http://mikle1.livejournal.com/7700305.html”>Межгосударственная угольная коррупция

    Interstate coal corruption

    Тлеющая дружба: США почти в три раза увеличили цены на уголь для Украины в 2017 году

    Smouldering friendship: up to 2017 the United States has almost threefold increased the price of coal for the Ukraine

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      USA sells coal to the Ukraine. To. The. UKRAINE. Coal.

      […]

      Next step – start selling salo to the Ukraine.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Russia sells coal to the UK.

        It goes hurtling past my dacha (whence, much to my regret, I have, just returned) in mile long coal trains hauled by two whopping electric locos.

        It goes to some port in Latvia, thence to Immingham, I think, on the east coast of England.

        From the Kuzbass field.

        Four hundred years reserves of the black stuff beneath he UK, and that’s an erstimation of winnable reserves using present day technology like what I used to do.

        Russia is the biggest exporter of coal to the UK, supplying 43% of thermal coal imports. In Russia’s main coal producing region, the Kuzbass area of Siberia, mining is devastating indigenous communities and their cultures. Shor and Teleut peoples are being forced off their ancestral lands, breaking the connection with their spiritual homes, their culture is being attacked and their language is fading from use.

        See: Ditch Coal

        The native people of the South Lancashire coalfield, my tribe, were driven from their spiritual homes 30 years ago despite the incantations of the Great Yorkshire Shaman Scargill, and some ventured far afield in search of gainful employment.

        Most, though, just pissed their redundancy pay against the wall in about 6 months.

      • PaulR says:

        ‘Next step – start selling salo to the Ukraine’ – The market’s taken. Canada already does that.

  10. Drutten says:

    I compiled this wide panoramic view of the Crimean bridge as seen from the eastern parts of Kerch city:

    The four photos were taken by a SkyscraperCity user called “Disco_Doplan” who lives in Kerch, and date from yesterday.

  11. et Al says:

    Deutscher’s Willy: Chinese warships en route to Baltic Sea
    http://www.dw.com/en/chinese-warships-en-route-to-baltic-sea/a-39735964

    The Chinese armada is heading to Europe, as Beijing and Moscow look to boost their strategic ties. The next iteration of their “Joint Sea” naval drills will take place in the Baltic Sea next week.

    The Chinese naval fleet is expected to arrive in the Baltic Sea by the end of week, according to reports from NATO insiders, after the warships were first spotted on Monday by the Dutch navy.

    Russia and China are scheduled to hold their next joint naval drill, dubbed “Joint Sea,” in the European inner sea from July 24 to 27.

    According to the Russian defense ministry, China’s naval fleet will to arrive in the Baltic Sea port of Baltiysk in the Russian province of Kaliningrad…
    ####

    More at the link.

    • Special_sauce says:

      I can’t help but believe that Putin and Xi looked at a map of the world and cartoon light bulbs shined(shone?) over their heads.

  12. et Al says:

    JohnHelmer.net: THE IMPROPER ASSOCIATION (MAYBE CRIME) OF VICTOR PINCHUK WITH HILLARY, BILL AND CHELSEA CLINTON, COVERED UP BY THE US MEDIA, US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, AND THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
    http://johnhelmer.net/the-improper-association-maybe-crime-of-victor-pinchuk-with-hillary-bill-and-chelsea-clinton-covered-up-by-the-us-media-us-department-of-justice-and-the-international-monetary-fund/

    Never in the field of American conflict with Russia has so much wool pulled over the eyes been owed to so few sheep. That was during the losing presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. Now, in the investigations of President Donald Trump and his family, it’s a case of so many sheep producing so little wool.

    The case of the $13 million paid to the Clinton family by the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk, in exchange for personal favours and escalation of the war against Russia, was reported in detail throughout 2014. Click to read the opener, and more.

    Early this month there has been fresh investigation of Pinchuk’s money links with the Clintons, owing to the start of Ukrainian government inquiries into the theft of billions of dollars of International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans to Ukraine – money then transferred to Ukrainian commercial banks including Pinchuk’s Credit Dnepr bank, and then loaned to offshore entities controlled by Pinchuk but apparently not repaid. Theft of the IMF money was first reported here in connection with Igor Kolomoisky’s operation of Privat Bank…
    ####

    More at the link. Goose & gander anyone?

  13. Northern Star says:

    GrenFe3ll….More faux Croc tears and mournful hand wringing by the ranks of the bourgeois puppetr of the uber elite plutocrats:
    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/07/19/mcdo-j19.html

    Spot on comment to the :article

    Cornet Joyce •
    “More quotes from Engels, which the survivors of the Grenfell tower and their neighbours should bear in mind as all sorts of local and National politicians, “community leaders” , religious bodies, charities and assorted do-gooders all vie to offer them leadership when they have amply demonstrated that they have the potential to manage without them:
    “Having….ample opportunity to watch the middle-classes, your opponents, I soon came to the conclusion that you are right, perfectly right in expecting no support whatever from them. Their interest is diametrically opposed to yours, though they always will try to maintain the contrary and to make you believe in their most hearty sympathy with your fates. Their doings give them the lie.”
    and:
    “What have they done to prove their professed good-will towards you? Have they ever paid any serious attention to your grievances? Have they done more than paying the expenses of half-a-dozen commissions of enquiry, whose voluminous reports are damned to ever-lasting slumber among heaps of waste paper on the shelves of the Home Office?”
    Prophetic words indeed from 1844! ”

    Matthew 7:15-20New King James Version (NKJV)
    You Will Know Them by Their Fruits

    BTW…here are some recent fruits from Bernie…not the Dino..the codger clown who was supposed to be soooooo progressive:..as opposed to Killary

    ” AMY GOODMAN: Senator Bernie Sanders said on MSNBC’s All In show last night that while the [Affordable] Care Act is not perfect, it shouldn’t be—it should be improved, not destroyed. He laid out his suggestions for how.

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: What we need to do is, among other things, in my view, lower the cost of prescription drugs, save consumers, save the government substantial sums of money. What we need to do is provide for a public option in every state in this country. What we need to do is lower the cost, lower Medicare eligibility from 65 to 55, and then begin the process of doing what every other major country on Earth is doing, and that is guaranteeing healthcare to all people as a right, through a Medicare-for-all, single-payer program.
    AMY GOODMAN: So, Dr. Carol Paris, if you can parse that out? First of all, is that what you are calling for? And explain what this would mean, what it means to save Obamacare and then move forward with single payer or Medicare for all.

    DR. CAROL PARIS: What it means to save Obamacare, or to save the ACA, is to continue the cost-sharing subsidies, to continue to support Medicaid expansion. But I absolutely don’t agree with Senator Sanders that the way forward is to have a public option and lower the Medicare age from 65 to 55. That is more incremental steps, and it absolutely fails to accomplish what a national single-payer, Medicare-for-all plan does, which is put everyone in the same risk pool. That’s how we garner the half-a-trillion dollars, $500 billion, of savings in administrative waste and profit of the for-profit insurance industry. If we create a public option, we’re just creating another opportunity for the insurance companies, the health insurance companies, to put all the sickest people in the public option and keep all the healthiest young people in their plans. So, no, I don’t agree that doing this incrementally is a good idea. We really need to go forward now to a national, improved Medicare for all. And really, the bill in Congress, HR 676, Congressman Conyers’s bill, is the way we need to go.”
    See the difference?? A physician who talks the talk AND walks the walk of her Oath versus a cardboard cutout congressional stooge of TPTB ..masquerading as a “progressive’…LOL!!!
    My point? Sanders would be totally sympatico with the UK political apologists for the GrenFell mass murder…Their affluence is derived from the backs of the poor, about whose inferno deaths they don’t give a shit Same for multimillionaire Bernie wrt Americans dying in agony from no health care !!!!

    https://www.democracynow.org/2017/7/19/dr_carol_paris_we_must_make

    And speaking of IsraHell:
    https://www.democracynow.org/2017/7/19/unlivable_gaza_on_verge_of_collapse

    • marknesop says:

      The USA is an oligarchy. It is just not so brazen about it as Ukraine. And there are a lot more oligarchs. But it’s a lot bigger economy. In fact, Ukraine could not be properly said to have an economy, since it lives on handouts and is going steadily backward in its balance of trade.

      And the USA just keeps borrowing more and more, and raising the debt ceiling over and over.

      • Special_sauce says:

        A member of the NPA, Philipines(don’t recall the name), predicts a Strategic Stalement in which the US finds it can no longer spend it’s way to hegemony and begins to shut down foreign bases with the consequent recriminations at home, particularly from the military.

  14. Cortes says:

    F. William Engdahl looks at the claims that the economy of the RF is foundering:

    https://journal-neo.org/2017/07/19/a-tale-of-two-nations-russia-vs-usa-economic-prospects/

    His essay includes remarks about how US ratings agencies appear to be adjuvant parts of the Treasury economic warfare unit; the application of lessons learned in production of military assets to ensuring that civilian enterprises benefit from leading edge technologies to gain significant product improvement and cost reductions; and further detail on the high speed rail system being developed.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Yes well worth reading.

    • kirill says:

      Debt is not the main parameter of Uncle Scumbag’s decline. It is the de-diversification and offshoring of most manufacturing. Aside from the military sector, the US civilian economy has transformed into a mercantile trickle down of cheap imports sold at high prices. Nobody has demonstrated how the downsized, right-sized, and offshored economy is supposed to be sustainable. All I see is a catabolic process where enough money keeps circulating in the system as the middle class disappears. The trickle down injection of money creates retail low wage jobs and props up consumer demand. But ultimately the consumers in the USA will become a minority. There is a clear shift of the job spectrum from well paying ones (related to manufacturing) to low wage ones (retail sector and “services”). Consumption is lubricated by debt increases both private and public (the local and federal governments in the USA are propping up consumption).

      US multinationals do not care since they gain consumers abroad faster than they lose consumers at home. A globalist mega-corporation wins from the expansion of the middle class in China, India and elsewhere. These corporations are literally walking over the dead body of the USA to reach their goals.

