Open Thread #1

This Open Thread is permanently glued to the front page. Anything goes as long as it’s connected in some way to Russia (if not then use the Open Thread at AKarlin). From now on all off-topic comments should be posted here, as I will no longer hesitate about deleting them from other posts.

Comments

  1. Let me be the first person to put up something here then.

    Ernst & Young have published their second Russia attractiveness survey. Unfortunately it is not yet up on their website. However it is discussed in this article on Voice of Russia. From the summary it appears to be very favourable, putting Russia at 28th in the world as an attractive place to do business (below China but above India and Brazil), rating highly Russia’s human capital (below China but above the US) and commending actions taken by the government to improve the business climate. The one oddity is the very low ranking for political stability, which is put on a par with Egypt’s. This presumably arises from concerns about the protest movement at the start of the year but is of course absurd.

    http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_08_01/A-country-of-great-opportunities-and-serious-challenges/

    • Thanks for that Alex I’ll be sure to post about it once I get access to more detailed breakdowns.

      Not sure in what way Russia overtook the US on the “social and economic index” / “human potential”, and how that also squares with China performing better than both.

      The political risk indicators (level with Egypt? Really??) do of course look absurdly inflated. Part of the reason is that most journalists just do not understand the causes of the Arab Spring – namely, the soaring price of basic foodstuffs in early-2011. As Russia exports food and is far wealthier per capita than Egypt, the risks are vastly lower.

      • I agree about the food prices, as in the French revolution where the conjunction of a seasonal and secular maximum in the price of bread in July 1789 has been observed, it is generally concluded that these spikes in prices act as the sparkle igniting the explosion of popular discontent.

        In the case of France, they certainly explain the date, but not the underlying social and political grievances that had been building up for decades.
        I suspect it was the same for Tunisia, it could have occured in another year had food prices peaked another time- but it would probably have happened anyway. Same for the wider Arab world were food prices were critical in many places, most glaringly in Egypt.

        Of course you’re right to point out the differences between Russia and the Arab world where alimentation accounts for a much smaller share of spending- if I might add another crucial difference with Egypt can be seen in population pyramids. Egyptian youthful demographics explains that old teenagers/young adults are much more numerous compared to the older and more established age classes, while in Russia it’s the opposite.

        Youngsters are often a driving force of revolutions, because they have much less to lose and high hopes for gains, also because they just tend to be rash…So their weaker representation in Russia makes revolution much harder to imagine, much less Mai 68 type of events- as older societies are skewed toward conservatism.

  2. @georgesdelatour,

    What’s your take on “Pussy Riot”?

    Continuing on from here. As I wrote in my piece on The Guardian’s coverage of Pussy Riot, my own personal view is closest to that of Kononenko.

    I obviously don’t support PR. They are attention-seeking, impudent twits who feel they can do whatever they want without consequence. They picked on the ROC because they thought it was an easy target (as some have asked – why not a mosque? After all the Muslims supported Putin just as did the ROC. Or is that too hardcore?). That said of course I don’t support years-long imprisonments for such stunts despite PR’s defenders’ best efforts to make me reconsider.

    If it were up to me I would give them community service. On that note I am almost certain that they will not get 7 years or 2 years. I expect it to be time already served (the length of which was partly due to their own consistent attempts to postpone the trial) or some kind of fine or community service.

    The commentariat are talking some absolutely nonsensical tripe about PR’s “threat” to the macho dictator Putin as if he or anybody really cares for some anarcho-feminist freaks in bright hoods. It sounds like a culture war and not the political persecution that PR’s lawyers are trying to present it as.

    The correct historical comparisons include the 2 month imprisonment of Nicolas Walter for indecency in church for heckling Harold Wilson in 1966 for his support of the Vietnam War, as well as the Notre-Dame Affair of 1950 in France in which significant charges looked likely but were then dropped. Mercouris is the lawyer and may perhaps think of more examples.

    • georgesdelatour says:

      Fair analysis.

      When pastor Terry Jones was threatening to burn copies of the Qur’an, liberal commentators – the sort of commentators who support Pussy Riot – condemned him; even though 1) he wasn’t going to burn copies of the Qur’an in a mosque, and 2) the First Amendment of the US Constitution gave him the right to burn copies of the Qur’an.

      One minor point. Harold Wilson may have given verbal support to the US in Vietnam. But, in spite of intense US pressure, he refused to allow any British troops to be sent there. This is something he deserves praise for.

    • IMHO, choosing to “perform” in that church was an extraordinarily stupid idea.

      In the near-term, lots of publicity. But long-term, folks will wonder about why such a sort of desecration was necessary. The one time I was in an ROC church in Russia I conducted myself with what I hope was great humility, and I refused the guide’s offers of getting nearer to the alter and the local faithful who were doing their thing.

      Just my .02. I’m an atheist, but I find the silly PR “art” actions offensive. Or at the very least, simply stupid.

      Agreed that community service as punishment would be best. Anything more serves their goal.

  3. Since this an open thread for OT comments, I’ll just point to confirmation of something I already knew:

    http://twitter.com/ReginaldQuill/status/231157029182529536

    more proof some folks aren’t just bootlicking, they’re probably paid like so many flacks, some effective more than others, on Twitter. Just in case the folks lurking here whom Anatoly used to troll were still in denial about their ‘tweeps’ true loyalties to Big Sis.

    AK: True but preferably OT comments are to be about (1) interesting topics, (2) TO DO WITH RUSSIA, (3) something of relevance (some nobody on Twitter is not relevant), (4) something that registers in the minds of more than a couple of people on this blog. In other words, no more Reginald Quilt/LibertyMeow/etc. I am not interested, neither is anyone else here.

  4. How long do you think the corrupt Putin system can hold onto power before there is real internal strife that will lead to the fragmentation of the Russian Federation itself along Turkic ethnic lines exacerbated in large part by Putin’s domestic and regional policies?

    The only real policy Putin seems to have is securing a Russian monopoly on Caspian oil and gas exports to Europe with Chinese and Turkish foreign policy being far superior.

    With the developments in the Mid East, the growing unstable situation in Russia and the upcoming civil strife to hit China triggered by economic collapse and the Islamic uprisings in Central Asia the only hope for Russia not to descend into civil war and the post civil war period being organised in an anti-Russian coalition is to make preparations to voluntary collapse the Russian Federation avoiding war by agreeing to establish largely independent ethnic homogenous Republics with energy and trade agreements favourable to Moscow while it has a strong footing unlike the Serbs where the western powers carved out Yugoslavia in an anti-Serb patch work of nation states as an indirect means to weaken any Russian energy and economic influence in Europe and strengthen Turkey as Europe’s primary energy supplier.

    • “Turkish foreign policy being far superior.”

      Their foreign policy is extremely weak
      http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/kilicdaroglu-slams-fm-on-foreign-policy.aspx?pageID=238&nID=27066&NewsCatID=338

      • Article proves nothing that is just one pointless and wrong opinion of a Turkish opposition leader.

        http://serbianna.com/blogs/michaletos/archives/1223

        http://www.fpif.org/articles/arab_spring_turkish_harvest

        http://news.yahoo.com/egypts-generals-eye-turkish-model-203500484.html

        Turkey is set to become the next super power or at least the main geopolitical force in the region.

        • karl1haushofer says:

          Turkey will never become a superpower unless it can take back the lands owned by Ottoman empire.

          • From one of the above posted link.

            “Bosnia and Herzegovina is entrusted to us,” Erdogan told a meeting of the provincial heads of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara last week.

            He recalled a statement made by the former Alija Izetbegovic, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s first president, when Erdogan visited him on his deathbed in 2003. “He (Izetbegovic) whispered in my ear these phrases: ‘Bosnia (and Herzegovina) is entrusted to you (Turkey). These places are what remain of the Ottoman Empire’,” he said”.

            http://serbianna.com/blogs/michaletos/archives/1223

            Turkey will control the spigot that will deliver Caspian oil and gas to Europe so that already gives them predominance plus a large naval force, ethnic pool for which to draw on and a multi-billion dollar pan-Turanian Gulen movement that they can rely on that acts links a secret society like the Freemasons.

            http://wikileaks.org/gifiles/releasedate/2012-03-16-18-gulen-sleeping-cells-in-turkey.html

        • It does not need to prove anything, it’s just a statement of fact that Turkish policy with its Arab neighbors is disastrous. Not just with Syria, also in Iraq with the recent visit of Davutoglu in Erbil, not a visit an intrusion as it was unannouced and unasked. A clear breach of sovereignty that will backfire on Turkey, and Kemalists understand this very clearly, you better have stable states at your door when they help contain the same ethnic strife you’re confronted to.

          I see George Friedman’s ramblings have made an effect on you with the superpower part, but as for Turkey becoming a regional power yes definitely that’s a possibility but the AKP is seemingly doing its best to squander its potential. I’m afraid Caspian resources are unsignificant compared to Middle Eastern ones, and central Asia will remain a Russian and Chinese playground and increasingly more so, Turkey just can’t compare. The real prize would have been to secure alternative transit routes for Arab and Iranian oil and gas that would free Europe of its dependence on Russia, yet setting Syria and Iraq on fire just render it impossible.

          With the EU accession becoming a pipe dream, the AKP has ended up weakening its hand in every zone of interest to Turkey, Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. The he window of opportunity to assert itself will not return any time soon.

          • Wrong the only real viable oil and gas reserves that can supply European and Asian markets via realistic transit routes is the Caspian through Turkey and Central Asia for the Asian economies especially China that they are trying to deny access to Central Asian reserves by support separatist movement’s in Tibet and Xinjing that would completely cut off China from Central Asia.

            This is the reason US, EU and NATO support Islamic separatism and terrorism in China, Central Asia, Russia and the Balkans and promoting and propping up Turkish interests and influence in the US and EU and Turkic identity of Azeri’s and other groups in the former Soviet sphere supporting pan-Turanianism mainly through the Gulen movement and Islamic terrorism through Saudi and Qatari money.

            http://www.ned.org/for-reporters/new-books-highlight-questions-of-identity

            Turkey has a large ethnic pull for which they can and have used to there own advantage in the Mid East and Eurasia that comprise the major energy and trade areas of the world that look to Turkey as a role model and a protectorate.

            • “wrong”

              – explain us how relevant in your view Caspian oil and gas reserves are. Here in the real world, we see appreciable reserves but Saudi Arabia alone has more oil and Russia gas reserves (outside the Caspian region) dwarfs whatever can be found there. Consequently it shows in daily production: http://www.cges.co.uk/resources/articles/2011/08/09/caspian-oil-production-grows-in-2011, this is far from covering the EU or China’s needs.
              – the caspian possesions of Russia account for a tiny of its oil and gas reserves
              http://irkutskoil.com/images/upload/img1287361978.jpg however, to access European markets the only route for Kazakh and Turkmen production is through the Caspian sea itself. However, no decisions can be taken without Russian and Iranian agreement. They consider this sea as a lake since the Soviet era and seem to be deliberately stalling any reform to accomodate the Stans. Not a surprise since they are both oil and gas producers and will never let them exploit their energy potential independently. Of course hard power-wise Russia dominates the sea.
              – finally, should Turkey stir troubles in the central asian region and Russia’s and China’s turkic areas, believe me they should know better. 0,6 % or 10% of Turkic people in China and Russia respectively? That pales in comparison to Turkey’s minority problems http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/337754/20120506/turkey-kurdish-demographics-pkk-birth-rate-womens.htm?page=all Very easy and straightforward to reciprocate then.

              • - explain us how relevant in your view Caspian oil and gas reserves are. Here in the real world, we see appreciable reserves but Saudi Arabia alone has more oil and Russia gas reserves (outside the Caspian region) dwarfs whatever can be found there. Consequently it shows in daily production:

                It is not the amount of reserves but volume of the oil and gas that can be transported to western markets. It is obvious Saudi oil delivered by oil tankers is far less than direct pipeline routes from the source.

                As for Caspian production nether the Russian backed or US proposed pipeline projects have been initiated yet so the production is nowhere near its future potential.

                - finally, should Turkey stir troubles in the central asian region and Russia’s and China’s turkic areas, believe me they should know better. 0,6 % or 10% of Turkic people in China and Russia respectively? That pales in comparison to Turkey’s minority problems

                Should it IS stirring up trouble in Russia and the Central Asian region especially in Chechnya where you have Turkish islamist mercenaries (A Turkish Kurd was the leader of Dagestan militants before he was eliminated by Russian forces), harboring Caucasus Emirates militants and ran up to 9/11 Chechen training camps in the North of the country.

                http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist-260142-cooperation-council-of-turkic-speaking-states-summit.html

                At least now Russia is starting to go on the offensive.

                http://retwa.com/home.cfm?articleId=12043

                http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15462752

                http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,788490,00.html

                Dugin at one point was proposing that Russia support the Kurds but not favors an engagement approach.

                As for the Kurds that is a spigot, an insurance policy if Turkey decides to use is new super power status against western interests that with increasing Turkish influence in Syria and Iraq as an alternative to both Sunni and Shite influence the Kurds will not have a sanctuary to launch attacks against Turkish forces.

    • As long as Russia’s economy continues to grow Russia should remain intact. North Caucasus continues to be the weak underbelly of Russia but as long as Russia has enough money to throw into these Muslim republics the situation is controllable.

      Real trouble will come when/if Russia economy starts to stagnate. The loyalty of these Muslim republics is directly tied to how much money they get from Moscow.

      I have to say I understand why Russian nationalists are upset about all of this. Mahy impoverished northwestern Russian regions like Pskov and Tver are still in shambles while skyscrapers are being built to Grozny with Russian money. And Muslims are also spreading to traditionally Slavic regions such as Krasnodar and they are already causing lots of trouble there.

      As for Russian foreign policy, it is better than it was under Yeltsin but Russia still lacks both hard and soft power to have any serious influence in far abroad. The only ace Russia has is the veto power in UN, but not much else.

    • I can’t really answer this because for me this is a loaded question.
      (1) “…the fragmentation of the Russian Federation itself along Turkic ethnic lines…” – Non-Russians constitute 20% of the RF’s population. Non-Slavs, 15%. Caucasian Muslims – the only restive groups – about 5%. If that part was ever going to break off, it would have done so in the 1990’s. Nowadays the Russian center is far stronger.
      (2) “…the growing unstable situation in Russia and the upcoming civil strife to hit China triggered by economic collapse and the Islamic uprisings in Central Asia…” – why is China going to economically collapse? Why are Islamic uprisings in C.A. imminent?
      (3) “…only hope for Russia not to descend into civil war…” – With all due respect but from here on you’re beginning to go off the deep end.

      • 1) It is not the numbers although they are increasing in number with Russia having a gender imbalance of 20 million more women than men (I think that was the number) and are not subject to Russian vices like alcohol and drugs that effect their birth rate and society due to their strong religious and ethnic identity/networks, it is the strategic land area they inhabit Caucasus, Ural region and Tatarstan plus the Muslim countries neighbouring Russia that have their own Islamic groups that are all inter-connected.

        Numbers alone do not mean anything.

        How could a Jewish lead Marxist revolution of about 10,000 commissars take control of the Russian Empire or Chechen mafia having predominance over ethnic Russian gangs?

        It is because they have a strong ethnic cohesion and ideology that let them operate within tribal ethnic networks over the large host societies.

        2)

        why is China going to economically collapse?

        Because its economy is based on exports mainly to the US that is going to hit once the bailout money runs out and the economic system collapses that has no stable and independent energy reserves in the long term, an unstable political and social system below the surface and two western supported separatist movements that will cut off China from Central Asia.

        Why are Islamic uprisings in C.A. imminent?

        Because the region is experiencing an Islamic revival supported and financed by foreign money and groups with a growing resentment against regional autocratic regimes especially Uzbekistan who all have their own Islamic terrorist groups and political parties with the re-established of the Afghan opium and jihad network to help fuel instability in the region.

        http://csis.org/publication/what-does-arab-spring-mean-russia-central-asia-and-caucasus

        3) http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=9650

        http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=9654

        http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=9641

        Drink your vodka.

      • The storm is coming Karlin as I said years ago with the onset of the global economic meltdown that events are now starting to unravel.
        With China’s economic downturn and civil unrest, Turkeys rise and Russia’s disintegration with its dilapidated infrastructure and unstable political system as well as those in the Central Asian region along the Afghan border are ripe for Islamic revolution that will lead to a series of unexpected events (to the uneducated) that will initiate the civil war in Russia.

