Ukraine on the Proud Highway: Skidding in Broadside.

Uncle Volodya says, “Don’t waste time beating on a wall, hoping it will turn into a door.”

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
– Hunter S. Thompson, “The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967”

Whew! It’s been a hell of a ride, hasn’t it, Ukraine? But all roads end somewhere, just as this one must. Despite having the IMF and a host of other western institutions as your pit crew, spraying Febreze into the air to cover the smell of sweat, burning rubber and decomposition, the long, long road (from which there is no return) is drawing to its end. He ain’t heavy, he’s my client state.

Let’s have a look at the current freeze-frame from Trading Economics. Sourced from the World Bank and other global financial and analytic institutions, Trading Economics provides solid benchmark statistical data. In the case of Ukraine, nearly all the data comes from the state statistical service – so this is data Ukraine will admit to.

GDP growth rate – somewhat of a misnomer, it currently sits at 0.6%, a leap upward from the previous quarter’s dismal  -.03. That’s good news, surely? Not necessarily: more about that in a bit. Unemployment rate; 9.1%, down slightly from the previous 10.1%. To put that in perspective, it’s nearly double that of Russia, which is the target of international sanctions that restrict its ability to borrow, rather than the west’s pillow-boy, being coddled with low-interest loans and outright financial gifts. Inflation rate, 16.2%, up a bit from the previous 15.9%. Interest rate, unchanged at 12.5%. Balance of trade, a gulp-inducing -$827 million, another couple of hundred million further from break-even than last quarter’s -$552 million USD. And government debt to GDP ratio, 79%; a full 9% worse than last quarter’s 70%.

This is a snapshot of a country in serious trouble. But how can that be, you say, or you should. Ukraine’s western backers are doing everything they can short of just flying in planeloads of money and throwing it out the windows.

The short answer is that the west has failed in its project to turn Ukraine into the ever-popular imaginary icon of a prosperous western-oriented market democracy. But the magnitude and depth of that failure have yet to be plumbed. And let’s understand each other here: I’d love to cheer for the west, I really would. I live here, I like it here, and generally I am fond of its people, its culture and its values. I have a real problem with some of its governments, but that’s my privilege as a resident of a free society.

But imagine for a second that the west is a child, and you are its parent. When it does something bad, do you reward it? Hell, no. When it does something bad which hurts other people, should the punishment be lighter, tougher, or should there be none? Setting social and even international boundaries for your policies is broadly little different from parenting. If you reward bad behavior, it is the same as encouraging it.

Western agencies and special interests, proudly led by the US State Department, overthrew the elected government of Ukraine and put in place a hand-picked crowd of revolutionaries and oligarchs. This is not even a matter for debate; the Maidan was lousy with State Department officials, American senators, European diplomats and fixers, and the former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State and the former United States Ambassador to Ukraine were caught red-handed, on the telephone, planning the new government which would result while Yanukovych was still nominally President. The western democracies put the revolutionary government in place, interfered constantly in the subsequent election with their relentless promotion of Poroshenko (considering the second-largest Ukrainian diaspora is in Canada), encouraged the martial punishment of eastern Ukraine in what Kiev likes to call the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) (because using the Ukrainian military against Ukrainian citizens is forbidden by the country’s constitution) and encouraged Kiev in every one of its anti-Russian activities in a clear attempt to stoke enmity between the two. The western democracies continue to prop up the demonstrably-unpopular Poroshenko government – although they were quick to help overthrow Yanukovych, who was more popular before the coup that drove him from the country than Poroshenko was only a year after taking office. He’s even less popular now. Last, but far from least, two of the western democracies – Canada and the United States – joined non-entity Palau and Corruption-capital Ukraine in voting against the Russian-sponsored Resolution on the Condemnation of Glorification of Nazism. Please note that only one of those countries wields a UN veto, which should not detract from the shame of the others. I doubt anyone will forget it.

The western democracies – I’d like to call them something else, but just ‘the west’ makes me sound too commie-lover – pressured their own institutions to pervert and subordinate their own good-governance rules to politics, in order to allow Ukraine to continue receiving money although the former rules prohibited it. And now, at last, we are reaping the wages of stupidity and partisanship. Are these behaviors appropriate to reward, or punishment? You tell me, Dad and Mom.

Anyway, back to economics for a moment. Ukraine’s GDP showed a little bit of growth, which we speculated might be encouraging. Is it? Not really.

When the bottom fell out of the Ukrainian hryvnia, Ukrainians who still had a bit of money were desperate to protect the value of the currency they held. Please note that the site referenced tries to link the crash of the hryvnia to Yanukovych’s decision to turn away from the European Union Association Agreement. In fact, you can match it almost to the minute to the explosion of violence on the Maidan.

The tendency at the time was to purchase foreign currency as a hedge, often American dollars. But that has changed – changed in a way which presents a false indicator of Ukrainian fiscal stability.

What is driving the Ukrainian GDP growth is a boom in construction. In a country where the standard of living is steadily declining. If those two statements seem like they shouldn’t go together, it’s because they don’t.  Driven off of their foreign-currency position by the failure of the hryvnia to come back, and to rise in value against the American dollar, coupled with the latter currency’s weakness, Ukrainians are plowing their savings into housing as an investment, hoping to protect what remains of their cracked nest eggs.

Meanwhile, the biggest hard-currency contribution to the Ukrainian economy, aside from Russian investment in Ukraine (the biggest of the country’s investors by quite a stretch), is remuneration by the Ukrainians who have gone abroad to work. Where have most of them gone? Well, what language do most of them speak? That’s right – Russian. The great majority of those who fled the country went to ‘the aggressor’, Russia, from whence they now send home nearly a quarter of the Ukrainian state budget, and 7% of GDP. How long before it sinks in among the western meddlers that their project to split Ukraine away from Russia has instead left Russia with a turn-key implosion option that it can exercise, remotely, any time it likes? Can there be any doubt that only pity stays its hand? It certainly is not fear of the west, whose sanctions are the best thing to happen to Russia in decades.

If it was me who brought about this epic cock-up, this cluster-fuck for the Guinness records…I’d be pretty ashamed of myself. But it wasn’t me. In fact, I think you will find I argued against just about every foolish, wrong-headed and mean-spirited course the western democracies have taken.

But that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of pity at their disastrous consequences.

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2,032 Responses to Ukraine on the Proud Highway: Skidding in Broadside.

  1. Moscow Exile says:

    В Белом доме подсчитали жертв «коммунистических режимов» за сто лет – «более 100 миллионов»
    Об этом говорится в заявлении администрации США к 100-летию Октябрьской революции

    The White house has estimated the victims of “Communist regimes” over the past hundred years at “over 100 million”
    According to a statement of the U.S. administration on the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution

    November 7, on the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution they celebrated in the USA a national day in memory of the victims of communism, which, in the opinion of the American administration, are, worldwide, more than 100 million people.

    “Today, the National Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Communism, marks 100 years since the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia”, said a White House statement.

    “Over the past century, Communist totalitarian regimes around the world have murdered more than 100 million people and countless more people have been subjected to exploitation, violence and ruin”, reads the press release.

    The White House stressed that the Communists “under the false pretext of liberation,” robbed people of their right to freedom of religion and “countless other rights”, which Americans have. Freedom-loving citizens “were subordinated to the state through force, violence and fear”.

    “Our nation reiterates its firm determination to shine the light of freedom for all who aspire to a brighter, free future”, concludes the US administration”.

    [Vomit bags available at the back of the Holier-Than-Thou Church. Have a good one!]

    • Patient Observer says:

      IIRC, over 16 million Americans died during the Reagan administration. The victims were of all ages although the elderly seemed to take the brunt of the onslaught. However, victims included Americans of every age including children. Black citizens were especially hard hit.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      They are posting that right before top-tier US-China meeting… Lavrov was right – д, б!

      Dear Americans! Two can play this game:

      • marknesop says:

        On a related note, Ukraine is said to be eying the official severing of diplomatic relations with Russia. The bill’s proponent says a limited amount of trade relations could still prevail – doubtless consisting of things Ukraine sells to Russia.

        I personally think the Russian government’s official ‘shocked’ reaction is meant to provoke Ukraine into doing it, thinking it is hurting Russia. Where’s the downside for Russia? relations between the two countries now mostly consist of arguing and mudslinging, Ukraine’s western backers do not encourage it to stick to any of its commitments, and Russia is treated as if it has actual written responsibilities, under the Minsk Agreement, to help Ukraine. All of that could go away, and anything Ukraine wanted to say to Russia would have to go through intermediaries who typically do not speak Russian or Ukrainian, which would likely mean significant delays and plenty of opportunity for confusion.

        This all reminds me of an entertaining article I read a little while ago; “The Kremlin Enjoys Watching Ukraine Harm Itself”. As if Ukraine’s stupid policies which result in harm to the country are therefore the fault of Moscow.

      • Jen says:

        I may have missed it on that list, the print being so small, but I did not see Operation Condor which would have killed thousands of people and affected hundreds of thousands of others (through torture or tearing families apart with disappearances and children being orphaned) in South America during a period from the late 1960s or early 1970s through to the mid-1980s. This includes Augusto Pinochet’s September 1973 coup against the Allende government in Chile and the neoliberal economic experiment that followed under his rule (aided by a team of economists who studied at the University of Chicago) and the military government that ruled Argentina from 1975 (when President Isabel Peron was overthrown) to 1982 or 1983. Brazil also had military governments from the mid-1960s on.

      • yalensis says:

        There were AT LEAST 100 million Native Americans and African-Americans killed by White American genocide.
        Yeah, two can play this game.