      By contrast, Russia is diversifying and de-offshoring and import substituting. As the cherry on top of this GDP growth cake, Russia has a very low debt (both public and private). Russia’s growth and development is basically natural and not artificial stimulus through debt generation. The trash talk about “Russia does not make anything” (Obama) and “Russia is a gas station posing as an economy” (McShitStain) reflects deep insecurity by US leaders. They know that post-globalism America will be a 3rd world husk. Trump is going to have to really act like a dictator to unseat the globalist corporate interests that steer the US. I don’t see this happening.

      • Patient Observer says:

        i suspect that the globalists realized that they were destroying the US economy but, not to worry, they would likewise destroy Russia with sanctions, proxy wars, an arms race artificially induced low oil prices, the usual assortment of dirty tricks, NGOs, and psychological warfare. The destruction of the US economy was a roaring success but Russia confounded their efforts.

        I don’t have a clue how the globalists expected to deal with China short of having them join the club like Russia in the the 90’s.. That is not going to happen in my opinion.

        • kirill says:

          There was some sort of script for a new world order during the 1990s. But things fell apart and I think due to Russia. It failed to turn into a vassal like Germany after WWII (but I would argue that Germany was a vassal of western interests before and during the war as well, but that is another story).

          I am not making Russia out as special. The problem for power is that it needs to be seen to be obeyed. If a large country with vast resources such as Russia fails to follow the script then things get rough for the powers that be. Most of the world is undeveloped and examples set by Russia undermine the western rule over their former colonies. Russia’s example is even undermining western rule over countries like Hungary where the leadership refused to abide by Merkel and the rest of the globalist clowns.

          • marknesop says:

            The problem for power is that it needs to be seen to be obeyed.

            That’s true, you know, and very incisively stated. It’s why, every few years, the USA has to throw some shitsplat country up against the wall, just to demonstrate that it is not to be trifled with when it gives orders. It’d be nice if US foreign policy really was ‘not the example of our power, but the power of our example’, but that was just more fluff from Bubba’s speechwriter.

          • Patient Observer says:

            I agree with Mark that The problem for power is that it needs to be seen to be obeyed. was a very efficient/effective statement. Serbia, Libya, Yemen, Venezuela, etc. all had to be curb-stomped for that reason.

      • Cortes says:

        Well said. Any true reform platform has to address the nonsense of corporate “personhood” and the contradiction between said fiction and apparent “immortality”. If they are “persons” let them: die; be drafted; be jailed; subjected to all the vagaries of existence and then be eliminated. After all (as the neocons remind us when it suits them) “change is good.”

        • kirill says:

          The US is need of deep structural and legal reform. It is a corporatist dictatorship where the system has been hijacked to serve the interests of corporations. From lobbying to bizarre human rights for businesses. Even if such reform is not possible within the system, the US is going off the rails and reality will be crammed down its throat whether it wants to or not. So far the only exceptionalism I see in the USA is chauvinist delusion. Nothing else about this country makes it immune to reality.

  15. Warren says:

    A spike into the left: How Brazil’s coup government carwashed Lula.

  16. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
    The dizzy dancing way you feel
    As every fairy tale comes real
    McCain has brain cancer

    A glioblastoma to be specific. I had an uncle who died this way, and from his experience I can say confidently that McCain is in for a horrible, painful and degrading death.

    Dia ad aghaidh’s ad aodaun, agus bas dunarch ort! Dhonas ‘s dholas ort, agus leat-sa!

    • marknesop says:

      I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, and I’m very sorry to hear it. I would be delighted to see Grampy McCain exit politics forever, but I had retirement in mind and not death. In my experience all the brave talk about fighters and beating it is just fluff, and while people can put up with quite a considerable amount of discomfort for an extraordinary amount of time as long as what’s causing it is just speculation, as soon as they know it’s cancer they go down fast. Something just seems to go out of them, as if the diagnosis is a directive to prepare for death.

      I’ll always remember McCain argued for further deregulation of the finance industry even as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were bundling toxic mortgage assets and Bear Stearns was collapsing. What he knew about economics you could write on your nose in 40-point bold type; it’s surprising how often that is true of comfortably-wealthy men, even more so when they are not businessmen, but inherited wealth or married it.

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        Very big of you to say that about a man whose fondest dream was to see your family slaughtered – I admire that, even if I cannot emulate it.

        My next wish is that Lindsey Graham should bleed to death after a catastrophic bottoming accident.

        • Ilya says:

          Zbig, McCain … pile ’em up.

          • et Al says:

            Death is the great equalizer. Unfortunately many of those who have spread misery, destruction and poverty around the world are still living quite health lives and making more money now than ever before, sic 2008 financial crisis, sic ex-politicians.

            I’m very much of the chop their head off and put them on tall spike in public for décourager les autres, but that would be terrorism, no? So there you have it, in the infantilized west, failure is promoted and celebrated in public. What more proof doe you need for true representation of rule of law, accountability and transparency? The West really is a model. Cheap and made of plastic with a bad paint job.

      • Jen says:

        I’d prefer seeing Jurassic John continue in politics until he meets his own personal Chicxulub K-T boundary, if only because at least as Senator for Arizona he’ll always be in the public eye and can be held accountable for actions not in the US national interest. I wouldn’t have liked to see him “retired” and actually working as a “consultant” for a Washington think-tank or a “private organisation” that turns out to be a masquerade for a secret government agency in the US, Israel or Saudi Arabia.

        • Cortes says:

          I have a lot of sympathy with the cynical response of “Pro Peace” to b’s latest offering at Moon of Alabama:

          “I’m pretty sure MCain’s “tumor” is fake to allow him to avoid prosecution and induce compassion.

          Not a first (soon to be) “dead” suspect in a crucial investigation into the crimes of the global evil cabal, see e.g. some lords in the UK involved in pedophile scandals…”

    • Skandalwitwe says:

      Those are the days when you woke up, checking the news and the coffee tastes better than usual…

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      >Watches EuroNews – all talks about McCain and Trump

      >Checks out Western political forum – “adorables” and “nevertrumpists” with reversed American flags on their avas add “~Pray for John McCain~” to their signature, right below #Resist.

      >Some people call him a “hero” for what he did “for his country” in Vietnam.

      >Others resort to shameless emphathy, e.g. “my [relative X] died that way, so I can’t help by sympathize with him”. The survival rate is 15%.

      >This:

      >I personally gonna be brief and to the point: تقبل الله منا ومنكم صالح الاعمال.

      • yalensis says:

        Hm… I didn’t know you were an Arabic scholar, Lyttenburgh.
        I put that through google translate and it came out as:

        Бог принимает нас и вы за бизнес
        (?)

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          Why, yes, of course! Didn’t I say months ago that I’m a press secretary of the moderately radical movement “Cranberry Jihad”? When senator-sahib Jan Abu al-McCaini saw the “moderate” part in our title, he immediately burst into tears, ran to the US Treasury printing press and returned back with several billions of $, to help us in our struggle.

          And to those our critics and competitors to the US democratic funds, who accuse us of granteating and doing nothing, we are glad to prove them wrong! We, “Cranberry Jihad”, take the responsibility for the lack of summer in Moscow and oblast this year! Subhān Allāh!

          • Evgeny says:

            Thanks a lot! A few months ago I’ve decided to buy air conditioning for my rented apartment. And I totally would waste my money into it. But now that I can be functional without AC, I’m glad we’ve got a summer that better fits the description of another season.

          • Evgeny says:

            Lyttenburgh, I see you are experienced in such matters. Do you have any idea which terrorist jihadi group is responsible for shutting off hot water service each summer?

    • Cortes says:

      Startled to learn McCain has a brain.

    • kirill says:

      You cannot make such a general inference. I knew someone who died from brain cancer without pain. It depends on which parts of the brain are being affected and the tumour does not grow in the same places.

      The only “plus” I see is that brain cancer afflicts the global power criminals and not just innocent people.

  17. Lyttenburgh says:

    Short sit rep on the current situation with “foreign agents organizations” in Russia.

    “According to the annual report of the Ministry of Justice on the activities of non-profit organizations, in 2016, Russian NGOs received 71.8 billion rubles from foreign sources, of which 804.3 million rubles were received by organizations recognized by the Ministry of Justice as “foreign agents”. Not surprisingly, the money came mainly from Western countries: the USA, Germany, Norway, Cyprus, Great Britain. The main organizations that provided financial assistance to “foreign agents” were the British Embassy, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, the local branch of the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

    According to the current legislation from November 20, 2012, when the law “On foreign agents” came into force, NGOs engaged in political activities and receiving foreign funding are required to register as a “foreign agent”. On July 1, 2017, the Ministry of Justice of Russia registered 91 organizations in the register of NGOs performing functions of a foreign agent. Of these, 30 officially operate in Moscow, 9 – in St. Petersburg, 8 – in the Sverdlovsk oblast, 7 – in the Samara oblast, 6 – in the Chelyabinsk oblast, 4 – in Kaliningrad, 3 – in the Nizhny Novgorod oblast, Perm Krai and Novosibirsk oblast. The geography of NGOs receiving funding from abroad is also not accidental – in view of the opposition’s lack of success in organizing the “Maydan” in the Russian capital in 2011-2012, attempts are being made to strengthen the protest activity in a number of large regions of the country. This process should be considered as a preparatory stage in the framework of the planned campaign for further destabilization of the socio-political situation in the country.

    The most well-known structures included in the register are the “Memorial”, a structure that deals with the investigation of political repression in the USSR, the non-profit organization “Golos”, which monitors elections, the anti-corruption research center “Transparency International-R”, and the “Levada Center” – an organization that conducts sociological and marketing research.