        China Is Running Out Of Money

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonchang/2012/08/12/china-is-running-out-of-money/

        Record temperatures and forest fires in Russia

        http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/aug2012/russ-a15.shtml

        EU Finished? Turks flee Europe for delights at home

        It will not be a total war like with the whites and the reds during the Bolshevik revolution but like Yugoslavia where certain areas will be affected more than others with the brunt of heavy fighting being in key strategically regions noticeably the Caucasus, Crimea and the Urals.

        The only hope now for Russia as I said before is to voluntarily collapse and set the trade, energy, travel and other agreements that are favourable towards Russia or Russians are going to end up like the Serbs.

    • Good

  5. American Imperial Nationalist or AIN says:

    karl1haushofer
    on August 5, 2012 at 12:06 pm said:
    The loyalty of these Muslim republics is directly tied to how much money they get from Moscow.
    No, The disloyalty of these Muslim republics is directly tied to how much money they get from Saudi Arabia and how much they get diplomatic support from UKUSA countries.

    • They don’t have to control the whole republic just satellite communities within it (Jamaats) to create there own enclaves supported by regional organised crime groups like you have in Dagestan.

      Ethno-nationalist states are the future with the rapid advances in technology and de-centralisation of power and the new economic realities that will bring there will not be a need for a government bureaucratic system.

  6. Compare this multi-billion dollar fraud whereby illegal aliens, some living in houses that are getting millions in ‘tax refunds’ under one roof, have defrauded the taxpayers of 4 billion plus, to the Magnitsky case. Magnitsky’s case involvings several high Russian officials, some of whom have been fired, is supposed to demonstrate the lawlessness of Russia. But somehow the IRS turning a blind eye to Jose Gomez claiming he has the Social Security number of Ruby Collins who’s been dead since 1976 and getting a large refund on $25,000 a year in income doesn’t demonstrate how rotten the U.S. government has become. Where are you Twitterati?

    http://www.newsmax.com/JamesWalsh/Illegal-Aliens-IRS-Tax/2011/09/23/id/412134

    Of course, none dare call it a conspiracy to push one nationality to the head of the line and use them as cannon fodder to destroy the American middle class.

  7. American Imperial Nationalist or AIN says:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19207439
    Could somebody break down this article from BBC and show the lies and the manipulation methods which BBC uses, please?

    • Can’t really see any problem with the article as it is well known that the Russian Orthodox Church gets special privilege with the Russian state.

      I have no doubt that the CIA, MI6, etc have psych-ops programs to undermine the ROC as it is a bulwark against US/British/Saudi, Islam/pan-Turanianism in Russia and Central Asia.

      CIA supposedly financed propaganda against unification of the two parts of the Russian Church – ROCOR priest

      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=2229

      This and other factors is what will lead to the civil war in Russia when state confidence and authority is eroded by the machinations of the Putin regime and the crisis hits you will have a well organised, funded and trained pan Islamic forced emerging with a strong ethnic identity/network to rely on against a weak divided Russian society.

      Do you think that Russian intelligence has the foresight to create their own Gladio network when the shit hits the fan?
      I seriously doubt it instead investing billions on the latest military hardware tech to wax Russian military ego and a show of force against NATO when they should be investing in tech to combat guerrilla fighters and ethnic communities and monitor the transfer of funds and laundering of money through criminal activities.

      • American Imperial Nationalist or AIN says:

        ….of the Putin regime ……is there Cameron, Obama regime?
        Why do you use such language?
        I cannot read when you use labeling, any discussion becomes useless…
        It is an insult to everyone’s intellect.

        • American Imperial Nationalist or AIN says:

          ….communities and monitor the transfer of funds and laundering of money through criminal activities…..
          ………………………………………..
          That is done by UKUSA countries …open newspapers…and know you British and American generals should be in Haag and not from ex Yugoslavia

          • “That is done by UKUSA countries”

            Yes exactly what I am saying military budget should be geared towards intelligence gathering not stealth fighter planes and warships.

  8. American Imperial Nationalist or AIN says:

    From Foreign Policy
    On Michael McFaul – American ambassador in Moscow
    In fact, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, passed by the United Nations in 1961, stipulates certain things — the inviolability of embassy grounds, as well as of ambassadors’ communications, the duty of the receiving country to ensure the ability of the ambassador to work unmolested, and “to prevent any attack on his person, freedom, and dignity” — that seemed to have been overlooked by Moscow in the last few months.
    BBC
    On Assagne
    Leaving aside the legal debates about whether this 1987 British law could really trump the long-standing international protections enshrined in the Vienna Convention to safeguard the immunity of foreign diplomats and embassies worldwide, it could also set a worrying precedent: which other countries might then follow suit to use the pretext of catching criminals in order to storm into foreign embassies sheltering dissidents?

  9. “Anything goes,” eh? Okay, here’s an admittedly-asinine question for everyone: how is the Medvedev-back-to-Putin transition being addressed by Russia’s makers of political matryoshki? Are they doing Putin on the outside, then Medvedev, then Putin again and then Yeltsin, Gorbachev etc.; or are they being untrue to history by doing Putin-Medvedev-Yeltsin-Gorbachev…, or are they just cutting to the chase and omitting Medvedev all together? Personally, I can’t believe how they’ve managed to screw-up one of Russia’s premier products in the international-tchotchke industry! ;)

  10. Moscow Exile says:

    As an aside, matryoshka nest dolls have long been sold by some traders on the Moscow Arbat as “babushka” dolls. That’s what some American tourists call them and the traders have responded. Several years ago I heard a gang of America schoolchildren in Moscow use the term “babushka” when referring to matryoshki.

    I wonder why this came about?

    And another bit of useless information: last summer my children went on a school outing to Abramtsevo, the place where they first made matryoshka dolls at the end of the 19th century. The director of the museum there told them that the “traditional” matryoshka dolls originated in Japan, where they were spotted by a Russian artist and copied.

  11. AK: No promotions please, especially as this is just your second (!) comment here.

  12. European Ninja says:

    Your blog does a fine job at battling a number of myths. I don’t agree with eveything you write, but it’s good at deconstructing a number of Orientalist myths that many have about your country. Myths that are basically about “Oriental” Russia being completely different from the idealized West. This Orientalist idea is certainly not based on reality. As you say, the differences aren’t as big as they’re trying to make it seem.

    Perhaps I miss a bit more criticism of certain negative aspects of Russian politics. But I might be unjust as that’s not really the stated purpose of the blog. The stated purpose is deconstructing Western myths and that’s what it does. Just like Edward Said’s book Orientalism and Maria Todorova’s book Balkanism are meant to deconstruct myths that the West has about the “Orient” and about the Balkans, respectively, even though both authors are critical of negative aspects in the regimes in these regions.

    In the sense of Western myth-busting, your blog is great. Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks. Yes, that is correct. Why should I bother shellacking Russia when thousands of others are already doing it and for money too?

  13. Abramovic buries Berezovsky in London High Court. Simply delicious. What will the Guardian do now one of its most favorites sources of Russia bashing is holed below the water line? Should I make a pity Titanic reference???

  14. Interesting.

    Grozny Tops List of Happiest Russian Cities

    The Chechen capital of Grozny is the happiest city in Russia, a new study has found.

    Conducted by the NewsEffector monitoring agency in partnership with the Regions of Russia research fund, the study also puts Tyumen, Kazan, Surgut, Krasnodar and Sochi at the top of the list according to their “happiness index.

    “That Chechnya is in first place in a happiness index among other Russian cities is rather unexpected,” said NewsEffector Director Sergei Moroz in a press release posted on the agency’s Web site. “This is due mainly to the fact that in recent years, Grozny has tremendously changed for the better.

    Grozny was the site of two devastating wars between Russian federal forces and Chechen separatists throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. Though the city had been badly damaged, it was largely rebuilt under the leadership of republic head Ramzan Kadyrov, who rose to power in 2007. Critics, however, have accused Kadyrov of restoring order through repression and fear.

    A low-intensity Islamic insurgency continues to operate in and around Chechnya, particularly in the neighboring North Caucasian republics of Ingushetia and Dagestan.

    The survey asked 26,900 people from 100 Russian cities about their personal happiness, safety, and satisfaction with the development of their respective cities.

    Moscow ranked 52nd on the list, while St. Petersburg ranked 16th.

    http://en.rian.ru/strange/20120830/175520871.html

    • Not sure what to make of this, maybe Grozny genuinely relatively changed for the better so much (I wonder where was Makchachkala in this ranking). Tho notice how Turkmenistan, Belarus, Uzbekistan always come high up in various “happiness” rankings. Either we are idiots and dictatorships are genuinely better, or guys over there just don’t tell the truth over the phone because they are afraid/suspicious/brainwashed… Something tells me North Korea (if participated) would be top in happiness indexes too…

    • peganum harmala says:

      Muscovites are such cynical curmudgeons lol

  15. Mercouris on the implications of the recent British court judgement against Beresovsky http://mercouris.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/berezovsky/

    Much of the propaganda against Russia and Putin in the British media has been based on the testimony of Beresovsky. What the British authorities thought they were doing protecting this scumbag is beyond me.

  16. American Imperial Nationalist or AIN says:

    Robert on September 3, 2012 at 7:17 pm said:
    Read the book
    The next 100 years [ or how America with its vassals will break up Russia ]
    written by CEO George Friedman of Stratfor [ private CIA ]
    you can download for free in PDF format from the internet.

  17. American Imperial Nationalist or AIN says:

    To whom Anglo-Saxons give the support
    see unseen video of Pussy Riot
    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=a4d_1204458756

  18. American Imperial Nationalist or AIN says:

    a lot of group sex

  19. I found this a good and interesting article by Mark Adomanis comparing Russia with Brazil and showing that Russia’s economic performance in recent years has been consistently better than Brazil’s except for a brief period at the height of the financial crisis in 2009.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2012/09/08/what-is-the-weakest-bric-a-hint-its-not-russia/

    What I find interesting about this article is the way that Adomanis harps on how Brazil is supposedly more democratic than Russia. I disagree. Putting that to one side one can take Adomanis’s argument much further than he does or is prepared to do. The most successful economically of the BRICS is China which is the least democratic. The richest of the BRICS is Russia, which according to Adomanis is also undemocratic. The shine has recently come off India, which famously is a democracy, whilst Brazil, also a democracy, is as Adomanis says if not exactly in the economic doldrums doing consistently less well than Russia. South Africa, which is also a democracy, is also doing less well than Russia and as the recent unrest shows has law and order problems that are uniquely its own.

    The two richest and/or economically most successful of the BRICS are therefore according to Adomanis the two that are the least democratic. What conclusions are we supposed to draw from that? Possibly that there is little or no connection between democracy and economic success though economic success may in the end make democracy more sustainable and likely.

    • The two richest and/or economically most successful of the BRICS are therefore according to Adomanis the two that are the least democratic. What conclusions are we supposed to draw from that? Possibly that there is little or no connection between democracy and economic success though economic success may in the end make democracy more sustainable and likely.
      ===========
      For an American means ” no democracy ”
      It is not an American vassal.
      What is the democracy?
      Am I more free without money in Croatia
      or in Swiss with money but as an foreigner cannot participate in political structures?
      Adomanis does not do it on the purpose but to say at least something good about Russia he MUST say something bad, otherwise his article will not be published.
      All in all Adomanis is OK.

  20. BBC and hundreds other papers have put the same title
    Russia’s Putin admits wildlife stunts are staged
    and no papers used this as title
    “Yes, I know, they were caught before, but the most important thing is to draw public attention to the problem.”
    Even when Vladimir does something good Anglo-Saxon media turn it upside down.
    Vladimir Putin can give an interview of one or two hours and Anglo-Saxon media will take the sentence with which they will try to ridicule or belittle him.

  21. “Russian lawmaker expelled over his anti-Putin stance”
    Hundreds of newspapers on line copy this headline
    This is a good example of Anglo-Saxon propaganda
    whatever happens to throw on Putin

  22. British love their values
    and they don’t respect the values of others
    and they want that other nations do not have any values
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    The French version of the magazine Closer has published topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge.
    The pictures were apparently offered to British papers before being taken up by the French magazine, so why were they turned down?
    “I don’t think a British newspaper or magazine would dare to publish,” said Professor of Journalism at City University Roy Greenslade. “It would be in breach of the editors’ code of practice… and you would need to have a public interest reason for overcoming that.”
    He also thought there would be a bad “reader reaction” if the photographs were published in the UK because the duchess is a popular member of the Royal Family.

  23. BBC
    West calls for end to anti-Islam film clashes
    This business with the “west” is going well for UK + USA

  24. Good news
    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2012/0917/Russia-reveals-shiny-state-secret-It-s-awash-in-diamonds
    According to the official news agency, ITAR-Tass, the diamonds at Popigai are “twice as hard” as the usual gemstones, making them ideal for industrial and scientific uses.

    The institute’s director, Nikolai Pokhilenko, told the agency that news of what’s in the new field could be enough to “overturn” global diamond markets.

    “The resources of super-hard diamonds contained in rocks of the Popigai crypto-explosion structure, are by a factor of ten bigger than the world’s all known reserves,” Mr. Pokhilenko said. “We are speaking about trillions of carats. By comparison, present-day known reserves in Yakutia are estimated at one billion carats.”

  25. Today I have found out The Guardian allows free speech, allows readers to post comments and I have logged in and posted two comments.
    The article was;
    .
    USAid withdraws from Russia after Moscow decision to end agency’s work
    US agency for international development to close office as analysts suspect growing hostility toward pro-democracy groups.
    .
    The article was full of cold war propaganda, reading the readers’ posts I can see that people don’t swallow that propaganda and some of them resist it.

  26. This guy got by now 94 pluses, more than anybody else.
    It mans hundreds of people read his post. It means something.
    .
    I love the idea that the US has groups promoting ‘democracy’. The Us should start looking at it’s own house before it spews criticism of others. I have no doubt Russia is profoundly undemocratic. But we are not so much better, controlled, as we are, by the rich and powerful and brainwashed by their media friends. Democracy and freedom – two of the most abused words in the dictionary.

  27. AFP ; Russia’s Chechen war mastermind Grachev dies at 64
    Reuters Africa; Former Russia defence chief Grachev dies
    One news and two different headlines.
    In memory of people the strongest impact makes the headline.
    Nobody is going to destroy Russia with weapons.
    UKUSA countries and their first ring of vassals will try to do it with demonizing and propaganda.
    Russian diaspora, friends of Russia, supporters of multipolar world and therefore of free world need to fight this.
    The Russian government should teach its citizens about “color revolution” and about revolutions in general, how they are created, the purpose and the consequences.
    Maybe starting in the school one hour per week. In that case Russia will be safe and this wanna be revolutionists will achieve nothing.

  28. Vladimir Putin accused of being a ‘philanderer and wifebeater’ while in KGB by German intelligence files.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2056547/Vladimir-Putin-philanderer-wifebeater-KGB.html#ixzz27XVVAzIP

    • Dear Anatoly
      Please delete this.
      As you have said it is impossible to waste energy on refuting the lies.

  29. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/24/us-russia-summit-guriev-idUSBRE88N0QD20120924
    I expected some Russian economist like Kudrin. Then I click on this story and it’s the same old, same old from Prof. Pirrong’s alleged buddy at the New Economic School. Did the Russian government collapse when oil prices dropped suddenly in early 2009?

  30. Ken Macaulay says:

    Is Medvedev the most clueless charecter in the Russian Government?

    The latest:
    Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev plans to talk hi-tech cooperation with the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who is coming to Russia’s Skolkovo research hub near Moscow.

    Is he actually capable of parsing through the bullsh*t of any western companies, or is he just one of those utterly uncritical liberals where anything western is automatically ‘good’?

    Zuckerberg, who ripped off a bunch of people ‘creating’ Facebook, then screwed over his partners, then screwed over the shareholders on a massive scale, all of which had massive media attention – & Medvedev is consulting with this jerk???
    Russia already has a vibrant, extremely successful internet commercial community, with the likes of Yandex, mail.ru, etc., as well as LiveJournal which do pretty much everything Facebook does without the dodgy bullsh*t in the background.
    The only thing the likes of Zuckerberg has to offer is how to screw everyone over…

    Medvedev really has to go. If he can’t even manage the Western tech stuff competently, which is supposed to be one of his strong points, then he really needs to be put somewhere he can’t do too much damage.

  31. On the elections in Gruzia – Georgia
    The economist; European diplomat says the strategy is not about winning elections, but “delegitimising” them.
    http://www.economist.com/node/21563789
    Sounds familiar, does it not?
    American State Department has tried to apply this in Russia.

