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.

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

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

  1. et Al says:

    Slashdot: The Fourth US Navy Collision of the Year Was Ultimately Caused By UI Confusion

    Yesterday, the U.S. Navy issued its report on the collisions of the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain this summer, which was the fourth U.S. Navy collision this year. “The Navy’s investigation found that both collisions were avoidable accidents,” reports Ars Technica. “And in the case of the USS McCain, the accident was in part caused by an error made in switching which control console on the ship’s bridge had steering control. While the report lays the blame on training, the user interface for the bridge’s central navigation control systems certainly played a role.” From the report: …

    More at the link.

    Just the end of a long chain of events which if caught at any point earlier may well have led to a different outcome. The ‘UI’ confusion only serves to draw attention away from the poor level of training and readiness. Sometimes the equipment is prone to faults such as Airbus A330 pitot tubes in icing conditions* which professionals should be able to handle if it is clear something is wrong, but even in that case, AF447, fixation on it ultimately led to its loss. I wonder if it still would have happened if airliners had Flight Engineers? Have any of you been upfront in an old skool ‘steam gauge’ 747? A Flight Engineer AI program would be a great idea, but it seems developing a robotic co-pilot is more popular coz it would save airlines even more money.

  2. et Al says:

    Newsweak: Putin’s Elites Hanker After a Lost Russian Imperial Empire

    By Maxim Trudolyubov

    This article first appeared on the Wilson Center site.

    The centennial of the Russian revolution is not a big thing in modern Russia. It feels like an obscure old holiday or a literary anniversary known only to the initiated. It is no longer a historical event that forms the nation’s founding myth.

    Last Monday, just a few days before November 7, the date the centennial strikes, President Vladimir Putin took part in an unveiling of the Wall of Sorrow, a monument to victims of the very state that turns 100 years old in a week….

    …Maxim Trudolyubov is Senior Fellow with the Kennan Institute and editor-at-large with Vedomosti. He is the author of Me and My Country: A Common Cause (2011) and People Behind the Fence (2016).

    More a the link if you can bear the further tripe.

    I think his name is more than apt though. Still, do we see the ever unimaginative Pork Pie News Networks segueing on to the next Putin meme here? Last week The Economist had Putin photoshopped into the uniform of Tsar Nicholas II, now we have this kreakl author pouring similar poison. Russia is stronk, but really underneath it is very weak. Conclusion, just keep the pressure up with more failed sanctions and Russia is surely to come begging, bowl in hand to the West and some ‘Yes suh!’ can do attitude and all will be well. The f’tards never learn. You can be sure that if Trudolyubov ever was given a real job, he would be a flat out failure. He neither understands (or more likely ignores) the essential need for historical continuity that is present in all nations, and that for good or bad views, they are all citizens. You cannot pick just the ones you like. But that’s kreakls for you and why they have to work for the West to make a living.

    • kirill says:

      What is utterly moronic about this crap is that Russia remains the number one resource empire on the planet even after all of its territorial losses. Modern considerations of power revolve around business and economy. Russia is showing NATzO that it can live and prosper within its own borders. Russia ain’t no Singapore where NATzO sanctions can have an impact.

      In fact, Nabiullina and the CBR have way more negative impact on Russia’s economy than any collection of sanctions.

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      ‘Imperial Empire”?

      • Jen says:

        Funny how first of all Putin was nostalgic for the Soviet Union and Communism, now he wants the return of Russian imperialism (as if the February and October 1917 revolutions had never occurred). What next, will he return Crimea to Turkey?

    • ucgsblog says:

      “Last Monday, just a few days before November 7, the date the centennial strikes, President Vladimir Putin took part in an unveiling of the Wall of Sorrow, a monument to victims of the very state that turns 100 years old in a week….”

      Uhhh what? If they’re talking about Russia, then Russia’s much older than a century. If they’re talking about the USSR, then the USSR part of Russia would be dated from 1917, (at the earliest,) until 1991. So that’s still not a century. What are they talking about?

  3. Cortes says:

    Russian military technology assessed by The Saker:

    Probably posted before, but no apologies for re-posting since the comments contain interesting remarks by several people.

    • Patient Observer says:

      The comments were interesting and varied. I had to chuckle at the one about NATO winning the war against Serbia. True, Serbia did enter into a negotiated solution (which was promptly and comprehensively violated by the West) but their army was hardly scratched by everything the NATO air force could throw against them. So, in purely military terms, NATO failed.

      Regarding a limited war with China, one comment suggested that the US would win once its economy went full-war oriented like it did in WW II. Something has changed over the past 60 years – China now has a physical economy 3-4 times larger than the US and the US industrial capacity is a shell of what it once was. In a war of attrition, China would win if Russia were to join in if doing nothing else than supply materials and energy. If Russia were join in militarily, I think the war would be effectively over fairly quickly. Not with the destruction of the US but rather simply the US would not be able to effective harm either adversary. It would effectively be a draw militarily but a crushing defeat politically for the US.

      • kirill says:

        The implicit assumption is conventional war. I do not see Russia letting America set the rules of the game. It will use tactical nukes against NATzO forces and on NATzO territory. If NATzO will escalate by nuking Russian cities then that will be concurrent with the nuking of NATzO cities. The only hope for America and its puppets is for Russia to be compromised from the inside. That is why they are spending billions trying to corrupt the Russian political process and government. I think China is well counteracting such tricks quite well and Russia is now much better at it.

        • Patient Observer says:

          Having a nuke in the back pocket is good but I doubt that it would ever be needed. Russia should be able to stop a NATO invasion utilizing conventional means. That is not to say that Russia could conquer Western Europe, just beat their military to a bloody pulp and obtain a favorable peace treaty afterwards. Hope it does not come to that though and it seems very unlikely given Europe’s growing divided opinions about Russia.

          • marknesop says:

            The western audience – meaning the non-combatant majority which acts as observers and supporters of its leaders’ adventures – has become inured, through those leaders’ selection of nations they consider to be soft targets, that casualties will be light and the cost bearable. All any nation which would deter the modern west from attack needs to be able to do is inflict punishing casualties and unbearable cost. Could Russia do that? It certainly could, and would. An added arrow in the quiver now is the ability to strike well behind the front lines with submarine-launched cruise missiles from near-silent modern diesel submarines, which could be anywhere at the opening of hostilities.

            Modern combat leaders are taught to think in terms of capabilities, not intentions. Not would they do it, but could they? The biggest risk today lies in political leadership that will not listen to its military advisors, who would surely argue against such a course of action.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Lords Sitting

        HL Deb 30 May 1962 vol 241 cc189-257 189
        § 2.45 p.m.

        VISCOUNT MONTGOMERY OF ALAMEIN My Lords, I understand that in our Chamber, if the subject under discussion is one in which you have an interest, you must declare your interest. The other day a noble Lord was—I was going to say “ticked off”, because he had not done that. I should like to make it quite clear that I am interested in the Army because it pays me—totally inadequately, but there it is. I do not think it is suitable to discuss the Army except within the context of the Armed Forces as a whole, because no one Service can achieve anything by itself. It is very easy in a debate of this sort (to discuss all the trees. I should like to have a look at the wood. The first thing you find is that an efficient, well-trained and highly disciplined Army is a vital element in our defence organisation. How that Army is to be organised will depend on how it is going to be used in war and in peace. I should like to take war first.

        The next war on land will be very different from the last one, in that we shall have to fight it in a different way. In reaching a decision on that matter, we must first be clear about certain rules of war. Rule 1, on page I of the book of war, is: “Do not march on Moscow”. Various people have tried it, Napoleon and Hitler, and it is no good. That is the first rule. I do not know whether your Lordships will know Rule 2 of war. It is: “Do not go fighting with your land armies in China”. It is a vast country, with no clearly defined objectives, and an army fighting there would be engulfed by what is known as the Ming Bing, the people’s insurgents.

        Ming Bing?

  4. Moscow Exile says:

    Moscow Echo:

    Ksenia Sobchak, candidate for the Presidency of the Russian Federation, writing in an article that appeared yesterday in Moscow Echo on the Day of National Unity, which day has been a state holiday since 2005, when it replaced the holiday that was celebrated on 7 November and known as “Great October Revolution Day”:

    We have nothing to celebrate today

    Today is the Day of National Unity: the day when each of us needs to feel part of one’s nation. One nation.

    Each of us — whether male or female, Russian or Chechen, heterosexual or homosexual, young or old, rich or poor, believer or atheist, completely healthy or with disabilities, HIV-negative or living with HIV — everyone this day must regard oneself not simply as as a whole person, one who is of value and who is irreplaceable and without whom Russia itself would be incomplete: it is a day when one realizes that each of us is, in a sense, a minority, and out of many such minorities is born the unity that comprises the majority. It is a day created in order to stop trying to prove how much we love Russia, but to see how much Russia loves us, how much we love each other: we are Russia, after all.

    It just so happens that this day was thought up by certain people at a time when national unity is just a bluff; at a time when some people bully others, when the strong humiliate the weak, when the state discriminates against a person’s gender, nationality, sexual orientation, health and material prosperity.

    Such a national unity has never been born: it has turned into a reign of cruelty, lies and hypocrisy.
    We are told that we are surrounded by enemies and we must unite in the fight against them.

    We are forced to look for enemies in America, in the Ukraine, amongst ourselves: our enemies are everywhere. On a state TV channel, a man can one day be declared an enemy and on the next day he could be murdered on a bridge situated only a few paces from the monument to Minin and Pozharsky, to whom this day is officially dedicated. This happened to Boris Nemtsov, Anna Politkovskaya and to many others who have fought for the Russian nation, for its unity.

    We have nothing to celebrate today. We have no unity. We do not trust each other; we do not believe in each other. We no longer trust the authorities that have become united in order to humiliate us and steal from us, and who lie to themselves, thereby forcing themselves to lie to us.

    I’m against this!

    And I know that most of you are against it!

    I’m sure we shall unite and change our lives and our country so as to have the right to celebrate National Unity Day with our heads held high by the monument to Boris Nemtsov, a man who dreamt of seeing the day when one could honestly say: “Russia loves you”!

    What a cupid stunt!

    First comment to her Moscow Echo piece:

    The little lady’s brain is all of a twist!

    You suckers better believe me!

    • marknesop says:

      Amazing – Boris Nemtsov and Anna Politkovskaya fought not to divide Russia, but to unite it!! Their campaign was simply too subtle for the average person to grasp. All Russia has to do to get on the Sobchak train is introduce lots of liberal reforms to make sure the cause of every minority is promoted until everyone is tripping over each other in a commotion of I’m-offended lawsuits and abject apologies like this one, and keep smiling and be friendly to America, Europe and Ukraine no matter what they demand, while they are spitting on your shoes.

      Boris Nemtsov loved Russia so much that he was constantly snuggling with western advisors to learn how to remake it so it would be a decent country. Boris Nemtsov was still very much alive when Mitt Romney, against all evidence to the contrary, was insisting Russia was America’s greatest geopolitical enemy. Let’s just get it on the table – Russia will always be the enemy so long as it is in the way of America’s global ambitions, and it always will be while it is the world’s biggest country, no matter who is in charge. A Russia under Sobchak would still find itself the object of outside inveigling to nurture differences and ethnic hatreds so as to promote independence movements and break the country up into manageable chunks. Which is particularly funny when you consider she is selling unity – today, at least.

      Washington sure knows how to pick ’em.

      • kirill says:

        I think that the US regime change efforts are doomed to failure because the modern Russian capitalist elites are not interested in being America’s bitch. Unlike Latin America and Ukraine, Russia’s “oligarchs” see Russia’s world leading power and wealth potential. Selling Russians into slavery like the usual banana republic comprador elites is simply not happening. Perhaps the US had a chance during the 1990s, when it already had the Yeltsin, but not today.

        Sobchak, Navalny, etc. have no chance. They are not popular with the Russian masses and they have no backing from Russian elites.

    • ucgsblog says:

      “male or female, Russian or Chechen, heterosexual or homosexual, young or old, rich or poor, believer or atheist, completely healthy or with disabilities, HIV-negative or living with HIV”

      Note what she does: she places the positive on one side, and the negative on the other:
      Rich vs Poor
      Healthy vs Disabled
      HIVless vs Living with HIV

      Now note where she put Russian and where she put Chechen. And considering that she thinks of Russians, well… if I was Chechen, I would not be voting for her.

  5. Moscow Exile says:

    The isolation of Russia from the whole world
    “The whole world” is marked in black.

    • marknesop says:

      It’s very sad for me to see Canada in that. And it’s all to please our masters in Washington, so they will still buy our products and let us keep NAFTA.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        What a frightful personal insult!

      • Patient Observer says:

        Returned from an overseas trip via Toronto. That airport experience had to be among the worst I have ever had. From landing to reaching the next gate for the final flight home took 2.5 hours of waiting in line, walking well over a mile (estimated) and enduring repeated failures of customs declaration machines. Thrown in was uncalled for rude behavior by security personnel. The airport seemed poorly laid out but such can happen from frequent expansions and can not be avoided. The saving grace was that the ticket prices were very good for a short-notice flight.

        My Canadian experience to that point had always been rather positive with the people friendly and with good service at restaurants and stores.

        • kirill says:

          Canadian customs is epic retardation. Europeans coming back home get waived through (I have travelled to the EU numerous times over the last 25 years) but visitors have to go through passport control. In Canada, everybody gets to enjoy queuing for passport control. The “serious” questions that customs asks returning Canadians is how much alcohol and tobacco they are importing. On a FUCKING air flight. Yeah, tons and tons, shitheads. How about you wankers control the aboriginals who smuggle thousands of tons through the Ontario border.

          On one trip I was grilled about what I was doing in Austria and which hotel I was staying at. I am a FUCKING Canadian CITIZEN coming home, asswipe. I suppose these clowns think they are stopping crime or something.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            I was once asked at Heathrow, London, why I was living in Russia.

            “I like living there”, I said.

            They just looked at me as if I were daft.

            • kirill says:

              I like your reply, but at least the question was sort of fair. Terrorizing Canadian travelers abroad on the way home is grotesque. The whole alcohol and tobacco crap is from decades ago and before anyone traveled by air. Having to stand in a queue after filling out a customs declaration card already is retarded as well.

        • marknesop says:

          You just don’t know how to manage interaction with The Man.

          We have no end of briefings on it, since BC Ferries does little but deal with the public in a mass-transit environment, and the passenger is always right – or, at least, never wrong. A new policy, or one recently targeted for enforcement although it has been in the works for some time, is that you cannot remain in your vehicle on an enclosed car deck, which on the SPIRIT class is the main car deck. Many ferry decks are almost totally or at least partially open to the outside, but the main car deck is not. When we tell people they cannot stay in their vehicles, reactions are said to be mixed, although I have never personally had anyone be rude or abusive. We are told not to argue, because everyone has a cellphone now and they will be recording the entire exchange, and you’ll be on YouTube before the ship reaches port.

          The next time any public employee is rude to you in any way, take out your cellphone and ask them if they would like to re-think what they just said. Assuming, of course, you’re not in a situation where cellphones are prohibited. I’m sure you won’t be a bully with this method, as some are, and will only use it when someone is genuinely being an assclown. But it is very effective, and employees have been known to be fired with no recourse upon showing their behavior on video.

          Pearson International is a pustule of an airport, equaled only by LAX for rude service personnel and inconvenience. But there is no excuse for rudeness; security and administrative personnel are there to make things as painless as possible for non-terrorists, and insistence upon being addressed and processed politely is hardly terrorist behavior.

          • Patient Observer says:

            Good advice. Interestingly, I filled out a survey on my airport experience in hopes of winning a $100 gift card. My score averaged about 2.5 out of 5. While waiting at the gate for the next flight, I notice several large monitors showing the average survey scores over an unspecified period. The scores in every category were well above 4 and mostly trending upward. Wow, it must be me.

            • Patient Observer says:

              I have doubts on the very high claimed scores as voluntary surveys usually draw the malcontents like me. Or maybe people thought giving perfect 5’s would improve their chance to win the $100 gift card (actually, that is probably it as I had that same thought before going with my conscience).

    • Moscow Exile says:

      They missed out Hawaii with their black paintbrush.


      • yalensis says:

        Where is Japan? That’s part of The Empire as well.
        Also Greenland.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Not all Hawaiians are keen on US foreign policy including that surfer girl/decorated soldier US congressional representative. A number of Hawaiians are also sore about how the US stole their country way back when. But, yes, it should be painted black in the map.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Rockall isn’t marked black either.

          Two British Royal marines in ceremonial uniform stand next to a sentry box placed on Rockall in 1974

          Rockall is a tiny islet in the North Atlantic, 270 miles off mainland Ireland.

          In 1955 Rockall was annexed by the British, who feared the Soviet Union would use the islet to install surveillance instruments. Rockall was situated within the radio-electrical range of a test site for Britain’s first nuclear missile.

          It’s safer in British hands!”

          You just couldn’t make it up!