    Such sociological studies and measurements of public opinion are initially aimed at topics that are intended to show the political and ideological preferences of different groups of the population, as well as the attitude to the current political power. Thus, in November 2015, with the participation of the Gaidar Institute, a sociological study was conducted on the topic “Studying public opinion among students of Russian elite universities regarding the political situation in the country, attitude towards power and ideological values”, which was commissioned by an unknown American sociologist. In reality, the collection of information was aimed at forming a perception on the future elite of Russian society and about the current attitude to the constitutional system, the politics of the current government, social problems, the peculiarities of the national mentality, personal political views and ideological values. Why did the American sociologist need such information? Undoubtedly, such information is of great value and can be used by American think tanks with the aim of forming a medium-term strategy for information and ideological work with Russian youth.

    Over the past few years, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the Open Society Institute (OSI), better known as the Soros Foundation, have intensified their work in the Russian direction . In August 2016, unknown hackers hacked the server, which held the documents of the Soros Foundation. They reported that one of the main tasks facing the organization is to counter the expansion of Russia’s influence in Europe. To fight “Russian propaganda” the fund allocates about $ 500 000.

    Also interesting is the information confirming the participation of that foundation in the preparation of the coup d’état in the Ukraine, as well as the facts of the consultations of the Ukrainian President Poroshenko with the NATO generals on the subject of circumvention of the Minsk agreements in the military sphere.

    An unprecedented activity is shown by the National Endowment for Democracy, which operates at the expense of funds from the US budget. Over the past few years, the fund has been increasing funding every year for projects aimed at combating corruption, supporting minorities and protecting human rights in Russia. The amount of allocated funds in 2016 has doubled compared to the previous year and amounted to more than $ 10 million, which will be spent to implement 108 projects in Russia. The fund does not disclose the names of the grantees, only reports on the funds allocated and the objectives of the projects.

    It is noteworthy that in 2016, NED allocated more than $ 53,000 to support the work of some unnamed anti-corruption website, as well as a separate grant of $ 40,000 to conduct anti-corruption investigations and to disclose facts about corruption. All in all, in 2016, the fund allocated nearly $ 240,000 for anticorruption projects .

    Already on March 2, 2017, the “Anti-Corruption Foundation” of Alexei Navalny sensationally published a film about Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who was accused of corruption. On March 26, 2017, protest actions of the non-system opposition were held in many cities of Russia on this occasion. Exactly two days later, on March 28, 2017, a bill was introduced in the US Congress providing for the creation of a fund with a budget of $ 100 million to support the opposition and fight corruption in Russia.

    It can be said with certainty that the main goal of financing similar projects from abroad is destabilization of the political situation in the country after the presidential elections in the spring of 2018. Regardless of the success of negotiations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump, the United States of America will continue to strengthen mechanisms of pressure on the domestic political situation in Russia. Strong, independent Russia, which offers the world another vector of development in the system of international relations, is simply undesirable to the US. Therefore, we are bound to see new “anti-corruption investigations” created on the money of American taxpayers. On the eve of important events for the state connected with the beginning of the next electoral cycle, it is possible to expect other sabotage and provocative actions whose sole purpose is to carry out a coup d’état.”

  18. yalensis says:

    I finished my translation of the Malorossiya founding document.
    Pretty clear from reading it, that Malorossiya would, in essence, be what Ukraine could have been under Yanukovych government if Yan had not been such a loser. Basically continuing the debate from 3 years ago about EU vs. CIS, etc., before this debate was so rudely interrupted by the Ukrainian Nationalists and their violent coup.

    Here is my interpretation of a couple of the key bullet points:
    “A neutral non-bloc military status” – no to NATO!

    “Reliance on the traditional values of our peoples, which are based on the Orthodox view of the world.” – i.e., no gay parades in the streets of Donetsk!

    “Equality of all traditional religions and faiths, while opposing Schismatics and totalitarian sects.” – regular ALT-religions like Buddhism will be tolerated. Uniatism will not be tolerated, nor any “Ortodox” schisms which don’t recognize Moscow Patriarchate. By totalitarian sects, I think he means stuff like Jehovah’s witnesses.

    “Rejection of political parties as the subject of politics, and a transition to the “personal” principle of representative government.” –
    this is the most interesting bullet point, and probably subject to wrong interpretations. I think he is saying that people need to vote for individual politicians/personalities and not so much for parties. On paper this sounds UN-democratic, but you have to take into account the context of standard Ukrainian politics. In which each Oligarch (e.g., Yulia, Poroshenko) has their own political party, whose delegates are all inter-changable because all paid for by the same oligarch. Hence, parties do not stand so much for ideas as just the paid lackeys of individual billionaires. Then, paradoxically, by voting for an actual individual, who is not a creature of an oligarchic party, you would be voting for his actual political platform. That’s how I interpret this bullet point.

  19. J.T. says:

    Um…why are thriller writers obsessed with killing Putin (or his fictional stand-in) now?

    (In Jason Matthews’s upcoming Kremlin’s Candidate the characters are going to assassinate Putin, and there was a similar plotline in Ted Bell’s Patriot though it was unsuccessful and I didn’t mention it in the review)

    • marknesop says:

      I suppose they forecast – and in many ways they reflect Washington’s own malignant unintended-consequences thinking process – that if Putin were only removed, all the USA’s troubles with Russia would be over. It would fall back into susceptibility to misdirection and manipulation, and the west would be able to maneuver it into self-destructive behaviors by working through its corrupt oligarchs and it would end up something like Ukraine, only bigger – nominally a state, but really a collection of fiefdoms more or less owned outright by wealthy citizens who follow their own interests and constantly inveigh against one another for influence and power. And I think there is a real fear this might happen; Putin cannot last forever, and the only ones I can think of who show anything like the necessary steel are Lavrov and Shoigu. Of those, Shoigu is mostly loyal and we see little evidence of his own thinking process, merely his obedience. Lavrov is wedded to the diplomatic process, as one might expect from a lifetime diplomat. Putin is the only one who is predictable in that he is unpredictable, and he will reach a point nobody knows is there when he will decide to take action. Once the decision is made he seldom backs away from it, and his involvement with the business of the nation is total – there just seems to be no chink in the armor through which he can be subverted to self-interest.

      Medvedev, by contrast, was a pushover. The west simply had to flatter him on the surface that it considered him the most progressive leader of Russia ever, and loved his ‘liberal reforms’ which rewarded disobedience and self-interest. Think tanks continued to write disparaging critiques of life in Russia, rampant corruption, loads of civic unrest, bla, bla, as if none of those reforms had ever been made. All he ever got was the occasional pat on the head, and encouragement to continue weakening political power in Russia. Of course if you completely let people have their own way without any articulate national vision, they will pursue self-interest.

      • et Al says:

        Now here’s a prediciton from me and just like an expert, I will be totally not held liable for being completely wrong. We know Putin will stand as an independent in the 2018 Presidential Elections. Who will he choose as his no.2? Let me say, his successor. I predict, not long after winning the election he will retire, his no.2 will segue in to the no.1 role, so we should also keep an eye on who Putin’s no.3 would be. I’m even going to bet against myself so I can’t loose!

      • Patient Observer says:

        Dmitryi Rogozin comes to mind as a possible Putin successor. He is purportedly tough, smart, nationalistic and no-nonsense as indicated by the following per wikipedia:

        On May 10, 2014, Rogozin started a diplomatic conflict between Romania and Russia after Romania barred his plane from entering its airspace. In response, he made two threatening posts on his Twitter account, one of which stated that next time, he would fly on board a Tu-160 bomber.[10]

        Based on the above, it would seem Romania started the conflict and Rogozin finished it. He is current the Deputy Prime Minister, in charge of defense and space industry.

        • kirill says:

          Romania, another also-ran like Banderastan that feels deep inadequacy when it looks at Russian “untermenschen”. At least Mexicans run across the border into the USA, these eastern Euro-peon states just suck Uncle Scumbag’s schlong and bend over to please him in every possible way. Disgusting.

        • marknesop says:

          He’s a bit of a cipher to me, I’m afraid, and despite his evident assertiveness I have heard little of him. And I have little time for leaders who shoot their mouths off on the tweet-now-think-later forum.

          That’s not to say he can’t be a good candidate: I just don’t know. But he’d have to come up a few notches to get my vote, if I had one.

        • et Al says:

          He’s been very good in the roles he has been cast so far, but Presidential material? Is he ‘steady as a rock’, cold and calculating and able to refrain from regular poking by Washington and their puppies yet able to seize the initiative at very short notice? Is he a long term thinker? Can he stand above the fray? There is already a cadre of officials like Zakarova, Lavrov et al (not me) who are very good at responding to barbs in like.

          I’m not sure I see being more ‘nationalistic’ necessarily as a positive, though with nutters like Navalny about it, may be a good thing to turn it up a notch or two, but the down side is that Russia’s near abroad are super sensitive to any perceived or real Russian nationalism. Such cracks could be exploited by others. It may only be an anecdote, but a few years back I met a Kazakh businessman briefly and he was quite anti-Russian. But I saw his phone was in the Russian language. Business is business. Money talks.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Fucking creep!

        I mean the Russian.

      • likbez says:

        Mark,

        This is a very good, insightful comment. Medvedev was a real disaster and that can happen again.

        The problem of a Russian President “After Putin” is a real problem. This inevitable “change of the guard” threatens Russia’s political and economic stability and the possibility of Medvedev II (a pushover), or some confrontational nationalist while both remote, can’t be completely discarded.

        The President in Russia has way too much power and that while was necessary and helpful in order to rebuild Russia after Yeltsin rule eventually it might become dangerous for the society. Let’s call it Gorbachov II type of danger.

        Another danger is too much adherence to neoliberalism. In this sense China is in better position, They are just more flexible. They still have China Communist Party as a counterbalance to oligarchs. Which is also far from perfect and creates the constant stream of corruption. But due to this, they can be neoliberals today and not so much tomorrow.

        Russia elite needs to play its game of Putin succession very carefully, very skillfully in order not to provoke inflicting too much damage of itself, the damage Washington and it allies are still capable and willing to inflict.

        The need to secure peaceful economic development for at least a couple of decades, if not more should be the cornerstone of Russian foreign policy.