  32. “Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev plans to talk hi-tech cooperation ”

    Software and aerospace are key strategic industries in the US…domination is everything…cooperation is never a long term goal.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903480904576512250915629460.html
    http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20120808/175075038.html

  33. Dear Jennifer and Scowpsi,

    You discussed the film Aelita in which Konstantin von Eggert’s grandfather acts. Since film criticism is something which interests me and in view of your comments about Aelita I thought would say a few things about it.

    First of all the correct title of the film is “Aelita”. The “Queen of Mars” bit was added later.

    Secondly it is important to understand the context of the film. It was the first major film project made in the USSR following the Revolution. Lenin himself was involved in sponsoring it, the director was asked to come back from abroad to direct it and at a time of extreme economic crisis when foreign currency was desperately short film was specially imported from Germany to make it. In other words the Soviet government gave the film extremely high priority. When you analyse the subject of the film the reason for this becomes clear.

    The film is set in 1921, just before the end of the Civil War. Engineer Los and his wife Natasha are members of the former Tsarist middle class and live in Moscow. They have seen their world destroyed. As the film shows, the country is totally devastated. Everyone is short of food. White bread and sugar have become luxuries. There are masses of homeless and wounded. People even have to travel on the roofs of trains.

    Los and Natasha’s elegant middle class apartment is in the process of being turned into a Kommunalka (a communal apartment). The strain of this and the destruction of their world is putting their marriage under increasing stress. Natasha is becoming drawn into black market and other illicit activities into which she is tempted by two of the residents of the Kommunalka (a former bourgeois and his wife). Los is retreating into a fantasy world in which he dreams of building a rocket to go to Mars. The scenes on Mars (done using brilliant Constructivist sets largely designed by Alexandra Dexter but apparently with some involvement by Tatlin and Rodchenko) are his fantasies. The subject of emigration is discussed continuously throughout the film.

    As the marriage becomes increasingly strained Los begins to suspect Natasha of having an affair with one of the other occupants of the Kommunalka (the bourgeois who is drawing her into black market activities). There are quarrels, scenes of domestic violence (which would have been unacceptable in a British or American film of the period) and Los eventually shoots at Natasha in a jealous rage. She is not killed. He misses. However Los, whose grip on reality is becoming uncertain, thinks he has killed her and flees.

    The two then redescover their sense of purpose and hope, Los by obtaining work as an engineer on a construction site in the interior of Russia, Natasha by working in an orphanage. The key caption in the film is one which says (I quote from memory so I may not have the words exactly right) “Los’s only hope was to help with the rebuilding of Russia”. Los returns to Moscow to find Natasha still alive. The two are reconciled. The film ends with the two together before a fireplace into which Los throws his plans for his Mars rocket onto the fire. The last captionin the film (and again I quote it from memory) is Los telling Natasha “enough of dreams, we have work to do”.

    The film is therefore a call to the Tsarist technical intelligentsia to rally to the new Soviet state in the cause of reconstructing the Motherland.

    I have simplified the story by sticking to its main theme. There are numerous subplots. One is the revolution that Los fantasises on Mars (intended to show how Los even in his own fantasies is coming to accept the reality of the Revolution). Another involves a bumbling police investigator, who is intended to provide an element of comic relief to an otherwise unrelievedly serious film. A third concerns the criminal activities of the black market operator and his wife who tempt and try to draw Natasha into their world.

    The film also provides a fascinating picture of Moscow in the early 1920s. We see amateur theatricals, Red Square parades, a local committee at work, Soviet posters being drawn and a secret nightclub of the bourgeois demi monde. Overall though it is a film of unflinching realism and courage and one which given the context in which it was made I personally found extremely moving.

    A few further points:

    1. The claim that the film was banned is I am sure wrong. Firstly I first learnt of the film in a Brezhnev era 1970s Radio Moscow broadcast. Secondly I still have in my possession a Soviet film magazine from the early 1980s that mentions the film in connection with its showing at a film festival in Moscow.

    The film is very much of its time, which is the early 1920s. I suspect what happened was that as Russia recovered from the effects of the Revolution and the Civil War the film simply stopped being relevant and therefore stopped being shown. Later when it became a period piece and an object of historical and cultural interest it was rediscovered as was the case with many other films of the Silent Era. This presumably happened at some point in the 1960s or 1970s. That the film was never considered politically unacceptable is however shown by the fact that it was never apparently completely forgotten and by Mosfilm’s decision to preserve the film intact.

    As the film’s rediscovery happened long before videos and DVDs the only way to see it until the late 1980s or 1990s would have been during occasional viewings in film festivals such as the one mentioned in the Soviet magazine in my possession. During the Cold War there would have been little interest in such a film in the west, which is why it has only very recently become known in the west. Western commentary about the film, with references to it being a “science fiction” film, shows the extent to which it is still not properly understood in the west with disproportionate attention being given to the Constructivist sets and to the scenes on Mars in a way that detracts from an understanding of the film as a whole. Because the film was until recently unknown in the west it is easy to see why western film critics, with their own ideological assumptions and biases, assume it was banned.

    2. The film was however shown in the 1920s in Germany. This was during the Rapallo period when relations between Weimar Germany and the USSR were very close. Fritz Lang and his wife von Harbou saw the film and there is no doubt Metropolis was inspired by it. The politics of Metropolis are however completely different. I discuss Metropolis (though not its connection to Aelita) here

    http://mercouris.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/metropolis-a-film-review-and-analysis-of-the-restored-classic/

    • Thank you for that post. How does the film hold up from an aesthetic point of view? I’ve never seen it mentioned as a “film classic” or even heard about it until I read the description here.

    • Jennifer Hor says:

      Dear Alex,

      Thanks very much for the post. I’ve seen quite a few Internet articles about “Aelita” and some of these say the film had been banned by Stalin. The ban might have been lifted some time after his death. As far as I’m aware from 1924 to the early 1950s only a couple of actual SF films, “Luzh Smerti” aka “Death Ray” and “The Space Voyage”, were made in the Soviet Union and then after 1955 or once the space exploration program began, the Soviet govt actively encouraged SF film production. “The Space Voyage” is available on Youtube.

      I agree “Aelita” is not really a science fiction film but it’s often promoted as such to get people’s attention. The historical context is very important: I remember the film does call attention to the food shortages in the country at the time and there is a small sub-plot about a man who tries to cheat on the food rationing system.

      @ Scowspi: The Martian set designs are excellent and there is even some stop-motion animation. The whole movie is well made but the narrative is not straightforward as there are a number of sub-plots.

      • Dear Jennifer,

        I recently read a piece on Novosti about the bias in Soviet cinema against science fiction. Apparently some good science films were made in the 1950s but were subsequently destroyed with only a few stills left. The only other science fiction films from the Soviet era I can think of are Tarkovsky’s two films, Solaris and Stalker. Both of course are classics. Still it is strange that Soviet cinema seems to have had such an aversion to science fiction films when Soviet science fiction literature was so prolific and so good. It mirrors the deep prejudice you find in Britain and I believe in the US in University Literature Departments against science fiction and indeed fantasy literature generally.

        For the rest, I agree with your aesthetic assessment of Aelita. In my opinion it is a beautiful film. However as I said before it is very much of its time. It is only watchable and would only make sense to someone who is very familiar with the politics and social conditions of the period. Anyone coming to it as a science fiction film will be disappointed. I am sure that it is this historical specificity of the film that has prevented it from becoming a recognised classic.

        Bear in mind though that there was very limited circulation of Russian films in the west during the Cold War. Even such an iconic Soviet film as Battleship Potemkin was banned in Britain until 1952 and could only be shown in Britain thereafter in very restrictive viewings in a small number of cinemas and only to people over 21. Only in 1978 were all restrictions on the showing of Battleship Potemkin in Britain finally lifted. Other western countries such as West Germany and France restricted the circulation of Soviet films even more. It is impossible to image a film such as Aelita being shown in the west until the 1980s and it has of course never gone on general release. Oddly enough it was being shown a few weeks ago in London at the Prince Charles Cinema off Leicester Square and of course it is now available on DVD. The first I ever heard of Aelita was in the Radio Moscow broadcast in the 1970s that I mentioned previously and it only became more widely known in the west in the 1990s.

        For the rest as I said I doubt Aelita was ever formally banned in the USSR. Why would Stalin need to ban a film when he controlled all the USSR’s cinemas and could decide what to show in them? Aelita being set in the grim days just after the Revolution and the Civil War hardly fitted in to the determinedly optimistic cinema of the Stalin era and being both topically and (following the coming of sound) cinematically obsolete I suspect it simply stopped being shown. One should be wary of claims or assumptions by western and even some Russian scholars about works being banned when there is actually no evidence of this.

        • Jennifer Hor says:

          Alex,

          Yes it’s possible all the online articles I’ve seen on “Aelita” were parroting one another without appropriate attribution. It’s more likely that the particular historical circumstances the film refers to would have made it “dated” for Soviet audiences in the 1930s.

          I have just discovered that “Luch Smerti” aka “Death Ray” which was made in 1925 was uploaded in six parts to Youtube a year ago. I haven’t seen it yet so I have no idea of the technical and aesthetic qualities of the film. I have seen Vasily Zhuravlov’s 1936 film “Kosmicheskiy reys: Fantasticheskaya Novella” aka “The Space Voyage”, for which the director consulted the rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky on various aspects including the script and details of space travel as assumed in the 1930s. This is a very beautiful film to watch with a wonderful scene where the camera pans around the space-ship in the hangar before it lifts off. The film was commissioned by Komsomol so it is aimed at teenagers and features a teenage boy hero.

          There are quite a few Soviet SF films on Youtube now: Mikhail Karyukhov and Alexander Kozyr’s 1959 film “Nebo Zovyot” aka “The Sky Calls” or “Call from Heaven” and Pavel Klushantsev’s 1962 film “Planeta Bur’ ” aka “The Planet of Storms” if you like space travel; Yevgeny Sherstobitov’s 1968 film “The Andromeda Nebula” for a Soviet counterpoint to “Star Trek”; and Vladimir Chebotaryov and Gennady Kazansky’s 1962 film “Chelovek-Amfibiya” aka “Amphibian Man” for human engineering. All films mentioned are visually gorgeous and the set designs are of a very high artistic standard though some of the plots may be low-brow.

          • Dear Jennifer,

            Thanks a million for this. I had no idea that there were so many Soviet science fiction films. It just goes to show how little about Soviet cinema even a reasonably well informed person like me knows. I will certainly make a point of watching these films. It seems I have a feast in store. Thanks again.

            • Jennifer Hor says:

              It’s a pleasure! Many old Soviet and Eastern European SF films have been rediscovered in the past few years and several are now in the public domain. Those that are can often be viewed in full on Youtube though they don’t always have English-language sub-titles.

  34. Ken Macaulay says:

    I think I owe Medvedev an apology.

    Zuckerberg came over, & what was he selling?
    US intellectual copyright laws! “Mr. Zuckerberg said that his company is very serious about the issue and invests a lot in copyright protection.”
    Seemed to miss out the part where he sells everyone’s private information to the highest bidder.

    Medvedev wasn’t buying, & “has addressed copyright holders suggesting that they should set the limitations on intellectual property on their own.”
    Damn good idea to work from in my opinion.
    Also looked that he wasn’t buying anything Zuckerberg was selling in this photo.
    http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_10_01/Medvedev-Zuckerberg-discuss-copyright-protection/

    Maybe he’s found his niche?

  35. Will you talk about Alexander Dugin and his Forth Political Theory that symbolises the complete void in Russian foreign policy and political thinking?

    http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/09/unthinking-liberalism/#more-31455

    http://www.alternativeright.com/main/the-magazine/dugin-gets-in-the-ring/

    Other than securing Russian energy pipelines to Europe the Putin regime has no foresight or understanding of the region and has a Soviet mindset in dealing with regional and domestic situations whose policies he is implementing in the long term will actually make the situation worse for Russia with the latest disastrous foreign policy initiative to incorporate Pakistan into the SCO and include it in the developments of what will happen in Afghanistan that apparently the Kremlin has a very short memory.

    Putin and Dugin to a degree are completely clueless to the role ethnicity and ethnic and religious identity has in the future developments in Eurasia.

    • Dear John,

      I don’t know about Anatoly but I have been working on a review of Dugin’s book for some time though it always gets interrupted by work commitments.

      I should say that I don’t agree with your view about the supposed void in Russian foreign policy. On balance I think Russia has been managing its relations reasonably well given the resources at its disposal. Russia’s first priority has to be its economic development. That first and foremost must mean securing peace internally and on its frontiers. That translates first and foremost into achieving as far as possible the reintegration of as much as possible of the former Soviet space by peaceful means whilst maintaining Russia’s close relations with the two powerful countries to the west and east of it namely Germany and China. Within that framework Russia has it seems to me handled its relations with the smaller east European states reasonably well. However one should not overstate their importance in the bigger picture. At the end of the day Berlin and Beijing are far more important to Moscow than Riga or Tallinn or Bucharest or Sofia or even Warsaw.

      Though I personally doubt that Pakistan will be in the SCO any time soon Russian overtures to Pakistan fit in with this policy. Firstly Russia is not the main advocate of Pakistan’s joining the SCO, China is, and secondly Russia and China will need Pakistan’s help to stabilise the situation in Afghanistan once the US withdraws.

      I accept that this is an unheroic policy but it seems to me that it is one which is well adapted to Russia’s current interests. Certainly it makes a refreshing contrast to the Napoleonic fantasies coming out of Washington.

      • There is nothing really wrong with what Dugin writes that the old political systems and models are becoming obsolete and that liberalism is used as a means of social/political control based on the writings of French New Right thinkers but I thought the purpose of the Eurasia movement and Putin support of it was to fashion a political and ideological framework that integrates the Eurasian nations of Central Asia, China and Russia into a economic union as a counter to western supported Islamic and Pan-Turkic/Turanian movements among the Muslim/Turkic populations not some new age political philosophy that is opposed to the US and the west as an alternative to democracy.

        America although it is a base for operations against Russia with think tanks like the Jamestown Foundation, CFR, etc is not the heart of the NWO (for lack of a better term) but Britain and British institutions and the influence they have in America chief among them George Soros and other notorious figures yet he regards Soros as an American and part of the American institution.

        “Though I personally doubt that Pakistan will be in the SCO any time soon Russian overtures to Pakistan fit in with this policy. Firstly Russia is not the main advocate of Pakistan’s joining the SCO, China is, and secondly Russia and China will need Pakistan’s help to stabilise the situation in Afghanistan once the US withdraws.”

        It is still making gestures and overtures to the Pakistan regime that is rightfully regarded as the world leading pariah state having been exposed as sheltering Osama Bin Ladin that has since the 70’s rather than being a stabilising force in Afghanistan has supported the most radical Islamic elements even at the determent to the US first with supporting Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and then the Taliban trying to secure with the Saudis to secure a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan oil consortium sending a Taliban representative to Texas in 97 to secure a failed attempt at getting US oil company backing that has been completely detrimental to Russian interests.

        Apparently all is forgiven and Russians have a short memory as the fact that the ISI who are still in power and rule Pakistan where the biggest supporters of Chechen terrorist groups and radical groups in Central Asia during the 90’s have trained and run Chechen, Uzbeks and others in camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan especially under the Taliban regime right up to 9/11 that were so involved in the first Chechen war were said to be actually running it is not an issue.

        Bringing Pakistan into the fold in security developments in the region is a huge Trojan horse with its expansionist Islamic theocratic imperialism.

        ”I accept that this is an unheroic policy but it seems to me that it is one which is well adapted to Russia’s current interests. Certainly it makes a refreshing contrast to the Napoleonic fantasies coming out of Washington.”

        Frankly the best policy for Moscow would be to let Pakistan fragment as it barely exists and functions as a state anyway that is comprised of regions of Islamic extremist ethnic and tribal groups fostered by the Pakistan government since the 70’s that are actually gaining ground over the Pakistani army so it cannot exert influence in Afghanistan and be severely weakened in its sponsorship of terrorism in Kashmir.

        Russia could then align itself with various ethnic groups in Key strategic locations than aiding a regime to solidify and have say/input in developments in the region that they will use to gain a foothold in Central Asia and the Caucasus to exert their influence abroad with a weak base at home.

        They did it during the 90’s supporting Massoud and the Northern Alliance against the ISI backed Taliban so why can’t they do it again?

        • Dear John,

          I am going to make a major effort to finish my review of Dugin’s book within the next week or so (I have to make a short business trip to Finland but hopefully when this is out of the way I should have a clear run). If you don’t mind I will deal with your points in my review, which I will post on my blog.

