Europe is Fundamentally Unserious About Mending Fences with Russia.

Uncle Volodya says, “Occasionally he stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened.”

Certain European communities – usually from the business sector, but occasionally high-ranking politicians like Sigmar Gabriel – have publicly expressed resolve to make things up with Russia, and at least arrive at some sort of truce which will allow Europe to ease sanctions and hopefully re-enter the busy Russian market. And they probably mean it. But they are sardines swimming against the tide of ignorant European ideologues. Just as an aside, NATO may well come to rue the day it went on its expansionist bender and incorporated much of post-Soviet eastern Europe. It’s kind of like being in a bar known for spontaneous brawls, with a tiny but loudmouthed acquaintance who won’t shut up. And no region so perfectly exemplifies that all-hat-no-cattle mouthiness like the Baltics, with their permanent maidenly apprehensions that Russia wants to bend them over a chair and roger them to bleeding, weeping unconsciousness.

Giving a voice to this maudlin it’s-all-about-us conceit is the outgoing EU Ambassador to the Russian Federation,

Let me make a prediction here and now, (I used his full name because I’m not sure which is his first and which the last); you’re going to regret the second one more than the first. Because it’s probably already too late for the west to get back anything like half its previous market share in Russia, and if sanctions do indeed stay in place until Putin is gone, Russians will have forgotten what French cheese tastes like, and that apples ever grew in Poland. The European market in Russia will have been completely replaced. Because barring sudden and unexpected death, Putin is not going anywhere for a long time. Russians know better than to replace the greatest statesman of their time just because Europe is having a bit of a paddy, and continued insistence will only be to Europe’s sorrow. The nation can smarten the hell up, or it can continue to let ignorant, pedantic, tunnel-vision ideologues like speak for it.

But since we’re already here, let’s have a look at what he said.

Well, we don’t have to even get into the first article to get to the first poke in the eye – the caption accompanying the lead photo says, “‘The Russian leadership will continue to reject the outcome of the cold war”.

Is that so? The ‘outcome’ of the cold war was an affirmation of western values, was it? Tell you what – let’s ask the graduate students in military history at the oldest private military college in the USA, birthplace of the ROTC – Norwich University.

Hmmm….In their “Five Reasons for the Collapse of the Soviet Union”, I count (1) Perestroika and Glasnost, (2) Ideological Purity of the Politburo, (3) Western Aggression – Lord, have mercy!!!, (4) Guns and Butter (excessive expense of the defense budget, which you could subliminally tie to (3) since western aggression was manifested in driving the Soviet Union into an arms race), and (5) Nationalist Movements.

Conspicuous by its absence? (6) Pining for Western Values.

Look, analysts are still arguing over what caused the Soviet Union’s collapse, and what the Norwich graduate students think isn’t necessarily definitive, although their reasons cover the same hypotheses as many – if not most – of the western think tanks. But the notion that the Soviet Union fell apart because the population aspired to western values, I ….well…I just don’t know what to say. It’s not so much a stupid assumption as it is an example of completely unsupported thought, and its proponent should be watched closely in case he takes it into his head to fly from the balcony of a tall building.

Oh, wait; maybe that statement was just thrown in there to goad and annoy Russians, because NATO ‘won’ the cold war! Do you suppose? No; couldn’t be. Because the west has values, and taunting a former ally who lost 25 million dead in World War II to stop the Wehrmacht from raving throughout Europe would be a pretty poor demonstration of values, wouldn’t it? Startling statistic – for every American soldier killed in World War II, the Soviet Union lost 80: the butcher’s bill was high indeed.

At the heart of this clash are fundamental differences over the future of Ukraine and Georgia, and their right to choose their own alliances. This clash is also about core European values.

See, those are the kind of holier-than-thou, lofty bullshit statements that make otherwise-reasonable people swing for the chin. Ukraine, for example, had ‘the right to choose its own alliances’ only so long as it was choosing the west. Are people’s memories really so short? Russia and Ukraine separately proposed Ukraine could be a member both of the EU and the Eurasian Union, and serve as a bridge to both – can you imagine how much better off it would have been, had it been allowed to pursue that course, than it is now?