        The USA is way too strong now. and if you count transnational corporations (who are the real rulers in Washington, DC) it will probably remains in this position until the end of “oil age”. China rise and the fact that China GDP now is exceeding the USA is a secondary factor, as China depends on the West in many key areas including technology and does not has allies like the USA, which BTW includes almost all former British empire. Plus EU with its 500 millions population.

        Absolute, unipolar hegemony of the USA, when it can essentially dictate any country its will, and unliterary declare sanctions, without much danger of blowback, is probably gradually coming to the end. Ideology in which the USA based in dominance — neoliberalism — is now discredited. That’s alone dooms the empire.

        So the situation mirrors the USSR and crisis of Marxism. The signs of rot of neoliberal society inside the USA are visible. And the decimation of “rust belt” and the election of Trump are two such signs.

        But a high level of influence on the world stage (including in culture, science and technology) will continue for some time after absolute hegemony is lost.

        See:

        https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/pentagon-study-declares-american-empire-is-collapsing-746754cdaebf

        • marknesop says:

          Very well said. It must be borne in mind that even as Russia is wrestling with the problem of the Putin succession, which will be like juggling an unexploded bomb even in the absence of distractions, the west will be pulling out all the stops to get a neoliberal into the power position. Its window is closing even now, and if it lets another Putinesque leader assume power without a fight, it will likely be too late by the time he or she has completed his/her first term.

          • et Al says:

            I think that the other most important strand is to have a good and deep team well in place in all aspects of government and elsewhere that sing from the same song sheet, i.e. their end goals and principles are very similar, but is fully open to constructive criticism and dialogue . This exists already but how deep and wide it is… the question.

            I also fully agree with likebez that the USA’s death spasms do pose quite a risk to Russia but we have seen so far its results have been limited, in part due to the cool hand of Putin and the government by ignoring most provocations and selectively responding where necessary.

            Some, unfortunately see this as a sign of weakness, but getting in to a fight with someone larger, uglier and follows no rules is certainly not a good thing to do. It is very much a Judo (and a bit of Kung Fu) strategy of using your opponents greater weight against itself. It works in all fields from economic & political to the media. Russia hasn’t created western divisions and lunacy, but it does take advantage of it by feeding it back in to the western politico-economic & media loop much as guitarists do.

            Western targeted fury towards Sputnik & RT is little more than How dare you criticize us with our own news?. Those commentators that go on the media to rant and rail do little but discredit themselves. The good news is that every mention of RT & Sputnik is free PR! The only time I look at either is when someone in the west squeals about them because I want to see what the drama is all about.

            The fact that the USA has to make such overt and aggressive military threats is the clearest proof that its soft power has rapidly diminished. The thing is, they cannot just make threats and not deliver (small countries don’t count) without loosing credibility either, much like the boy who cried Wolf! There are plenty of US experts who have publicly had kittens on US news channels over Trump’s threat’s to North Korea, so we see already that there are clear and open divisions. And we’ve seen him row back many of his purported plans too. Sure, he’s cast off some of O-Bombers caution, for example approving a large arms package to Taiwan, but that’s a long way from his early goals. He goes for the low hanging fruit, speaking of which, is this a sign of more US protectionism?

            Neuters: U.S. toughens stance on foreign deals in blow to China’s buying spree
            https://in.reuters.com/article/us-usa-china-companies-idINKBN1A532M?il=0

            A secretive U.S. government panel has objected to at least nine acquisitions of U.S. companies by foreign buyers so far this year, people familiar with the matter said, a historically high number that bodes poorly for China’s overseas buying spree.

            The objections indicate that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews acquisitions by foreign entities for potential national security risks, is becoming more risk-averse under U.S. President Donald Trump. …
            ####

            It’s too early to tell, but if the US and others start using ‘national security’ reasons more widely and casually to block buys, then they’ll be undermining the WTO, a system they themselves designed.

        • yalensis says:

          I agree with likbez that the Russian Presidency has too much power as an individual; and that this creates the danger of another Gorbachov.
          In the last few years that he was leader of the goverment, before the coup, Gorbachov started to behave unilaterally and erratically. He would negotiate and cut deals on the global scale, without any input, not just from the government, but even the Central Committee of the Party.
          In essence, he went rogue. He did whatever he pleased, and nobody was able to stop him or to belay his disastrous decisions.

          This sort of thing could happen again, if Russians are not careful.
          There must be checks and balances on any political leader, even the most trusted.

        • Patient Observer says:

          In my opinion, no, the West will fall far sooner than suggested. Herein lies one factor to the decline and fall:

          http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/20/us/florida-teens-drowning-man/index.html

          Irreversible and accelerating growth in debt, an infrastructure approaching a tipping point and, as alluded above, a population increasingly unfit to live in a civilized world are sufficient to ensure a relatively near-term societal failure. As for China and Russia being dependent on Western technology, not so, as amply discussed in this blog.

          Much of the appearance of support for the Western empire in Russia’s near-aboard will evaporate upon realization that the good ship Empire is taking on water and the rats are in the water looking for a new ship to scramble on board. All the while, the semi-conscious passengers are assured by smooth talking cruise directors that all is well and there is a limbo contest on the Fiesta deck.

    • Cortes says:

      The interest in assassination in popular American culture has been growing since the 1970s and the publication of the original “Quarry” novels of Max Allan Collins. Quarry has been revived and by now there are about ten in the series. A couple deal with political killings, “Quarry’s Vote” and “Quarry in the Black.” Another series in the genre is the Keller stories and novel by Lawrence Block. “Hit and Run” explores the use of the patsy in the killing of a prospective candidate for the presidency and the affable, stamp-collecting hitman’s escape and tracking down of the double crossing customer.
      There’s a decent amount of material in circulation for Chandler to analyse; probably, alas, crappy PhD theses using bullshit bingo jargon abound or are gestating.

      • Special_sauce says:

        Speaking of assassination, I just read that Nemtsov’s assassin has been found and convicted. Why wasn’t I informed? Did Stooges not notice or was I just oblivious?

      • marknesop says:

        Yes, I meant to add in my earlier comment that there is no shortage of novels in English featuring the assassination of western leaders, either – so it’s not all just Putin. But I stand by the remainder of my assessment.

        • et Al says:

          They could make a film on the assassination of Nemtsov and call it “NIght of The Shagall“, though I doubt it would be patch on this:

        • J.T. says:

          I just find it interesting how the number of spy thrillers involving Putin’s assassination has been growing since 2015…

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            “I just find it interesting how the number of spy thrillers involving Putin’s assassination has been growing since 2015…”

            Which means – they began writing somewhere in 2013-14, to get published in 2015.

            As to the question: “…why are thriller writers obsessed with killing Putin (or his fictional stand-in) now?”. Sublimation. Acto of magic(k) (see my original article). Plus pretty much everything that Mark said.

            • Patient Observer says:

              Increasing desperation I would say reminiscent of Nazi’s increasing hopes for wunderweapons to stop the USSR. If only we could kill Putin all of our problems would be over….

              Lets not forget that Putin did not gain his position by his force of personality and/or ruthlessness. He was picked by a group of Russian patriots, the military, and elements of the Orthodox church who nurtured and supported him. Putin made the personal sacrifices and performed his duty for his country.

              He certainly will be a tough act to follow but I think it would be a mistake to try to find another Putin. Russia is no longer a ravaged country on the verge of figurative and actual disintegration. The next leader may be more of a visionary and a spiritual force to provide more direction and purpose to a population that survived hell and now looking for a greater good. I do hope so.

          • Cortes says:

            Agreed. Perhaps symptomatic of wishful thinking as the slide away from unipolarity gathers pace?

            Hasn’t there been a boom in “what if” speculated scenarios by academic historians also?

            • yalensis says:

              Yes, and also a boom in ALT-History fiction genre.
              I personally disapprove of all this what-if-ism as I don’t think it does the human race any good to speculate on what might have been.
              Also, most of the ALT-History fiction is just revanchists living out their fantasies that, e.g., the South won the Civil War; or the Nazis won WWII; or the Japanese Empire still exists (a favorite of the anime crowd too).

              • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

                And more importantly, alt-history writers are the most dreadful hacks in the business. Turtledove, Stirling, Gingrich (to name but a few) – they make fantasy writers look inspired.

              • Cortes says:

                However, Philip K. Dick was supposedly a leftist and he produced the crock of shit “The High Tower”; mind you, other novels of his are creeptastic: the scenes of “Perky Pat” haunt me like Dumas.. “Twenty Years After ” [shudder x 3].

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Keep on writing those shitty fantasies, arseholes!

      Meanwhile, in the real world:

      Earlier today on the Arbat, Moscow, after the Dark Lord had visited that old US citizen ratbag Alekseeva.

  20. Nat says:

    Strelkov-Navalny debate now live. Can’t believe Strelkov actually agreed to that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cADbsdkuMDE

    • Drutten says:

      The best part of this is the total silence of the Navalny fan club here in Sweden, they’ve enthusiastically reported on the man’s every move for months but now it’s zip. To add insult to injury, Navalny is not making a good impression here, though it’s not quite the debacle he had with Sobchak earlier.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “The best part of this is the total silence of the Navalny fan club here in Sweden, they’ve enthusiastically reported on the man’s every move for months but now it’s zip.”

        Drutten, you are duty bound to troll them with Navalny’s past quotes about “Stop Feeding Caucasus” and his attitudes towards non-Russians. For more thin, sublime trolling (“elfing”) I suggest to ask them what they know about Navalny’s position on Crimea.

        “To add insult to injury, Navalny is not making a good impression here, though it’s not quite the debacle he had with Sobchak earlier.”

        As one RuNet user posted on Tweeter: “Navalny fucking lost to both Sobchak and Girkin. That’s the sole time in history of mankind, when a person was fucked FIRST by a horse, and THEN by a horseman”.

        • yalensis says:

          To summarize:
          (1) First Navalny debates Sobchak and she makes horse-meat out of him;
          (2) Then Navalny debates the War-Reenactor, who also feeds him to the cavalry.