          See: British pageantry on Rockall

          I wonder if those endlessly crapping seabirds that live there realize that they are subjects of Her Majesty the Queen?

          • Moscow Exile says:

            I wonder what that RN 1st Lieutenant and Commander are shooting the sun for? Don’t they know where they are?

          • marknesop says:

            Was a referendum properly conducted to sample the opinion of the inhabitants?

          • Patient Observer says:

            If such a gem could go unclaimed for so long, are there other unclaimed lands in the world? There are but most seem to be in dispute:


            The article seemed vague on new volcanic islands and artificial islands in international waters. It did state that more than a symbolic act such as planting a flag is needed to establish a legitimate claim.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              The eeriest of the British Isles must be the St.Kilda archipelago.

            • Cortes says:

              Rockall isn’t terra nullius. After a bit of student adventure, Her Maj took title. The guy who used to fix my Citroen cars displayed in his workshop the £1 note he was paid by his law student buddy to “sell” Rockall to him in an a non domino transaction to trigger the recording in the old Sasines Register. Nefarious bureaucratic delay enabling Brenda to jump in first stymied the jolly jape.

      • Jen says:

        New Zealand should have been … all black as well.


    • ucgsblog says:

      So EU, Nordic Lands & former British Colonies. Ironically Brittania thought it was the World, and decided to fight Russia over Crimea. Now they can barely keep Scotland from seceding. Those who don’t know History are doomed to repeat it.

    • ucgsblog says:

      List of Olympic Committees against Russian Athletes: Austria, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

      List of some of the countries sanctioning Russia: Austria, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

      Coincidence? Perhaps, if they don’t shut up, Russia should simply go all the way towards Asia, thus shifting the center of power to Asia. And when the Europeans ask how that happened, simply list every name of those sanctioning Russia, arguing in favor of sanctions, and so on. You wanted isolation from Russia?

  6. saskydisc says:

    A number of parties have expressed either elation or dismay with Mueller’s prosecutions of Republican lobbyists connected to Yanukovych. Those supporting his actions have been pushing the Yanukovych-as-Russian meme.

    Yesterday, Mueller hauled in Democrat lobbyists connected to Yanukovych.

    What Mueller is doing, whether intentionally or not, is attacking the lobbyist enablers of the EuroMaidan.

    • et Al says:

      I’m all for it. The US is delegitimizing itself not only abroad, but to the voters at home and also throwing its own tech companies on the shitpile. Meuller may well bring down Trump in one way or another but they’re all going through the can together. So what will come next? I fear that Washington will continue along its current strategy of ‘If we can’t have it, then no-one can’ (aka ‘Shit-the-Bed’).

      The Trump tour of Asia will fail too. On the one hand he wants all those states to be loyal to the US, but on the other he doesn’t want to pay for it and instead wants to rip up all those ‘unfair’ trade agreements. Oh, and China is next door to most of those states and has a massive economic influence on them. I suspect China won’t say much but remind their neighbors behind closed doors what healthy economic relations are all about.

      • saskydisc says:

        I suspect that most of China’s neighbours would like friendly relations with China, and would join forces when concessions are needed. Without the US encirclement efforts against China and Russia, I imagine Vietnam and the Philippines would make a far greater fuss about certain island territories, but they realise that should China and Russia fall, they (small countries) would be in a much weaker position, especially given their histories with the US and Europe. For now, they toe the US line, and bow their heads, while biding their time. Their own diplomats would have noticed the deterioration of the NATO states over the last three decades.

      • marknesop says:

        What interests me is who the Democrats have in mind as a replacement if they manage to bring down Trump. He still has quite a few supporters – amazing, I know – who would be borderline homicidal toward anyone the Democrats wanted to shove into the ring, and it absolutely could not be Hillary.

    • ucgsblog says:

      Mueller is going after money laundering, which unsurprisingly leads to Ukraine. It’s one of the oldest known tricks in the book – keep in mind, Al Capone fell due to tax evasion. In this case, money laundering can replace tax evasion. Also, anyone surprised that there have been links to Ukraine and the UK, but no links to Russia?

      • marknesop says:

        I suspect most here would find little to disagree with in the premise that Washington loves the elegance of ‘the deal’, in which it pressures an individual or organization or nation into caving in against his/its best interests, knowing it is getting the shitty end of the stick but unable to resist the relentless pressure. The USA calls it ‘soft power’, and it used to mean something quite different. Now it’s like the difference between pulled pork and fast food. Both are satisfying, but one takes a long time to achieve. Instant gratification is all the rage these days, and Washington would much rather bring about an overnight coup than a decade-long transformation.

        I imagine the pressure is on Manafort to agree to this sort of ‘deal’ to escape prison. And the narrative is shaping up to be that he was a lobbyist for the PRO-RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, Viktor Yanukovych. There’s your Russian connection. Even though Putin did not care for Yanukovych, and Yanukovych only went to Moscow when he had come up against a stone wall with the EU, which obviously wanted Ukraine for free and could not have cared less for the economic damage forcing it to change its loyalties wholesale would have brought about. Still, according to the narrative, Yanukovych was pro-Russian.

        But Yanukovych is still very much alive, and that was not likely in the script. I daresay he has a tale or two to tell about the terms he was offered and the deals he was encouraged to make, which is likely why no western journalists have ever sought permission to interview him in Russia. It’s still surprising, because western analysts could have chimed in that he’s pro-Russian, what did you expect but lies, if they didn’t like what he said.

        I think what Washington wants is to strike a deal with Manafort which will avoid a trial and testimony which might introduce uncomfortable facts and avenues which might prove uncomfortable to explore. Consider; Manafort was right at the heart of the regime-change effort, and he must have seen and heard quite a few things that Washington would not like made public. It is just crazy to get at Russia and will absorb considerable risk to reach that goal, but a public trial of Manafort might be more of a liability than a show of western jurisprudence.

        • ucgsblog says:

          There are several issues with that. First, the Judicial System is supposed to be beyond reproach. The DNC played that Russia Card, and have suffered as a result, because Americans responded with the “I Don’t Give a Shit” card, and the RNC quickly pounced on that. I doubt that Mueller would sacrifice his career for political gains.

          The problem that politicians face with the probe, is that he’s leading a bipartisan effort. Yanukovich being pro-Russian isn’t going to be enough, considering that most Americans know that the FSA was pro-American, and most don’t support the FSA. So Mueller won’t mind if Manafort spills the beans.

          The problem is with the system. While Mueller might not mind, quite a few lobbyists will. The Russia bashing has given Mueller the chance to clean house from the major lobbyists. This means that the pro-Clinton people will be forced to defend Manafort, in an irony of ironies, because when it comes to money laundering, they’re probably in on it. Instead of hitting Russia, they hit the “Drain the Swamp” button, which coincidentally happened to be Trump’s slogan, which he is sure to take credit for.

          Hence the hilarity. Those who wanted this probe have two bad option: defend Manafort, and thus be part of the corruption that Trump denounces; allow Manafort to fall and take Podesta with him. And to think that it all started in Ukraine. Every Zrada turns into Peremoga, even in DC.

        • ucgsblog says:

          So Mark – when’s the new blogpost coming out?

      • saskydisc says:

        Наш отаман Гамалія Янукович чи Порошенко?

  7. Cortes says:

    The unseen [¿?] Kremlin hand:

    The comment by “Ancient Briton” is priceless.

    • marknesop says:

      History will one day review this period as a mass hysteria equaled only by the Dreyfus Affair. Critical thinking is dead, and a significant group – if not a majority – simply accepts whatever pap it is fed by the popular media.

      Alexander makes an excellent point – what kind of incredible leverage must Russia possess, that a covert campaign of which no evidence exists to this day to sway public opinion in favour of leaving the EU prevailed over a very public and extremely overt effort by the United States and some European leaders to influence the vote for “Stay”? Further, how could such a feat be accomplished by an international pariah which is friendless and isolated?

      The west would be wise to give over before its spiteful efforts do it irreparable damage. It will not, of course, wisdom being in short supply while idiocy is going spare.

  8. Moscow Exile says:

    — Maxikins, soon you’ll be sleeping with the president of Russia.
    — Ksyush, but are you sure that Putin will want to sleep with me?

  9. kirill says:

    When you snooker them with facts, they just make shit up to wiggle their way out. Galeotti, Higgins and the rest of the NATzO bootlick slime.

  10. Moscow Exile says:

    Shock-horror revelation about the off-shore investments of the stinking rich, including Betty Windsor of London, reported by Auntie BBC:

    Paradise Papers: Tax haven secrets of ultra-rich exposed

    Putin is not accused of using offshore tax havens to amass his unbelievable wealth that everyone but everyone knows he has, but he gets a mention of course.

  11. Shelling of Donetsk has resumed today. Several people killed (including children), many buildings demolished.

    • James lake says:

      There is an unconfirmed report that a huge column of Ukrainian armored vehicles was smashed by Donbass militia. According to an article at Fort Russ.

      A resumption of hostilities is perhaps predictable as it focusses Ukrainians on Russia and not the poroshenko government and possible maidan 2

      • Patient Observer says:

        While looking for the Fort Russ article, came across this:

        The Chief Military Prosecutor of Ukraine, Anatoly Matios, has spoken of the colossal non-combat losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

        “From 2014 until today, 10,103 people were lost in the armed forces, among all those who received weapons and defended the state – but these are only sanitary losses and not in combat” – said Matios.

        The Ukrainian prosecutor said that negligent attitude of the care sector was the cause of such colossal losses.

        Over 10,000 fatalities in the Ukraine army from non-combat injuries/illness over thee years (9 fatalities per day)? I suspect many of those are reclassified to hide combat losses but still the government seems to has little regard for their own soldiers. It is little wonder why they appear to be so easily defeated. Giving them Javelin missiles or whatever wunderweapon the West is touting will make absolutely no difference with that army.

        • Jen says:

          The article doesn’t say but I am guessing that a huge proportion of those non-combat deaths would be due to poor hospital care and the consequences arising from that (life-endangering infections, over-use of antibiotics leading to the rise of superbugs) and also neglect of soldiers with PTSD who commit suicide or turn to alcohol or other addictive substances and die from overdoses.

        • marknesop says:

          It’s never good news when people are killed who have families back home depending on them, regardless where they are from or whether they are jerks personally. Somebody is still going to miss them, and have a harder time of it without them around, or at least their paycheck. We don’t hear too much these days about young Master Poroshenko at the front; I guess he’s served his stretch and escaped unscathed. So long as the front lines are just markers on the map to the movers and shakers in the capital, human life is cheap. It’s been a long time since being a leader meant leading everywhere.

  12. Patient Observer says:

    Like clockwork, another mass murder in the US:

    More than 20 people have been killed after a gunman opened fire inside a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, media reported, citing authorities. The shooter has been killed by police.

    Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr said that at least 27 people have been killed in the shooting, according to reports by the CNN and the BBC.

    This madness is growing it seems.

  13. ucgsblog says:

    Vershbow with stellar analysis… *cues laugh track*

    “Is Putin Ready to Cut His Losses and Retreat From East Ukraine?”

    Oh, oh, oh, is he? Is he? Tell me more!

    “The recent US debate about Russia has focused mainly on Moscow’s disinformation, propaganda, and interference in our elections. But Russia’s aggression against Ukraine remains the original sin and the biggest threat. It’s not just Ukraine’s survival as an independent, democratic state that is on the line, but the future of an international order based on the rule of law rather than the law of the jungle.”

    Russia’s original sin was Ukraine? Damn. And Ukraine’s independence is at stake? So a place depending on IMF’s loans, Russia’s gas, and EU’s diplomatic cover is independent. Got it.

    “That’s why it’s good news that, despite fears that President Donald Trump might throw Ukraine under the bus for the sake of a reset with Moscow, the administration has taken a clear position that better relations with Russia are impossible without a resolution of the Ukraine crisis. Administration officials have developed a reasonably coherent strategy aimed at achieving a diplomatic solution, and they have appointed a capable diplomat, Kurt Volker, to carry it out.”

    So the goal is to annoy Russia in order to save the Oligarchs in Ukraine, and ensure that China, not the US, leads the World. To Vershbow, this is known as a “capable” act. Damn it! It’s hard to keep a straight face as I type this.

    “This strategy will only succeed if the United States remains strong, united with our allies, and uncompromising in our principles. That means refusing to recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea and insisting on its return to Ukraine, however long it takes. In the case of the occupied areas of the Donbas, it means maintaining and, if necessary, increasing the pressure until Russia agrees to end its occupation and restore Ukrainian sovereignty in full, as called for in the Minsk agreements.”

    I’m guessing Vershbow did not read the Minsk agreements, but why would he bother with such trifles as reading the facts? I’m still at a loss as to how Putin is caving, and as to how he’s going to return Crimea to Ukraine, but…

    “For the first time since 2014, the Kremlin may be looking for a way out of the Donbas. While the Crimean annexation has been a winner for Russian President Vladimir Putin in domestic terms, his plans for a second secessionist rump state across southern Ukraine—the “Novorossiya” project—did not play out as intended. Three years of occupation and low-level conflict in the Donbas have strengthened Ukrainian national identity and resolve, without seriously derailing the reform process or implementation of the EU association agreement.”

    But, but, but, but didn’t he just say that return of Crimea shouldn’t be a part of any compromise? So Putin is caving by not caving. Vlad’s a fucking mastermind! This is getting good, because, as is the trend with these types of articles, after a major contradiction that destroys the article is posted, there’s a move to the climax, and freedom from stupidity.

    “By now, Putin has figured out that sanctions are not going to be lifted for free and that transatlantic unity is not as easy to break as he expected. Plus, he now needs to reckon with the possibility that the United States will deliver additional defensive weapons to Ukraine, which will make it harder to launch any new offensives without the risk of significant casualties—a sensitive issue for Putin at home. So it seems that the new US strategy is beginning to work, and Putin’s September peacekeeping proposal may indicate that he is considering ways to cut his losses. He may not make a decision until after Russia’s 2018 presidential election. And even then, it’s not yet clear whether he will opt for full restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty over the Donbas, or whether he might seek to freeze the conflict and create another puppet state like Transnistria.”

    So the US should go for a diplomatic approach with Russia, by killing Russians, which is supposed be achieved by giving weapons to Ukraine, which can then be sold to South Sudan and resold to Russia, in order to hurt Russia, by forcing Russia to buy US weapons at a steep discount, which will somehow results in more Russian deaths, which is a diplomatic act. I just gave you guys a tour of the author’s brain – scary, ain’t it?

    “The challenge is to convince Putin to choose the right path: full Minsk. We should test him at the negotiating table by proposing a robust peacekeeping force that could ensure full restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty, while at the same time showing him that the costs of continued occupation will only rise over time. The mandate for a peacekeeping force should be clearly defined as implementing Minsk in all its aspects, not just protecting the OSCE monitors as Putin proposed. The force should have free access to all the occupied territories, including the authority to secure the entire international border.”

    Peacekeeping that would ensure Ukraine’s sovereignty – that’s not how peacekeeping works. Peacekeeping is the job of protecting civilians from the armed factions, meaning that if the civilians want to secede and join Russia, it is still the job of peacekeepers to defend these civilians from armed aggression. Furthermore, peacekeepers in Ukraine aren’t entitled to enter Russia, so the bullshit about “securing the entire international border” is just that – bullshit. Why should Russia allow peacekeepers on Russian Soil?

    The article continues, but by now – you’ve realized that there’s no point in reading it. Vershbow and his ilk aren’t interested in diplomacy; to them, diplomacy is Russia allowing itself to be humiliated to meet their needs. That’s not how diplomacy works.

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, that’s why they need the Peacemaker site and signage exhorting Ukrainians to report any separatist leanings on the part of their neighbours – because Ukrainians are united now like never before.

    • Ryan Ward says:

      “The mandate for a peacekeeping force should be clearly defined as implementing Minsk in all its aspects, not just protecting the OSCE monitors as Putin proposed. The force should have free access to all the occupied territories, including the authority to secure the entire international border.””

      Oddly enough, if Western countries made a credible commitment to do exactly this, I think Putin and the Russian governing classes would be all on board. Because of course, a peacekeeping force genuinely devoted to “implementing Minsk in all its aspects” would not give Ukraine effective control of the rebel regions until the relevant constitutional amendments had been passed, and mutually-agreed conditions for local elections established. Such a force would not withdraw until the rebel regions had achieved genuine autonomy within a federal system. Can there be any doubt which side it is which would actually not like such a result?

      • marknesop says:

        I completely agree; there remains a common and deliberately-nurtured misconception that Putin is opposed to Ukraine’s joining the EU, and that this is his motivation for desperately trying to arrest the process. Putin is on record as supporting Ukraine’s joining the EU if that is the wish of the majority of its people, and Russia and Ukraine together tried to convince EU representatives that Ukraine could be the bridge between the EU and the EAU. The EU commissioners would have none of it, and the astroturfed Maidan was the result of their trying to have things all their own way. Putin is opposed to Ukraine joining NATO, for good and obvious reasons, but he would not have let Russia stand in the way of a peaceful transition of Ukraine to the EU.