In 2004, during a visit to Spain, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered his backing for Ukraine pursuing closer ties with the EU, in careful but unambiguous terms: “If Ukraine wants to join the EU and if the EU accepts Ukraine as a member, Russia, I think, would welcome this.” The trouble with the west – well, one of its troubles – is that its ideologues interpret any cooperation as a sign of weakness and desperation, and conclude this is the time to strike. What did Putin get for his offer of cooperation? The Orange Revolution in Kiev, an admitted western-backed and conceived intervention to put a pro-western President in the driver’s seat in Ukraine. Like that old country aphorism goes, the west is not interested in buying the cow if it can get the milk for free, and coups are just so exciting.

In his inaugural address in 2010, Yanukovych spelled out his intent that Ukraine should be neither a toady to Russia nor to the EU, but a bridge between west and east. Brussels was either tone-deaf, or was not listening, and presented him with a list of changes he must make in order for Ukraine to become accepted into the EU, and a corresponding list of financial rewards he could expect for making those changes.

A less naive and more cautious Moscow proposed the realization of Yanukovych’s vision:

The Kremlin then proposed to Brussels that negotiations be conducted between the EU and the Eurasian Union — directly between the two blocs of power. But European Commission President José Manuel Barroso refused to meet with the leaders of the Eurasian Union, a bloc he considered to be an EU competitor.

“One country cannot at the same time be a member of a customs union and be in a deep common free-trade area with the European Union,” the commission president said on February 25. He said that Kiev had to decide which path it wanted to take. The message was clear: Kiev had to choose either Brussels or Moscow.

That’s right – if you want to attribute individual blame to such a monumental catastrophe, a good place to start would be with the arrogant Jose Manuel Barroso. The catechism went “Ukraine must choose its own path”, until it chose to turn down the association agreement and continue a traditional alliance with Moscow. On paper, the EU – like its partner, the United States – pretends to champion freedom to make decisions without pressure: in practice, it only supports alliances and loyalties which are in its own favour. Nothing wrong with being driven by self-interest; it is largely a natural trait, and practically nobody but saints and martyrs works to help those they know owe them nothing – but for the love of God, drop the piety act.

Everyone who has not deliberately blocked out the memory of the Glorious Maidan, Revolution of Dignity, remembers the place as being stiff with US State Department bigwigs and European Union diplomats, egging the revolutionaries on. There was no state representation from the Russian Federation at all. Yet the narrative went that Russia was putting pressure on Ukraine to change its mind, and threatening punishments if it did not. The western press made much of the crippling blow to Petro Poroshenko – then just another Ukrainian ‘tycoon’ – caused by Russia’s embargo of his confectionery products: tell me now, is Poroshenko richer today, or poorer? He still can’t sell his candies in Russia. But his profits have continuously multiplied.

When you strip the event down to its most basic facts, the EU said more than once that it did not intend to get involved in a tug-of-war with Russia over Ukraine, and that the latter was free to choose its own alliances. When Ukraine chose an alliance with Moscow, the EU and its partner the United States intervened and nurtured a violent series of riots which toppled Yanukovych even though he had made concessions which satisfied all the opposition’s demands. Demonstrably, when the EU says states are free to choose their own path, it cannot be taken at its word, which is the kindest face I can put on lying.

What else you got, ? The cornerstones of European democracy? Let’s take a look at those, what do you say? How is Europe observing them? Civil society activism? According to Carnegie Europe’s Richard Youngs, senior fellow of their Democracy and Rule of Law Program, nearly 100 governments around the world have introduced legislation that restricts freedom of association and assembly; they can’t all be Putin’s Russia. I’ll bet one of them is England, where the new Investigatory Powers Act of 2016 allows a wider range of collection and analysis of formerly private data than anywhere else in the world.

How about in Lithuania? What did the US State Department’s Human Rights Report for 2016 have to say? Let’s look, how about?