          All that remains for a perfect trifecta is for Navalny to debate Poklonskaya.
          I Vangize that Natasha will bring her ikon of the Weeping Nicky to the debate and also make horse-chow of Navalny.

    • Evgeny says:

      I enjoyed the debate between the two points of view none of which I entirely share. Some important points were raised, but above all it’s great to see the dialogue between different parts of the Russian political spectrum. We shouldn’t have outcasts, or we would remain a divided society separated by the shared feeling of internal insecurity.

      • Evgeny says:

        Just left some comments as “landak” there, in Russian: http://board.rt.mipt.ru/?read=9499839

        To sum it up, in a debate between opposing points of view the middle ground is lost.

        (1) When speaking about the economy, Strelkov has mentioned 1991 as the major event which shaped modern Russia as a neoliberal project. With the implication that because of that, Russia can only develop a strong economy if ethnic Russians unite in a single state. Navalny didn’t object to that implied link. Why?

        In my perspective, there were different possibilities for Russia after 1991. So, the major event is the 1993 Constitutional crisis, when the Supreme Soviet on one side wished to support the Soviet-era industry. While Yeltsin relied on the IMF credit, and moved on with the neoliberal vision and creating the class of oligarchs only after he suppressed the opposing political entity. Not to mention the first war in Chechnya Yeltsin started, which scared the people so they wouldn’t care too much about the economy.

        Strelkov didn’t speak about 1993 because that doesn’t benefit him. Navalny didn’t (and couldn’t) mention 1993 because it’s liberals’ sceleton in a closet, a taboo of sorts.

        (2) While talking about Putin’s “betrayal” of Novorossiya in 2014, Strelkov implied Russian troops would be welcome in Eastern Ukraine that time. I disagree with that view. In my opinion, Russian troops shouldn’t have crossed the border, because it’s responsibility of the locals to oppose the Ukrainean Government if they disagree with its policies.

        So, why Navalny didn’t use that as the line of attack against Strelkov?

        Because that would nullify his own position that Russia should unilaterally implement the Minsk Protocol in its part regarding border control. To hell with those rebels in the Eastern Ukraine who dare to have their political standing and to fight for it!

        Here again, the middle ground that people in Eastern Ukraine are responsible for their own fates would be detrimental to positions of both Strelkov and Navalny.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Tl;dr version, which also illustrates Russian colloqial (and rather profane) analog of the “pot calling kettle”:

      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BxA1XPyIYAAplsh.jpg:large

      Google “ЕЖГ”.

  21. Eric says:

    Disappointing to see Putin meeting this cretin Ludmila Alexeyeva to wish her for her 90th birthday. It was great when he did the same thing for his boss in Germany ….but not for this moron. It will have the slightly beneficial effect of temporarily paralyzing liberasts

    • et Al says:

      I think it likely that he’s simply not providing free ammunition for the critics file, plus it is not only good diplomacy, but good manners. Love thy neighbor (especially if he/she is fit!), innit? Putin is held up to a higher standard and he knows it.

    • yalensis says:

      I am curious about the setup of the meeting – did Alexeeva know he was coming?
      Did she accept his congratulations, etc?

      • yalensis says:

        Never mind! I found this piece in VZGLIAD about the visit.

        Confirms all my suspicions that Putin is a closet Solzhenitsynite!
        I translate:

        The President of Russia visited the human rights activist in her flat on the Old Arbat, bringing her a bouquet of flowers and an engraving depicting her home city of Eupatoria.
        The President congratulated her for everything she has done for people.
        “I congratulate you for a life that you lived on behalf of people.”
        Liudmila Alexeeva said that she had never expected such a visit. “All my life I have been doing this and that, and now the President came to congratulate me. There was never anything like this before.”
        “Times were different then,” Putin parried. “What you have done is important. Solzhenitsyn spoke about preserving the people, he did it in his way, and you have done it in your way.”

        GMWAS
        [“Gag me with a spoon.”]

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          When was he ever in the closet?

        • Evgeny says:

          Solzhenitsyn wrote different things. For example, he authored “Как нам обустроить Россию”. It’s, uhm, a very “illiberal” or “unwestern” perspective:

          http://www.lib.ru/PROZA/SOLZHENICYN/s_kak_1990.txt

          Also, Solzhenitsyn has certainly exaggerated the scale of repressions. But I guess he simply didn’t have access to relevant NKVD documents (like e.g. Zemskov).

        • marknesop says:

          I think it’s nice. I think that now, although Alekseeva will still probably agitate against him just as before, she will at heart regard him as a gentleman, and it will also give her a little tingle that he is keeping an eye on her. And that will make her feel good; it’s pretty boring being an activist if your target ignores you completely. On the whole, a couple of hundred rubles or so well-spent.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          So she was born in Russia which is really the Ukraine but has been annexed by Russia?

          Evpatoria was the first place where I stayed in “Independent” Ukraine: nobody spoke Russian there. Whilst en route by taxi from Evpatoria station to where my family was staying (they had gone there a week before I arrived), I mentioned to the taxi driver that this was the first time that I had been to the Ukraine.

          He had a seizure — almost — and pulled up in order to inform me loudly and clearly that “This is Russia!!!”

          • Cortes says:

            A friend whose mum was from Cherkassy and dad from near Evpatoria told me that all her dad’s family speak Russian. She’s conflicted, I think.

    • marknesop says:

      I don’t know – I can’t think of too many things which exemplify dignity more than continuing to treat your enemies with courtesy. To me, it makes them look small-minded and petty, and highlights how little damage they are really doing with their snarling and caterwauling.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “It will have the slightly beneficial effect of temporarily paralyzing liberasts”


      ^Alexeyeve kissing the Terran’s hands. Like a cold shover!

      Already has. The most radical and pure representatives of the Russian non-systemic opposition (aka “demshiza”) are renouncing Alexeyeva for her betrayal and for bowing down to the “Terran of the Kremlin”. Sasha Sotnik is the most eloquen (or he overidulged on boyaryshnik – after all, yesterday was Thursday).

      Sotnik also denounced Navalny for his “performance” with Strelkov. All in all, Ololyosha lost like 100500 points of handshakability from EuroUkrs and liberal intelligentsia. Former Yeltsenite “politician” and a person partially directly responsibly for our “happy childhood” in the 90s, Konstantin Borovoy (a big pal in the friend zone of the late Novodvorskaya), also condemned the debates and Navalniyes AND Alexeyeva.

      Provocation of the Kremlin – success! ЕЖГ in its best.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Алексеева рассказала об обещании Путина помиловать сенатора-«душегуба»

        Alexeeva has spoken about a promise made by Putin to pardon the “Slayer Senator”

        Human rights activist Lyudmila Alexeeva has asked Vladimir Putin to pardon former Senator Igor Izmestiev, who is serving a life sentence for organizing mass killings. According to her, he has promised to do this.


        Igor Izmestyev

        Human rights activist Lyudmila Alexeeva has asked President Vladimir Putin to pardona former Senator from Bashkiria. She spoke about this during a meeting of the Council Human Rights attended by the President and in which Alekseeva took part by video link, reports an RBC correspondent.

        “I told the president: ‘This is not a gift, it is a request: do a good deed. Have pity on Igor Izmestyev’. This is how he earlier pardoned [Sergei] Baranov. He is a robber, a murderer, and everything in the world. But a pardon is not an act of justice, it is an act of mercy”, Alekseeva said.

        According to her, Putin agreed to fulfill her request. “He said: ‘Yes. I”, says he, ‘I promise'”. “I know that when you promise, you will certainly do it”, I told the president. Tomorrow I shall give the joy of this news to Igor Izmestiev’s mother”, added the human rights activist.

        Igor Izmestiev

        Former member of the Council of Federation

        He was charged with two terrorist acts and 14 murders

        Biography:
        Igor Izmestiev was born on January 28, 1966 in Salavat. He is a graduate of the Ufa Aviation Institute.

        In 1988-1990 he served in the Soviet Army.

        In 1990-1991 he was an electrical engineer at Bashneft JSC, electronics engineer in Vostok-Service and the commercial director of a Ufa trading house.

        In 1991-1993 he was deputy head of the Foreign Economic Relations department at Novo-Ufa oil refinery.

        In 1993-2000 he worked in senior positions in Moscow and joined stock companies, in particular, as head of Corus Holding JSC.

        From September 2000 he was chairman of the board of directors of the shipping company Volga Shipping Company (Volga-Flot JSC, Nizhny Novgorod). At the same time in 2000 he was assistant to the chairman of the State Council of Bashkortostan Republic.
        In 2001 he was appointed representative in the Federation Council.

        In April 2003 he was confirmed as a representative of the Federation Council through the new composition of the State Council of Kurulta, Bashkortostan Republic.
        On November 30, 2006 at a State Council of Bashkortostan meeting, deputies decided to terminate the term of Igor Izmestiev as the Federation Council representative of the Bashkir parliament.

        On January 16, 2007, Izmestiev was arrested by the National Security Service of Kyrgyzstan and handed over to their counterparts from the Russian FSB.

        On January 18, 2007, the Moscow Basmanny Court gave out a warrant for the arrest of Izmestiev.

        On December 28, 2010, Moscow City Court sentenced Izmestiev to life imprisonment.
        Source: Wikipedia

        Dossier:
        In 2005, the Investigative Committee at the Ministry of the Interior took up the case initiated by the investigation department of the Moscow police over tax evasion by subsidiaries of Corus Holding by means of two firms, namely Korus-Baikonur and Bort-M, registered in the offshore zone of Baikonur.

        According to investigators, tax evasion was carried out using the same scheme through which Yukos optimized taxes through offshore companies. In early 2006 Izmestiev was questioned as a witness. In summer 2006, three of his friends, namely Aleksander Papakhin, former deputy chief of investigative department of the Moscow police, Aleksander Bakanov, retired Lieutenant General of Tax police, and Dmitry Krivenko, FSB Major, were arrested for giving bribes in exchange for a plan of the investigation of Korus Holding case.