          On Pakistan I have a lot of sympathy with what you say. Pakistan presents an intractable problem. However I don’t think Russia can simply sit back and wait for Pakistan to break up because (1) there is no guarantee it will break up (2) it might be a worse disaster if it did – bear in mind we are talking about a country with a large and rapidly growing nuclear arsenal.

          Given that this is so it seems to me that it makes sense for Russia to talk to Pakistan to see if there is any possibility of reaching a modus vivendi on the question of Afghanistan where the two countries have both mutual and conflicting interests. Pakistan arguably needs a peaceful and stable Afghanistan as much or more than Russia does and the 1980s and 1990s showed that just as Russia needs Pakistan to stabilise Afghanistan so Pakistan cannot stabilise Afghanistan without Russia.

          Saying that achieving a modus vivendi with Russia is in Pakistan’s interests does not of course mean that Pakistan will act according to its interests but Russia is it seems to me right to try by talking to Pakistan which is all it is doing at the moment.

          • “However I don’t think Russia can simply sit back and wait for Pakistan to break up because (1) there is no guarantee it will break up (2) it might be a worse disaster if it did – bear in mind we are talking about a country with a large and rapidly growing nuclear arsenal.”

            1) It is barely a state as it has as much control of regions of the country as Afghanistan that receives billions annually from the US and other countries for the war on terrorism that they have proven to be a hindrance rather than an ally and humanitarian aid which it is using to siphon into its nuclear program.

            (2) It is the Pakistani regime that lead an illegal nuclear black market industry under the Kahn network by the father of its nuclear program Abdul Qadeer Khan and even if Pakistan were to fragment that would be more likely to be violent with the US supporting the Pakistan government as it tries to suppress rebellions across the country.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdul_Qadeer_Khan#Proliferation_of_URENCO_technology

            Anyway Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is relatively small and secure more so than say Libya or Syria’s alleged chemical and biological weapons programs so even if it were to fragment trafficking and proliferation of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal would be secure that the CIA and other western intelligence agencies as well as the Pakistan regime itself probably have a secret program to secure its safety.

            The Pentagon’s Secret Plans to Secure Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenal

            http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/the-pentagons-secret-plans-to-secure-pakistans-nuclear-arsenal/

            Any terrorist influence that would go beyond its borders or even pose a threat to the region could only be achieved through state assistance of the Pakistan regime.

            Given that this is so it seems to me that it makes sense for Russia to talk to Pakistan to see if there is any possibility of reaching a modus vivendi on the question of Afghanistan where the two countries have both mutual and conflicting interests. Pakistan arguably needs a peaceful and stable Afghanistan as much or more than Russia does and the 1980s and 1990s showed that just as Russia needs Pakistan to stabilise Afghanistan so Pakistan cannot stabilise Afghanistan without Russia.

            They don’t want a peaceful Afghanistan history has shown that. They want instability so they can thrive and gain influence throughout region wither it be Afghanistan, Kashmir or countries far beyond its border in Russia, India, Central Asia and Bangladesh. I don’t think you understand Pakistan regimes mentality and ideological thinking that is more militant and imperial than Saudi Arabia who at least didn’t allow their own Frankenstein monster to have a large sway and ideological base within the government and state apparatus.

            “Saying that achieving a modus vivendi with Russia is in Pakistan’s interests does not of course mean that Pakistan will act according to its interests but Russia is it seems to me right to try by talking to Pakistan which is all it is doing at the moment.”

            Russia seems to be bailing out the US and NATO’s problem one they helped create by giving it support and actively allowed the ISI to recruit terrorists to travel and train in camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan as long as they fought for US/NATO interests in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya and other regions in strategic energy spheres and transit routes. Now with the blowback on 9/11 and the calamitous environment in Pakistan today it gives them a backdoor to leave Afghanistan with Russia bearing the burden of supporting Pakistan.

            What exactly to you think are Russia’s long term interests in securing Pakistan and Afghanistan with Pakistan’s support?

            I can think of numerous reasons why this is not least of which is jeopardising its relationship with India pushing is towards the west.

            • Dear John,

              Let me say again that I do understand and have some sympathy with the points you make about Pakistan. As I said the country does present an intractable problem. It’s quite likely that you are right and that any attempt by Russia to reason with it is hopeless and that its leadership will pursue the same over ambitious policy in Afghanistan that it did in the 1980s and 1990s and which (let us not forget) was a disaster for Pakistan in 2001 as it was for everyone else. If that does happen then Russia will have to deal with this situation and will presumably do so by supporting the same anti Taliban and anti Pakistani forces in the north of Afghanistan that it did in the 1990s. Since Russia is today much more powerful than it was in the 1990s there is a fair chance it may be able to do this with more success than it did in the 1990s.

              However we are not there yet. It seems to me that until we are it makes sense for Russia to seek a modus vivendi with Pakistan over Afghanistan in a way that serves everybody’s interests – Russia’s, Pakistan’s, Afghanistan’s, China’s, India’s and Iran’s. The best interests of all of these countries (and of the peoples of these countries) are served by a peaceful Afghanistan. If there is any hope of achieving it than this is an objective worth pursuing even if that means talking to Pakistan. Obviously that doesn’t extend to sacrificing Russian interests to Pakistan but no one so far as I can see is suggesting this.

              For the rest, it seems to me that what Russia is doing in Afghanistan is pursuing its own interests. If that means helping the US out of its difficulties then that is not a reason for not doing it. It is a mistake in diplomacy as it is in every other field of human endeavour to cut your nose to spite your face.

              As for Russia’s relations with India, these are very close and I doubt that any talks Russia has with Pakistan on the subject of Afghanistan will put them in jeopardy. At the end of the day a peaceful and independent Afghanistan is also in India’s interests. On the critical question of Kashmir Russia’s support for India has been unwavering. Whilst China supports Pakistan’s membership of the SCO Russia supports India’s. I doubt that either country will in fact join the SCO any time soon. Of more practical importance to India is Russia’s strong and consistent support for India being given a permanent seat on the UN Security Council – something to which because of its size and power India is undoubtedly entitled but to which the western powers (especially Britain and France) have been historically opposed.

              Lastly, I have to tell you that I am nowhere near as sanguine about the Pakistani nuclear arsenal as you seem to be. I don’t know how big or small it is and I doubt that anybody really knows. I have heard that it is increasing at a frenetic rate though that seems to be no more than a guess. I have heard (and this seems to be a great deal more than a guess) that during a clash with India in the 1990s it came very close to being used.

              If Pakistan disintegrates or descends into civil war or faces a radical Islamicist takeover then the fate of its nuclear arsenal is going to be a matter of enormous international concern. The idea that the US can simply round up all the warheads looks to me complacent. On the contrary I fear that if we do find ourselves in a situation where Pakistan is collapsing or has been taken over by a radical jihadi movement connected to Al Qaeda then we will be looking at an international crisis of horrendous dimensions of the sort we have not faced since the Cuban Missle Crisis of 1962.

  36. LNG terminal v. likely to be build at Nakhoda(sp?) for increased exports to Japan. N. Korea apparently agreed to a linked trans-korean pipeline to bring in Russian gas to both North & South Korea. They pay top dollar too. Looks like Russia is now putting more energy into increasing trade relations with Asia. Have a look at atimes.com, an indian bias but non the less quite interesting.

  37. New book about Putin has just been released in a English PDF format Putin’s new Russia co-edited by Alexandre Latsa.

    Press Release: the book Putins New Russia is available.

    The editors Jon Hellevig and Alexandre Latsa have brought in a host of contributors that have the independence and courage to speak out against the willful and malicious propaganda war against Russia in which the western media is an all too willing accomplice with its gross double standards, hypocrisy and venal stupidity. Most of the contributors, a true “coalition of the unwilling”, have experienced at firsthand the years of anarchy and the emergence of the normal country under Putin. They comprise mostly Western scholars, businessmen and analysts like: Eric Kraus, Patrick Armstrong, Jon Hellevig, Alexandre Latsa, Mark Chapman, Anatoly Karlin, Nils van der Vegte, Aleksander Grishin, and Craig James Willy.

    The book is published by American non-profit NGO “Kontinent USA”
    1800 Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20009
    US-Russia.org

    For a reader of dominant western media all the received myths about Putin and Russia which the media has so deceitfully cultivated during the last ten years will be thoroughly uprooted. The reader is offered a fresh and new view on virtually everything you may think you know about contemporary Russia: its political system, leaders, economy, population, so-called opposition, foreign policy and much more. It will emerge that much of it is either seriously flawed or just plain wrong. This has not happened by accident. This book explains why it happened.

    Putin’s New Russia not only provides a more balanced view of Russia’s post-Soviet history, but it also shames the vast majority of western journalists who have covered Russia over the past two decades, and the so-called “expert Russia watchers” employed by faux NGOs and think-thanks. These are two circles of people who reinforce the same tired and fundamentally flawed interpretation of just about everything related to Russia. Both claim to inform, but what they really do is to disinform the western public so as cast Putin and Russia in the image of an enemy with all the leeway it allows for furthering their geopolitical goals. The contributors to this book contest the image presented by the mainstream press. The book exposes the bogus rhetoric of Western governments, their special purpose think-tanks and NGOs. It brings to light the misuse by them of such lofty terms as “democracy”, “human rights” and “civil society” as a front in the service of achieving geopolitical advantage.

    http://www.alexandrelatsa.ru/2012/10/putins-new-russia-book_9.html

    • Alexander Mercouris says:

      Interesting. Thank you John. I’ll try and get hold of it.

      • “Interesting. Thank you John. I’ll try and get hold of it.”

        There is a PDF link to download the book for free (English only for now) in the link to Alexander Latsas blog in the link I provided.

    • Croatia and Russia says:

      Thanks John
      I have downloaded the book.

  38. Alexander Mercouris says:

    Am I the only person who has noticed a curious shift in the Economist’s Russian coverage? For the last few months there has been barely any coverage at all. The Economist notably failed to cover the Pussy Riot case and has barely commented about it at all. There were none of the usual diatribes on the occasion of Putin’s birthday. The recent March of Millions, the Navalny prosecution and the investigation of Udaltsov have passed by unreported. The only piece on Russia I have read in the Economist recently was a relatively short piece deep in the inside pages on the vexed subject of pension reform. Whilst this was critical of the Russian government it was a far cry from the usual “Putin/Russia = Sauron/Mordor” stuff.

    Could it be that with the need to find new markets further east someone in the Economist is carryiing out a reassessment of the Economist’s Russian coverage or am I indulging in some wishful thinking? Perhaps I am because there has been no change in the Financial Times’s Russian coverage. As I understand it the Financial Times and the Economist share the same owner.

    • Yep it’s as if they’ve fired Ed Lucas or reassigned him for something. He exerted an iron grip over their coverage so bad, even other British journos at Western media bureaus in Moscow didn’t like the guy.

      • Color me cynical, but perhaps BP trying to sell out its stake in TNK BP for as much cash as humanly possible in order to pay billions and billions to victimized fishermen and tourist operators in the Gulf of Mexico may have something to do with it. Can’t entirely throw feces where one has assets, old boy.

  39. US Government / US Embassy in Russia gives no response to high-profile corruption expose involving MARS Inc. US-RUSSIA HIGH-PROFILE CORRUPTION UNCOVERED THIS POST WILL BE READ BY BARACK OBAMA & MITT ROMNEY http://moskandogg.livejournal.com/148843.html

    • This sounds a bit unlikely, not because I have exceedingly high expectations of US corporate behavior and abroad to boot, but because McFaul is a creature of the Democrats, not the Republics. He would not have any apparent interest in covering for the GOP. And in any case it’s not like a small case like this in a foreign country by a private company that was doing what it had to do to survive in the Russian market would hurt the Republicans anyway.

  40. Russia’s population decline speeds up

    Russia’s population continues to fall, as indicated by newly-published census results. With a population of 142,857,000, the country has dropped one place in the list of the world’s most populous countries since the last census in 2002. The population has fallen by 2.3 million.

    • Newly published? Did Russia conduct another census between 2010 and 2012? Because the last census I can find information about was in 2010 and anyone who has followed this blog will know quite a bit has happened since then, even to the point where Russia is expected to have more people in 2012 than it did in 2010…..

      • The programme must date from 2010. The census was “newly published” then.

        • The program was from January 2012.

          Uploaded by primetimeru on 7 Jan 2012

          • “Uploaded by primetimeru on 7 Jan 2012″ would mean it was uploaded in January 2012. It doesn’t necessarily mean the programme itself was made in 2012 (it could have easily been made in December 2011 or even as far back as 2010).

            As a matter of fact a tiny bit of investigative work would have told anyone careful enough to look that this programme is over a year old. Just read the news ticker. At 18-19 seconds into the video it reads: “…..Medvedev appoints Anton Siluanov as country’s new finance minister”. Since Mr. Siluanov was appointed on September 27, 2011 then the programme must have been first aired on September 27-28, 2011. So it’s basically 1 year and 1 month old and referring to data that was collected almost exactly two years ago. Nothing about that screams as “new”.

          • It certainly could not have been produced after December 16, 2011 when Mr. Siluanov took over the post of finance minister on a permanent basis instead of on the acting basis he had from September to December 2011.

  41. No article about the Ukrainian parliamentary elections?

    My initial observations (written quickly and thus perhaps messily):

    1. The electoral map exactly corresponds to Ukraine’s historical situation: the three Galician provinces which had modernized (achieved mass-literacy and a native “elite”) under Austria-Hungary voted for Svoboda, a rightwing nationalist party not somewehre between Hungary’s ruling Fedesz party and its more radical Jobbik party. The parts of Ukraine that modernized under the tsars voted for the Party of Regions, while those that modernized under the Ukrainophile 1920’s Soviets voted for Tymoshenko’s moderate/liberal nationalists:

    http://www.kyivpost.com/content/politics/exit-poll-svoboda-wins-majority-in-three-regions-takes-second-place-in-kyiv-315124.html

    2. Svoboda came in second place in Kiev, with about 1/4 of the votes. This is probably a protest vote, but its notable that Kievans protest by voting for radical nationalists. The communists and Party of Regions together got only 16% support in Kiev. I think the myth of Kiev (and central Ukraine in general) being some sort of “Little Russia” more tied to Russia’s orbit than to the West can be laid to rest.

    3. PR will “win” the elections through a system custom-made for it. Under the proportional system the Opposition would have collectively won over 55% of the parliament, but the PR will maintain control through the single-district voting which is first-past-the-post. This means that if, in a given district, the PR candidate gets 30% of the vote while the United Opposition gets 26%, UDAR 25%, Svoboda 20%, etc. the PR candidate wins and represents that district in parliament even though only 30% of that district’s voters supported him and over 70% supported one of the opposition candidates. One can justifiably blame the opposition for not uniting behind a single candidate, but still – first-past-the-post in a multiparty situation without runoffs does not reflect the people’s will.

    4. The Courts are firmly controlled by the PR. Protests have been banned by them for a couple of weeks. Any action against this election will have the state firmly against it.

    5. I would be surprised by mass protests. The state seems tobe firmly in control of the courts, police and much of the mass media. The people are apathetic or disillusioned, as suggested by relatively low turnout. None of the opposition candidates have the star power that Tymoshenko had in 2004. Expect grumbling, interest in emigration, perhaps further nationalist radicalization in places such as Kiev, and hopelessness more than people willing to stick out their necks in opposition to an election that results in the opposite of what they want. If people’s well-being continues to decline and the presidential election is somehow stolen (likley – I don’t see Yanukovich increasing in popularity and I don’t see how he would win a runoff against either Yatseniuk or Klitscko) an explosion then, is not out of the question.

    Due to the hurricane I might not be responding for awhile.

    • Do you think Ukraine will be easily swept under Europe’s wing, in other words Ukraine’s just another Eastern European country? Or is Ukraine a different quality, like Turkey or Russia – in a sense that her identity is not western?