…Intolerance took the form of xenophobia, anti-Semitism, prejudice against ethnic minorities and against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons; Roma continued to experience poor living conditions often in areas of high crime, and faced social exclusion and discrimination…Additional problems included “antipropaganda” laws restricting freedom of speech and expression, authorities’ refusal to grant asylum interviews to persons deemed to have arrived from “safe” countries of origin or transit, and isolated reports of government corruption. Laws against spousal rape were inadequate, and domestic violence was widespread. There was a culture of silence around sexual harassment. Trafficking in persons remained a problem, as did social integration and inadequate access to services and facilities for persons with disabilities…

The report does reflect the authorities took action to punish transgressors, but surely that did not include the government, for passing the ‘anti-propaganda’ law. Lithuanian activists were quick to point out that when Russia passed what they describe as a similar law, the EU was all over them like a fat kid on a chocolate cake. But when Lithuania did it? Crickets.

“The day Lithuania joined the EU was one of the happiest days of my life. We thought it meant that we would be safe. But now the EU seems like an elite club, where it’s not appropriate to tell members off even when they are badly mannered.”

Let’s see…we already kind of covered freedom of speech…let’s look at political pluralism. The 2014 presidential election in Lithuania featured 7 candidates. Polls prior to the vote indicated nobody running against Grybauskaitė had a hope in hell of winning, and that’s exactly how it turned out – she pulled in more than 3 times the votes of her closest competitor in the first round. She won with 57.9% of the vote.

How does that demonstrate political pluralism?

The Russian presidential election in 2012 featured 5 candidates. Polls prior to the vote indicated nobody running against Vladimir Putin had a hope in hell of winning, and that’s exactly how it turned out – he pulled in more than 3 times the votes of his closest competitor in the first round. He won with 63.6% of the vote.

How is that less a demonstration of political pluralism than the process in Lithuania? In both cases the winner was a foregone conclusion – what the fuck do we do polling for, if not to get a picture of who is likely to win? In how many cases in Europe is the election result a complete surprise? In both elections, you could have expanded the field to a hundred candidates – not to mention financed a hundred political campaigns at public expense – and the results would have been  exactly the same. So stop pretending the Russian elections are some kind of nefarious perversion of democracy, while European elections make one want to weep with the purity of their cliffhanger deliberations.

I nearly sighed myself to death when I read this ridiculous canard; ” The Nord Stream II project does not comply with EU energy objectives on diversification.” EU popinjays have given up on reporting that the pipeline project violates EU law, because it doesn’t – any fool could have seen that, it follows the same route as Nord Stream I, and the EU didn’t block that. So now unimaginative dullards appealing to the even-more-halfwitted have taken the line that it is Russia’s fault a gas-spouting volcano has failed to emerge in the English Channel, and evil Putin is scheming to benefit from that non-appearance.

What it essentially boils down to is that the EU needs the gas, wants the gas, and Russia has the gas. What remains is a brawl to make sure – from Russia’s point of view – that the EU does not get the gas on its own terms. The EU, naturally, is trying to do just that; it wants to get the gas, but only exactly as much as it needs regardless how that differs from forecasts, and to set the price it wants to pay.

That’s why did not make any friends in Germany when he included the next spiteful lines: “We should also retain vigilance when attempts are made to award states business contracts as a quid pro quo for questioning the sanctions regime or broader EU policies.”

Perhaps when he returns to Lithuania, Vygaudas will discover a gas-spouting volcano just outside of Vilnius. That would save the Lithuanian parliament from storming off in a snit to build more LNG terminals, and paying more for its energy than Gazprom charges, just to make a point and rather than simply negotiating with Gazprom for a lower rate.

I stopped reading when he quacked that it is high time for the EU to be involved in the Normandy Four format, making it the Normandy Five, I guess. The Normandy Four group has gotten the square root of nil decimal fuck-all accomplished, considering both Kiev and Moscow are immovable. Kiev wants the restive east to settle down and come back to taxpayer-land and for Russia to give back Crimea, and Russia will never do that. Any negotiation forum in which the two principal parties will not change their positions is doomed to accomplish nothing, and the last thing the Normandy Four needs is a bunch of EU freeloaders gobbling up full per-diem and hogging all the best hotel rooms just so they can get nothing accomplished.