        Poroshenko keeps stalling and playing for time, and his western backers let him get away with it, because both are hoping to catch a lucky break which will allow Kiev to roll up the Donbas and bring it back under Ukrainian control without having to concede anything.

  14. Moscow Exile says:

    Paradise Papers: Queen and Bono kept money in offshore funds, leaked files reveal

    The Putin connection:

    Wilbur Ross, Donald Trump’s Commerce Secretary, has a stake in a shipping company that does business with a gas production firm part owned by Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law, the Paradise Papers showed.

    Mr Ross, 79, a billionaire former private equity titan, has a stake in Navigator Holdings Ltd, which is incorporated in the Marshall Islands and has received more than $68 million in revenue since 2014 from dealings with Sibur, a Russian gas and petrochemicals company part owned by Kirill Shamalov, who is married to Mr Putin’s daughter Katerina Tikhonova.

    • Ryan Ward says:

      At this point, the witch hunt has gone full Salem. Ross HAS A STAKE IN a company that DOES BUSINESS WITH a company that is PARTIALLY OWNED by Putin’s SON-IN-LAW. The caps are used to show every way this connection is indirect and partial. This witch hunt started by looking for evidence that Trump directly colluded with the Russians to “steal the election”, and now they’re settling for evidence that someone with some connection to Trump has some connection with a company that has some connection with another company that has some connection with a guy who has some connection with Putin. Gotcha! The scent of desperation is getting pretty strong.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Yes, the alleged connection does look utterly ridiculous when expanded out. A few more connections would include a sizeable fraction of the global population.

        • marknesop says:

          Some of the existing connections would likely rope in people the investigation is quite happy to keep out of it. But they are firmly focused on making the points fit the curve, and this has increasingly become the American investigative method – start with the conclusion, and work backward, looking for ‘evidence’ which supports the conclusion.

          • Patient Observer says:

            Yes, the “backwards” approach would not explore the potentially numerous branches that a “forward” approach would thus ensuring embarrassing connections would not be discovered.

        • ErGalimba says:

          Exectly don’t forget the “6 man rule” (approxomate). Or as Spaceballs tells us:
          Dark Helmet: I am your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate.
          Lone Star: So what does that make us?
          Dark Helmet: Absolutely nothing.

        • ucgsblog says:

          According to that logic, I’m Putin. After all, Putin allegedly owns a part of a sports team in Sochi, and I, allegedly own a part of a sports team in Sochi. Connection! Granted, they’re in completely different sports, play in different venues, practice in different arenas, with different players, and during different seasons, but who needs such trifles as facts? Me = Putin! Oh yeah, in both cases, the allegations are false. Another connection!

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “…now they’re settling for evidence that someone with some connection to Trump has some connection with a company that has some connection with another company that has some connection with a guy who has some connection with Putin. Gotcha!”

        Relevant 🙂 :

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “But nothing special has been planned, no big event, no cameras.”

      I have only question concerning this piece of… journalism. What place of the Higher Education does have kvetching in its Arts program? Because this fellow Trudolyubov surely perfected it into an art form!

      For the entirety of the “Democratic 90s” the West hailed then “free” Russia’s efforts to “deal away with the bloody Soviet past”. Early Putin was West’s darling and anti-communist to the core. And now their press is kvetching again. What do they want? An official state holiday that celebrates the event? A condemnation of the whole event? Do they realize that either or will polarize the people angering some while appealing to others?

      Of course they do. For them it seems unfair that it is in the Bastion of FreeDoom people are clasing over the statues celebrating/condemning their own bloody past – but not in “Putin’s Russia”.

      • marknesop says:

        I am reminded of the reply by firebrand separatist Quebecois politician Lucien Bouchard to the plaintive question, “What does Quebec want??”

        “What would you like us to want?”

  15. Lyttenburgh says:

    .Part 2 of the Must Read (before you hit 18) list by Lyttenburgh..

    Here comes the time of me listing all the necessary (YMMV) books of the literary fiction.

    1) Francois Rabelais “Gargantua and Pantagruel”
    3) Miguel Cervantes. “Don Quixote”
    4) Daniel Defoe. “Robinson Crusoe”
    5) Walter Scot. “Ivanhoe”.
    6) Fennimore Cooper. “The last of Mohicans”.
    7) Alexander Dumas. “3 Musketeers”. “Count de Monte-Cristo”
    8) Herman Melville. “Moby Dic”
    9) Charles Dickens. “The Christmas Carroll”, “Oliver Twist”.
    10) Harriet B. Stowe. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”.
    11) Mark Twain. “A prince and a pauper”. “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”.
    12) Mayne Reid. «Osceola the Seminole», “The Headless Horseman”.
    13) E. L. Voynich. “The Gadfly”.
    14) Raffaello Giovagnoli. “Spartacus”.
    15) Jules Vern. “15 year old captain”, “Children of Captain Grant”, “Around the world in 80 days”, “20 000 leagues under the sea”. “The mysterious island”. “From the Cannon to the Moon”. “Journey to the center of the Earth”. “5 hours on the balloon”.
    16) Theophille Gauthier. “Captain Frakass”
    17) Charles de Coster. «The Legend of Thyl Ulenspiegel»
    18) Arthur Conan Doyle. “The Lost World”. “The Hound of Baskervilles”.
    19) R.L. Stevenson. “The Treasure Island”. “The Strange Story of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. “Black Arrow”. “New Arabian Nights” (especially “The Suicide Club” and “The Rajah’s Diamond”)
    20) Oscar Wilde. “Dorian Gray’s Portrait”
    21) Herbert Welles. “The Time Machine”. “The War of the Worlds”. “The Invisible Man”
    22) H.R. Haggard. “King Solomon’s Mines”.
    23) Jack London. “White Fang”, “Love of Life”, “Hearts of Three”, “The Mexican”, plus assorted short stories.
    24) O. Henry. “The gift of the Magi”, “The Ransom of Red Cheif”, “The Last Leaf”, other assorted short stories (“The Gentle Grafter” collection of stories especially).
    25) Ernest Thompson Seton. Assorted short stories.
    25) R. Sabatini. “Captain’s Blood Odyssey”
    26) James Aldridge. “The last inch”.

    • marknesop says:

      I am appalled by how many of these I have not read. Good suggestions all, and to Jack London’s work I would add “The Star Rover” and “The Sea Wolf”; the former is a bit of a departure for this author, but a real experience to read nonetheless. I would add also “The Age of Miracles” from Melville Davisson Post’s “Uncle Abner, Master of Mysteries”, and “Captain Caution”, by Kenneth Roberts. I was intrigued to find, in the description of the latter, the impression that the merchant’s daughter, Corruna Dorman, is the main character. That was not my interpretation at all, and for me, seaman Dan Marvin dominated throughout. His invention of the gangway pendulum for accurately placing shipboard cannon fire was extremely interesting and the story is very well-written, with believable and even admirable characters. In fact, it occurs to me that it is broadly because of characters I read about when I was younger, and the impressions I formed of what humanity was like, that makes humanity largely disappointing for me as an adult.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Do movies count?

        • Cortes says:

          Of course!

          Especially when it’s a version of a novel.

          I’m just about to try out the volume of stories based on Hopper paintings (editor Lawrence Block).

      • yalensis says:

        Jack London:
        Definitely “The Sea Wolf” and also “Call of the Wild”.
        “Call of the Wild” is sort of the mirror image to “White Fang”.

        Also “The Iron Hell”. London’s political novel about a fascist future.

  16. et Al says:

    EU Observer news ticker: Finns oppose Nato membership

    The majority of Finns (59 percent) are opposed to joining Nato, according to a public opinion poll published by Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat on Sunday. Just 22 percent were in favour of joining the military alliance while 19 percent said they could not make up their minds. Asked if their opinion would change if Sweden joined Nato, 52 percent were still opposed, while 33 percent were in support.

    Ho ho ho! I’m sure I remember a number of so-called ‘news’ outlets over the last few months bigging up the story that Finland may well join NATO in response to ‘Russian aggression’, not to mention one of the candidates in the upcoming election there wants Finland to join, or at least have big public debate about it.

    • marknesop says:

      I would still urge caution; while it is a mistake, they say, for a politician to ask a question to which he does not already know the answer, we have seen plenty of examples in the past where the people were demonstrably opposed to a particular act or transition, and their leaders gritted their teeth and went ahead with it anyway. As I recall, the voters in Montenegro were split down the middle on the issue of the country joining NATO, a decision which will bring lots of benefit to NATO but nothing to Montenegro, while it will instead cause it significant economic damage unless NATO can convince the tourists of its member states to make up for Russian shortfalls. But they joined NATO anyway.

    • yalensis says:

      Yes, but what would Karl do?

  17. et Al says:

    Neuters via Euractiv: EU plans big rule change to snag Nord Stream 2

    The EU executive sees Russia’s plan to double the gas it could pump under the Baltic Sea to Germany, bypassing traditional routes via Ukraine, as undercutting EU efforts to reduce dependence on Moscow and its support for Kyiv.

    The move dovetails with the Commission’s proposal for a mandate from member states to negotiate with Russia over objections to the pipeline.

    Even with the changes, EU regulators say they may need to seek talks with Russia as it cannot impose its law on the stretch of the pipeline that is outside its territory.

    “This proposal does not solve all the problems … and some of those need to be negotiated,” an EU official said.

    Under the proposed changes to the gas directive, seen by Reuters, all import pipelines would have to comply with EU rules requiring pipelines not be owned directly by gas suppliers, non-discriminatory tariffs, transparent operations and at least 10% of capacity be made available to third parties.

    “The Gas Directive in its entirety … will become applicable to pipelines to and from third countries, including existing and future pipelines, up to the border of EU jurisdiction,” the proposals says….

    More stupidity at the link, but this looks like the same rubbish leaked to EUObserver a week or so ago that I posted here. I have a question. If this is actually becomes the case, then will Brussels rule that TAP and ‘field pipes’ which currently have an exemption from EU law then become illegal? I don’t see how they could keep them as exceptions. Brussels is just trying itself in knots to make is seem relevant where it is actually powerless to do anything. As for the line above ‘…may need to seek talks with Russia..’, WTF?

    • marknesop says:

      ‘Talks with Russia’ seems of late to be code for ‘persuade/pressure Russia to capitulate’. I think Brussels should tread cautiously – the solution which was proposed here (sorry, I forget by who, although I think it was Kirill) whereby Germany would simply build a spur out to where it could connect to Nord Stream II in international waters, must have occurred to Russia and Germany as well. And in that case the pipeline would be more German than European (being no different than those already designated ‘field pipes’ which belong to member states), and would disproportionately increase Germany’s influence within the alliance.

      • kirill says:

        ‘Twas me. From the wording of the EU “leak” it appears they are worried about this scenario, hence the need to “negotiate” with Russia about the pipeline in international waters.

        • et Al says:

          Yes, sorry kirill. I did see the story when it came out but couldn’t bear to post it. The EU Observer has become a veritable cesspit of Russophobia over the last few years, foreign editor Andrew Rettman being the point man and producer of multiple ‘investigations’ in to Russian ‘meddling’. Khordokohvsky, Browder etc. are his heroes who have no dodgy past to speak of. Any rumor, any crap, however poor is considered relevant by this so-called ‘journalist’.

          The irony is that EUO which claims to be independent now wants people to pay for access to some of its stuff so that it can pay for itself even though it gets a quarter of its financial support from the usual suspects, i.e. ‘grants’. Now why would anyone pay for spiteful anti-Russia bs?

  18. et Al says:

    Moon of Alabama: Saudi Arabia – This ‘Night Of The Long Knives’ Is A Panic-Fueled Move

    Yesterday the ruling Salman clan in Saudi Arabia executed a Night of the Long Knives cleansing the state of all potential competition. The Saudi King Salman and his son Clown Prince Mohammad bin Salman initiated a large arrest wave and purge of high ranking princes and officials. Part of this internal coup was the confiscation of huge financial estates to the advantage of the Salman clan.

    The earlier forced resignation of the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri is probably related to the last night’s events. The Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahoo endorsed the resignation. This guarantees that Hariri will never again be accepted in a leading role in Lebanon….

    Plenty more at the link and don’t forget to check the comments, of which PaveWay IV & guidoamm are enlightening, the latter: I know from someone that, till last month, managed a fleet of personal jets for the great and the good in Saudi Arabia, that there is an exodus under way. The great and the good are literally taking the cuckoo clocks onboard their 380s and relocating to their foreign residences. Owners of the fleets have not been paying their bills for months neither to the crews, nor to the management nor, indeed, to the facilities.

    Just what Europe needs, a bunch of Saudi princes permanently flaunting themselves away from home in various capitals.

  19. Russia-Insider launches an attack against the October revolution in 1917 with two full articles.

    The Bolshevik Revolution – a Russian Tragedy:

    Famous Syphilitic Psychopath Vladimir Lenin Celebrated at St. Petersburg Conference:

    Bolshevik revolution seems to be getting less and less popular in Russia these days, with only elder people still celebrating it. Hopefully they bury Lenin soon.

    • Evgeny says:

      For the most part the 1917 revolution is only relevant today as a part of the Russian history.

      The only political power in Russia that cherishes the 1917 revolution is the KPRF (the Communist party), while (pretty much) everyone else doesn’t care. However the utility of KPRF lies somewhere else: (1) it’s still the largest opposition party, and (2) it’s the party which calls for more elements of social democracy in the Russian society. I typically vote for KPRF, because I want greater diversity in the Russian Parliament, and because I share the ethical argument that Russia needs to increase state social spendings (mainly healthcare and education).

      • Well, the Bolshevik revolution is still relevant today. Without it Russia would still have ownership of Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and possible Southern Caucasus and Central Asia. In fact, we would not even know of “Ukraine” since Lenin would not have ever created it.

        Lenin and Trotsky also executed millions of Russians, most of whom represented the upper echelon of the society. Russia was robbed off from their gene pool and offspring that would be alive today.

        • Evgeny says:

          Karl, that’s history. And while it’s a most important event in the Russian history, the 1917 revolution definitely is not a socially polarizing issue today.

          Lastly, from what much I know about genomics, the “robbed off from a gene pool” is a pretty much pseudoscientific claim.

          • yalensis says:

            Karl is a Finnish fascist, so he believes the “upper crust” have better genes to start with.
            Karl is also a racist, he believes that non “European” people have inferior DNA.
            As if Finns were real Europeans, LOL.
            Just to be put his comments in perspective.

            He probably belongs to that “Odin’s Warriors” gang of Finnish street hooligans who march around Helsinki beating up Arabs.

        • Ryan Ward says:

          “Well, the Bolshevik revolution is still relevant today. Without it Russia would still have ownership of Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and possible Southern Caucasus and Central Asia. In fact, we would not even know of “Ukraine” since Lenin would not have ever created it.”

          Actually Ukraine had created its own autonomous local government in 1917 before the Bolsheviks took power, and had its autonomy recognized by the Provisional Government. Kinda strange for Ukraine (that, remember, didn’t exist yet) to have its own Rada and recognition by the PG, wouldn’t you say?

          • kirill says:

            Ukraine was a German project during WWI and before. That some transient regime could form during the total collapse of central power in Russia with a “nationalist agenda” is trivial and not by any means an indication of grass roots aspirations. Novorrussia (yes, it did exist) was gifted to their concocted republic called Ukraine as a gift. Nobody asked the people living there if they wanted to be under Kiev rule. Like today, nobody asks if Crimeans and Donbass residents want to submit to Kiev rule.

            • Ryan Ward says:

              Ukraine was a German project during WWI and before. That some transient regime could form during the total collapse of central power in Russia with a “nationalist agenda” is trivial and not by any means an indication of grass roots aspirations. Novorrussia (yes, it did exist) was gifted to their concocted republic called Ukraine as a gift. Nobody asked the people living there if they wanted to be under Kiev rule. Like today, nobody asks if Crimeans and Donbass residents want to submit to Kiev rule.

              This is ignorant tripe. Literally every sentence is complete BS. I’ll explain why sentence by sentence.

              Ukraine was a German project during WWI and before.

              The Ukrainian nation-building project goes back to the 19th century, and Germans had no involvement with it whatsoever. Even in the context of WWI, the Rada was established without one bit of German involvement, and once the Germans did get in control of Ukraine, the set up a different government (the Hetmanate). So not only was Ukraine not a “German project”. The Ukrainian nationalists were not even on especially good terms with the Germans.

              That some transient regime could form during the total collapse of central power in Russia with a “nationalist agenda” is trivial and not by any means an indication of grass roots aspirations.

              The Rada was established in the early stage of the Provisional Government. Almost the first response of the Ukrainians to the February revolution was to set up an autonomous government, one which was established in a broadly democratic way. Furthermore, the consciousness (sometimes inchoate, but always present) of the Ukrainian peasantry of their separate identity is confirmed by countless reports by Civil War participants and later Communist party functionaries. Peasant Ukrainian self-consciousness played a major role not only among Petliura’s nationalists but also among Makhno’s anarchists. Later, in the period of collectivization, one of the major difficulties was that the Ukrainian peasantry didn’t particularly appreciate foreigners (the phrase “Russians and Jews” comes up again and again in the reports) coming in and telling them how to live and run their farms. This is documented again and again by the Communist functionaries themselves.