      • I think that in terms of culture and political behavior eastern/southern Ukraine is comparable to Russia or Belarus, western Ukraine is similar to conservative former parts of Austria-Hungary such as central European countries Hungary or Slovakia, while central Ukraine is similar to Poland which has often had leftist patriotic rulers (Kwasniewski). Insofar as Hungary and Poland are both “European”, Galicia and central Ukraine have something in common with each other, but they are also quite different. In terms of politics and east vs. west orientation there is more overlap between Galicia and central Ukraine than between central Ukraine and eastern/southern Ukraine. Given the choice of multiple parties, Galicia and central Ukraine show different patterns, but when it comes down to a runoff between two choices western and central Ukraine vote together., as seen in the second round of presidential elections

        Although central Ukrainians share with western Ukrainians a strong sense of Ukrainian patriotism, like Galicians support Ukrainian state-building efforts such as Ukrainization (most Russian-speaking residents of Kiev gladly send their kids to Ukrainian-language schools and support Ukrainization policies), and western vs. Moscow diplomatic and political orientation,they share with eastern and southern Ukrainians an Orthodox faith, veneration for certain Soviet traditions such as the war against fascism, and generally are not anti-Russian xenophobes. So they serve as a bridge between western and eastern/southern Ukraine. Ukraine would be more stable if it were politically dominated by Kievans.

        • Addendum – central Ukrainians are “softer” in their pro-West oreintation than are western Ukrainians. They prefer closer to ties to the EU than a Customs Union with Russia, but oppose NATO. A rough analogy: Gaicians’ attiude towards Russia is similar to that of Balts, central Ukrainians’ attitude towards Russia is more like Canadian attitudes towards America. Proud of independence, a bit of a snobbish feeling of being more European and civilized, but no real hostility and preference for friendly ties.

        • Thanks. I asked because I read this article by Andrew Wilson (specialist in Ukraine studies) “The Dangers of a Sinn Féinist Ukraine”… http://www.neweasterneurope.eu/node/301
          … where he basically says that Ukraine is the “anti-Turkey’ the “anti-China” the “Anti-BRIC” and that Ukraine shouldn’t imagine its any kind of “special” country. I understood then that I’ve always perceived Ukraine through western perspective as in she’s just another east European country which only needs to be “saved” from Russia’s to become like Poland, but actually, and I don’t agree with Andrew Wilson here, seems Ukraine might have her own unique identity, (something like Turkey does and more powerful than Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria etc), which is too strong to be easily extinguished

  42. So no comments on Russia arresting a leading opposition figure Sergei Udaltsov charging him with conspiracy to undermine the state and crackdown on opposition leaders?

    “Russian anti-Putin protest leader Sergei Udaltsov faces up to 10 years behind bars after investigators brought charges of organizing mass disorder against him on Wednesday.

    Opposition figurehead Alexei Navalny is also facing up to 10 years behind bars after prosecutors reopened in July a 2009 embezzlement allegation that had already been investigated twice without charges being brought. Navalny has called the charges strange and absurd.”

    http://en.ria.ru/russia/20121017/176691429.html

    Frankly as I said before with the Pussy Riot incident Putin and the system he has created is cracking under the pressure so he is acting out irrationally by suppressing the opposition that will predictably only make the situation worse and galvanise support against his system and his regime.

  43. Polish prosecutors find traces of explosives in the wreckage of the Polish presidential plane…
    http://www.gazeta.ru/politics/news/2012/10/30/n_2594413.shtml
    What’s going on? I doesn’t make any sense to me, why would Russians blow Kaczynski? Not to mention the whole situation with the fog…

    • *meant to say “why would Russians blow up Kaczynski?”

    • Well that is just the icing on the cake isn’t it.

      I don’t know what the article actually said as it is in Russian and I don’t see an English translation on the site but that is just another very big nail in the coffin of the Putin regime one if it turns out to be true the death of Russia.

      Russians really needs to create a good genuine political movement online as I suggested and advocated to a Russian commentator last year because the Putin regime will lead Russia to a path of destruction that cannot reform itself and whose actions in the long term will make the situation worse.

      • Well actually now they retracted the explosives version and the talk is about “high energy materials” which could be … many things.
        Here’s the english version
        http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/30/polish-presidential-plane-wreckage-materials?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

        • So much obvious nonsense has been written about the Smolensk air crash that I would be very wary of anything new being written about it. The truth is that there is no mystery to the crash. The crash happened because defying instructions from air traffic control the pilot possibly under pressure from some of his passengers recklessly insisted on trying to land the aircraft at the airfield despite poor visibility caused by fog. It is the same as the non existent mystery about the cause of the Titanic disaster, which facts which have always been available show was caused by the reckless decision of the captain to accelerate at night into an ice field and then leave the bridge to go to bed.

          • @Alexander Mercouris

            A lot of circumstances and evidence to support an assassination theory with a video, testing of explosive material, investigation largely conducted by Russia not Poland and key eyewitness/official dying or shooting themselves.

            • Umm…of course the investigation was largely conducted by Russia. The crash happened in Russia. Therefore it is the Russian government’s responsibility to investigate the crash. If an American Airlines jet crashed in Wales, do you think the investigation would primarily be carried out by the US government or the UK government?

              Plus there is no proof of explosive material. Even Poland’s military prosecutor’s office claims that the information isn’t true (so if it was true then the assassination theory somehow has to involve the Polish military prosecutor in some kind of Russo-Polish assassination plot against a guy who was already heading for electoral defeat and whose assassination would probably engender sympathy votes for his brother. Plus the explosives would have to get on the plane before it took off from Poland implying that either Polish presidential and airport security was and is utterly inept or that they were involved in the supposed plot). Polish experts did not find any traces of explosives. According to the prosecutor, Poles used special spectrometers to check for substances used in explosives and they did register something. However, those substances can also be found in many things, such as cosmetics, plastic (not explosive ones) and even naturally occurring in the soil. Allegedly the spectrometers even reacted to a plastic tent.

            • Nah, they don’t have any evidence for an assasination (and from Russian side it assasination doesn’t make any sense whatsoever). It’s only these “explosives” revelation that might have been the first evidence pointing towards it…

              • Well the assassination theory is a crackpot idea anyway, so let’s have some fun with it and go full circle:

                Why would the Russian government (in collaboration with the Polish military prosecutor’s office, Polish presidential security and Polish airport security) want to assassinate a man who heading for electoral defeat and who logically they (and Germany by the way) should want to see out of office due to the relative worsening of relations while he was in office? Well maybe Russia (and Germany) didn’t really want to have better relations with the Polish government as having strained relations served some political purpose with regards to their electorates (having a bogeyman around). In that case, where does the assassination theory lead us? Well it leads to only one, obvious and logical conclusion…Lech Kaczyński assassinated himself! Or his brother was behind it! It would all make sense as it would perfectly explain how Russian agents managed to get explosives onboard on of the two Polish governmental jets…they simply walked in an did it as the Polish military airport security and presidential security were in full cahoots with the plan. The plan being for Lech to either be killed (if his brother was behind it) or sacrifice himself (if he knew about it and was also behind it) in order to achieve an electoral victory for the Law and Justice party which his brother would lead in his death, thereby ensuring the continuation of that party’s control of the government and the strained relations that Russia (and probably Germany) secretly desired which would give them excuses to say continue building Nordstream rather than upgrading existing pipelines through Poland (and give Germany an excuse to exclude Poland in certain EU affairs, thereby ensuring its more dominant position).

              • Completely hilarious!

                I would add that doubtless as part of their cunning plan and presumably to give themselves a cover story the plotters also arranged for artificial fog to spread across the Smolensk countryside and for the air traffic controllers to give repeated warnings to the pilot which he (obviously because he was in on the plot even to the point of laying down his life) disegarded.

              • Jennifer Hor says:

                The most senior political and economic figures and major top military brass on the plane were quickly replaced so perhaps the Polish government, the National Bank of Poland and the armed forces were in on the plot!

                I believe the tragic plane trip was organised because there’d been some disagreement between Lech Kaczynski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk over who was and who wasn’t going to be part of the official Polish delegation to attend the memorial for Polish victims of the Katyn massacre in 1940. Seems that Kaczynski was miffed about being left off the official guest list so another group of delegates to attend was organised to include him and his wife. But I could be wrong.

                Prior to the Smolensk air crash, there’d been an incident in which President Kaczynski ordered a pilot to make a risky landing in Tbilisi and the pilot refused and landed the plane safely. That pilot never flew for Kaczynski again and the co-pilot on that Tbilisi trip, who would have seen the altercation between Kaczynski and the pilot, ended up as captain of the flight crew that flew the Smolensk plane.
                http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/13/world/europe/13crash.html

                I think a lot of people believe in the assassination idea because Lech Kaczynski was a very conservative politician who had the support of the Roman Catholic Church. Also the head of the country’s central bank was on board the plane and at the time Poland was financially stable. There were Internet rumours (I don’t know if they have any basis in fact) that Poland had offered to bail out Greece and pay off some of that country’s debts and this idea didn’t go down well with the rest of the EU so that fellow had to be eliminated.

              • ” “Also the head of the country’s central bank was on board the plane and at the time Poland was financially stable. There were Internet rumours (I don’t know if they have any basis in fact) that Poland had offered to bail out Greece and pay off some of that country’s debts and this idea didn’t go down well with the rest of the EU so that fellow had to be eliminated.” ”

                And there ladies and gentlemen do we find the motivation for Merkel’s government to be involved – they HAD to eliminate that central banker lest he ruin their plans to turn Greeks into peons! You can’t have debt slavery without a debt now can you?

                Really though it is so sad that people just have to make up some vast and illogical conspiracy around the death of these people. Makes me wonder if they are doing it to fill some kind of void instead of accepting the fact that this is life and shit happens. It’s never “fair” or “right”, it just happens. Accidents will happen. That’s why they are called “accidents” (derived from the Latin for “happen” or “fall”).

        • Sure as hell looks suspicious that the Putin regime had a hand in the crash that there is no going back or defence of the Putin regime.

          “In a further twist, it was revealed on Monday that a key witness to the investigation had been found hanged. Remigiusz Mus, a flight engineer who had landed a plane in Smolensk airport minutes before the disaster, claimed to have heard two explosions before the president’s plane went down.”

          • This is all paranoid stuff. Chemical traces of indeterminate origin, a pilot of a completely different aircraft who “remembers” hearing something and a probable suicide. Add it all up and it still comes to nothing.

            • Prosecutors in Poland have been forced to deny reports that traces of explosives have been found on aircraft remnants from the Smolensk plane crash that claimed the lives of the Polish president and 95 others in 2010.

              “Rzeczpospolita, a leading Polish newspaper, said it has seen a report from Poland’s Central Forensic Laboratory and Central Bureau of Investigation saying experts found traces of TNT and nitroglycerine on numerous bits of the wrecked Tupolev Tu-154 including 30 seats and sections of fuselage.

              The story received wall-to-wall coverage in the Polish press, adding fuel to conspiracy theories that the aircraft was downed by a bomb rather than the official explanation of pilot error.”

              http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/poland/9643392/Smolensk-plane-crash-explosives-remnants-found-on-aircraft.html

              Karlin or someone has to do a post on this that is recieving mass media attention in Poland.

              • If Anatoly wants to do a whole post on this that’s up to him but frankly I think the whole subject is crazy. Besides the Telegraph article to which you have given a link says that the military prosecutor’s office is denying that traces of explosives have been on the aircraft.

                The Russian report into the crash has been inevitably controversial in Poland but I have read elsewhere that its conclusions are largely accepted within the international aviation community.

              • Remember Alex, the military prosecutor’s office is in on this vast and evil conspiracy involving a motley crew of Lech Kaczyński (or his brother), Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel.

              • Jennifer Hor says:

                Nitroglycerin is an ingredient in medicines for heart disease and it could be that what was found in the wreckage of the plane was the remains of melted tablets or sprays, especially if only traces of the stuff were found. Many passengers on the plane were in their 60s, 70s and beyond and some of them may have had heart medication with them. I don’t know about the TNT. It’s possible that people have jumped to conclusions and assumed that where there is nitroglycerin, there is also TNT as if both are one and the same. Sloppy news reporting could be feeding the conspiracy stories.

              • This is not good now a US experts have found positive evidence of traces of TNT.

                “The information has been earlier confirmed by leading American experts. The goverment news agency PAP said on Wednesday that Mr. Stanislaw Zagrodzki, a cousin of Ms Eva Bankowski, a victim of Russian terrorist attack on Polish presidential at Smolensk on April 10, 2010, had brought from Russia parts of her cloths. Among them was a safety belt from the attacked Polish plane. Mr. Zagrodzki sent the belt to a research center in the U.S. Traces of TNT have been found on it in 3 separate tests. The belt is now being investigated in another, more detailed test in America.

                Meanwhile, a leading American scientist, Prof. Wislaw Bineda, who is now on a visit to Poland, said in an interview to a popular Warsaw newspaper, Super Ekspres, on Wednesday:

                – Independent results of my studies demonstrate that the aircraft has been broken apart in the air. Everything testifies to the fact that it has been blown up. There is no doubt that traces of exposives were found on the fragments of the plane. I am convinced that it were the explosives.”

                http://kavkazcenter.com/eng/content/2012/11/01/16920.shtml

              • Yes, of course, because as we all know Kavkaz Center is a fair, impartial, and reliable news source.

                This is beginning to border on trolling on your part, I believe.

              • @AK

                It quotes from a mainstream Polish newspaper that is getting wide media attention in Poland.

                As far as Chechen terrorism goes their media outlets, networks, etc I was the one who was writing and advocating Russia take the issue seriously exposing it for what it is a western/foreign backed international proxy terrorism/guerrilla warfare assault on Russia to use that as a base to annex the North Caucasus and control the Caspian energy basin and transit routes to Europe that will transit through the Balkans and fragment Russia, Central Asia and Northern China along its ethnic Turkic/Islamic groups under a Eurasian energy confederation aligned with Turkey.

                All the issues regarding Russia and US lead foreign policy since the collapse of the USSR and even prior to it like Afghanistan and training Russian economic gurus in British linked institutions revolve around Caspian pipeline politics and its ethnic and geopolitical ramifications including the Iraq war.

                No Russian commentator or blogger will even go near the issue.

                Things like the Polish plane crash controversy only occur because Russia failed to publically address the Chechen issue and its ramifications that lead to shifts in other geo-political strategies like Ukraine and the Dioxin poisoning, colour revolutions, high profile terrorist attacks, Politkovskaya, gas crisis and the Georgia conflict

                I don’t think the FSB bombed the plane but 3rd party elements who have an interest in seeking conflict with Russia and between Russia and the EU could have planted a bomb on the plane that we know ex Soviet military and intelligence personal operating even within Russian friendly nations like Belarus are running networks and operations against Russia.

                In this regard the set up for the Polish plane crash is perfect.

              • AK, you’re right. This is getting absurd. So john quotes a article which even a quick check will show doesn’t even manage to get the correct name of the Professor quoted (it is Professor Wiesław Binienda not Professor Wislaw Bineda). In any case a 10 minute Google search will show that the newspaper that the kavkaz centre is claiming to be quoting from (I have doubts about that considering the shoddy nature of the article..I can’t imagine the LEADING Polish daily newspaper so horribly misspelling a Polish name) has various articles on this subject, one of which notes that experts were not able to determine how the traces of the elements they found (TNT and nitrogylcerin) were necessarily related to the wreck and that there is a hypothesis that the traces of explosives could have come up from old ordnance from the time of the Second World War (TNT is prized as an explosive because it is very stable and does not absorb water or dissolve in water meaning it can last a long time in even a damp forested area). And considering there were two truly major battles in the area during WWII (in 1941 and 1943) it would be sort of expected that traces of the battle would still be found even 70 years (approximately) later. Additionally Professor’s Binenda’s methodology (which he apparently has not published in full) and results have been criticized by among others Professor Pawła Artymowicza (an astrophysicist at the University of Toronto) and Grzegorz Szuladziński (described on the Polish wikipedia as an expert in the actions and effects of explosives).

  44. “Frankly as I said before with the Pussy Riot incident Putin and the system he has created is cracking”

    There is a right way to go about a punk protest in public..first of course would be to get an invite to perform and show respect.

    So far the only thing that’s cracked is Yukos…the Arnold Rothstein of Russia is in jail…with the staff of truth lying across his cell door.
    http://www.equicross.com/2007_Pedigree_Profiles/Rothstein%27s-shady-racing-interests-10_6_07.pdf

    The PR story is pretty much dead already…the two main offenders will now have to deal with mad dog killers and space paranoids as they fight their way up the gulag pecking order.

    • “The PR story is pretty much dead already…the two main offenders will now have to deal with mad dog killers and space paranoids as they fight their way up the gulag pecking order”

      You wish.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/29/us-russia-pussyriot-idUSBRE89S10R20121029

      • My own view is that the Pussy Riot affair or to be more precise the grotesque overexposure the Pussy Riot case has received is for Putin a political gift that just goes on giving. I was interested to see that buried in the Guardian’s latest tirade against Putin is a grudging admission of the fact.

