It Looks as if Your Dead Horse Could Use a Touch of the Lash.

Uncle Volodya says, “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, is of a different opinion, it is only because they only know their own side of the question.”

Let’s see…who will we hold up to ridicule today for their fanciful portrayal of current or past events in a manner which is strongly reminiscent of a certain story, in which one ate from different sides of the same mushroom to make one tiny or gigantic, and there was a lot of falling down rabbit-holes? I was sorely tempted to pick Luke Coffey’s entry, Ukraine’s Future is Brighter Than You Think, for The National Interest. You all remember Luke, former US Army officer turned think-tanker, perhaps for his public and very enthusiastic endorsement of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili as a Swiss-army-knife solution to Ukraine’s corruption problems. Yes, it was hard to keep from laughing; I talked a bit about it here. Suffice it to say that here we are, a little better than two years down the road from that embarrassing moment, and Ukraine has made zero realistic progress. Its tubby oligarch President is still owner of all the businesses he promised to sell back when he was elected, is richer than ever, still hasn’t learned anything about running a country, and for its part the country was recognized – a year after Coffey’s exhibition of slobbering devotion – as the most corrupt country in Europe. Saakashvili was obviously about as useful as a chocolate teapot at fighting corruption, and now he has been stripped of his last remaining citizenship by Ukraine’s portly font of corruption himself, Petro Poroshenko. He’s currently hanging out in The Land of the Free, where he frequently couch-surfs between bouts of doing nothing about corruption in Ukraine, terrifying the fast-food population and adding to his gross tonnage. Lest you think I am gratuitously mocking him, see if you can name one useful thing he ever did to fight corruption in Ukraine – one official who was successfully prosecuted for corruption thanks to his whistle-blowing. Oh, I know he can generate no end of audio over his ‘reforms’, but that’s because he speaks fluent Washingtonian and knows all the ideological buzz-words.  Word is he may have to seek asylum there. That was likely his plan since some time back, and he’s just testing the waters, because his support in Ukraine is even lower than Poroshenko’s. You can hardly swing a dead cat by the tail in Washington without hitting some exiled leader-in-waiting, and the regime-change auditioning steadily adds to their number, but I suppose there’s always room for 1.8 more (Saakashvili is almost two people, and has the chins for three).

The article in question is low-hanging, juicy fruit, packed with counterintuitive, crackpotty and easily disprovable assertions, such as that the macroeconomic situation in Ukraine is now stable. I guess he threw that big ‘macroeconomic’ word in there – six syllables!!! – so you would not guess that he does not know what ‘stable’ means. In fact, Ukraine is running a trade deficit of $442 million USD, unemployment is as bad as it was at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008 and headed north at a brisk clip, the country remains dependent on IMF handouts for its survival, and the forecast for GDP growth is regularly revised downward as the time for it to surge up into happiness figures draws nigh. The national debt as a ratio of GDP has doubled since the glorious Maidan. Ukraine  is to stability what mud pies are to haute cuisine.

Exports are up, Coffey tells us. First off, I don’t know how he would know that, since economic data typically lags by nearly a year and he provides no figures. But in 2015 Ukraine realized twice as much money from exports of sunflower oil and seed as it did from agglomerated iron ores and concentrates, and metals are one of the fields he cites as growing. That same year, Ukraine exported $ 38,127 million worth of goods, and imported $ 37,516 million. Did I mention the balance of trade had worsened since 2015, which – all things considered – was actually a pretty good year for post-Maidan Ukraine?

Anyway, as I said, it was tempting. We could have had a lot of fun, making fun of Luke and his saccharine daydreams. But in the end, I let it go, in favour of thisDer Spiegel’s apocalyptic view of conditions in the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics…as they understand them from known crackpot and former Ukrainian SBU member Alexander Khodakovsky, whom they contacted via WhatsApp.

Yes, we all know – to our great sorrow – that journalists rarely go to the countries on which they report anymore, and are apparently satisfied to just call activists in war zones to see how the situation is shaking out. And Der Spiegel has a legitimate excuse – it sought accreditation for the Donbas back in March, and was refused.

I want you to imagine, for a moment, that you’re calling the Turks and Caicos, and you speak for a half-hour or so to the village idiot from Bottle Creek. You ask him how your offshores are doing, and he tells you they blew the roof off the bank, you’re richer than Bill Gates.

Would you call up your boss, tell him to go fuck himself, you don’t need his two-bit job any more because you’re a billionaire? I devoutly hope not.

It is remarkable how journalists appear to harbour no suspicion when a source is telling them exactly what they want to hear, and then some: losses on the front lines of the DNR are horrific. The military situation is deteriorating, and if not for Russia’s direct help, they would have had to give up a long time ago. All the plants which were nationalized by the government of Novorossiya were placed under the control of a company registered in South Ossetia, called Wneschtorgserwis, to cover up Moscow’s involvement and escape international sanctions. Russia is in it up to its ears, organizing, supplying, helping, advising and planning. The DNR leaders are basically just paper cutouts with Putin’s men standing behind them. All, all exactly the kind of stuff that makes western leaders go “A-HA!!!!! I knew it!!!!”

Curiously, the only mention of ‘Wneschtorgserwis’ is in the subject article. Companies whose names are close and which might indicate a transcription error, such as “Nestor Servis”, are based in the Netherlands and Serbia. No mention of any such company in South Ossetia. Graham Phillips – who actually did spend quite a bit of time in Donetsk and its environs –  wrote a piece back in May of this year, cautioning against any attribution to Khodokovsky and citing material written by him in which he claims 100,000 Russian soldiers are in the DNR and if not for them, the whole place would have been rolled up like a carpet. Moscow is running everything. The rebels did have a Buk system – it was brought in from Lugansk, and then returned to Russia after they used it to shoot down MH17: Khodokovsky, with his thumb firmly positioned on the pulse of current events, knew all about it.

Even that veteran vampire of Russophobia, Catherine Fitzpatrick, was drawn from her box of dirt by the maddening inconsistencies in Khodakovsky’s storytelling. After allegedly having affirmed, in an interview with Reuters, that the rebels had possessed a Buk system which was brought in from Lugansk, that he absolutely knew all about it…he almost immediately said that he had never mentioned Buks in the interview, never told them anything of the kind and that he had a recording which would prove it. I wouldn’t doubt it, given the SBU’s ‘magic’ with recordings of conversations.

Except he also said it was the Ukrainians who shot down the airliner, and that they knew the rebels did not have any Buks. At about this point in the conversation, the word ‘Buk’ should have begun to lose all meaning for you, to become nothing more than a nonsense syllable, or a conversational overture from a chicken.

Alexander Khodakovsky is an attention-seeking charlatan, the ‘Curveball’ of Novorossiya. And Der Speigel got a scoop from him – Ukrainian factories are being dismantled and sold to Russia, masterminded by Surkov. Even though nobody knows anything about ‘Wneschtorgserwis’, Der Speigel is comfortable that it ‘knows’ – reportedly – that the company has delivered 140,000 tons of iron ore to steel mills in the Donbass region since April, for $18 million, and that it has begun exporting steel to Russia from there, as well as anthracite from the mines. That’d be from the steel plants which are all sitting idle with their workers sent home jobless, or broken up like Kuwait’s incubators and carted off to Russia under the acquisitive eye of Surkov. Khodakovsky almost set up an interview with the mysterious South Ossetian company’s ‘PR Representative’ – just what you need when you’re trying to fly under the radar and avoid sanctions; a local PR rep – Viktor Nikolayenko, but Moscow got wind of it and shut him down. Damned Putin – he never sleeps and he knows everything.

I can hardly wait for their sequel, in which a leprechaun leader rises to claim the throne of Donbas, and leads the cheering people to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

And they all lived happily ever after. Jesus Christ.

This entry was posted in Corruption, Economy, Europe, Government, Law and Order, Politics, Saakashvili, Strategy, Trade, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1,090 Responses to It Looks as if Your Dead Horse Could Use a Touch of the Lash.

  1. Cortes says:

    Delicious stuff, Mark, and a great read to kick Saturday off to a brilliant start. Thank you again.

    Another attention seeking charlatan (Derek Harvey – the Walter Mitty of Mesopotamia) has been in the spotlight recently, too. Enjoy (I hope):

    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/07/derek-harvey-one-less-neocon.html

    • marknesop says:

      Thank you, Cortes! As I mentioned in my comment there (not yet visible as I write) it reminds me of the appointment of Michael D. “Heck of a Job, Brownie” Brown as America’s first Undersecretary of Emergency Preparedness and Response. ‘Brownie’s’ most recent experience for the job was as Judges and Stewards Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association.

      And now I am off to work – see you all later.

      • kirill says:

        I salute you for having the fortitude and tenacity to wade through the “shit” and expose it. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

  2. yalensis says:

    Hear hear! I am second only to Cortes, and this story made my Saturday morning bright.
    Some great winged phrases too, to add to the pleasure. Good writing.

  3. Jen says:

    It could be said that the one useful thing Mishiko did for Ukraine while he was governor of Odessa was to get offside with Porky Pig and eventually fall out of the Porcine Prez’s favour. Last thing you want is Saakashvili and Poroshenko working together to squeeze more blood out of Ukraine like two psychopaths running a butcher’s shop.

    Thanks for another sterling effort, Mark!

  4. Lyttenburgh says:

    “Its tubby oligarch President… still hasn’t learned anything about running a country”

    “What you mean “running a country”?! I swear, Vicky said “ruining” it!”

    “Saakashvili was obviously about as useful as a chocolate teapot at fighting corruption…”

    Mark, I see a large crowd of chocolate teapots protesting such unfair comparisons. They are right beside the dumpsters on fire (who were insulted when used as an allegory for the general state of the politics in the Ukraine) and a number of “404-error” signs (for being compared to the Ukraine itself). For the sake of the peace and order we must come with some other comparisons. Sadly, even Africa related one’s won’t go, seeing as the Ukraine outpaces them in the Special Olympics discipline “Hit the Bottom, Break it and Hit another Bottom”.

    “He’s currently hanging out in The Land of the Free, where he frequently couch-surfs between bouts of doing nothing about corruption in Ukraine, terrifying the fast-food population and adding to his gross tonnage”

    He also produces megabytes worth of meme! Well, not himself…

    Well, you know – “We are all Georgians today”. #JeSuisBehBehBeh.

    “Ukraine is to stability what mud pies are to haute cuisine.”

    Oh, Mark! Now we have “The Coalition of Mud and Cow Pies Against Discrimination” protesting unfair comparison as well! 🙂

    Now, IIRC, all of these “thoughtful” articles happened before the glorious Blockade of the Donbass, which hit the GDP growth of the Ukraine by 1%, before the High Court in London ruled in favor of Russia concerning “Yanukovich Debt” and before Groysman’s cabinet decision of liquidate about 1200 state enterprises (1/3 will be closed down outright, the rest sold in, ha-ha, fair auctions). But I’m sure the cheerleading team of the glorious post-Maydan Ukraine will rationalize even that.

    How? I don’t know. How did they rationalize the liquidation of “Antonov”, btw?

  5. kirill says:

    “Alexander Khodakovsky is an attention-seeking charlatan, the ‘Curveball’ of Novorossiya. And Der Speigel got a scoop from him – Ukrainian factories are being dismantled and sold to Russia, masterminded by Surkov. Even though nobody knows anything about ‘Wneschtorgserwis’, Der Speigel is comfortable that it ‘knows’ – reportedly – that the company has delivered 140,000 tons of iron ore to steel mills in the Donbass region since April, for $18 million, and that it has begun exporting steel to Russia from there, as well as anthracite from the mines.”

    They are in morbid fear of Russia economically engaging the Donbas. It means that the Donbas will survive and given its size (7 million people) and development level (cheap smear about “Soviet junk” notwithstanding) will eventually stand on its own. There is an implicit recognition in this drivel that Ukraine is deindustrializing and regressing. It is a joke in itself that Ukraine needs arms supplies from NATO to fight a war on the Donbas.

  6. Warren says:

    Published on 28 Jul 2017
    The Network of Police Monitors (NETPOL) have documented the mounting use of aggressive and at times violent tacticts against demonstrators. A month of anti-fracking campaigns known as the ‘Rolling Resistance’, has been declared in the north of England, near Preston Road in Lancashire, which is the location of the UK’s first, and thus far only, fracking site.

    I wonder how long before the UK politicians and media blames Russia for being behind these Anti-Fracking protesters? Like it has in Poland, Romania and the US.

  7. Warren says:

    Published on 29 Jul 2017
    It cannot have failed to attract the notice of our viewers that we are witnessing an increasing drive to war against both Russia and China by our own and other imperialist ruling classes.
    The first question we have to ask ourselves is: why?

    Why do the US and British ruling classes seem so set on war with Russia and China, and what can the working class do to prevent such a cataclysm?

    What is the relation between this drive to war with Russia and China and conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the Ukraine and Korea? What are the causes of tension in the South China Sea?

    What has the economic crisis of capitalism got to do with it? Why should it be that Russia and China in particular should inspire such belligerence? And what kind of anti-war movement do workers need to build if they wish to stop the juggernaut in its tracks?

    Despite the urgency and importance of these questions, they are hardly discussed in what passes for the British working-class movement at present, but one thing is for certain: we cannot succeed in a task we have not even set ourselves.

  8. Cortes says:

    An interesting article about Afghan perceptions of the period of the Soviet intervention:

    https://journal-neo.org/2017/07/29/in-afghanistan-russians-are-now-remembered-with-love/

    No reason to suppose that Andre Vltchek suffers from derekharveyitis, but no doubt if there’s evidence of that it’ll emerge.

  9. Patient Observer says:

    Yes, indeed, another fabulous vivisection!

    Mark, wanted a greenish icon hence the weird email…

  10. Cortes says:

    Diane Johnstone peels back the way the sanctions applied by the USA are likely to be the suicide note for the USD as reserve currency:

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/07/28/collateral-damage-u-s-sanctions-aimed-at-russia-strike-western-european-allies/

    • marknesop says:

      Thanks so much for that! I seem to have revealed my ignorance by asking rhetorically, earlier; “Why don’t countries ordered to pay huge fines to the USA simply tell Uncle Sam to ram it up his chuff, sideways?” After all, the USA has no authority to find the financial institutions of other sovereign nations guilty of corruption, and order them to pay huge fines to the United States – it’s highway robbery. But now we get down to the nub of it – because of the dollar’s status as international reserve currency.

      I have been saying for years that it is time for the world to dump the dollar as reserve currency, and maybe this time it will really happen. Oh, just as the reserve currency – the dollar will likely always be a reserve currency, owing to the global importance of the American economy. But at present other countries have no currency to flee to when Uncle Sam starts flinging his balls about. The dollar should be only one of a basket of reserve currencies of equal status, and we might see the Chinese making overtures to boost the global valuation of the yuan, although there are good reasons why it will probably not replace the dollar in our lifetimes. No reason countries should be left without a choice, though – isn’t America forever blathering on about choices and how it means freedom if you have them?

      I know only nuts advance the possibility of a return to the gold standard, but I have to say it would make the world sit up and take notice if China and Russia united in a currency union backed by gold. Because although the United States is supposed to have the world’s biggest gold reserves, I think many share my belief that that is all just on paper, and they really don’t have more than a quarter what they say they have, perhaps less. They certainly go out of their way to squash any country which proposes trading in gold, as they did Libya and Iraq. Well, Iraq’s crime was more a state-led drive to dump the greenback than it was a shift to gold, but it seemed to have the same effect.

      A large-volume global sell-off of American dollars would put Washington in a very difficult position indeed. A popular move to a gold-backed currency would drop the bottom out of a fiat currency like the greenback.

      • yalensis says:

        To quote that great American patriot, William Jennings Bryan:
        “We shall crucify the bankers upon a cross of gold!”

      • likbez says:

        Mark,

        Dollar dominance is just one feature of neoliberalism. You just can’t take is separately and attack it. You will be instantly crushed.

        And BTW Russia is still a neoliberal country with its own set of oligarchs (some of which now will face significant losses) and after Yeltsin drunken rampage always was. Which represent the fifth column within the country. So fact they did no rebel, but this may eventually change as losses are mounted. This is the USA calculation.

        It was a miracle that Russia avoided further dismembering and complete neoliberal colonization. But that’s about it. Now this is not the time to test its luck again, I think. It’s too early.

        BTW China is also a neoliberal country as well, although deviant in its own way. Anybody who think that in case of troubles China will come to Russia help, because she will be next target of Washington, might well be a dreamer. On the contrary, Chine might try to corner Russia in prices of hydrocarbons because of sanctions. The rule of neoliberalism if that if a country is sinking, help her to sink faster.

        This “deviation” from Washington consensus” in the form of more independent foreign policy and defense of national interests than are allowed by Washington — the center of global neoliberal empire is what Russia is punished for. All those fake accusation of hacking are just a convenient pretext. That’s why sanctions legislation enjoyed such a majority in Congress — the country that challenges the US dominance in global neoliberal empire should be destroyed.

        That means that Russia should be very careful not to overreact as trump cards in this geopolitical game are still in the USA hands. Especially in high technology.

        Washington is spoiling for a fight. They failed with the attempt of color revolution in Russia in 2012. After that setback they organized coup d’état in Ukraine in 2014. Just watch how they will try to derail Putin during the next elections. All means are good or them.

  11. cartman says:

    I don’t remember if this had been mentioned here before. The article is almost a year old.

    So Much Land, Too Few Russians

    By MICHAEL KHODARKOVSKY

    “Still, many Russians are suspicious of the government’s offer. For good reason. During Russia’s privatization phase in the 1990s, each citizen was issued a voucher for shares in government-owned enterprises. Very quickly, most of these shares ended up in the hands of a few people who became billionaires. Some suspect that this may be another such scheme to enrich a few well-connected Russians, who would buy up the land and bring in Chinese laborers.”

    • kirill says:

      Canada, so much land, too few Canadians.

      Brzezinsky had a plan to carve up Russia, which Albright likes a lot. All the arguments hurled at Russia can be thrown right back at the demented chimps who make them. BTW, just as in the case of Canada, the territory has a vast sub-Arctic component which was never going to develop agriculture and establish modern societies. (I am not dissing the aboriginal locals, the first civilization rooted itself in the agricultural zone of the Tigris and the Euphrates; in the New World, it was the tropical zone that developed above the nomadic or semi-nomadic level and that is because agriculture was more predictable and one could get year round crops).

      • Cortes says:

        In fact, Kirill, the briefest of looks at land occupation even in grossly overpopulated countries like the UK demonstrates how compressed the bulk of the human population is across the world. Check out the light signature of the surface from satellite images at night. It’s depressing and the compression is getting worse. Part of the rationale for migration is dislocation of people from resource rich areas to areas where subsoil resources have been exhausted. In my view.

        • marknesop says:

          Part of it also reflects a global exodus toward cities – we’ve spoken of it here before. Small agribusiness was never really motivated by profit, because the farmer must bear a terrible risk and a bad season could wipe him out. Agriculture increasingly falls to agri-giants like Monsanto. Smaller towns and villages which frequently were anchored by the farm community have dried up and their populations gone to urban areas in search of work.

          • Jen says:

            Small family-run farms and the profit motive just don’t go well together. Such small agricultural enterprises have to be labours of love. They may generate profits but not necessarily in the short term (up to three years) and in many respects resemble – well they are one particular type – of small to medium-sized businesses run by owner-managers. Plus as Mark says small farms are dependent on community networks clustered in villages and towns that include other small businesses that supply tools and equipment for farms or buy their produce. Schools, offices, banks, medical services, post offices and government agencies provide subsidiary services. To some extent these farms and towns may need to rely on government subsidisation to survive (and to maintain transport connections to other towns and cities) especially if farming is historic to the area or it provides products needed or desired by the rest of society, and complete privatisation of farms in the area isn’t feasible because the nature of the produce and its production doesn’t lend itself to automation (for example, harvesting may have to be done by hand to prevent fruit bruising) or the area itself is hilly, has poor soils or the cost of transport in and out of the area is high.

            Also it’s my understanding that most small family farms engage in a range of farming activities – they may keep different kinds of poultry, small herds of cows, sheep or alpacas and/or grow all kinds of fruit and vegetable crops – and these activities subsidise each other so that if one crop fails one year, the other activities can still produce enough to offset the loss for that period. Agribusiness factory farms usually concentrate on just one activity or a few activities on a large scale because they operate to a for-profit business model.

    • marknesop says:

      What does he imagine the urgency on the part of the IMF toward ramming through land reform in Ukraine, so the country can sell off agricultural land to foreign agricultural interests, is all about?

      • yalensis says:

        These IMF-led imperialists can strip an entire nation for spare parts, as quickly and efficiently as an urban gang can strip a car parked on a ghetto street.

  12. Cortes says:

    “A Jew who didn’t support the USSR was a sell-out and a traitor.”

    Norman Finkelstein on his upbringing:

    http://www.unz.com/nfinkelstein/to-live-or-to-perish/

    One wonders about the mentality of the neocons on reading this.

    • Cortes says:

      Obviously, should’ve been ” On reading this…

      Grammar failure.

    • yalensis says:

      “But the Holocaust industry only let survivors bear witness if they denounced the Soviet Union. The campaign to “Free Soviet Jewry” was in high gear—the Jackson-Vanik amendment, etc. As much as they liked money, there was no way on god’s earth my parents would ever utter a single word critical of the Soviet Union. So they were never asked to speak….”

      It’s what I always suspected: That the American government very cleverly “married” the Holocaust industry with anti-Sovietism. That was step 1.
      Step 2 was to insist that all Jews owe allegiance only to Israel and to the U.S.
      Step 3 (which we see now) is to blur the history of WWII and make (in a crazy kind of way) the Nazis the good guys, and that it was somehow the Soviets who killed the Jews.

      This revisionism will fail, because the Truth is still out there.
      Thanks for posting this extremely interesting interview, Cortes!

  13. marknesop says:

    Kaboom!! A Russian-sourced thermite grenade – allegedly – destroys a Ukrainian ammunition depot, at a very significant cost in both money and available ammunition. The grenade probably was supplied by Russia, although when is questionable and Ukraine certainly does have – and uses – incendiary weapons from old stockpiles it maintained since well before the present conflict.

    I was interested to see the source make the leap from ‘Russian grenade’ to ‘Russian drone’. .Although the drone might well have been supplied by Russia; and if it was, what of it? Is that ‘not allowed’? Or is only one side permitted to use drones supplied by outside interests? And should anyone rush to jump on the Raven being unarmed, the US military also flew the Global Hawk over Ukraine. Although it does not carry weapons itself, it is a surveillance aid to accurate targeting.

  14. Warren says:

    Published on 27 Jul 2016
    A BBC TV series from 1989, telling the history of the Second World War. Narrated by that distinguished British journalist, and war hero, Charles Wheeler.

    Fascinating insight into the domestic political and economic crises in France prior to the outbreak of WW2.

  15. Warren says:

    Published on 29 Jul 2017
    After pushing disastrous policies and wars, prominent neoconservatives are reinventing themselves as members of the anti-Trump “resistance” with the help of top Democrats and MSNBC, says The Nation’s James Carden

    • kirill says:

      The long march back to “communism” by the ex-Trotskyist neocons. (The founding fathers of the neocon movement were all ex-Trotskyists, I guess most neocons today bypassed the whole dabbling with communism thing). America is basically a one party state and we see with Trump what happens when what little of pluralism there is goes off script. After they chew up Trump and pass him through their collective intestinal tract, they can grab full power over America. The will have supreme domination of both the Republican and Democratic Parties and the US media.

    • marknesop says:

      They know their best chance to return to politics as usual is with Hillary at the helm – had she been elected, things would have been pretty much as they are now, but it would be according to a deliberate plan and nobody would have had to hold Hilly’s feet to the fire or craft policy instruments so that she could not back out of sanctions; she would likely have already ratcheted them up higher on her own.

  16. Moscow Exile says:

    Off topic and very personal

    And sort of linked to a previous thread as regards my status in Russia, where I have legally lived and worked for almost a quarter of a century.

    I have been keeping quiet about this for a while now, but shortly you may well hear very little from me.

    As some of you may be aware, my so-called permanent residency permit that allows me to live here to all intents and purposes as a Russian citizen, therefore making an annual renewal of a 12-month visa unnecessary, has a a validity of 5 years and if one wishes, one may extend this validity by another 5 years every 5 years, there being no limitation on the number of such extensions.

    My residence permit was due for extension on 21 May.

    When I first received a residence permit in 2004, it was a temporary one (TRP), valid for 3 years. It was a nightmare to get and it takes 6 months to get one.

    In 2007, I applied for and got my first “permanent” residence permit (PRP), which was valid until 2012.

    In 2012 I applied for a 5-year extension and got it, namely my PRP was extended up to May 21 this year.

    When I got my first extension, they told me that when its validity was nearing its end, I should have to apply for another extension, if I wished to have one, not less than 2 months before the end of its validity.

    I had to apply this year for another 5-year extension not later than March 21.

    I forgot about this.

    I had, I maintain, good reason for forgetting: my wife was in hospital and they operated on her on March 26. I was dashing to and fro to the hospital and also looking after my kids, taking the youngest to school and meeting her after school. I am not a driver: no car.

    I only realized that I had forgotten to apply on time for an extension when re-registering my address at the local migration office. The bureaucrats there re-registered my address because my PRP was still valid: it was May 13. I then went to the “Multifunctional Migration Centre”, Moscow, purpose built some 2 years at the village of Sakharovo, situated for some reason or other 50 miles outside of Moscow. And there they told me to come back on June 7 — after the expiry date of the PRP. I returned on 7 June and they simply told me I could not have my PRP extended another 5-years. I had left it too late.

    What to do? I told them that that meant I now had neither a visa nor a residency permit, that in fact from May 21, when the period of my PRP validity had ended, I must therefore now be classified as an illegal migrant and could, therefore, be deported at any time.

    I said that the whole thing was ridiculous, that I had simply forgotten to do what I did not forget to do 5 years before in 2012.

    I told them that I had been living and working legally in Russia for over 20 years, that I had been paying taxes, that I had been married to a Russian citizen for 20 years, that we had 3 children who were still minors, that they still went to school and were Russian citizens.

    They — or rather “she”, for it was a woman who dealt with me from behind a window — would not budge.

    I said this was madness. What if I had been seriously ill around the time when I had to apply for an extension, I asked. Would my extension still have been refused because of my late application?

    Still she would not budge. She just said: “Apply for a TRP. Go to your УФМС”.

    “As an illegal?” I asked her, “For that is what I am now because of your refusal to extend my permit!”

    Back in Moscow, my wife and I went to the local УФМС (Federal Migration service Directory). We went into three offices there, where they all continued to pass the buck, mainly repeating “Sakhorovo” like automatons. I got sick of telling them that I cannot go to the “Multifunctional Migration Centre” at Sakhorovo, as I had been living here illegally since the same place refused to extend my residency permit after having told me there on May 13 to come back on June 7 in order to hand in my documents appertaining to a permit extension. The permit expired on May 21. So when I went back, they refused to extend it: they invited me back, therefore, before it had expired simply in order to tell me I was too late to extend it!

    I finally got through to one of the bureaucrats that I have to leave the country in order to return, that I need an “exit visa”, that I did not want to re-apply for a temporary permit, as he was suggesting that I do, because I simply could not: I was an illegal immigrant!

    “We don’t do visas here” was the reply.

    I told him I knew that. He told me to go to such and such an office.

    “Been there. She sent me to you.”

    “Well go to …”

    Been there, he sent me to you ..”

    We went back to who seemed like the boss — big office, very few daring to enter.

    My wife explained to him for the umpteenth time that through an oversight, I had applied too late for the residency permit extension, that I now have neither a visa nor such a permit, that I am now an “illegal”.

    “He’s got to go court!” he said.

    “I know, I damn well know!” I thought.

    “And there’ll be a 5,000 ruble fine’, he added, “and maybe for 5 years he will not be able to re-apply for a visa to re-enter Russia”.

    My wife told him that she had been married to me for 20 years, that we had 3 children, all Russian citizens and still going to school; that I had been working here for 23 years completely legally; that I pay Russian tax, have an ИНН (tax code, i.e. I pay taxes).

    She had already told him this by the way, but he had not been listening: busy, busy texting away whilst she was pleading. So he changed his tune then and said this would be taken into consideration at court. And she told him again about her sickness up to and after the deadline for starting the extension process for the permit, which extension had been flatly refused on 7 June.

    So he told us to go to the main УФМС at Pokrovka St.

    I know this place: I have been there before during the seemingly interminable process of applying for a temporary residence permit and then a full one. It is like the Black Hole of Calcutta!

    At Pokrovka, they told us to go back to where we had come from and that the people there, at my local migration office where I was registered, had to go to court with me so as to apply for an exit visa — and also so that the court could whack me with a fine.

    So back we went to our local УФМС.

    This time the process was far quicker. The boss who had sent us to Pokrovka pulled his face and said to my wife: “Oh, I’ve just come from court. I don’t want to go back today!”

    This is the same bloke who passed us off to other offices and sent us to Pokrovka, knowing full well that he had to go court with my case!

    So he said to my wife: “What about Monday? Oh no! Not Monday. The judge on Monday is terrible: she takes ages and ages. Oh, all right then! Be here tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. and we’ll go to court then”.

    What a bureaucratic bastard!

    The court is on Taganskaya Street, about 20 minutes walk from our house.

    We were there at his office at 08:00 the next day and this time he carefully checked all my documents: British passport, immigration card, full Russia residency permit, last address registration, marriage certificate, children’s birth certificates etc. He checked data about me on the computer, showed it to me and my wife — everything there about me over the past 20 years, my comings and goings.