      • Aristonicus says:

        Just to nit pick – Famine deaths in EIC India and under the Raj may have been up to 85,000,000 including the Bengal Famine of 1943
        https://jambudveep.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/appendix-i-breakup-of-the-famine-death-total-with-a-list-of-good-books-on-the-subject/

        Also, shouldn’t Post Soviet Capitalism in Russia 1992 – 2000 be in the 5-6,000,000 range? (The RF population fell by 1 – 1.5m but you have to allow for the influx of 4m Russians fleeing Former Soviet republics as well)

    • Ryan Ward says:

      The White House stressed that the Communists “under the false pretext of liberation,” robbed people of their right to freedom of religion and “countless other rights”, which Americans have. Freedom-loving citizens “were subordinated to the state through force, violence and fear”.

      Much as I’m sympathetic to the general thrust (although I would always add the rider “dogmatic” to the denunciation of communism, since more flexible revisionist communists have often done really good work in countries like Israel, South Africa, Vietnam and the former Yugoslavia), America has comprehensively lost its moral standing to bleat about freedom of religion. A country that spends time hounding small business owners (cake decorators, photographers, etc.) for not falling into line with the latest dogma on “LGBTQ2……” (the dots to account for whatever letters they’ve added since I last checked), where professors are hounded out of universities for not bowing to the latest liberal pieties, and where desperate appeals from the Middle East for support from persecuted Christians go unheard, while the state finds oceans of cash for Muslim terrorists, should go red in the face before lecturing others about freedom of religion.

  2. James lake says:

    China statement on the October revolution.

    The October Revolution in Russia contributed to the formation of China. This was stated by the President of China Xi Jinping at the congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing that opened on Wednesday, Tass reports.
    “A century ago, the guns of the October Revolution brought Marxism-Leninism to China. China’s advanced minds in the scientific theory of Marxism-Leninism have found a way to solve the problems of the country, “the leader of the Middle Kingdom pointed out.
    According to Xi Jinping, “thus the Chinese people gained support in search of national independence, freedom, prosperity and happiness.”

    • yalensis says:

      Good for them!
      The Chinese Communist Party have in fact found a good way to introduce collegiate leadership and add some checks and balances into the system.

  3. Moscow Exile says:

    The “hang them from the lamp-posts” crowd seems to be mainstream in Russia.
    Turns out that even Moscow Exile subscribes to those opinions.

    “I always wonder why they don’t just fuck off out of this country.”

    Where did I say that Karaganov should be hanged from a lamp-post?

    How do you know what mainstream opinion in Russia is?

    This is how they treat Russians — who have always lived in and worked in favour of Russia (as they see it) and who have family in Russia. Wonder what Moscow Exile would say to me.

    I did not say that he should be fucked off out of Russia, that he should be coerced to do so: I wondered why, if he dislikes this country so much, then why does he not, out of his own volition, just fuck off out of it, just as I fucked off out of the UK.

    If Karaganov so dislikes this country so much, surely he has ample means and opportunities to live elsewhere?

    When referring to Russia, I for one never scathingly utter the word “this” before saying “country”. Furthermore, I never said this country when referring to the land of my birth.

    I very much like living in Russia. When I say this to people such as is Karaganov, their response is usually a sneering: “So you think there is nothing wrong with Russia, then?”

    Well, of course I do not believe that there is nothing wrong with Russia, meaning the governance of the Russian Federation, that Russia is perfect. Is there perfection anywhere? But I always feel that these people such as is Karaganov, having found out my nationality, usually enter into discourse with me because they wrongly believing that I will join in with them in their endless bleating about “Putin’s regime”.

    I get on well with Russians — and I am talking about the people as a whole, not just the self-styled intelligentsy”, the “chattering classes”, the креаклы: I even get on well with with the ordinary folk out in the sticks where my country estate is situated and with whom I deal almost daily when I live in the country during the summer months. In fact, I think I get on better with them than I do with some of the smart-arses in the big city.

    In general, I like Russians. After all, I shall have been married to one for 20 years come this Sunday.

    My children are all Russian.

    I ask them whether they should like to live in the UK. They always say “No!” And they never say “this country” when talking of Russia; nor does my wife.

    And I write these words even though I was cut to the quick last May when the obdurate Russian bureaucracy informed me that I had to abandon my family and leave Russia.

    Furthermore, I am still extremely irate over the bureaucratic nightmare that I am at present undergoing in order that I be granted residence in Russia as a foreign national, a status that I had enjoyed in Russia for 20 years up to May of this year, the country where I have legally lived, worked and paid taxes since 1995.

    I still think Karaganov is a Grade-A twat, though.

    Or, as many Russians would say: Он —мудак!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The above is in reply to niku, who maintained above that my attitude to Karaganov was “mainstream” Russian, namely that he and his shitty ilk should be hanged from lamp-posts.

      • davidt says:

        You seem to have taken a personal disliking of the man. I am not sure that I would recognize a “great foreign policy mind” but Karaganov seems to be a clear and insightful thinker to me. Perhaps you could provide me with some examples of great minds in the foreign policy area. In the meantime, let’s accept as an operational definition of a “big shot” as “a little shot who just keeps on shooting”. He has certainly been “shooting” for many years and, whether you like it or not, has been a significant contributor to Russian foreign policy.

        • marknesop says:

          Just a note here; this comment is a reply to Mike Averko, who is now riding under the banner of “Sovok Buster”, and that comment was deleted. Probably a shame, I’m sure it was blindingly intelligent and all, like everything Mike writes, but like the Stones say, you can’t always get what you want. Anyway, that’s an explanation for why this comment is hanging out in space, replying to nothing.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      2niku

      “My objective was to show that there are other Russian opinions about the events of 1917. Maybe Maltsev is not Russian, but surely, there must be many such articles in the Russian language liberal press.”

      Where are you from, niku – the kingdom of Weaselton? Given whom you choose to quote (and I assume you took your time and examine the matter properly, so that you did it in full conscience of knowing what you are about to do) it’s basically the same as to provide a long-winded apologias of two well-known long time peadofiles, lamenting the fact, that sex with minors is a crime. That’s what you did.

      Now, direct question – your attitude to the events of October 1917? Can you answer without hiding behind others?

      • niku says:

        Now, direct question – your attitude to the events of October 1917?

        That is not an easy question. Generally, my attitude to such things is, “let the dead past bury its dead”. It is not like I can change events of the past.

        I certainly hate socialism. (I like studying ideas.)

        Late reply as I couldn’t digest your first paragraph.

    • niku says:

      @ME: By “hang them from the lampposts”, I was referring to mine (and Lyttenburgh’s) previous comments on the issue.

      Lyttenburgh’s original comment:
      Now-now – enough with butt-hurt liberasts. They are stupid enemies, monkey-like critters who like nothing more than to fling shit at everyone and everything.

      On the one hand – “country must know its “heroes” ” (c). We must show the Enlightened Humanity ™ what an amazing place with true pluralism of opinions is our RuNet.

      On the other – the existence of these… biological constructs and direct quotes of them keeps the hatred for all this kreakl-liberast fucking circus with horses and hookers at very high level.

      This unfunny critters don’t understand that the very moment so despised by them Army and Police would disappear, ordinary Russins will start hanging them, stupid ungrateful bastards, on lampposts.
      https://marknesop.wordpress.com/2016/02/13/on-the-art-of-noticing-the-obvious-and-invisible-people/comment-page-5/#comment-134464

      And my earlier comment: https://marknesop.wordpress.com/2017/07/28/it-looks-as-if-your-dead-horse-could-use-a-touch-of-the-lash/comment-page-2/

      Bolsheviks simply “liquidated” all those who identified with the old regime. Perhaps the liberals should have done the same? Then there would have been no such nostalgia for the old regime.

      I did not say that he should be fucked off out of Russia, that he should be coerced to do so: I wondered why, if he dislikes this country so much, then why does he not, out of his own volition, just fuck off out of it, just as I fucked off out of the UK.

      You think the liberals speak as they do because they hate the very idea of Russia. I have read Karaganov somewhat extensively (I don’t read Russian though). And I have read another modern Russian “liberal” extensively (a writer). Neither of them have the sort of hatred you imagine. Why should they leave Russia? It is their country too. I consider them patriotic enough.

      Nothing is enough with the Real Patriots, though. People shouldn’t express their own opinions, or you’d ask why they don’t fuck off. Just out of curiosity — not to exert any pressure — of course.

      I very much like living in Russia. When I say this to people such as is Karaganov, their response is usually a sneering: “So you think there is nothing wrong with Russia, then?”

      Maybe you are meeting the same people again and again?

      Try going to some non-political meeting (literary function, perhaps) of the liberals and see what they say.

      How do you know what mainstream opinion in Russia is?

      I have been interested in Russia for a long time. These reasons including people like Dostoevsky and Lermontov. Without even finding out, I can be sure that every Russian I like is what Russians call a “liberal”. You see, thinking people have their own opinions about everything, and they’d like to express their opinions too. These opinions often don’t match those of the Real Patriots. (Lermontov even said, “Goodbye, damned Russia”, but outrageously, he still didn’t leave.)

      Note that you too treat the liberals as a hated minority. And as far as you know, they are a minority. You too wish to drive them away. (Not that most Russians wish to purge them once again. But most would like to silence them.)