        Source: Kommersant, 20 November 2006

        On November 30, 2006 the Bashkortostan State Council decided to dismiss Izmestiev from the Federation Council for combining entrepreneurship with being a senator. Izmestiev called his dismissal illegal and vowed to defend his opinion in the upper house of parliament. He was supported by Sergey Mironov, Speaker of the Federation Council, who drew attention to the fact that the Bashkortostan State Council had no right to initiate the dismissal of the Federation Council member.

        According to one version, the scandal could have been initiated by Ural Rakhimov, the son of the president of Bashkortostan. Izmestiev disclosed a version of events stating that the public campaign against him had been launched by entities wanting to take control over Korus.

        Source: Expert Online, 30 November 2006

        On January 16, 2007, Izmestiev was arrested at the airport in Bishkek and escorted to Moscow. He was charged with the murder of a notary Galina Perepelkina, the wife of Yuri Bushev, who was his former business partner, president of the auditing firm Promfin Ltd and founder of the Bashneft MPK CJSC.

        Source: Gazeta.ru, 18 January 2007

        On March 12, 2007, Sergey Finagin, who was arrested in connection with the case against Yuri Vasiliev and Denis Pinchuk, former operations officers of the Federal Service for Drug Control in St. Petersburg, and accused of involvement in the activities of the Kingisepp criminal group. Finagin fingered Izmestiev as a client for the contract murder of Oleg Bulatov, an employee of the Roneks Company. In addition, Finagin said Izmestiev provided money for killers to buy weapons and rent apartments. Subsequently Izmestiev was mentioned in the case as a client or manager of contract murders and assassination attempts committed by the group members. In addition to the notary Perepelkina and Bulatov, amongst other victims were named Salavat Gainanov, production director of the Novo-Ufa oil refinery, Valery Speransky, former chief accountant of the Bashkir Petrochemical Company, and Mikhail Orlov, head of financial services company Corvette.

        Source: Kommersant, 05 March 2008

        At the end of April 2008, final charges were brought against Izmestiev. However, in May the Investigative Committee of the Russian Prosecutor’s Office reclassified one of the counts in the charges previously brought against Izmestiev from terrorism to attempted murder. Ural Rakhimov, who was not a victim in this case, was called a possible victim of the senator.

        Source: Kommersant, 04 May 2008

        In May 2010 Moscow City Court dismissed the jury in the case against Izmestiev. The jury was set on acquittal, but security officials applied psychological pressure to some jurors, after which the court was dissolved. Izmestiev was charged with terrorism, and the Duma passed a law to withdraw cases of terrorism from ordinary courts and hold such litigations in professional jury trials.

        Source: New York Times, 15 November 2010

        In July 2011 human rights activists handed over to Dmitry Medvedev Izmestiev’s statements. According to Izmestiev, he disposed of irrefutable evidence that the Rakhimovs stole 5 billion dollars. The money was stolen by Ural Rakhimov, who held control of the fuel and energy complex of the oil region. In 2003 the Audit Chamber found that there were some irregularities in Bashkortostan, but the investigation was never completed.

        At present Ural Rakhimov owns a modest fortune of 500 million dollars and lives in Austria. Murtaza Rakhimov, who was head of Bashkortostan for 20 years, received the Order of Merit for the Fatherland and lives a quiet life of political retirement.

        Source: Neva24, 08 July 2011

        What a lovely old liberal human rights activist asking the president to pardon that nice Mr, Izmestiev!

        I have a request to make to her as well: f**k off and die!

        I am very sure she will be kind enough to grant my request in the very near future.

        Why give these 5th-columnists such respect?

        She’s old, yes: does that alleviate her of responsibility for her treasonous acts?


        Promise? Pretty please?

        • yalensis says:

          So, judging from the photo gallery:
          Putin and Liudmila kissed and snuggled a bit.
          Then they both fawned over a portrait of Stalin.
          Then they drank some champagn and got a little tipsy.
          She’s an old bird, but she still knows how to properly entertain a Gentleman Caller!

  22. Northern Star says:

    @ Stooges and PO in particular

    I made some remarks (supra) about Serbia …

    I DO NOT KNOW WTF HAPPENED!!!!!!

    **I had completely spaced out the fact that to a large extent Serbia WAS the former Yugoslavia”

    Of course the Serbs under Tito -and others-had,along with the Greeks,one of the most successful partisan operations against the Nazi occupiers.

    My apologies!!

    • kirill says:

      Tito f*cked Serbia but good. Thanks to him the WWII Serb refugees from Kosovo were not allowed to return to their homes, but Albanian squatters from Albania got to stay. This pattern was going full tilt during Tito’s rule. So he enabled the Albanian majority in Kosovo. Tito also carved out Vojvodina out of Serbia, but the Hungarians there are not lunatics like the Albanians. He was going to carve out Sandzak also but didn’t get a chance. But there was strife there as well since Muslims are specially entitled people who demand that only others assimilate. At the same time Tito gifted Krajina and both East and West Slavonia to Croatia. A clear pattern of anti-Serb abuse. There was no reason to carve up Serbia and no reason to gift historically unrelated territory to Croatia. Tito was a species of Khruschev, a closet NATO tool. Crimea and Krajina are the same case of abuse of power. Crimea was lucky that Russia got its shit together by 2014. Krajina and the Slavonian land got ethnically cleansed of all Serbs (about half a million people) thanks to NATzO.

      • Northern Star says:

        Thanks …Again I learned something……your comment speaks to my apparent ignorance of the Balkans history and peoples.

        So I’ll STFU and leave Balkans stuff alone…
        :
        O)

      • Patient Observer says:

        Excellent points, all. In addition, Tito played the pivotal role in suppressing the Serbian holocaust. Overall, Tito was a disaster for Serbs as his main role was apparently to dismantle their history, their religion and most importantly to deny them justice to satisfy geopolitical objectives of the West. To cap it off, Tito was someone else:

        The authors of the lengthy [CIA] analysis conclude that it would be “logical to assume” that the controversial leader was either Russian or Polish, but stress that his true identity can only be hypothesized – but that it “certainly was not Yugoslav.”

        http://www.b92.net/eng/news/society.php?nav_id=87373

        Tito was Polish? Makes sense to me. His anti-Serb/anti-Russian stance, his suppression of the religious genocide against the Serbs and the West’s unending support of him and his policies (especially from the MSM) speak for itself. It would be interesting to dig up his rotting corpse and send off a DNA sample to Ancestry.com or whatever discover his true family tree.

  23. Moscow Exile says:

    Got this yesterday from my bulletin GOV.UK: Russia, Conflict, Stability and Security Fund: programme summaries for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 2017 to 2018, Ukraine programme

    WHAT SUPPORT IS THE UK PROVIDING?
    The UK is supporting Ukraine’s civil society and the Ukrainian government on a range of conflict
    management, peace-building and recovery programmes. These include support for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), human rights monitoring and helping to build resilience and grassroots capacity amongst conflict-affected communities. This support is being provided alongside DFID-funded humanitarian aid. As part of the UK’s support to the Minsk II peace process, the UK is currently the second largest contributor to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, which actively monitors the security situation and reports on ceasefire violations.

    Anti-corruption capacity-building includes training for the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) and wider law enforcement bodies, covering investigations, forensics and leadership. This is complemented by UK Good Governance Fund (GGF)-funded support to anti-corruption measures, promoting government accountability, transparency and better administration. The UK will also support parliamentary and electoral reforms. In line with National Security Council direction, the UK provides defensive, non-escalatory training to the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) including infantry training, logistics and medical care. The UK also supports defence reform, helping Ukraine develop democratic oversight mechanisms, better audit and governance/anti-corruption mechanisms, and providing senior UK support to the Defence Reform Advisory Board. The GGF will support inclusive economic growth, including State Owned Enterprise reform and Small and Medium Enterprise growth.

    WHY IS UK SUPPORT NEEDED?
    Ukraine is a significant European and UK security issue with strategic importance for the long-term security, stability and prosperity of the continent and for UK interests. UK support to Ukraine increased following the crisis in 2014 which saw the Maidan revolution, where the Ukrainian population demanded reform and an end to corruption, and then Russia’s annexation of Crimea and creation of the ongoing conflict in east Ukraine. Ukraine is still addressing these two challenges simultaneously. It also faces the challenge of having the 7th highest Internally Displaced Person (IDP) population in the world. Whilst progress has been made on reform in recent years, significant continued effort is needed. UK support is designed to meet the most
    urgent and important challenges and provides comparative advantage (e.g. agility or expertise) alongside our partners.

    [my stress — ME]

    See, H.M.Government maintains that Russia “created” the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

    Wicked, wicked Russians!

    And I wonder what the British government does to help the vast majority of DPs who choose to flee to — Russia, many of whom not being from Lugansk and Donetsk provinces?

  24. Moscow Exile says:

    Директор ЦРУ считает, что Москва хочет “насолить” США

    The Director of the CIA believes that Moscow wants to “annoy” US
    04:4721.07.2017

    WASHINGTON, 21 Aug — RIA Novosti. The Director of the Central intelligence Agency Mike Pompeo believes that Russia want to “annoy” the US.

    According to Pompeo, speaking at a security forum in Colorado, Russia is involved in Syrian affairs, in particular, because “it loves to annoy America”.

    “They want to find any place where they can complicate our lives,” said Pompeo. As regards the The question whether Russia is an enemy of the United States, he said that “this is a difficult question”.

    Russia at the request of the Syrian government makes strikes in Syria against the positions of the banned terrorist group “Islamic state”. The US and its allies are conducting similar actions in Syria, but without the permission of the Syrian authorities. The USA and Russia have established channels of communication in Syria, designed to prevent possible incidents whilst carrying out operations in the country.

    How do arseholes like Pompeo become heads of the CIA?

    • marknesop says:

      Unbelievable. So the presence of Russian forces in Syria complicates life for Americans, who are there against the will of the sovereign government. Presuming they want a quiet life, why don’t they strike their tents and go home? That would show them!