    His attitude was much better — normal, even — than the one he had yesterday.

    And suddenly he said: “Oh! My daughter lives in Manchester”.

    Basically, he said that in his opinion there was no reason to go to court, that it was absolutely ridiculous that they refused to extend my permit at the Multifunctional Migration Centre, Sakharovo on June 7.

    He said I should have demanded to see the director when the low-ranking office plankton flatly refused me an extension to my permit.

    Anyway, he said I really did not have to go the judges who deal with matters such as mine at the local court on Taganskaya Street. He said it is better to go up a level to an УФМС office Bolshaya Ordynka Street where, he said, they might very well settle the issue right away and overturn the migration center refusal to extend. He repeated what he said about the local judge yesterday:she is a pain: she likes to drag things out, but the other judge who presides there is is better. However, the better judge is off sick now, he said, and only starts back at work next week. So he suggested that we might wait until the now sick judge start back at work.

    But he stressed, they might settle the issue that day if we went to the Bolshaya Ordynka УФМС, namely knock the whole issue on the head and declare the refusal to extend my permit at the Sakharovo migration centre as nonsense and order that it be overruled and, therefore, no need to leave, to get an exit visa, and come back.

    And here’s another thing: he said there’s no rush about this matter! He said several times that there’s no need to panic: I can see a judge whenever, but he advised moving up one stage and that we go to Bolshaya Ordynka Street right away.

    We did just that.

    Very quiet office. Orderly, No hordes of would be immigrants.

    A young man who was sitting behind a desk that dwarfed him in his swank office said we had to go the reception of “The Russian Interior Ministry Main Directory on Migration Questions” [Главное управление по вопросам миграции МВД России] as they had to give him the OK first so as to get Sakharovo to get its act together and extend my permit.

    Typically, he did not know exactly where this directory was exactly, just the address.

    We found it: it was tucked away in a side street next to Krasniye Vorota metro station – an insignificant looking place: a very, very small sign next to its door. Nobody there. A couple more drifted in and out. So quiet and peaceful, unlike that hell-hole at Pokrovka.

    Another smart office, super executive desk, and behind it a very efficient and competent 30-something career bureaucrat. Russian equivalent of Whitehall’s “First Division” I thought.

    My wife told her my sad tale. “Well he broke the rules!” she sternly said. “How could he have forgotten such an important date?”

    I said to her: “I simply forgot, and that’s it! I didn’t forget 5 years ago, but I forget this year. Maybe I forgot because I’m getting old …”

    And then Natasha gave her the details about her illness (she had to have her gall bladder removed: she’s fine now), the operation, followed by my little girl’s hospitalization twice with suspected appendicitis, and how I have lived here for over 20 years etc., etc.

    She, the bureaucrat, then said that my wife had to write all this out, which she did, and give her all the relevant documents, which we had of course: birth certificates, marriage certificates etc.

    She, the top bureaucrat, then said: “He should have come here right away as soon as he realized he had forgotten to apply before the deadline”.

    I told her that as I actually realized my oversightwhen I was re-registering my address at my local УФМС and all I got off them all the time was “You must go to Sakharovo”.

    She just gave a slight look of annoyance over this. And I added that when I got to Sakharovo — before the permit had expired — they invited me back to start the extension process, only to tell me “nothing doing” when I went back after the expiry date.

    The bureaucrat said my appeal would go to a committee and after about 30 days they would inform us by post what their decision was. If “yes”, then back to Ordynka, and they would tell Sakharovo to cancel the rejection of my extension. I should then have to go back there and apply for my extension again.

    My wife asked her why our УФМС had not told me to go to this place that we had at last found, the place where she, the bureaucrat, said I should have immediately come on realizing that I had forgotten to apply for an extension on time, namely Главное управление по вопросам миграции МВД России.

    She, the bureaucrat just smiled: “Well, this place is kind of a secret place!”

    Clearly it was: it wasn’t swamped with migrants from former Soviet Central Asian republics.

    But how, having realized my forgetfulness, should I have been able to go there if it is so secret?

    Such is Russian bureaucratic logic.

    My wife and I parted ways: she went home, I went to my firm’s office, which was nearby, to give my boss an update on the situation.

    When i arrived home, my wife told me she had arrived not much earlier than I had. She had gone back to the secret directory. She said she went back because she felt that she should have put more in her declaration (mine really, written by her but signed by me) as regards my qualifications and my work in Russia.

    She asked the bureaucrat if she could add these facts to the declaration. The bureaucrat replied that it didn’t matter and told her not to worry.

    That was on 16 June.

    On Monday, 24 July, I received a letter posted 19 July from the Ministry of the Interior Migration Service.

    The letter was a notification that my appeal against the the decision not to extend my “permanent” residency permit for a foreign national in Russia has been refused.

    The letter just simply stated that I had not followed the rules, so “tough shit”.

    Here is my translation of the body of the text:

    Your application for an extension of the validity period of a Russian Federation residence permit has been considered.

    In accordance with paragraph 3 of Article 8 of the Federal Law as of from 25 May 2002, № 115-F3 “On the legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation”, a residence permit is issued to a foreign citizen for five years. At the end of the validity period of a residency permit, upon the application of a foreign citizen submitted to a territorial body of the Federal Executive Body of the migration authorities no later than two months before the expiry of the validity period of his residence permit (hereinafter – the application), a given period of validity can be extended for five years. The number of renewals of the periods of validity of a residence permit is unlimited.
    Since in that period established by law you made no application, it is not possible to give you any assistance in extending the period of validity of your residence permit.

    Taking into consideration that the period of validity of the previously issued to you residence permit in the Russian Federation has expired and that at the moment you have no documents confirming the legality of your being on the territory of the Russian Federation, you will have to travel outside the Russian Federation and then enter the Russian Federation in the manner prescribed by law.
    Subject to the conditions of legal residence on the territory of the Russian Federation, you have the right to apply for a permit for temporary residence in the Russian Federation at the place of your anticipated accommodation.

    I shall now have to appear in front of a judge and explain why I did not apply for an extension to my permit at least 2 months before its expiry date on May 21 of this year; then I shall probably be fined 5,000 rubles and given an exit visa and be told to leave Russia forthwith. I have also been informed that after having left Russia, I may be forbidden to apply for a visa to enter Russia for up to 5 years.

    Needless to say, my wife and children are very distraught over this.

    I shall see the judge on Tuesday, 1 July.

    I decided to go to my dacha with my family for very possibly the last time. Tomorrow, Monday, 31 July, is my son’s 18th birthday. He starts university on September 1.

    on Tuesday morning, I shall report to my local migration office boss, who will very likely on that same day take me to the court. The judge will make her decision and my passport will be stamped with an exit stamp: I have no Russian visas in my passport. My “permanent” residence permit served as a sort of permanent multi-entry visa. The PRP is a blue, passport-like document that I always carry with my passport.

    Once I have my passport thus stamped, I may leave Russia. Up to now and since the expiry of my PRP on May 21, I have not been allowed to leave Russia. My wife and girls recently came back from a fortnight’s holiday in Turkey. I could not go with them: not allowed to leave.

    Furthermore, having received this exit stamp in my passport, I must leave Russia within 3 days.

    Having left, I shall not know when, if ever, I shall be allowed to return. My firm will end me an invitation to work and I shall then have to apply for a Russian visa in the UK. But if the judge imposes a time restriction on my re-entry application?

    “Oh, the judge won’t do that!” Russian colleagues all say to me . “You have a Russian wife and three Russian children who all live in Russia.”

    They said the same about the authorities not refusing my appeal against the refusal to extend my residency permit.

    “Oh, they won’t do that!” they all said. “You have a Russian wife and three Russian children who all live in Russia.”

    And who will support my wife and family?

    Perhaps the Ministry of the Interior could enlighten me on that question?

    Oh, and another thing: the letter that announced the failure of my appeal was signed by that self-same bureaucrat who said to my wife when I was not present: “Не беспокоитесь!

    “Don’t worry!”

    • yalensis says:

      Dear Moscow Exile:

      My sympathy, it sounds like a very heavy price to pay for a simple, human mistake.
      Here is my advice: Have your wife call, email, or write a letter to Anna Kuznetsova, the children’s ombudsman. Kuznetsova reports directly to President Putin, and it is her job to protect children. You can find her contact information on the Russian Government website, I don’t have it at my figngertips right now.

      It would come under Kuznetsova’s purview to protect your children’s right to not be separated from their father, especially your littlest one.
      Kuznetsova herself is a mother of 6, and I think she would take your side in this, as a parent.
      And that is the angle to play this, I think, with the focus being on your family and kids, rather than yourself.

      That’s all the advice I can think of, since the Russian (Gogolian/Kafkaesque) bureaucracy has clearly failed you.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Thanks for the sound advice, Yalensis.

        I have found Kuznetsova’s appeal site:

        Обращение к Уполномоченному

        Mrs. Exile is asleep now, it being 01:00 in Moscow now.

        I’ll get her to write an appeal to the Commissioner tomorrow morning.

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          I hope very much that the appropriate officials pull their heads from their backsides sharpish.

          • kirill says:

            Agitating higher level politicians and even trying to get the media involved would be a more fruitful approach than dealing with the bureaucratic parasites and their quasi-legal rules. Bureaucracies generate rules and procedures continuously, but it takes court cases to establish if any of this BS is actually legal.

            BTW, the same sort of BS occurs in Canada. Universities pretend that soft money researchers are not their employees. But the law says otherwise. Unfortunately most people don’t hire lawyers and threaten to take the institution to court to defend their rights. This allows the institution to abuse their rights. Russia is a case of this abuse taken to a grotesque extreme. Russians should stop swallowing the shit and start fighting back. It’s now or never. This is not the 1930s and sticking your neck out will not automatically result in your head being lopped off.

        • marknesop says:

          The very best of luck, ME. If you do have to leave, let us know where to find you, and for my part I will be quite willing to continue to advocate on your behalf. Might not be a bad idea to get hold of some western business figures who will remain in Moscow, as well, like Jon Hellevig. He seems like a decent sort and might be able to help. He knows me, albeit remotely, we have never met – tell him I sent you.

      • marknesop says:

        Yes, that sounds like a good idea, too. I say get it in front of Putin if you possibly can.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Tuesday, 1 August!

    • Evgeny says:

      Moscow Exile, write a letter to the President:

      http://letters.kremlin.ru/

      Sometimes it works.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I suggested that right away to my wife, Evgeny.

        I don’t think she did write, though.

        She has this aversion to writing to government bodies, I feel.

        Before she went to bed, I told her of Yalensis’ advice. She said: “But you’re only going away for a few weeks. You’ll get your visa and you’ll come back”.

        Firstly, she assumes that the judge will impose no time restrictions on my application for a visa.

        Secondly: whilst absent from Russia, I shall be earning nothing.

        I said to her: “Do you want to go begging on the metro with the girls? They’re good singers and Vova plays the guitar very well”.

        And thirdly: it is a point of principle!

        I don’t want to come back with a crappy one-year visa and work permit! I had a full residency permit for a foreign citizen and could work here indefinitely (well, in 5-year permit periods, renewable every 5 years) without a work permit. I could also employ people if I had so wished. And it took a lot of time and effort to get a PRP and they cancelled it because I did not start off its renewal process at least 2 months before its expiry date!

        I am not a criminal. I have not robbed anyone. I have not killed anyone. I have raised (am still raising!) a family of three. We are classed as a multi-child family. We followed Putin’s advice to procreate for the sake of Mother Russia, and now, simply because I bloody forgot, they’ve told me to fuck off and abandon my wife and children.

        • Evgeny says:

          Once you hopefully get your situation in order, perhaps you should apply for a citizenship? It’s a hell, too, but at least your life won’t depend on some Federal Migration Service bureaucrat.

          Writing to the President might help and shouldn’t hurt. If properly composed, most likely the letter would be re-sent to the relevant agency (ФМС in your case). But that it comes from the President’s receiving office should motivate the bureaucrats just a little bit.

          • yalensis says:

            In the past I had done some posts on the ФМС in the context of families fleeing to Russia from the Ukraine. The ordeals they suffered was also a bureaucratic nightmare, and they got the run-around from everyone. The situation only improved recently, with Russian legislators passing legislation to change the way this particular situation is handled.

            Hence, I am not hopeful that M.E. can find much redress with the ФМС. I still think his best hope is to skip over the lower-level bureaucrats and appeal directly to the top.
            But I also think he should make the focus on the plight of his children, that has better odds for success, IMHO.

        • Cortes says:

          The behaviour of the desk jockeys you’ve been dealing with seems oddly at variance with the rather family-focused policies of the RF. Perhaps a lobbying effort as already suggested is the best way forward. Best wishes for your meeting on Tuesday.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          She tells me she did write to the President but has received no reply.

          She wrote to him last week, she told me, but apparently not through the site that is linked above and which she is using now.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Letter sent and receipt acknowledged. They say the letter will be registered in 3 days.

            What they mean by that, I don’t know: that it’s not been chucked into an electronic shredder?

            My wife is convinced that the reaction, if any, will be identical to the rebuff I received from the FMS committee: you applied to late — tough!

            My wife is also convinced that this is retribution for Western sanctions.

            • marknesop says:

              Yes, I got that, too.

              And it’s just possible that applications for continued residency on the part of ‘westerners’ are not offered the kindest regard just now, in this climate of suspicion and dislike. I read on a classmate’s tablet yesterday (I have started a new job, I just got taken on by BC Ferries, the job I wanted, and am still in training) that the number of American staffers who would have to leave the Russian Embassy in Moscow was around 750. That would suggest staffing levels were originally up around 1,300.

      • marknesop says:

        I didn’t see your reply before I wrote mine; I agree.

    • Jen says:

      ME, I’m very sorry to hear of this bureaucratic mess you’re in.

      Surely your employer, your children’s teachers, your bank manager, your family doctors and any other significant people you deal with regularly are able to contact the people Yalensis and Evgeny have suggested and provide references and documentation for you?

    • Fern says:

      Moscow Exile, I’m really sorry to hear about your situation – what a nightmare for you and your family. Yalensis and Jen have some good ideas – getting a Team Moscow Exile together to support your case seems like a good way to go. I hope this gets resolved quickly for you – I’m sure I speak for all Stooges when I say this place would be unthinkable without you. Where should we write to?

      • marknesop says:

        That’s the stuff!! I agree.

      • yalensis says:

        The bottom line is that the children should not be separated from their father, and that should be the focus of the campaign.
        The child-angle is what resonates in the Russian soul.
        Bureaucrats are the exception, though, because they have no soul and no conscience!

    • kirill says:

      I think you need to pay a lawyer and use various legal loopholes to launch court cases to delay these f*ckers. I know it costs money, but it appears that this is your only path. In spite of what the bureaucratic parasite posers project, their decisions are not final or even legal. Russia may not be the USA, but from what I can tell lawyers can play the system like in the USA. You have no chance by yourself following the Kafkaesque “rules”. You wouldn’t have much chance in the USA either, without a lawyer. The fact that appeals to the President can work means that there is a “common law” fuziness in the Russian system even if it follows the French legal model.

      Regarding court cases, do not play by the parasite rules. Have your lawyer take the case to higher level courts. Pseudo-courts designed to operate without legal counsel smell of BS to me. We have such a “small claims” court in Canada and it is a total joke.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        The law firm that does all the visa business for the firm that employs me, on hearing of my wife’s illness on or around the time of the deadline date for my residency permit extension application, immediately stated that I had a very good case for appeal against the refusal of the immigration authorities to extend my permit. They told me to get hold of the hospital documents concerning her illness, admission to hospital, date of operation etc.

        I did all this. The director of the local migration office thought that these hospital documents would do the job. I’m sure that’s why he said there was no need for me to see a judge. He added that the judges at this court where I have to appear, deal with illegals who have been nabbed and who have knowingly and willingly been living and working in Russia. (On markets usually, and mostly Central Asians and North Caucasians, who sell fruit and vegetables.)

        It was not to be. The appeal failed, despite the fact that I have been legally living here right up to May 21 since 1995.

        When the visa lawyers saw the letter containing the refusal of my appeal from the Ministry of the Interior Directory on Migration Questions, which refusal was simply founded on the fact that I did not apply for an extension on time, they said I could go no higher and that I had to appear in court.

        I have to appear before an examining judge. This is part of the inquisitorial system, the Roman Law system here, the main feature of which system being the examining or investigating judge.

        The examining judge conducts investigations into serious crimes or complex inquiries. That is the type of judge whom I shall end up seeing. The director of the immigration office here will place my case in font of the judge, who will then weigh up the pros and cons and make a judgement.

        I can have a shot at stating my claim, namely I just bloody forgot, which apparently is no bloody claim, because the judge will also be aware of or told of the regulations that I broke.

        For simply forgetting about this rule, I have to abandon my family.

        • marknesop says:

          I sent a letter (electronically) to Dmitry Peskov on your behalf. I outlined the circumstances and the threatened action and asked him to intervene to prevent you from being forced to leave your family, and mentioned that you have always been an earnest and dedicated advocate for Russia and its government for so long as I have known you (about three years, maybe longer, hard to believe). I have no idea if it will help but I don’t believe it can hurt.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Thank you very much!

            My wife is now busily typing away a complaint to the President. Enclosed with her letter is a copy of our Multi-Child Family registration, another blue, passport-like document containing my wife’s photograph and mine, our passport/residency permit details and details of our three children and their passport details and dates of birth.

            She is going to write to the children’s commissioner, Kuznetsova, as well.

            But if tomorrow the powers that be say go, then go I must.

            I feel I cannot push it too far, namely hanging on in here. There is no time limit as regards when I have to present myself for “judgement”, so say my firm’s lawyers, but they advised me not to delay my appearance too long.

            At 07:30 this morning, I went to a big, city centre hospital to have an HIV test. I must present an HIV certificate in the UK when applying for a visa after having received my invitation from my firm to work in Russia.

            I was back home at 08:00. The test result.will be ready in half-an-hour’s time, at 11:00.

            800 rubles it cost me.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Got my HIV negative chit.

              As usual, they spelt my bloody name wrongly: Денис for Dennis.

              I’m not bothered one way or the other, really, but I told them to change it, because if those bloody bastard bureaucrats notice any discrepancies between names in passports and on documents they throw a wobbler.

              My son was registered on his birth certificate as Владимир Денисович until some pen-pusher noticed it and we had to get it changed to Владимир Деннисович.

              So I am now officially HIV negative. It bugs me having to take this test: I have one wife of the opposite sex and that’s enough for me and she and I do what comes naturally.

              I don’t take drugs. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. I am such a wonderfully unexciting person who leads a wonderfully unexciting life – until Russian bureaucrats come and spoil everything, that is.

              Why can’t they just leave me alone?

              Why can’t I just while my weekends away in the country at our dacha and do a bit of work in Moscow during the week – legal work?

              😦

              • Jen says:

                That must be it, you lead such an unexciting life that it drives Lord Sauron’s minions crazy and they decide to spice it up.
                🙂
                Also where is Woden when you need him?

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  I shall ask him when in a sacred grove back in my homeland. There are many such groves. This fact is revealed by the very many place names in England based on Woden’s name:

                  Wambrook, Somerset – “Woden’s Brook”.
                  Wampool, Hampshire – “Woden’s Pool”.
                  Wanborough, Wiltshire – from Wôdnes-beorg, “Woden’s Barrow”
                  Wanborough, Surrey.
                  Wansdyke – “Woden’s dyke, embankment”.
                  Wanstead, Essex – “Woden’s Stead”.
                  Wednesbury – “Woden’s burgh”.
                  Woden Road in Wednesbury.
                  Wednesfield – “Woden’s field”.
                  Wednesham, Cheshire – “Woden’s Ham”.
                  Wensley – “Woden’s meadow”.
                  Wembury, Devon – “Woden’s Hill/Barrow” from the Old English “Wódnesbeorh”.
                  Woden’s Barrow – also Christianized as Adam’s Grave or Walker’s Hill, a barrow in Wiltshire. The Old English spelling was “Wodnes-beorh”.
                  Woden Hill, Hampshire – a hill in Bagshot Heath.
                  A valley which the West Overton–Alton road runs through was called Wodnes-denuwhich means “Woden’s Valley”.
                  Wonston, Hampshire – “Woden’s Town”.
                  Woodbridge, Suffolk – Wodenbrycge (“Woden’s Bridge”).
                  Woodnesborough- also translates as “Woden’s burgh”, the centre of the town was known as “Woden’s hill”.
                  Woodway House – from the house on Woden’s Way.
                  Wormshill – also derived from “Woden’s hill”.

                  to name but a few.

                  And Woden’s fame spread far and wide: there’s Woden Valley, Canberra.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  They are not my noble lord’s minions: they must be that little ratbag Dima’s lickspittles.

              • yalensis says:

                Always Look on the bright side of life — at least you know you don’t have AIDS!

        • Fern says:

          ME, this is just to send you best wishes for your court appearance. I do hope everything is resolved satisfactorily for you. Do you know how much discretion judges have in these cases? Is there any legal advice you can access as to how best approach this? It might help to say you recognise you broke the relevant rule but mention your wife’s illness in mitigation (not justification) for the oversight. Tell the court you think of Russia as your home, you have lived, worked, paid taxes, married and brought up three children there over the last two decades and your family is dependent on you for its well being.

          All the Stooges will keep everything crossed for you.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Thanks, Fern.

            All the above was put in writing to a committee of the Russian Federation Ministry of the Interior Directorate on Migration Issues that adjudicated my plea against the refusal to extend the period of validity of my residency permit.

            After 6 weeks’ deliberation, they just sent me a letter in which the law was quoted as regards the necessity of starting an application for a 5-year extension of one’s residency permit validity period not more than 6 months before the end of a particular period of validity and not less than 2 months prior to the end of a particular period of validity.

            I did not do this.

            They told me to leave Russia.

            In the letter, they made no mention of my family status, of the 23 years that I have spent living and working legally in Russia, that I have a Russian wife and three children who are Russian citizens, nor of the fact that I am the breadwinner in my family: just get thee hence!

            The judge, as far as I know, is presented with the facts concerning my illegal presence in the RF. A fine (up to 5,000 rubles, I believe) is imposed on the “illegal” by the judge and sometimes a period of time is set before the “illegal can apply for re-entry to Russia. This time limit may be as long as 5 years.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Well, my son was 18 yesterday, and that fact has provided a little relief from the stress that I am at present suffering because of these frightful circumstances in which I find myself, for I have been very concerned about what would happen to my daughters if my wife were hospitalized again after I have been forced to abandon my family. I feared that my girls would be taken into care, to a children’s home. Hopefully, Vova can now stand his ground legally against such an action being taken.

              In 2 hours I shall surrender myself to the powers that be at the local Federal Migration Service office, which is just across the road from where I live in the Tagansky district of the Moscow City Central Administrative Precinct.

              Whether I shall be taken to court today I know not …

              All is in the lap of the gods; better said: bureaucratic cretins.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Well, I have just come back from the FMS, where I showed the boss the letter from the appeal committee and told him I had exhausted all options and that I was ready to appear before a judge.

              He looked at the letter and was as nice as ninepence with me.

              He said that yes, I could go to the local court and pay the fine of 5,000 rubles and then go to that hell-hole at Pokrovka St. to get a transit visa (10 days to leave, not 3 as I had previously thought), but he said it was certainly not the end. He said I could appeal to a higher court, that I could go to the local court and ask to move up a stage.

              Mrs. Exile then rolled up, late as usual, and he explained in detail:

              Firstly, the bastards at Sakharovo Migration Centre, deceived me, he said, in that on May 18 they told me to come back on June 7 to start the process of permit validity extension, by which date my permit had already become invalid if not extended after May 21.

              When they told me to come back on June 7, my permit was still valid, and they should have ignored my breach of the not less than 2-month before the cessation of validity rule as regards starting the extension process because of my status as a father of three children and my being married to a Russian spouse resident in Russia: they should have fined me and extended the damned thing,

              For residency permits there is a strict quota each year, but not if you have a Russian spouse resident in Russia. Furthermore, if you are the father of children with this spouse, they just don’t simply tell you to bugger off because you have applied too late for your extension.

              My wife said that I am a registered “multichild father” ( I did not know this), but the bloke at the FMS did: it was on his PC screen in front of him.

              So my wife and I are going to appeal higher. That committee that knocked me back the director of the FMS treated with contempt. Basically, he said they couldn’t be arsed dealing with my case. So he said that if we wished, we could tell the judge here that we want to be heard in a higher court, because all this brushing me off, telling me to get out of Russia pronto, making me leave my wife and kids without any support is a load of dogs’ bollocks!

              I said to him, the director: “I wonder who these people that keep on telling me that I have to leave think is going to support my family? I won’t find a job back in the UK. My home is here. I am registered as legally living here. I have been working here for 22 years — absolutely legally!”

              He agreed, because he knows that I am registered in his departmental office. Every year for the past 20 years I have been registered there.

              I told him I have no home in the UK, that when there, I stay at my sister’s. I told him that to all intents and purposes I am almost a Russian citizen, in that until quite recently I had a full residency permit to live here, that I treat Russia as my home and that I am the dad of 3 Russian kids, who want to live in Russia by the way: they like visiting their aunt and cousins in the UK, but they always tell me that first and foremost they are Russian.

              Anyway, my wife has gone to the local court, where she will tell them that we want to appeal at a higher court. She’s told me to print out copies of all the relevant documents, then I am to meet up with her when she finds out where the next higher court is where I can appeal.

              • Fern says:

                ME, that all sounds quite promising – if the FMS are saying you were treated incorrectly when this visa issue came to light, then surely it must count for something? What a nightmare – you must all be beyond stressed. Hopefully, sense will start to prevail soon and it will be sorted out satisfactorily. All the Stooges are rooting for you – hang in there.

    • Patient Observer says:

      I am very sorry to learn of your situation. I can not imagine the stress on you and your family. Wishing you success in quickly solving this problem.

    • marknesop says:

      Why don’t you forward the entire matter, as you have described it here, to Peskov or someone high up in the administration? Probably not straight to President Putin – that might be a bit of a cheek, although you can never tell. It sounds crazy, but when I was having all my terrible problems with Immigration Canada (it took three years of quarreling to get the missus here, after we were married in Russia, and in that case the problem was all Canada, not Russia), I wrote to the Minister for Immigration, at that time Judy Sgro. When I got no satisfaction there I continued moving the matter higher up, to Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan and finally to Prime Minister Paul Martin. In that instance it did not help me much, not immediately (although I did get a nice Christmas card from him that year, or at least from his office), but I was able to use it as leverage to threaten all other agencies involved that I would write the PM if they did not stop jerking me around. Nobody likes to think a letter is going to come across the PM’s desk (actually his EA, I am sure) with their name on it, accompanied by discourse of displeasure. You never know when the PM might agree, or maybe he will just remember their name for the next time they fuck up.

      Anyway, you have nothing to lose by trying, and it might even help. You’ve always been a loyal supporter of Russia – in English – and the country can use all the English-speaking support it can get.

    • niku says:

      Sorry to hear about the situation, ME.

      Could you not prevail upon your employer and others — including some neighbours — (“Team Moscow Exile”) to be present at the court hearing? It should make a positive impression.

      The bureaucratic rules must be so inflexible to stop Central Asian migrants from abusing the system. Try to impress the judge that you do not belong to the case for which the rules were made. That you have a Russian family, you live and work and pay taxes in Russia, that your employer and others will vouch for you (if you can get them to vouch for you). Tell that judge that you forgot to renew the visa because you almost think yourself to be a Russian now (as you really do! — maybe ask him/her to check this website!). The requirement for timely renewal of the visa is there so that the authorities can have a say in who gets to stay for how long — so point out to the judge that the renewing office would certainly have renewed your visa in any case. Finally, tell the judge that you have suffered enough for your mistake and will hardly make the same mistake again.

      Above all, don’t panic! Best of luck from everyone here!

    • saskydisc says:

      If it comes to the point where you must leave, consider patreon or similar, as that way you can afford to be in the clear regarding court orders, as appeals work their way through the legal system, e.g. temporarily leaving.

    • niku says:

      I have never been to a court, but based on what I know, a few suggestions:

      (i) Try to differentiate yourself from most of the other cases that judge would get to see (i.e., from the Central Asian migrants). Dress, attention to etiquette, keeping calm, friendly and even self-confident (suggesting that you have the means to bear an adverse decision). Point out that you know excellent English, Russian and German, and perhaps other things — essentially, that you are not an “unskilled labourer”. Impress on the judge that Russia benefits from your presence in the country — without saying this.

      Also, do not get embarrassed by doing “non-standard things” like the above! If you go the standard way, the judgement would be the standard judgement — and you want a better-than-standard judgement!

      (ii) Write down all the points you wish to make, in the order of importance, and read it out to the judge right in the beginning. You probably can sign the sheet and submit it to the judge after you have spoken. Think of it as a presentation you are making, where the written sheet would be like slides. (If you submit the sheet before you have spoken, the judge won’t even listen to you, as he/she would be busy reading!) Similarly, if you repeat your points, the judge will “tune out”.

      Submit a summary (a cover sheet) and other sheets with explanations. Do all this even if nobody asks you to! The last point could be that you are sorry about the mistake.

      (iii) People also tune out at the sight of misery. Do not appear miserable!