              Novorrussia (yes, it did exist) was gifted to their concocted republic called Ukraine as a gift.

              Is there another way to “gift” something than “as a gift”? 😉 Anyway, of course “Novorossiya” existed. It was an administrative unit of the Russian empire. That doesn’t mean it was culturally uniform. Some areas of it were majority Ukrainian and fit quite naturally into Ukraine, some others not so much. But this is all completely irrelevant, since the Ukrainian People’s Republic never claimed most of “Novorossiya”.

              Nobody asked the people living there if they wanted to be under Kiev rule.

              It would be strange to ask people in areas the UPR didn’t even claim whether they wanted to be part of the UPR 😉

              Like today, nobody asks if Crimeans and Donbass residents want to submit to Kiev rule.

              Proving that even a broken clock is right twice a day, there’s nothing objectionable or demonstrably false in this sentence 😉

              • marknesop says:

                Well, I’m afraid that was the sentence I was going to take issue with. Indeed someone did ask Crimeans if they wanted to submit to Kiev’s rule, and they voted No.

          • yalensis says:

            Karl owns a WHAT-IF ALT-Time-Travel machine which tells him how things WOULD HAVE turned out, if History could be re-run, with certain variables changing. Like, Lenin was never born, or something like that.

            The problem is, that Karl’s WHAT-IF machine is broken and badly in need of repair, since it keeps giving him the wrong results. In fact, I spoke personally with the repairman who attempted to fix Karl’s machine, the poor guy couldn’t fix it, he just kept shaking his head hopelessly. He told me in confidence that Karl had stolen his machine from a Finnish flea-market run by fascist crooks, and that all of those machines have faulty motherboards.

            My own personal WHAT-IF machine is in much better repair, and usually gives different results than Karl’s machine. Because I purchased it at a reputable AMERICAN store, and not at a run-down Finnish flea market!

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Millions of Russians?

          You don’t say!

          • kirill says:

            But millions did die during the civil war butchery overseen by Trotsky. Trotsky’s butchery had zero legitimacy no matter how lofty were the ideals of the 1917 coup, aka “revolution”.

            • yalensis says:

              Why, Kirill, once again you are insane, with your “millions” butchered theory.
              Lenin and Trotsky were busy guys, weren’t they? Wake up in the morning, butcher a million, go to bed, sleep soundly… Wake up next morning…. Another day another butchery…

              And all because they wouldn’t buckle down and send more cannon fodder off to fight for the greater glory of England and France! While you, in your Canadian exile, cheer on the Grand Alliance of Imperial Russia and the British Monarchy!

              And who STARTED the Russian Civil War, my dear insane friend? Surely it could not have been the Imperial powers, England, France, the United States, Japan? When they invaded Russia? Because that never happened, Shirley.

              Oh, and by the way, how is your doctoral disseration comng along? I heard you were writing your thesis on “Trotskyite Phonology”. In which European languages do not possess palatal phonemes, unless Trotsky ordered another million shot, out of his ingrained Jewish hatred for the Cyrillic alphabet – LOL!

        • Patient Observer says:

          Russia was robbed off from their gene pool and offspring that would be alive today.

          In addition to the racism implicit in your statement, there is no evidence whatsoever to support your contention. I can just as easily say that the Russian gene pool was strengthened by recent history.

          Moreover, you obviously have no experience with the “upper echelon of the society”.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            As regards the statement above that Russia had been robbed of its gene pool as a result of Lenin and Trotsky’s execution of “millions of Russians” (give or take a few hundreds of thousands), there suddenly came to mind an interview on TV with Peter Ustinov that took place years ago in the UK.

            Ustinov (16 April 1921 – 28 March 2004) was a Russian-British “actor, writer, dramatist, filmmaker, theatre and opera director, stage designer, screenwriter, comedian, humorist, newspaper and magazine columnist, radio broadcaster, and television presenter. He was a fixture on television talk shows and lecture circuits for much of his career. A respected intellectual and diplomat, he held various academic posts and served as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and President of the World Federalist Movement”. [Wiki]

            I always thought Ustinov to be be a very witty bloke and a much underrated actor.

            During this interview that I recall, the interviewer (I think it was Michael Parkinson who interviewed him) said to his guest something like: “Now, your family was very fortunate to flee from Russia to the West before the Bolshevik Revolution and all the horrors that ensued”, whereupon Ustinov replied, “Yes, my family were rather prescient as regards this matter and left Russia in 1861”.

          • kirill says:

            I am going to have to give this statement way more slack than you. The differential slaughter of the intelligentsia and upper classes (who were not all hereditary aristocrats, but included successful businessmen and farmers) is a selective pressure on the gene pool. In spite of the dementia called political correctness, it is a fact that there is a stratification in the gene pool with the mediocre part forming the majority “proletariat”. However, genetics is more complex and even after selective culling, the gene pool stratifies again since the potential resides buried in the whole pool and not just parts of it. The Russian gene pool has an inherently deep capacity for this since it is very multiracial, i.e. diverse sourced, and not stagnant like can be found on islands and even continental regions.

            It is however, ridiculous for a Finn, from the country whose gene pool is known to be limited, which is expressed in the higher rate of various genetic diseases (very similar to those seen under inbreeding) to pontificate about the narrowed gene pool of Russia. It would take many iterations of the Bolshevik-Stalinist slaughter to deplete the Russian gene pool.

            • saskydisc says:

              The argument that success in business is a consequence in large part of genetics (I agree with a modified version of the claim) relies on the correlation between mean societal IQ and mean societal income, taken as a causal hypothesis, and heritability studies of IQ, with the inference of genetic causation of IQ.

              Note that the same evidence can support genetically variable sensitivity to environment, e.g. lead poisoning. The population mean environmental effect does not enter e.g. twin studies’ IQ correlations directly (mean effects are subtracted in calculation of Pearson correlation coefficients), and can only enter via genetically variable sensitivity to environment.

              Further note that the usual arguments for explaining group IQ differences (cold winter theories) are falsified (Prairie North American aboriginals). A far more plausible theory is genetically determined sensitivity to environment, due to evolutionary response to previous environments, e.g. Bronze ages.

              As examples, consider that dirty bronze ages were restricted to meso-America and the Andes, and to Eurasia, while African bronzes were decorative, rather than for general purpose—iron was simply a much more useful material. Soft metal deposits always contain substantial lead, while iron deposits rarely do. The dirtiest mining of soft metals occurred in China (2000 years ago) and Mongolia (Genghis Khan’s Silver mines), where the genes associated with higher IQs are found with the highest frequencies; Korea and Japan (and China) had Cu-Pb and Cu-Pb-Sn bronzes at least as frequently as Cu-Sn bronzes, including for cutlery. Also, except for Mongolia, most of these societies removed the bulk of the lead from their petrol in the 1970s (Japan) or 80s (China, South Korea).

              Also note the rising US crime rates the last three years—the US startd its cleanup of lead paint in the early 90s, albeit with bad methods such as dry sanding occurring frequently as recently as 2015. The youth crime rates have collapsed, and high crime rates are statistically connected to lower IQs.

              • Patient Observer says:

                I will just share impressions that may or may not result in added clarity. The vast majority of the 1% class inherited their status or were otherwise sons and daughters of privilege. No special genetic advantage was needed – no struggle in the jungle for these folks.

                Some people do earn their way into the 1% (“1%” being shorthand for whatever people imagine as the upper echelon of society). Perhaps intelligence played a role but I suspect the critical factors would include greed, status, family pressure, deprived childhood, etc. with superior natural intelligence playing a secondary role, if any.

                In short, once education is factored out, the 1% seems to have no intellectual advantage in my experience but they do, on average, have a higher sociopathic component. If this is indeed the case in most countries, the Russian revolution’s only major effect would be a a lessening of sociopathic tendencies in its elites.

                Regarding the drop in violent crime, my understanding is that demographics and organization of illegal drug trade (i.e. end of major gang struggles over who controls drug flow) were the main factors. Also, mass incarceration may have inhibited crime growth (there were better ways in my opinion to fight crime but that is another story). Also, as total speculation, the drop in overt racism in the US may have helped to reduce crime as well.

                Going back to Russia, if there were discernible effects of the loss of the 1%, it would likely only manifest itself as a reduction in sociopathic/psychopathic behavior. There may be some gnashing of teeth on this conclusion.

                • saskydisc says:

                  My own suspicion is that elites understand the poisonous nature of lead, and hence from time to time spread it around, to keep the non-elite fighting amongst its own members, while using just enough lead to keep the sociopathy going. Also, if one is poisoned by lead, one might not recognize the games that the elite play. All that remains for the elites to do is encourage cynicism amongst those not poisoned, to use their resulting higher intelligence for self advancement, hence the IQ wealth correlation.

                • saskydisc says:

                  Also check out
                  Note that racism and poverty are rising, as they have before, yet unlike before, youth crime is collapsing. The spike of murders that started last year, which was presaged by shootings rising in 2015, is almost down again to the level (murders) of 2015. Ditto shootings. See e.g., including on the resumption of the previous (pre-2016) trend became obvious in August of this year.

                • saskydisc says:

                  Another matter—the wealth to IQ correlations are typically performed using regions, i.e. the mean IQ and wealth of a region is used as a single data point, then correlations are computed comparing regions. As different regions will have their own elites, the effect of inheritance on the correlation will tend to disappear.

              • kirill says:

                Genetics and politics are a horrible mix, but skilled segments of the population, whether they be engineers or carpenters/architects and assorted other professions are the backbone of society. PC dogma would have it that burger flippers are equal to everyone else. In terms of rights, this is true. In terms of skills this is patently false. A huge number of people have serious learning issues and this reflects the stratification of the gene pool. As far as I can tell it is simply entropy at work.

                Of course there is a large number of other variables that determine an individual’s success and contribution to society. It is not all genetics and I agree with your post. Hereditary elites seem to exhibit significant levels of mental inadequacy so even within the same families there is a progression to mediocrity with time.

                Here is where natural selection comes in. The only way that nature maintains the “caliber” of species is through the death of variants that do not handle the challenges thrown at them well. Humanity has escaped this filter process and is slowly degrading (compared to their ancestors). I don’t believe in “survival of the fittest” since one can see plenty of counter-examples in nature. Survival is achieved through various means and not just maximization given some subjective metric of various features. For example, the balsam fir is a crappy tree that grows like a weed when young and can tolerate low light conditions. As it matures it rots but it is succeeding as a species.

                • saskydisc says:

                  My question, and I do keep an open mind regarding intellectual biodiversity/genetic causation of IQ, is whether the evidence is correctly interpreted to wit that the bulk of variation in IQ is due to direct additive genetic contribution to IQ, namely the usual biodiversity interpretation.

                  This interpretation then leads (correctly or not) to the interpretation that (ethnic or racial) group differences in IQ are due to genetic frequency differences between populations, i.e. that genes that directly confer higher intelligence are more common in the higher IQ populations.

                  The same evidence can be interpreted differently, with the same mathematical success, as plastic sensitivity to environment. Thus the people who are deficient may be deficient due to environmental exposure, e.g. in the womb (maternal exposure to lead during pregnancy) or in infancy, and they have little hope of recovering the lost IQ due to environmental effects, and the magnitude of the effect for a given dose may be a function of genetics, due to evolutionary pressures.

        • Alexey says:

          When I hear words “gene pool” my hand is reaching for my Mauser

        • rkka says:

          “Without it Russia would still have ownership of Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and possible Southern Caucasus and Central Asia. In fact, we would not even know of “Ukraine” since Lenin would not have ever created it.”

          False Karl.

          You know, when the bakeries of your capital city have nothing in them but ‘No Bread’ signs, because your collapsing, undercapitalized transportation system can either transport munitions to the Front, or grain to the cities, but not both, it means you have lost the war.

          A child of five who has missed lunch would understand this.

          Somebody please find a hungry child of five to explain this to The Geopolitician.

          Imperial Russia died of economic strangulation, because her best-developed ports were on seas whose exits were controlled by the Central Powers. In 1914, Arkhangelsk & Vladivostok simply lacked the capacity to handle the tonnages that Imperial Russia required from her allies, and vast stockpiles of equipment & supplies accumulated at both, simply for lack of rail capacity to move it. Hence, the war, from the beginning was one that Nicky II was gonna lose badly, and the Bolshies had nothing to do with the final outcome.

          And Ukraine is the progeny of the German Army, who set up some puppets to run the place for them after Brest Litovsk. And then another German Army set up the next one, whose portraits now parade through the streets of Kiev.

          • Ryan Ward says:

            And Ukraine is the progeny of the German Army, who set up some puppets to run the place for them after Brest Litovsk. And then another German Army set up the next one, whose portraits now parade through the streets of Kiev.

            As mentioned above, the Germans set up the Hetmanate, which was a completely different government from the one the Ukrainians chose for themselves (the Central Rada).

            • rkka says:

              How many people supported it, like, by picking up a rifle to defend it?

              • Ryan Ward says:

                The original Central Rada was incredibly naive about military matters and the political situation of their time, and never organized a proper army. So not many Ukrainians fought for it, because they never had any organization or any chance to stop, think about what was happening and respond. However, after the Bolsheviks drove out the Central Rada, they did have this time, and hundreds of thousands rallied to Petliura, hundreds of thousands more to Makhno (who, although not precisely a nationalist, drew on nationalist sympathies, and was even married to a prominent nationalist). Furthermore, most of the independent otamans about whom we have information (usually from communist functionaries) drew on nationalist themes as well, so we should include their followers in the numbers as well. As for the Bolsheviks, their Ukrainian following was pathetic. Their own commanders acknowledged that their armies were 90% Russian.

        • Jen says:

          “Well, the Bolshevik revolution is still relevant today. Without it Russia would still have ownership of Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and possible Southern Caucasus and Central Asia. In fact, we would not even know of “Ukraine” since Lenin would not have ever created it.”

          Erm, Karl, you forgot to mention that without the Bolshevik Revolution, Russia would probably also still have ownership of … Finland.


    • ErGalimba says:

      That’s because there a lot of rotten conspiracy theory websites out there which cater to an american audience. They come in all favours, including the russian angle. Even if russia-insider can sometimes be informative as well as amusing it appears to be run by right-wing tinfoil hat americans for other such americans. As usual with most alternative (and these days mainstream) press/media they massively exaggerate and resort to clickbait.

      Speaking of conspiracy theories a new ukrainian aquaintance of mine made some remarks in favour of the late former Major General KP Petrov. From the little I could be bothered to look him up he seems like an “esaltato” (loony) to say the least. I sense that the collapse of the CCCP and the failure of their new societies has made certain societies very open to such garbage.

      • ErGalimba says:

        My last sentence is inaccurate and mostly speculation, it is a feeling not based on a proper study. And one need not be a poor Ukrainian to believe in such silly things. Witness “New Age” movements, anglo-saxon neo-paganism and so on. Moreover, given the strength, endurance and history of the breathless “conspiratorial style” in US politics, perhaps the outlet in question is perfectly normal for a US audience. You wouldn’t catch me watching US TV (for starters I’d have to seek it actively) so I claim (knowable) ignorance 😛

      • Patient Observer says:

        I find conspiracy theories of a certain type quite plausible and consistent with general characteristics of human behavior. For example, they are useful in comprehending the machinations behind the Iraq WMD deception, allegations of poison gas use by the Syrian government, etc.

        Many/most conspiracies appear to be just sociopaths trying to pull the wool over our eyes to achieve objectives that most people would find objectionable if not abhorrent and downright unacceptable . Conspiracies are simply inherent human behavior.

  20. et Al says:

    Consortium News: Israeli-Saudi Tandem Adjusts to Syria Loss

    Facing defeat in the proxy war in Syria, the Israeli-Saudi tandem is planning a new front against Hezbollah, presaged by Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri’s sudden resignation, as ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke explains.

    By Alastair Crooke

    All at the link.

    I don’t think Israel will start to face any kind of reality as long as Nut & Yahoo and his clique remain in power, even then… In other news, the US has just ordered 186 more cruise missiles (that we know about). War with I-ran is the goal, but how to get there? More weapons is the easy bit but the earth beneath the war parties’ feet has long since shifted. I-ran is prepared and expects it too.

  21. Patient Observer says:

    There was a post a while back indicating that anyone who believed Hillary Clinton had serious health problems during her Presidential run was a dupe and fool of the non-MSM media (apparently referring to yours truly among others). Well, lookie here:

    An excerpt from WaPo details how horrified Donna Brazile and others in the DNC were about Hillary’s non-stop coughing fits and ill health. In fact, Hillary was so sick that Brazile and others discussed replacing her with Biden as the Dem nominee after she fainted.