The second article reiterates many of the points from the first and is essentially a collection of many of the same tired Baltic talking points. It does, however, reiterate the theme that the EU needs to stick together, and prevent Moscow from using business deals to reward certain states and splinter the union. He really has it in for Germany and Nord Stream; perhaps he fancies Lithuania could become Europe’s gas hub, with its Magik LNG Terminal Of Democracy and Freedom.

I can’t wait to see who the new EU Ambassador to the Russian Federation will be – it can’t be Dmytro Yarosh, because Ukraine is not a member of the EU, but I’m sure the selectmen considered him with a covetous eye. H.G. Wells, of “War of the Worlds” fame, saw where the world is heading more clearly than most – it’s always the philosophers, isn’t it? He said, “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe”.

I wonder for how much longer we can avoid the latter.

 

 

 

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671 Responses to Europe is Fundamentally Unserious About Mending Fences with Russia.

  1. Moscow Exile says:


    Liar, cheat, charlatan, national embarrassment … unfit for public office
    no wonder so few think Aleksei is the next President of the Russian Federation

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      ^Navalny’s “voter base” in one picture. Acne ridden school kids, who don’t know how to write without mistakes. BTW, in the slang “опустить” is a prison term for, ah… Let’s just say – those who are affected by this (“опущенные”) have their buttocks tatooed with eyes are from now on treated as the lowest scum and passive homosexualists (“roosters/петухи”).

      Navalny and Volkov are still in prison. 😉

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Nah, they are only being held in detention because of breach of administrative law, which is similar to being held on remand in the UK, meaning you aren’t banged up in a slammer with 3 others, with whom you use shit-bucket for a toilet and go out for a 20 minute walk in a circle an no conversing!

        On remand you can play ping-pong etc. and socialize and watch TV etc., because you’ve not been convicted: nor has Navalny — of a crime.

        Using British convict jargon, Navalny’s only got time for a shit and a shave and then he’s out: I could do 20 days standing on me fucking head!

        🙂

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Mikhail Khodorkovsky owned “Open Russia” reports:

      “Protesters in Moscow call back Vladimir Soloviev’s comment, who called them “2% of shit”. They are chanting “We are 3%!””

      Sooo…. They are not disputing the claim itself?

  2. Moscow Exile says:


    The whole world is with us!

  3. Patient Observer says:

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/3-nations-stop-hypersonic-missile-020900745.html

    ?The world is on the cusp of a dangerous hypersonic missile arms race, but three nations—Russia, China and the United States—have the power to stop it.

    Is this the same country that abrogated the ABM treaty when it thought it had an advantage in that area? Remember “rods from god” weapons (actually pie in the sky) that sent politicians and fan boys salivating? Global push button murder was the goal. There was no talk of banning the development of those destabilizing weapons.

    So, Russia takes the lead in hypersonic missile technology that morphs aircraft carriers into defenseless $10 billion targets. Is that the problem?

    • marknesop says:

      “Global push-button murder” – what a resonant phrase! That’s a headline, all by itself – well done.

      The west’s cooperation will hang on whether it perceives itself to be ahead or behind the development curve. Like they say, Nobody ever says “It’s just a game” when their team is winning.

  4. yalensis says:

    Here is Shariy’s take on what he calls “Navalny’s March of the Lispers”.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      And yet there are some that say yesterday’s farce was not a failure.

      • Patient Observer says:

        In the US, the story had its 15 minutes of fame and was reported as a serious challenge to Putin. The story did note that most of the protesters were students and teenagers and were less than 700 in Moscow (could have said less than a million and still be correct). The anti-Russian trolls were in full force in the Yahoo comment section. Some suggested that the protesters will all be murdered in a few days and others were not as charitable.

  5. yalensis says:

    And another interesting piece, this time on religious news. (Very appropriate for a Sunday morning.)

    In this one, Orthodox supporters of Natalia Poklonskaya have started a petition to canonize her.
    The author of the petition is Alexei Evstratov, and the petition is addressed to the Russian Orthodox Church.
    Apparently it only takes 500 signatures to get the process started, and they have already collected 364, so it seems a done deal, if I did the math correctly they only have 136 left to go.