      • niku says:

        Court Etiquette: http://www.1215.org/lawnotes/lawnotes/courtetq.htm

        Also, since you are not a lawyer, a way to make it clear to the judge (and keep the point in front of him/her all the time), is to address the judge as Sir/Madam and not ‘Your Honour’. (Or the Russian equivalents.)

        Since you are probably in panic and probably can’t clearly think: keep everything ready, including what you will say, and in what order you will say them! You would have only a little time, and there would be no time to think then!

      • niku says:

        If I were you, the following would be my introductory remark. (By the way, rehearse, and try to be calm!) I would keep it as short and simple as possible (while covering all the essential points):

        Sir/Madam, I have been continuously living in Russia since 1994. Russia is my home. My immediate family is here. [Here, point out your wife and children.] I have been paying taxes since X and I have been employed all this while.

        I forgot to renew the visa because “we” [i.e., you, your wife, children, others] think of me as Russian. Renewing the visa seemed no more than a formality to us. This was a mistake, and I won’t make it again.

        And at some point later perhaps, a very important point to make:

        Please consider that I gain nothing by not submitting the visa renewal application in time.

      • niku says:

        Lawyers and judges understand (at least good lawyers and judges are supposed to understand!), that the law is best applicable for only a particular set of cases. Here, to cover migrants who would once arrive with a valid visa, and not leave until the authorities discover them living on an expired visa. After which they would be go back, and then apply for a fresh visa. (Hence, as a punishment, 5 years delay in issuing a fresh visa.)

        As long as you make it clear that the above class of cases, and in consequence the above law, does not cover your case, the judges should be considerate. It says so in the book! Please don’t worry much.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          So Mrs. Exile went to the local court, where she told them them that we want to appeal at a higher level while I printed out copies back home of all the relevant documents appertaining to my “multi-father” state, my children’s birth certificates etc. and I met her at an advocates’ offices at the court.

          While I was on my way there, a lawyer told my wife that I could appeal, that I could get free legal advice or pay for it. It seems that cases such as mine are not uncommon, namely the FMS bureaucrats try to enforce their rules which result in unacceptable consequences, such as the fragmentation of a family.

          In the end, a woman lawyer said she could see us, but only tomorrow at 17:00. However, she seemed to know her stuff and gave a quick run down of the possible courses of action that could be taken — arguing principally that refusing the extension of my residence permit deprives my children of their father’s presence.

          My wife then voiced the opinion that it might be better if I simply left and came back after a few weeks, for the letter in which the failure of my appeal was announced simply stated that wheretofore I now no longer had the documentation to continue living in Russia, I must leave the country and return by means of the appropriate channels with the appropriate documents that would allow me to live at my stated address in Russia.

          “So he’s not been banned re-entry and he won’t be refused a visa”, my wife said.

          The lawyer then replied that that was not necessarily the case, that that letter from FMS which I received last week telling me “appeal failed: leave!” was just a standard one. She said people are blocked automatically in the FMS computer data banks when a permit has been denied and those that have taken note of the letter and left only find this out when trying to re-enter Russia. Sometimes the ban is lifted by the time they have received a visa to come back, sometimes not.

          She told my wife that we can find out who is banned re-entry on the Internet. This information is posted up by the FMS. If I am not banned re-entry, all well and good, she said.

          Anyway, she told us that if we fail to find this banishment list, she’ll find it tomorrow evening when we see her again.

          That’s the state of play so far.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            All this procedure is, in my opinion, obviously geared up to putting the blocks on mass immigration from the Central Asian republics.

            I see these illegals from the “Stans” rounded up regularly and they are deported.

            I remember when a fruit and vegetable market roof collapsed near Baumanskaya metro station and there was huge number of dead — all Central Asians.

            The collapse happened at night and those unfortunately slain persons were all illegals who not only worked at the market but slept there under the stalls.

            So unwelcome guests get their marching orders off the FMS and are told, as in my recently received letter from an FMS “appeals committee” to return to their home country, where they can re-apply for entry to the Land of Milk and Honey.

            Only those that receive such letters do not know that they have been automatically blocked re-entry.

            I found the site where you can check if you are have been banned from sucking at Mother Russia’s generous bosom:

            Проверка наличия оснований для неразрешения въезда на территорию Российской Федерации иностранным гражданам и лицам без гражданства по линии МВД России

            Check whether there are grounds for not permitting entry into the territory of the Russian Federation by foreign citizens and stateless persons through the Russian Ministry of the Interior

            So far, I have drawn a blank.

          • Jen says:

            Looks like you and your wife are making some headway and at least you know your case is not unusual.

            Hoping that everything will be resolved quickly and without too much hassle and stress for everyone, and that it doesn’t affect your children’s schooling and your son’s university enrolment. Good luck!

          • niku says:

            “It seems that cases such as mine are not uncommon, namely the FMS bureaucrats try to enforce their rules which result in unacceptable consequences, such as the fragmentation of a family.”
            And what is the typical judgement in that case? Given the facts of your case, your lawyer should be able to say what the court’s expected judgement will be. (Courts try to be predictable, and try to avoid going against precedents at all costs.)

            Can you not ask the friendly FMS director about the block? If the block is applied erratically, the director may be able not only to confirm that the block is not there, but also lift it if it is there!

            Best wishes!

          • niku says:

            By the way, the typical case would be: a Central Asian migrant is discovered living on an expired visa. However, he has a Russian spouse (and children), and now the judges have to wonder what to do.

            Your case is different: You made a little delay in applying for a renewal of visa. If I understood correctly, you applied for renewal while your visa was still valid, but the authorities advised you to apply even later.

            Worrying about all this is the lawyer’s business, but the law would certainly have some clause about it being applicable only if the delay/failure to reapply was voluntary. (E.g., what would happen if the person who had to apply was in a Russian hospital? He can certainly not be kicked out, even if the law forgot to consider this — the courts will here interfere!) Your delay, too, was certainly not intentional, and you can hopefully prove it.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            I have just returned home after having had a long discussion with an advocate. I drew a great big fat blank.

            The advocate believes that contesting the refusal to extend my PRP in court will be a waste of time: the judge will simply state that I broke the rules and that I shall have to do what is stated in the Ministry of Interior (MVD) Directory on Migration Enquiries letter informing me that my appeal had been turned down and that I have to leave, get a visa and come come back and re-register at my address.

            The judge will always adhere to the Ministry of Interior (MVD) line, the advocate said, regardless of my pleading my 20 year plus residency here, my 20 year marriage, my three children etc.as mitigating factors.

            In fact, I recall reading the same opinion a while ago on an American site concerning visa problems in Russia.

            Maybe a skilled advocate could do the trick; maybe a kindhearted judge.

            In the real world, forget it!

            Tomorrow I go back to the local FMS office and tell the boss there for the second time this week that I am ready to take the 5,000 ruble hit from a local judge, get a transit visa and leave within 10 days, saying “Kiss my arse goodbye, Russia!”

            Major problem: the advocate said that even if I should get a visa in the UK, that does not necessarily mean I will be allowed back into Russia. In fact, the British visa authorities, both the outsourced businesses that now deal with visa processing and in time past when the consulate visa dept. did this, always warn that possession of a visa does not guarantee access to the UK: the deciding point of the issue is at the frontier, where you can be knocked back even if you have been granted an entry visa.

            The advocate told me that in court I shall have to make sure that my re-entry is not blocked. She, the advocate, said the fee for having a lawyer represent me in court and do this is from 10 to 15,000 rubles.

            The man at the local FMS office said that the local judge will just bounce me with a fine.

            So what to do: hire a lawyer or run the risk?

            It looks like I shall have to run the risk. I shall see what the FMS man says tomorrow.

            However, I dread the thought of arriving at Sheremetevo (I can pronounce that!) airport with a spanking new visa pasted in my passport, only to be turned back like bloody Harding!

            I was also strongly advised by the advocate with whom I have had a consultation to get a достоверность, a certificate of authorization, made up for my wife at a notary so that she won’t be hampered in fulfilling any business for me whilst I am away.

            Twenty bloody years I have been legally wed to her, but she has still been advised to get such an authorization made out by me!

            So soon I shall be winging my way back to the UK, leaving my family because I didn’t fill in my application for an extension to my PRP on time.

            • marknesop says:

              You have to keep trying right up until the last moment. I can’t understand the hardened attitude of Russian officialdom – don’t they get that this is possibly the west’s most legitimate complaint against it?

              • Moscow Exile says:

                I have just received a reply from the Dark Lord’s office in reply to the letter that my wife sent the other day.

                They must work late there: it’s already 20:30, 2 August, here.

                The letter is just legal bla-bla-bla:

                Your appeal to the President of the Russian Federation was received on 01.08.2017 in the form of an electronic document, registered on 01.08.2017 as No. 753645.

                Owing to the fact that in your statement there is no information about whether this question as stated in your appeal No. 753645 of 01.08.2017 has been considered by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, within whose competence the solution of this question falls, in order to ensure that you receive a proper answer to your question, your appeal has been sent to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation.

                Additionally, we inform you that you have the right to appeal in court or through administrative procedure against the appeal decision taken by the relevant organization on receipt of an announcement, response, action, or inaction of said organization if no response has been received within the stipulated period for the making an announcement or the giving of an answer.

                In other words, they have forwarded the complaint for consideration to the same organization about whose decision the complaint was made so that the Ministry of Internal Affairs may have the pleasure of telling me to fuck off out of Russia again because of my terrible crime of failing to apply for an extension of my residence permit 2 months before its validity had expired.

            • niku says:

              Also consider that if you fight it in court, the case can drag on for a while, and the prolonged uncertainty itself will be highly stressful.

              “possession of a visa does not guarantee access to the UK: the deciding point of the issue is at the frontier, where you can be knocked back even if you have been granted an entry visa.”

              Who decides about it? It is difficult to imagine airport immigration officials taking the decision by themselves. With Luke Harding, perhaps the higher-ups decided to block him after issuing him a visa? (Perhaps he had a long-term visa, acquired long ago?) Turning away after issuing a visa, if it is done even in garden variety cases like your’s, would be plain harassment. (I also recall reading, in the context of Russian counter-sanctions against a few Western officials, that whether a particular official has been blocked or not would have to be found out by the official himself by making the journey to Russia, and then being turned away. Perhaps this particular method is intended to be harassment of people who have earned the ire of the state?) In short, could you not find out how common being turned away despite having a valid visa is? It may well be rare, but with highly publicized cases.

              If you do meet the local FMS director, you could as well present the whole case and ask him for advice on what to do next. Also, ask him that if you were to apply for a new visa, are there “unpublished” ways to expedite process? (He may advise on the documents to attach with your application. Given that he understands your case, perhaps he can add his own recommendations to your case.)

              > Twenty bloody years I have been legally wed to her, but she has still been advised to get such an authorization made out by me!
              The lawyer’s logic must be, “it can’t hurt!”.

              By the way, “Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing is so futile.” — Bertrand Russell


              “The judge will always adhere to the Ministry of Interior (MVD) line”
              This is crazy. In India, judges often go against the state, in all sorts of cases.

              Anyway, your case presents a terrible picture of the Russian officialdom, and assuming the above about judges is true, of Russian judiciary too.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                What Harding of the Guardian did not do was renew/extend his journalist visa or whatever on time. He went back to the UK on business, leaving his wife, also working as a journalist, and child in Moscow. His wife continued working the for the “Moscow News” (now defunct) and his child continued to attend school here.

                When Harding returned here from London, he was denied entry as his journalist licence/visa or whatever was invalid.

                Then the Western media started the story that he had been expelled from Russia, the first Western journalist to have bee expelled from Russia for donkey’s years.

                He had not been expelled: he had not been allowed in because his documents were not in order.

                This “expulsion” lie continued to roll until Lavrov himself stated that Harding need only renew his journalistic credentials, which he should have done before leaving, and he would be allowed back into Russia.

                I presume this is what Harding did: he came back and he and his family packed up and left.

                I have often wondered whether Harding had simply forgotten to get his credentials in order, or whether he had purposefully “forgot” so he could get knocked back at the the entry point at Sheremetevo so as to get “good copy” about the Evil Empire, which is, after all, his purpose for existence.

                • niku says:

                  Ok. And I may be wrong about Russia requiring people to visit Russian airports to find out if they have been banned. I certainly remember that at least in one case, no list was published. But it may be that the banned individuals could find out their status when applying for a visa. (That is, if they were to apply for a new visa. If they have an existing visa, they would have to travel to Russia to find out.)

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Yes, you can find out on the Internet. I gave the link above to the FMS site where you can find this out.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                I have seen the judge. I was fined 5,000 rubles. Now I have to go to Pokrovka St. to get my transit visa that will allow me to leave the country where I have lived and worked for 22 years but am no longer allowed to live because I did not apply on time for an extension of my “permanent” residency permit.

                The director of the local FMS whom I had to see this morning and who made up my case file for the judge said that the advocate whom we saw yesterday had been talking bollocks about the possibility of my being blocked and that I had to ensure in court that they did not block my re-entry to Russia. He said it was bollocks because it is he who does the blocking, and I was not going to be blocked.

                We have got to know each other quite well over the past 3 months and he said: “Just go to your sister’s in Manchester, get the visa that you want and come back”. As regards an invitation, back to Russia, he told me that if I go to the visa office for Tagansky district near my home and show the court ruling and my transit visa, they will give me an invitation. There are various invitations for various visas having varying lengths of validity. I told him my firm was preparing in invitation. So he said I could wait until it is ready, take it with me to Merry England and get my visa on the same day as I arrive in my home country if I wished to.

                I prefer to get things sorted out first in the UK, though. I have to renew my passport as it expires in 6-months and I have to get a document saying I have no criminal record so as to apply for a new residency permit here.

                Isn’t that rich! I have lived in Russia for almost a quarter of century and committed no crime here, as well they know, but in this mad snakes-and-ladders game of theirs, I have to apply for a residency permit as if the application for a residency that I shall make on my return were for the first time: hence, proof of no criminal record needed in order that I be granted a residency permit, a “permanent” version of which I previously possessed until 21 May but no longer have because I was too late in my application for an extension.

                What a monstrous crime it was of mine to forget!

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  The key paragraph from the lengthy judgement that the (young and pretty) judge read out:

                  Decided:

                  ********** Denis Denisovich found guilty of committing an administrative offence as defined under Art. 3.1 of Art. 18.8 of the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offences and assigned to him an administrative penalty in the form of a fine paid made payable to the state income of 5,000 (five thousand) rubles, without administrative deportation outside the Russian Federation

                  [my stress].

                  Notwithstanding the fact that I have lived and worked legally in Russia for 23 years, 20 of which having been married to a Russian citizen who has borne me 3 children, all of whom being in their turn Russian citizens, because of a breach of administrative law I have been fined for forgetting to renew in time my residency permit for a foreign citizen, thereby resulting in my living in Russia without any legal documentation that allows me to do so, but I have not been issued with a deportation order.

                  I am allowed back in when I get a visa.

                  It angers me extremely when I read in the document where it says I am “guilty” of committing an administrative offence.

                  Guilty with malice and aforethought?

                • marknesop says:

                  It wasn’t Irina Mandrigina, by any chance? That would be a hell of a coincidence – she’s a friend of the Missus, and was a lawyer when we first met who has since worked her way up the judicial chain to Judge. I don’t think she’s in Moscow, though. She’s youngish and quite attractive.

                  And, sadly, we are ‘guilty’ of committing an offense if it can be shown that we did commit it, reasons for doing so notwithstanding. I would be guilty of speeding even if I could argue that I was being chased by the mayor, and only speeding because I feared he would run me down if I slowed.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Прощай, немытая Россия,
                  Страна рабов, страна господ,
                  И вы, мундиры голубые,
                  И ты, им преданный народ.

                  Быть может, за стеной Кавказа
                  Укроюсь от твоих пашей,
                  От их всевидящего глаза,
                  От их всеслышащих ушей.

                  🙂

                • marknesop says:

                  It’s bad enough, and a tremendous inconvenience, but I am glad nonetheless that it was no worse. Assuming the director of whom you speak is not also talking bollocks, and there is some authority you have not yet met which is manipulating the whole thing, it should stop short at silly bureaucracy and you should be able to pick up where you left off after a very brief interval, instead of the threatened five years and maybe never. I’ll bet you will never forget again, or perhaps it would make sense to apply for Russian citizenship. But you make a very valid point that someone who was physically incapable of renewing their visa – because they were in hospital or something of that nature – would be denied continued residence under conditions of the greatest unfairness.

                  I’m very glad to see your situation resolved, and wish you the very best in a speedy reunion with your family. We are all Moscow Exiles now. Je suis Moscow Exile.

                • niku says:

                  At least you are on firm grounds now. You can now get your bearings!

                  As Kirill was wondering above, why do Russians bear all this? It must be terrible to have the sword ever hanging above one’s neck. One slip, and you enter a maze!

                  By the way, a prediction: assuming your children have UK passports, while you are away, your children are going to wonder if they won’t be better off persuing their futures in the UK! The episode would plant the seeds of doubt. I believe it is a good thing.

                  Also by the way, I patted myself on the back for correctly guessing that the local FMS director has something to do with the block and could probably lift the block. I recently had to deal with a similar situation arising due to my mistake, and got a lot of experience!

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Better said:

                  Прощай, любимая Россия,
                  Страна чиновников.
                  И вы, дурные бюрократы,
                  И вы, глупые креаклы.

                  Быть может, за Ла-Манш
                  Укроюсь от твоих госслужащих
                  От их всевидящего глаза,
                  От их всеслышащих ушей.

                  🙂

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  @ niku

                  Oh yes, my children all have British passports and my wife has a 10-year British visa as well. The irony is, they can come and go as they please between Mordor and Misty Albion, but not I.

                  I could when I had a full residency permit though.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Marlon Brando (above) is saying:

                  I shall be back again — but right now, I’m fucked!

                • niku says:

                  About being declared “guilty of administrative offense”, perhaps the court was bound by a form (format)? You know, where they declare, ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’. Here, the court declares that it is satisfied that you did make the alleged mistake, and is further satisfied that some of the provisions of the appropriate law apply in your case.

                  > I recently had to deal with a similar situation arising due to my mistake
                  I misplaced/lost my passport.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  I should be really looking forward now to necking down a few English pints when I get “home”.

                  Trouble is, I knocked drinking on the head 10 years ago.

                  However, what I have gone through these past 10 weeks is enough to drive any man to drink!

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  The bloke over at the migration office who made up my brief, as it were, and gave it to the judge and who was present in court with me said I have to hand in the judgement at that bloody awful office here in Pokrovka Street, where I have to fill in more forms, and then they’ll process the issuing of my transit visa, which will take a few days, of course, and then and only then, after the visa has been stuck into my passport, will there begin a 10-day countdown for leaving.

                  What a load of bloody bureaucratic arsing around!

                  My wife has just come back from this bloke’s office and he gave her some interesting info: he said that if my firm is making out an invitation, then see if they can apply for a ВКС [VKS] visa, that is a visa for a “Highly Qualified Specialist”. He said that if they can manage to get such a visa invitation, then the period of its validity is 3 years and with such a visa, one can apply straight off for a full residency permit without having to apply first for a temporary one.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Well bugger it! I’m off to the dacha as soon as they start the visa processing. And when it’s ready to stick in my passport, having booked a flight, I could spend yet another week there. Whilst there on my country estate I might just flog a few Russian serfs out of spite.

                  🙂

                • marknesop says:

                  I can tell you’re feeling more like your old self, and it’s good to see. Once the dust settles, I recommend you shore up your defenses against any such unfortunate event’s reoccurrence. Courage!

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Nah, Albina Yuryevna. Timakova was the judge (see her judgement below).

                  She does not get rave reviews.

                  See: Тимакова Альбина Юрьевна

                  Это не судья, а дьявол в мантии …

                  This is not a judge but the devil in robes …

                  В общем, благодаря таким судьям, как Тимакова, в нашей стране страшно жить…

                  In general, it is because of such judges as Timakova that it is so frightful to live in our country …

                  Девушка Тимакова, то бишь судья, без стыда и совести …

                  The girl — I mean “judge” — Timakova has neither shame nor a conscience …

                  She was alright with me.

                  Must be my stunning good looks.

                  🙂


                  Judge Timakova

                  I told you she was a bit of alright, didn’t I?

                  🙂

                • cartman says:

                  It was an administrative offense. Not much shame in that because it means they don’t consider you a criminal.

    • Trond says:

      I do not comment here much but i have been reading this blog for a long time and your comments is one of the reasons why i continue to read this blog.

      This is just sad.

      The best friend of Russia is treated like this?

      I hope for the best for you and your family!

    • niku says:

      Some above berate bureaucrats for their blockheadedness. But, bureaucrats are blockheaded by design! Please check the following extracts from Ludvig von Mises’s book Bureaucracy. (The extracts are from chapter II, Bureaucratic Management.)

      https://mises.org/library/public-administration-economic-chaos

  17. davidt says:

    Hi, ME. I’m very sorry to read of your bureaucratic problems- hopefully, they can be sorted out soon. Best wishes.

  18. Pingback: anytime soon - Occurrences

  19. Moscow Exile says:

    Hackers take control of US voting machines in less than 90 minutes

    Hackers have managed to break into US voting systems and take control of them in minutes, raising fears that cyber criminals could easily tamper with elections results…

    The revelation follows fears of Russian interference in the US election. The Department of Homeland Security said Russian hackers targeted 21 US states’ election systems in 2016, as well as conducting email hacking and an online propaganda campaign.

    “Without question, our voting systems are weak and susceptible”, said Jake Braun, a cyber security expert at the University of Chicago, according to the Register. “The scary thing is we also know that our foreign adversaries – including Russia, North Korea and Iran – possess the capabilities to hack them too” …

    Just a small point: didn’t a majority vote for Clinton?

    So did the Russians not bother with hacking the liberal conurbations and only altered the votes in the rust-belt or down some boondocks constituencies?

    • Fern says:

      “Just a small point: didn’t a majority vote for Clinton?” Jeez, ME, stop with the intelligent questions. You’re showing up these ‘journalists’. I have had this argument with innumerable folk, in person and online. Clinton won the popular vote; she is not standing on the steps of Airforce One because of the US’s electoral college system. Those who want to argue this tragic outcome is solely because of Russian ‘meddling’ in the election, need to explain why Russian propaganda and ‘interference’ was so successful in a handful of swing states and nowhere else.

  20. Warren says:

    Published on 30 Jul 2017
    President Vladimir Putin has ordered the United States to cut the number of its diplomatic staff in Russia by several hundred, in response to sanctions. READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/8j43

    • Fern says:

      Putin hasn’t gone far enough in my humble opinion. He should close down the US embassy in Russia and kick the lot out. No-one on the US’s tab in Moscow is interested in genuine diplomacy or the promtion of good relations between the two countries. The US ‘diplomats’ in Russia clearly have a brief to destabilise and interfere in the activities of a sovereign state at every conceivable opportunity- a period without US ‘diplomacy’ would be beneficial.

  21. Warren says:

    Published on 30 Jul 2017
    Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov responds to new sanctions against Russia passed by Congress.

  22. Warren says:

    Published on 31 Jul 2017
    It is time to speak the obvious: Cold War 2.0 is officially on. Though this Cold War is different and possibly far more dangerous. The world is in uncharted waters as the Trump White House attempts to find its footing.

    CrossTalking with Edward Lozansky, Mark Sleboda, and Vladimir Golstein.

    • kirill says:

      Lavelle shouldn’t be confused by Tillerson’s statement. It is crystal clear: the USA dictates to Russia how it should behave, if Russia takes the message that it must change its ways to please the USA, then the sanctions will be rolled back. The panel keeps looking for evidence of equal partner treatment from the USA to Russia. Exceptionalistan has no intention of treating Russia as anything other than a non-compliant serf who needs to be whipped to force conformity.

      To anyone with a clue, the USA behaviour is simply insane. Russia is no pushover and the USA has zero chance of winning WWIII against it. By now it should be clear to US elites that Russia is not interested in being a vassal. But these elites have brains rotted with hubris and fantasies of invincibility.

  23. Pingback: RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-147 :: Monday, 31 July 2017 – Johnson's Russia List

  24. Cortes says:

    With the countermeasures underway

    https://sputniknews.com/russia/201708011056069024-cars-us-embassy/

    this article made me wonder: if the bulk of the 755 reduction in personnel is indeed citizens of the RF will some, at least, have to register under the Foreign Agents Act if the programmes on which they are currently working are to be continued post 1 September?

    • marknesop says:

      That’s the way they’re going to go with this, apparently – evil Putin is not hurting nice Americans, he is taking jobs away from his own people. I’m sure there will be more ‘human-interest’ stories to come, from the bewildered 30-year-old clerk with six children who now has no job thanks to Putin to the angry-young-man dissident who used to be the undersecretary to something-or-other and now calls for revolution to pave the way for a hand-picked American-backed government. I guess they feel like they have to try, just because this is the way they know how to play it, but they won’t get any serious mileage out of it.

  25. AriusArmenian says:

    Wonderful article. I need levity with all the ugliness out there.
    Junta Ukraine is a very dangerous fascist clown show.

    • marknesop says:

      Thank you, Arius; I mostly agree. The current Ukrainian government is a clown show. Hopefully the situation can be resolved fairly quickly – as politics go – so as not to completely ruin the lives of Ukrainians who never wanted it to come to this and just want to get on with their lives.

  26. cartman says:

    Sounds like good news.

    Moscow court shooting: Three ‘Grand Theft Auto gang members’ killed in bungled bid to escape trial

    A shooting in a courthouse in a Moscow suburb resulted in three assailants dead and two heavily injured on Tuesday afternoon.

    The shooters were alleged members of the so-called “GTA gang” – a reference to the popular video game Grand Theft Auto – a mysterious crime group that used to terrorise drivers heading south on the M4 highway that connects Moscow and Rostov-on-Don.

    Between 2013 and 2014 the gang was reported to stop cars on the highway by using different methods to damage their tyres, including shooting at the wheels. Gang members would then approach drivers, pretending to offer help but instead robbing and brutally murdering them.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The Moscow Province Court

      The gang members, whether involved in the shooting or not, are all хачи:

      Абдумуким Мамадчонов, Мирзомавлон Мирзошарипов, Холик Субханов are now shagging in paradise.

      Фазлитдин Хасанов, Зафарджон Гулямов — wounded.

      Хазратхон Додохонов, Анвар Улугмурадов, Умар Хасанов и Шерозджон Кодиров — in the courtroom but did not take part in the attack.

    • What is the ethnic makeup of this clan?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        All from Central Asia republics. One definitely from Kyrgyzstan, another from Tajikistan.


        Абдумуким Мамадчонов — suspected illegal arms trafficker.

        See: Стали известны подробности расследования дела “банды ГТА”

        Details of the investigation into the “GTA Gang” have become known

        Libtards are chunnering away now, saying that the slaying was set up by the cops as a cover-up operation.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          So ethnically they are mostly Turkic. Tajiks aren’t Turkic though: they are an Iranian tribe/people.

        • “All from Central Asia republics”

          That’s what I thought. At least the media did not try to cover their ethnicity.

          The positive is that the more crime the Muslims commit the bigger the pressure to kick them out of Russia.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Muslim is not an ethnicity.

            • kirill says:

              But in this case it may as well be one. They are clearly rabidly racist against Russians. Of course political correctness dogma does not recognize racism against “whites” or the “people of the dominant culture”. But political correctness is anti-intelligence. All humans can be racist and often are since it helps tribal organization and self-identity. However, Russians are generally more tolerant than ever given credit for and clearly more tolerant than this trash.

          • yalensis says:

            And Persians are the original Aryans, in case you didn’t know, Knucklehead Karl.

            • Ilya says:

              The earliest use of “Aryan” is attributed to a Persian king.

              Why is it that Farsi and Hindi are Indo-European languages, little “linguist”?

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Why is it that Farsi and Hindi are Indo-European languages…?

                Because an 18th British judge in the British East India Company in what later became the British Indian Raj, whose hobby was languages, of which there are hundreds in the Indian sub-continent, noticed a similarity in the lexis of Sanskrit, Hindi, Persian etc. and European languages. There must be a link, he thought, and the term “Indo-European Languages” was coined.

                Take, for example, the English word “brother”:

                German — Bruder
                Russian — брат [brat]
                Hindi — भाई [bhaee]
                Farsi — برادر [ba-ra-dar]
                Latin — frater (the /b/ sound has changed to /f/)
                French — frère (from mutated Latin)

                As regards Muslims and the frequent misconception that Muslims are members of a race, my dacha neighbours are Tatars. They are believers, and nicer folk you could not imagine. Their great-granddaughter is my little girl’s best friend.

                As regards their being believers, they dress European style, the women (great-grandma, grandma, mum and aunts) are not in black bin bags and as regards their skin pigmentation, my Sasha (Aleksandra), having recently returned from a fortnight’s holiday in Anatolia, is now much browner than her Tatar playmate Leelya.

                Furthmore, in my experience, Tajiks are friendly folk. All the street sweepers and janitors in my district are Tajik. They seem a pleasant bunch. And they are up before the crack of dawn throughout the year doing their work.

              • Jen says:

                Why do you ask that question? Language families don’t necessarily correlate with levels of technological or civilisational progress. When the ancient ancestors of Farsi and Hindi (or Old Persian / Achaemenid Persian and Sanskrit respectively) were languages of high civilisation over 2,000 years ago, the ancestors of some other Indo-European languages like Germanic for example were still spoken by people living in tribal societies practising animal sacrifice and worshipping nature.

              • yalensis says:

                Dear Ilya:
                Exile and Jen answered your stupid question, so I won’t bother.
                You terminal idiot. You need to read some books and try to get smart.