      • marknesop says:

        There certainly is no problem with someone expressing an opinion. There is even no problem with somebody like Ksenya Sobchak expressing her opinions that Russia is doing everything the wrong way, and that it is the fault of ‘the regime’ (the liberals seem to have picked up and appropriated that particular bit of western shorthand). But those who are going to involve themselves with politics, and criticize the leaders with a view to replacing them, have to do more than criticize. They have to say how they will make it better, how they would improve upon the present system. And there’s more to it, as well, than saying “I would refurbish crumbling infrastructure, and I would build more”. Great idea! Where’s the money going to come from? Everybody who plans to run for political office, or even just those who aspire to political recognition, has to learn to cost projects, and lay out how they would pay for improvements. Any fool can say, “I would spend a lot more money”, because that’s an easy and populist solution. But as soon as he or she says “I’ll have to raise your taxes to come up with the money”, their popularity evaporates. Ditto selling off state assets to private owners to raise money – Russia just dug itself out of that kind of hole, and nobody is anxious to slide back in it. You don’t like Putin painting the west as enemies? Fine – demonstrate how they are friends, with examples of what they have done to make life better for Russians.

        The trouble with politics is that everyone thinks its an easy way to get paid without working. It isn’t. There’s a tremendous amount of work to it – something lazy politicians ameliorate with large staffs to do the work for them. Navalny – for example – doesn’t do that; he gets his hamsters to work for him for free, and while some might sneer at it, those hamsters probably believe they are serving the cause of a stronger Russia by helping him. And he does have lots of energy. He’s a tireless critic. But he fails where most of them do – how would he pay for the improvements he says he would make? How would he build bridges with the west without making concessions the west plainly seeks? Liberals are long on big ideas, but short on explanations of how they would get from here to there.

        • niku says:

          But he fails where most of them do – how would he pay for the improvements he says he would make? How would he build bridges with the west without making concessions the west plainly seeks? Liberals are long on big ideas, but short on explanations of how they would get from here to there.
          I have not read the political ideas of modern Russian liberals, but what little I’ve come across, I don’t like. (It is possible that I’ve read only caricatured versions of their ideas.)

          It is possible that they don’t talk about their plan of action (or even form one!) because they know they aren’t going to win in the elections anyway! (So, “why get bogged down in details?”.) The other possibility is that they say it, but you don’t know about it because you don’t pay attention to them.

          I read another Russian making a complain similar to the above (forgotten who, but I read it on ValdaiClub.com). He said that the (political) liberals should start from ground-up, acquire experience of running things (and of political wheeling-and-dealing!). It wouldn’t help them (or anyone) if they just woke up found themselves to have acquired the presidency. (Refer to the troubles of President Trump.)

          • marknesop says:

            You could be right, but if you are, that’s the most hopeless and gutless political philosophy I ever heard of. Oftentimes politicians say “I don’t want to articulate my ideas in too great detail, lest the opposition steal them for their own”. But Putin – theoretically – would never steal the ideas of liberals because he is an autocratic dictator, for whom liberal ideas are anathema. And if you have great ideas whose successful execution would win broad populist approval, why wouldn’t you offer them anyway, since even if you did not get elected, someone else might take them up and win? Is it about the country, or is it about the politician?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        You think the liberals speak as they do because they hate the very idea of Russia.

        In my experience, very many do.

        • niku says:

          Quote:

          Russia follows the political concepts of the Judeo-Christian civilization[]. The entire history of Russia is the history of the fight for personal dignity and its defense against the abuses of the state authorities. All talk about the “unique” character of Russia’s path come to an end, when the advocates of the concept are asked to give specific details and examples.

          Usually, after incoherent talk about Russia’s so-called “spirituality” and “unique path,” stalwarts will shift focus from the substance of the discussion to tangents like same-sex marriage. However, such Western countries as Poland, Lithuania, Hungary or Greece didn’t legalize same-sex marriages, yet don’t see their own path as “unique” or non-Western only because of this.

          http://www.russia-direct.org/opinion/russias-inferiority-complex-continues-block-its-future-development (Konstantin Eggert)

          So, in the above sense, many liberals are probably against “the idea of Russia”. Except, that as he says, the idea is really thin on substance. Before 1917, most (almost all?) intellectuals must have seen them as simply belonging to a Christian Europe. After 1990, most intellectuals probably reverted to it.

          So, from the point of view of the liberals such as above, when Real Patriots talk of Real Russia, they are just hunkering for the Soviet regime.

          • marknesop says:

            So, from the point of view of the liberals such as above, when Real Patriots talk of Real Russia, they are just hankering for the Soviet regime.

            Perhaps so. However, if they wanted to label themselves enemies of the state, they could hardly do better than to espouse the ideals of von Eggert, who is a self-declared enemy of Russia. A little like Americans quoting Chomsky. Some do, of course, and they are brave to do so because they are immediately labeled as communists and traitors to American values.

        • niku says:

          Another quote:

          In general, the problem of self-identification is artificial. And it is used by those who offer this supply [through informational campaigns]. The post-Soviet man hasn’t had the problem of self-identification: The collapse of the Soviet Union was actually a victory for him.

          He stopped being Soviet and became a man who lived according to the terms of the market economy, felt free, had certain problems, but nevertheless he was a typical European man. And now he is persuaded that he is not European, that he is unique and exceptional. And this is the reverse movement from progress and modernization, the so-called archaization of conscience.

          http://www.russia-direct.org/qa/why-kremlin-neglects-strategic-thinking (Andrei Kolesnikov)

        • niku says:

          And another relevant point:

          Russia is currently acting as a magnet for anti-Western / pro-Communism people. The people who profess to be pro-Russia on the English language sites (e.g., theSaker.is) are so not because they care a whit for Russia, but because they hate the West.

          I suppose the case is exactly the same with the Real Patriots of Russia. This hypothesis does explain other observations too. (E.g., my original observation that Russians care too much for what the West’s political elite speak about them.)

          • marknesop says:

            Really? Is that what you think of me? That I am pro-Russian because I hate the west?

            • niku says:

              Sorry for not expressing myself clearly. I wasn’t talking about The Saker himself (or you), but the “disinterested Friends of Russia”. (Since your wife is Russian, you are hardly disinterested!)

              Check out the comments on theSaker.is. All the anti-West, anti-Semite (and anti-rich) have finally found a home (in being “pro-Russia”). Also note that almost no commenter has any interest in (or knowledge of) Russia.

              I checked out the site some two weeks ago, and found a comment saying (paraphrased), “we need to ‘genocide the rich’ to finally have some peace”. (Yet Matt says that his comments there get deleted.) (I couldn’t find that comment again.)

              • marknesop says:

                The missus is about as apolitical as you could imagine a person to be, and also about as far from a crusader for Russia’s image as it is possible to be. She prefers to let her behavior and attitude speak for her, and the country would be hard-pressed to find a better or more dignified ambassador. My own attitude is informed – and I am confident the Saker and I are not far apart on this – by the west’s ridiculous hypocrisy rather than a lack of actual problems in Russia. Of course the country has problems and shortcomings, and of course the way the state chooses to address those problems is often imperfect. But it is the barefaced shamelessness which sees the UK criticize Russia as ‘an oppressive surveillance state’ when there are more CCTV cameras in the city of London than in the whole Russian Federation that infuriates me; the affected shock in the USA when a “Duke” Cunningham is caught for corruption – just as if such a thing never happens in the USA while it is routine in Russia – that motivates me to take Russia’s part. I am indeed a ‘disinterested person’ in that I derive no benefit whatever from standing up for Russia; members of my own family disagree with me and champion the American Way, and I have nothing invested in Russia. I just think the treatment it receives internationally is grossly hypocritical and unfair. When the west does something like demanding the right to read your emails and receive data from your ISP on what websites you visit, it always says it must do so for your own protection, to safeguard freedom and the democratic values we all hold dear. When Russia does anything remotely the same, the western media screams that the bloody surveillance state is cracking down on freedom yet again, there’s almost none left. I’m sure you can think of plenty of examples yourself, if you try.

                I don’t allow anti-Semitic or racist comments here, and at least one person has been shown the door for nothing worse than the racist nature of his commentary. But if I did, I would not consider the fact that some of the commenters here were evidently racist to make me a racist as well. The comments on a blog are not necessarily reflective of the values of its owner; that’s a favourite dodge of Matt’s. He finds some hate-filled comment on RT and crows about how many upvotes it got, as if that were proof that RT is anti-American. Similarly, anything it says which is demonstrably not true are ‘lies’, while a similar feature in the New York Times is a ‘mistake’.

                • Patient Observer says:

                  Mark, I am also a disinterested fan of Russia. Based on general principles, a healthy skepticism of Wall Street information conduits (aka MSM) combined with a Mid-West America practicality and a Serb/Orthodox ethnicity (2nd generation, do not speak Serbian), I fully agree with everything you have said so well.

              • niku says:

                @Mark:

                ‘Disinterested’: Your wife is not political, but suppose she was not Russian but Polish. Would you still have invested the time and effort to run a pro-Russia blog? Similarly for PO. He is an ethnic Serb, and Serbs have had a very strong connection with Russia.

                . . .

                My non-political experience with Russians has been pretty positive too.

                The pro-war (and anti-Russian) propaganda used to make me very angry. But I’ve finally realized that since propaganda works, from the point of view of the rulers, it would be foolish to not employ it. Since propaganda bothers you, and since many are always looking for fresh sources of information (and commentary), you, of course, are welcome to tear it down.

                By the way, about RT and Sputnik comments: I think anti-West people (generally Muslims) are voluntarily writing all that!

                About Indo-Russia relations: Almost everyday, there are articles in Indian newspapers saying that “since Russia has now moved (or is moving) to the Chinese camp, we need to ally ourselves with the US to avoid being dominated by China”. (I don’t know how valid the observations and prescriptions are.)