    Hillary’s camp is furious with Brazile and lashed out at her over the grim picture she painted of Hillary’s health and campaign.

    The Clinton Cult has apparently concluded that Brazile was controlled by the Kremlin per this open letter signed by 100 of Cintons senior aides:

    “We were shocked to learn the news that Donna Brazile actively considered overturning the will of the Democratic voters by attempting to replace Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine as the Democratic Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees. “It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponent, about our candidate’s health.”

    You can’t make this stuff up.

  22. et Al says:

    Rapid City Journal: South Dakota’s secret nuclear missile accident revealed

    Seth Tupper Journal staff Nov 3, 2017 Updated Nov 3, 2017

    Bob Hicks was spending a cold December night in his barracks 53 years ago at Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City when the phone rang.

    It was the chief of his missile maintenance team, who dispatched Hicks to an incident at an underground silo.

    “The warhead,” the team chief said, “is no longer on top of the missile.”

    Hicks eventually learned that a screwdriver used by another airman caused a short circuit that resulted in an explosion. The blast popped off the missile’s cone — the part containing the thermonuclear warhead — and sent it on a 75-foot fall to the bottom of the 80-foot-deep silo….

    The rest a the link.

  23. et Al says:

    Washington’s Pissed via ‘Fat Leonard’ probe expands to ensnare more than 60 admirals

    …Most of the admirals are suspected of attending extravagant feasts at Asia’s best restaurants paid for by Leonard Glenn Francis, a Singapore-based maritime tycoon who made an illicit fortune supplying Navy vessels in ports from Vladivostok, Russia to Brisbane, Australia. Francis also was renowned for hosting alcohol-soaked, after-dinner parties, which often featured imported prostitutes and sometimes lasted for days, according to federal court records….

    Plenty more at the link.

  24. Patient Observer says:

    Did not the Kremlin Stooges predict this years ago?

    The international organization for migration has published official data which shows that every fourth prostitute in Europe is a citizen of Ukraine.

    The article discusses pamphlets that are distributed to young Ukrainian girls/women advising them on how to survive and flourish in new realities of life in the EU.

    …the Ukrainian labor market is being formed and is growing. Even if there is no other work and none is expected, girls should know that Europe will take care of them. The younger generation of Ukrainian schoolgirls will find out how to apply themselves…If you are involved in the sex business, then this brochure is for you,” it is said in the introduction. “You have chosen a very dangerous profession, but if you always follow these simple rules, then you will get a chance to live a long life…You shouldn’t serve several clients alone, you should avoid drunk clients, and also always to take payment in advance. And when you go to the client’s apartment, try to learn in what district of the city it is located, give preference to hotels”.

    • marknesop says:

      It’s okay if you’re a hooker, and all you have to sell is yourself. You have chosen a dangerous profession, but really the writing was on the wall, wasn’t it, if only you’d had sense to read it? And the economic calamity which has come to pass in your country is really no concern of ours, while for our part we are not too upset at being offered the choice of some of the most beautiful young women on the planet, who will do anything you say for a handful of euros.

      Here’s to your bright new future in the EU. Incredible. I wonder if Poroshenko will tout this statistic as another validation of Ukrainians’ confidence in his leadership.

      • Ryan Ward says:

        Either that or the deep economic complementarity of Ukraine and Europe. We have prostitutes; you have johns. Let’s make a deal 😉

        • niku says:

          Ryan, most of your comments are excellent, but the above, even though a joke, is not.

          • Patient Observer says:

            Not to be mean or petty, but is not that what a free market is all about?

            • niku says:

              No, because free (freer) market has always resulted in prosperity for everyone. The opening up of economy in China and India two decades ago has lifted hundreds of millions from poverty.

              • marknesop says:

                I would dispute that a freer market has always resulted in prosperity for everybody. That’s a somewhat simplistic view, and not very useful without definition of ‘freer’, ‘prosperity’, and ‘everybody’. Does ‘freer’ mean ‘less regulation’? Say goodbye to ‘everybody’. Less regulation certainly allows the potential for great prosperity for some – bankers, for example – but a little bit of movement for the greater population cannot be construed as ‘prosperity’ if it is immediately absorbed by the cost of living.

                China and India have both been the beneficiaries of rampant outsourcing by the United States as its oligarchy attempts to maximize profits by moving manufacturing and assembly out of the country to where people will work for less, and they don’t have to deal with labor unions. I don’t disagree that economic expansion in the two countries has lifted hundreds of millions from poverty, that’s certainly true. But that result is hardly universal, and what has worked well for China and India has not worked quite as well for American labor, for example.

                • niku says:

                  I would dispute that a freer market has always resulted in prosperity for everybody.

                  Cases in the real world are complex, and many different factors are applicable. Yet, we can still get a good idea of what factors are responsible for a given movement by theoretical studies.

                  [W]hat has worked well for China and India has not worked quite as well for American labor, for example.

                  But assuming you believe in a “world family”, don’t you approve of it? A few tens of millions with a slightly lower standard of living, and a few hundreds of millions with a far better standard of living and upward mobility.

                • marknesop says:

                  Upward mobility in the United States is largely an illusion, and the living standard for the middle class has hardly moved in decades; it has declined, if anything, relative to progress in the 1960’s.

                  Seventy per cent of people born into the bottom quintile of income distribution never make it into the middle class, and fewer than ten per cent get into the top quintile. Forty per cent are still poor as adults.

                  You are correct, though, that economics is immensely complicated and turns on almost-infinite variables. People who don’t like the way things are turning out often just re-define the metrics, or pick a different set.

                • Ryan Ward says:

                  “But assuming you believe in a “world family”, don’t you approve of it? A few tens of millions with a slightly lower standard of living, and a few hundreds of millions with a far better standard of living and upward mobility.”

                  That’s an extremely mild way to express what’s happened to the American working class. There’s a great article here addressing the catastrophic decline of the American working class, and the knock-on effects of that decline that are visible even in things as stark as mortality statistics. Secondly, it’s monstrously self-serving for the chief benefactors of 21st century deregulation (that being the upper classes around the world, especially those with banking/financial ties) to say that the American working class should “buck up” and accept a bit of sacrifice for the sake of those poor masses in the rest of the world. In simple money terms, the vast majority of the gain has gone to them, not the third world poor. Finally, the fast development of much of the third world has been a result of two convergent factors, deregulation in American that has given them access to the American market, and domestic political reform that has liberalized their own economies. However, the key point is that these liberalizations have been only partial, and the countries that have been developing the fastest tend to be those that have ignored IMF and other Western advice and maintained state involvement in key economic areas. The idea that “freer markets make everyone better off” is so obviously false that I’m wondering if you actually meant to say something less sweeping. In the developed world, both the period of fastest economic development and the period where the greatest percentage of that development went to the lower classes coincided, in the “embedded liberalism” period of the 1950s to 1970s. The “freer” markets both before and after that period not only failed to achieve a standard of living for those at the bottom equal to that of this period. They didn’t even manage to achieve economic growth equal to the “embedded liberalism” period. In the Third World (or, in some cases, now former Third World), literally all the cases of countries that have developed quickly are countries that have pursued middle of the road economic policies, ignoring the IMF crowd trying to pull them to the right. This is true of, for example, the Asian tigers (eg. South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, China). On the other side, countries that have pursued intensive socialist or autarkic policies (eg. India until the 1990s, Venezuela, Myanmar) as well as countries who have gone all in for the “Washington Consensus” (eg. most of Latin America until very recently), have failed to develop.

              • Patient Observer says:

                My point was that prostitution would be unrestrained and without regulations in a free market (age, health matters, etc.).

                Regarding your assertion that a freer market results in greater prosperity for everyone is a fantasy. The wealthy invariable shuts down the game. The main focus of the wealthy is to keep their wealth and not to allow others to encroach on their status. The wealthy are hardly ever risk takers. Control is the priority. Encouraging new wealth that they do not control is foolish in their mentality.

                • marknesop says:

                  I would only dispute that a freer market ‘always’ results in prosperity for everybody. Sometimes it does, if it’s carefully regulated but still qualifies as ‘free’. Many times it results in prosperity for the wealthy, and nothing much for anyone else. Often enough that ‘prosperity for everybody’ looks more like accident than design.

  25. et Al says: Twitter Re-Activated an Account It Told Congress Was Connected to a Russian Troll Farm

    Robert Delaware got his account back after the company misidentified him as a Russian troll, but Twitter won’t say if this could have happened to others.

    I have no sympathy for Twatter. If they are so craven in the first place, they deserve the bad press. Bring on open alternatives I say.

  26. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    The moderate rebel who shot up that church in Texas has been identified as a neckbearded atheist potato-man (ended up being shot by an Iranian-backed Shia militiaman disguised a private citizen).

    The international community should have provided him with ATGMs to protect himself from regime aggression.

  27. marknesop says:


    The redirect, by Evelyn Farkas.

  28. saskydisc says:

    Kenya colour revolution update:

    In a variation on the Soros multiple simultaneous lawsuits tactic, multiple last minute objections have been filed against Kenyatta’s victory, with one of the arguments being made being that the withdrawal of Raila Odinga somehow annulled the election, rather than being simple political suicide by Odinga. Another petition alleged that the election was unconstitutional, because new party nominations were not held, which is a rather strange argument. Allow for a moment that the original election’s conduct was improper, i.e. that people were not free to vote for their preferred candidate—if the problem relates to party candidate nomination, no such argument has been made, and the argument is frivolous.

    As a measure of Odinga’s beholden state, he is currently touring the US, and has even claimed that he will stop election rigging in all of Africa, which would presumably require foreign interventions on his part, were he to become president of Kenya.

    Meanwhile, in Liberia, a run-off election has been postponed after a party that did not qualify for the run-off alleged fraud. Sirleaf Johnson, Charles Taylor’s former right hand and Western favourite, was accused by her own party of participation in such conduct, which she promptly labeled “hate speech,” Kagame style.

    Kagame’s original sponsor, Museveni, is also losing his grip on power, due to woeful mismanagement. A strike by doctors, motivated in part by poor pay but also due to lack of basic sanitation equipment, has started.

  29. Northern Star says:

    Yeah ‘Murica …keep listening to warmonger jew boys like this POS:

    Asswipe failed to produce the most elementary elements of the behavior expected of a diplomat..

    • marknesop says:

      It’s not just Ukraine’s survival as an independent, democratic state that is on the line, but the future of an international order based on the rule of law rather than the law of the jungle.

      Ha, ha, ha!!!! What a knee-slapper!! The west only resorts to standing on the law when its proxy is losing – up to that point, it looks the other way while Poroshenko re-labels eastern Ukrainians ‘terrorists’ so that his troops can indiscriminately shell civilian population centers. Civilian non-combatants are by far the highest-casualty demographic in eastern Ukraine, many of them women and children, and the ‘human shields’ argument is just so much horseshit I would like to choke the life out of anyone who says it. Those people fucking live there, and they’re not going to come out into open fields remote from the city so the Ukrainian air force can waste them all without breaking a sweat. Kiev and its western backers care nothing for the law until they can use it to their advantage, or at least to block a situation where they are losing.

    • rkka says:

      Yeah, Alex V and the rest of the Anglosphere Foreign Policy Elite & Punditocracy fails to see that Ukraine is dying in their hands. In 2013, there were 503k births, TFR 11.1. In 2016 there were 397k, TFR 9.3.

      Its like the AFPE&P literally care not how, or even whether, Ukraine lives, only that it can be used to make the Russian government submit.

  30. Patient Observer says:

    Truly a unique interpretation of the mass royal arrests in Saudi Arabia:

    The young leader devised a brilliant strategy to capture the corrupt Saudi elite and potentially seize billions of dollars’ worth of their assets in an historically unprecedented transfer of wealth from private pockets to public socio-economic programs on the centenary of the Russian Revolution.

    What happened over the weekend in Saudi Arabia wasn’t just a “deep state” coup or counter-coup (depending on one’s angle), but a brilliant plan straight out of the movies where an up-and-coming young leader disrupts the entire power structure in his country by jailing its top oligarchs and then redistributing their wealth to the masses via ambitious socio-economic programs.

    Could be. Saudi Arabia is a powder keg of pent up social unrest. Seizing billions from the profoundly corrupt to finance a makeover, perhaps trying to emulate the UAE, could be the objective. It certainly does not make Salman a Robin Hood but if it reduces Islamic extremism and weakens the US grip, it would be a good thing. But skepticism is very much warranted.

    • ErGalimba says:

      That’s a very strange projection. I am no expert on Arab affairs, but the interpretation strikes me as the view of an outsider imposing his mental framework on the situation, quite aside from the fact that the way to develop the country is probably not to concentrate all power and wealth into one’s hands by using the secret police. As to what the gullible (e.g What are the arabs in the street led to believe/ want to believe?) are led to believe, that’s another matter. Witness the convenient misdirection: thieving politicians, (individual members of the super rich) when the subject of inequality comes up. It is hard to present a structural argument in such an environment (But it’s a different question) In as far as almost everyone (else) seems to agree, the Ukraine appears to be a counter-example where a tiny group of oligarchs do run the country to their tune, but even there the important other details include the fact that they appear to have seized control of the state and appear to have corrupted a substantial portion of the middlemen. In other words, they have created a parallel society which works under the surface of the nomimal façade, and this more than normal. As such it is a bit useless to bemoan the 10 big names at the top without doing a structural analysis of how this society functions, and why. Same for S.A. even though the conditions are likely vastly different.

      • Jen says:

        I think Andrew Korybko (who wrote that article on Clown Prince Mohammad bin Salman) was being sarcastic.

        • Patient Observer says:

          Yeah, your quite likely correct. I will say that one facet of Arab culture that I am familiar with involves gift-giving. A gift from the top royalty could be a new airport, major aquarium, desalination plant or a shopping district. My take is that Salman may launch a gift-giving binge using confiscated funds as part of the 2030 vision. It may still be the case but likely not based on the motivations in the article in question.

          • marknesop says:

            The Saudi Arabs are already paid not to work, since an energy-dominated economy such as the country has often means high unemployment, and Saudi Arabia is notable for employing foreigners to do a lot of the Joe jobs which would be inappropriate for noble Arabs.

  31. ucgsblog says:

    Idiots. That’s pretty much my opinion of them. What if the Russians decide to retaliate and boycott the Olympics in LA again? What happens then is quite simple – once again LA will lose the chance to have the Greatest Olympics, despite having the best venues, (and I’m being objective here,) because of political bullshitting, before the Olympics even start.

    “The failure to expeditiously investigate individual Russian athlete doping poses a clear and present danger for clean athletes worldwide and at the 2018 Winter Games,” said the letter, whose signatories included the United States and British antidoping agencies.

    And when LA loses a part of the revenue because the Russians don’t come because of their idiocy, is that going to come out of their wallets? Of course not. That’ll mean less funding for Californian kids’ sports, and more kids on drugs. But these glory hounds don’t give a fuck about children of the citizens of their own countries. And of course the writer throws Putin in there, in the most moronic fashion:

    “The Pyeongchang Olympics are scheduled to take place about six weeks before President Vladimir V. Putin stands for re-election.”

    Newsflash. Putin will win the 2018 elections, irrespective what happens. The Russian Hockey Team should’ve demanded Tygart’s resignation as a condition for playing in the World Cup of Hockey. If this bullshit continues, I’m hoping that the KHL grows a pair, and boycotts the shit out of the 2018 Winter Olympics. I’d love to see WADA’s reaction when Olympic Sponsors start pulling out one by one. Maybe then they’ll either provide more proof than quoting a pathetic individual, who is also an alleged extortionist, or just shut up. I thought this bullshit was over in 2016. Apparently not.

  32. Lyttenburgh says:

    Undoubtedly, the Soviet Union was the greatest experiment. I see the October Revolution as one of the most positive changes with Russia in the 20th century. The Bolsheviks can be called “bloody” and other nasty names, but they possessed a held a creative, progressive political program and vector of the country’s development. The total electrification, universal education and medical care gave the country more than all the Romanovs. Roughly speaking, the Bolsheviks had historically had to solve all those problems of Russia that had accumulated since the time when the industrialization in other countries had began long time ago. That is, they really had to complete over a few years the development cycle that took a century in other countries. They assumed this responsibility and brought the matter to an end.

    As we see all around us – the alternatives are either dead-end hopeless (capitalism) or outright regressive murderous (fascism). Maybe not today, maybe not within current or the next generation, maybe in a different form, but this experiment will come back.

    So, despite that the Great October did not result in the World Revolution, there is no reason why the people all around the globe can’t celebrate it. Happy 100 th anniversary, everyone!

    • niku says:

      Sergei Karaganov: A Russian Katyn

      Yuri N. Maltsev: The Staggering Toll of the Russian Revolution
      “After seventy-four years of mayhem and misery, the Bolshevik Revolution failed. The biggest country on Earth, with abundant natural resources of all kinds, could not meet the basic needs of its citizenry. The system had no means to rationally allocate resources in the absence of property rights and the market institutions that rely on them.”