    The basis of the petition is that Natasha personally witnessed the bust of Nikolai II in Simferopol weeping oily tears. Since then people have been bringing their sick children to the bust to get healed. With unspecified but no doubt statistically viable results.
    Some of the commenters to the piece seem to think this is a joke, but I’m not so sure.

    Meanwhile, in probably what IS a joke, LenOblast Deputy Vladimir Petrov sent a petition to the Roman Catholic Pope Francis to start the canonization process for Polish ballerina Mathilde Kschessinska.
    Doesn’t explain what the reasoning is.
    Maybe because the Bolsheviks rudely appropriated Mathilde’s mansion after she fled from to Paris. If she had stayed behind, Lenin’s goons probably would have sexually harrassed her, or at the very least forced her to serve drinks during their committee meetings.

    Or maybe because Mathilde had intimate relations with another saintly figure, namely Saint Nicholas himself! Mathilde’s holy Fouettés caused Nicky to excrete something not unlike oily tears. In turn, Nicky’s tears were witnessed by Natasha, and resulted in the healing of an unnumbered volume of sick children.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Hi Yalensis – Both Mark and I left you messages on the previous comment string. My message is for you to watch the following video when you have about 90 minutes to spare – it’s that good and it could offer help regarding our mother’s diabetes.

      • marknesop says:

        “…regarding our mother’s diabetes”

        Yalensis and I are already brothers – are you our brother, too? I am discovering long-lost family like crazy here.

      • yalensis says:

        Hi, P.O. – I was busy and got behind on my “policing the thread” thing, but I did see your comment and vid belatedly. Thanks for posting, and also thanks for trying to help my mom.
        My take-away is that civilized governments should ban fructose in foods, as it seems to be a sort of poison!

        • yalensis says:

          P.S. – my mom likes to joke that she has so many children, she has forgotten how to count them.
          Some have curly hair, some have straight hair, some have blue eyes, some have brown eyes.
          One from the milkman, another from the postman, another from the delivery man, etc etc.

    • marknesop says:

      What a pity – Natasha is so cute and innocently-sexy, and now she is being turned into an unstable nut right before our eyes. Partly her own fault, of course, with her odd fixation on Nicholas. But perhaps she would have buried it if it were not encouraged. Now it’s impossible to see her as the Prosecutie she once was.

  6. Patient Observer says:

    Watching live on RT coverage of a fire at a “construction market”. Lots of smoke and a helicopter flying around. Fire looks like confined to the roof; probably roofers with their hot tar – a dirty nasty job but a tar roof is quite durable. Or, it could be something to do with Putin – too early to speculate.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Fire is in Moscow. Wonder if ME can see the smoke.

    • Drutten says:

      It’s at a Sindika hardware mall. There’s a lot of paint and other chemicals in places like that, so the smoke is probably not too healthy.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      A Maidan old tyre burner’s wet dream!

      Can’t see it, though: it’s 15 miles north-west of here, and it’s dark right now in Moscow at 18:45.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Other than the fire and smoke, looks like a beautiful evening.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Yeah, but it’s going cold and the leaves are falling as winter approaches.

          I have had no summer here this year because of those bureaucrat arse-holes!

          I was not allowed to leave Russia, so I could not go to Turkey in June with my wife and children and on 11 August I had to leave Russia.

          I stayed in Manchester until 16 September, and it pissed it down most of the time, as bloody usual.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Started in an underground car park:

      During a fire, several cars exploded in an underground car park at the Sindika shopping centre car park at Moscow Ring Road 65 kms. This was reported by the emergency services of the capital.

      “High temperatures caused the explosion of several cars in the underground car park, It is all ablaze”, said a TASS source. Strong bangs continue to be heard from the shopping centre building.

      The fire started in the basement of the shopping centre “Sindika”. The fire area covers 5 thousand sq. m. Three thousand people were evacuated from the building and it took about a hundred firefighters to put the fire out.