                • niku says:

                  Clarification: I don’t check the newspapers everyday. I check them once every week or two. So, when I say “everyday”, I mean to say “every time I check”.

                • niku says:

                  Actually, the argument is: Since Russia is now allied with China, there is nothing stopping China from dominating the region. And therefore, India should ally with (or at least, increase its engagement with) the US.

                • marknesop says:

                  Why would India have a problem with China dominating the region, and not have a problem with the USA dominating the region? Did India imagine that it was going to dominate the region itself? If not, and it does not really matter who dominates the region (especially if it looks as if that is likely to be China no matter what India does) why would it ally itself with a spiteful, paranoid economic time bomb? Considering the expanding Sino-Russian alliance?

                • marknesop says:

                  Again, what is India’s problem with China dominating the region? I am suggesting that one of the two major powers will eventually become dominant in the region – China or the USA. Given this, and given that India is unlikely to dominate the region itself, India is going to have to adjust to operating in the region under the dominance of one or the other. If we can assume that far, why would India pick the United States rather than China? Is there some sort of cultural aversion to the Chinese which is not present for Americans?

                • marknesop says:

                  That’s an interesting question, and one I never really thought about. It’s certainly true that my interest in Russia intensified after meeting her, while my perspective on Russia changed radically after being there in her company. If you’re going to see a country in its best light, see it on vacation, when you’re in no particular hurry, rather than on business, say, where it might seem to you that the entire system is dedicated to thwarting you and making you waste time. See it in the company of a native, and in circumstances perhaps where you do not speak the language (as I did not then, not more than a handful of words), so that you are completely in their hands as to who you meet and interact with. For me, it was an extremely positive experience, whereas on my first visit (as a crew member aboard HMCS VANCOUVER), Russia was a not-long-ago enemy (or so I had been trained to think), and I was prepared to view Russians with extreme suspicion.

                  All that aside, the missus is not only apolitical, she is the next thing to a saint in terms of patience and understanding. The rudest comments by Ukrainians (which I tell her about, which I have read online; she gets on spectacularly well with the Ukrainians we know personally, although they are from hotbeds of Ukrainian nationalist fervour like Ternopol and Chernivtsi, in West Ukraine) only bring a patient smile and exhortations to understand how they must feel, to say something like that. And in truth the west is having a pretty hard time whipping up hatred en masse between Russia and Ukraine; the Ukrainian nationalists loathe Russia, but they always have and they are a small minority. In the Eurovision contest prior to the one in which the Russian entrant was banned, a majority in Ukraine voted for the Russian entrant while a majority in Russia voted for the Ukrainian act.

                  I think Ukraine will eventually tip back into the Russian orbit, providing the west does nothing much for it but belabor it with expectations and refuse to give it any serious money without a lot of annoying reforms. The Kiev oligarchy is willing to pledge reform if that’s what it takes to get money, but it has no real intention of actually carrying any out – none, at least, which curb its existing oligarchical system of rule. But we will see. Both sides – Ukrainian and European – are running out of patience with one another, while a significant majority of Ukrainians said ‘Yes’ to joining the EU back before the revolution because they believed it would result in a better standard of living and greater prosperity. Getting as close to the EU as it has hasn’t brought anything like that, and it does not appear that it will, while I believe few Ukrainians foresaw that the EU would make them choose between Russia and the EU; most thought there was no good reason they couldn’t have both, maintaining their traditional ties and markets while benefiting from a widening vista of economic opportunity. That most definitely has not happened, and now it stands to lose its pipeline clout and its transit fees in one fell swoop.

                  About Indo-Russia relations: Almost everyday, there are articles in Indian newspapers saying that “since Russia has now moved (or is moving) to the Chinese camp, we need to ally ourselves with the US to avoid being dominated by China”.

                  Well, that would certainly be a clever strategic move on India’s part, wouldn’t it? Then it could buy F-35 jets for its Air Force, at whatever crazy inflated price they cost now that other buyers are dropping out, thus being able to afford perhaps less than half the planes it could have bought from Russia. Or it could buy the planes it was going to buy from France, I suppose, although American lobbyists would do everything in their power to queer that deal. And it could hitch its wagon to the star that is carrying 106% of its GDP in government debt. Be careful what you threaten, India – you might find yourself stuck with the consolation prize.

                • niku says:

                  About China:

                  I haven’t yet thought about the issue. But given that China is far more powerful than India, it would make sense for India to try to have some other power “balance” it. Or else, China would be able to dictate actions to India. (See China’s arm-twisting of South Korea regarding THAAD. http://www.businessinsider.in/China-is-going-after-South-Koreas-wallet-in-their-dispute-over-the-THAAD-missile-system/articleshow/57737728.cms )

                  Asking “why not simply get along with China” is essentially saying “why not make China arbitrator of India’s fate”. Indians, however, would not like to pass under China’s tutelage.

                • marknesop says:

                  Okay, we’re halfway there. Once again, assuming India does not think it is sufficiently powerful to dominate the region itself, and assuming some power must dominate the region, why would India say to itself, “Why not make the United States arbitrator of India’s fate”? Would Indians like to pass under America’s tutelage? I’m curious why you think China would become India’s master, while the United States would be India’s benign friend. Does it have a history of benevolently helping out countries which pledge allegiance to it, without asking anything for itself? If you can reasonably expect any major power to want its friends to allow it a little pursuit of its own national interests, why would you pick the one that’s going bankrupt? Now add on that it’s the one which is the sworn enemy of the world’s biggest energy supplier, which is allied with the world’s biggest economy.

                • niku says:

                  I am suggesting that one of the two major powers will eventually become dominant in the region – China or the USA.
                  “Be dominant” is not the same as “dominate”. Given than China is India’s neighbour, allying with China would allow China to dictate India’s policy. (E.g., by pressuring India’s other neighbours to stop trading with India in a dispute.)

                  Is there some sort of cultural aversion to the Chinese which is not present for Americans?
                  There is the war of 1962. Just before then, India’s PM Nehru had gone to China and came with the slogan “Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai” (“Indians and Chinese are brothers”). For some reason, China occupied some of India’s territory right after that. I am not well-versed with the war, but the point is, even now, China arouses much distrust. (Also relevant: after that China has consistently supported Pakistan. Right now, it refuses to allow placement of Pakistani terrorists on the UN terrorism lists.)

                  I don’t think there is any historical aversion, except for one point mentioned below. An old story book I read recently said in passing that the Chinese are “our brothers across the mountain”. And I knew someone who found the Chinese girls to be most beautiful!

                  There is, however, an aversion with their political system. Indians love democracy. Despite decades long propaganda by intellectuals (and spending by the Soviet Union), there is very little support for the left parties in India.

                  I haven’t thought much about all this, though.

                • niku says:

                  I’m curious why you think China would become India’s master, while the United States would be India’s benign friend.

                  Because China is right next door. If India is allied with China, India would get sucked-in into a Sino-centric order. India, however, would like to pursue an independent foreign policy. India is powerful enough to afford to pursue an independent foreign policy.

                  As for why a US-centric order is preferable to a Sino-centric order:

                  China seems very opaque. Threats are announced by the “semi-official newspapers”; top decisions are made by some hidden clique; there is a god-like relation between the state and the citizens; etc.

                  In contrast, Indians can understand and adapt to the Western order. (But as I said, they are hoping that they’d wouldn’t have to adapt to either of the orders.)

                • marknesop says:

                  I look forward to seeing an Indo-American alliance in which India is allowed to pursue an independent foreign policy.

                • niku says:

                  Another point I thought up: US’s “cultural capital” (if it be the proper term) is immense. Everyone uses Google, WhatsApp and Facebook. In contrast, nobody uses the Chinese versions. Many (especially, the more educated ones) understand English, but very few know Mandarin. And so on.

                  Except for the left parties, there is no anti-US constituency in India. Whereas, thanks to the 1962 war, a whole generation is vary of the Chinese! (That “treachery” [1] was a defining moment for people of that generation.)

                  [1] I have come across other Indian accounts which say that actually Prime Minister Nehru was responsible for the negative turn of events.

                  Anyway, as I said, there is immense goodwill for Russia. Perhaps the Russians can mediate between India and China. (They haven’t being doing that. Again, I haven’t been following all this, but it seems Russia has been rejecting India’s desires in this regard.)

                  Finally, I am not an “expert”.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            I often ask Russians whether they consider Russia to be a European country: so far, not one has said that he thinks this the case.

            I am not talking about extreme Russian God-Bess-the-Tsar nationalists, die-hard patriots, adherents to the belief that “Russia has its own path to follow” and that Moscow is the “Third Rome”; that Russia is a bulwark against Western, Liberal perversions etc., etc.

            These people whom I have heard say that Russia is not Europe are all highly educated, erudite, professional people who frequently travel abroad; some of them have even worked in Western Europe or the USA. However, they do not consider Russia to be part of Europe: it is Eurasia.

            In fact, Europe is an extension of Asia — the place where the “Aryans”, i.e. proto-Europeans (Ugrics excluded) originated.

            🙂

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Maybe you are meeting the same people again and again?

        No, I am not.

        Over a period of almost a quarter of a century, I have been meeting different people employed in different firms such as KPMG, Price-Waterhouse Cooper, the Central Bank of Russia, BP, Sberbank, Unicredit Bank, Rosneft, MSD Pharmaceuticals etc., etc., who are often young, well-paid, high flyers. Only a handful of these people whom I have met are of the oh-so-precious, self-styled elite, often “artistic types”, who consider themselves to be members of the intelligentsy and who know what is best for Russia, which, basically, means the overthrow of “the regime” and a return to the Raubkapitalismus of those heady Yeltsin years, when savvy folk such as they could make a fast buck.