    • Cortes says:

      What was the point/motive behind the attacks? I’ve heard of carjacking in the Rostov area with fatalities, but the “”GTA” killings sound mental.

      • kirill says:

        This collection of vermin clearly were high on the murder aspect. I don’t know why people think that it is about the money. For various mental cases it is about all sorts of other things.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        They had been active for a while before they got rounded up and people were getting really scared of using the outer ring road at night because of these highjackings. They were vicious bastards. When the highway robberies started, I at first thought they were just knobhead youngsters high on drugs who had got turned on by the GTA video games, but I am pretty sure that the “GTA gang” was systematically operating in banditry not because they had been motivated by GTA: they were just murdering bandits.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Better said: “murderous bandits”.

          “They were just murdering bandits” could be misinterpreted as “Они просто убивали бандитов”, namely the “GTA Gang” were illegally taking the lives of bandits.

          It’s that “-ing” form of the word “murder” that is the guilty party: it can either be looked upon as the present participle of “to murder” used with the auxiliary verb “to be” to form the continuous aspect of “to murder”, or it could be interpreted as the gerund formed from the verb “to murder”, which gerund placed before the noun “bandits” acts as an attributive adjective.

          You don’t get such fuzzy grammar in Russian, Russian being a “synthetic language” with prefixes, infixes and case-ending suffixes, whereas English is an “analytic language” in that the meaning of an utterance arises from an analysis of the positioning of the words within it.

          For example, the meaning of the 2009 film “Lesbian Vampire Killers” could, on analysis, be interpreted differently: killers of lesbian vampires or lesbian vampires that are killers.

          🙂

  27. Warren says:

    Published on 1 Aug 2017
    Over 8 million Venezuelans vote for a National Constituent Assembly, while the US sanctions anyone elected to the Assembly, we discuss the implications with author Steve Ellner and historian Miguel Tinker Salas

  28. Warren says:

    Published on 31 Jul 2017
    Despite existing sanctions against Russia German exports to Russia have gone up by twenty percent, further there are increasing investments in the the domestic economy says Richard Sakwa, professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent.

  29. Warren says:

    Published on 31 Jul 2017
    Use of force by Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard has become a regular sight in corporate media, and those actions are used by foreign powers as justification for intervention.

    With very real possibilities of another US-backed coup, Abby Martin interviews the head of Venezuela’s Armed Forces and Minister of Defense, General Padrino López. They discuss the National Guard’s control of food and medicine, condemnations over use of force, and the threat of US military intervention.

  30. Northern Star says:

    Any thoughts on the book or the author???
    Stooges have frequently alluded to the role(s) played by Russian women in WW2..so that’s why I
    thought the book may be of interest…..

    BTW…Best of Luck ..No!!.. Better Yet **Good Fortune** ME!!!!!

    • Jen says:

      This writer is the same Svetlana Alexievich who won the Nobel Literature Prize in 2015. From the very little I’ve heard about her, she specialises in using oral testimonies to create a historical “narrative” that might say more about her opinions and attitudes than it does about the people whose thoughts and opinions she uses.

      This is what Alexievich has to say about Russian history:
      “… If you look back at the whole of our history, both Soviet and post-Soviet, it is a huge common grave and a blood bath. An eternal dialog of the executioners and the victims. The accursed Russian questions: what is to be done and who is to blame. The revolution, the gulags, the Second World War, the Soviet–Afghan war hidden from the people, the downfall of the great empire, the downfall of the giant socialist land, the land-utopia, and now a challenge of cosmic dimensions – Chernobyl. This is a challenge for all the living things on earth. Such is our history. And this is the theme of my books, this is my path, my circles of hell, from man to man …”
      http://www.alexievich.info/biogr_EN.html

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Yes, Russia is hell!

        They fought and died to defend hell, the misguided fools!

        I mean, just look at these brainwashed idiots below, keeping alive the memory of their fallen forebears…

        Oh yes, Алексіевіч is a Belorussian, by the way: she is an “investigative journalist” who apparently investigates for evidence to support her ideas.

        Get the picture?

        It’s the Eliot Higgins methodology: fixed idea first, then the “evidence” to support it.

        Religious types do this: they search for evidence to prove there is a god starting from what is for them an obvious fact that there is a god.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          My elder daughter did an interview a couple of years ago in preparation for her school Victory Day celebrations with a 90-year-old woman veteran who lives in our district. I have got the interview on video.

          She was a jolly old soul, but she told my daughter some frightful tales.

          They weren’t all horror stories that she recounted though.

          I don’t think she would have been the type of interviewee whose accounts Alexeivich would have used.

      • marknesop says:

        Yes, yes; the eternal Russian questions – what is to be done and who is to blame. Per-capita GDP in Russia doubled under Putin, from an all-time (since they’ve been keeping records) low of $5,505.60 in 1998 (coincidentally, just about the time Putin took over as Prime Minister) to a record high of $11,615.70 in 2014 (just about the time a Washington-engineered effort – strengthened by the piling on of nearly all the ‘western democracies’ – to destroy the Russian economy commenced).

        What is to be done, and who is to blame?

        The elite are never so happy with their situation as they are when the rich are very rich and the poor are very poor. It’s God’s balance, you see; suffering builds character.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Svetlana Alexievich appears to be a psychotic which seems to be a key quality in Russophobia.

  31. Moscow Exile says:

    Украина подаст иск против России из-за строительства Крымского моста

    The Ukraine is going to sue Russia for the construction of the Crimean bridge

    The construction of a bridge to the Crimea across the Kerch Strait is leading to losses for the Ukrainian economy, in connection with which Kiev is going to prepare a lawsuit in the International Court. This was stated by the Ukraine Deputy Minister of Infrastructure,Yuriy Lavrenyuk, at a meeting with representatives of trade unions of sea and river ports, as reported on the ministry website.

    The official said that the restriction of shipping along the Kerch channel has led to the Mariupol and Berdyansk commercial ports suffering losses and that shortfalls in their revenue are currently being calculated.

    “We are solving this problem jointly with the Foreign Ministry and the National Security and Defence Council. The blocking of the Kerch channel and the imposition of restrictions on the passage of ships is being treated by the Ministry of Justice as a separate problem within the framework of existing lawsuits against Russia”, Lavrenyuk said.

    Will there be a court order from the “International Court” to dismantle the bridge?

    Will the “court” order that Russia compensate Banderastan annually for alleged losses of revenue to that so-called state as a result of the bridge construction?

    Keep on trying, salo scoffers!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Fake photos!

      Not possible!

    • marknesop says:

      Ha, ha!!! The bridge that will never be built because volcanoes will arise from the unstable bottom of the Kerch Strait and crush it, will cause Ukraine to suffer losses!!! Well, I never! Did the Ukies not think of this previously? I’ll tell you what; I would be a little cautious about following a government with two such huge fucking mistakes to its credit – they thought the glorious Maidan was going to result in a western republic right against Russia’s cheek, including Crimea and its NATO naval base, and they said the Kerch Strait bridge would never be built. Perhaps it might not have been, had they not cut off services to Crimea in an attempt to strangle it into submission, and persecuted everyone who traveled there without Ukraine’s permission.

      Kiev has nobody to blame for the current state of Ukraine but itself, but like all dictatorial regimes, it imagines itself to be a victim.

      • Matt says:

        “but like all dictatorial regimes, it imagines itself to be a victim.”

        Entirely agree. That’s why the Maduro regime blames da Gringos for its economic issues and mass protests. Of course, most people here believe Maduro. Complete lack of self-awareness.

        I am posting on yalensis’ blog, but I couldn’t resist posting here once more…

        • marknesop says:

          I know I’ll be sorry for rising to the bait, but please explain – briefly, if you can – how discomfort with letting the western democracies select a new leader for Venezuela demonstrates a lack of self-awareness. Sure you wouldn’t like to choose a different term?

          • Matt says:

            You present a false dichotomy. Stating that the recent vote on the sham assembly was a fraud, or that the economic crisis is not the fault of the U.S/CIA but due to a failure by previous Venezuelan administrations to diversify away from oil and because of Chavez/Maduro disastrous price controls, that the vast majority of protests are not violent and are peaceful, is not the same thing as “letting the western democracies select a new leader for Venezuela”.

            Thus, what you say demonstrates a lack of self-awareness because you fail to apply your criticism of the Ukrainian government falsely presenting itself as a victim of aggression by Russia to the Maduro regime using the exact same excuse apropos the U.S.

            The pro-Maduro “alternative” media websites won’t tell you this:

            http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-40804812

            “Turnout numbers for Sunday’s controversial vote in Venezuela have been “tampered with”, the company that provided the voting system alleges.”

            https://www.voanews.com/a/un-arrests-on-venezuela-opposition-leaders-illegal/3968983.html

            UN Calls Arbitrary Arrests of Venezuela’s Opposition Leaders Illegal

            Oh, but we aren’t done yet. Former allies of Maduro are now openly against him. Like Venezuela’s chief prosecutor, Luisa Ortega. Mrs. Ortega was so loyal to Maduro that she was responsible for dozens of arrests against anti-government protesters. But now, she accuses the government of “state terrorism” by dismantling Venezuela’s democracy by rewriting the constitution. She also brought charges against the head of the national guard and intelligence police for human rights abuses against protesters.

            How did our hero Maduro respond to all this?

            “A few days after Ms. Ortega broke with Maduro, the government removed her security detail of 10 armed bodyguards and cars from the intelligence police parked outside her office. When she asked the supreme court to nullify the previous legislature’s lame-duck appointment of 13 magistrates, socialist party leaders called for her to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. They initiated Supreme Court proceedings to remove her from office in apparent violation of the constitution, which says only congress has the right to hire and fire the nation’s top law enforcement official.”

            But wait, we aren’t done yet!

            “Venezuela chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega could face trial”

            http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-40353158

            Is the U.S. responsible for this too:

            “Two More Judges of Venezuelan Supreme Court Ask for Asylum in Chilean Embassy”

            https://sputniknews.com/latam/201708021056098638-two-venezuela-judjes-chile-asylum/

            Worse than Chavez, who I lived under. He published lists of how people voted, denying those who didn’t support him social benefits and government-linked job opportunities. And I’ll never forget the violent as all hell Chavista street gangs he supported.

            Do you know that this new “constitutional assembly” will do? It has more powers than all the branches together: it can expell judges, dissolve the executive power, the legislative power, the judiciary power and the citizens’ branch, change the criminal law, cancel elections. The person at the centre of all this Diosdado Cabello, a drug lord accused of being the leader of the Cartel of the Suns, probably the biggest drug traffiking organisation in the world right now.

            For more wonderful information about drugs and the Chavez/Maduro regimes, please read:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_drug_trade_in_Venezuela#Venezuelan_government

            And don’t forget this: “Sweden has asked Venezuela to explain how Swedish-made weapons ended up in the hands of Colombia’s Farc rebels.”

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8171580.stm

            But hey, if I oppose all this, it means I support the CIA gobbling up Venezuela forever, right?

            Standard dictator playbook: claim the opposition is violent, CIA-funded, and is full of evil fascists. Oh, and don’t forget to frame it from an “anti-imperialist” bent, so as to fire up the useful idiots. Rinse and repeat. The suckers fall for it e’rytime.

            • marknesop says:

              I said I’d be sorry, and I was right. Say – you ever notice the leaders of powerful countries who don’t have much oil are always yelling at countries who do to diversify away from it? Why is that, do you suppose? So the oil those countries do have will be worth more? Why is it that if having large reserves of energy is bad for your economy, the western countries all want the leaders of energy-rich countries to open their energy reserves up to more foreign ownership and remove state controls? So they can show their contempt for large energy reserves by not buying any?

              • Matt says:

                The U.S. buys most of Venezuela’s oil, thereby keeping the country afloat.

                As for all the issues with state ownership, it’s a non-sequitr. The unrest in Venezuela has nothing to do with who owns the oil.

                Do not try to bring the 2002 coup into this. That was then and this is now.

                • marknesop says:

                  So, if the USA did not buy Venezuela’s oil – which of course they do simply as a favour to Venezuela – they would just have to leave it in the ground, is that correct?

                  I think you are presenting a false dichotomy. I never said the unrest in Venezuela was a direct result of who owns the oil; you did. As for ‘trying to bring the 2002 coup into this’, I don’t even know what you are talking about.

                • Jen says:

                  The political opposition in Venezuela tried to overthrow President Hugo Chavez in April 2002. This coup was supported by privately owned news media companies and their outlets in the country. Chavez resigned for about 47 hours but support from the public and most of the armed forces put him back in power.

                  In those days, even The Guardian Observer did not doubt that the coup was supported by elements in the Bush government.
                  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/apr/21/usa.venezuela

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          Your Gusano act isn’t convincing.

          I recommend a little time in Miami to get the part down.

        • Jen says:

          Equating Ukraine and Venezuela as if they are similar in any way is a low act for a start. The only similarity is that the regime change tactics in Venezuela parallel those used in Ukraine in early 2014 and also in Syria over the past five years.

          • Matt says:

            What’s a “low act” is letting people starve to death and blaming it on the Gringos, rather than taking responsibility.

            And I won’t argue with you, Jen, because you read “alternative” news websites and are thus more knowledgeable than Venezuelans. You’ve got it all figured out.

            Heh.

            If you think Venezuelans actually wanted this new assembly, then you are clearly deluding yourself by reading propagandistic news websites.

            The excuses made by the Maduro regime, that blames all its ills on Gringo imperialism, are no different than those made by the Ukrainian government about Russia. Heck, they’re probably more outrageous.

            Read my above post to Mark and get yourself acquainted with reality.

            • Jen says:

              You tried to sneak back onto Mark Chapman’s blog to flood it with more anti-Maduro drivel and derail the conversation away from Ukraine by creating a false parallel between Ukraine and Venezuela. I called you out on that and you try to weasel your way out by claiming that the Maduro government is letting people starve to death when among other things US sanctions against Venezuela, the oil glut created by Saudi-US collusion in order to disrupt oil-exporting economies like Venezuela and food-importing companies in Venezuela that support the anti-Maduro opposition withholding and hoarding food or selling it outside Venezuela in order to drive up food prices are the ones wreaking havoc on the country and trying to entice the Venezuelan public away from supporting the government.

              You’re a fine one for suggesting that the Maduro government’s complaints against the Americans are more outrageous than what Kiev says against the Russians. We can see where your sympathies lie with regard to Russian-Ukrainian relations.

              I don’t need to read your earlier post with its selective use of news items and biased links to be acquainted with reality – Mark and the other commenters do a far superior job than you do in this respect.

              • Matt says:

                How did I “sneak back”? To “sneak” implies coming back in a stealthy manner, but I did no such thing. I merely pointed out Mr. Chapman’s hypocrisy in how how he is able to notice the Ukrainian government using Russia as a boogeyman, but can’t see how Maduro is using the U.S. as a boogeyman.

                “when among other things US sanctions against Venezuela”

                There are no sanctions against Venezuela. The only sanctions applied by the U.S. Treasry are against individuals in the Maduro administration and those connected to drug-trafficking, including freezing any assets they hold in the U.S. But sanctions on the country itself, harming the economy? No such thing. What a pathetic attempt to blame the economic crisis on the U.S.

                “the oil glut created by Saudi-US collusion in order to disrupt oil-exporting economies like Venezuela and food-importing companies in Venezuela”

                Jen, do you have any evidence whatsoever about the U.S. and Saudis “colluding” to bring the oil price down? You do not, other than a Sputnik article with some speculation. If you understood basic economics and international trade, you’d know the Saudis increased production to force OPEC to negotiate a cut, since they knew Iran was re-entering the market after sanctions were lifted. Ditto for Iraq’s reemergence. Why would Saudi Arabia disrupt its own economy to bring down Venezuela or Russia? Use your head for once. Another factor was the emergence of U.S. shale oil.

                Educate yourself:

                http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Why-Saudi-Arabia-Has-No-Intention-To-End-The-Oil-Glut.html

                https://seekingalpha.com/article/4078970-understanding-history-saudi-arabia-cut-oil-production-2014

                “that support the anti-Maduro opposition withholding and hoarding food or selling it outside Venezuela in order to drive up food prices”

                Incorrect to say these corrupt entities “support the anti-Maduro opposition” (Isn’t all the opposition in Venezuela “anti-Maduro”?) Anyway, these corrupt entities, according to government figures, have caused a loss of $20 billion. That’s a fair bit, but not even close to the drop in government revenue due to the oil price drop. The corrupt entities performing this fraud have been doing so for years now. This is old, old news. And it happens in every single country with a government dumb enough to institute price controls. Economics 101. But to accuse these corrupt entities of “colluding” with da Gringos or the opposition is plain stupid. These companies are corrupt and want to make money. There’s no need to receive sooper-seecret instructions from the U.S. Unless you have proof that the U.S. is instructing these entities?

                “You’re a fine one for suggesting that the Maduro government’s complaints against the Americans are more outrageous than what Kiev says against the Russians. We can see where your sympathies lie with regard to Russian-Ukrainian relations.”

                Of course they are more outrageous. A government is claiming that all of the economic issues it is facing are due to a foreign country, in the face of overwhelmingly contradictory evidence. Ukraine is not claiming Russia is behind its own economy collapsing and that Russia is “colluding” with food producers to keep food in short supply and prices high.

                “I don’t need to read your earlier post with its selective use of news items and biased links”

                Happens every time. Show them some news piece and they pathetically deflect by screaming “MSM!”, or “corporate media!” or “biased”. It’s easy enough to make these claims and thus conveniently ignore what the articles state. It’s another to actually address the allegations. What’s hilarious is that some of those articles are actually quite neutral and merely report on real events that have happened. They quote the country’s chief prosecutor, and the statements of pro-government figures. What that means is that you can’t even cope with what’s really happening in Venezuela. You are so close-minded that you refuse to accept any criticism of the Maduro regime.

                Stunningly ignorant and arrogant.

                • Special_sauce says:

                  “Why would Saudi Arabia disrupt its own economy to bring down Venezuela or Russia?”

                  Bribery, threats come to mind.

                • Special_sauce says:

                  “They quote the country’s chief prosecutor, and the statements of pro-government figures.”

                  “Selectively quote”. FTFY

                • Special_sauce says:

                  almost forgot

                  h/t https://twitter.com/PhilGreaves01

                  you see, there’s this thing called The In-ter-net? Ever heard of it? You better hope it goes away.

                • marknesop says:

                  You see, that’s what I hate about you, Matt, if you’ll forgive me being a little judgy – your penchant for classifying everyone who disagrees with you as ‘stunningly ignorant and arrogant’ or ‘hypocritical’, as if you were on a completely different plane, intellect-wise, and we are just worms squirming in the muck at your feet. I see no evidence at all of any such brilliance – on the contrary, what I see is just another neoconservative ideologue arguing for a new system of ‘market-driven democracy’ in which social infrastructure will be dismantled in favour of privately-owned for-pay services which will boost government revenue at the expense of the social-safety network. There is a huge difference there between Ukraine and Venezuela, admittedly – in that respect the Yanukovych government was no better than the oligarchical model which currently prevails. But you can’t seem to see (or are more likely ideologically blinkered) that immediate actions by the IMF, through the new Ukrainian government, were dedicated to removing subsidies on energy use and reducing services to the working poor and low-income demographic in favour of smart new ‘European’ methodology which services those who can pay. And that’s exactly the sort of ‘reforms’ which will be put in place in Venezuela if Washington is successful in overthrowing Maduro. It has not been so far, but that doesn’t stop its press from behaving as if it were already a done deal.

                  And please do me the courtesy of not characterizing American regime-change efforts as just something I made up or have to see because I am a nutcase who sees the CIA under my bed – American efforts to ram the Venezuelan opposition straight into government are well-documented and part of a typical regime-change operation we have seen over and over. We saw the same thing in Libya, when ‘protests’ by the flip-flop Benghazi mob were portrayed as delirious ecstasy at the prospect of freedom and democracy, while several-times-larger demonstrations in support of ‘the dictator’ Gaddafi were ignored out of hand.

                  Nobody here is in love with Maduro, any more than we were in love with Gaddafi or Saddam Hussein. We are simply that much less in love with the chaotic western model which typically follows a successful western regime-change operation, because the objective was never the emplacement of democratic standards and beneficial reform; instead, it has always been to gain control over the government for the achievement of western objectives. And in Washington’s case, that is always and ever an increase of American global power for the exclusive betterment of Americans and the enrichment of its corporate elite. You have only to look at what Iraq and Libya – both beneficiaries of Washington-initiated regime change – are like now compared with what they were like under their previous leaders, specifically the standard of living for their populations and the exodus from those countries of everyone wealthy and connected enough to leave.

            • Special_sauce says:

              I thought you said you weren’t coming back.

              • Matt says:

                I couldn’t resist.

                “Bribery, threats come to mind.”

                Easy enough to claim this. How do you know the U.S. “threatened” or “bribed” the Saudis into creating an oil oversupply, thus dropping the oil price and causing economic havoc to occur in countries that rely on oil exports? Don’t just make stuff up.

                ““Selectively quote”. FTFY”

                Ortega was “selectively quoted”? How so? She used to love Chavez/Maduro and now criticizes the current regime.

                “http://www.15yultimo.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/THE-VISIBLE-HAND-OF-THE-MARKET.-ECONOMIC-WARFARE-IN-VENEZUELA.-PASQUALINA-CURCIO-C.pdf”

                Nice book, but it doesn’t prove that the U.S., not the lack of a diversified economy, is the cause for Venezuela’s economic crisis.

                “https://twitter.com/PhilGreaves01”

                Bot account, with 127,000 tweets. Probably run by the Maduro regime.

                • marknesop says:

                  Probably run by the Maduro regime.

                  Yes, another blithe redirection/deflection. Must be great fun for you.

                  Answer the question, ‘Matt’ – if the USA did not buy Venezuela’s oil, would that mean they could not sell it elsewhere? Yes, or no. Your answer bears directly on your characterization of the United States as the benign authority which ‘keeps Venezuela afloat’.

                • Matt says:

                  Reply to marknesop:

                  “Answer the question, ‘Matt’ – if the USA did not buy Venezuela’s oil, would that mean they could not sell it elsewhere? Yes, or no. Your answer bears directly on your characterization of the United States as the benign authority which ‘keeps Venezuela afloat’.”

                  Not the right question to ask. The right one is: “if the U.S. wanted to “sabotage” Venezuela’s economy, why didn’t they just stop buying its oil?

                • marknesop says:

                  From your viewpoint it might not be the right question to ask, but it’s the one I did ask, and I would be obliged if you would answer it.

                • Matt says:

                  Sure, I’ll answer: the oil would go to China, since Venezuela has pledged enormous amounts of capacity for them, due to oil-for-loan deals made under Chavez and Maduro.

                  In other words, Venezuela can’t “sell” oil to China, since it has to pay back its debt to the latter with the same oil.

                  So the government would go bankrupt. And the country would collapse. It could make some more oil-for-loan deals, but that wouldn’t help much with the low oil price these days.

                  https://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/10/venezuela-falls-behind-on-oil-for-loan-deals-with-china-russia.html

                  Fun fact: the U.S. actually supports the Venezuelan oil industry by selling it crude oil. Yep, Venezuela buys crude oil from American.

                  By the way, you mention that the U.S. hates Maduro because they want the oil (a common meme among anti-Americans), but the nationalization of the oil industry has caused it implode:

                  “But in 2009, Mr. Chávez nationalized Wilpro, an American consortium that handled the complex natural gas injection at the site designed to coax more oil out of the ground. Production has declined by more than half.”

                • marknesop says:

                  Fun fact: oil is a fungible commodity – stateless, sold on the global market in the form of futures, and nobody cares where it comes from. That’s what I was getting at. It would not necessarily be sold to China. It would be sold on the global market. The United States does not pay a premium price to Venezuela for its oil, and were no arrangement in place Venezuela could sell its oil for at least as much as the USA pays.

                  Ergo, the United States does not ‘keep Venezuela afloat’. It is a buyer of convenience, and no more, and no benevolent relationship is implied or realized.

                  Don’t you remember how Slovenia bought gas from Russia, and re-sold it to Ukraine at a mark-up, while Ukraine crowed that it was free of the Russian gas yoke at last? Gas, like oil, can be sold several times so that its point of origin is irrelevant.

                • Matt says:

                  “The united States does not pay a premium price to Venezuela for its oil, and were no arrangement in place Venezuela could sell its oil for at least as much as the USA pays.

                  Ergo, the United States does not ‘keep Venezuela afloat’. It is a buyer of convenience, and no more, and no benevolent relationship is implied or realized.”

                  The U.S. may be a “buyer of convenience” but if it stopped importing/exporting oil from/to Venezuela, the state would probably default and have to source more expensive oil to refine from elsewhere.

                  Read this article:

                  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-31/potential-u-s-oil-sanctions-increase-risk-of-venezuelan-default

                  No need for super-complicated “economic sabotage”. The U.S. can just slap sanctions on the oil trade and boom, the state would collapse.

                • marknesop says:

                  No need for super-complicated “economic sabotage”. The U.S. can just slap sanctions on the oil trade and boom, the state would collapse.

                  Then they should try it. The USA would not get any Venezuelan oil from Venezuela, but really there is no such thing in the oil markets, so other buyers would purchase it and the USA would end up buying it from somewhere else. Meanwhile the sanctions would likely inspire a nice bump in the price. Write to Trump and suggest he do it.

                • Matt says:

                  “so other buyers would purchase it and the USA would end up buying it from somewhere else. Meanwhile the sanctions would likely inspire a nice bump in the price. ”

                  Not quite, since Venezuela would immediately default, within months. And because it would have to import more expensive oil from elsewhere. Did you read the article by Bloomberg I posted?

                  I would never want Trump to sanction my country so hard that it would collapse. I hope he doesn’t do this.

  32. Moscow Exile says:

    Keep on poking the bear …
    Russia-backed agents tried to kill Montenegro PM: Mike Pence
    AFP| Last Updated: Wednesday, August 2, 2017 – 18:48

    Podgorica: US Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday accused Russian-backed agents of attempting to assassinate the prime minister of Montenegro during an alleged coup attempt last year…
    Russia`s intentions were laid bare over the past year when Moscow-backed agents sought to disrupt Montenegro`s elections, attack your parliament and even attempt to assassinate your prime minister”, Pence said at the Adriatic Charter Summit.
    He said the attack aimed “to dissuade the Montenegrin people from entering our NATO alliance”

      • marknesop says:

        On its way down the side of the toilet bowl, Washington will try to drag everyone else with it. I don’t think it has any credibility now, with its constant hysterical blaming of Russia for every single thing that is not to its liking. And the ridiculous pretense that Montenegro will contribute in any meaningful way to the defensive strength of the NATO alliance is just comical – it has become all about snatching territory away, allegedly out of Russia’s grasp. I hope NATO does pour money into the Baltics like there’s no tomorrow – the Balts will gladly take it, but NATO will see no return on its money, and unless it comes up with a way you can burn bullshit for fuel they will still depend on Russia for their energy.

        • Eric says:

          Can anybody link me an article from an American or British media outlet querying why it is necessary or important for Montenegro to join NATO? Or why joining NATO should be a prerequisite for EU membership?

          I dont think such an article exists…which goes to show what brainless, gutless pricks they have working for western publications in Russia and Eastern /central Europe

          • marknesop says:

            There was considerable public resistance – which was reported quite widely at the time, although not so much in the usual press organs of western hegemony – to Montenegro’s joining NATO. But the already-suborned ‘western-oriented leaders’ carried the day, and now Montenegro is a locked-in member of NATO forever. Further efforts now will be directed to mollifying the population and trying to get them to feel glad that they are in NATO and how many benefits it is going to bring to the country – not least of all security from ‘Russian aggression’. But check back from time to time; I’ll bet you will not see any positive changes at all in the living standard, although a few elites will likely make out very well due to increased marketing opportunities.

  33. James lake says:

    Trump like the idiot that he is; has signed the sanctions bill.

    Do you think that there will be further counter sanctions from Russia?

    What are ordinary people saying – we don’t get a sense of this in the UK – just idiot Trump and Pence blaming Russia for all the worlds problems

      • Russia doesn’t have much tools in its possession that it can use to retaliate back. Trade between Russia and US is minimal. Russia could in theory ban the export of rocket engines to US, but it would only end up hurting its own companies that would be left without revenue from the US trade.

        The core problem is that the US can pressure and force the EU into total vassality, which hurts both Russia and the EU alike, while the US itself is the only one that benefits. There is not much Russia can do about it until the EU grows out of its vassal role.

        The biggest test is Nord Stream-2. If the US manages to stop it, then all hope for the EU is lost.

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, I have to agree with every word of that. But I don’t believe it would mean all hope for Russia was lost. Russia would still have options, and it would still be able – theoretically – to cease transiting gas through Ukraine. It would strain Yamal and Nord Stream I to their rivets, but they could probably transfer all the gas passing through Ukraine today to those two alternate pipelines, running at capacity. There would be no room for additional supplies, though, and Europe would just have to discipline itself, while Germany would have to give up its dream of being a European gas hub. When Turkish Stream is online that would give Turkey quite a bit of clout, I should think.

          But I see no reason to believe Nord Stream II can be stopped. The USA has no authority to punish European companies who do business with Russia, and Europe must know it; they’re not entirely stupid. I’m glad this test has come at this time – we might as well know now if Europe has any spine at all. The Germans have laid it on the line that the USA is trying to stop Nord Stream II in order to create desperation markets for its LNG, and if Europe is so gutless that it will kneel and bow and pay higher prices for intermittent dribbles of American gas, they deserve to fail.