      • saskydisc says:

        The same could be said of South Africa, Congo Kinshasa, and in a different aspect, Canada, considering Canada’s reliance on African resource extraction under government arranged sweetheart deals. Even now, a majority of reserves lack potable water on tap.

        The US, whose relative wealth came from internal colonisation on a genocidal scale coupled with massive industrialization, has been relying on a Ponzi scheme since the 1970s.

        Meanwhile, in the former colonies, which “failed to develop,” life expectancy on average more than doubled, with India starting around 32 years in 1948. Similarly, university access has shot through the roof. Case in point—Angola had one Bantu university educated citizen at independence—because chattel slavery continued to independence in 1975 for 40% of the population, the European colonists were driven out, unlike Mozambique—yet as of 2005 (the US/China sponsored civil war that started at independence ended in 2002), tertiary enrollment was 2.7%. Granted that two thirds would be trade school, half of university enrolled students would drop out, and that academic standards leave much to be desired, but the advance is plainly obvious.

      • Fern says:

        The gentleman who wrote this article seems to have enjoyed an extensive education in Soviet Deadbeat Land, acquiring an impressive number of qualifications before ‘defecting’ to the West. There’s not much biographical detail included so we don’t know about his background but, imagine for a moment, he comes from a relatively humble home. Would a western (particularly a US) contemprary from a similar background have done quite as well for themselves academically?

        Most opinion polls I have seen reported upon either in the former Soviet Union itself or in what were the Warsaw Pact countries which seek to compare people’s attitudes to then and now, show a significant minority of people regret the passing of the old socialist sysyem and its replacement by the present capitalist one. Why is that, do you think if it was seven decades of unmitigated disaster?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Russian Wiki: Караганов, Сергей Александрович

          Sergei Alexandrovich Karaganov (b. September 12, 1952, Moscow, RSFSR, USSR) is a Russian politologist and economist. Dean of the Faculty of World Economy and World Politics HSE. [Oh what a surprise! — ME]

          Father — Alexander Karaganov (1915—2007), Professor of the Academy of Social Sciences under the CPSU Central Committee. Mother Sophia G. Karaganova (b. 1917/1918), the first wife of the poet Yevgeny Dolmatovsky.


          In 1974 he graduated from the economic faculty of the Moscow State University. In 1979 he defended his thesis on “the Role and place of transnational corporations in US foreign policy”. In 1989 he defended his doctoral thesis on “the Role and place of Western Europe in U.S. strategy towards the USSR (1945-1988)”.

          Scientific Activity
          From 1974 to 1977 interned with the USSR to the UN. From 1978 to 1988 he worked at the US and Canada Institute, the USSR Academy of Sciences as a Junior, then senior researcher, and head of section. Since 1988 has worked at the Institute of Europe, USSR Academy of Sciences (RAS); since 1989 — Deputy Director.

          Research interests — foreign and military policy of the USSR/Russia, cooperation between Russia and the West in political, economic and security fields. World politics. International integration. Globalization. The US and UK.

          Teaching and lecturing at various Russian and foreign universities and research institutes. During spring semester 1991 held honorary B.A. Rolling chair at the University of Groningen. Since 2002 — head of Department of World Politics , State University Higher School of Economics (HSE). Since 2006 — Dean of Faculty of World Economy and World Politics at the State university of Higher Economics.

          Author and editor of 17 books and brochures; published over 250 articles on economics, foreign policy, arms control, national security strategy, foreign and military policy of Russia. Articles and books published in Russia, USA, Germany, France, Britain, the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, Greece and other countries.

          Social and public Activities
          In 1989—1991 official expert of the Committee on international relations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Since 1991 — member of the Council on foreign relations, the Russian foreign Ministry.

          Since 1992 — Deputy Chairman, 1994 — Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on foreign and defense policy — public organization, uniting more than 150 prominent representatives of business circles and mass media, major politicians, heads of power structures.

          From 1993 to 1999 — member of the Presidential Council. Since 1993 — member of the Scientific Advisory Council under the Security Council of the Russian Federation. From 1996 — member of the Advisory Council under the Chairmanship of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation. Since 1996 — co-chair of the Board of Trustees of Fund of development of Parliamentarism in Russia. Member of the Board of Trustees of the Fund INDEM. Since 2001 — Advisor to the Deputy head of the Presidential Administration on foreign policy.

          Since 2002 — founder and Chairman of the Editorial Board of the journal “Russia in Global Politics”. In November 2004 , was inducted into the Presidential Council of the Russian Federation on Assistance to the Development of Civil Society Institutes and Human Rights.

          As a commentator, participated in the TV project “Namedni 1961-1991: Our Era”. [A series of documentary television programs on the history of the USSR and Russia in the second half of the XX century and early XXI century on the TV channel NTV — ME]

          Membership of international organizations
          Since 1992 — Deputy Chairman of the Russian-Ukrainian forum (a regular meeting between representatives of the economic and political elites of the two countries), now Public Business Council Russia-Ukraine. In 1994—1995 co-chair (together with O. Lambsdorf) of the Economic Development Committee of the Commission for Greater Europe (Chirac Commission).

          Since 1995 — Member of the International Advisory Committee (IAC) of the Council on Foreign Relations (New York). ICC is headed by D. Rockefeller.

          Since 2004 — member of the Board of Trustees of the Society Alfred-Herrhausen – in Deutsche Bank. Member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (London) and several other professional organizations and academic councils. [My stress — ME]

          De-Stalinization Programme
          On February 1, 2011, at a meeting of the Presidential Council of the Russian Federation on the Development of Civil society and Human Rights, a working group headed by Karaganov offered a programme for the “de-Stalinization of society”.

          Karaganov’s article “Not de-Stalinization, but the modernization of consciousness” was written as an explanation of the project “to perpetuate the memory of victims of a totalitarian regime and on national reconciliation” (the press dubbed it “de-Stalinization”).

          “Society cannot begin to respect itself and its country, while it hides from itself the terrible sin of seventy years of communism-Stalinism, of totalitarianism.

          Hence another proposition: we need a law according to which officials who publicly deny or even justify the crimes committed in the years of totalitarianism cannot be members of the civil service.

          The true Russian identity and self-esteem must be restored, for without this it is impossible to move forward” — “Not de-Stalinization, but the modernization of consciousness”.

          In July 2013, he presented to RIA Novosti a draft programme for “Perpetuating the memory of victims of political repression”.

          A prize given by the Government of the Russian Federation in 2016 in the field of mass media (3 Dec 2016) — for the promotion of foreign policy on the pages of the magazine “Russia in global politics”.

          The order of Friendship (October 24, 2017) — for great contribution to the development of science and education and preparation of qualified specialists.

          Karaganov — one of the many progeny of the privileged Soviet elite who is now well entrenched within the citadel: an enemy within, working hard for the de-Stalinization of the regime.

          Bet he gets paid a pretty penny for his sterling work on all his committees — but by whom?

          Does anyone not slightly suspect that he was “got at” when working at the UN Witches Coven?

      • Fern says:

        niku, there’s another importat point you and Mr Maltsev overlook – it was the existence of the Soviet Union that persuaded western elites they had to share at least a part of the cake with the rest of their populations to avoid the possibility of the same fate befalling them. Millions benefitted from reforms introduced such as universal healthcare, the opening up of educational opportunities so folk from any and all backgrounds had a shot at a university education, vastly improved housing etc.

        • Patient Observer says:

          On that topic, the massive social reforms during the Great Depression of the 1930’s were in part a response to growing social unrest. Social security, labor reform and a vast array of new government agencies were created to help American workers and to forestall the need for more radical measures. This move toward socialism stabilized an otherwise very fluid social situation.

          IIRC, many scholars in the area assumed that there would eventually be a convergence between the US and the USSR – the US would become more socialistic and the USSR would become less socialistic until an equilibrium would be reached. Could of, should of but it did not happen.

        • niku says:

          Fair point. (Though there are objections and counter-objections to whether those things are really needed. See Murray N. Rothbard.)

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        Karaganov is from the Moscow’s Higher School of Economics – a liberast stronghold. Who, as one, are rabid Anti-Sovietists and (mostly) closeted Rusophobes.

        Why mention Katyn? Germans didn’t execute us. If Kraganov wants this badly – let him pay and repent. Not me, neither the majority of Russians are up to this shit anymore.

        “In May, we celebrated yet another anniversary of the Great Victory, perhaps the only episode of the last century that this country and its people can be absolutely proud of.”

        Note – “this country”. What about the Yury Gagrin’s flight, you brainshit? What about Olympics 1980? What above many other, smaller events, that people really celebrated en masse?

        “…the country recognized the Katyn Massacre fully and unconditionally and displayed nobleness and sympathy for Poland’s grief.”

        And now Polacks are demolishing the memorials to 600 000+ Soviet warriors who died liberating their country. Fuck. That.

        “This regime largely destroyed the sense of patriotism, which is natural for a nation and a human being.”

        So far the greatest anti-patriots in Russia are liberasts like Kraganov.

        “The state treated its people as aliens, bringing them mostly suppression, poverty and death.”

        Stopped reading after that, because if the author is willing to peddle such lies, there is no point.

        Maltsev’s official bio provided by clikety-click on this very site:

        “Professor Yuri Maltsev earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees at Moscow State University, and his Ph.D. in Labor Economics at the Institute of Labor Research in Moscow, Russia. Before defecting to the United States in 1989, he was a member of a senior Soviet economics team that worked on President Gorbachev’s reforms package of perestroika. Prior to joining Carthage, Prof. Maltsev was a Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., a federal research agency. His work involved briefing members of Congress and senior officials at the executive branch on issues of national security and foreign economic assessment.

        Prof. Maltsev has also appeared on CNN, Financial Network News, PBS Newshour, C-Span, Fox News, CBC, and other American, Canadian, and European television and radio programs.”

        What a nice fellow!

        “The horrors of twentieth-century socialism—of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, and Pol Pot—were the offspring of 1917.”

        See what he did there? He equated Fascims/Nazism with the communism. But, of course, so-called Russian (and not Russian) liberals don’t think they are equal – they think communism is worse.

        And then I stopped reading after “61 million human toll”. If a person has crap instead of brain, only lobotomy and transplantation will help.

        What were you saying by posting that, niku? That you disapprove? C’mon, say it out loud, with arguments and proofs to support your view! Don’t hide behind the links.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Oh, he’s most definitely one of those that always spits out “this” before sneering “country”.

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

          Is it because they are paid well to stay here and sow discord?

          • ErGalimba says:

            I find it particularly amusing that he should refer to “patriotic feeling” then resort to that. Certainly illustrates the hyprocrisy of nationalism. Nationalists are only happy when their “sacred country” looks and behaves exactly as they want it to.

        • niku says:

          What were you saying by posting that, niku? That you disapprove? C’mon, say it out loud, with arguments and proofs to support your view!
          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.

          • Evgeny says:

            My objective was to show that there are other Russian opinions about the events of 1917.

            Do you think that’s a news for anyone here?

            If you care to read Russian opinion polls you would easily see there’s a variety of viewpoints:


            • Moscow Exile says:

              What was it that Zhou Enlai said when asked about the impact of the French Revolution. — “Too early to say”?

              He was alleged to have made this remark during Nixon’s 1972 visit to China, though some now maintain that the Chinese premier’s reply not so much reflected his taking a long view of history, rather than he was thinking of the events of 1968, when Cohn-Bendit and chums were arsing around in Paris.

          • rkka says:

            Imperial Russia was 0 wins and 2 losses in 20th Century great power warfare.

            Soviet Russia was 2 wins and 0 losses in 20th Century great power warfare.

            And in the second of those two won wars, the question at stake was the existence of Slavic peoples in Europe, or not. So it was really, really important that Soviet Russia won that one.

            1917 is important because Imperial Russia simply was not capable of the effort required, and nothing Rand or Rothbard or Hayek or Mises say shows any understanding of what wars of that magnitude require.

            • rkka says:

              Actually, the important one was the 1st of those 2 won wars, lol, the rematch against Germany, not the rematch with Japan.

            • rkka says:

              AverkoBot spotted!

              Without the Soviet industrialization drive, Imperial Russia as an agricultural commodities exporter would have been stuck in the same trap as Argentina, when agricultural prices collapsed after WWI.

        • marknesop says:

          If it were true that “This regime largely destroyed the sense of patriotism, which is natural for a nation and a human being”, the campaign of sanctions and bank runs by the west would probably have been successful. The liberals’ definition of ‘patriotism’ largely consists of being nice and friendly to the west regardless how many times it spits in Russia’s face, and continue trying to make friends through all reasonable reassurances and accommodations.

          • ErGalimba says:

            Yep. One could call it a primitive form of nationalism for those with a colonised mindset. It also exists to some extent in Italy.

    • ucgsblog says:


      The brilliantly written book shows the reader the path of Baurdzhan Momysh Uluy as he commanded a Soviet Battalion in Panfilov’s Division during the Battle of Moscow. Superb reading. I think we all know what I’m celebrating today!

  33. saskydisc says:

    With Hariri’s Saudi arrest now confirmed, after following through with the Saudi demand that he resign and accuse Iran and Hezbollah of an assassination plot, is delicious irony. The fact that he was in a unity government with Hezbollah should be enough of a hint that he did not take the STL accusation,s of Hezbollah allegedly killing his father, seriously.

  34. et Al says:

    Euractiv: Belarus: Atomic power on the EU’s doorstep

    On the European Union’s northeastern frontier, two massive cooling towers loom out of the mist near a small Belorussian town. This is the nuclear plant of Ostrovets, Belarus’s first foray into atomic power and a source of national pride for the former Soviet country.

    Construction has been ongoing at the site for five years and the first of two reactors is scheduled to come online in mid-2019. Both cooling towers are all but finished and the two reactor buildings and turbine halls have taken shape….

    Blah blah blah blah. It takes until almost the end of the article to read that the Balts & Poland wanted to build the Ignalia NPP but Lithuanian’s EU bid killed it, and the follow on foundered due to the financial crisis and politics. It’s nothing but the usual sour grapes. They cocked it up and now expect Belarus to be grateful and nice to them.

    • Patient Observer says:

      I liked this part:

      Indeed, the Russian-designed VVER-1200 reactor is one of the most advanced designs of its type in the world, with the first unit coming online at the Novovoronezh power plant in western Russia.

      Hárfás Zsolt, a Hungarian nuclear expert, told an energy expo in Minsk (11 October) that the Russian technology is of the highest standard, adding that his country had insisted on best available techniques when commissioning the Paks nuclear plant.

      Regarding the complaint about the NPP location:

      But the project is controversial. Located just 16km from the Lithuanian border and only 45km from the capital of Vilnius…

      Our neighborhood NPP is about 2 miles away and is located within 20 miles of a city of 1/2 million population and within 40 miles of 3 million population. Canada is within 10 miles of the NPP. And this NPP is the EXACTLY THE SAME TYPE that melted down in Japan. The fear! The stress! I can feel the neutrinos passing though my body as I write this! Please EU! Save us!

      • rkka says:

        Whiny Balts see Russian plots everywhere they look, and hate that Russia refuses to submit no matter how loud they shriek in Brussels and Washington! lmao!

  35. Moscow Exile says:

    Auntie BBC gets her knickers all in a twist:

    Putin’s National Guard to protect Russian regional leaders

    Mr Putin has previously warned that Russia must protect itself from “colour revolutions” like those that toppled presidents in neighbouring Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan….

    Oh golly gosh!

    And for some unknown reason, thrown in right at the end we have:

    One of Mr Putin’s fiercest critics, Alexei Navalny, has been barred from running as a presidential candidate.

    No mention, of course, that as a convicted criminal, the bullshitter cannot stand for any political office until 10 years after the term of his sentence has ended.

    But then again, we all know that although Navalny is de jure guilty, he is de facto innocent, as are all convicted in Russian so-called courts.

    Stands ter reason, don’t it?

  36. Moscow Exile says:

    Further to that BBC National Guard [Росгвардия] story, Putin’s right-hand man as regards security, Victor Zolotov, has given orders that a special marine guard be created to protect that bridge that could not be built:

    Керченский мост будет охранять морская бригада из Росгвардии.

    The Kerch Bridge is to be protected by a Rosgvardia brigade

    Rosgvardia [the National guard] is to form a naval brigade in order to ensure the safety of the Crimea Bridge. This was announced today by the agency director, Viktor Zolotov, TASS reports. “To solve the tasks assigned to Rosgvardia to ensure the safety of the bridge crossing the Kerch Strait in the newly created Southern District of the troops, we shall have to form a new unit, a naval brigade”, Viktor Zolotov said during the the Federation Council “government hour”, without giving details.

    Earlier, we wrote about plans to install Russian hydroacoustic systems to protect the Crimea Bridge. Transport security of the bridge is the responsibility of the Ministry of Transport (for these purposes more than 4.5 billion rubles have been allocated). It should be remembered that the water area of ​​the Kerch Strait is included in the list of objects guarded by Rosgvardia.