        These are the people who have often whined to me that they were unlucky having been born when they were, because they were just too young to cash in when everything was up for grabs immediately post-USSR; had they not still been at school or students 20 years ago, they believe they could have applied the nouse that they believe they now have to profit massively from the opportunities that they are convinced would have been available to them 20 years ago and, therefore, they would now be stinking rich. But the Dark Lord put a stop to the gravy train that they missed: that is why they loathe him so.

        The other people whom I meet every day are working-class Russians. I am, insofar as my income is now about 40,000 rubles a month, working class (and low-paid at that) , though not Russian.

        I was once told by one of these self-styled, I-hate-Russia intelligentsy that any Westerner such as I who came to Russia to earn a living and raise a family was a failure.

        Actually, he spoke to me in US English and classified me using an Americanism: he called me “a loser”.

        I should like to say that after expressing this opinion of his, he woke up next morning in hospital. However, I am not a violent person.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        How’s this for Russian mainstream opinion?

        PUTIN’S APPROVAL RATING

        Do you approve the activities of V. Putin as the President (Prime Minister) of Russia?

        October 2017:

        Approve — 82%

        Disapprove — 17%

        No answer — 1%

        Source: Levada Centre

  4. Moscow Exile says:

    How the Kreakly think

  5. Lyttenburgh says:

    I’ll just leave it here:

    Are Christians Supposed to Be Communists?

    “It was in 1983 that I heard the distinguished Greek Orthodox historian Aristeides Papadakis casually remark in a lecture at the University of Maryland that the earliest Christians were “communists.” In those days, the Cold War was still casting its great glacial shadow across the cultural landscape, and so enough of a murmur of consternation rippled through the room that Professor Papadakis — who always spoke with severe precision — felt obliged to explain that he meant this in the barest technical sense: They lived a common life and voluntarily enjoyed a community of possessions. The murmur subsided, though not necessarily the disquiet.

    Not that anyone should have been surprised. If the communism of the apostolic church is a secret, it is a startlingly open one. Vaguer terms like “communalist” or “communitarian” might make the facts sound more palatable but cannot change them. The New Testament’s Book of Acts tells us that in Jerusalem the first converts to the proclamation of the risen Christ affirmed their new faith by living in a single dwelling, selling their fixed holdings, redistributing their wealth “as each needed” and owning all possessions communally. This was, after all, a pattern Jesus himself had established: “Each of you who does not give up all he possesses is incapable of being my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

    This was always something of a scandal for the Christians of later ages, at least those who bothered to notice it. And today in America, with its bizarre piety of free enterprise and private wealth, it is almost unimaginable that anyone would adopt so seditious an attitude. Down the centuries, Christian culture has largely ignored the more provocative features of the early church or siphoned off their lingering residues in small special communities (such as monasteries and convents). Even when those features have been acknowledged, they have typically been treated as somehow incidental to the Gospel’s message — a prudent marshaling of resources against a hostile world for a brief season, but nothing essential to the faith, and certainly nothing amounting to a political philosophy

    […]

    I came to the conclusion that koinonia often refers to a precise set of practices within the early Christian communities, a special social arrangement — the very one described in Acts — that was integral to the new life in Christ. When, for instance, the Letter to the Hebrews instructs believers not to neglect koinonia, or the First Letter to Timothy exhorts them to become koinonikoi, this is no mere recommendation of personal generosity, but an invocation of a very specific form of communal life.

    As best we can tell, local churches in the Roman world of the apostolic age were essentially small communes, self-sustaining but also able to share resources with one another when need dictated. This delicate web of communes constituted a kind of counter-empire within the empire, one founded upon charity rather than force — or, better, a kingdom not of this world but present within the world nonetheless, encompassing a radically different understanding of society and property.

    […]

    As late as the fourth and fifth centuries, bishops and theologians as eminent as Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose of Milan, Augustine and Cyril of Alexandria felt free to denounce private wealth as a form of theft and stored riches as plunder seized from the poor. The great John Chrysostom frequently issued pronouncements on wealth and poverty that make Karl Marx and Mikhail Bakunin sound like timid conservatives. According to him, there is but one human estate, belonging to all, and those who keep any more of it for themselves than barest necessity dictates are brigands and apostates from the true Christian enterprise of charity. And he said much of this while installed as Archbishop of Constantinople.”

    • Ryan Ward says:

      D.B. Hart is a very clever writer, but he’s a bit of a mixed bag. He’s an academic through and through, and he shares some of the characteristic flaws of that type, one of which is a tendency to overstate “new and dramatic” conclusions (of course, because you get tenure for making breakthroughs, not for saying that someone who wrote before you is basically right). He’s also a bit of a troll. There’s a good, balanced response to his essay here
      https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/11/06/are-christians-really-supposed-be-communists-response-david-bentley-hart

      But what’s most important to note is that Hart, despite using the word “communism” (mostly for shock value, I think), isn’t talking about politics at all. The example he takes, the Jerusalem church, set up their own commune. They didn’t set up a political action committee to try to force everyone else to do the same. Actually, the communalism of the early church was explicitly based on the fact that they were a small minority. Trying to set up a political system on that basis would have undermined the original foundation. Actually, the theology of the New Testament is quite clear that the reason Christians can hold things in common is because they’re all Christians (which of course, crucially, makes the system completely voluntary). For the state to come in and force everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike, to hold all things in common (administered and distributed, of course, by distant and unaccountable government authorities) would completely distort everything.

    • marknesop says:

      You can imagine the collective scream of rage if that had been Putin or Medvedev.

    • Jen says:

      No big surprise – Prince Charles sure knows how to hoover up money for ventures he owns or runs from taxpayer-funded trusts or charities.

      See here Prince Charles’ involvement in the, er, “conservation” and “regeneration” of parts of the Romanian countryside according to the areas’ “traditionalism” (which would include roads and sewage systems for the benefit of tourists curious to see a Disneyfied rural Romania):

      “… Prince Charles is the patron of the Mihai Eminescu Trust, “which is dedicated to the conservation and regeneration of villages and communes in Transylvania and the Maramures, two of the most unspoiled regions of Europe”. Through the trust, the Prince acquired various properties from the highland areas, which were renovated according to the traditionalism of the regions. Rural tourism started to bloom. The “princes’ villages” received more than 10 thousand tourists. Prince Charles also lobbied for the development of roads and sewage systems. Public authorities ended up investing almost 1 million Euro in rural development just in 2013 …”

      http://www.arc2020.eu/royal-lobby-for-the-romanian-family-farm/

  6. Patient Observer says:

    There was a comment earlier that PCness in America hardly affects or even noticed by Joe Sixpack. Not quite right. Donald Trump was elected due, in large part, to a massive rejection of PCness emanating from the MSM and Washington.

    • marknesop says:

      And a good deal of the pushback he got was from the vagina-hats crowd outraged at his misogynistic attitude. At the same time, there was no shortage of well-connected commentary that it was time for a woman president, apparently for no other reasons than that she was the right gender and would probably be awake at 4:00 AM when ‘the call’ came.

  7. Moscow Exile says:

    The insults are clearly flying thick today, I see.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Just a passing shower. Speaking of weather we finally had the first hard freeze of the season. Very much later than normal and welcomed by many.

  8. Patient Observer says:

    The Seth Richard story just won’t go away:

    http://theduran.com/when-donna-brazile-begged-hillary-clinton-to-find-seth-richs-killer-hillary-blew-her-off/

    Brazille could be next but not likely, way too high profile. She needs to spill all of the beans as there is no going back home for her.

  9. J.T. says:

    For interested readers:
    latest review of Human Rights in Russia

    Relief Review Warning: If things start to seem “soft”, keep in mind that I read this book immediately after the nightmare that was Putin: His Downfall and Russia’s Coming Crash

    • saskydisc says:

      One other thing that struck me in your review, in terms of the failure to achieve stated demands, was lack of comparison to the west. While certain activist efforts do bear fruit, these are usually directed toward more efficient running of the state, rather than changing the managerial aims of the state or undermining the goals of the state prior to the failure of state policy (Korean and Vietnam wars).

      I would be more impressed if still living political prisoners, e.g. Abu Jamal and Peltier, were rehabilitated, or if a war could be prevented. To the extent that imprisonment has dropped (among the young; the total imprisonment is still rising), it has been a consequence of dropping crime rates, not the long demanded changes in response to crime, with some marginal exceptions in e.g. North Dakota.

  10. Lyttenburgh says:

    Looks like this year I not just fulfilled but over-fulfilled my quote on the “places where I’m banned”. I’m not complaining, no. Those who do that have all the right to do so. The fact that they banned me only know means though that they did read my comment – which they promptly suppressed.

    Right till today this Russian History Blog post had my comment “hanging below”. I’d take an educated guess and assume, that the reason why it was “retired” lied in the following penned by yours truly:

    [the subject is M. Bulgakov’s “Hear of a Dog”, well-known and beloved in Russia to this day]

    “In this passage by Bulgakov, the public concern surrounding the possibility of being labeled “counter-revolutionary” is clear, as is the idea that not everything labeled “counter-revolutionary” truly is.”