      Previously portal iz.ru reported that, according to preliminary data, during the fire at the “Sindika” shopping centre, carbon monoxide had poisoned eight people.

      See: Несколько автомобилей взорвались на парковке горящего ТЦ «Синдика»
      8 октября 2017, 18:18

  7. Lyttenburgh says:

    As they say in Odessa: “You gonna laugh, but…” lil’ girl Bana-Banana just released her first (but surely – just the first) bestselling novel.

    And, of course – the critical reviewes and comments to the book are currently living on a borrowed time, before the Invisible Hand of the Market takes them down:

    P.S. Also – this tells you everything you need to know about the state of “Syrian History” studies in the Anglophonic world, if THIS became #1 book.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “Buy my book, plox!”

      And if you are thinking – “Okay, it can’t get lower than that”… you are sooooo wrong!

      • Drutten says:

        I’m surprised they didn’t drop project Bana, after all the “last message from Aleppo” stuff that permeated social media for a little while turned out to be bullshit for everybody to see.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      That’s it! I’m burning all my Harry Potter books!

      Only kidding!

      I only read the first of the series. I’m one of those few who thinks HP is crap.

      • yalensis says:

        By saying “Harry Potter” is crap, you insult the very essence of crap.

        • marknesop says:

          I thought the books were all right; my daughter and I read them all, and she has the set in Russian as well. I liked most of the movies, too. Although I don’t care for the author’s politics. But I don’t let that colour my enjoyment of her work. I loved “The Lord of the Rings”, too, which ME thinks is also crap. I guess my genre is crap.

          • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

            Richmal Crompton was a much better children’s writer than Rowling.

            • marknesop says:

              That might be worth checking out. We did read Enid Blyton’s “The Wishing Chair”, but that was a long time ago when she was quite small. Now she’s into magic and wizards and all that stuff; we’re currently reading James Owen’s “Here There be Dragons“. Not tonight, though; she’s occupied with dragons of a different sort. She’s at the Imagine Dragons concert in Vancouver with her Mum. The show should be starting just about now, in fact.

              This is probably their biggest hit; they’re not too bad. They’re from Vegas.

  8. Lyttenburgh says:

    WSJ reports:

    Yeah! Bad-bad Ruski spies stole our own spying software!.. Only they didn’t. The idiot employee of the month working for NSA took home said programs and uploaded them on his own (personal) computer. And because he had Kaspersky anti-virus installed, the anti-vir program treated these new files as harmful stuff and even filed a report to the server.

    See?! This is why Shy and Humane intilligents working for the NSA, CIA FBI and Madame Clinton attacked Kaspersky Labs!

    • Drutten says:

      Yeah, it’s fucking grand, really. An NSA contractor messes up bigtime and it’s all Russias fault somehow. The mental gymnastics in this piece are pretty impressive indeed.

      However, there is another layer to this, namely that the NSA alleges that there is a backdoor in Kaspersky’s malware signature handling, that makes said information accessible by outsiders. The NSA apparently knows this while Kaspersky Labs themselves don’t, but the NSA refuses to tell Kaspersky exactly where this backdoor is despite being asked numerous times so that Kaspersky could get it patched up. Why would the NSA not help them out here?

      The answer is dead obvious – the NSA themselves are utilizing this particular backdoor, perhaps they even engineered it themselves (as their own reach is far beyond that of any other security services). As has been established already, Kaspersky’s software is very effective at locating malware and other hacking tools, even previously unknown ones, and if anyone in another country makes the same mistake as the aforementioned NSA guy did and accidentally gets his Kaspersky antivirus to report some malware he’s working on – voilá.

      • Drutten says:

        And this whole story apparently dates back to 2015, but was not publicly announced until now. The reason behind that is also dead obvious.

        It is also quite entertaining that the chief concern expressed by the NSA in that WSJ piece is that thanks to the eventual leak of NSA malware signatures, the Russian can protect themselves better against offensive US hacking efforts. All of these things combined make the headline absolutely hilarious.

    • marknesop says:

      Yeah, I figured it was something like that. It sounded too much like spin. And it was.