      What annoys me more than anything else is their contempt for everyone else, whom they appear to assume cannot put two and two together and get four.

      Don’t hear much about the ‘moderate Syrian opposition’ any more, do you?

    • J.T. says:

      This isn’t children on a playground, this is geopolitics, for crying out loud!

  25. Moscow Exile says:

    The young Navalny.

    Or is that the statuesque Mrs Navalnaya splattering young Master Navalny with the green stuff?

  26. Moscow Exile says:

    Think on this:

    The debate of Alexei Navalny and Igor Strelkov ended with the suicide of Chester Bennington.

    Such was the anguish suffered by an artist’s soul….

  27. Moscow Exile says:

    For shame, Canada!

    July 20, 2017
    Canada’s Governor General, David Johnston, has said a “slippy” carpet was to blame for an apparent breach of royal etiquette with the Queen.

    He was seen to be lightly touching the Queen’s elbow as she descended some steps, during an event in London to mark Canada’s 150th birthday.

    “I was just anxious to be sure there was no stumbling on the steps”, he told CBC News.

    But Russia was there first!

    Former Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov did the same at the top of the stairs of Stary Angliisky Dvor, Moscow, when the British head of state was last in the Evil Empire.

    And Mrs. Obama once even dared to touch Her Highness’s back:

    Well, such boorish behaviour is expected off Russian mayors and US presidents’ wives — but a Canadian Governor General really ought to know better!

  28. et Al says:

    In MAKS news:

    Flightglobal.com: Ilyushin Finance agrees PD-14 delivery schedule
    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/ilyushin-finance-agrees-pd-14-delivery-schedule-439455/
    The engines are being developed for the Irkut MC-21-300, as an alternative to the Pratt & Whitney PW1400G….

    …It says that, under the deal with UEC’s Perm Motors arm, the engines must be delivered over the course of 2022-23.
    ####

    Now call me childish, but I’ve always thought Perm Motors is one letter away from much hilarity! 😉

    Flightglobal.com: Flight tests beckon for Il-114 powerplant
    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/flight-tests-beckon-for-il-114-powerplant-439501/

    The Klimov TV7-117ST turboprop has been fitted to an Ilyushin Il-76 heavy transport testbed – normally powered by four jet engines….

    …United Aircraft is aiming to restart production of the Il-114 in order to meet demand for short-haul and regional capacity. The TV7-117ST engine is also intended to power the Ilyushin Il-112V military transport.
    ####

    That’s work that Ukrainian Ivchenko-Progress will no longer be getting in future, but then it has been shafted by the Ukrainian government already, the Saudi’s funding the P&W&C powered AN-132-D upgrade o the classic An-32also sporting a western flightdeck

    Flightglobal.com: State-owned lab unveils Russia’s first turboelectric engine concept
    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/state-owned-lab-unveils-russias-first-turboelectric-439484/

    A state-owned research institute revealed plans at the MAKS air show to build Russia’s first turboelectric aircraft engine using lightweight semiconductors provided by a Russian start-up company.

    …Although the configuration is relatively conventional, the design of the power distribution would be unique. Most aerospace companies working on electric engines have avoided superconductors, due to concerns about weight and potential electromagnetic interference effects on other electronics.

    But the CIAM project intends to use a new superconductor material produced by SuperOx, a Russian-based start-up. The SuperOx material is lightweight but scaleable to high-power operations, Gordin says. It should also be possible to mitigate interference effects, but that needs to be tested in the demonstration programme, he adds…
    ####

    Add that to the O-Bomber ‘Russia wot don’t make nuffink’ file.

    This last story is the most exciting one and I think will be fundamental for making electric aircraft worthwhile, more so the larger the engine and the airliner.

  29. Moscow Exile says:

    Free Ukrainians

    Ordinary citizens crawl on their knees with their requests for an appointment with Poroshenko. The person on the right is crossing himself in front of the door.

    • yalensis says:

      One of the pro-Ukrainian Twitter commenters debunks, saying these are just handyman workers tacking down the carpet.
      Sounds plausible. The guy watching on the right would be their supervisor.

      • Special_sauce says:

        That’s what it looks like. The guy kneeling in the foreground is pushing the carpet up to the stanchions(eye bolts) at the back of the step and sliding a brass rod through the bolt holes to hold the carpet in place. The top step is done and he’s getting ready to do the next one down.

        • Special_sauce says:

          I also doubt security would allow two random briefcases(?) to be sitting unattended next to the door to the President’s office. Also, scratching-his-head guy has what appears to be a set of keys in his left hand.

  30. J.T. says:

    My latest (and last) Postapocalyptic/Dystopia summer series review of Sorokin’s Day of the Oprichnik:
    https://russiareviewed.wordpress.com/2017/07/21/review-day-of-the-oprichnik/

  31. Moscow Exile says:

    Try not to laugh.

    Let the manpower deployment figures sink in:

    People do see soldiers from enhanced Forward Presence, our British and French allies. They also see the Baltic Air Police Mission airplanes flying over their heads on exercise or scrambling to look at the planes which are violating our airspace — Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia.

    Liar.

    • et Al says:

      EFP – Erectile Failure Projection more like. NATO limpness is on open show by their media department.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Facing the NATO death or glory in the name of freedom and democracy boys (and girls, don’t forget), the largest contingent of which being 1,000 US personnel, including ice-cream and soda fountain artificers first class, is this:

        Western Military District
        Western Military District (WEST) was established in September 2010 in accordance with the presidential decree of 20 September 2010 on the basis of two military regions – Moscow and Leningrad. The structure also includes WEST Northern and Baltic Fleets and the 1st Air Force and Air Defence Command…

        As part of the troops WEST are units and formations totaling over 400 thousand soldiers, representing about 40% of the total population of the Armed Forces. WEST subordinate to the commander of all deployed in the district military formations of species and genera of the RF Armed Forces, with the exception of the Strategic Missile Forces and the Forces Aerospace Defence. In addition, the operational control of its military forces are the Interior Ministry, the FSB Border Troops, as well as part of the MOE and other ministries and departments, performing tasks within the county.

        [My stress — ME]

        See: Western Military District

        Who does NATO really think it is kidding?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      A frozen frame at 57 seconds into the above video:

      A great example of the real relationship between NATO and the non-NATO neighbouring States.

      Note that in the video, neither the NATO Secretary General nor the presidents of two Baltic States show any indication of bemusement over the fact that on that map two states seem to have vanished into thin air: not only the “hostile to the Alliance dictatorship of Belarus”, but the NATO friendly Junta of Poroshenko and his criminal associates.

      It seems, therefore, that NATO does not see either the Ukraine or Belarus on the map.

      And this not an accident but an attitude.

      In reality, the NATO “peacekeepers” think only in terms of war, specifically NATO vs Russia.

      And this vision that they have of that unnamed on the map swathe of territory that is the Ukraine and Belorussia arises simply because for them it is simply the future killing ground, which can be neglected, as can its inhabitants.

  32. et Al says:

    Buttfeed via Antiwar.com: US ‘Furious’ Over Turkey Publishing US Troop Locations in Syria
    http://news.antiwar.com/2017/07/20/us-furious-over-turkey-publishing-us-troop-locations-in-syria/

    Turkey’s Erdogan Denies Playing a Role in It

    US military officials are reportedly furious after Turkey’s state media published the locations of 10 previously undisclosed US military positions inside Syria, saying that the publication was a major security breech and endangers the lives of troops.

    The list provided not only the locations of previously secret bases, but also provided estimates on the number of US troops inside. They say they got all of this information through reporting trips inside Syria and observing the facilities.

    US officials see this as petty move by Turkey to spite the US for its continued support of the Kurdish YPG. Turkey considers the YPG “terrorists,” and has been fighting against YPG forces further to the west, in the Afrin District of Syria….
    ####

    I don’t believe anything that Buttfeed writes. Unused toilet paper has more journalistic integrity (I know, not much!) than Buttfeed which is the go to outlet for when you need to flush some crap to the public. I do admit, they do that bit of the job very well.

    • Patient Observer says:

      It would seem likely that Russia was fully aware of these “secret” basis from its surveillance capabilities. The disclosure could be of value to other armed groups and was politically embarrassing to the US coming from an ally and all.

  33. et Al says:

    Antiwar.com: US Push for More North Korea Sanctions Is on Shaky Ground
    http://news.antiwar.com/2017/07/20/us-push-for-more-north-korea-sanctions-is-on-shaky-ground/

    And while there’s always disputes about the merits of just throwing more sanctions onto the endless pile, the real problem here is less the sanction rationale, and more the “long-range ICBM” basis, which even US officials have conceded is on flimsy ground.

    After the missile test, South Korea has quick to point out that the missile was not a proper ICBM because ti didn’t have any sort of re-entry capabilities http://news.antiwar.com/2017/07/11/south-korea-north-lacks-re-entry-technology-for-icbms/ . This was a big problem with any potential long-range flight of the missile.

    Pentagon officials later added to the doubts, saying there’s no sign the missile had any sort of guidance system http://news.antiwar.com/2017/07/18/top-us-general-north-korea-lacks-capability-to-accurately-hit-us-with-missiles/ , meaning North Korea couldn’t steer the missile on any long-range flight. Effectively, all North Korea did was take a shorter-range ballistic missile and add a second fuel stage so it would go farther, but doing so in any effective way seems unlikely.

  34. et Al says:

    The American Conservative via Antiwar.com: I Warned About Iran and the Media Ignored Me
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/i-warned-about-iran-and-the-media-ignored-me/

    Because it was Obama’s war to lose.
    By Peter Van Buren • July 18, 2017

    The New York Times is featuring a piece stating that Iran is the big winner of the U.S.-Iraq wars that have run from 1991 to the present….

    …But it wasn’t news to me. I tried writing basically the same story in 2010 as a formal reporting cable for the State Department. Nobody wanted to hear it….
    ####

    Writ large, but they’ve been doing this for a long time particularly in reporting on the breakup of Yugoslavia.