    Plus the paragraph that follows. Looks like you didn’t understand the (historical) context of this short novel after all – neither you nor your professor. Because Preobrazhensky (this symbolic figure of the old intelligentsia trying to adapt to the new times) is an elitist asshole. If his message is really that “from the dregs of the species – criminals and mongrel dogs – can’t arise anything good”, then he would have surely find a new employment and a stable income in the post 1933 Germany. If there are people who are entitled to live in 7 or more rooms, while others have to share a single room with several families (and that’s an improvement for the most common folk, compared to the czarist times – did your professor told you that?) – that’s a clear call for a caste based society.

    This is the direct opposite of Marxism, the Soviet approach, the Makarenko approach (you were taught who he was, didn’t you?), which frantically argued: no, a man, even if he is reduced to a dog like state, is not hopeless. Arguing against means endorsing social-Darwinism. Childhood experience and education, the impact of circumstances and the environment around us, finally, the sufferings endured can change a person, raise a new personality. Social Darwinism (a fine invention of the “civilized West” – and one exceptional nation!) persists: people are animals. So, they can and should be treated as animals.

    Another moment. The ovaries, which Preobrazhensky, laughingly, promises to install into one of his patients, is a direct reference to the eugenics that flourished in the times of Bulgakov – the pseudoscience about “improving the human breed”. BTW, what else does “good doctor” do as a way to learn a living for himself?

    Think for a moment – who really is Preobrazhensky? Besides the fact he is a world-famous professor of biology, lives in 8-room suite in elite Moscow house, has servants, goes to opera once a week, smokes cigars and eats all kinds of delicacies. He also performs “clandestine” (one might say – “underground”) gynecological operations, for which he takes lots of money (up to 500 rubles per operation – that’s a lot of money for mid 1920s USSR, but, surely, your professor told you so). And he also performed an illegal abortion on a 14-year girl (you remember that moment, do you?) and naturally, didn’t report the pedophile (a married influential man, who can travel abroad) to the authorities.

    He took, healed and fattened the stray dog Sharik not because he was such a good and kind person, that can’t look at starving animal, that could not survive an upcoming winter – no, he needed a test subject for his brand new experiment. He actually thought that the chances of this to succeed were very slim:

    “Ivan Arnoldovich, the most important moment will be when I enter the sella turcica. The instant that happens, I implore you, hand me the processus and immediately after that put in the stitches. If we get bleeding at that point we’ll lose time and we’ll lose the dog. Not that there’s any chance for him, anyway.”

    But, to his own surprise, Preobrazhensky succeed. And Sharik began his transformation into a human being – and the fact this was a human being was later admitted by professor himself.

    Only he had no plan what to do with Sharik that became P.P. Sharikov. He didn’t educate him, he didn’t treat him as a new, inexperienced human being. He treated him like he treats about 80% of lower-class people who don’t know their proper place – with indignation, hatred, rudeness. Sharikov was interesting for him as a text subject of an attempt to turn a dog into a man by grafting human organs into it. But there was no plan on what to do next. Is it a wonder that Sharikov, who immediately falls under Schvonder’s influence, “resurrects” the most criminal behavior of his donor-body, of some Klim Chugunkin?

    And what are these 2 paragons of noble spirit, two intilligents professor Preobrazhensky and doctor Borhmental are discussing over a bottle of cognac and cigars after Sharikov’s latest escapade? Borhemntal suggests to poison Sharikov, whom he clearly dislikes and don’t treat as a human being. Professor refuses, but not on the grounds that this is immoral or unethical. No, because he, professor with a world-fame and high connections could be spared, while he, Borhmental, would certainly be jailed and brought to court for a murder. Say, what a charming people!

    In the end, they indeed “kill” Sharikov – in a fashion. They perform once again this risky (and highly fatal by their admission) operation to cut the human hypophysis and plant back (saved for this particular event beforehand) Sharik’s old dog one. In due time, a Man diverts back into a dog.

    Generally speaking, Russia by the very fact of its existence represents an open challenge to the global social Darwinism. That’s why the West hates us.

    • yalensis says:

      I once attempted to read Bulgakov, and simply could not get through a single paragraph.
      Call me anti-intellectual, but he just seems like so much total bullcrap to me.
      From that era: Give me Ilf/Petrov, Konstantin Fedin, or Nikolai Ostrovsky any day.

      • marknesop says:

        I liked his “Heart of a Dog” and “The Fateful Eggs”. I tried to get through his personal notes but they were too much for me. I suppose all his work was political, but I found the two classics I have named to be able to stand on their own merits as tales, without the political subtext. In the case of the latter story, a fuck-up like mixing up the destinations for reptile eggs and chicken eggs could happen anywhere, given the sometimes mind-boggling insanities which occur in the world’s logistics systems.

  11. marknesop says:

    Well, it looks as if the EC is going ahead with its attempted rewrite of law – which it describes as a ‘clarification’ – to try again to bring Nord Stream II under the Third Energy Package, so that Gazprom cannot own both the gas supply and the pipeline, and whoever does own the pipeline has to open it up for competitors to use. I suppose the hope is that Russia will just abandon it in a fit of temper, and be forced to continue transiting Europe’s gas through Ukraine. The sanctimonious article, full of injured dignity, is clear that the sole purpose of Nord Stream II is to avoid paying the nice and trustworthy Ukrainians their due largess for transiting filthy Russian gas through their virtuous pipeline.

    I’m pretty confident this effort will fail, although it will prove to be another very effective time-waster – European politics has that down to a fine art. Even if Merkel were persuaded to take one for the team – which so far does not look very likely – and subordinate Germany’s interests to ‘the greater good’ as defined by Brussels, she no longer controls the German government with an iron fist, and must now negotiate with the members of her coalition in circumstances in which the AfD holds close to 100 seats in the Bundestag. But Merkel thus far has been firm that this is a commercial project which must proceed without political meddling. In that respect the EC was foolish to press ahead with this initiative, which is a thinly-veiled and desperate attempt to help Ukraine even as it puts European gas supplies at risk, because if it fails to bring Germany to heel it will have lost much of its symbolic power.

    It remains to be seen if Germany will take it all the way, and build its own spur out to international waters, and if the EC is prepared to rule that such an action would still fall under the EU’s purview, which would be quite a risky move indeed in view of the extent to which Germany already underwrites Europe’s financial maneuvering.

    • Cortes says:

      Countries offended by the new pipeline could take the example of a former FLOTUS and “Just Say ‘No’” to the gas it carries. Nobody’s forcing them to buy it.

      • marknesop says:

        Same as when they say they don’t need all that gas – nobody is forcing them to leave the stove on all day while they’re at work; don’t buy it. But Sefcovic’s bait and switch consists of citing figures for if Russia continued to transit the same volumes of gas through Ukraine, plus Nord Stream II. Of course the latter is designed to replace the former, not supplement it.

  12. et Al says:

    It’s been a while since I looked at Prof.Tim Haward’s blog and he has some nice posts on conspiracy theorists in ‘Who’s Afraid of Conspiracy Theory’ and li’l Bana in ‘Bana and Censorship’.

    The conspiracist post is interesting and points out that labeling people who see inconsistencies and flaws in the official narrative is not conspiracy but actually logical so calling people ‘conspiracy theorists’ whilst designed to denigrate and ridicule others also serves to shut down legitimate debate and is a form of censorship.

    He notes in li’l bana’s case that censorship is already practiced sic reviews of ‘her book’ and critical videos on youtube have been pulled due to ‘privacy reasons’, even though she was put out that as the face of the resistance to Assad. I’m paraphrasing the posts here, but go and check them out. There are plenty more.

  13. Jen says:

    I think also in the 1990s (and maybe some time before then), lead was removed from petrol and as a result the drop in lead particles in air pollution that would have been inhaled by children and young teenagers living in dense urban areas, would have made a huge difference in their neurological (and hence their intellectual) development. This would also help to explain why the crime rate among particular socioeconomic and even ethnic groups living in cities over the past 30 – 40 years has been decreasing.

    I watched a recent episode of the comedy educational series “Adam Ruins Everything” in which Adam Conover explained to one of his many befuddled companions that for decades black American and Hispanic families were subjected to a discriminatory housing and lending policy practised by banks (and countenanced by state and federal governments) that denied these people opportunities to borrow money to buy houses in suburbs where crime rates were low, water supplies had little lead and the air quality was good (plus they would not have had to live too close to petrol stations or depots for buses and other large vehicles). The result was that not only were black and Hispanic families forced to live near and put up with high crime rates and a low quality of life that endangered their health and their children’s health, but also (because their homes did not increase in value or their addresses made it difficult for them to find good jobs – employers discriminate against you if they see on your CV that you live in a “bad” area) they could not accumulate wealth by selling and moving elsewhere.

    • Jen says:

      This comment was in reply to an earlier comment by Saskydisc on reduced crime rates among young people since the 1990s and the link to reduced levels of lead in water supplies and the removal of lead from paints (as in paints used for walls, fences and on furniture).

      • saskydisc says:

        The main additional poisoning exposure for blacks and other inner city residents was due to petrol. The US began its phase-out in the 70s,as did Japan; Japan banned the fuel additive altogether in the 80s and the US in the 90s for vehicles, but the main effect was already clear in blood lead data by the mid 70s.

        I used to believe that blacks were subject to higher exposure to leaded paint (older homes), on account of their higher blood lead levels after the petrol phase-out, but that was disproved, though it largely was not noticed, in the 90s. Both geographical studies, and the December 1994 supplemental Current Population Survey (here—you would need a knowledge of Unix tools, in particular sed, to prepare entry of the data into a statistical package, as well as careful reading of that file’s data dictionary) indicate no association between black population and increased exposure to lead paint.