          As well, while Russia might not be able to bring much leverage to bear against the United States and its arrogant fiddling, Europe can, if it only will. Germany has already spoken quite emphatically about America’s dictating being outside international law, and of the need for retaliation. It is also looking exactly where I would recommend – the World Trade Organization. And the following American companies each are dependent for more than a quarter of their revenue on their European markets, some significantly more than that. Not mentioned for some reason is General Electric, which has huge market share in Europe for about a quarter of its total revenues.

          In fact, kicking General Electric out of Russia might be a good start to the next stage of uncoupling Russia from the west. GE has pretty significant market share in Russia – although overtures to boot them out would be greeted by a barrage of western stories about how all their employees were Russians and Putin just took away their jobs – and is among the industry giants and tech firms which are extremely unsupportive of more anti-Russia sanctions. But politics trumps all, right?

          • Eric says:

            Though we are left with a situation,Mark, where the European powers (well,Germany) who have illegally blocked South Stream, in the process of costing many financially weaker countries in southern Europe 100’s of millions of dollars each year….are now trying to stop the Americans illegally blocking NS2.

            South Stream, if I recall correctly, was cancelled by the Bulgarian authorities immediately after a visit by American Senators…including obviously this cretin McCain(what type of imbecilic system allows Senators to influence the policies of a different country?)

            Good work it has to be admitted by Erdogan though…..and by Putin to improvise on the cancellation of South Stream by negotiating this pipeline with a sometimes hostile adversary in Turkey

            • marknesop says:

              Yes, South Stream was blocked by Bulgaria, although that was simply the final straw in a long list of pressures applied against Gazprom to try to get them to drop it. Officially the pressure came from the EU, with their stupid Third Energy Package regulations (stupid because they regularly grant their own domestic pipelines exemptions by designating them ‘field pipes’), but given the application of American muscle to stop Nord Stream it was likely the Americans then, too. It makes no sense for Europe to block comparatively-inexpensive gas supplies delivered through a more interference-proof network, while Washington has its own geopolitical reasons for wanting European gas to transit Ukraine first.

              And yes, John McCain was one of three US senators to visit Sofia at just about the time the EU requested Bulgaria to down tools and stop working on South Stream.

              Bulgaria made a pathetic attempt to get South Stream going again, once it became crystal clear that all it was going to get from the EU for stopping the pipeline to spite Russia was a pat on the head. But I’m so glad you brought it up – otherwise I might never have run across this amazing article, which details Washington’s interest in getting South Stream going again, from only last month!

              You have to take into account that it is from Pravda, so all western analysts will immediately dismiss it as a ridiculous tissue of lies, and the reporter does not supply any proof that Washington has indeed pressed Bulgaria to re-ignite the South Stream project, or even that the Bulgarian President called Mr. Putin with the aim of starting talks on getting the project running again. In the absence of any substantiation, we have to go only on the likelihood of its being true. Geopolitically, it is quite believable that Washington is very concerned about the increased cooperation between Turkey and Russia, and the former’s increased recalcitrance on NATO matters. It makes sense that Washington would reason it likely has greater influence over known toadies like Bulgaria than Turkey, and the latter bears directly on the newly-arisen rifts between the Gulf states as well. The whole thing actually rings true, but we have no real proof.

              Whatever the case, the Pravda reporter is certainly correct that there is little interest on Russia’s part in cooperating with Washington on anything it might want. But Washington might want to be careful what it wishes for, because other sources suggest there is indeed interest on Gazprom’s part in driving a pipeline through the region – only as a leg of Turkish Stream. Supply through it would not be under Bulgarian control, and it could be bypassed by simply turning a few valves. That’s not likely to offer Washington much leverage, but is instead only likely to bring Gazprom further commerce and influence.

          • davidt says:

            Alexander Mercouris thinks that it is possible that Trump will make an appeal to the US supreme court to have the sanctions law dismissed as unconstitutional.
            https://www.theduran.com/trump-sidesteps-impeachment-trap-sanctions-law-prepares-challenge-supreme-court/

        • Patient Observer says:

          Per Karl:

          Russia could in theory ban the export of rocket engines to US, but it would only end up hurting its own companies that would be left without revenue from the US trade.

          The Atlas V, powered by Russian engines, appears to be essential for US military, scientific and some commercial launches per wikipedia. The harm to the US would be orders of magnitude greater than lost profits from engine sales. The decision not to ban sales may be based on the desire to break the escalation spiral, or, to save it in the event the US does something even more stupid (if that were possible).

    • Cortes says:

      Trump is a realist. To veto would have made the day of his opponents and gained nothing. This way, if/when the Germans and others grow a pair over the effects of the sanctions on their corporations DJT will be able to put the blame where it belongs. The same way he’s going to do regarding direct countermeasures by the RF. Voters will remember.

  34. yalensis says:

    Plug for my new post , this is a really interesting story.
    Ukraine and Westies fawned over hero-pilot Captain Akopov, until they found out that he’s not much of a svidomite.

  35. marknesop says:

    If the European Commission is going to support cancellation of Nord Stream II, it has a hell of a funny way of showing it. It has dropped opposition to Gazprom increasing use of the Opal pipeline link and has decreased reserve capacity to only 10%, increasing Gazprom’s share of pumping capacity by 40%.

    • Cortes says:

      And Gasprom wins auction for use of Opal and reduces transit via Eden:

      https://www.rt.com/business/398414-ukraine-gas-transit-opal-russia/

      “We don’ need no steenkin’ transit fees”.

      • marknesop says:

        Oh, but all that gas babble is swept aside by the news that America is getting ready to deliver coal to Ukraine! Yes, America is ready to stand by its little brother in democracy, with heaping loads of the second-dirtiest fuel – after burning old Penthouse magazines – remaining in the world. How ’bout them progressives, huh? No fear this winter, as great black lumpy piles of the stuff will be everywhere, ready to fire Ukrainian furnaces just as America’s commitment to freedom fires Ukrainian imaginations!

        Well, that’s the plan. Except as we all know, Ukraine’s furnaces are constructed to burn anthracite coal, the hardest and rarest type (although there’s plenty in Donbas and Russia has quite a bit as well). By way of contrast, only .02% of the USA’s coal production is anthracite, and all those mines are in the same state. The rest is bituminous and sub-bituminous, that cokey, smutty, smoky stuff. Good luck, Ukraine!!

        I’m pretty sure we talked about this before, probably back when Uncle Sam announced this latest piece of his heart torn out for Ukraine. Take it, take another little piece of my heart now, baby.

  36. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    http://varjag2007su.livejournal.com/1355897.html

    The Polish opposition – heavily inspired and assisted by Ukrainian neer-do-wells* – plan their very own Maidan, in which a combination of riots, propaganda and foreign pressure will allow the removal of the government.

    *Specifically something called the ‘Open Fund’, headed by Ukrainian twit Ludmila Kozlovskaya and closely associated with the Soros interests because why wouldn’t it be? Involved in supplying uniforms and more to the Ukrainian forces.

    With any luck it will end in bloodshed, ruin, and yet another German invasion.

  37. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    This cannot be emphasised enough – every Ukrainian government official and supporter is mentally retarded:

    • marknesop says:

      Ahhh….another sparkling-with-wit riposte from those hip young techies in Ukraine. I sometimes wonder if Russia even sends out those tweets at all – they seem to be such a perfect invitation to ridicule. It would not surprise me if Ukraine faked those as well, just so it could seem to be getting the better of Russia with its cleverness.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I can almost certainly guarantee that the “Ukraine” riposte above was not written by a Ukrainian: more likely it was written by a native English speaking “Ukrainian”, very likely by a Canadian citizen.

      It is the perfect usage of the third conditional that’s the give-away. This is a bugbear for Slavic language speakers. Even my wife balls 3rd conditionals up.

      When using the subjunctive to make statements about unreality, hypotheses or contrary to the fact situations, there is no “time” involved in Russian/Ukrainian etc.

      So, “He would be working now, but …” and “He would have been working yesterday, but …” in Russian is:

      Он работал бы сейчас, но …

      Он работал бы вчера, но …

      The only difference in both statements in Russian being the time markers “now” and “yesterday”.

      Russians and Ukrainians tend to say in English: “*He would work yesterday, but …”

      As I have said, perfect usage of 3rd conditional in the Tweet above.

      Ergo: Tweet riposte written by a native English speaker who likes to wear a vyshyvanka.

      QED

      🙂

      • Moscow Exile says:

        And there are those absolutely correctly written contracted forms as well, namely “you’d” and “would’ve”.

        Native speakers of Russian find using such contractions, pronouncing them, difficult and if they are spot on with their grammar, they will almost invariably pronounce the construction in full, e.g. “If he had informed her earlier, she would not have been so angry”, which makes Russians sometimes sound pedantic or annoyed when native speakers of English hear them uttering such constructions.

        Third conditional statements with the verb “to have” really screw Russians as well, e.g. “If he’d had his breakfast before coming to work, he wouldn’t have had to buy a burger on the way here and he wouldn’t have been late”.

        Fully written and spoken:

        “If he had had his breakfast before coming to work, he would not have had to buy a burger on the way here and he would not have been late”.

        It’s that double “had” that screws them!

        🙂

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, even native speakers of English who speak nothing else have trouble with those – an instructive example is the ubiquitous Mr. Averko, who regularly insists on using tortured contractions in his speech such as ‘Would’ve to check”, intending to convey “I would have to check”. I have no explanation for why he would do such a thing, and the oddest parallel comes to mind. There used to be a guitarist around here for a local band, when I was also playing in a group here we were sometimes friendly competitors, and on one occasion he used my guitar when the lower strap button on his own tore free. Anyway, he had those genes where he would have a five o’clock shadow at noon, his facial hair grew like crazy. When he was playing somewhere, he frequently ran into the venue about 10 seconds before they had to take the stage, dodging among the tables and shaving with a portable electric razor. It always struck me as vaguely poncy, as if he just got off a plane from LA or something and didn’t have time for anything, the demands of stardom and life in the fast lane and all that.

          I tried to point out that you cannot use the contraction “would’ve” in those circumstances, when you are implying an obligation to do something, although it is perfectly correct to employ it to suggest an action not taken: “I would’ve done that had I thought of it at the time”. That was years ago, when we were still being visited by Peter and he was still peppering us with one-word indictments on our slow progress through evolution, so I can’t remember the exact response, but it was something to the effect that I was a grammar snob.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Oh, it’s that will/would shall/should nightmare.

            Most speakers of demotic English only use will/would, but it sometimes bugs me a little when I get SMS messages off Russian colleagues who are, for example, stuck in a monstrous traffic jam, which read “I will be late”, which makes me want to say to them on arrival “Why did you have the desire to be late?”

            I don’t ask that, of course. I am not such a pedant.

            The vast majority of native speakers would use the contracted version “I’ll be late”, but because “will” is more common than “shall”, they think the contraction is for “will”.

            And Russians don’t usually write these contractions, let alone utter them, hence “I will be late”.

            But there’s no willingness in their being late: they are obliged to be late because of circumstances beyond their control, be it God’s will or fate.

            Really they should write in full: I shall be late.

            I get funny looks when I sometimes explain my logic in using “shall”. I illustrate my point by asking Russians what Я умру однажды means in English. They always reply: “I will die one day”.

            So I say: “Do you want to die one day? Are you fully willing to die one day? Do you intend to die one day? Are you determined to die one day?”, because that is what the “will” means.

            I say “I shall die one day” because I am fated to do so: I do not particularly want to.

            However, if I were a Samurai general who had just lost a battle, it would be possible for me to say to my assistants in seppuku: “I will die tomorrow at 7 o’clock in the morning and you shall help me!”, namely I intend to die tomorrow.

            And I say “shall” to them because that is what I am obliging them to do.

            For subjunctive mood, I say “should” instead of “shall”.

            If I should die, think only this of me;
            That there’s some corner of a foreign field
            That is for ever England…

            Rupert Brooke: “Soldier”

            • niku says:

              According to the Oxford dictionary site, your examples are correct, but the prescription is incomplete:

              [Quote:]
              The traditional rule is that shall is used with first person pronouns (i.e. I and we) to form the future tense, while will is used with second and third person forms (i.e. you, he, she, it, they). For example:

              I shall be late.
              They will not have enough food.

              However, when it comes to expressing a strong determination to do something, the roles are reversed: will is used with the first person, and shall with the second and third. For example:

              I will not tolerate such behaviour.
              You shall go to the ball!

              In practice, though, the two words are used more or less interchangeably, and this is now an acceptable part of standard British and American English; however, the word shall is now seldom used in any normal context in American English.
              https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/usage/shall-or-will

              But I found other, creditable sources, who seem to make other prescriptions:
              http://grammarist.com/usage/shall-vs-will/ & https://law.utexas.edu/faculty/wschiess/legalwriting/2005/05/shall-vs-will.html

              Time to read Fowler’s comments on this!
              http://www.bartleby.com/116/213.html

              • Moscow Exile says:

                There is no future tense as such in English, as in other Germanic languages. The speaker looks at the future from now, at the cutting edge of the now/future state: there is no “now”, it immediately becomes “after now”.

                For future facts, in so far as the speaker believes he can make factual statements about future events, one uses the present tense in the simple, continuous or perfective aspects:

                He does it tomorrow.

                He is doing it tomorrow.

                When he has done it tomorrow, tell me

                or uses the present continuous of “go” to state a planned before “now” action:

                He is going to do it tomorrow

                or a certain prediction with evidence

                It is going to rain tomorrow.

                No “will” used there, although Russians are taught that the modal auxiliary verb “will” makes the “future tense”, hence such Russianisms as “It will be Saturday tomorrow” and “I will be 21 tomorrow” and “When he will do it tomorrow, tell me”

                For modifying future statements as regards possibility, obligation, intention, ability etc. the modal verbs will/would, shall/should, must, can/could, may/might are used.

                The past forms of these modals when used referring to future actions or events express the subjunctive mood.

                So we have:

                He may do it tomorrow.
                He might do it tomorrow
                He can do it tomorrow.
                He could do it tomorrow.
                He shall do it tomorrow.
                He should do it tomorrow.
                He must do it tomorrow
                He will do it tomorrow.
                He would do it tomorrow.

                There is also “ought” which is not a modal verb but acts modally, expressing the general advisability of doing something:

                He ought to do it tomorrow.

                And then there is the use of the verb “to be” with the infinitive:

                He is to do it tomorrow

                which is synonymous with

                He shall do it tomorrow.

                The “rule” given in school books that “shall” is future tense 1st person and “will” is for the other persons is bollocks.

                Both “shall” and “will” are used for all persons, but when using the 1st person, one can speak subjectively or objectively and “shall” and ” will” are affected by this.

                “I/We shall do it tomorrow” means that I/we fully expect to do this, are fated to do this. There is no subjective will about this matter. Hence, “One day, I shall die: we all shall die one day”..

                I/we will do it tomorrow” means that I/we fully intend to do it, we are subjectively willing to do this

                However, for the other persons

                “He/She/You/They shall do it tomorrow” means that the speaker subjectively intends that they do it: the speaker is passing on an an obligation: they are to do it!

                “He/She/You/They will do it tomorrow” means that the speaker objectively expects them to do it, is making a 100% certain prediction because he is implying objectively that he knows the willingness of the other person/s.

                All those nuances about future possibility that I, as a native speaker of English from the north of England use, are almost always simplified by non-native speakers or demotically by native speakers of English by using the adverb “maybe” and “the future tense” with “will”.

                Maybe he will do it tomorrow.
                Maybe he will be working tomorrow.
                Maybe he will not be able to do it tomorrow
                etc.

                This use of “maybe” is not incorrect, but when I say “maybe” or “perhaps” it means I haven’t got a clue or I am not bloody interested.

                If a boy takes a girl out on a Saturday evening and at the end of their dalliance he says to her: “Would you like to meet me again next Saturday?” if she answers “Yes, I will see you again on Saturday”, she is announcing her firm intention, her willingness to do so: she is making a promise.

                And if she replies: “Yes, I shall see you on Saturday”, she means “Of course I shall!” that this future event is part and parcel of the natural order of things in her life because she is attracted to him.

                For example, if I said to an English woman “I will love you forever!” that means that I am announcing my firm intention, I am promising her my love, and that firm promise of mine will make her happy, or at least I hope it will.

                But if I said to her “I shall love you forever”, then she would not feel so pleased, because bu saying “shall”, I am simply saying that I expect this to happen, or I am under some obligation to love her.

                But if the girl in response to the boys enquiry about whether she would like to meet him again replies: “Maybe”, that just means bugger off!

                🙂

                • niku says:

                  There is much to chew upon here. Thanks.

                  such Russianisms as “It will be Saturday tomorrow” and “I will be 21 tomorrow”
                  I use such constructions too. That this is not the best English is an entirely new point to me!

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  I use such constructions too. That this is not the best English is an entirely new point to me!

                  It is not grammatically incorrect to use such constructions, niku!

                  Everything depends on the speaker’s attitude towards the future event/action. That ‘s why “avoidance of modals” as in such “maybe” statements, with the exception of “will”, because “will” is often taught as or thought to be by non-native speakers of English the “future auxiliary” verb, is a feature of non-native speaker English.

                  Not all non-native speakers, though. Germans, for example, don’t avoid the English modal auxiliaries as do, for example, Russians, because Germans have almost the same modal verb structures as does English and Dutch, etc., whereas Russian has only one modal auxiliary verb мочь, which means “can”.

                  I can say with certainty, in so far as I feel certain about the scheduled action of a future event: “On Friday I fly to England” — a future “fact” for me — or, using the continuous aspect, “On Friday I am flying to England”, which adds the nuance that this future action is a pre-arranged one (I booked the ticket yesterday) between me and other parties.

                  Germans say: “Am Freitag fliege ich nach England” — present tense as in English but verb-subject word order because I do not begin the statement with the subject of the verb. I could, however, say in German exactly, word for word, what I say in English if I start my sentence with the subject of the verb thus “Ich fliege nach England am Freitag”.

                  But no continuous aspect usage in German as in English, because there isn’t a continuous aspect in German.

                  However, if it is my firm intention, my volition, to fly to England on Friday and I utter my volition as the thought enters my head, I say “I will fly to England on Friday!” and Germans, using their verb werden (to become) to indicate one’s volition/intention at the moment of speaking say: “Ich werde nach England am Freitag fliegen!” — literally “I will to England on Friday fly” because in German a verb modified by an auxiliary verb comes at the end of the statement.

                  Note that the German modal verb wollen does not mean “will” in English. “Ich will nach England am Freitag fliegen” means “I want to fly to England on Friday”.

                  And note also that after having uttered my subjective volition (“I know what I will do! I will fly to England on Friday”), I then say to my wife: “I have booked a flight to England” (before now but when, exactly, not important): “I am flying to England on Friday” (pre-arranged future action) or “I am going to fly to England on Friday” (personal plan already decided), but I do not say to her: “I will fly to England on Friday” because I am not predicting my action: I already know what I am doing or going to do on Friday.

                  What I do not say in cases of future possibility is “Maybe I will fly to England on Friday” (perhaps I intend to fly to England on Friday ??!!) or even “Maybe I shall fly England on Friday” (perhaps I am fated, obligated to fly to England on Friday?)

                  It is more likely that I should say: “I may fly to England on Friday” or, if there is an element of doubt, “I might fly to England on Friday”.

                  If it is my birthday tomorrow, I do not say: “It will be my birthday tomorrow” because I know it is my birthday tomorrow!

                  If I am 21 tomorrow, I do not say: “I will be 21 tomorrow” because I know I am 21 tomorrow!

                  But when a fixed schedule of events or the natural order of things are unknown or forgotten, then I modify my future statement with modals or adverbs or adverbial expressions thus

                  It is Sunday tomorrow (fact)

                  but unknown future:

                  It may/might/could be Sunday tomorrow (I have been drinking heavily and lost track of time or I have been in a deep sleep for a couple of days, I think).

                  And if I have absolutely no bloody clue about what day it is tomorrow, I say: “Maybe it is Sunday tomorrow” — and so what, I don’t care, I don’t know, I’m not really bothered about what day it is tomorrow.

                • marknesop says:

                  “Will” and “Shall” are used interchangeably throughout Queen’s Regulations and Orders (QR&O’s) for the Canadian Forces, as well as domestically-produced CFAO’s (Canadian Forces Administrative Orders), to convey an explicit obligation – “Boots and shoes shall be black and shall be highly shone”, “Subordinates will obey lawful commands without question”, that sort of thing. “May” is used as an alternate, implying a little latitude in whether something is done or not done: “The Commanding Officer may grant time off in lieu to a maximum of two days”.

                • niku says:

                  Thank you very much for the further comments, ME! It already clarifies some things I have long been confused with, and as earlier, I’ve earmarked the rest for “chewing upon”! Also, I have found your grammatical comments from earlier posts helpful too!

                  One more comment:
                  If I am 21 tomorrow, I do not say: “I will be 21 tomorrow” because I know I am 21 tomorrow!
                  Do you have any idea why the sentence, “I am 21 tomorrow”, might sound unnatural to me (as it does)? “It is my birthday tomorrow” and “It is Sunday tomorrow” sound fine. If I were forced to avoid “will”, I would have said, “I get 21 tomorrow” (for, “I get to be 21 tomorrow”).

                  (The only difference between the two classes of sentences that I can see is that in the first, the agent would actually have to travel from here to tomorrow for the statement to become true, so it is not a “fact of nature”. So, if the Grim Reaper were to claim me after I uttered the sentence, I would have proved to be false, as I never became 21! Whereas, even in such a case, it would be my birthday tomorrow. Anyway, for now, I am going to accept your prescription.)

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  niku, I can indeed say “I will be 21 tomorrow” but that would sound as if I intend to be 21 tomorrow, which is unlikely.

                  I can, though, say “I shall be 21 tomorrow” because that is what is preordained, fated for me to be tomorrow and no volition on my part involved.

                  The Fairy Godmother says to Cinderella “You shall go to the ball!” because that is the girl’s fate. The Fairy Godmother is not making a 100% for sure objective prediction, so she does not say “You will go to the ball!”

                  I work with many US citizens who tell me that nobody says “shall” in US English. I do recall older Americans saying shall, though. And I once heard that Eisenhower even dismissed a secretary of his in the White House for “wrongly” using “will” and “shall”

                  I have asked Americans what the 5th commandment is in the Bible. They usually know: Thou shalt not kill.

                  (I still use the 2nd person singular in my dialect, but in modern standard English: You shall not kill. In the King James Bible, translated 400 years ago, the 2nd person was still used in English everywhere, hence God, Who is your creator and therefore best friend, addresses His children as “thou” or “thee”.)

                  So God tells His chosen people that they shall not kill. That’s an obligation passed on by him to the Jews not to kill.

                  But God has also given His people free will, so they can choose to ignore God’s wish that they not kill, but if they choose to ignore His commandment, then He most certainly will punish them: it is His firm conviction to do so!

                  If, on the other hand, God said “You will not kill” then killing will not happen in the Universe that he created.

                  No time with God anyway: God is, but that does not matter here: this is what English believers believe. (I don’t, by the way.)

                  American colleagues always say to me that the “shall” in the Bible is there because it is “Bible talk”, old fashioned English.

                  It is not: “shall” and “will” are not interchangeable. They have specific meanings.

                  I ask Americans why Afro-Americans sang “We shall overcome” and not “We will overcome”. They always reply because “shall” is more “poetic”.

                  That is not the reason why at at all.

                  When they sang “We shall overcome” they expected victory in their struggle one day in the future, that racial harmony was what fate, God, nature or whatever irrefutably decreed.

                  If, however, they had sung “We will overcome” that would have meant that they were determined to overcome, they intended to overcome, which utterance of determination would, no doubt have sounded like a threat, which is a promise, by various Rednecks etc. in those states were deeply embedded racial segregation still existed back in the ’60s.

                  It still does, I suspect, in some places, though I have never visited the Americas.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  You shall not kill: God does not want the listener to kill.

                  You will not kill: the listener will never kill because God has determined that killing by the listener will not happen.

                  You must not kill: God forbids the listener to kill.

                  We shall never know who gave the order to execute the last Tsar and his family — we are fated never to know the answer.

                  We will never know who gave the order to execute the last Tsar and his family (demotic English) — we do not intend ever to find out who gave the order.

                  In case of fire, all staff shall assemble at staircase №3 — a rule, a regulation: if you are stupid enough, you can use the lifts or even jump out of the window if you want to do so.

                  In case of fire, all staff will assemble at staircase №3 — a 100% certain prediction objectively made about the staff, e.g. “What do you think the staff will do if there’s a fire?” — “They will assemble at staircase №3, for sure, because that is the fire staircase”.

                • niku says:

                  ME, I have gone though all you said closely, and there seems to be two disparate strands:

                  I.
                  will: expresses intention, resolve, determination
                  shall: expresses fate, full expectation, which is almost the same as expressing an obligation which cannot be (or is not to be) avoided

                  I will do it tomorrow: I am resolved to do it tomorrow.
                  You will do it tomorrow: Either I know your resolve to do it tomorrow, or, if expressed as an order, that I order you to be resolved to do it tomorrow. (Though I suppose such statements would be in bad taste!)

                  I shall do it tomorrow: I am fated/I fully expect to do it tomorrow.
                  You shall do it tomorrow: When expressed as an order, that I am putting on you an undeniable obligation to do it tomorrow (i.e., I fully expect you to do it tomorrow).

                  II.
                  shall: some complex idea, but the main point is that some amount of doubt still remains!
                  will: 100% certainty, a law of nature

                  God says, “you shall not kill”: God is obligating his listeners to not kill. And he fully expects that, if they are sensible, they will not kill.

                  God says, “you will not kill”: God knows that it is impossible that his listeners would kill. It is in the nature of things that they cannot not kill.

                  If God says to Dodos, “you shall not fly”: God is ordering Dodos to cease flying henceforth. He is going to keep an eye on Dodos now on, and as soon as he finds one flying, he is going to ground it, and will punish it.

                  If God says “you will not fly”: God is editing the laws of the universe to make it impossible for Dodos to fly henceforth.

                  Are both I. and II. somehow related? Did I make a mistake in understanding what you said? Or am I making some blunder?

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Yes, niku, there is sometimes an overlap in the 1st person. The key thing is whether the speaker is speaking subjectively (will) or objectively (shall).

                  I will do it: I am determined to do it, and this determination automatically refers to the future, especially if marked for the future, e.g. I will do it tomorrow.

                  But “will” does not always refer to the future: it can refer to “always” or “habitual” volition, e.g. He will always smoke in the toilet!

                  “He smokes in the toilet” is a factual statement.

                  “He will smoke in the toilet” — and I stress “will” — shows that I am irritated at his habitual volition to do so.

                  And if I say: “He will smoke in the toilet during the meeting tomorrow”, I am making a sure prediction in that I am presuming an objective awareness of his volition to do this tomorrow.

                  “You shall do as I say!” means it is my intention that you do as say; whether you do or not is up to you.

                  But “You will do as I say!” is a firm order because by assuming that I know your will to obey me (out of fear or circumstances or whatever), I believe I can surely predict your obedience.

                  I tell my son to go to bed and he replies “I will not!” that is a flat refusal: he does not intend to go to bed. But if he says “I shall not” or “I shan’t”, that sounds bloody rude because in using “shall” he is saying he is under no obligation to do what I tell him to do.

                  So if my boss tells me to work at the weekend, I can simply refuse: “No, I won’t” and furthermore, I can say: “And I shant!”

                  “won’t” = non-willingness, refusal.

                  “shan’t” I’m not obliged to do this.

                  So “I won’t and I shan’t” can sound quite strong in English: first a subjective refusal followed by “I shan’t” because weekend work, perhaps, is not in my contract and I am, therefore, not obliged to comply with my boss’s request: so I’m telling him rather brusquely not to ask me to work weekends again.

                  Americans don’t talk like this now: they think to do so “British” or college-boy talk.

                  They used to do, though, long ago.

                  “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately” —Benjamin Franklin to his fellow traitorous conspirators.

                  He and they were certainly not willing to be hanged by the neck until dead.

                  “I shall not seek and I will not accept the nomination of my party as your President…” —Lyndon Johnson.

                  Johnson felt no obligation to run for president again and refused to accept nomination.

                  Pretty good English for a Texan!

                  In fact, I remember Bush, the last one, sometimes using “shall”, but he was a college-boy.

                  🙂

                • Jen says:

                  @ Niku: The use of “shall” as opposed to “will” has an extra complication, in that first person usage (“I will …” and “I shall …”) of one is opposed to the second and third person usage of the same modal verb.

                  “Will” generally refers to habitual future action or the desire or intent to perform a future action, or even just a simple future action with no intention, desire or motivation attached. We would say of a third party, “S/he will be going to the party” but of ourselves we would say “I shall be going to the party” or “We shall be going to the party”.

                  “Shall” refers to a future action to be carried out as an order, duty or instruction, or a definite future action. “You shall go” or “S/he shall go” but first person is “I will go”.

                  http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2013/09/will-versus-shall/

                  https://www.quora.com/What-is-difference-between-the-use-of-will-and-shall

                • niku says:

                  @ME
                  I understood what you said in the last post. Thanks a lot once again. There is a lot of digesting which remains, but your comments make me hope that I will finally get out of the “will-shall nightmare” (as you termed it!) soon. I did read The King’s English section on the issue, but did not gain much from it. I am hoping that I will now understand that too.

                  @Jen
                  Thanks for your explanation and the links.