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/28/vladimir-putin-russia-crackdown-protest?INTCMP=SRCH

      • Moscow Exile says:

        From the above link to Reuters:

        “Viewers”, she [Samutsevich] said, “didn’t see us, they didn’t hear us because the federal TV channels have done their best to cut out our speech. They would cut all the episodes from the video (of Pussy Riot performing in the cathedral) where you could hear the lyrics of the songs. And when people hear the lyrics, they immediately understand the purpose of our action”.

        She is being rather untruthful.

        Samutsevich is spinning the lie to Reuters that the West wishes to hear: that there is no free access to information in Russia; that all information is filtered and controlled by the government.

        She is lying through her teeth because she knows full well that the Pussy Riot “performance” that resulted in the imprisonment of two of them can be freely accessed in Russia by anyone anywhere on You Tube. Furthermore, she also knows full well that the words of the lyrics of their “prayer” can be heard on You
        Tube and read on numerous Internet sites. She also knows full well that the those You Tube lyrics were dubbed onto the video after they had caterwauled in the cathedral.

        A video of their cathedral performance can also be seen in some Russian “Kremlin friendly” on line newspapers such as Moskovsky Komsomolets. That
        video recording was clearly shot by a worshipper or visitor on a cellphone
        camera and the only discernable lyrics that one can hear them screeching are “Shit, shit, shit, Our Lord’s shit!” Whilst “performing”, some of them can also be seeen kicking their legs high in the air, thereby exposing their crotches as another repeatedly and mockingly crosses and prostrates herself before being
        hauled off by a security man.

        Of course, they did not intend to offend anyone by their actions – so they claim.

        One of the worshippers witnessing all of this can be heard off camera saying “Why are they doing this?” and another says “Prostitutes!”

        As one of the PR performers rushes past some worshippers on her way to the exit, one old man says “Fools” and a young man who can be seen hurrying off with the “artistes” replies “You’re a fool yourself!”

        I’m sure the young man is Verzilov, Tolokonnikova’s so-called husband, whom she now seems to have distanced herself from.

  45. Denis MacShane who is by some distance the most Russophobic British MP has been suspended from the House of Commons for twelve months for fiddling expenses. His political career is surely over.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-20178332

  46. PvMikhail says:

    Hi people, just a quick addition to the TNT-plane-crash story, just for johnUK and other believers of the anti-Russian conspiracy theories:

    http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_11_06/Polish-editor-laid-off-over-plane-crash-story/

    Or could it happen, that Rzeczpospolita is a pro-Russian newspaper? LOL I don’t think so…

    • It’s all part of the grand conspiracy you see! LOL. Remember the Polish Military Prosecutor’s Office is in on the conspiracy so of course they would deny it and put pressure on Rzeczpospolita to fire that editor and two other members of staff for daring to expose the truth!

      Or rather, that is about the only plank on which the conspiracy theorists can rest their case because it is the only one which can make sense in a weird, far out way.

    • Already covered that in response to a Russian commentator posting that info a couple of days ago.

      “I don’t personally think that Russia hand a hand in the plane coming down but as I said at the time ather forces could have set up the plane to be bombed and implicate it on Russia to kick start this lnog awaited war with Russia.

      The circumstances for this is perfect given that it happen in Katyn where the WW2 massacre happened and all the top government officials were on board as a precursor for Russian entry into WW2 and the time suits Britain/US/NATO geo-political asperations in installing the missile shield amongst other things.

      As for the prosecuter he does not want to urk the Russians without finalised tesing and prooof to get the EU and US on the side of Poland in a murder investigation in the case.”

      Independent American scientists have found traces of TNT.

      “The information has been earlier confirmed by leading American experts. The goverment news agency PAP said on Wednesday that Mr. Stanislaw Zagrodzki, a cousin of Ms Eva Bankowski, a victim of Russian terrorist attack on Polish presidential at Smolensk on April 10, 2010, had brought from Russia parts of her cloths. Among them was a safety belt from the attacked Polish plane. Mr. Zagrodzki sent the belt to a research center in the U.S. Traces of TNT have been found on it in 3 separate tests. The belt is now being investigated in another, more detailed test in America.

      Meanwhile, a leading American scientist, Prof. Wislaw Bineda, who is now on a visit to Poland, said in an interview to a popular Warsaw newspaper, Super Ekspres, on Wednesday:

      – Independent results of my studies demonstrate that the aircraft has been broken apart in the air. Everything testifies to the fact that it has been blown up. There is no doubt that traces of exposives were found on the fragments of the plane. I am convinced that it were the explosives”.

      http://www.network54.com/Forum/84302/thread/1351621460/last-1352008577/Bye+Bye+Russia%21%21+Polish+presidential+plane+wreckage+contains+%27high-energy+materials%27

      • “The information has been earlier confirmed by leading American experts. The goverment news agency PAP said on Wednesday that Mr. Stanislaw Zagrodzki, a cousin of Ms Eva Bankowski, a victim of Russian terrorist attack on Polish presidential at Smolensk on April 10, 2010, had brought from Russia parts of her cloths. Among them was a safety belt from the attacked Polish plane. Mr. Zagrodzki sent the belt to a research center in the U.S. Traces of TNT have been found on it in 3 separate tests.”

        Wait a minute, is this article saying that a relative of the deceased removed items of clothing from the scene? Umm….in America and Britain I’m sure that would be considered as tampering with evidence and pretty much any court would throw out any “evidence” found from testing the taken material because it was quite possibly not handled using the proper procedures (unless Mr.Stanislaw Zagrodski happens to be a member of the police force in Russia and America simultaneously or received it officially from the Russian investigators/police) and there was the risk of contamination between the time of removal and the time it was tested at a lab.

  47. I was wondering whether this might be a good moment to review the position of the Russian economy. There has been quite a lot of interesting economic news recently. Specifically:

    1. For the second year in a row the country looks like it is going to register a budget surplus where it had been expected to show a budget deficit. The trade balance also remains strongly in surplus on the back of higher than expected oil prices and in fact looks to be in greater surplus than last year.

    2. The Central Bank has in the meantime said that it considers reducing inflation a higher priority than stimulating economic growth. It recently took the extraordinary step of increasing interest rates to 8.5% which makes Russia almost unique amongst industrialised economies in having real positive interest rates (ie. interest rates above inflation). Contrast this with the negative real interest rates in the US, Japan, the EU and Britain and with the unorthodox monetary experiments (quantitative easing, the European Central Bank’s unlimited loans to distressed European banks etc) that have been happening elsewhere.

    3. Inflation is falling. Though inflation is expected to be higher this year than last (when it achieved a post Soviet low) the higher inflation this year is due largely to one off factors such as the highly trailed increase in utility tariffs and the poor harvest and the general global increase in food prices. The underlying rate of inflation continues to fall and was significantly lower in October than expected.

    4. Economic growth has been slower in the last few months with most estimates suggesting an overall rate of GDP growth this year closer to 3.5% than 4% significantly below the 4.3% achieved last year. However manufacturing growth seems to be robust with Russia continuing to register increases in manufacturing where virtually all other major economies including China’s have been showing contractions.

    The fall in growth rates has triggered predictable talk of crisis and has led to further demands for drastic changes in direction and for further unspecified “reforms” as appears in this article in Itar Tass, with its wild talk of “crisis”.

    http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c39/561338.html

    If one disregards the hysteria and hyperbole the article does at least recognise what is surely the reason for the decline in growth rates, which is the exceptionally tight fiscal and monetary policies of the Finance Ministry and of the Central Bank, which are obviously intentionally constricting growth by lowering funds available for investment as part of the anti inflation strategy. In fact the policy of the Central Bank is more stringent than the high interest rates suggest since it seems it has been taking steps over the last few weeks to limit bank lending and credit growth. Needless to say one would get no idea of any of this from reading the international business press or the reports of the credit rating agencies who continue to demand that the Russian government make still further economies to reduce the supposed “non oil” deficit in the budget. As I have previously argued, these are demands which in light of the country’s continued budget and trade surpluses call for a solution to a problem which does not exist. The reality is that whilst there has been a great deal of talk around the world about the need to reduce or eliminate deficits Russia is just about the only country to have achieved it and its monetary and fiscal policies are actually tighter (in fact far tighter) than those of supposed fiscal paragons like Germany.

    Having said this one can just about discern behind the article the outline of a genuine debate about the country’s economic direction which is in fact underway. On the one hand there is the policy of the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank, which for the moment seems to have Putin’s support. This focuses on strengthening the financial system and prioritises reducing inflation. The calculation appears to be that given the country’s exceptionally high savings rate (around 12%, the great bulk of which goes straight into bank deposits) falling inflation and high real interest rates will in time lead to very high levels of capital accumulation releasing substantial funds for investment resulting in time in faster and more sustained growth. The policy of making Moscow a financial centre obviously fits in with this strategy. On the other hand there is a policy advocated by a curious and ideologically disparate coalition consisting variously of the Economics Forecasting Unit of the Academy of Sciences, the Higher School of Economics, the KPRF and certain officials of the Economics Ministry such as Klepach. This calls for a much more dynamic growth oriented policy, with a special focus on higher infrastructure spending and with a willingness to take risks with the budget and with the trade balance.

    I would make a few points:

    1. From a purely historical point of view this debate is a strange echo of the debate between Bukharin and Preobrazhensky in the 1920s. Plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose;

    2. The two positions are not in fact totally irreconcilable. The government has in fact been talking about higher infrastructure spending and Siluanov has talked about floating bonds to fund it. The difference appears to be more one of pace;

    3. My inclination is to back the position of the Finance Ministry and of the Central Bank. The country has full employment and an accelerated growth strategy runs serious inflation risks as well as putting in jeopardy the budget and trade balance. At a time of such extreme volatility in the world economy taking risks of that sort seems to me reckless and unwarranted. Talk of a crisis is anyway absurd. What is remarkable given how tight fiscal and monetary policy are is how fast economic growth continues to be. There has been a steep decline in economic growth around the world and Russia cannot expect to be immune to this. By sustaining growth at the level that it is Russia continues to close the income gap between itself and the advanced economies of the west even faster than before the crisis. If Russia’s growth before the crisis was a notional 6% and that of the European economies was a notional 3% than Russia’s economy was growing twice as fast before the crisis than were the European economies. If after the crisis Russia’s notional rate of growth has fallen to 2.5% but that of the European economies has fallen to 0.5% then the Russian economy is growing five times faster than the European economies since the crisis. In reality the Russian economy seems to be growing significantly faster than this and the European economies more slowly than this with some European economies experiencing outright contraction and even German growth falling to 1%..

    I have not so far discussed what a new turn in the crisis would do to the Russian economy. My view is that the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank have learnt their lesson from what happened in 2008 and have ensured that Russian companies and Russian banks have far less debt exposure to western creditors than before the 2008 crisis. I therefore think that if another crisis were to take place Russian banks and companies would be in a far stronger position to ride out the storm and that there would not be the total collapse in investment and withdrawal of funds that took place in 2008.

    I would finish by saying that if the expectations of the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank are realised and capital accumulation grows to the level where investment in the economy significantly rises then the possibility of a productivity miracle should not be discounted. It is scarcely likely in a country as physically vast as Russia that land prices will increase to the point where capital will be squandered in a housing bubble and the combination of high real interest rates and the high level of housing construction (apparently back up to Soviet levels) should anyway prevent this. Given the very low level of debt it seems intrinsically more likely that capital will instead like in Germany be invested directly in the productive economy. Given that this is already an economy with full employment that has a very strong scientific and technical base and which because of the country’s very high levels of education has an exceptionally high human resources base higher investment should translate into higher productivity. Given time there is no reason why productivity should not become as high or higher than in say Germany or Japan.

    That at least is my summary of where we are. I’d be interested to see what if anything others have to say.

    • An interesting comment. I would agree with most of it and would indeed hope that is the course that Russia takes. However I would debate on you this bit:

      “the higher inflation this year is due largely to one off factors such as the highly trailed increase in utility tariffs and the poor harvest and the general global increase in food prices.”

      I wouldn’t call the general global increase in food prices a one off factor. We seem to be entering an era of higher food prices (unless technology can save the day). I’m also not sure a poor harvest is a one off factor. It might be a one off factor insofar as some years you can have good harvests and some years you can have bad. But I think the finance ministry and central bank would acting naively if they didn’t assume that a poor harvest had about a 50-50 chance of occurring (not that it actually does have a 50/50 chance but that is what they should probably assume in planning for the worst) and that food prices will continue to rise.

      That is not to say that inflation won’t fall, but it may not fall back to the post Soviet low and it may have the potential to rise again over the short term, if not as much as it did this time.

      • Dear Hunter,

        First thanks for your comments.

        Turning to the points you make, inflation is price growth so even if food prices remain at present levels unless there is a further price hike inflation will fall. Of course it is possible and even likely that there could be further general food price hikes but if so that would be a global phenomenon so it’s effect on Russian inflation relative to inflation elsewhere would other things being equal be small or even non existent. In fact given Russia’s position as a major food producer and exporter a general and sustained increase in food prices might even over time work to Russia’s advantage.

        For the rest you are of course perfectly correct that the Russian authorities cannot count on good harvests in any particular year. I remember once reading that the reason the Soviets chose to give their economic plans five year periods was because as a result of weather fluctuations it was only over such periods that they could hope to estimate what food output might be.

        Having said this, please remember that one area of the Russian economy where there is strong potential for growth is agriculture. The Russian agricultural economy by comparison with that of the US remains severely undercapitalised which is the main reason for its lower productivity. Higher sustained investment over time will almost certainly lead to much higher productivity making the harvest less vulnerable to weather changes. An article in the Financial Times today suggests this may be happening already, with higher prices caused in part by the poor harvest resulting paradoxically in higher farm incomes leading to higher investment in machinery and greater investment in this year’s winter crop.

  48. Is Putin slowly turning parts of Russia into a majority Muslim state?

    Immigrants to comprise one-third of Russian population by 2050 official

    http://rt.com/news/prime-time/immigration-statistics-russia-benefits/

    Officially 1 in 10 births in Moscow from immigrant families

    http://rt.com/news/prime-time/immigration-children-rate-moscow-509/

  49. From somewhere in that bizarro-land between “constructive” and “critical” comes the following observation: I find it a little strange that you have real-time updates as to how many words you’ve written on your book manuscript. Maybe it is a generational thing–I don’t know–but it is weird. It seems to give the false impression that you are now [x]% away from completion of a finished product. I don’t know: maybe it is what you need to feel like you’re making progress and to keep on track, but it seems a little short-sighted in terms of the actual process of writing a book manuscript, which goes through many, many, MANY revisions from first draft to completion. Ok, stupid comment over–I’ll shut up now. Thanks. (And good luck to you!)

    • I dunno, Brandon Sanderson does it. (That’s where I got the inspiration).

      When it comes to revisions, I’ll just update the book title with [second draft], [final draft], etc.

      And yes, it’s to get the feeling I’m making progress. And to alert visitors that there is a book project in progress.

      Thanks for the criticism, it wasn’t stupid at all. And for the well-wishes. I think I’ll keep it though.

  50. Tyrant Putin demolishes Evangelical church.

    Is Putin creating a Russian Orthodox theocracy?

  51. Just a thought says:

    Hello Anatoly,

    I have been following your writings about Russia for a number of years now and have generally found them helpful in trying to form a balanced point of view about the country. I think you have pointed out a whole lot of things that the Western media is purposely ignoring in order to paint Russia in a negative light, but at the same time, with all due respect, I think your Russian heritage (?) is making you “unwilling” to see some obvious bad things happening in Russia’s political system. This is completely natural and happens to everybody, everyone has a dash of “my country is right” within them no matter what.

    What I wanted to talk about was the prospect of “Western”/Russian co-operation. I realize that Europe (I’m Finnish myself, by the way) should have good relations with Russia, this would be for the benefit of everyone living on this continent. Peace should prevail here and there is no need to intentionally try to devide the landmass with a wall, whether it be ideological or of another sort (unless of course you subscribe to neoconservative foreign policy ideologies and just have a knack for kicking people when they’re already down).

    But in the end, I still don’t trust the motives of the Russian leadership completely. Maybe, maybe it was wrong of NATO to expand to Poland etc., but are you trying to tell me that Russia wouldn’t have reasserted itself in the former Eastern bloc once it was back up? That just like most of the crooked American leadership when it comes to their country, Vladimir Putin doesn’t see Russia as being somehow “better” than the smaller countries that surround it and having a natural sphere of interest there (Medvedev, as I recall, has said as much).