        To the extent that blacks have higher intake of lead (and they do—about six times the white rate), it is due to biological differences, likely due to the lack of a general Sub-Saharan bronze age—iron was already available, and due to lactose intolerance—lead is a calcium analogue, and dairy consumption reduces lead uptake.

        • yalensis says:

          That’s very interesting. Can scientists and medical researchers find a way to mitigate these genetic risks for lead poisoning? Maybe chellation procedures would be necessary as prophylactic for children with these risks.

          Black children face other genetic disadvantages such as sickle-cell anemia.
          None of these problems are incurable, in principle. just require social support.

          • saskydisc says:

            Only the lactose intolerance matter has been recognized, and even then, I am yet to come across a recognition of the impact that that has for lead uptake. I.e. what I am saying is “new,” although others would have recognised it before me. It is something that would be politically unacceptable to publish.

            For the effort that one could reduce the uptake in black infants for a given exposure to that of white infants, it simply makes better sense to spend the effort cleaning up the lead—white infants also suffer some (albeit less) brain damage. Infants and embryos should not be exposed to lead.

          • saskydisc says:

            Another reason why it would go unnoticed is that most poisoned children are by now sporadically poisoned (i.e. excluding cases like Flint), which makes it look like only a small portion of children are poisoned, and that portion appears larger for blacks than for whites, which is what you will find if you look up the blood lead data from the 90s onward. Hence one can understand the intellectual biodiversity crowd’s belief that IQ differences should not be explainable in terms of lead poisoning—it appears as if only a small fraction of the population was poisoned,from the 90s onward.

          • saskydisc says:

            To detect all cases of lead poisoning under sporadic poisoning regimes, bone lead should be used, rather than blood lead, e.g. using K-edge x-ray fluorescence. That was first noticed (Needleman) in the late 80s iirc, but no-one did any epidemiological work with that insight…

        • Jen says:

          Lead paint is only really a problem if it’s peeling or chipping, or creating dust particles that are inhaled, licked or touched by hands that later enter the mouth. The lead paint problem can be controlled by sealing over with another substance (called an encapsulant) though some of these sealants themselves can be dangerous if they give off fumes.
          https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/lead/renovation_repair_painting/encapsulants.htm

          • saskydisc says:

            On friction surfaces, i.e. window and door frame surfaces that run when opened or closed, dust will be given off, and encapsulants will be worn down. Nevin had a program going to replace old doors and windows, both for energy savings and to get rid of the paint hazard.

            Another matter that should be mentioned, in regards to the biodiversity people, is that one of their leading lights (Emil Kierkegaard) rejects lead poisoning as an explanation for group differences, on different grounds. He cited a study using birth cord lead levels, performed in the late 80s in the Faroese islands. That study found that IQ loss depended on the logarithm of blood lead, such that a ten fold increase in lead at birth reduced IQ by 2.2 points. The problem with his interpretation is that the Faroese islands are small and near homogeneous; variation in blood lead at birth is unlikely to be due to variation in individual quality of air (this was prior to the phase-out of leaded petrol) whilst being active. A far more likely explanation for the variation in birth lead is variation in timing of effective withdrawal from daily activity prior to birth, hence ending exposure to contaminated air. A linear dose response to lead would produce a logarithmic response to birth lead in that scenario, which is a ten fold increase in the sensitivity found in US studies…

            • Jen says:

              Using the Faroese population as a sample in studies of blood lead levels probably needs to address the fact that (perhaps until very recently) most people living in the Faroe Islands participate in the annual grindadrup custom, in which they herd pilot whales into a harbour and kill them for their meat. The issue is that cetaceans carry high loads of chemicals including lead in their flesh and blubber. These days there are government restrictions (from Copenhagen) on how much whale meat the Faroese can consume and I believe pregnant women and young children are not allowed to eat any whale meat. So any studies done on Faroese people with regard to levels of lead in the blood should also consider the effects of government regulation on whale meat consumption and women’s decisions to stop eating such meat before they become pregnant or when they learn they are pregnant. All this in addition to acknowledging that mercury is the prime chemical affecting the neurological development of foetuses and young children.

              • saskydisc says:

                Thanks—I was not aware of that custom. The relevant question would be if the population received more lead from the whale meat or from petrol, in deciding whether a linear or logarithmic dose response would be more accurate.

  14. et Al says:

    Euractiv: Russia and Mozambique agree big debt-for-development swap
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/russia-and-mozambique-agree-big-debt-for-development-swap/

    An innovative debt-swap initiative between the two countries has unlocked a commitment of US$40 million, which will be used by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to support the government of Mozambique to provide school meals for 150,000 children in the African country over the next five years.

    In addition to providing debt relief for Mozambique, the initiative will free up new resources for development and support expansion of the Programa Nacional de Alimentação Escolar (National School Feeding Programme), which seeks to provide school meals to all primary schools in Mozambique…
    ####

    Smooove!

  15. Yalensis and Lyttenburgh, what do you think about Lenin’s support to Japan in the Russo-Japanese war in 1905?

    Anatoly Karlin quotes Lenin’s article in 1905:
    “The proletariat is hostile to the bourgeoisie and all aspects of the bourgeois order, but his hostility does not absolve him from the duty of differentiating between historically progressive and reactionary representatives of the bourgeoisie. It is entirely understandable that the more consistent and decisive representatives of international revolutionary Social Democracy, Jules Guesde in France and Hyndman in England, expressed without reservation their sympathies towards Japan, for its role in destroying Russian autocracy.”

    • yalensis says:

      Dear Karl: I think Lenin’s position on the Russo-Japanese war was absolutely principled and correct — Yahoo!
      And it wasn’t so much that Lenin supported Japan, as that he opposed Natasha Poklonskaya’s boyfriend’s adventures.
      There is a subtle difference there, which the Ugric people, with their thick caveman skulls, cannot grasp.

      • “And it wasn’t so much that Lenin supported Japan, as that he opposed Natasha Poklonskaya’s boyfriend’s adventures.”

        What adventures? Japan was the one who started the 1905 war. So it was wrong for Russia to defend itself then? And it was right for Lenin to hope Russia’s defeat?

        • Ryan Ward says:

          From the Wikipedia article about the Russo-Japanese War.
          “Seeing Russia as a rival, Japan offered to recognize Russian dominance in Manchuria in exchange for recognition of Korea as being within the Japanese sphere of influence. Russia refused and demanded Korea north of the 39th parallel to be a neutral buffer zone between Russia and Japan.”

          Japan not only never threatened the real Russian lands, it offered to recognize Russia’s control of Manchuria as well. It was Russia that rejected the agreement (one of the stupidest and most disastrous decisions of the 20th century, by any government). Russia wasn’t fighting the Japanese to “defend itself”. It was fighting to prevent Japanese control of Korea.

  16. Patient Observer says:

    https://www.rt.com/news/409155-time-capsule-soviet-children/

    The Soviet citizen had high hopes for a brighter future. Why not? Look how far they had come from the catastrophic WW II.

    Here in the US, our expectations for the turn of the century included flying cars for everyone, orbital hotels for weekend jaunts were a certainty with lunar vacation available for a little extra. 20 hour work weeks were forecast with early retirement and a very long life free of virtually all disease.

    Technology, rather than generating wealth for the masses was used to extract greater profits for corporations resulting in a corresponding concentration of wealth. That, and the shift from industrial capitalism to financial capitalism doomed the dreams of the 60’s.

    The adverse impact of unrestrained financial greed has nearly wrecked the world. China with its “communist” control, based on stunning growth and improvement in the general welfare of the population, is telling us something about what is possible for global development.

    • rkka says:

      Yes, H.A.L. was created in 1997, and Discovery was launched to Jupiter’s lunar system in 2001.

      Oh, wait…

      • Patient Observer says:

        I was thinking about that movie when writing the comment. At that time, the extrapolation seemed reasonable if a little optimistic.

  17. ucgsblog says:

    California’s NAACP thinks that the US National Anthem is racist: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/national-anthem-lyrics-california-naacp-star-spangled-banner/

    “The California chapter of the NAACP is pushing to get rid of the national anthem, calling the song racist and anti-black, CBS station KOVR-TV reports. “This song is wrong,” chapter president Alice Huffman told the station. “It should never have been there, and just like we didn’t have it until 1931, it won’t kill us if it goes away.” As quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick started the NFL protests during the anthem that quickly spread to bring attention to racial injustice in the country. But Huffman said Kaepernick’s message was lost when it turned into a debate about the flag. “The real intentions got overlooked, and it’s become something that’s dividing us, and I’m looking for a way to bring us back together,” she said.

    Huffman said that the protests led her to look at the lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” especially the parts of the anthem Americans don’t typically sing. “It’s racist,” she said. “It doesn’t represent our community. It’s anti-black people.” Huffman is referring to the third stanza, which includes the lyric “no refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.” She said some interpretations conclude that the lyrics celebrate the deaths of black American slaves fighting for freedom and the song should be replaced with something that supports all our values.”

    Actually, some of the slaves that were fighting on the US side, got their freedom, but what’s History when you’re pushing an agenda?

  18. Warren says:

    New EU law takes aim at Russia pipeline


    Finnish firm Wasco among the 200 or so contractors involved in Nord Stream 2 (Photo: nord-stream2.com)

    By ANDREW RETTMAN

    BRUSSELS, TODAY, 11:36

    The European Commission has proposed a new law that could complicate Russia’s plan to build a massive new gas pipeline to Germany.

    But jurisdictional issues, timing, and derogations mean the fate of the project is likely to be decided by Moscow and Berlin.

    Wednesday’s (8 November) bill amends a 2009 law to clarify that EU anti-monopoly legislation also applies to offshore pipeline segments on EU territory.