        • Eric says:

          That’s all correct ME. Besides, I thought these asswipes in Ukraine are always claiming they were brains in research and development of the Soviet Space program…and the brains behind all the Soviet insitutions, like the army and intelligence ,that are supposed to have “terrorised” them and ” forced” them into service.

  38. Moscow Exile says:

    Got too narrow above so below, for the delight and delectation of those who wish to wander through a labyrinth of Russian legalese, the judgement of the delightful Judge Timakova A. Yu.

    ПОСТАНОВЛЕНИЕ

    03 августа 2017 года г. Москва
    Судья Таганского районного суда г. Москвы Тимакова А.Ю.,
    рассмотрев дело № 5-880/17 об административном правонарушении, ответственность за
    совершение которого предусмотрена ч. 3.1 ст. 18.8 Кодекса РФ об административных правонарушениях, в отношении

    Moscow Exile,
    11.04.1949 года рождения, уроженца Великобритании, гражданина Великобритании, женатого
    на гражданке РФ, имеющего детей 2008 и 2000 г.р. граждан РФ, проживающего по адресу: г. Москва, ул. Стройковская, дом 17/1, квартира 3, ранее не привлекавшегося к административной ответственности за нарушение миграционного законодательства,

    установил:

    03 августа 2017 года в 09 час. 00 мин. по адресу: г. Москва, Ведерников пер., д. 4/12 к. В,
    установлено, что гражданин Великобритании Пиннингтон Д.М. нарушил правила режима пребывания в РФ: прибыв в РФ в место пребывания в г. Москву 09.07.2016 г. от выезда из РФ по окончании вида на жительство истекшего 21.05.2017 г. в нарушение требований п. 2 ст. 5 Федерального закона № 115 от 25.07.2002 г. О правовом положении иностранных граждан и лиц без гражданства в РФ, уклонился, чем совершил административное правонарушение, предусмотренное Ч.3.1 ст. 18.8 КоАП РФ

    Moscow Exile в настояшем судебном заседании вину в совершении вышеуказанного
    правонарушения признал, просил не применять к нему наказание в виде административного выдворения, ссылаясь наличие жены и детей граждан РФ.

    Вина Moscow Exile в совершении вышеуказанного правонарушения подтверждается
    следующими доказательствами: протоколом об административном правонарушении от 03.08.2017 года; рапортом об обстоятельствах правонарушения, справками и иными материалами дела.

    Оценивая приведенные доказательства, суд признает их относимыми, допустимыми,
    достоверными и полученными в соответствии с требованиями действующего законодательства. Совокупность собранных доказательств суд считает достаточной для вывода о виновности Moscow Exile в совершении административного правонарушения, предусмотренного ч. 3.1 ст. 18.8 КоАП РФ.

    При назначении наказания суд учитывает данные о личности Moscow Exile конкретные
    обстоятельства дела, наличие смягчаюших административную ответственность обстоятельств, коими суд признает наличие на иждивении малолетнего ребенка и несовершеннолетнего ребенка, признание вины, отсутствие отягчающих административную ответственность обстоятельств, а также положение статьи 8 Конвенции о защите прав человека и основных свобод, и полагает возможным назначить ему наказание в
    виде штрафа в минимальном размере без административного выдворения за пределы рф.

    На основании изложенного, руководствуясь ст. ст. 29.10, 32.9 КоАП РФ, судья

    постановил:

    Moscow Exile признать виновным в совершении административного правонарушения, предусмотренного ч. 3.1 ст. 18.8 Кодекса РФ об административных правонарушениях,
    и назначить ему административное наказание в виде штрафа в доход государства в размере 5.000 (пять тысяч) рублей, без административного выдворения за пределы рф.

    Штраф подлежит оплате на счет 401 О 181 00452500 1 0041 в ГУ Банка России по ЦФО; УФК по г.

    Москве (УВД по ЦАО ГУ МВД России по г. Москве, ОВМ России по таганскому району, л/с
    04731444950); ИНН 7706012716, КПП 770901001, ОКТМО 45381000, БИК 044525000, КБК
    18811640000016020140, назначение платежа: административный штраф.

    Разъяснить Moscow Exile положения ст. 32.2 КоАП РФ, согласно которым
    административный штраф должен быть уплачен лицом, привлеченным к административной
    ответственности, не позднее шестидесяти дней со дня вступления постановления о наложении административного штрафа в законную силу.

    В случае неисполнения указанной обязанности постановление о наложении административного штрафа с отметкой о его неуплате будет направлено для принудительного исполнения судебному приставу-исполнителю, который составляет в отношении лица, не уплатившего административный штраф, протокол об административном .правонарушении, предусмотренном ч. 1 ст. 20.25 КоАП рф, санкция которой предусматривает; административное наказание в том числе в виде административного
    ареста.

    Постановление может быть обжаловано в Мосгорсуд в течение 10 суток с момента вручения
    копии настоящего постановления.

    Судья: [Timakova’s signature]

    • kirill says:

      So they consider missing a bureaucratic form deadline as serious offense that cannot be waived. This is a legacy of the USSR and the stupid French legal system. The notion of parole did not exist under the USSR and it had to be introduced by Putin in his large scale judicial reforms in his first term. Yeltsin was using the Soviet judicial system to pack Russian jails for all sorts of trivial offenses that should have resulted in fines and suspended sentences. Your 5000 ruble fine should have allowed you to avoid the whole hassle of applying from abroad. That is, they should have waived all the punishment that entails serious inconvenience for the “offender”. It’s not even a criminal offense and your status is basically a de facto Russian citizen. I see that the Russian legal system needs fundamental reform.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Damn right!

        I got bounced 5,000 rubles in court, now I have had to pay $420 for a one-way flight to the UK (don’t know when I shall be able to return: have to wait for my invitation, apply for visa etc.). I have to pay a couple of thousand rubles for my transit visa. And most importantly: I am earning nothing!

        I have not been allowed to work here since my residency permit ended on May 21. It is extremely unlikely that I shall find work in the UK whilst waiting to return to my wife and family here.

        All because I broke an administrative ruling, namely I did not apply for a permit extension at least 2 months before the end of the period of validity of said permit.

        What bureaucratic arseholery!

        • kirill says:

          Thinking about this Kafkaesque abuse takes me closer to a stroke. It should be a priority to introduce a certain balanced philosophy into the bureaucratic machinery. Letting it loose to chase its own regulatory tail results in the sort of grotesque nonsense you are experiencing. They turn trivial issues into epic violations that demand punishment. I bet that this ridiculous red tape is actually helping real criminals.

  39. Matt says:

    Reply to marknesop:

    “your penchant for classifying everyone who disagrees with you as ‘stunningly ignorant and arrogant’ or ‘hypocritical’”

    It is arrogance. When I see foreigners pretending to know more about Venezuela and its society than the people who live there, then of course I call such people “arrogant”.

    “what I see is just another neoconservative ideologue arguing for a new system of ‘market-driven democracy’ in which social infrastructure will be dismantled in favour of privately-owned for-pay services which will boost government revenue at the expense of the social-safety network.”

    A new accusation: you now claim I am a “neoconservative ideologue”! How so? And your caricature of the Venezuelan opposition wanting “social infrastructure [that] will be dismantled in favour of privately-owned for-pay services” is the effect of falling for propaganda. Did you know that there are socialists in the Venezuelan opposition? That not everybody is a pro-Washington, neocon, rightwing, fascist, IMF-led plundering supporter? Why is it that your thinking is so black and white?

    Let me repeat something for you: Neither I, nor most of the Venezuelan opposition, are right-wing, fascist, pro-IMF, pro-austerity, pro-oligarch, corrupt warmongering folks as you portray us to be.

    “immediate actions by the IMF, through the new Ukrainian government, were dedicated to removing subsidies on energy use and reducing services to the working poor and low-income demographic in favour of smart new ‘European’ methodology which services those who can pay. And that’s exactly the sort of ‘reforms’ which will be put in place in Venezuela if Washington is successful in overthrowing Maduro.”

    Why are you even mentioning the IMF? Is the IMF responsible for Venezuela’s current economic crisis? It does nothing to address my statements about Maduro’s corruption, authoritarianism, support of drug-traffciking, anti-American deflection, failure to diversify the economy, support for the bandits in FARC, etc. It’s a strawman: “Oh, you don’t like Maduro? Then you want the IMF and right-wing CIA financed oligarchs to drain Venezuela dry!”

    “And please do me the courtesy of not characterizing American regime-change efforts as just something I made up or have to see because I am a nutcase who sees the CIA under my bed – American efforts to ram the Venezuelan opposition straight into government are well-documented and part of a typical regime-change operation we have seen over and over.”

    Yeah, yeah, I know. The 2002 coup attempt. That was then and this is now. Do you have any evidence of the U.S. being behind Venezuela’s economic crisis, in the period of 2014 to 2017? Or the mass protests? Or that the protests are uniformly violent, as teleSUR and other propaganda websites would have you believe?

    Lots of text, but no substantive evidence to back up your claims. In my previous long comment, I posted some links to steer you to the right direction. Try doing the same to me. Substantiate your statements.

    And for God’s sake, stop looking at everything from an anti-American angle. Or from the angle of “if you don’t support Maduro, you want the IMF/U.S. to dominate Venezuela”.

    • marknesop says:

      Lots of text, but no substantive evidence to back up your claims. In my previous long comment, I posted some links to steer you to the right direction. Try doing the same to me. Substantiate your statements.

      All right, then.

      But I don’t expect that to even slow you down. I expect something like “Oh, that’s (insert contemptuous reference to source here) – everyone knows their analysis is just ridiculous lies”. Are those facts, though, ‘Matt’, or are they not? Is it true that the number of universities in Venezuela nearly tripled under Chavez? Is it true that real poverty figures and unemployment were cut in half between 1995 and 2009? It appears to be, although I don’t expect any sort of acknowledgment.

      Brazil, and Dilma Rousseff – there is perhaps a more fitting template for the Washington plan for Venezuela than Ukraine is. Did the Brazilian opposition collude with the CIA with a view to obtaining Washington’s support for the overthrow of Rousseff? Again, it appears so.

      Once again, our resistance to the appointment of a western-coordinated government does not spring from a love of Maduro. And nobody is buying that “There are socialists in the opposition, too” stuff. There very well may be, but I doubt they would have any kind of a voice in any future government, and there is no evidence at all to support a contention that Washington cares anything for the poor or middle class of the population in any country where it successfully carries out regime change. Instead, it reliably centers its efforts on the elites who believe they should be running the country because of their progressive pro-western views.

      You know very well why I mention the IMF – because following a successful regime-change operation, the IMF comes in as soon as the dust has settled and offers massive loans to the new government so that it can kick-start its economy. In this fashion it amortizes the national economy to a lifetime of payback, so that it is forever obligated to the west. I can certainly supply examples of that if you wish.

      • Matt says:

        Bbefore I dissect this article, let me acknowledge two things: I agree that Chavez’s reforms lifted many out of poverty and helped the poorest. And also, that the article you link would be hilarious for me, if it weren’t my country being lied about.

        Without further ado:

        “Starting in 2014, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia flooded the market with cheap oil. This is not a mere business decision, but a calculated move coordinated with U.S. and Israeli foreign policy goals. The goal is to weaken these opponents of Wall Street, London, and Tel Aviv, whose economies are centered around oil and natural gas exports.”

        No source provided behind this statement. And the author manages to even bring da Joos into this! Not only is this utter fiction, but the author doesn’t even bother supplying evidence. How does he know this is a “calculated move coordinated with the U.S. and Israel”? Zero evidence.

        “At the same time, private food processing and importing corporations have launched a coordinated campaign of sabotage. This, coupled with the weakening of a vitally important state sector of the economy, has resulted in inflation and food shortages.”

        The author gives this teleSUR article as a source: “Venezuela to Investigate Food Giant Kraft Heinz for ‘Sabotage'”

        http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Venezuela-to-Investigate-Food-Giant-Kraft-Heinz-for-Sabotage-20151201-0041.html

        The article states:

        “In November, Venezuelan authorities discovered 2,500 kilos of expired wheat flour at a Kraft Heinz factory. At the time, the company said the flour went bad because it lacked the raw materials necessary to convert the wheat into its food products.

        The Venezuelan government, however, claims private corporations are deliberately hoarding food items to manufacture shortages ahead of parliamentary elections to be held Dec. 6.”

        They found a measly 2.76 tons of expired wheat, which Heinz couldn’t use due to a lack of materials, and decided to use it as evidence for “economic sabotage” by U.S. corporations! Seriously, that’s the best evidence for the U.S. and opposition being behind the “economic sabotage” against the country? “Hoarding” of flour? Pathetic and not even close to being strong enough to count as evidence proving their claims.

        ” Cuban doctors were brought to Venezuela to provide free health care in community clinics.”

        These Cuban doctors are victims of human smuggling. The Cuban regime uses them as cattle, shuttling them to Africa or to other South American countries, to curry favour with various governments. These doctors not only have no say in the matter, but they’re paid wages of dirt. That “free” health care comes at a price: Cuban taxi drivers earn more than doctors.

        https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2016/04/05/barack-obama-extols-cubas-slave-labor-medical-care/#3d2d32166f47

        “While American media insists the low oil prices are just the natural cycle of the market at work, it’s rather convenient for U.S. foreign policy. Russia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and the Islamic Republic of Iran all have economies centered around state-owned oil companies and oil exports, and each of these countries has suffered the sting of low oil prices.”

        Iran’s economy is not that dependent on oil, by virtue of international sanctions and their diversified economy. Likewise, Russia’s economy is fairly diversified. So, Saudi Arabia is bankrupting itself because the U.S. wants to take down Venezuela and Ecuador? Once again, the author uses standard conspiracy theory terms i.e. “it’s rather convenient”. He doesn’t understand economics, otherwise he’d know Saudi Arabia isn’t doing this on instructions from the U.S. and Israel. And, of course, no evidence provided behind this speculation. Still waiting.

        “The son of President Ronald Reagan has argued that Obama is intentionally driving down oil prices not just to weaken the Venezuelan economy, but also to tamper the influence of Russia and Iran. Writing for Townhall in 2014, Michael Reagan bragged that his father did the same thing to hurt the Soviet Union during the 1980s: “Since selling oil was the source of the Kremlin’s wealth, my father got the Saudis to flood the market with cheap oil. Lower oil prices devalued the ruble, causing the USSR to go bankrupt, which led to perestroika and Mikhail Gorbachev and the collapse of the Soviet Empire.” ”

        This exact statement was debunked:

        http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2014/mar/13/michael-reagan/ronald-reagans-son-says-his-father-got-saudis-pump/

        “If the kind of neoliberal “free trade” advocated by U.S. corporations was the solution to global poverty, Mexico, a country long ago penetrated with the North American Free Trade Agreement, would be a shining example of development, not a mess of drug cartels and poverty.”

        Clearly, the author does not know basic history:

        As for Mexico, it’s poverty rate was 46.2% in 2014, while Venezuela’s current rate is around 80%. And regarding drugs, Venezuela has a severe drug problem too, with Maduro’s VP and even nephews being linked to the drug trade, among others.

        “The governments of Bangladesh, Honduras, Guatemala, Indonesia, and the Philippines have done everything they can to deregulate the market and accommodate Western ”investment.” Despite the promises of neoliberal theoreticians, their populations have not seen their lives substantially improve.”

        They have. Bangladesh, for example: http://cri.org.bd/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/poverty-2.jpg

        Source: http://cri.org.bd/2014/07/02/poverty-reduction-in-bangladesh-recent-drifts/

        Honduras and Guatemala are wrecked due to drugs, but the other countries have done very well. Also see the chart posted above, showing the greatest reduction in poverty in human history.

        “According to Silva, the economic sanctions imposed on Venezuela by the U.S., in addition to the oil crisis, have made it more difficult for the Venezuelan government to pay the private food importing companies in U.S. dollars. In response, the food companies are “running general sabotage.””

        The U.S. has only sanctioned individuals in the Venezuelan government, and has frozen their assets. There are no general, country-wide sanctions against the country. And again, no evidence is given behind the claim that the food companies are “sabotaging” the economy. Remember the tale of “Heinz and The Less Than 3 Tons of Expired Wheat”? That’s their best “evidence”.

        “Across Venezuela, communes have been established. Leftist activists live together and work in cooperatives. Many of them are armed and organized in “Bolivarian Militias” to defend the revolution.”

        Ah yes, giving your supporters access to firearms to “defend” against the opposition. It’s intimidation. Nobody needs to be reminded that the history of South American countries and militias is a dark one. No need for the Gringos to “destabilize” the country – the Maduro regime is doing this by itself.

        Maduro: “What we failed to achieve with votes, we would do with weapons.”

        Is that the attitude of someone who doesn’t want his country to erupt in a civil war inspired by foreigners? You tell me, Mark.

        “In December, I spoke to Glen Martinez, a radio host in Caracas who voted for the opposition. He dismissed the notion that free market capitalism would ever return to Venezuela. As he explained, most of the people who voted against the United Socialist Party — himself included — are frustrated with the way the current crisis is being handled, but do not want a return to the neoliberal economic model of the 1999s. He said the economic reforms established during the Chavez administration would never be reversed.”

        Excellent paragraph and the only one I agree with. This man exemplifies much of the opposition: against Maduro, but not for neoliberalism.

        And that ends my debunking of this article. Now, let’s focus on the author:

        “according to a 2010 profile in Cleveland Scene, he was converted to Communism in fifth grade – yes, fifth grade – after reading The Communist Manifesto. He soon “began contacting local socialist groups about how he could get involved” and before his teens were over had joined the Workers World Party.”

        https://usefulstooges.com/2017/06/14/caleb-maupin-small-town-commie/

        They brainwash ’em young these days, don’t they?

        “And nobody is buying that “There are socialists in the opposition, too” stuff. There very well may be, but I doubt they would have any kind of a voice in any future government.”

        This only exposes your extremely low level of knowledge regarding the Venezuelan opposition.

        • Matt says:

          I also forgot this: http://www.npr.org/2016/07/28/487729943/a-father-and-son-debate-venezuelas-economic-crisis

          “GARCIA-NAVARRO: Marcelo then tells his dad that the government food distribution system that he’s a part of is politicizing access to basic necessities. Marcelo then shows me the form that everyone in the neighborhood has to fill out in order to get the basket of goods from the so-called CLAPs. There’s a large section that asks about participation in the socialist organizations in the community. One question asks who in your opinion is to blame for the electricity cuts? Marcelo says your access to food depends on your answer.”

          If you support the regime and denounce everyone else, then you get free stuff. If not, then… there might be problems.

        • Patient Observer says:

          Referring to the chart implying causality between the decline of global poverty and free trade and neoliberalis; I suspect that much of the decline was in COMMUNIST China and SOCIALIST India.

          BTW, do you (Matt) have a job or something?

          • Matt says:

            Deng reformed China to a mixed-state economy, opening up its markets and such. Ditto for India.

            Basically, both countries benefited enormously from free trade.

            “BTW, do you (Matt) have a job or something?”

            Sure.

            • Patient Observer says:

              Have you been to China? Or India? China is a COMMUNIST country ruled by the COMMUNIST party. The vast infrastructure projects, public education, public health, housing projects are all COMMUNIST manifestations. Second and third tier cities put major US cities to shame. Damn COMMUNISTS.

              Your ability to dismiss such progress by COMMUNISTS is quite a feat of denial. The best aspects of the US are, in turn, socialistic in nature – free public education, government agencies and regulations to protect worker safety and massive government investments in science and health care were essential in American economic progress – not free market policies.

            • Patient Observer says:

              IIRC, you said that you were a student studying computer science. But, now you have a job? Or, do you simply make up stuff (also known as lying)?

              • Matt says:

                Is it impossible for students to get summer internships?

                Think slowly if you must, PO.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  Sounds good. My degree is in engineering with a major in computer science. What year are you in?

                • Matt says:

                  Reply to Patient Observer:

                  “Sounds good. My degree is in engineering with a major in computer science. What year are you in?”

                  You majored in Computer Science too? Cool. Doesn’t saskydisc also have a CompSci background? That makes three of us, possibly more.

                  Anyway, I’m in my final year (Fall will be my last semester, actually). Just finished my 4th year this April and now I’ve got to come back for an extra semester. Then I’m finally done! The region I live in thankfully has plenty of programming jobs, so I’m not too worried about finding a job after I graduate.

          • niku says:

            Regrading India, Indian economy from 1947-1990 was not socialist, but officially “mixed”. (It was heavily regulated. The era is called ‘licence-raj’ in India.) After the deregulation of 1990 (forced by a major financial crisis in India), there was rapid increase of prosperity in India.

            The same can be said about China too, I suppose. The rapid economic growth started only after major deregulation in the economy. (Indeed, detractors often blame Chinese success on “too much deregulation” — “slave labour”, with the state paying no interest to the business.)

            As for general global poverty, it is a fact that the more regulated economies outside the West are far poorer than those of the West.

            Finally, I suspect that people who support forms of socialism in the poor countries (like you and Jen!) don’t understand the causes of poverty in these countries. It may sound crazy, but largely, it is the fault of poor themselves. More exactly, it is the fault of their ‘teachers’ and ‘well-wishers’.

            The poor don’t want to improve. I recently got to hear some speeches to a poor community here. One of the speakers was an ex Union Minister, one a current university professor, and there were other socially prominent people. All they had to say to the listeners was, “organize to agitate for more political rights!”. None of them said a word about education, hard-work, planning or anything which could be construed as an obligation for the listeners. Just agitate, take out marches and block roads, and “the looting rich” will give you more money.

            By the way, make what you will of it, but in India, the poorer one is, the more the number of children he/she has. I live near a slum, and all the houses are packed with children of all ages. The state has been providing subsidies for the poor for a long time, and now it even transfers money to their account. None of the children or their parents (amongst the ones I have met) have any interest in education — even though government schools are free for everyone. But, of course, even more money to the poor will solve the eternal problems of these societies!

            • Matt says:

              Excellent reply, I couldn’t agree with you more, niku. I am surprised that there are those here who think India and China has socialist/communist economies when poverty was massively reduced at the end of the last century. On the contrary, it was their moves to a more deregulated mixed economy that caused their increased prosperity.

              I recall an article from a few days ago, that quoted Bolivian President Morales triumphantly declaring Bolivia has gained ‘total independence from the World Bank and IMF”.

              Intrigued, I checked out Bolivia economic indicators. It’s budget deficit is almost -6.5%!

              Source: http://countryeconomy.com/deficit/bolivia

              By comparison, war-torn Syria’s budget deficit is about 8%-9%.

              Where is Bolivia getting the money from? High-risk loans from China.

              They traded independence from the IMF/World Bank for economic slavery to China. Just like Venezuela.

            • Patient Observer says:

              Socialist governments seem pretty good at developing the population in terms of education, public health and basic infrastructure. Capitalism is not so good at that but seems best at exploiting social capital for relatively transient gain. But after a few generations, lack of reinvestment in basic social infrastructure takes a toll. The USA is the poster-child of infrastructure neglect as privatization moves forward.

              A directed economy with free market aspects safely constrained to minimize short-term destructive tendencies seems best. China and Russia appear to have such economies.

              It should be obvious, however, that economic performance is greatly influenced by cultural and historical factors; perhaps more so than particular economic policies.

              • niku says:

                Your comments about “directed economy” sound eminently reasonable, but are probably not. However, my opinions about this issue are not very clear, so I wouldn’t defend them.

                By the way, Mark says above, “Is it true that the number of universities in Venezuela nearly tripled under Chavez?”

                But the statement in itself is not of much value. Again, you do not know how things work in such places. Generally, the government would issue a directive establishing a university. A lot of formalities would get completed, hundreds of forms would get filled, and teachers would get hired. Next, students would register for the courses, and in a couple of year, get degrees. Everything working as desired, right? No. Someone has to measure the quality of these universities; indeed, someone has to find out if they are not just doing “cargo-cult science” (Feynman). It may be that all the new universities are doing is (i) employing a lot of people, and (ii) making the degree-holders from them (and the prospective degree-holders from them) happy.

                India, where things are probably far better than that in Venezuela, has terrible universities. Indian newspapers regularly carry article such as the following (that is to say, “no it is not Western propaganda”):
                http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/india-graduates-millions-too-few-are-fit-hire
                “75% of technical graduates and more than 85% of general graduates are unemployable by India’s high-growth global industries, including information technology and call centers, according to results from assessment tests administered by the group.”

                For the above reasons, I remain suspicious of Chinese claims of academic excellence too. Perhaps if the Chinese media were freer, we would have heard many more negative stories from China.

                Feynman: https://www.cs.ucsb.edu/~ravenben/cargocult.html

                • marknesop says:

                  Someone has to measure the quality of these universities; indeed, someone has to find out if they are not just doing “cargo-cult science” (Feynman).

                  Someone did. Venezuelan universities are comparable in ranking to those of Saudi Arabia, which was the first comparative I tried – someone who has more time on his/her hands is encouraged to develop a more accurate profile using the same website. I don’t recall any western authority suggesting Saudi Arabia’s universities are rubbish and a sterling example of quantity over quality.

                  For my part, I remain skeptical of American claims of academic excellence, considering they have most of the top-ranked universities in the world. George W. Bush is a graduate of two of them.

                • niku says:

                  “For my part, I remain skeptical of American claims of academic excellence, considering they have most of the top-ranked universities in the world. George W. Bush is a graduate of two of them.”
                  Lets estimate the academic and scientific environment using the best people, and not the worst. Is it not true that most of the scientific development even now (and almost all of the scientific development which reaches the market) is from the West, and mostly from the US? (Where did the computer, internet, LEDs, and so on germinate and develop?)

                  “I don’t recall any western authority suggesting Saudi Arabia’s universities are rubbish and a sterling example of quantity over quality.”
                  First, invoking Saudi Arabia anywhere is unfortunate, as there is little coming out of it that is trustworthy. (According to rumours on Twitter, right now Saudi Arabia is trying to crush dissent in its eastern provinces with tanks and forced migration. Not a peep about this in the media, whether Western or Russian.) Perhaps Saudi Arabia provides scholarship to good students from the region to come and study there — as long as they take Salafist indoctrination too. And so on. What is the point of speculating about something one knows too little?

                  Second, I haven’t heard anyone speak well of Saudi universities. Perhaps the only foreigners who go there go there to go indoctrinated on the religious matters.

                  The third point is related to my original point: what is a good university, and what purpose should it serve. If Saudi Arabia has science courses (and not just Islamic issues courses), it may somehow induce the students to follow the courses and get good results. But universities, as they were originally conceived, were supposed to be not for training for jobs, but for providing an environment and support for help in developing original thought for the students. Can you imagine students in Saudi Arabia thinking for themselves?

                  Anyway, I was not dissing universities set up in Venezuela by Chavez, who was no doubt a charismatic leader. I was saying that statistics of the sort you quoted are largely useless. Actually, I may confess that I gloss over such statistics.

                • marknesop says:

                  First, I wasn’t ‘invoking’ Saudi Arabia – I made a point of mentioning it was the first (and only) comparative I tried, and simply for the purpose of getting a comparison. I am no champion of the Saudis. I am just making the point that these universities (in Venezuela) exist other than on paper. I am tired of suggestions that ‘despotic’ leaders such as Chavez used their opportunities simply to line their own pockets while paying mere lip service to a social contract.

                  I am not a university graduate myself, so I have no clue what a university is supposed to be for in terms of its purpose; I always presumed it was higher education, and I agree they are not supposed to be vocational schools. Again, I was merely making the point that Chavez used the country’s wealth to improve the lot of ordinary Venezuelans, not to get rich, and he did not cater to the wealthy, which is something the elite will never forgive him for.

                  I read a great article years ago, I certainly don’t have time to find it now as we are off to Vancouver for the day, in which the methodology of ranking universities was described in detail and an explanation provided as to why all the best schools are in America and the UK. For one thing, it depends largely on the number of academic papers written by faculty members and their acceptance into the scientific/medical/educational community. The article pointed out that nearly all the recognized peer papers are written in the English language. That probably gives the cold shoulder to many foreign universities where the lingua franca is Spanish, Russian or Chinese. I don’t think the aim was to demonstrate that westerners are far superior engineers, for example, to the Chinese and Russians. But you would think so to see where MIT is ranked versus Russian and Chinese technical universities.

                  It is not much of a stretch to see that western universities are going to come off great in a ranking system designed and applied by western assessors.

                • niku says:

                  Similarly, check interesting links posted by Ilya above.

                  Shouldn’t Indians be at the forefront of research concerning them? The Indians (and as I speculated, perhaps the Chinese, too) know how to generate positive statistics, but they are always missing in “action”. So, some of the Indian scientific institutes probably even come in top rankings (and certainly, the Chinese ones do, specially by the number of patents generated), but when you use common sense evaluations — namely, whether the work is interesting and changes anything on the ground — their works just disappear. (Of course there are many exceptions, but these are completely out of proportion to the populations of India {and China}.)

                  To an extent, the same charge can be made against Russia too. Still, in “per capita work” Russia leaves India (and, as I said, probably China) far behind.

                  All that to say, statistics should be handled very cautiously. There are lies, there are damned lies, and there are statistics.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  Saudi universities seem lavishly funded judging by the physical plant but the academic standards are suspect. I have worked with Saudi engineering some were absolutely at the top (engaged, passionate and knowledgeable about their work) while others were just there.