    The United States and NATO are doing a whole lot of borderline criminal things and are being unfair towards Russia, but come on. Russia is no threat, but equally, it’s not like Russia is some shining beacon of freedom and democracy in the world, truly looking out for “everyone’s mutual interests”. If it were, would Putin need to talk about “whacking the opposition in the head”? Would they need to toss opposition figures in jail (as flawed as European democracies outside of the Nordic countries mostly are, that doesn’t happen here)? Why the need to slander neighbouring countries with information (dare I say propaganda) arms like Russia Today?

    I agree that co-operation is vital, but it is kind of hard to trust in the supposedly good intentions of the leadership of a country that does such things.

    • What you say strikes me as a bit strange… Russia has to have a sphere of influence around it, otherwise somebody else – China, USA you name it will fill the void which will threaten Russia’s territory … Former soviet satelites are afraid that Russia reasserting itself would lead to agression and incorporating their territory into Russia… but (I think this by looking at Russia’s leadership and foreign policy) that incorporation into Russia is out of the question. Even war with Georgia resulted in creating new states not incorporating them into Russia, and the war was a direct effect of Georgia wanting to join NATO…. Russia is interested mainly in maintaing own territorial integrity -> this is the main reason of attempting to project power into the neighbourhood (like into Central Asia to buffer against China, muslim radicals etc.)

      As for the harsh treatment of the opposition, I think the motives are similar, Putin thinks “too much” democracy will read to chaos and disintegration of the country, another war, or in the best case scenario, turning into economic basket case like Ukraine (if communists came to power…)

    • AM has a point re: the sphere of interest. And interestingly it is the sphere of interest that wants to be incorporated into Russia more than Russia wants to incorporate the sphere of interest. Gallup (no Russian propanganda firm that) had done polls in 2008 which showed in places like Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan there was relatively high support (over 45%) for reunification with the rest of the CIS either as a unitary state or a federation: http://www.gallup.com/poll/109894/Support-CIS-Partnerships-Strong-Even-Georgia.aspx . In Russia itself the sentiment was shared by about 42% of respondents, while for Kazakhstan it was about 40% and for Ukraine and Belarus it was about 1/3rd of respondents. If anything Russia wants to have less to do with these countries than they want to have to do with Russia.

      Note that this is just for full political unification. Looser forms of unification but closer than the current CIS, including an economic union would be supported by majorities in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Armenia, and Tajikistan.

      This probably explains why no matter how much the West tries to entice the other former Soviet states away from Russia, we always see some renewed integration initiative (either in the form of the Union State, the Customs Union, the Eurasian Union or the new CIS Free Trade Agreement).

  52. One day USA will break up Russia into many parts and USA will rule with them all.
    In English they are called vassals.

  53. johnUK on November 12, 2012 at 5:44 pm said:
    Tyrant Putin demolishes Evangelical church.
    propaganda
    Propaganda
    You don’t know the whole story, like did they have building permit?
    On whose land was it built?
    Propaganda, some government officials as required by law broke it down…and you shout Putin DID IT!!!
    I am sick and tired of this idiot and motherfucker.

  54. Time magazine has a piece on Putins Russia but it is only available to subscriberrs. I don’t know if any blogs or websites have reproduced it in full from the subscription version.

    Inside Putin’s Russia
    By Simon Shuster / Moscow Monday, Nov. 26, 2012

    The Surveillance device was likely planted on the breakfast table, possibly inside a flower arrangement, at Moscow’s Holiday Inn Hotel. It was either small enough or so well hidden that Carl Bildt, Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, did not notice it. He simply assumed, as do many diplomats who pass through Russia, that the government was spying on him.

    Bildt had traveled to Moscow in May of last year for a conference on human rights, and during a break in his schedule, he had breakfast with Alexei Navalny, the leader of the Russian…

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2129316,00.html#ixzz2CioVKfxS

  55. johnUK on November 20, 2012 at 1:26 am said:
    I am sick and tired of this idiot and motherfucker

    • @Orwell

      I was going to write a response to Just a thought how the US broke all the post Soviet agreements with Russia and pursued an aggressive policy towards against Russia colonising it and the other Russian aligned states under a western connected mafia oligarchy and supporting ethnic separatism and hostility including war and terrorism in Russia and the Eurasian sphere that threatens the very existence of the Russian state among other things but I figure why bother.

      Putin or any Russian intellectual or commentator has completely failed to address any of the major issues including the main reason between hostile relations between Russian and the US/EU so why should I write a good defence of Russia and Putins actions since he came into office in 2000?

  56. Re: Anatoly’s comments about Mexico and her people:

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/11/20/175181/mexico-facing-a-diabetes-disaster.html

    Now juxtapose this with Goldman Sachs recent claims that Mexico is among the new ‘BRICs’ poised for breakthrough economic growth. Perhaps for kidney dialysis manufacturers, true. Alas for the rest of the economy and the economy that is so often tasked with absorbing Mexico’s problems, perhaps not.

  57. Foreign policy has their latest article on Russia about a pro-Russian lobby in Britain.

    Moscow-on-Thames

    Britain’s Conservatives are rolling out the red carpet for Vladimir Putin’s wealthy oligarchs.

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/11/23/moscow_on_thames

    Care to comment Karlin?

    I don’t think you will that is exactly the problem in regards to western criticism of Russia that you or any other commentator/blogger don’t address any of the main issues of contention.

    Can’t wait to see what this Putin book will be like.

    • Young torries always do idiotic things – like publishing naked photo of this guy, (which was old news anyway). This was shameful and stupid. But very unlikely that it had anything to do with Russian Embassy. Besides they are right that he was a useless chair of APPGR.

      But besides that their agenda is to make trade, not human rights issues, as primary in relations with Russia. And Tories have been doing just that – they replaced the head of APPG on China for this very reason!
      So what is the problem?

      • Voice of Russia has now published a response to Luke Harding’s articles in the Guardian smearing the Russian Embassy and denigrating Conservative Friends of Russia. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s a very good response. Was it really necessary for example to praise the FSB in the way the article does? Wouldn’t it have been better simply to say that all the Embassy has been doing is its job?

        http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_12_04/Russia-is-closed-for-you-Mr-Harding/

        • ….and here is the response of the Russian Embassy in London:

          http://www.rusemb.org.uk/press/941

          Frankly I don’t think it’s much better. Couldn’t the Embassy when discussing the grotesque anti Russian bias of the British press have come up with more recent examples than British anti Russian press coverage prior to the Crimean War and support in the Nineteenth Century for Prussia?

          • We don’t know who pens these “essays” over at Russian Embassy … he’s very funny, but frankly, this is embarassing for Russia. Was it up to me, I would fire these guys. What on earth were they thinking with the Conservative Friends of Russia – “here’s an idea how to advance Russian interests, let’s throw some money to some rich kids and see what happens… oh, they behaved like t**ts”! Could they not employ somebody professional? This is epically incompetent.

          • I know the guy who wrote it. I share your opinion that it is not a good response; he is an affable, cultured, and well-read fellow, as one might deduce from the text itself, but I fear in this particular case the urge to come off as clever made the entire thing appear disjointed and bizarre (especially to the casual Guardian readers who aren’t Russia-watching freaks like us).

        • ….and here is the Embassy’s own comment, which I have to say I find lamentable. Could it not when discussing the anti Russian bias of the British press have come up with more recent examples than the anti Russian British press campaign on the eve of the Crimean War or British support for Prussia?

          http://www.rusemb.org.uk/press/941

  58. Is Putin’s Russia a mafia state after all?

    Alexander Perepilichnyy: Supergrass who held key to huge Russian fraud is found dead in Surrey

    Body of exiled businessman involved in Magnitsky case discovered on luxury private estate

    A Russian supergrass who was helping Swiss prosecutors uncover a multi-million pound money laundering scheme used by corrupt Russian officials has died in mysterious circumstances outside his Surrey home, The Independent can reveal.

    Alexander Perepilichnyy, a wealthy businessman who sought sanctuary in Britain three years ago after falling out with a powerful crime syndicate, collapsed outside his mansion on a luxury private estate on the outskirts of Weybridge. He was 44-years-old and was in seemingly good health.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/alexander-perepilichnyy-supergrass-who-held-key-to-huge-russian-fraud-is-found-dead-in-surrey-8360427.html

    • Britain is a mafia state – this is happening in Britain. A whistleblower lives on “a luxury private estate” … please … he’s likely a corrupt crook himself. Britain should stop giving shelter to this people…

  59. Seems Russia is behaving more assertively at the world stage then ever (publishing HR report criticisng EU, USA, demanding EU to offer visa regime under threat of some sort of punsihement, banning German meat despite WTO, kicking out USaid, foreign agents laws, Putin used to want to create one economic space from Valdivostock to Portugal but no he doesn’t anymore etc etc) so Russia-USA and Russia-EU relations are hitting some kind of new low, and I have a feeling that this is reverse to pre 1989.

    What is Kremlin thinking, because the economy is not that strong – growth predicted to be around 3% next couple of years? Still badly needs modernisation, which was suppose to come from Europe (gas/oil for technology transfer), but what now?

    • Dear AM,

      I don’t think Russia is being acting more assertively. I think Russia has been REacting more assertively. If you think carefully every one of the steps you mention has been taken in response to western actions.

      As for Putin no longer talking about creating an economic space from Vladivostok to Portugal, Putin no longer talks about it and no longer pursues it because as the pragmatist he is he l realised long again that it just isn’t going to happen. The reason it isn’t going to happen is because the western states will never willingly agree to it. The EU continues to resist even proposals for visa free travel with Russia. How much less likely is it to agree to sharing with Russia a single economic space? Entirely sensibly rather than persist with a hopeless project Putin prefers to invest time and energy forging trade link with country’s that actually want them such as China, the other BRICS states and the former Soviet states that he is bringing together in the Customs Union.

      As for the economy I discussed it in a comment above on this thread. Suffice to say that it is a fiction that Russia “needs” technology from the west and that sort of talk is simply a distraction from its actual development strategy.

      In the meantime there have been some further economic numbers since I wrote my comment. It is now seems a virtual certainty that the budget will be in surplus this year whilst inflation for the whole year is now expected to be 6.5%, only marginally higher than last year and below the estimates that were being made only a few weeks ago. I have also heard that bank deposit growth this year has beeny 20%, though I have not seen the actual figures that confirm this and such a headline number may anyway not in itself mean very much.

  60. Dear Anatoly,

    I know, that you have interest in Russian demographics, so here is some info I have recently found on the Rosstat site:

    http://www.gks.ru/free_doc/new_site/population/zdrav/zdravo-2011.pdf

    My Russian is weak, but I think you can use it for the better.

  61. Will you be doing a post on Britain accusing Russia of killing Litveninko?

  62. Journalist says:

    We know that Detectives say that for a Crime to be committed, there needs to be certain basic requirements, and they are Means, Opportunity, and Motive.

    While nearly everyone somehow suspected of committing a Crime may the Means and the Opportunity; only that Person or those Persons known or unknown who also have a Motive can be suspects.

    The first thing I want to say concerning the Litvinenko matter is that I do not have any Evidence that Litvinenko is dead, because the Only Evidence I have is that of the English Government who have a long track record of being Evil Schemers and Hardened Liars.

    The bigger the claim, then the greater the evidence that needs to be provided, and I all I have only ever seen was only one Photograph of Litvinenko during his alleged sickness, because that is all that the English Media released.

    Proper and plentiful Photographs, even Films should have been demanded, and independent representatives should have held a Geiger Counter near Litvinenko.

    After the English Doctors pronounced Litvinenko dead, then Litvinenko’s alleged corpse should have been sent to Russia, to symbolize that he loved his Country, even though he loved Berezovsky’s Dirty Money more, and to prove that the English were not faking his sickness or his death.

    If Litvinenko had woken up in Russia, then that would be embarrassing for the British Government, and of course, that is something they could not allow this proper minimum level of public scrutiny.

    We know that with Modern Technology, a photograph can be made to look how the Technician wants, even if it is a fake, as I think the one photo of Litvinenko is.

    Anyone could shaved their hair, put on some make up, wear Hospital Clothes, and put on a sad face for a few moments for the photo to deceive People.

    Litvinenko was of no importance to Russia, and Russia did not poison Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and they were more likely to try to poison Boris Berezovsky, rather the insignificant Litvinenko.

    I have only ever seen just that one solitary photograph of Litvinenko, and he does not look like he has lost weight, although anyone can suck their checks in for the camera, but there is always Photoshop to provide assistance, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AlexanderLitvinenkoHospital.jpg .

    Litvinenko should have been interviewed on Film, and at least a few minutes every day until he was alleged to have died.

    The background for the Litvinenko matter can be read at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boris_Berezovsky_(businessman) , which provides information on Boris Berezovsky, and background on his Puppet Litvinenko at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Litvinenko , with a timeline and others associated or suspected at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Litvinenko_poisoning , that is a crime was actually committed.

    The alleged crime is said to have been committed on 1/11/2006, with the alleged death of Litvinenko on 23/11/2006, and what got my attention is that it was on 5/2/2007, that Berezovsky told the BBC that on Litvinenko’s deathbed, Litvinenko said that Lugovoi was responsible for his poisoning.

    I think that is a lie, because Litvinenko would not know for sure, and if he had to wait weeks before allegedly saying that, then he did not know, because Berezovsky wanted someone else to be the suspect, because Russia has accused Berezovsky of murdering Litvinenko.

    Perhaps Berezovsky’s Puppet Litvinenko, uttered it for Berezovosky to provide Money to his family, and even to himself, if Litvinenko’s sickness and death is an elaborate act.

    I cannot discount that at this time, because if Litvinenko was in agony, and on pain killers at the same time, then how could much of his testimony be valid?

    Also of interest is the News Story at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/9747748/Marina-Litvinenkos-fight-for-truth-about-spy-husbands-polonium-murder.html , and it says Litvinenko died in agony.

    It goes on to say that to this day Litvinenko’s wife does not know what her husband revealed in that deathbed interview in 2006, but she think that the transcript that will be made public may help better understand what happened.

    That transcript is in the process of constant revision, because MI6 for the British Government is scanning the Globe for those who write on this subject, and so they invent new lies to cover the obvious discrepancies.

    This is proved True by the Fact that it will be over 6 years before the transcript of Lies is released, and that time is needed to make sure that all the lies back each other up.

    Perhaps the Original Transcript was not to the liking of the British Government, because Litvinenko may have advised the British Politicians that the Penalty for Treason is Death, and that British Politicians should not accept Bribes from Bankers and Plutocrats at the expense of the British People.

    We have learned from the Lawyer of Litvinenko’s wife that Litvinenko worked for MI6 and gave Spain intelligence on the Russian Mafia.

    Secret Agents try to gain information, and it is not so much that information is voluntarily revealed, but by asking selected questions, and noting the answers given, then an assessment can be made, but of course they can always use the phase that they neither confirm or deny, or do not know, but even this may at times reveal information.

    They have their methods, and I do not wish to write much on that topic, except to say that the British and the Russians were happy to let their Agents talk to each others, because they both hoped to learn at least one secret from the other Party, and hopefully not reveal any secrets in the process.

    Britain would have secretly taped those conversations of Litvinenko and Lugovoi to allow their Super Advanced Lie Detecting Machines to Monitor the situation.

    Perhaps Berezovsky heard the tape recordings with the Expert Analysis of the Super Advanced Lie Detecting Machines, and perhaps he became nervous that Litvinenko may become a Liability for him, because if Litvinenko could be persuaded that Russia is his Country, then he might admit how he was Bribed in 1998 by Berezovsky to Lie that the FSB had been ordered to kill Berezovsky.

    We now see why the English are the Most Intelligent Race on the Earth, because Russia does not care if it is wrongly accused.

    This is because it helps to keep discipline in the FSB, and so Russia is benefiting from what Russia has concluded that Berezovsky is the most likely one to have murdered Litvinenko, unless Litvinenko is alive with a new identity.

    There could be some People who might be wondering why I think it is possible that Litvinenko is alive with a different identity, perhaps in a different Continent.

    We all know or should know that we cannot believe everything we read in the British Newspapers.

    I am not saying that others have not seen the evidence that Litvinenko died in 2006, but I was stating that all I have seen is just one Photo, and I have read what is written in British Newspapers, and for me personally that is not evidence, or at least not satisfactory evidence, given the Brazen English Schemers and Professional English Liars.

    Regardless of all that, I think that what should be looked for is the obvious discrepancies in the Official British record of what happened even if Litvinenko died in 2006.

    It needs to be kept in mind that desertions have occurred even from the British Spies, and one example is the Cambridge Five who defected to the Soviet Union, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridge_Five .