  9. Special_sauce says:

    From my twitter feed. Too true!

  10. Patient Observer says:

    The verdict is in. Alexander Mercouris presented a lawyerly analysis of the UN report and confirmed that the sanctions imposed by the US and EU were illegal, ineffective and actually helped Russia.

    http://theduran.com/un-report-anti-russian-sanctions-failed/

    Though it has gone almost entirely unreported in the Western media, a report provided by a UN Special Rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council appears to the first serious attempt by an international authority to assess the effectiveness of the sanctions the Western powers have imposed on Russia.

    The report’s conclusions are that the sanctions have been ineffective in that they have done only marginal damage to the Russian economy and have been significantly more costly to the EU’s economy than to Russia’s, though they have caused real hardship to many individuals both in the EU and in Russia.

    Most controversial of all, the report casts doubt on the legality of the whole sanctions regime imposed by the West on Russia.

    I would add that the sanctions may have permitted Russia to lawfully reject WTO requirements regarding importation of agricultural products. Russia took advantage of the opportunity handed to them on a silver platter to develop its domestic suppliers and find new, more reliable markets. Also it has been written that the government was able to make reforms not popular with the wealthy class.

    In my opinion the west was going for a knockout of Russia with a coordinated attacks using sanctions and collapsed oil prices. Their plans came up way short and now their quiver is largely empty.

    What do you do when your best shot only made your opponent stronger and more resolute? Something desperate? Is this the “calm before the storm”?

  11. et Al says:

    Financial Crimes: Boeing helped finance bailout of Monarch Airlines
    https://www.ft.com/content/a7cb0a40-ac48-11e7-aab9-abaa44b1e130

    US aircraft maker provided capital injection into the faltering British carrier

    …The Seattle-based plane maker is understood to have pumped more than £100m into the airline in a move that both staved off its immediate closure and proofed its private equity owner — Greybull Capital — against further losses.

    Boeing is understood to have injected the money through Monarch’s offshore holding company, Petrol Jersey…

    …The deal raises questions about widespread reports that Greybull lost some £250m in the collapse. The private equity firm is the airline’s principal secured creditor. The Boeing deal substantially reduces its equity exposure…

    …much of the money came from Boeing, delivered through a complex release of equity embedded in the value of orders placed by Monarch for 30 new Boeing 737 MAX planes.

    Boeing’s involvement in Monarch’s financing stems from the airline’s decision to switch from Airbus to Boeing single-aisle aircraft in 2014. The US aircraft maker is understood to have given Monarch a deep discount on a $3.1bn order for 30 jets in order to secure the deal, just days after the carrier was acquired by Greybull. …
    ####

    More at the link.

  12. Patient Observer says:

    NK has a power grid? Apparently so:

    https://www.rt.com/news/406063-south-korea-graphite-bomb/

    South Korea says it has developed technologies to produce graphite bombs capable of paralyzing North Korea’s power supply in case of war, Yonhap news agency reports, citing military officials.

    A freefall variant of the munition, the BLU-114/B graphite cluster bomb, was used in 1999 during NATO’s attack on Serbia. The bombs affected 70 percent of the country’s power supply, but as Serbs promptly restored the grid, BLU-114/Bs were used again to hamper their repair efforts. Afterward, NATO switched to using conventional munitions against the Serbian power grid.

    Targeting a civilian electrical grid with conventional bombs I see. The real value of Western elites are on display.

    Nazism is simply a subset of Western values.

    • marknesop says:

      Well, well – lookie here:

      Draft Rules of Aerial Warfare, The Hague, February 1923

      Aerial bombardment for the purpose of terrorizing the civilian population, of destroying or damaging private property not of military character, or of injuring non-combatants is prohibited.

      (1) Aerial bombardment is legitimate only when directed at a military objective, that is to say, an object of which the destruction or injury would constitute a distinct military advantage to the belligerent.

      (2) Such bombardment is legitimate only when directed exclusively at the following objectives: military forces; military works; military establishments or depots; factories constituting important and well-known centres engaged in the manufacture of arms, ammunition or distinctively military supplies; lines of communication or transportation used for military purposes.