                  To help put US universities in proper perspective, you may recall this witticism: The top universities have Russian PhD’s teaching Chinese Mater level students. The sad truth is the the US education system and the US culture is increasingly unable to produce students interested in or able to excel in math and the hard sciences. The US relies on imported intellects. Once those imports diminish by law or by the US no longer having the funds to buy the brains, its game over.

                • marknesop says:

                  Saudi Arabia is not a particularly good measure of comparison, and I wish now I had chosen someone else – Saudi Arabia’s monarchy pays its people not to work, and much of the grunt work is done by foreigners for excellent wages. There’s no real incentive for Saudis to do much more than spend and enjoy. That should not suggest Arabs are stupid or lazy, and there will always be a demographic which strives to excel for its own rewards. But economic necessity is not a motivator.

                • niku says:

                  @mark:
                  I understood that you picked up Saudi Arabia at random. Perhaps I should have not elaborated on it.

                  “I am tired of suggestions that ‘despotic’ leaders such as Chavez used their opportunities simply to line their own pockets while paying mere lip service to a social contract.”
                  I used to like Chavez, specially after his “I smell brimstone; the devil was here” speech. (At that time I passionately hated Bush; now I have become largely uninterested in the business.) At any rate, I have never doubted that Chavez wanted to help the poor.

                  “I am not a university graduate myself, so I have no clue what a university is supposed to be for in terms of its purpose …”
                  I am one, and I can tell you that I found my university experience more or less unbearable. We can have a long, meandering conversation on what is wrong with modern education in general, and higher education in particular!

                  “I was merely making the point that Chavez used the country’s wealth to improve the lot of ordinary Venezuelans”
                  Probably true, and to the extent that he succeeded, it is to his credit. The questions which remain, though, are (i) did he rob Peter to help Paul?, (ii) were the methods that he adopted the best suited for the intended purpose (keeping the long term in view)?

                  “he did not cater to the wealthy, which is something the elite will never forgive him for.”
                  Yeah, that is also probably true. By the way, in this whole business, I don’t assume for a moment that the US elite are motivated by some desire to help Venezuelans, poor or rich.

                  “[…] It is not much of a stretch to see that western universities are going to come off great in a ranking system designed and applied by western assessors.”
                  True. Anyway, as I mentioned above, I did not speak my true feelings about universities and rankings.

                  @Patient Observer:
                  Thanks for your observations about Saudi Arabia.

                  About the status of US academia, I have read many reports making the same points as you. Chinese, Russian and Indian academics in the US seem to do well, but not as well back in their birth countries. Perhaps it has something to do with the culture? I understand only India well, and I can point out many things in the culture which do not gel with either scientific temperament or hard work.

              • Matt says:

                FDR-era America would also be a “directed economy with free market aspects”, right? That’s what Sanders wants.

                Problem is the U.S. is too much in debt to launch a new “New Deal”.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  Bernie may to be more intent on expanding the welfare state than seeking a directed economy. A directed economy such as in China and Russia involves state control over critical spheres such as defense-related industries, nuclear energy, space and basic research. Everything else is more or less free-market. If done right, ti would be the best of both worlds.

                  I don’t believe the “New Deal” would be accurately described as a directed economy. Rather is seems to be a lot of patches and hacks to prevent an otherwise near-certain total collapse of a free-market economy.

            • Jen says:

              @ Niku, Patient Observer: I’m currently reading a book (it’s part of The Great Courses series of DVD sets on academic topics of interest to people who want something challenging to learn while commuting or for fun) called “The British Raj in India”. The book consists of lecture transcripts by an academic (Hayden Bellenoit) who teaches at the US Naval Academy. The lectures are a real eye-opener for anyone who has long believed that British rule in India from the 1700s on (and especially since 1857 after the Sepoy Rebellion that led to riots in several parts of the subcontinent) to 1947 was mostly benevolent and brought major infrastructure benefits like the train network and the telegraph.

              Much of what Bellenoit says is disheartening and depressing, and actually goes a long way to explaining how India became a byword in chronic abject poverty, especially in its northern areas around the Ganges river and delta region (the Bengal-speaking areas). He points out that before British rule, the Indian subcontinent region was noted for textile manufacturing and a major exporter of finished textiles of high quality. (All woven by hand by families and communities who passed down the knowledge, skills and experience of textile making from one generation to the next.) The British East India Company managed to inveigle its way into India (by becoming a tax collector for various breakaway kingdoms when the Mughal Empire started failing after 1707 with the death of Aurangzeb, among other things) and by stealth became the major buyer of Indian textiles – and so was able to place quotas and restrictions on the production and supply so that Indian textile manufacturing could not compete with British textile manufacturing. (I believe Noam Chomsky has in the past written about the destruction of the Indian textile manufacturing by the British.) The Industrial Revolution in Britain was the final nail in the coffin and the end result was that those families and communities whose livelihoods were destroyed by British actions over the decades were forced to become peasants.

              Article on how British protectionism eroded the Indian textile industry:
              https://heterodox.economicblogs.org/socialdemocracy21stcentury/2016/keynes-britains-protectionism-indian-cotton-textiles

              Also whereas previous Hindu and Muslim rulers in India generally relaxed or even waived taxation of communities hit by crop failures and bad harvests, the British did not make any allowances for vagaries in agricultural production and so heavily taxed Indian peasants often ended up starving. The commercialisation of Indian agriculture after the 1860s – with the best land often given over to growing crops for export rather than crops for food – led to more frequent and severe famines resulting in mass starvation and deaths.

              British demands on India were immense: the country was expected to supply soldiers for British wars in its immediate region and overseas, and food, clothing and even armaments during both World Wars. Much of what the British spent on India went into maintaining its army, the lifestyles of colonial bureaucrats, and the infrastructure that could move soldiers around (hence the railways) and collect information on Indians (hence the telegraph). Very little was spent on education, public health and social welfare. This was the situation that the Republic of India inherited in 1947.

              Of course there were Indians who actually did benefit from British rule, and these were people who served the British as bureaucrats and soldiers and who were able to send their children to British schools and universities in spite of British restrictions on Indians getting a Western-style education. These people became the basis of the wealthier middle and upper classes, some of them becoming very rich industrialists during the World Wars. I am guessing that much of the prosperity generated during the 1990s after economic deregulation in India went to those who were already part of the upper and upper-middle classes.

              It’s my impression also that the modern IT industry and the spin-off industries it generated in India were the beneficiaries of Indian government investment in space exploration and the desire to send Indian satellites into space. This activity was based largely in Bengaluru (then Bangalore) during the 1960s when Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister. I suspect the motive at the time was that India saw itself as the leader of the non-aligned, mostly Third World countries (that is, non-aligned with NATO or the Warsaw Pact).

              • Moscow Exile says:

                I read a similar book about the British Raj a couple of years ago. It’s at the dacha: can’t remember the name of the author. A British academic, though.

                I’ll take it back to Blighty with me on Friday.

              • yalensis says:

                India has a fascinating history.
                That bit about the textile industry is probabl worth about 100 dissertations in and of itself.
                Very few people realize just how much effort went into the making of theads, cloth, and clothing. Now, of course, it’s all automated. But try to imagine a world without automated looms and sewing machines! It wouldn’t even be possible to clothe all of humanity.

              • Patient Observer says:

                Thanks for the information. Nothing less than premeditated torture and murder of an entire population. Free-market economy indeed.

              • Jen says:

                I didn’t intend to deride the wealthier layers of Indian society for gaining the bulk of India’s prosperity after economic deregulation in the 1990s but I do suspect some if not most of the gains came as a result of people having the right political connections, just as in China during the 1980s when that country adopted an economic liberalisation platform, and not necessarily as a result of business activity improving in the wake of liberal economic policy changes. In other words, some of India’s post-1990s wealth might represent “socialism for the rich” or corporate welfare in the form of tax breaks, allowing rich people to spirit money overseas to avoid paying tax, and special corporate or industry treatment.

                Incidentally there have been reports that the level of social inequality in India is one of the worst in the world with the richest 10% of people owning nearly 75% of the country’s wealth and the top 1% owning nearly 50% of the wealth or close to 60% depending on who you read and where and how the reports got their information.
                http://www.thehindu.com/data/indias-staggering-wealth-gap-in-five-charts/article6672115.ece
                http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/indias-rising-income-inequality-richest-1-own-58-of-total-wealth/articleshow/56586277.cms

              • niku says:

                @Jen: The wealth inequality is really gigantic in India, and some of it is probably due to the rich having “the right connections”.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Of course there were Indians who actually did benefit from British rule, and these were people who served the British as bureaucrats and soldiers and who were able to send their children to British schools and universities in spite of British restrictions on Indians getting a Western-style education


                Farrokh Bulsara


                Farrokh with his mum.

                • Jen says:

                  From what I understand of Farrokh Bulsara’s background, having seen a TV documentary about him and Queen, his parents chooffed him off at a young age to an English-style boarding school in Bombay (Mumbai) where among other things he was exposed to homosexual activity.

                  Bulsara’s father Bomi Rustomji Bulsara worked as a government accountant in Britain’s Zanzibar or Tanganyika colony. (I’m not sure which, the two were governed separately.) The family was able to afford a maid. When Tanganyika and Zanzibar combined to form the independent republic of Tanzania in 1960 or 1961, the Bulsaras had to move to Britain. They had to adjust to a living on a lower income without domestic help. Perhaps the contrast with having to live a more restricted life and to count pennies, with their previous upper middle class lifestyle that motivated Farrokh to seek the kind of glory (as Freddie Mercury) that would help him regain that lifestyle.

                  Incidentally both of Mercury’s parents lived into their mid-90s. His mother died in October or November last year.

                • yalensis says:

                  Ah Freddie, Freddie! I still miss him.
                  You can see, even as a tot and with his mom, where he got his big chops from!

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Parsees are smart. I think they were Iranians originally, hence the name. I think they did a lot of the bookkeeping and clerical work in the British Raj

                • niku says:

                  @Moscow Exile
                  Parsees are the Zoroastrians who migrated from Iran to India escaping the Islamic onslaught. They came in many waves, starting right after the Islamic conquest of Iran. (The Tatas, by the way, are Parsees.)

                  @yalensis (from below)
                  About the Black Hole of Calcutta: I have come across the phrase often in British writings. I was protesting against it becoming a stock phrase in English (with the British)! But as I say below, I realized later that ME’s use of it was not inappropriate.

                  Thanks for your effort to mediate, though!

            • niku says:

              @ Jen and others

              The history of the British Raj is, as it is with everything, complex! I wouldn’t like to pass a summary judgement on it. (Before you get outraged: I don’t wish to pass a summary judgement on anything.)

              To keep to the particular points: yes, the British probably purposely destroyed the Indian textile industry. This was not just a natural development resulting from industrialization. As yalensis says below, much of it was highly skilled business, with the products highly prized, even in Europe. I don’t have references at hand, but as I remember, the British targeted these skilled workmen specifically.

              About the taxation too, you are right, based on what I know.

              Also, I disliked Moscow Exile’s use of “blackhole of Calcutta” in some other context earlier. (The term passed into common usage in Britain.) The British forget the atrocities of their own forefathers all around the globe. And by the way, the modern Britain implicitly supported the 2nd May “blackhole of Odessa”, and the British media has nothing to say about it.

              The other points are debatable.

              Of course there were Indians who actually did benefit from British rule, and these were people who served the British […]
              You know, when you go from point X to point Y, and at the end do an accounting, you would find gains and losses. The British ruled India for more than two centuries. Obviously, there would be much positive to say about the changes which happened during this period, both intended and unintended — from whichever perspective you adopt.

              I am guessing that much of the prosperity generated during the 1990s after economic deregulation in India went to those who were already part of the upper and upper-middle classes.
              Much of the prosperity in China after the deregulations must have gone to the politically connected people. Does this matter so much? Is it not true that everyone benefited nevertheless? If the benefits do not get distributed “equally” (and they never are), would you rather prefer none?

              IT industry … were the beneficiaries of Indian government investment in space exploration … based largely in Bengaluru (then Bangalore)
              Your arguments are not new to me. About the facts, some of what you say is true and some largely false, and I doubt you wish to get drowned in details about India. Still, this much stands: Bangalore was the hub of Indian scientific activity, almost all of it funded by the state, and this had something to do with the development of the IT industry here.

              By the way, you would be interested to know that during the British period, scientific activity in India was funded only by the farsighted native industrialists. They (mostly the Tatas) established the top institutes, which were taken over by the state after independence. (If you didn’t note, these are the same people you deride.)

              Another thing which may interest reader here: most of the government funded industrial development (steel manufacture, fertilizers manufacture, oil exploration, etc) received much (probably even critical) help from the Soviet Union.

              Anyway, to add to what I said earlier, the scientific and technological development work in India is considerable. India has overcome a lot of challenges (only a minor part of which are the legacy of the British). Still, the time when Indians could point out to their achievements and ask for a fair appraisal without asking for special consideration given its historical problems has not arrived.

              • niku says:

                By the way, for balance and completion:

                The India which the British empire-builders found was degenerate. While theoretically there was an emperor in Delhi ruling a large part of the Indian subcontinent, in practice it was just a collection of petty fiefdoms. And the British did modernize India, at far lower costs than that of most other countries (see Mao’s “cultural revolution”, and perhaps even the French Revolution can be seen in a similar context).

                And in case anyone is interested, in general, Indians have no animus against the British. (The greatest anti-British charge is that they exacerbated the Hindu-Muslim tensions in India.)

                Here is something I read in an Indian source: The British merchants acquired rights from a local lord (perhaps using threats, and defended by British arms) to run an independent port probably near Surat in West India. (Or, it could have been near Calcutta in East India — I have forgotten.) This was right next to a well-established, centuries old port. Yet, within months all the traffic shifted to the British run port. The Indian merchants were pleasantly surprised to find things done in a new — cheap, fast and efficient — manner. They were used to bribing officials — including petty officials [1]– at all levels all the time. They were surprised to find people who did not wish for bribes to do their duties.

                [1] A popular (probably ancient) Indian story goes like this: An author/artisan comes to the king to present him some new creation. The doorman does not allow him to go in until the artisan promises half of the prize to the doorman. So the artisan presents the gift to the king, the king is pleased, and asks him to ask for an award. The artisan asks that he be given ten lashes. Everyone is surprised, but finally his wish is granted. After five lashes are done, the man asks the servant delivering the lashes to stop, and tells everyone that the rest five are due to the king’s doorman. [And afterwards, both the author/artisan and the doorman get their dues.]

                • niku says:

                  The English foreign policy, though, is quite “crooked”. (Even worse than the US foreign policy.)

                  The English are crooked as a nation and honest as individuals. The contrary is true of the French, who are honest as a nation and crooked as individuals.
                  https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/e/edmond_de_goncourt.html

                • yalensis says:

                  Dear niku: I love that story about the Indian doorman. Never heard that one before, but it made me laugh.

                  As for “black hole of Calcutta”, I’m sure Exile just wrote it without meaning anything.
                  I know an older-generation English lady who uses that term. She would say things like “People were packed in there like sardines, it was like the Black Hole of Calcutta.” I get the impression it’s just a casual saying (without racial overtones) among older generation from England. Like, people who grew up on novels like “Beau Geste” and “The Four Feathers”.

                  I don’t even know off hand if Americans use that particular expression. I think if you said it to an American on the street, especially in current generation, he might know what it meant (if not what it referred to), but he wouldn’t necessarily utter those words himself. Actually, I don’t even know off the top of my head how an American would colloquially describe being packed into a tight space…

                • niku says:

                  My earlier comment: And the British did modernize India, at far lower costs than that of most other countries (see Mao’s “cultural revolution”, and perhaps even the French Revolution can be seen in a similar context).

                  These statements are idiotic.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                I only described the Pokrovka Street FMS office as being similar to the “Black Hole of Calcutta” in that it consists of a small room that is always unbelievably packed with people.

                I unreservedly accuse the Russian bureaucracy of being the perpetrators this atrocious situation at Pokrovka Street!

                If you check it out on the Internet Russian language sites, you will find page after page of complaints about the way this place is run. It has ever been thus: It was like that 13 years ago when I had to fight my way through hordes of milling would-be Central Asian immigrants to get into a line at a window in order to hand in my application for a residency permit.

                When I was there yesterday, only one “window” out of 6 or 7 was attended by a bureaucrat, and it was slammed shut at 12:30, even though above the window it was stated that the lunch break was from 13:00 to 14:00.


                The Pokrovka St. FMS building

                Henceforth I shall label the place as a “hell-hole”.

                • niku says:

                  If you wish a non-political metaphor for a highly packed room, try the cabin scene in Marx brothers’ A Night at the Opera.

                  By the way, you may be interested in learning that I read about the “Black Hole of Calcutta” first in my high-school history textbook. (So it is not that Indians have forgotten or wish to forget the event!)

                • niku says:

                  By the way, I realized that the “Black Hole of Calcutta” metaphor was not inappropriate in the FMS case. The two share some core points, and if your exaggerate the FMS case enough, you will get to the Black Hole of Calcutta case.

                  Similarities:
                  (i) Hundreds of people forced into a small area
                  (ii) torture, not because it is intended per se, but because of indifference due to a lack of empathy.

                  A Night at the Opera case does not convey this at all. So, you have my imprimatur to use the metaphor for this case! I hope you are happy now.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  Petty bureaucrats are the same throughout the word. A small example was at the American embassy in Romania while we were arranging for my wife’s daughter to come with us to the US. The US official, who was a total a-hole up to that point, told us to come back to the embassy the following Monday. I mentioned that Monday was July 4 and asked if their office would be open. He looked at me, laughed, and said to come back Tuesday. He was just toying with us.

                  We have a saying in the US that there are few things funnier than giving a walkie-talkie to a guy paid minimum wage. He takes on an overbearing sense of being “important” and potentially dangerous – don’t mess with him!

                • niku says:

                  Patient Observer
                  [T]here are few things funnier than giving a walkie-talkie to a guy paid minimum wage.
                  Interesting and concise, and the first I’ve heard of it!

                  He takes on an overbearing sense of being “important” and potentially dangerous – don’t mess with him!
                  This statement I’ve read in a novel: Arthur C. Clark and Gentry Lee’s Rama Revealed!

        • marknesop says:

          Way, way too long to take all in one sitting. Let’s just start with this:

          No source provided behind this statement. And the author manages to even bring da Joos into this! Not only is this utter fiction, but the author doesn’t even bother supplying evidence. How does he know this is a “calculated move coordinated with the U.S. and Israel”? Zero evidence.

          In fact there is an abundance of evidence that the Saudis ramped up production in defiance of OPEC caps and in the face of a global oil glut. Can you think of a motive for that – considering they were selling at a loss due to supply and demand – other than to artificially depress the price? I’d love to hear it.

          “Starting in 2014, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia flooded the market with cheap oil. This is not a mere business decision, but a calculated move coordinated with U.S. and Israeli foreign policy goals. The goal is to weaken these opponents of Wall Street, London, and Tel Aviv, whose economies are centered around oil and natural gas exports.

          Nowhere does it say the deliberate depression of global oil prices was coordinated with the Americans and Israelis, but to support their foreign-policy goals. I would not have any trouble at all believing the Saudis conspired with the Americans and Israelis – KSA is a religious fundamentalist regime which will get into bed with anyone who helps it destroy the theocratic foes of its faith. But that’s not what the author said. You are constantly exhorting your opponents to learn to read and to inform themselves, advice you might well take yourself. And if this is an example of a sound debunking, it isn’t a very convincing one.

          • Matt says:

            “In fact there is an abundance of evidence that the Saudis ramped up production in defiance of OPEC caps and in the face of a global oil glut. Can you think of a motive for that – considering they were selling at a loss due to supply and demand – other than to artificially depress the price? I’d love to hear it.”

            The answer lies in your article: to bankrupt U.S. shale oil producers. The last few paragraphs in the article answer your own question.

            “Nowhere does it say the deliberate depression of global oil prices was coordinated with the Americans and Israelis, but to support their foreign-policy goals.”

            What? You make no sense. Are you implying that Saudi Arabia did all this to benefit U.S. and Israeli foreign policy goals… all by its lonesome, without any coordination with the U.S. and Israel? The author is obviously implying that the U.S. instructed Saudi Arabia to have done this. The author even repeats the lies by Reagan’s son, in which he claims the U.S.. coordinated with Saudi Arabia to crash the oil price. Stop trying to muddle what he said.

            Anyway, I have more evidence that Saudi Arabia crashed the oil price for reasons other than hurting Russia/Iran/Venezuela, than you have evidence that this was their motive.

            • marknesop says:

              See? There’s no reasoning with you. You simply insist everything you say is accurate, and everything I say is false. Why aren’t you running the world?

              • Matt says:

                I acknowledged that Chavez/Maduro have done good on reducing poverty, but that the baseless statements in the article you linked regarding Saudi Arabia tanking the oil price to help U.S. and Israel foreign policy goals, and that Venezuela’s economy is doing poorly because of U.S./corporate “sabotage”, are all incorrect and have no basis in reality Further, they fail to discount the numerous other factors as to why Saudi Arabia behaved in this manner, or the real factors behind Venezuela’s economic issues.

                That’s it.

                Anyway, Jen is calling me a “troll” for “derailing” the topic. If that’s the case, I will only respond if you do respond to my long post.

                Beware of “alternative” or “independent” media outlets. They may present the news from a certain angle, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t propagandistic either.

            • Patient Observer says:

              US/Western media sources push the idea that SA was seeking to crush US fracking. To claim that the reason for the oil crash was part of a geopolitical strategy aimed against Russia (who was also hit by sanctions in a 1-2 punch) as well as Venezuela would not be well-received by a large fraction of the US population. US fracking was collateral damage in a much bigger economic war.

              Interestingly, Russia maintained or increased production thereby keeping oil prices low. Perhaps not fully reported in the West, the Saudi economy has been severely damaged with major projects cancelled, foreign contractors going unpaid, and huge job losses. Meanwhile, Russia, despite the burdened of Western sanctions, has more than survived and is coming out stronger than ever. Saudi Arabia ought to be upset with the US at the blow back and seek some sort of accommodation with Russia.

              The US is on last pages of its playbook and nothing seems to be working. Dangerous times ahead.

    • Special_sauce says:

      Then…now: leopards…spots. Merkins are swine. It’s written in fire across the sky.

      Hitler didn’t need lots of Nazis, just enough to terrify the liberals.

      “Did you know that there are socialists in the Venezuelan opposition?” Name one who isn’t a phony, like Bernie Sanders. Just cos a man plays a guitar, doesn’t mean he’s making music.

      Pretending? Like you pretending to know the United$hit$?

    • Jen says:

      Apart from yourself, no-one who comments here pretends to know more about Venezuela or its society than its people do. If that’s not arrogant, then I don’t know what is.

      It’s also arrogant of you to try to steer Mark or anyone else here in “the right direction”. This is Mark’s blog and you do not have the right to swamp it and derail other conversations we are having and steer the blog into a screed against the Maduro government by mentioning things that you think make you look superior to the rest of us, such as the April 2002 coup attempt against Hugo Chavez.

      You deride any information or evidence that does not agree with your opinion as insubstantial or outright propaganda, as if only the information you offer is of any worth. You are nothing more than a pernicious troll with an agenda to create trouble here. I would support having you banned from visiting this blog.

      • Matt says:

        “Apart from yourself, no-one who comments here pretends to know more about Venezuela or its society than its people do.”

        I am from Venezuela and I see Western “anti-imperialists” falling for the Maduro regime’s propaganda. Pointing that out is not “arrogance”.

        “It’s also arrogant of you to try to steer Mark or anyone else here in “the right direction”. This is Mark’s blog and you do not have the right to swamp it and derail other conversations.”

        Hey, if Mark doesn’t want me to talk about Venezuela, then by all means, I won’t. I’lll respect his wishes. When I said “right direction”, I meant in terms of understanding my viewpoint. Nothing else.

        ” by mentioning things that you think make you look superior to the rest of us, such as the April 2002 coup attempt against Hugo Chavez.”

        I did that because I am a balanced person who is not a hypocrite. Unlike you, I can criticize both sides. Can you criticize the actions of the Maduro or Kim regimes? For their authoritarian, corrupt, tactics? Rhetorical question, of course.

        “You deride any information or evidence that does not agree with your opinion as insubstantial or outright propaganda.”

        Whoa, this is the definition of projection. Nobody has presented any “evidence” against my claims, other than Mark’s article above, which I addressed point-by-point. But you haven’t given me anything to dismiss. Remember that time when you chided me for criticizing North Korea’s leader? Or that time when you asked for proof that Kim had his uncle executed, when a simple Google search would have showed you that the official state media of the DPRK gleefully announced the execution themselves? Or your dismissal of the allegations that Venezuela’s VP and others are involved in wide-spread drug trafficking? The list goes on.

        “You are nothing more than a pernicious troll with an agenda to create trouble here.”

        Troll accusations cropped up the last time I was here, but only after it became clear that the arguments about Veenzuela and North Korea made by some here weren’t very strong.

        “I would support having you banned from visiting this blog.”

        You wish to have me banned just because I disagree with others here, not because I am a “troll”.

        • Patient Observer says:

          I did that because I am a balanced person who is not a hypocrite.

          Wow, just wow.

            • Jen says:

              Besides which, I doubt this “Matt” is a native of Venezuela or has a Venezuelan background. He may have visited the country some time in the past so in a sense he is “from” Venezuela but that doesn’t mean he’s “of” Venezuela.

              The more he blathers, the more hollow he reveals himself to be.

        • Special_sauce says:

          a simple Google search would have showed you that the official state media of the DPRK gleefully announced the execution themselves?

          KCNA says he was executed for treason, true. Couldn’t find anything that could be construed as ‘gleeful’, however. Lots of pics of Kim grinning. Perhaps you conflated the two, the glee and the execution, in your non-hypocritical and balanced way.

        • Evgeny says:

          “Unlike you, I can criticize both sides. Can you criticize the actions of the Maduro or Kim regimes? For their authoritarian, corrupt, tactics? Rhetorical question, of course.”

          The distinctive characteristic of a totalitarian regime is you cannot just mind your own business; you have to participate, so you get criticized for not doing something.

          Yes, I can criticize actions of the Maduro or Kim. However, I don’t want to do that because my voice will be indistinguishable from that of the crowd.

          Seems to me, you can take the man out of Venezuela, but you sure can’t take Venezuela out of the man.

          • yalensis says:

            On my blog, Matt was complaining that his family in Venezuela is starving to death due to the corruption of the Maduro “regime”.
            I suggested he find a part-time job and start sending them some money, pronto.

            • Matt says:

              Already doing both of those things, yalensis.

            • marknesop says:

              Abby Martin was there for the express purpose of finding people who were starving, and said she could not find any signs of widespread starvation – the selective embargo of goods seems more to deny Venezuelans the typical staples so as to provoke social discontent.

              • Matt says:

                This is too much.

                Abby Martin knows that there is no widespread starvation… because she walked around town for a while?

                This is an insult to those Venezuelans who have starved to death!

                http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/02/20/study-venezuelans-lost-19-lb-on-average-over-past-year-due-to-lack-food.html

                —————————

                …in the past year nearly 75 percent of the population lost an average of 19 pounds for lack of food.

                The extreme poor said they dropped even more weight than that.

                The 2016 Living Conditions Survey (Encovi, for its name in Spanish), conducted among 6,500 families, also found that as many as 32.5 percent eat only once or twice a day — the figure was 11.3 just a year ago.

                In all, 82 percent of the nation’s households live in poverty, the study found.

                A whopping 93.3 percent told Encovi researchers that their income was not enough to cover their food needs, which would explain why Venezuelans are replacing red and white meat with vegetables and tubers, mainly potato, and other cheaper options.

                “There is a change in eating habits patterns from 2014 [when Encovi surveys began]. Previously Venezuelans consumed primarily rice, breads and pastas; now it’s tubers,” said Maritza Landaeta, a researcher with the Venezuelan Health Observatory, as quoted by runrun.es.

                “In our qualitative studies we observed mothers who say that they fed their children only with bananas or auyamas [a kind of pumpkin] to satisfy their feeding needs,” she said.

                Additionally, 65 percent of those surveyed admitted having children at home who had skipped school for food-related reasons — including filling in for their parents in the long food lines.

                Venezuela’s food crisis has gotten so bad that remains of everything from dogs and cats to donkeys and even giant anteaters have been found in garbage bags at city dumps around the country.

                “Sometimes we only find the animal’s heads, guts and legs. We used to see this very little in the past, but this practice is now out of control and on the rise,” Robert Linares, a Maracaibo waste disposal worker, told the Miami Herald. Linares added he recently found on the street the remains of a dog that had been skinned and dismembered.

                —————————-

                What will you trust more: a random journalist walking around the streets or empirical data from a trusted source, that has done this survey since 2014, when the government surveys stopped being available?

                ” the selective embargo of goods seems more to deny Venezuelans the typical staples so as to provoke social discontent.”

                Again, zero evidence there is a “selective embargo” of goods. This is patently false. People simply can’t afford the expensive food.

                • marknesop says:

                  What will you trust more: a random journalist walking around the streets or empirical data from a trusted source, that has done this survey since 2014, when the government surveys stopped being available?

                  What will I trust more – a random journalist walking around the streets, or Fox News, which has a demonstrated history of rattling off propaganda which suits the Republican agenda? Who is the Bengoa Foundation? Wouldn’t happen to be one of those NGO’s funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, would it? Or Freedom House, or the International Republican Institute, or others of the western alphabet-soup agencies who pumped more than $40 million a year into the Venezuelan opposition? Because they do, you know. You can curl your lip and smirk behind your hand when you mock the notion that the west is solidly behind the Venezuelan opposition, but it’s true.