  35. et Al says:

    Neuters via Antiwar.com: Rival Libyan leaders Haftar, Seraj to meet in Paris on July 25: Hayat
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-libya-security-france-idUSKBN1A5285

    Military commander Khalifa Haftar, a powerful figurehead in the east of Libya, and Fayez Seraj, head of the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on July 25, al-Hayat newspaper reported.

    The two held talks in Abu Dhabi in May, their first in more than a year and a half, about a U.N.-mediated deal that Western powers hope will end the factional fighting that has dominated Libya since the 2011 fall of Muammar Gaddafi…

    …Diplomats said a rough plan could see Paris working to refine the U.N. accord by setting up a presidential council that would include Haftar, Seraj and a third actor from the east with Haftar heading up the Libyan National Army.

    This would then be rubber-stamped by the U.N. Security Council and pave the way for national elections. ..
    ####

    The west and others simply cannot be trusted. It looks to me as if this is a Golden Cage strategy. They throw Hiftar a bone that recognizes how important he is and in the meantime work up forces political and military to get rid of him one way or another. Even if the deal is actually genuine, and it does make sense if they are serious about fighting ISIS/ISIS/IS/DAESH/Whatever, they will not be able to resist the temptation to meddle further and f/k it all up. Why? Because they can. Mark. My. Words.

    • et Al says:

      Neuters via Antiwar.com: Libya’s eastern forces deny reports of summary executions
      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-libya-security-torture-idUSKBN1A52F8

      The Libyan National Army, the main military force in eastern Libya, on Thursday denied accusations that its troops were involved in torture and killing of prisoners after the United Nations urged the LNA to investigate.

      The U.N. Human Rights Commission earlier this week called on the LNA, one of the many competing armed factions fighting in Libya since its 2011 civil war, to examine reports of summary executions of prisoners…

      …Several videos circulated on social media this year claimed to show a commander of LNA’s Special Forces executing a number of masked and handcuffed prisoners.

      “For the alleged video (of the commander), we have already launched investigation into the video and we will publish the results when they are issued,” Messmari said. ..
      #####

      Curious, no? Not so long ago it was a General under command of the UN rubber stamped un-elected Benghazi ‘government’ who executed in cold blood around 80 of Hiftar’s troops returning from a military parade who were unarmed. But that was a bad apple and is being investigated. Nothing has been heard since, but now the UN is crawing and demanding an investigation. It’s a terrible mistake when our side does it, but when there’s the mere’s hint of the other side well….

  36. et Al says:

    Neuters via Antiwar.com: Turkey-backed rebel reinforcements arrive in Idlib for Nusra fight: rebels
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-turkey-idUSKBN1A52ID

    Around 150 Turkey-backed Syrian rebels arrived in Idlib province on Thursday to reinforce rebel group Ahrar al-Sham’s escalating conflict with a rival Islamist insurgent group formerly known as the Nusra Front, rebel sources told Reuters.

    Ahrar al-Sham and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a faction led by the formerly al Qaeda-affiliated group earlier known as the Nusra Front, are vying for dominance in Idlib, the only Syrian province that is entirely under rebel control….
    ####

  37. Northrern Star says:

    “Even more chilling was an editorial column on Mosul titled “The City Is the Battlefield of the Future,” that appeared in the Wall Street Journal Thursday under the byline of one Maj. John Spencer, deputy director of the Modern War Institute at the US Military Academy in West Point, New York.
    “The battle for Mosul represents the future of warfare,” Major Spencer argues, adding “U.S. commanders ought to imagine how they would handle a similar environment.”
    Clearly, they have more than imagined it–in terms of Iraq–with US commanders directing much of the destruction rained down on the city.
    Echoing what is now standard Pentagon doctrine, the major insists that the wars that the US military will confront will be fought in “cities — dense, often overpopulated and full of obstacles: labyrinthine apartment blocks, concealed tunnels, panicking civilians.”
    His primary concern is that the Pentagon presently has no systematic training of its troops for urban combat, and that the word “siege”–the barbaric strategy employed against Mosul–does not appear in its training manuals.
    He insists that US forces “need to be equipped to operate in large cities with new equipment, formations and doctrine.” He advances a modest proposal for meeting this need: “Major cities such as Detroit and the outer boroughs of New York have large abandoned areas that could be safely redeveloped as urban training sites.”

    ****In other words, American troops are to be trained in the art of urban combat and siege warfare inside American cities. The proposal suggests that what the major is really urging Pentagon commanders to “imagine” is using the military to suppress revolutionary upheavals in the US itself.**** ”
    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/07/21/mosu-j21.html
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-city-is-the-battlefield-of-the-future-1500500905

    • Cortes says:

      I refer you to your recent posts about Grenfell Tower, NS.

      Cramming third world migrants into urban areas of the west will have results predictable from a reading of “Mid Atlantic Man” by Thomas Wolfe.

  38. et Al says:

    Agencies via Antiwar.com: China gives Tajikistan $230 million for new parliament
    http://dailytimes.com.pk/world/19-Jul-17/china-gives-tajikistan-230-million-for-new-parliament

    …Beijing owns some $1.2 billion of the country’s total external debt of $2.3 billion, a share equal to around a sixth of GDP.

    Strategically located on the border of China’s restive Xinjiang province and conflict-wracked Afghanistan, Tajikistan is the poorest of the former ex-Soviet republics…

    …For the most part, Chinese economic assistance to Tajikistan has targeted key infrastructure projects including roads and railways linking the republic’s north and south…

  39. Moscow Exile says:

    The latest GOV.UK bulletin that I have received.

    From the Foreign and Commonwealth Office:

    Russia human rights priority country report (Russian language) [PDF file]

    Russia
    In 2016, the human rights situation in Russia continued to deteriorate.

    Great Britain is extremely concerned about the constant pressure on civil society and the restriction of freedom of speech. The government strenuously tightens legislation by restricting the rights of public organizations: including in this legislation is the law “on foreign agents”, in which the definition of the term “political activism” has become even more blurred. The “Yarovoy package”, which came into effect in July, aimed at combating religious extremism and has led to a restriction of freedoms on the Internet and a ban on “missionary activity.” State-run television channels continue to give bias to the news in a pro-government vein. Despite the declared “transparency”, during the elections to the State Duma in September, numerous procedural violations were recorded. According to the report of the election observation mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the electoral process was adversely affected by restrictions on the fundamental freedoms and political rights of citizens. The country still has a serious problem of modern slavery; according to the world ranking of slavery, about a million people in Russia live in slavery. The legislative measures undertaken by the government are far from sufficient in addressing this issue. Representatives of the LGBT community are still under threat of harassment and violence, while the Russian government is almost never engaged in combating homophobia amongst the population.

    The UK carried out its activities to protect human rights in Russia in five priority areas: civil society and democracy, equality and combating discrimination, the rule of law, the North Caucasus, and freedom of speech. We sponsored a number of projects, including the visi tby Sir Ian McKellen, who drew attention to the problem of the infringement of the rights of the LGBT community. We continued to express our concern, both through international organizations, and directly to the Russian authorities.

    Gross violations of human rights by de facto Russian authorities have been continuing in the Crimea. Residents of the Ukraine who opposed annexation have been arrested and sentenced to punishment or placed under investigation on trumped-up accusations of extremism; Others are pressured and forced into renouncing their Ukrainian citizenship in favour of a Russian one in order to gain access to basic services on the peninsula. Some have been forced to leave their homes. There have been cases when citizens of the Ukraine have been taken from the Crimea to prisons on Russian territory.

    Particularly serious violations of human rights are being observed against the ethnic minority of the Crimean Tatars. Many representatives of the Crimean Tatars have been detained and imprisoned and their homes and mosques are regularly searched. The United Kingdom has repeatedly raised the issue of human rights violations by de facto Russian authorities in the Crimea. In December, the United Kingdom supported a successfully adopted resolution of the UN General Assembly that calls on Russia to fulfill its obligations in the Crimea in accordance with applicable international law and to allow international human rights organizations to monitor the observance of human rights on the peninsula.

    The conflict in the territory of eastern Ukraine, supported by Russia, still has a devastating impact on the community. According to UN estimates at the end of 2016, during the conflict 10,000 people lost their lives and almost 1 million became internally displaced within the country. By supplying weapons and personnel to help the separatists, Russia continues to violate its obligations under the Minsk agreement. The UK demanded an investigation into the reports that Ukrainians who oppose the regime in territories under the control of the separatists are under threat of arrest, physical and sexual violence, and summary executions.

    Russia’s actions in Abkhazia and South Ossetia have led to a deterioration in the human rights situation in these regions. There is a toughening of restrictions on freedom of movement, including restrictions on access to documentation, closure of checkpoints and the installation of barbed wire fences along the administrative border. The study of the Georgian language has been largely curtailed, and laws restricting residence and the property rights of ethnic Georgians have been made. The UK continues to call on Russia and the de facto Russian authorities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia to provide an opportunity for international human rights organizations to monitor the observance of human rights in these regions. The British Minister for Europe and the Americas, Sir Alan Duncan, noted the importance of this issue during his visit to Georgia in November.

    Despite a lack of significant progress, the UK will continue to work to protect human rights in Russia in 2017. We will participate in trials of violations of human rights, and together with our partners in the EU and international organizations, we will try to hold Russia accountable. Russia will also become a priority in our global efforts to eliminate modern slavery.

    Modern slavery?

    British government offices will participate in Russian trials?

    Oh do fuck off, will you, and get your own rotten house in order!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I wonder where this Russia is that is described in the FCO report above?

      Doesn’t seem like the one I can see through my window.

      If it is the same place, I wonder where the nearest slave market is where I can go buy me a slave wench to do the housework and look after my creature comforts …?

    • kirill says:

      So they only count the 1 million that were internally displaced and ignore the 3 million that were externally displaced because the went to Russia. Whenever a NATzO regime starts bleating about human rights, then you know that is the last thing at issue and it is their usual geopolitical machinations at play.

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