      (3) The bombardment of cities, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings not in the immediate neighborhood of the operations of land forces is prohibited. In cases where the objectives specified in paragraph 2 are so situated, that they cannot be bombarded without the indiscriminate bombardment of the civilian population, the aircraft must abstain from bombardment.

      I. Recognizes the following principles as a necessary basis for any subsequent regulations:

      1) The intentional bombing of civilian populations is illegal;

      2) Objectives aimed at from the air must be legitimate military objectives and must be identifiable;

      3) Any attack on legitimate military objectives must be carried out in such a way that civilian populations in the neighbourhood are not bombed through negligence;

  13. kznwatch says:

    Hi Mark– I have played around on your site and enjoyed everything I’ve read so far, but actually landed here in pursuit of specific info. So in a way, I am a bit off-topic here, if you’ll bear with me.
    Sure you and or Kovane (?) — hope got spelling of his name right– will be able to help me. Here are my questions:

    From what I’d gleaned from watching “In the Shadow of Hermes” — (Juri Lina) — the Bolshevik Jews* instituted communism in Russia in 1917– the Cheka and NKVD purges what followed, were terrible– multi millions died. But then the USSR was formed in 1922– i.e. the Union [of] Soviet Socialist Republics– so the government was socialist– not communist?

    However, did most Russians– by that time used to communist rule (hard to imagine!) — prefer communism to socialism? It is very difficult to find authentic info on what Russians’ day-to-day living was like during the USSR period– because it would seem that many to this day, long to return to the lifestyle they had then?

    Last question: During the USSR (1922–1991) — did the Western and Russian oligarchs (mainly Russian Jews*), plunder and pillage Russia throughout and actually right up to when Putin came to power? For if these traitors did, surely it would have impacted severely on the lifestyle of ordinary Russian folk– all classes, down to the peasantry?

    So that when Putin finally arrived, Russia was pretty broken and bent– the country owed a lot to the IMF/WB etc, which Putin set about paying off, while he was challenged on so many fronts– events that come to mind are– 1) The terrorist war in Chechnya 2) The Kursk 3) Beslan 4) The terrorist attacks in Moscow. Putin was well aware of the forces behind these attacks, but he survived them. Furthermore, he immediately sorted out the people of Sakhalin, while he also got Russia’s healthcare back on track.

    Sorry so many questions, but I want to know the full story, as so many lies continue being spread about Russia and especially its hotting up again now, because Russian elections are coming up and the communists are grandstanding big time. I am no conspiracy theorist either, but of course we all know, the western bankster gangsters want Putin out– badly too. Would really appreciate your response. Thank you.

    * Please note– Not meant as anti-Semitic, simply stating what is at least a known fact, as also the international banker, party to funding and involvement with, what was in reality a coupd’etat.

    • Matt says:

      “the western bankster gangsters want Putin out”

      The “banksters” love Putin. You probably subscribe to the conspiracy theory that the U.S. political class is in cahoots with da “banksters” to take down sooper-awesome Pootin because he’s doing such an awesomely dank job of defending Madher Rasha.

      “Last question: During the USSR (1922–1991) — did the Western and Russian oligarchs (mainly Russian Jews*), plunder and pillage Russia throughout and actually right up to when Putin came to power?”

      No. The Soviet Union didn’t have an oligarchic class, and if there were wealthy people, they were NOT pro-West. The oligarchs that plundered Russia did so after the collapse of the USSR, in the 1990s. And there’s no point in calling them “Western and Russian”. They were thoroughly Russian; Russians looted other Russians in the 1990s.

      “So that when Putin finally arrived, Russia was pretty broken and bent– the country owed a lot to the IMF/WB etc, which Putin set about paying off, while he was challenged on so many fronts– events that come to mind are– 1) The terrorist war in Chechnya 2) The Kursk 3) Beslan 4) The terrorist attacks in Moscow.”

      One of Putin’s first major blunders was in fact The Kursk’s sinking. He did handle the Jihadist issue well, but committed war crimes along the way.

      He’s also done a good job lying about MH17.

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