                  According to the FRIDE report, which analyzes the impact of this funding in Venezuela, and concludes that more donations are necessary to support the “democratic opposition” to President Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, the multi-million dollar funds are exclusively directed towards political activities in the polarized South American nation. A large majority of the $40-50 million USD, donated by US and European agencies and foundations, is given to the right wing opposition political parties, Primero Justicia (First Justice), Un Nuevo Tiempo (A New Time) and COPEI (Christian Democrat ultra-conservative party), as well as to a dozen or so NGOs, student groups and media organizations…Declassified documents obtained under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding the activities of these agencies in Venezuela have revealed that their multi-million dollar funding has largely gone towards promoting anti-democratic activities, such as the April 2002 coup d’état against the Chavez government, and subsequent strikes, destabilization attempts and economic sabotage. The foreign funding has also gone to support the opposition electoral campaigns over the past eight years, including in-kind aid to train and strengthen political parties, help design elections and communications strategies and even to develop political platforms and agendas for opposition groups. This level of support goes well beyond mere donations and evidences a direct meddling in Venezuela’s domestic affairs.

                  A direct meddling in Venezuela’s affairs: you don’t say. It’s this I object to, ‘Matt’. If the people of Venezuela really want Maduro out, that’s for them to decide. But it’s not for the USA to decide, and – as usual – the USA is the ringleader of the meddlers.

                  But convince me. Tell me how the Venezuelan opposition’s plan to open up the country to foreign investment and strike a more conciliatory tone with Washington is going to help the starving poor. Is that a characteristic of western regime change, would you say? An overwhelming urge to help the poor? Would you say corporations who cannot wait to see state assets converted to publicly-traded companies – just coincidentally allowing corporate monoliths like Exxon-Mobil to make a little money where they currently make none – are guided by altruism, or profit? Please defend your answer.

                  I’ll see your allegation by Fox News that starvation in Venezuela is widespread, and raise you the allegation by The Guardian – another scarcely-believable tabloid – backed by yet another trusted source with oodles of empirical data (the Food and Agricultural Organization) which says malnutrition indices in Venezuela have been halved since Chavez came to power, to less than 5%.

                  That was in 2013, but these food shortages have been a reliable lever for the opposition periodically since the attempted coup in 2002. I will concede that the Venezuelan government made a rod for its own back by setting up a system whereby it is cheaper to import food than to produce it. If Maduro survives this latest run at regime change by external forces, hopefully he will take a lesson from Russia’s experience with sanctions, and re-tool the nation’s agricultural production. There’s no reason Venezuela can’t grow much of what it consumes.

                  Let’s see some evidence that the shortages of goods and foodstuffs in Venezuela results from government incompetence. That’s the position of the “Socialism doesn’t work” crowd. But the record reflects that even before Chavez’s rise to power, the so-called ‘levers of economic control’ of the importation and distribution were almost exclusively in the hands of a small group of wealthy elites. And they still are. And they hated Chavez, and they hate Maduro. And they are overwhelmingly allied with the opposition. The same opposition, just to bring things full circle, which is backed by around $40 million a year in western money. Is it too much of a stretch, do you think, that the western donors want the opposition to be successful in wresting power from Maduro? And if they were successful, it would of course be trumpeted as a victory for democracy (it always is) and for the people of Venezuela. But would it be? take a look at the history of regime change, and see how often immediate post-coup administration focused on addressing the concerns of the poor. Maduro has raised wages something like 5 times in a year. But he can’t keep up with inflation. Can inflation be imposed by external conditions? It certainly can, and frequently is.

                  But despite the severe scarcity Venezuelans are not going hungry. The Food and Agriculture Organisation has said that the Latin American nation more than halved malnutrition indices to less than 5% since Chávez came to power. It gives partial credit to the government-run network of food distribution chains known as Mercal, which delivers subsidised food in shops across the country. And yet food has gone missing, and queues outside food shops often wrap around the block.

                  According to President Nicolás Maduro, the food shortages are being artificially induced by the opposition. He claims they form part of wider plan concocted by the CIA to destabilise his government, sabotage the oil industry and trigger power cuts.

        • objekt56 says:

          ‘I am from Venezuela and I see Western “anti-imperialists” falling for the Maduro regime’s propaganda’.
          From a previous post of yours above – ‘Anyway, I’m in my final year (Fall will be my last semester, actually)’.
          Isn’t Fall a conspicuously (north) American word to be used by a Venezuelan?
          Oops?

        • Northern Star says:

          “Or your dismissal of the allegations that Venezuela’s VP and others are involved in wide-spread drug trafficking? The list goes on.”

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/10/gary-webb-dark-alliance_n_5961748.html

          STFU Matt…”Murican” PTB are the numero uno established pimp daddy/crack dealing Super Fiends of the planet…

          • Matt says:

            Classic whataboutism. Your link has nothing to do with Venezuela’s current administration. Does it discredit what I said?

            I am well aware of the CIA’s ties to organized crime and drug trafficking.

            • Patient Observer says:

              The power of whataboutism is that it places a perceived sin/weakness deserving condemnation into proper context.

              A more proper question is how does the level of corruption in Venezuela compare with its peers in Latin American? With other nations of similar economic development? Given the legendary corruption in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, Venezuela could possibly be relatively free of corruption.

        • Patient Observer says:

          Matt – a great example of glee over murder:

          Is Hilary more odious than the leader of NK? I don’t know. I suspect that she has more blood on her hands.

          • Matt says:

            Kim is worse than Hillary. If his lust for power went away, he would allow reunification of the two Koreas, thus rapidly lifting 25 million people out of poverty.

            Gaddafi is not as innocent as the millions of North Koreas, or the countless who have been executed, imprisoned, tortured, starved to death, etc.

            And Hillary’s crimes do not absolve Kim of his far worse ones.

            • Special_sauce says:

              I’m gonna go blow up a kindergarten. I should get off cos Kim did far worse. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

              • Matt says:

                Never implied that.

                I simply said Kim is worse than Hillary. That is all. Notice I also said “Hillary’s crimes”, which means I never said/implied Hillary was OK to do what she did.

                Stop twisting my words.

                • Special_sauce says:

                  “Stop twisting my words.” So says the human pretzel.

                • yalensis says:

                  KIm is worse than Hillary?
                  How so?
                  Did you put their hearts on a scale and weigh them?
                  Are you under the delusion that you are the God Anubis?

                • Special_sauce says:

                  “I simply said Kim is worse than Hillary.” Yeah, well where’s the evidence you never cease flapping your gums about. And don’t give us Foxnews or the Miami Herald or any of the glossy mags gracing the tables of doctor’s waiting rooms all over the continent. The US Mil turned Pyongyang into a cinder, and skipped away, you sophistry-spouting ghoul.

                • Special_sauce says:

                  And it is a testament to Kim jong un’s love for his people, his patriotism and his courage, that he’s doing all he can, though he knows there is a target on his back, to prevent another holocaust in his country. You sick fuck.

                • Matt says:

                  Reply to “Special_sauce”:

                  “And it is a testament to Kim jong un’s love for his people, his patriotism and his courage, that he’s doing all he can, though he knows there is a target on his back, to prevent another holocaust in his country. You sick fuck.”

                  Never go full retard.

                  Kim wants nukes to protect himself and his clique, not the people of North Korea. That’s why the entire country has been mobilized from birth, since decades, to only act in the interests of the Pyongyang Elite. Children are brainwashed from a young age to hate the “American imperialist bastards” before they even know what these words mean. The veteran North Korea watcher, Dr. Lankov, said this greeting was once uttered to an American visitor by a young child, quite matter-of-factly, since that’s how the Americans are referred to in school. The human capital is sucked out of the people, for nuclear development.

                  Portraits of the Great Dictator and his ancestors are required to be hung and cleaned, by law. If you pass by a statue of these people, you are forced to bow and show deference to the lump of stone. Otherwise, you get punished.

                  Such a selfless individual and family!

                  If Kim cared about North Koreans so much, he’d allow reunification with the prosperous South. It would immediately transform the North into a prosperous, vibrant, democracy.

                  Answer this question, my anti-American friend: why hasn’t Kim done the above?

                  I await your detailed and logical answer.

              • Jen says:

                Moon of Alabama: Why North Korea Needs Nukes – And How to End That
                http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/04/the-reason-behind-north-koreas-nuclear-program-and-its-offer-to-end-it.html

                “… North Korea is understandably nervous each and every time the U.S. and South Korea launch their very large yearly maneuvers and openly train for invading North Korea and for killing its government and people. The maneuvers have large negative impacts on North Korea’s economy.

                North Korea justifies its nuclear program as the economically optimal way to respond to these maneuvers.

                Each time the U.S. and South Korea launch their very large maneuvers, the North Korean conscription army (1.2 million strong) has to go into a high state of defense readiness. Large maneuvers are a classic starting point for military attacks. The U.S.-South Korean maneuvers are (intentionally) held during the planting (April/May) or harvesting (August) season for rice when North Korea needs each and every hand in its few arable areas. Only 17% of the northern landmass is usable for agriculture and the climate in not favorable. The cropping season is short. Seeding and harvesting days require peak labor.

                The southern maneuvers directly threaten the nutritional self-sufficiency of North Korea. In the later 1990s they were one of the reasons behind a severe famine. (Lack of hydrocarbons and fertilizer due to sanctions as well as a too rigid economic system were other main reasons.)

                Its nuclear deterrent allows North Korea to reduce its conventional military readiness especially during the all important agricultural seasons. Labor withheld from the fields and elsewhere out of military necessity can go back to work. This is now the official North Korean policy known as ‘byungjin’. (Byungjin started informally in the mid 2000nds after U.S. President Bush tuned up his hostile policy towards North Korea – Chronology of U.S.-North Korean Nuclear and Missile Diplomacy)

                A guaranteed end of the yearly U.S. maneuvers would allow North Korea to lower its conventional defenses without relying on nukes. The link between the U.S. maneuvers and the nuclear deterrent North Korea is making in its repeated offer is a direct and logical connection.

                The North Korean head of state Kim Jong-un has officially announced a no-first-use policy for its nuclear capabilities:

                “As a responsible nuclear weapons state, our republic will not use a nuclear weapon unless its sovereignty is encroached upon by any aggressive hostile forces with nukes,” Kim told the Workers’ Party of Korea congress in Pyongyang. Kim added that the North “will faithfully fulfill its obligation for non-proliferation and strive for the global denuclearization.”
                During the congress, as elsewhere, Kim Jong Un also emphasized (transcript, pdf, v. slow) the above described connection between nuclear armament and economic development. Summarized:

                After decades of emphasizing military strength under his father, Korea is moving toward Kim’s “byongjin” — a two-pronged approach aimed at enhancing nuclear might while improving living conditions.
                The byongjin strategy, despised by the Obama administration, has been successful:

                What are the sources of [North Korea’s economic] growth? One explanation might be that less is now spent on the conventional military sector, while nuclear development at this stage is cheaper—it may only cost 2 to 3 percent of GNP, according to some estimates. Theoretically, byungjin is more “economy friendly” than the previous “songun” or military-first policy which supposedly concentrated resources on the military. …”

                MoA quotes an article by Georgy Toloraya which is worth reading also. It’s here at:
                http://www.38north.org/2016/10/gtoloraya102016/

            • Patient Observer says:

              Nah, got to go with Hilary on this one. A close runner up was Madeleine Albright who famously stated that “it was worth it” with “it” being:

              a 1995 U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report that 567,000 Iraqi children under the age of five had died as a result of the [US] sanctions.

              The NK leader is trailing badly in the murdered children category.

              • Matt says:

                But Hillary wasn’t behind those sanctions. That was due to Bush Sr.

                I still think Kim is worse than Hillary. In the late 1990s, countless North Koreans literally starved to death due to a famine. If Kim’s father/grandfather weren’t so power-hungry, they would have allowed reunification with the South and avoided this tragedy.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  SK was and is largely a US controlled state. If reunification were to occur, it would be on terms dictated by the US (and to a certain extend, Japan). Also, the famines were, if not triggered, certainly worsened by deliberate actions by the US. Reunification would be nothing less than surrender to a foreign occupier. Worse, that occupier killed millions of NK citizens during the Korean war.

                  True, Hilary and Madeleine were not at the top of the leadership but they apparently enthusiastically helped formulate and execute various mass murders of civilians. It is quite likely that the NK nominal leader also is a part of a larger decision making group. So, the question is, what group of leaders were more murderous. Again, NK is a poor second.

                • Matt says:

                  Reply to Patient Observer:

                  SK is not a U.S. controlled state.

                  Regarding unification, what terms would the U.S. impose? And are these terms the reason why NK has not reunified? Both Koreas have released numerous agreements and communiques about how to proceed with reunification, and all of them reiterate the independent nature of reunification and no outside interference.

                  The famines were primarily caused by the economic policy of NK.

                  The primary issue behind reunification is NK’s nuclear weapons program.

                  North Korea’ wants reunification through a federal structure retaining each side’s leadership and government. In 1973, NK proposed a Confederal Republic of Koryo that would represent the Korean people in the UN, in which their political systems would initially remain.

                  Why do you think North Korea proposed this, all the way back in the ’70s?

                  Because Kim did not want to let go of power. That is the only reason.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  Reply to Matt: I presented arguments. You deny by assertion. A key one is the role of the US in SK. To flatly deny the US control over SK in critical policy areas is a shaky claim. As an example, if the US wants THADD in SK, the US gets THADD in SK. These missiles are useless against a NK attack but are a threat to China. The US wants to militarily threaten China which is clearly not in the interest of SK. As for the rest of your arguments, the same or similar logic applies.

                  I do not know the cause or the true extent of the famines. I do know that the US has tried to induce famines by reneging on negotiated deals (as previously discussed).

                  As mentioned in a later post of mine, this discussion has actually resulted in a greater understanding and to some degree support of NK’s difficult situation. Of course, I do not like on bit the state-sponsored murders by NK but the same is true for the state-sponsored murders by the West. Perhaps its only because they are too small but the murder activities of NK are rounding errors compared to the murders done the by West.

                  Its a sad sad world.

            • Special_sauce says:

              Gaddafi, is innocent until proven guilty. That’s the American Way. Are you anti-American?

              • Matt says:

                Gaddafi was no angel.

                • Special_sauce says:

                  compared to the Clintonians, the Trumpeteers, the Bushoids he was a choir boy. The US tracked his whereabouts with a drone and gave the coordinates to the TerroristsFreedom Fighters, who shoved a bayonet up his ass.

  40. ucgsblog says:

    Great Article Mark!

    It has good quotes: ” veteran vampire of Russophobia” & “attention-seeking charlatan, the ‘Curveball’ of Novorossiya”

    Good comparisons: “Saakashvili was obviously about as useful as a chocolate teapot at fighting corruption, and now he has been stripped of his last remaining citizenship by Ukraine’s portly font of corruption himself, Petro Poroshenko” & “Ukraine is to stability what mud pies are to haute cuisine.”

    Trash talks this guy:

    “he’s currently hanging out in The Land of the Free, where he frequently couch-surfs between bouts of doing nothing about corruption in Ukraine, terrifying the fast-food population and adding to his gross tonnage. Lest you think I am gratuitously mocking him, see if you can name one useful thing he ever did to fight corruption in Ukraine – one official who was successfully prosecuted for corruption thanks to his whistle-blowing…

    And, most importantly, makes a great analogy:

    “I want you to imagine, for a moment, that you’re calling the Turks and Caicos, and you speak for a half-hour or so to the village idiot from Bottle Creek. You ask him how your offshores are doing, and he tells you they blew the roof off the bank, you’re richer than Bill Gates. Would you call up your boss, tell him to go fuck himself, you don’t need his two-bit job any more because you’re a billionaire? I devoutly hope not.”

    Well done! I think the latter analogy of what Journalism is becoming, it it already hasn’t become that, is the most powerful part of the article.

    • Cortes says:

      The Turks and Caicos thing made me laugh again and reminded me of the over-the-garden-fence chat in the early 1990s with my then neighbour, Tom, who told me about how his interest in the mutiny on the Bounty was going. He’d started staying up to all hours and calling the post office on Pitcairn Island and asking to be patched through to talk to families of the descendants of the mutineers. His wife took time off from looking after the toddlers behind him and twirled her forefinger around her temple. The only thing missing was the theme tune from the Twilight Zone.

      • ucgsblog says:

        So that’s a blight on his reputation, eh mate?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Most of the mutineers bumped each other off or died through booze after only a few years, though, didn’t they?

        I don’t think they brought enough hoola-hoola girls with them to Pitcairn to go round, if I remember rightly.

        Serious error!

        • Cortes says:

          The serious error was disembarking on an island so distant from other human habitation that the infighting was predictable. If memory serves, Robert Graves has an essay about ” sacred prostitution” in Ancient Greece describing how the female offspring of the upper class on islands serviced captains of incoming (Matron!) ships in order to enrich the gene pool.

          And Tom (my neighbour) was a nutjob.

        • yalensis says:

          Some anthropologists now believe that the mutineers committed gross acts of abuse against the natives, and that such abuse continues unto this day.
          With sexual exploitation of minors, rape, that sort of thing.
          But the Pitcairn folk keep all these family secrets to themselves, it’s like a skeleton in the closet.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Has anyone here ever tasted breadfruit?

            I wonder if it tastes like bread.

            Mrs. Exile is always perplexed when I talk of eggplant. It doesn’t taste like egg.

            I like eggplant very much, by the way, and Russians eat quite a lot ofit, i think.

            • Jen says:

              Eggplant is a popular vegetable in Turkish and some other Middle Eastern cuisines. I don’t know how popular it is in Indian cooking. While it’s not common in East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines, Chinese yum cha cooking includes eggplant stuffed with minced fish-meat and cooked in blackbean sauce. Eggplant does soak up a lot of oil and the stuffed eggplant looks terribly greasy.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                They fry it in sunflower oil here and also make a kind of ragout paste out of it call ikra, which also means “caviar”.


                black and red — I prefer the Pacific Salmon red

                eggplant ikra that Mrs. Exile makes at the dacha. Our eggplants grow in our greenhouse, but you can grow them here outside as well

            • marknesop says:

              I think quite a lot of it (eggplant, that is) eaten in Russia is Asian eggplant, though, which is narrower in appearance and lighter in taste than its earthier cousin. Both are of Asian origin, incidentally, and a species of nightshade, which is of course a deadly poison in romance. I can attest that the skin of the latter type is so bitter as to be inedible without extensive soaking in salted water, while the lighter type can be and often is left skin-on.

              I’ve mentioned before the tongue-in-cheek-named “Korean salads” we used to enjoy in Vladivostok, in that they are made by Koreans for Russian tastes. They made an eggplant salad which was the missus’s favourite. Sometimes it included tiny pickled mushrooms, probably enoki, but most often it was very simple, just steamed eggplants, soy sauce, green onions and sesame seeds.

              Here’s the recipe, for anyone who is interested in making it. It seems quite simple and is very tasty, not to mention healthy, and could easily be a very meaty part of a vegetarian meal for those so inclined.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            There was a big scandal amongst Pitcairners in more recent times as regards their unlawful sexual liaisons.

            Evil under the sun: The dark side of the Pitcairn Island

            • Jen says:

              The trials of the people involved were held in New Zealand so the news media in that country and Australia devoted a lot of attention to them. Nearly all the defendants got prison sentences.

  41. Cortes says:

    Pat Buchanan on what might be termed the “quagmire and body bag ” approach to a Russia policy in the USA:

    http://www.unz.com/pbuchanan/is-trumps-russia-policy-being-hijacked/

  42. Moscow Exile says:

    (Getting too narrow aboveTo continue this tale of Russian bureaucracy ….

    Nightmare bureaucracy again!

    My wife and I were standing at the UFMS office on Pokrovka from 10:00 until 15:00. We had to sit in a park during the office break from 13:00 until 14:00. In the end, at a little window — the only window being served — the girl behind it asked where my flight ticket was.

    I had been told by the local immigration office I had to apply for a transit visa and after it had been stuck into my passport, I had 10 days to book a flight and leave.

    The girl at the office said I must first book a ticket for a flight that leaves 4 to 5 days after applying for a transit visa.

    When they have your documents plus evidence that you have booked a flight, they then presumably take your passport and begin to do the bureaucracy involved in sticking a transit visa into it (must be a really complex procedure) and ask you to come back in a couple of days to collect it.

    So I shall now book a flight for, say, next Friday, and on Monday morning I shall return to that office in order to apply for a transit visa again.

    The documents are all in order, I hope.

    She, the girl said they were, but I need evidence that I have booked a flight.

    Of course, they can always find something else unsatisfactory to their requests: they usually do.

    What I certainly have as regards time, is 10 days to appeal against the judge’s decision. That’s clearly written the printed judgment I was given in the court.

    In the same stuffy room were two Georgian girls, some Africans, an Israeli, several Vietnamese girls and some Arabic types.

    They had all been refused exit because their visas were out of date. They had all been to court, paid a fine etc., and rolled up as I had to get a transit visa.

    One of the women had a child with her about 4 years old. It was he whom they had refused exit at the airport because his visa was out of date.

    • niku says:

      One of the women had a child with her about 4 years old. It was he whom they had refused exit at the airport because his visa was out of date.
      Reading this gets me into the kirill-mood!

      I suppose it won’t be over for you until the fat lady sings! (Which would be when you are back in your home in Moscow after a forced trip to the UK.)

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Just booked my flight to Merry England. I fly out on Friday, 11 August. I shall go to the Pokrovka St. migration office very early on Monday morning in order to show them again all my documentation as well as a copy of my flight booking and electronic ticket.

      I presume they will then ask me for my passport in order to stick into it a transit visa.

      I shall then have to return to Pokrovka St. some time in order to collect my passport with the attached transit visa.

      They told me this afternoon to book a flight that will depart some 4 to 5 days after my applying for a transit visa.

      I am absolutely tired and weary of this endless bureaucracy!

      I am flying Aeroflot from Sheremetyevo to London, and then, after a 2 hour stopover, I fly BA to Manchester.

      And blow me down! After having booked with boring old Aeroflot and BA, I have just found this ad. for a Kazakhstan travel company which has caused something of a scandal:

      Now why didn’t I book a flight with them?

      Well, the dacha calls. I shall go there for the weekend, come back to Moscow, finish, hopefully, this bloody seemingly endless bureaucratic business at Pokrovka Street, go back to the dacha, come back to Moscow for my passport with transit visa attached, and then its “Chocks away!” and up into the wide blue yonder.

  43. Cortes says:

    Despite a few annoying uses of “Baltic” for “Balkan” the following article by Engdahl on developments in Russian energy supply relations with the countries of SE Europe is interesting:

    https://journal-neo.org/2017/07/31/turkey-russia-and-interesting-new-balkan-geopolitics/

  44. Northern Star says:

    @Matt

    “In 2013, according to a study published by The Washington Post, Venezuela turned out to be the most racist country in the American continent. Data compiled by Max Fisher and collected by the World Values Survey point out that the Nordic, Anglo-Saxon and Latin American countries are the most tolerant to accepting citizens of different backgrounds. Venezuela was an exception, Fisher presumes that it is because the unequal distribution of wealth has influenced an altered public perception of different ethnicities and types.”

    Hmmm.. I imagine that you have milky white skin and pale blue eyes….Si Senor Matt????

    http://elestimulo.com/climax/la-venezuela-multicultural-aun-esconde-racismo/

    :O)

    • Matt says:

      “I imagine that you have milky white skin and pale blue eyes….Si Senor Matt???”

      This is a new low, even for you, NS. As a matter of fact, I have dark brown eyes and brown skin.

      That you would stoop so low as to assume I am a racist with white skin (a common caricature of the Venezuelan opposition), only goes to show that you are pathetically grasping at straws. And failing, quite handsomely at that.

      Try harder. Some day you’ll strike gold.

  45. Moscow Exile says:

    They still won’t send the criminal charlatan down!

    Navalny’s suspended sentence under Kirovles case extended

    Currently, he is under house arrest in an embezzlement case at Yves Rocher Vostok, the company’s East Europe subsidiary that sued Alexei Navalny and his brother for fraud and money laundering.

    Navalny is also suspected of embezzling funds from the Union of Right Forces. According to investigators, a company headed by Navalny allegedly embezzled about 100 million rubles (about $3 million), which was allocated to the neoliberal political party, the Union of Right Forces, several years ago.

    Navalny denies all charges and says the allegations are politically motivated.

  46. J.T. says:

    Hello Stooges! August booklist is up if anyone’s interested.
    https://russiareviewed.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/august-booklist/

    • Cortes says:

      Just off to get my copy of “The Patriots!” Who could possibly resist a blurb like:

      “The Patriots is a riveting evocation of the Cold War years, told with brilliant insight and extraordinary skill. Alternating between Florence’s and Julian’s perspectives, it is at once a mother-son story and a tale of two countries bound in a dialectic dance; a love story and a spy story; both a grand, old-fashioned epic and a contemporary novel of ideas. Through the history of one family moving back and forth between continents over three generations, The Patriots is a poignant tale of the power of love, the rewards and risks of friendship, and the secrets parents and children keep from one another.”

  47. Cortes says:

    Michael Brenner on the sad (but hilarious) failures of linear thinking in the USA’s policies and programmes in the “Greater Middle East” since 9/11:

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/08/the-linear-mindset-in-us-foreign-policy.html#more

    NB: contains killer footnote.

  48. ucgsblog says:

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-military-wants-world-war-164120556.html

    “A leading U.S. military official has expressed his desire to organize larger, more internationally involved defense drills in order to compete with an increasingly powerful Russia. As U.S.-led multinational coalition NATO conducts a near-constant series of drills in the face of heightened Russian military activity, Air Force Brigadier General John Healy, director of U.S. exercises in Europe, said this week that he was looking to expand these efforts to include more Western allies from around the world. Ultimately, he said having one comprehensive training maneuver would be crucial in testing NATO’s preparedness for a global showdown with Russia if current tensions should spill over into an actual battlefield.”

    The Russians should respond with:

    “I’m not sure this is a good idea, because our armed forces take Meldonium. Plus, according to an alleged serial extortionist, and an alleged bitch +1 who couldn’t even win when they cheated, I mean most credible, superb witnesses, we clearly don’t deserve to be here; plus our handicapped service members get competitive benefits, clearly a major ‘no-no’ and we do other mean stuff too, like beat athletes from other countries honestly, without an international agency needed to backstab their athletes!”

    Not sure if it will be done eventually, but certainly some potshots like that should be sent out. I think global military war games would be great, but some rules need to be established first, and certain organizations need to be barred forever from said military games, from the get go.

  49. Moscow Exile says:

    Раздвоение Киева

    Split personality Kiev
    Ukrainian Minister: Russia will not be able to build the Crimean bridge

    The head of the Ukraine Ministry of Justice, Pavel Petrenko, has said that Russia will not be able to complete the Kerch bridge. The strange thing is that at the same time Petrenko’s ministry is preparing to file a claim for damage that the Ukraine will suffer when the bridge connecting the Crimea with the rest of Russia is put into operation.

    Ukraine Minister of Justice Pavel Petrenko has said that he does not see it possible for Russia to complete the Kerch bridge, whose builders completed the assembly of a road arch last week, closing it at a height of 45 m.

    “Russia cannot even build smaller infrastructure facilities properly. I know that after the Olympics in Sochi, entire stadiums have already begun to collapse”, he said, without specifying which sports facility has become defective.

    The official added that foreign companies will not help build the road bridge to the peninsula, which became part of Russia following areferendum in 2014.

    “No self-respecting international company will even put a bolt or nut on it, because it risks losing its business on EU territory, the US and Japan — and in countries that have joined sanctions against Russia regarding the Crimea. These sanctions also prohibit companies from supplying any equipment there. We see what happened to Siemens. That is to say,I am firmly convinced of there being virtually no prospect for this project”, Petrenko said.

    He also expressed the opinion that everyone who involved in the construction of the Kerch bridge will be under international sanctions.

    It should be noted here that the “disbelief” of a high-ranking Ukrainian official in the successful completion of the construction of the Kerch bridge does not prevent his agency from preparing a claim for damages to the Ukrainian budget owing to the commissioning of a bridge that will connect the Crimea with the rest of Russia.

    “The further construction and commissioning of the bridge across the Kerch Strait will lead to a significant reduction of ship calls to the seaports of Mariupol and Berdyansk, a reduction in the turnover of these ports, inhibition of their development, a decrease in the profitability of metallurgical enterprises in the region, a reduction in the profit of port operators and branches of the Administration of Seaports of the Ukraine, which Is unacceptable”, the head of the Ministry of Infrastructure

    I am sure that fake country must be choc-a-bloc with shitwits now, the normal ones having long decamped to Russia.

    Of those shitwits who have chosen to emigrate, they all seem to have headed off for Canada.

  50. Patient Observer says:

    In defense of hate (and a very good defense indeed):

    http://www.ecosophia.net/hate-new-sex/

    That’s what happens whenever people decide that an ordinary human emotion is unacceptable and insist that good people don’t experience it. A culture of pretense, hypocrisy, and evasion springs up to allow them to vent the unacceptable emotion on some set of acceptable targets without admitting that they were doing so. That’s what emerged in Victorian society once people convinced themselves that sexual desire was the root of all evil, and it’s what has emerged in our time as people have convinced themselves that hate fills the same role. In a very real sense, these days, hate is the new sex.

    The official US culture defined by Hollywood is nothing but pretense, hypocrisy, and evasion. The targets of suppressed hate include the deplorables and the Russians.

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