    That would mean that Russia’s future Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, part of which is to lie in German and Danish territorial waters in the Baltic Sea, would have to be operated by a firm other than its builder, Gazprom, and would be forced to grant access to EU clients, such as Poland or the Baltic states, even if Russia wanted to block them.

    The same demands prompted Russia to abandon a pipeline to Bulgaria, called South Stream, three years ago.

    EU energy commissioner Maros Sefcovic told press on Tuesday that the new bill was not aimed at blocking Nord Stream 2.

    He said the Commission came out with the change due to “competing legal opinions” on the Russian project, that it was designed to give “long-term legal certainty for all stakeholders”, and that it would “apply to all existing and future pipelines equally.”

    But the new pipeline, which would concentrate 80 percent of Russian gas exports on the German route, goes against EU efforts to make easterly EU states less vulnerable to Russian cut-offs and price gouging.

    It also threatens to harm Ukraine by making its transit pipelines obsolete at a time when Kiev is trying to align itself with the West.

    “The Commission sees no need for new infrastructure of the magnitude of Nord Stream 2,” it said in a memo accompanying the new bill. Sefcovic also described the project as being “controversial” on Wednesday.

    The Commission note said the EU has no power to force Russia to apply its laws on those parts of the pipeline that lie in Russian or international waters, however.

    “The proposal clarifies that EU law applies in EU jurisdictions. There is therefore no extraterritorial application,” the memo said.

    The jurisdictional issue means it would be up to Berlin to negotiate a Nord Stream 2 deal with Moscow in line with the new EU measures.

    The Commission warned that if Russia did not agree to apply EU law, “it [would] not [be] practical to have different regulatory regimes apply to the two ends of the same pipeline”.

    It also reiterated its offer to negotiate with Russia on behalf of Germany and the rest of the EU.

    “The Commission remains available to engage in negotiations on the operating conditions of Nord Stream 2,” it said.

    Commission offer
    But if Germany rejects the offer and if the pipeline model ends up being impractical by Commission standards, Wednesday’s legal amendment gives it no power to force Berlin’s hand.

    If Denmark objects to Nord Stream 2 going through its waters because it does not conform with the new EU law, then Russia could alter its route to bypass Danish waters.

    With Nord Stream 2 to come online by the end of 2019, the Commission said the gas law tweak should be agreed by EU states and by MEPs in a “fast-track” procedure by the end of next year.

    The bill is likely to face objections not just from Germany, but also Austria, France, the Netherlands, and the UK, whose top energy firms are investing almost €1 billion each in the Russian project.

    If the law is passed after Nord Stream 2 becomes an “existing” pipeline, the bill also enables Germany to pass a national law granting itself a “derogation” from the new rules.

    “The Commission proposal on derogations concerns gas pipelines already in operation,” its memo said.

    Referring to Germany’s option to grant itself a derogation on a previous Russia pipeline, Nord Stream 1, which came online in 2012, the Commission said “the procedure would follow the respective administrative law of the member state in question.”

    The gas law amendment is unlikely to make happy reading for Gazprom and the Kremlin despite its limitations.

    Strategic uncertainty
    With the Nord Stream 2 consortium planning to ask banks next year to finance the majority of the pipeline’s €9.5 billion cost, UK energy consultancy Platts said in a note that Sefcovic’s bill could deter investors because it “extends legal uncertainty around the pipeline.”

    The threat of US sanctions, passed earlier this year, against EU firms that take part in Russian energy projects could also deter capital markets.

    “The financing of such large infrastructure projects becomes almost impossible after the introduction of such sanctions”, Rainer Seele, the CEO of Austrian firm OMV, one of the Nord Stream 2 investors, said in Moscow in September.

    Congress approved the measures for geopolitical reasons, with Russia hawks saying it would make nonsense of previous EU and US economic sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine if the pipeline was built.

    The EU sanctions, imposed in 2014, were designed not to cover gas exports, even though an internal Commission paper at the time said that could be an option if the Ukraine conflict escalated.

    Russian gas exports to the EU went up by 7.68 billion cubic metres (BCM) to 80.67 BCM in the first half of 2017 compared to the same period last year, Platts noted.

    Nearly half of the 9.5 percent increase, 3.61 BCM, came via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany.

    https://euobserver.com/energy/139800

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, I mentioned this a bit further up. I predict the effort will fail, mostly for the reasons laid out here; Germany can overrule anything the Commission tries to make it swallow, and will, purely in its own interests. Germans are well past where entreaties for them to sacrifice ‘for the good of Europe’ can raise much sympathy after all the bailouts they’ve had to finance.

      I had to laugh where Sefcovic cited ‘conflicting legal opinions’. ‘Conflicting’ between members of the Commission who are not lawyers and are motivated purely by missionary zeal, and the lawyers, he means. The lawyers were fairly united that there was nothing legal the EU could do to stop the second pipeline, having allowed the first. That’s why Sefcovic is overseeing the writing of new law and trying to glad-hand it through the legislative process.

      I almost hope it succeeds, though. I don’t live in Europe, and we have lots of gas. I’d like to see the public’s faces when they got a report on the state of Ukraine’s pipeline network, after forcing Russia to transit gas through it and being told Russia would sell it at the border with Ukraine, it now being the EU’s responsibility to get it across Ukraine. The European public at large does not realize that when it squeals about the sanctity of Ukraine’s precious transit fees, it might be paying them itself.

      • ErGalimba says:

        The good for “Europe narrative” is a bit thick, given that the so-called bailouts also went straight into balancing the books of the largest French and German private banks. The Germans hardly need to be the paragons of virtue to want more gas, more reliably and to act as a gas hub for Europe. Personally I think it’ll end up being just one more thing giving Germany too much power in the EU, but the EU states as you’ve said before need gas, and given that our lovely partners have fucked with Italy’s other gas partner Libya and with South Stream and Turkish Stream we can do little but accept. If the Germans get their pipeline and South Stream remains a “pipe dream” 😉 that’ll be more circumstantial evidence in favour of the thesis of German dominance of EU institutions to their benefit.

    • et Al says:

      clarify‘, sic ‘reinterpret‘ existing EU law to mean something more than was intended and or in to something else. Brussels is a joke. It’s one thing to turn ‘good neighborly relations‘ vis Serbia to effective recognition of Albanian mafia run Kosovo, because the Serbs have been totally f**$ed left, right and center, but doing this when it is Russia? It’s not only bad PR, but it is moronic. There is no EU Rule of Law and that is the message the rest of the planet gets, play dirty and don’t believe a word they say.

      Those states complaining about Nord Stream giving Germany too much power also f*$£ed over South Stream that would have helped the poorer EU members and asspiring EU states. I wonder if they had the choice again and knowing that cancelling South Stream would lead to Nord Stream II, if they would still make the same decisions?

  19. Northern Star says:

    “Trump’s speech was as much as an ultimatum to Beijing and Moscow, both of which have been working through diplomatic channels to try and prevent a US attack on North Korea. Trump declared that the “time for excuses is over” and that the world “cannot tolerate a rogue regime.” Specifically naming China and Russia, he insisted that all countries must “isolate” North Korea, that they “cannot support it, cannot supply it” and they must “sever all ties of trade.”

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/11/08/kore-n08.html

    Well he’s correct about the world not being able to tolerate “rogue regimes”……quick now…which one first comes to mind????

  20. ErGalimba says:

    Only cogent and interesting to people who habe never read anything about Lenin. I’m no expert, but for example neither “Lenin” by Robert Service nor “A people’s tragedy” by Orlando Figes are particularly sympathetic to Lenin, but they are the work of relatively serious historians (Orlando Figes upvoted his work on Amazon and did a bit of sock puppet troll work like whatshisname against his competitors which damaged his reputation) yet they are far more interesting and even-handed than Karlin’s screed. One can practically feel the venom!

  21. Patient Observer says:

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/donna-brazile-criticizes-barack-obama-192951618.html

    More beans are spilled:

    “We had three Democratic parties: The party of Barack Obama, the party of Hillary Clinton, and this weak little vestige of a party led by [Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz] that was doing a very poor job getting people who were not president elected,” Brazile wrote…

    Is anyone surprised that Obama and Clinton had titanic egos and seemed to be cultivating personality cults within the party?

  22. Patient Observer says:

    Why would any serious candidate for the Russian Presidency say such? Why destroy the chance of gaining any general support? It seems that the only reason (other than being crazy) is that she is playing to the West-above-all crowd (albeit a very small crowd in Russia) for something in exchange – Western money and status? Revenge? It makes no logical sense at all.

    • Ryan Ward says:

      I’m almost starting to believe the conspiracy theories that she’s actually a Putin plant. No one could possibly suck this hard at campaigning unless they were really trying.

      • Patient Observer says:

        That is a possibility. Yet, in the US there are a lot of loons and/or political outliers who want to be President. The difference is that the foreign media mostly ignore them as serious contenders or even as entertainment.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Remember, she’s the one who not that long ago publicly asked Putin to deprive her of her Russian citizenship, something that constitutionally is impossible.

        Another ‘liberal” who loathes the very idea of having Russian nationality?

        I’ve met such liberal types as her many times before: people who whine: “Why was I born a Russian?”

  23. Patient Observer says:

    The US seems to losing the soft-power struggle and moving into the desperation mode. Of course, it will be presented as a response to Russian Meddling:

    https://www.rt.com/news/409349-rt-foreign-agent-doj/

    Washington has decided to apply its Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) to RT. The US Department of Justice has given the company through which the RT America channel is broadcast in the country until Monday to register as a foreign agent.

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