  37. Moscow Exile says:

    The Eternal Flame in honour of those who fell liberating the Ukraine from the Nazi occupier (as well as fascist Hungarian, Italian and Romanian ones) snuffed out with cement earlier today, 7 November.

    Because very many of those who contributed to the Ukraine’s liberation are now its occupiers, see.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Because very many of those who contributed to the Ukraine’s liberation are now its occupiers, see — well, the liberators’ descendants are!

      • rkka says:

        Yes, the Banderastanis hate to be reminded that their heroes came to Ukraine in the train of the Wehrmacht, and helped their German overlords implement GeneralPlan Ost there. And that they lost.

  38. et Al says:

    Neuters via U.S., Turkey restart issuing visas but tensions over detentions fester

    The United States partially resumed issuing visas in Turkey on Monday after getting what it said were assurances about the safety of staff at its missions following a number of detentions.

    The Turkish embassy in Washington said almost immediately it would match the move, although it denied there had been any assurances….

    More at the link.

    Well that didn’t take long. I’m still waiting for concrete signs of InSultin’ ErdoGrand swinging back westwards. The visa issue looks more like an attempt to stop it spiraling out of control and affecting other areas of cooperation. Despite all this, the military is still taking part in NATO exercises, the last one for naval forces in the Med a month or so ago.

    • marknesop says:

      We know from experience that when it comes to besties, the west feels that two is company and three is a crowd. Moscow and Yanukoych tried to persuade Europe to let Ukraine maintain friendly and profitable relations with both Russia and the EU, and the latter was not having it. Part of being buddies with the EU, and allowing the EU to use you for fun and profit, is declaring your loyalty.

  39. et Al says: Poland’s sole Kilo submarine catches fire in dock

    ….According to Polish media, four sailors were aboard the submarine when the incident occurred on September 27 but no one was hurt. The extent of damage the fire caused is yet to be revealed.

    The Orzeł has spent the past three years docked for maintenance and repairs. It is now unclear whether the 31-year-old submarine will return to service as the cost of repairs could turn out to be too high for the investment to pay off….

    Yup. I’m as surprised as you are.

    • marknesop says:

      Maybe it’s time for Poland to buy modern western submarines. Not from Uncle Sam, though; they’ve kind of gone out of the diesel boat business.

    • Jen says:

      They probably would have blamed Putin, one of those mystery Russian submarines that the Swedish believe lurk in their maritime territory from time to time or some misguided Polish fan of Peter Pavlensky for the fire if that particular sub hadn’t been built in Russia.

  40. Warren says:

    Al Jazeera English
    Published on 6 Nov 2017
    Parents of children who are on Canada’s no-fly lists are calling on the government to remove their names.

    Hundreds of children – some under the age of two – are on the secret list which is shared with airlines and foreign governments.

    Al Jazeera’s Daniel Lak reports from Toronto.

  41. The Real Lenin: Traitor, Parasite, Failure:

    • rkka says:

      Hm, nowhere does he, or you, mention, that Russia had lost the war already before Lenin lifted a finger.

      • rkka says:

        And in March 1917, there was No. Food. In. Petrograd.

        Unlike in March 1914. If a country in an industrial-age war cannot feed its industrial work force, it has lost the war. Can this simple thought not penetrate your skull, or is it bone all the way through?

      • Craig says:

        Ha, your BS was debunked and then deleted by the Blog Censoring Oaf.

        The feeble minded do thing like that unlike those who’re truly intelligent.

        • marknesop says:

          I’m going to leave this one up, because Mike constantly complains that I delete his far more intelligent comments and leave up commentary by those who are still struggling to form sentences. You’re welcome, for the opportunity to examine such rare intelligence close-up. Too much of it all at once probably would be more than your inferior minds could absorb, though, so I’m afraid much of it has to go. Trust me that it was much in the same vein.

      • Ryan Ward says:

        Same as my other comment, this claim is very weak because it doesn’t compare things. Isolated facts are meaningless. They only become meaningful when they’re compared with other facts. And, from a purely material point of view, the crisis in Russia in 1917 was no worse than the crises in Italy, Germany and Austria-Hungary. Russia’s fundamental weakness that led it to collapse first was not material, it was political and psychological.

        • rkka says:

          Yes, European farmers setting down the plow & picking up the rifle caused food shortages for all combatants, from 1914 on. Among the Allies, imports were able to alleviate the worst of it, except for Russia, whose best ports were on seas that the Central Powers controlled, so her allies were unable to assist Russia to feed herself.

          However, you don’t specify the causes & effects of the political and psychological you point to. My take is the Austrians had a regular string of victories vs the Italians to sustain morale, as did the Germans. Apart from taking Przymyshl in 1915 and the Brusilov Offensive in 1916, what good news from the front did Russia have to sustain support for the war?

          • Ryan Ward says:

            That’s fine for Germany and Austria-Hungary, but what about Italy? Italy never had one major success throughout the entire war, but managed to keep the armies in the field. Even after the disaster of Caporetto, the Italians kept fighting. To put it in somewhat stark terms, the difference between Russia and Italy wasn’t that Italy’s situation was any better. Their home front was a bit better, but their military situation was much worse. The difference was that Russia was infested with traitors and Italy wasn’t.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The Real Lenin: Dilettante, Bon Vivant, Shagger

  42. Warren says:

    Published on 6 Nov 2017
    Scholar Rania Masri says it’s clear from a number of factors–from the dialect of his resignation speech to the location where delivered it–that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was forced by the Saudi Arabian government to resign

  43. marknesop says:

    How many times have I repeated on here that Yanukovych and Moscow tried to sell the idea of Ukraine being a bridge between the EU and the EAU? And now, who thinks it’s a good idea? France. Trop tard, mes amis.

  44. Warren says:

    Proletarian TV
    Published on 7 Nov 2017
    Joti Brar, Editor of the CPGB-ML’s paper Proletarian, speaks to a packed meeting held in Southall’s dominion centre to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Great Socialist October Revolution!

    She points out that we do not celebrate this anniversary simply as a historical curiosity, but because “the October Revolution marked the beginning of the era in which imperialism will be replaced by socialism; it shaped our world and put the ruling class on notice that capitalism’s days are numbered”

    “Lenin summed up the first mighty step that Russian workers had taken on behalf of workers everywhere in 1918, when the revolution was barely half a year old:

    “We are entitled to be proud and to consider ourselves fortunate that it has come to our lot to be the first to fell in one part of the globe that wild beast, capitalism, which has drenched the earth in blood, which has reduced humanity to starvation and demoralisation, and which will assuredly perish soon, no matter how monstrous and savage its frenzy in the face of death.”

    Read her full speech in the London Worker here:

    • niku says:

      It is impossible to reply to such statements.

      I probably should not be commenting on this blog either.

      • rkka says:

        Its quite simple. Imperial Russia was sclerotic and ineffective, and no longer really belonged among the Great Powers, just like the Imperial & Royals, or The Sublime Porte.

        Oh, and in 1913, Imperial Russia’s last year of peace, life expectancy at birth was 32 years. By 1926 in the Soviet Union it was 44 years.

        Conversely, in 1991, the last year of the RSFSR, male life expectancy was 65 years. In 1999, after 8 years of FreeMarketDemocraticReforms, male life expectancy was 57 years. Within 5 years of the end of the Soviet Union, the number of deaths per year in the Russian Federation had risen 40%, and the number of births per year had been cut in half.

        That’s not at all what Rand, or Rothbard, or Hayek, or Mises would have predicted, is it.

        As it turns out, Capitalism kills.

        • niku says:

          Thanks for the comment.

          Just about an year ago, I was wholly anti-Euromaidan. About a decade ago, I was almost wholly pro-Russia. (And two decades ago, I was pro-Socialism.)

          Now that is it clear to me that being pro-Russia means being pro-Socialism/Communism, I want nothing to do with Russia. I still retain great respect for President Putin, as always, but as Uncle Joe said, rulers come and go.

          Good luck everyone.

          • marknesop says:

            Whatever gave you the impression that being pro-Russian meant being pro-socialism/communism? The Russians themselves would probably be quite happy with a moderately capitalistic model – they just don’t want the whole gay/transgender/queer political-correctness preoccupation with social minutiae package that seems to be required for internalization before you are allowed to call yourself ‘progressive’. And every slate of political promises in American elections contains whopping dollops of socialism – it’s just that few of them ever make it further than that.

            • Matt says:

              This whole “the West is going crazy with PC” is one of the biggest strawmen out there. Nobody cares about trans people or whatever. Most just want them to have normal rights. Social media, however, has made the voices of some activists, both pro and anti PC, to become much louder. So a tiny protest at some American university turns into a nationwide news story. It’s still irrelevant.

              Most people don’t think about these things in the West, nor does it impact their lives whatsoever. Despite that, some howl about Russia’s “moderate” stance. Uh, no. A look at how their state TV and pro-Kremlin websites have handled the Weinstein scandal should debunk any notions of “moderate” behaviour.

            • niku 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.”

              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.

              “Karaganov [] an enemy within”

              “Is it because they are paid well to stay here and sow discord?” “Does anyone not slightly suspect that he was “got at” when working at the UN Witches Coven?”

              By the way, Karaganov says that he deserves much of the credit/blame for Russia (and the US) still possessing nuclear weapons. In the last 80s and early 90s, many in both Russia and the US were ready to give up nuclear weapons. Karaganov says that he was one of the strongest voices (in the regime) opposing the idea.

              • marknesop says:

                I think Karaganov exaggerates his influence, both then and now, which is often the mark of a liberal bighead. And you know better than to suggest the ‘hang them from the lampposts crowd seems to be mainstream in Russia’. No actual studies or surveys suggest anything of the kind, and Russians are generally not very politically active.The usual reaction to mention of someone like Navalny or Sobchak is “Who??”, not “They should be hanging from a lamppost”. And I hope it never becomes a standard that one gets credit for a misguided policy simply because they pursued it in good faith.

                It seems to me there is some merit to suggestion that the endless complainers who see nothing positive in the country as it is should move somewhere else. Especially when their go-to solution is ‘make friends with the Americans and Europeans, no matter what it costs’. Russia already tried to join NATO, decades ago, and it was made clear that it would never be ready for such a step. It’s simply too big a country to dominate, although the west would likely be much more amenable to its being broken up into independent republics, and those applying individually to join NATO.

                Frustration and disgust are unsurprising reactions to people who publicly agitate for decisions and actions which history demonstrates would not be in Russia’s best interests.

                • davidt says:

                  Sorry, Mark, this is a very inappropriate and unfair response to Niku. I am tempted to say “dishonest” but, like ME, you have probably just jumped to conclusions as you haven’t had the time to read much by Karaganov I read everything that I can by Karaganov and, whether you agree with him or not, it is just silly to dismiss him like you have done. I must admit that when I read the shallow, prejudiced sequence of comments in this discussion I found myself reacting much like Niku.

                • marknesop says:

                  Perhaps you’re right. I’m afraid I see Karaganov as just another serial complainer with no plan other than to criticize what is being done as authoritarian and clumsy. Politics is full of people like that, sort of an offensive line to keep the government on the defensive. It probably does not help my opinion of him that he seems to agree the remedy would be to act more like the west, and I have just lately seen such a wave of Political Correctness in Canada under Trudeau that it is difficult to carry out anything but the most impersonal exchanges without the risk of offending someone. I would not wish such a heightened level of over-sensitivity on anyone. There are some things the west does well, obviously, or it could never have reached the level of development it has. But I don’t hear Karaganov targeting those and arguing how Russia could adapt them to its own realities, thus increasing the standard of living for its people without restricting their freedoms.

                  I don’t have any problem with Niku, and did not think my reply was particularly confrontational. However, I at the same time disagree that ME’s original comment was so reactionary as demanding all liberals be hung from the lamp-posts.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                What conclusions might be drawn about Karaganov after having read the following:

                С 1995 — Член Международного консультативного комитета (МКК) Совета по международным отношениям (Нью-Йорк). МКК возглавляет Д. Рокфеллер.

                С 2004 — член Попечительского совета Общества Альфреда Херрхаузена при Дойче Банке[источник не указан 482 дня]. Член Международного института стратегических исследований (Лондон) и нескольких других профессиональных организаций и академических советов

                Since 1995 — Member of the International Advisory Committee (IAC) of the Council on Foreign Relations (New York). The Council on Foreign Relations is headed by D. Rockefeller.

                Since 2004 — member of the Board of Trustees of the Deutsche Bank Alfred-Herrhausen Society. Member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (London) and several other professional organizations and academic councils.

                The Council on Foreign Relations, founded in 1921, is a United States nonprofit think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. It is headquartered in New York City, with an additional office in Washington, D.C.

                Alfred Herrhausen Society – The international forum of the Deutsche Bank is Deutsche Bank’s international forum.

                The International Institute for Strategic Studies is a British research institute in the area of international affairs.

                All sources from Wiki English/Russian.

                And when did I state that Karaganov should be hanged from a lamp-post and whence the notion that such a notion is “mainstream” Russian?

                • davidt says:

                  In truth, very few. One reason that Karaganov is interesting is that he is a member of the Russian elite and must be familiar with the thinking close to Putin. I have viewed long interviews with him and he has put the Russian case clearly and forcefully. He was one of the first to argue that Russia should “give up” on Europe and concentrate on developing its economic relations in the East. In a recent post he claims that it is finally likely that some good luck has at last returned to the Russian side because of the rise of China and the development of OBOR and so forth. Your comment makes me think of an episode in Soviet- US mathematics years ago- the background issue would have concerned anti-semitism in Soviet mathematics. In any case a distinguished Soviet mathematician, who was a member of the editorial board of a US mathematics journal, came under attack- I don’t believe there was any suggestion that this guy, whose name I have now forgotten, was anti-semitic. The Soviet mathematician countered, pointing out that he was invited to join the board because the journal needed him, and that he didn’t need them. Apologies from the Western side followed.

                • marknesop says:

                  I have to agree with him there; the west – especially with its current crop of leaders – is as far from friendship with Russia as it has ever been, and the case at present is hopeless because those who are supposed to be leading are themselves contributing to and disseminating the propaganda. Russia should remain polite, as it has mostly done, but should not waste time trying to make friends. The west will come around when its own circumstances worsen, and they will, and at that time Russia should drive as hard a bargain as if they were enemies, because they are. The west wants a purely business relationship, and there are no friends in business; moreover, it wishes to do as little business with Russia as it can help. Fine. So be it. If the business relationship with China progresses to a formal military alliance, the result will be unbeatable by any currently existing force or combination of forces. And the west will have only its idiocy, unforgivably poor judgment and smoking its own propaganda to blame.

                • niku says:

                  Since 1995 — Member of the International Advisory Committee (IAC) of the Council on Foreign Relations (New York).

                  This is how diplomacy works. People like to hear all sorts of intelligent opinions (both ways). When Iran’s President Ahmadinejad went to the US after his “push Israel into the sea” comment, in the midst of all the furore, CFR/Trilateral Commission (forgotten which), organized a meeting between him and their top members. The idea is to understand each other, and try to find points of cooperation.

                  If I were a Russian, I would have been happy that someone like Karaganov is getting heard in US’ top foreign policy echelons.

                  About hanging from the lamp posts, see my later comment:

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  So how many of the US “elite”, diplomatic corps etc. attend similar Russian run conferences and forums in the Empire of Evil, such as this, for example, or this?

                  Or are such institutions deemed to be “Kremlin Controlled”?

                • niku says:

                  @ME: Henry Kissinger has been traveling every year (twice?) to Moscow to meet Putin (Kissinger is almost 95 years old now). Many Americans attend the annual Valdai Club meetings. And check out the editorial board of Russia in Global Affairs ( To the extent Americans aren’t doing it, they are making a mistake.

                  By the way, the aversion to talking is related to the desire to shut down discordant voices. Both stem from the belief that there is only one correct way of seeing things, namely, your way. And anyone who disagrees is either lying or an idiot. Moreover, when applied to diplomacy, the idea becomes ridiculous. What are diplomats supposed to do, but talk — and talk with people one disagrees? (The idea is to find out what both sides think and want, and thus find out ways to minimize friction.)

          • Matt says:

            Hey Niku, don’t feel too down. There is much propaganda out there, both pro and anti-Russian. The problem with many posters here is that they swing towards one side. Nuanced statements don’t get attention, so people resort to profane conspiracy theories.

          • saskydisc says:

            In the name of free markets, you have defended the de facto mercantile, British protectionist and hyper taxationist British Raj.

            In the name of opposing a mentality of stringing up anyone that disagrees, you make broad generalizations, while remaining quite silent about regimes, generally beholden to the NATO powers, whether Warsaw treaty members (Ceausescu, for example), or not (Pinochet’s boast of having killed thirty thousand in his first six months in power, comes to mind, though he was hardly the worst) that engaged in precisely such conduct, unlike the post Stalin Soviets, their other failures notwithstanding. Herein lies the difference—you might never casually suggest stringing someone up, but in the name of free markets, your friends Harbeggar and Friedman certainly never objected to such conduct. I don’t object to throw away comments of that variety, but I do not conduct myself in that fashion.