    The English knew that the Russians would not overly care with being maliciously slandered, regardless of whether Litvinenko did or did not die in 2006, because it helps to establish patriotism in the FSB.

    After Litvinenko’s defection from the FSB, he became a MI6 British Agent, and the British ordered Litvinenko to work for the Spanish Intelligence, because he was a supposed expert on the alleged activities of the Russian Mafia in Spain.

    Neighboring Portugal was made to think that the Russian Mafia was in Portugal, Spain, and all other Continental European, but Spain was deliberately and cunningly chosen over Portugal as a Country for alleged Russian Mafia activity.

    I would have thought that the British would have been more interested in any alleged Russian Mafia activity in Britain first, before that of Spain.

    This Litvinenko reality or elaborate act matter enables Britain to make Spain forget just how often Spain has been mistreated by Britain, and the English knew that they can make Allies of Portugal by default if they made Spain forget these things.

    The British have deliberately chose Spain rather than Portugal, because it suggests to Spain that Litvinenko made Britain and Spain Allies, because of a mutual common enemy, for which the Russian Mafia was chosen as the manufactured common enemy by the British.

    We can start with the Spanish Armada, and then how Britain made its Colony of America pretends to be Independent of Britain, and made America take the blame for stealing the Philippines from Spain, and adding it to the British Empire, while Britain was to blame, because Britain used its Secret Puppet Colony of America to do that.

    There is also the British theft of Gibraltar, along with Britain having steadfastly refused to extradite General Pinochet to Spain, and there is Secret Anglo-American plans that support separatism in Spain.

    This is the Real Story of the Litvinenko Affair, but Britain will use the time it has to invent the necessary Lies To Once Again Deceive The World.

    We can will see from these few examples of the Birmingham 6 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birmingham_Six , and the Innocent People of the Guildford Four and Maguire Seven at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guildford_Four_and_Maguire_Seven how the British Government has a habit of Falsely accusing and Imprisoning Innocent People who they know were always Innocent, because of a Secret Corrupt Agenda.

    This is proved true with the Corrupt Verdicts at The Hague, because this ICTY Kangaroo Court at The Hague whitewashes and acquits America’s War Crimes and the War Crimes and Genocide of their Guilty Croatian Puppets and Guilty Albanian Puppets, and it Convicts the Innocent Serbs, and Anglo-America knows these things.

    United Nations General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic has said that he expected pressure to cancel a debate on UN’s ad-hoc Tribunals (Read US ad-hoc Tribunals), and that story is at, http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2012&mm=11&dd=20&nav_id=83248 .

    Former Chief Hague Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte has said that the acquittal of Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac “is not justice”.

    She is aware of the more than abundant evidence of the Undeniable Guilt of these two Croatian Generals, and she did not bother reading the Corrupted Unjustifiable statements of those Corrupt Genocidal Judges, because she may have formed a friendship with them at The Hague, but also because of fear from Anglo-America, and the story can be read at, http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2012&mm=11&dd=20&nav_id=83250 .

    Chief Hague Prosecutor Serge Brammertz says that he and his office are disappointed by the outcome of the appeal ruling in the case against Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markc, and the story can be read at, http://www.b92.net/eng/news/crimes-article.php?yyyy=2012&mm=11&dd=21&nav_id=83273 .

    A Croatian Journalist says that Croatia hid so-called artillery logs from the Hague Tribunal during the time of PM Ivo Sanader and President Stjepan Mesic, claims a Croatian journalist, and it can be read at, http://www.b92.net/eng/news/region-article.php?yyyy=2012&mm=11&dd=23&nav_id=83302 .

    After reading all these Things, we know how Britain and America do their Dirty business in the World.

    One obvious discrepancy is that Anglo-America has long accused Russia of being a Mafia State run by the Russian Mafia.

    If this were true then there would be no information on the Russian Mafia at the FSB, and even if there was, then a low level FSB Officer like Litvinenko would not have access to any supposed information to assist Spanish Intelligence on any alleged activities of the Russian Mafia in Spain.

    The Slander of Russia being a Mafia State was used for years to keep Russia from joining the WTO, yet the Richest man in Russia, Mikhail Khodorkovsky somehow managed to remain pure in that alleged environment.

    However, if Russia were a Mafia State, then there would be no information at the FSB on the Russian Mafia, and if there was, then it would be worthless Disinformation.

    The British know all of this, and England’s Secret Puppet Colony of America also knows these things.

    There are other Discrepancies, and we all know that Britain will invent the necessary Lies To Once Again Deceive The World.

  63. Dear Anatoly,

    I just wanted to say Happy New Year.. May all your plans and projects for 2013 come true. It’s been a great joy and privilege to contribute to your outstanding blog.

  64. Journalist says:

    We all know that the English have always wanted to Colonize Continental Europe, just like they did with much of the World.

    Obviously, England had to be more subtle with Continental Europe, and the English Empire found its chance during WW 1, and England devised its Evil Plan.

    We know that centuries ago, the Alliance of Spain, France, and the Netherlands were planning to invade Britain, but Britain managed to successfully deceive them away from England with the illusion of American Independence.

    America is really a Secret and Unofficial Colony of England, regardless of excellent attempts to deceive the World, with uncooperative Irish American President Kennedy to be contrasted with Puppet Irish American Puppet Clinton.

    If England considering its relations with many British Commonwealth of Nations Countries was not a partner with its Puppet of America, then America would be no one and nothing without its English Puppet Master’s cunning and leadership, and so America knows its place under Secret English Domination.

    The English manufactured the illusion of American Independence, because the Allies of Spain, France, and Holland were going to invade Britain.

    England lured Spain, France and Holland to seek to expand their Empires in an ‘Independence’ movement in America, which they did rather than invade Britain, and they expended their Resources, and America eventually became in appearances Independent from England.

    This bankrupted France and they sold their Territories in America Cheaply, and the Americans took Spanish possessions like Philippines, and Britain did not get the blame for the Philippines Unofficially and Secretly belonging to the British (English) Empire.

    Holland had to give up Belgium, and Spain does not own Gibraltar today, and America had the Holocaust of 30 Million Native Americans to perform, and to use slaves to increase the wealth of the English Empire, and the English did not want to be seen to be the ones who were truly responsible for these Genocides and Crimes Against Humanity.

    We know that the English deliberately delayed the end of WW 1, and designed the Treaty of Versailles in order to start a second Continental European War, in order for England to Divide and Rule Continental Europe by means of its Puppet Colony, America, along with the assistance of the Soviet Union.

    Even though the Soviet Union was not a Puppet of the English like America; the English made them do all they wanted because it was in the Soviet Union’s interest.

    The English did not have the Resources or the Acceptability to overtly Colonize Continental Europe, but had to do it subtly by means of America.

    It is said that America stayed away from WW 1 and WW 2 in Europe for as long as it did, because of Public Opinion, but to Anglo-American Politicians; Public Opinion has as much concern and influence on them as Public Opinion did with Hitler, even though they are more cunning, more subtle, and more ‘gentle’ in managing it.

    England only wanted the Western and Northern Part of Continental Europe, and it wanted a Yugoslavia to deny the Soviets sea access to the Adriatic Sea and therefore to the Mediterranean Sea by means of Draza Mihailovic the Chetnik Serb Leader’s post WW 2 Serbian map.

    I could only provide the less reliable Wikipedia maps of what they wrongly call Greater Serbia, and what is more correctly termed Serbia, because it is Traditional Serbian Land, and it was populated by Serbs at that time.

    Compare a map of Serbia today with Kosovo at http://www.google.com.au/#hl=en&sugexp=les%3B&gs_rn=1&gs_ri=hp&cp=10&gs_id=19&xhr=t&q=map+of+serbia&pf=p&tbo=d&sclient=psy-ab&oq=map+of+ser&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.1357700187,d.dGY&fp=c409455af118ddbd&biw=1280&bih=600 , with Draza Mihailovic’s map of Serbia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Greater_Serbia_in_Yugoslavia.png ,and look how the Iron Curtain Countries provided access to the Adriatic Sea at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Iron_Curtain_map.svg , and see how Yugoslavia prevented easy Soviet access to the Adriatic Sea, and therefore prevented easy access the Mediterranean Sea.

    It was not possible to make a Greater Albania at that time, and the English gave Albania to Stalin to join the so called Global Communist Brotherhood of Man, but the Albanians like the Croats and the Germans and never wanted this brotherhood of man or even believed in the brotherhood of man, but they only wanted a Greater Mono Ethnic Albania, a Greater Croatia, and a Greater Germany.

    The CIA and the West Germans gave those Croat leaders and those Albanian Leaders the lies that they needed to speak, and the act they needed to act, and with England keeping Continental Europe divided, it keep England as the World Power, and it drained Soviet Resources, which helped England.

    The West Germans asked the English to install the Rule of the Dictatorial Colonels in Greece, and to allow Germany’s Traditional Allies, the Turks to invade and occupy Cyprus, as payback for being against Hitler in WW 2.

    England engineered the Spanish Civil War in order to keep the Spaniards busy fighting amongst themselves, so they could keep stolen Gibraltar.

    England will continue to Rule Continental Europe, even as England Rules much of the World, because England is more intelligent when it is asleep, than other what Countries are when they are awake.

    The thing to learn from all of this; is that if it is really good for Anglo-America, then it is not good for other Countries.

  65. Anne Applebaum on crack (via slate)

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2013/01/europe_may_have_no_choice_but_to_become_more_involved_i

    n_the_world_s_hot.html

    Europe, the Last Super Power.

    I did consider it posting on the thread of stuff linked with Russia, but…

  66. Journalist says:

    We can see that the New Slogans for the Euro Reich are that Harsh Austerity Will Set You Free, and that High Unemployment Will Set You Free, and A Fourth Reich Will Set You Free.

    I think that Angela Merkel and the current German Government only want to keep the Euro going for as long as the next German Election, where Angela Merkel and her Government hope to be reelected.

    There are a lot of Excuses that say, that at the time of the introduction of the Euro Common Currency, that everyone knew it had Serious Problems, but they falsely or naively claimed that the Future Political Leaders would repair the situation, but that was just Lies some, and Wishful Thinking by others.

    We see that the Euro lost more because of the Euro Reich’s imposition on Cyprus, than what it would have been if Germany had given Cyprus 13 Billion Euros, and I am referring to the Collective Value of All Euros in the World, as compared to the Major Currencies.

    This only proves how Incompetent Germany is, but I think that this was planned, because it would be very Foolish to think that Germans on Average are Incompetent, because they know that the Eurozone Cannot consist of 17 Exporting Countries like Germany, which would be needed to Prevent the Collapse of the Eurozone.

    Therefore, we must go looking for another Explanation, which is the Proper Explanation, and that is that there is a Fourth German Reich coming to Europe.

    It is Interesting that Russia did not take up the Business Opportunity of Investing in Cypriot Gas Fields, and this too, was done for a good reason, and they say that you should follow the Money Trail for the answer.

    There are things that we Definitely know with regards to the Global Economy, and one of them is that America is Printing Dollars to such an Extent that will make the American Dollar go out of Fashion, and some may be led to consider the possibility that America will Announce a New Currency Soon, despite Official Denials.

    This Artificial Money Printing by America is the Only Reason that the American Stock Market is Momentarily overly high.

    At some point the Free Market will take over and set a Fair Market Values for Commodities, Goods, and Services, and Only the Shrewd Investors or Wall Street who knows when the Rich Countries Markets are going to Crash will make Money, while the others will Lose Big.

    This is because the ‘American’ ‘Federal’ ‘Reserve’ that is Foreign Owned is not allowing the Free Market to set the Real Values of Bonds, Shares, Stocks, Interest Rates, and Commodities, which is creating Bubbles in Many Markets at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGc-b5nmhb0 , and while I believe that he is telling the Truth, he may not know that America will have the Barter System, because whatever happens in American Politics, does not happen by chance, but is planned by their English Puppet Master, who are the Most Intelligent and Cunning and Scheming People in the World.

    All Economic Experts of All Countries know these things, because they are the Most Basic of Economics 101, but People are ‘Investing’ their Money where they are making a short term Profit, and if they do not know when to leave those Manipulated Markets, then they will lose Big Money, just like Investors in Cyprus’ Banks because Artificial Euro Reich Manipulation in the Markets.

    There is a piece of Good Economic Advice, and that is to Spread Your Investments Broadly, and not all that Glitters is gold, and this is why Shrewd Investors Spread their Investments Broadly, and this is the same good advice with regards to Currencies.

    It could be that one of the Many American Funded NGOs knows what the Plan is, and he was bribed by Russia to divulge that America’s New Monetary System will be the Barter System, despite Official Denials, or Russia could have discovered it from Germany, or perhaps it is just Common Sense, and what others would do in America’s situation.

    It could be that Russia needs Gas to be paid by Barter, but will Deal only in Cash for Oil, which is where the Huge Future profits are.

    If the Barter System is the New Reserve Currency, then Gold and Silver will lose their Luster, but the Good Advice in a Changing world remains the same, which is to Spread your Investments Broadly, and that would Include Gold and Silver, and not only Oil.

    The Sentiment in Europe is such that Most Europeans will Boycott All German Goods and Services if Serbia Files a Genocide Case against Germany at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly Debate on the Bribed and Corrupt NATO ICTY WHITEWASHING Court at The Hague.

    I am a Serb from one of my Parent’s side, and I will never buy a German Good or Service because of Principle, even if I have to pay more for inferior quality, because I do not want any German Goods or Services.

    This is true even if I had no Serbian Heritage, but it is a Principled Stance, because Germany had its Chance and Lost It.

    The Conditions seem to be for poor Economic Performance in the Richer Countries, and for Good Economic Performance in Emerging Markets.

    Gold and Silver will Always have a Market, but the Shrewd Investors should know that the Barter System is a Currency just like Bitcoin at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin, that can be used in Bribery, but Cash does the same, but I only mentioned it so that Investors realize that when Investing.

    Russia has a third of its GDP as Foreign Exchange Reserves, and if the Barter System is a New Currency, then Experts will have to calculate how this will affect their Efforts to Save the Value of their Investments.

  67. Journalist says:

    The Barter System allows a Country that is going into Hyperinflation to lower their Inflation, and so if the Barter System is used along with Proper Domestic Economic Policies, like a New Currency, then it will hold its Value on International Trade.

    I wrote: Defaulting on All Debts = Big Money + Investing in Oil, Gold, and Silver = Big Money + Printing New Currency from Thin Air = Big Money, and Big Money + Big Money + Big Money = even Bigger Money.

    With the American Dollar as the Reserve Currency, then America does not have to Default, because it can Print enough Dollars, which is the Same as Defaulting.

    America would then have no Foreign Debt, but it would have a weak Dollar, and a World that will never Lend any Money to America.

    America might need or want a New Domestic Currency, but if they have the Barter System, then they cannot have a weak Dollar with regards to Trade.

    This will affect Tourists from America, who will not travel overseas for their Holidays to the same extent as they used to, and this will Affect the Economies of other Countries.

    These Things are guest at, known by Economic Experts placing themselves in America’s Position, and wondering what they would do in such circumstances.

    The Economic Experts know how to keep Inflation as low as they want within a Country.

    American Citizens wishing to Trade or Travel Overseas could buy American Oil, with their American Currency, and then sell that Oil for any of the other Strong Currencies if they wish to Trade with other Countries or travel Overseas.

    American Citizens could then exchange that Oil for the Value of Swiss Francs, Japanese Yen, the Chinese Renminbi, the Russian Ruble, the Eurozone’s Euros if it happens to exist, or any of the other currently Respected and Trusted Currencies.

    America does have Gold, Silver, and Oil, and if they Print a New Currency, then I have already given my Money equation to consider, because Oil can be a Reserve Currency under the International Barter System.

    It is no Secret to All Economic Experts, that the Common Euro Common Currency Arrangement in its Current form is in trouble, and for the novice, there is and easy to understand explanation as to why at http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/03/why-the-euro-is-doomed-in-4-steps/274470/ , and many good comments with that Article.

    America would have to Reduce its Government Spending to avoid Domestic Inflation, even though it has Solved its weak International Currency, because it is using the Barter System.

    We know that America Spends far too much Money on committing Genocides around the World, because America is a Puppet Colony of England, who orders these things, and America will save Money by closing Many Overseas Military Bases.

    These could be some People who Think that these Things should be mentioned at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly Debate on the Bribed and Corrupt NATO ICTY WHITEWASHING of NATO’s Physical, Cultural, and Economic Genocide of the Innocent Serbian People.