          • rkka says:

            Ahhh… the Rand-oid dislikes facts that disconfirm its Weltanschauung.

            As usual.

        • Matt says:

          That is simplistic view of things. Imperial Russia was already well on its way to mass education and increases in quality of life. The USSR’s 44 year life expectance in 1926 can be attributed to many other factors that have nothing to do with the Bolshevik Revolution. Do you really think than less than a decade of rule under Communism caused the life expectance to jump by 37.5%? Can you rule out other factors, including the general continuation of older trends?

          Likewise, was the 57 year life expectance in Yelstin-era Russia caused by capitalism in general, or due to the disordered and chaotic transition from Communism, combined with massive corruption and fraud?

          Capitalism does work. The countries with the highest global life expectancy are all old Capitalistic countries. Capitalism certainly doesn’t kill there.

            • marknesop says:

              “This is the first indicator that the plane has crashed,” said Jonathan Skinner, a professor of economics at Dartmouth College, who reviewed the study and co-authored a commentary that appears with it. “I don’t know what’s going on, but the plane has definitely crashed.

              He was commissioned to review the report and provide a commentary to it, and after reviewing it, he still doesn’t know what is going on? Weren’t you paying attention, Skinner? It was drugs and alcohol and suicide – end of story.

              Those all probably did play a part, and likely show a higher incidence than the group’s better-educated fellows. But what causes people who live hand-to-mouth on minimum wage, or close to it, to drift into alcohol and drugs and end their lives? Is it ennui and boredom caused by too much money and too little diversions? No? Couldn’t be hopelessness, could it? The cold reality that nothing lies ahead but more of the same, just getting by and always worrying about what kind of calamity a serious illness or injury would wreak. Compound it if the person is worrying about responsibilities to a family rather than just himself.

              American social research still tends to start with the conclusion, and work backward; America is exceptional and the American Dream is still alive and well, so the problem must lie elsewhere. You can still start a company tomorrow making, say, rubber bands, and ten years from your handshake agreement with the bank, be rolling in spending green and a pillar of the community. The reality is that while you can go that route if you like, most fields in the USA, from agriculture to pharmaceuticals to merchandising, are dominated by mega-corporations which are merciless with competition. While there’s plenty of work and unemployment is relatively low, a significant portion of the workforce has given up looking for a good job and is either slogging away for minimum wage or just drifting, relying on parents and friends. If you go into a minimum wage job – working for Wal-Mart, let’s say – straight from high school, it will begin to dawn on you that not only will you never get a better job, you cannot give your children a college education, either, so they will likely be following in your footsteps.

              Drugs and alcohol and a false sense of having a great time probably look pretty good at about that point.

        • Ryan Ward says:

          Its quite simple. Imperial Russia was sclerotic and ineffective, and no longer really belonged among the Great Powers, just like the Imperial & Royals, or The Sublime Porte.

          Oh, and in 1913, Imperial Russia’s last year of peace, life expectancy at birth was 32 years. By 1926 in the Soviet Union it was 44 years.

          Conversely, in 1991, the last year of the RSFSR, male life expectancy was 65 years. In 1999, after 8 years of FreeMarketDemocraticReforms, male life expectancy was 57 years. Within 5 years of the end of the Soviet Union, the number of deaths per year in the Russian Federation had risen 40%, and the number of births per year had been cut in half.

          That’s not at all what Rand, or Rothbard, or Hayek, or Mises would have predicted, is it.

          As it turns out, Capitalism kills.

          This is really simplistic. It makes no distinction between different phases of the Soviet project, it doesn’t trace continuing trends that went before and after the communist period, and it doesn’t make any comparisons between the Soviet Union and other countries that could put the progress the Soviet Union made in context. When you do all these things, the Soviet record turns out to be a fairly tawdry thing.

          Oh, and in 1913, Imperial Russia’s last year of peace, life expectancy at birth was 32 years. By 1926 in the Soviet Union it was 44 years.

          I haven’t seen these specific figures before, but assuming they’re accurate, the conclusion isn’t “Hurray for the Soviet Union”. It’s “hurray for the NEP”, a policy that Lenin himself described as “state capitalism”. The fact that the NEP period actually worked fairly well in most respects only underlines the incompetence and ideological blindness that led the later Soviet Union to abandon it.

          Conversely, in 1991, the last year of the RSFSR, male life expectancy was 65 years. In 1999, after 8 years of FreeMarketDemocraticReforms, male life expectancy was 57 years. Within 5 years of the end of the Soviet Union, the number of deaths per year in the Russian Federation had risen 40%, and the number of births per year had been cut in half.

          Firstly, some of the factors there were merely continuations of negative trends dating back to the Brezhnev era. That was when alcohol consumption rose, and the associated negative health and social outcomes began to appear. In that respect, the 90’s were just a continuation (albeit an acceleration) of the already existing trend. But there’s no question that the shock therapy of the 90’s was a disaster. But that was the 90’s (and in any case, for all it’s problems, the 90’s were a much more livable decade in Russia than the 30’s). While maintaining a mixed economy, Russia has produced steadily rising wealth, health and social outcomes, etc. over the last 15 years. Clearly, the problems of the 90’s didn’t occur because Russia abandoned the fantastic happiness machine of “developed socialism”. They were temporary problems caused by the botched transition process.

          As for comparisons, there are dozens of examples of states using “state capitalism” (not going in for either side’s dogma, either neo-liberal or socialist) to achieve better results, faster, with less human cost than did the dogmatic communist states like the Soviet Union, China, or Albania. Japan, South Korea, West Germany (which, although not previously a developing nation, was absolutely devastated by WWII, and had to rebuild almost from ground zero), Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Hungary and many other states all showed the superiority of a flexible approach that took the best from both sides, rather than a blinkered dogmatism that has produced famine, internal unrest and economic stagnation everywhere it’s been tried.

          • rkka says:

            Disclosure: By inclination, I’m an old fashioned Clausewitzean/realpolitician/military history buff. My attitude to socio-economic ideologies is from Ecclesiastes: “To every thing there is a season…” None are valid for all times, places, & circumstances.

            For instance, Laisses-Faire seemed to work pretty well for France after under Napoleon III, who, though not the military man his uncle was, seemed to run his economy pretty well. It financed the reconstruction of Paris, a prodigious undertaking, and paid off the German indemnity, imposed by Bismark after the Franco-Prussian War and intended to cripple France financially for a generation, in a few years. On the other hand, it appears to me that we are now playing out the inevitable endgame of the Reagan/Thatcher Revolution, whose practical result has been to enrich a tiny minority at the expense of the Western wage earner, whose desperate experiment with Trump has only resulted in yet another massive tax cut for plutocrats now being discussed under the Capitol Dome.

            Wars are an acid test of every aspect of a combatant, and the Bolshies proved in the Civil War that they were better politicians, managers, war economists, and military leaders than their opponents. And once it was won, they were able to get back to the 1913 level of output by 1928, from about 20% of that level at the end of the Civil War. And then they were able to endow the USSR with the industrial sinews of war such as no Tsar had ever dreamed just in time for a war of racial extermination initiated by the very Power that had defeated them in 1917, but this time supported by the resources of a united continental Europe. Every European country lacking a miles-wide antitank ditch filled with deep salt water fell before the Nazis or submitted to them, but the Socialist one, and this makes me think that Western societies without the antitank ditch simply didn’t have what it took at the time, but the USSR did.

            But that effort mortally wounded the USSR, and that wound took the form, not only of population killed & wounded, and unspeakable material devastation, but the real long-term damage came in the form of births that would have occurred between 1941 and 1945, but did not. A glance of Russia’s population pyramid shows the deep scar left by how few surviving children there were between 1941 and 1945, and its echo starting in the early ’60s, but this 1941-45 cohort more than replaced itself. However their children born in the ’60s did not, because their fertile years corresponded to Russia’s catastrophic experiment with the “Washington Consensus.”

            Putin substantially revised Russia’s economic policies, and wrested the energy windfall from the Oligarchs, so that Russia faced the Force-12 financial storm of 2008 wrapped in $600b in foreign currency reserves, so they were able to do the Keynesean thing from savings, as the Master intended, and Russia’s demographics continued to improve despite the global financial collapse, but it is a fact that women who were not born cannot have children, and Russia’s births have begun to decline again.

            It is also the fact that Putin earned the undying emnity of the AFPE&P when he took down Dick Cheney’s golden boy, the tax fraud Khodorkovsky. And so the AFPE&P have waged information war against Putin, and it has continued to escalate, because Putin. learning a lesson from how the AFPE&P swindled Gorbachev and the horrible price Russians paid for that, has not submitted.

            And so, here we are.

            • Ryan Ward says:

              And once it was won, they were able to get back to the 1913 level of output by 1928, from about 20% of that level at the end of the Civil War.
              I can’t resist the opportunity to repeat, hurray for the NEP 😉
              And then they were able to endow the USSR with the industrial sinews of war such as no Tsar had ever dreamed just in time for a war of racial extermination initiated by the very Power that had defeated them in 1917, but this time supported by the resources of a united continental Europe.
              While also throwing away vast reserves of human resources and other resources by clumsy and inept planning. It’s an open question whether the five-year plans led to any improvement whatsoever in economic performance over the NEP, and if it did, the improvement wasn’t massive. All that for a horrendous human cost, and extreme destabilization of both the party and military.
              And then, when the war actually came, upwards of half of these “industrial sinews of war” were thrown away in months by inept war leadership.
              Every European country lacking a miles-wide antitank ditch filled with deep salt water fell before the Nazis or submitted to them, but the Socialist one, and this makes me think that Western societies without the antitank ditch simply didn’t have what it took at the time, but the USSR did.
              What they lacked, and the USSR had, was an almost limitless reserve of manpower, the dogged solidity of the Russian people, vast areas of strategic manoeuvring space, and a nasty winter. The losses the Soviet Union took in the opening stages of the war would have meant the instant defeat of any other European power. Single cauldrons of Barbarossa were the size of European countries, and the manpower losses when one of these cauldrons closed were would have been enough to wipe out most European armies. The Soviet Union didn’t create the size or numbers Russia had to work with. The Soviet victory in WW2 doesn’t prove the “superiority” of the Soviet system any more than the Russian victory in 1812 proves the “superiority” of the Tsarist system. In any case, for all its supposed “industrial” accomplishments, when looked at economically, the Soviet army was a branch of the American war machine. For all Stalin’s supposed accomplishments, the Soviet economy wasn’t capable of keeping its own soldiers in boots (literally) without American aid. The Soviet economy wasn’t capable of feeding itself, clothing its soldiers, transporting them, or providing them with all the weapons they needed. So where is this supposed economic genius of Stalin to be found?

  45. marknesop says:

    Ha, ha!!! Never one to back away from a challenge like “Who can do something even stupider than X?”, Ukraine imposes sanctions on 18 more Russian companies, one of which is Yuzhtrans, which supplies Ukraine with anthracite coal. I guess those barges from Pennsylvania are glutting Ukraine’s coal market. I hate to be the one to say “They deserve to freeze”, but it’s hard to draw any other conclusion from such counterproductive stupidity, which merely invites Russia to cut its imports from Ukraine even further.

    You can count on it being toasty-warm all winter long at Chateau Poroshenko, though. I’d like to extend an open invitation for anyone in Ukraine whose house is too cold this winter to stop by and pound on the front door until you’re invited in to bunk up.

    • Jen says:

      Ukraine obviously not listening to Jean-Pierre Chevenement’s suggestion that it should be a bridge between Europe and Russia. Maybe the Yukies are miffed that in France people still say “L’Ukraine” and not “Ukraine”.

      • rkka says:

        Trouble is, Ukraine’s future is diminishing, year by year. In the last year of that monster Yanukovych, Ukraine’s TFR was 11.1. Now its 9.3.

        The future belongs to those who show up for it, and Ukrainians will be doing less & less of that, not that the AFPE&P actually care.

  46. Northern Star says:

    More saber rattling from the Lunatic Fringe…i.e North Atlantic Terrorist Organization

    “The NATO secret report and the report in Der Spiegel both justify the preparations for a war, which would threaten millions of lives, as a response to the “Russian annexation” of Crimea. This turns reality on its head. There is nothing progressive about the Putin regime, and its own military policy increases the danger of war. But the real aggressors in Eastern Europe are the US and western powers. The United States has been systematically encircling and attempting to subjugate Russia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union 25 years ago, and in February 2014, both Washington and the German government supported a right-wing coup against the pro-Russian Yanukovych government in Ukraine.
    The depiction of Russia as an aggressive superpower waiting for the chance to take over all of Eastern Europe, has been used by the imperialist powers to justify the deployment of NATO troops at the Russian border. In 2014/15, NATO increased its “Rapid Reaction Force” to 40,000 soldiers. Its so-called “spearhead” comprises four “multinational battlegroups” with 1,000 soldiers stationed in each of the three Baltic States and Poland, led by Great Britain, Canada, Germany and the US.

    Here’s the Der Spiegel article..good luck with the pay wall !!

    The inhabitants of Western Europe must be made to see that these completely psycho warmonger NATO command Mfs are putting the entirety of Western Europe-and North America- at the brink of a nuclear holocaust.

    If it doesn’t go full scale thermonuclear…Russian tac nukes will annihilate whatever these NATO morons throw at them.

    Besides.. is this bunch:
    Led by this clown::

    Even remotely capable of taking on Russia???? I do not think so…..

  47. Northern Star says:

    Well.. I see there was another spontaneous meeting of the WSWS in today’s comments (supra)
    **Worldwide Stooge White Supremacists**
    It’s well settled that the alpha black male type is far superior to you guys..intellectually and morally.

    • saskydisc says:

      A nice little insult, that lets you avoid the very real issues of lead poisoning, mercury poisoning, thyroid iodine defeciency due to the consumption of Cassava as a staple food instead of as part of a balanced diet, and then you can strike a moral pose–those who point to these very real issues are merely white supremacists.

      Meanwhile, various ethnic groups suffer disproportionate IQ loss and criminality, and actual white supremacists make arguments to downplay these real problems, and I do not see you addressing said arguments, even with a pose, let alone substantially. Because moral poses are bound to address problems, and analysis, or even pointing to the consequences of this IQ loss, is white supremacism.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Just a quick comment regarding lead contamination. Supposed bureaucratic mismanagement (specifically an effort to save a few hundred dollars per month in chemical dosing) resulted in the municipal water system in Flint, Michigan, exposing the population to elevated levels of lead. It’s a big deal in the water treatment industry and is discussed around the world as an example of the importance of strong government regulation in critical infrastructure systems.

        Naturally, the top politicians avoided prosecution with mid/low level bureaucrats facing criminal charges. Other US municipal water systems have been detected with elevated lead levels as well but apparently to a lesser concentration than Flint.

        • saskydisc says:

          One irony in free market versus regulation discussions is that Adam Smith conceived of a free market between fairly regulated countries. How else were countries to specialise their production?

          As to Flint, certainly, and as I deal somewhat with water quality (other end—waste water including standards for discharge), it is interesting to see how the standards deteriorated. Some Europeans were appalled that an environmental engineer simply performs an assessment, based on which, discharge is then allowed (continual flow; for batch flow, the standards are even more forgiving in North America). An actual fixed standard (regulation) makes it much easier to have competition, as meeting requirements is a matter of design. But then, corruption is largely institutionalized (e.g. “networking”), and one needs to “build a relationship” with the regulatory personnel. Which works great until something goes wrong—what passes for engineering here tends to be analytically weak, and much effort goes into “covering one’s butt” rather than proudly performing necessary analysis, and taking responsibility. Authority tends to mean institutionalized freedom from responsibility. Trades people are most likely to take responsibility.

        • saskydisc says:

          The issue that I had in mind with lead though is sporadic poisoning, which would not be detected in about 90% of cases with blood tests, as the biological half life of lead in the blood is on the order of a month. The shape (near inverse distribution) of the NHANES III and later blood lead distribution suggests that such sporadic poisoning is a remaining issue, and old paint is the likely culprit, especially from dust produced by friction surfaces… Though the early 90s cleanup has already caused robbery and teen pregnancy to drop by more than half since 2009, and murder should drop by half in the next six years.

      • Northern Star says:

        I was being sarcastic…..with an attempt at a little humor…

  48. marknesop says:

    Well, well; there’s the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project in the news again. Too bad they wouldn’t do one of those nice exploded diagrams with Petro Poroshenko’s beaming face in the middle, surrounded by all the important people he knows and all the organizations they control. Well, they could start with an inner circle showing the organizations and businesses Poroshenko himself owns and controls, since there are quite a few of them. Then they could move on to his acquaintances.

    Whatever the case, the OCCRP says that Poroshenko’s motivation in restructuring the Roshen Confectionery was apparently to minimize taxes rather than to set up a blind trust to manage and explore a possible sale of the company. Poroshenko’s lawyers say, in response, “That’s just a big fat lie”.

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