Russia today

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blindpig
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Re: Russia today

Post by blindpig » Fri Nov 17, 2023 4:27 pm

And more about Friedman
November 15, 9:41

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And more about Friedman

I was running errands all day and thinking a thought, I decided to express: how come poor comrade Mikhail Fridman, a former fugitive oligarch, donated $200,000,000 to the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and openly declared this, came to Russia without any detentions at the airport .
We had unreasonable citizens who also donated, some $100 to the bitches, some $10,000, and they are usually charged with “financing terrorism.” And the terms there are not for children, not a year or two.
Or is 200 lemons with greens different?

And more about Friedman.
In addition to Alfa Bank, he personally owns such an office as RosVodokanal.
And they supply water to many cities, including my native Omsk.

So, in our city with over a million people, the networks on which the resource supply organization sits, as a strategic asset, are owned by both the city administration and leased from Friedman.
And starting from 2005, the price of this rental was not indexed at all.

The Omsk prosecutor's office says that the city's water supply and sewerage networks are 80% worn out, and the current mayor of Omsk, Comrade Shelest, is the former director of the Omsk water utility. And for some reason the mayor is in no hurry to at least index the rent.

Oligarchy is the merging of business with government, and all the markers are obvious here.
According to expert estimates from comrades, the total amount of lost rent for networks, recalculated today, is 6 billion rubles.

So it turns out that we, comrades from Omsk, indirectly sponsor the one who sponsors VSUK.
So it goes.

@dobrovolsky_live - zinc

It is worth noting that a legal assessment of Friedman’s actions and statements has not yet been given.
His whining about the fact that “he was mistaken” and “believed in the West” certainly has nothing to do with issues of legal assessment. He started whining only after they continued to actively take away his assets and real estate in the West. Before this, the “effective manager” Friedman was quite happy with everything. As well as his accomplice Aven.

https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/8766478.html

Finland closes checkpoints on the border with Russia
November 16, 15:20

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Finland closes checkpoints on the border with Russia

The Finnish government has decided to close checkpoints on the border with Russia, Prime Minister Petteri Orpo announced on November 16.
According to Orpo, the government decided to close the border crossings on the eastern border on the night from Friday to Saturday.

The border crossing points of Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa, Niirala and Imatra will be closed. “It will be impossible to cross the border at these four checkpoints,” explained Interior Minister Marie Rantanen.

The Finnish government will also concentrate the acceptance of applications for international protection and asylum at the Salla and Vartius border crossings. The restrictions will remain in effect until February 18, 2024.

https://vott.ru/entry/633693 - zinc

It is urgent to erect a monument to Mannerheim to normalize relations (no). When all the checkpoints are closed, then his time will come.
Formally, they refer to the fact that Russia is allegedly deliberately bringing refugees to Finland. Now, of course, they don’t remember that the Scandinavians consciously and for many years, as part of the policy of multiculturalism, imported Arabs and blacks. Ironically, but in fact, the current governments of the Scandinavian countries are turning towards fulfilling Breivik’s program requirements to combat the importation of migrants.

PS. In Israel, they began to block the accounts of some Russian citizens. We are waiting for the arrival of those who have realized ala Friedman.

https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/8770002.html

Google Translator

*******

Are we in a countdown to all-out nuclear war?

gilbertdoctorow Uncategorized November 16, 2023
The mood of panelists and presenter on this past Sunday’s Evening with Vladimir Solovyov talk show was deeply pessimistic and the reason had nothing whatever to do with Russia’s situation in its war with Ukraine. On the contrary, feelings about the war were entirely upbeat. The recently published interview in The Economist by Ukrainian commander in chief General Zaluzhny confirmed to the world public the dire prospects facing the Ukrainian army that Russians had been saying among themselves for some time. Indeed, even in Western media it is now estimated that the Ukrainians have lost 10 to 12 soldiers killed or severely maimed on the field of battle to one Russian casualty. The Ukrainians are said to have lost more than 400,000 soldiers and officers. And concurrently, both financial and military aid from the United States and its European allies is becoming problematic.

The pessimistic mood on the show had other, more general considerations that should give us pause as well. As one panelist remarked, global politics today very much resemble the period that preceded the outbreak of World War I. There are nasty wars here and there. There are peace conferences which lead to nothing. There are powers, meaning the United States, which in the recent words of Joe Biden, exult in being the most mighty on this earth, able to fight on multiple fronts. All of this led Vladimir Solovyov to sum up what comes next: a nuclear war is now inevitable. he said.

Of course, the vicious Israeli rampage in Gaza was a contributing factor to this gloom. All arguments from morality or ‘universal values’ have been stripped away. We are left with might makes right being practiced by those who believe they are untouchable.

If you pay attention, you see that the West, and Europe in particular, is staging one provocation against Russia after another with complete indifference to where this may lead.

One month ago, Latvia was threatening to close the Baltic to Russian ships as punishment for the possible Russian involvement in damage to the Balticonnector pipeline. That scandal quickly dispelled when the Finns announced that the likely cause was the anchor of a passing Chinese merchant vessel which detached during a storm.

However, now a similar threat has been issued by the European Commission as it has directed Denmark to inspect and possibly arrest oil tankers carrying Russian oil passing through Danish territorial waters on their way to the Atlantic for deliveries worldwide. The inspections will be to see if the vessels have proper European insurance coverage or not and the pretext for arrest will be that the vessels pose an environmental hazard. All of this is in answer to the findings of the Financial Times that nearly all Russian oil exported by sea is now being sold at well above the $60 ceiling mandated by Europe thanks to a shadow fleet that Russia assembled in the past year. October oil was sold for $80. which was just $10 below Brent.

One wonders whether anyone in Brussels or in Copenhagen stopped to think what response the Russians may make to any threats to stop their oil shipments by force on the seas. Russia is not some far away Iran without the wherewithal to react in these waters. No, the Russian Baltic naval fleet is very powerful, not to mention their available air power and ship destroying missiles fired from several thousand kilometers away. And the Danes? Wikipedia tells us their entire navy consists of 3,400 personnel, “16 ships, 28 vessels and 30 boats.” I assume that is in descending order of size and might. How many days or more likely how many hours would they hold out against the Russians? And what comes next?

The Finns, for their part, are also busy poking the bear. Yesterday they announced the closing of border crossings with Russia, claiming that Moscow is sending illegal undocumented migrants from Third World countries to them just as Belarus had allegedly been doing a year ago at their border with Poland.

Having crossed that border six or eight times in the last couple of years by bus, I know full well that the Russian bus operators were very strict in demanding that the paperwork of all passengers be fully in conformity with the relevant regulations on both sides of the border. Nearly all of these passengers have necessarily been dual nationals since tourists with only Russian passports are not admitted into Finland.

In response to the Finnish action, the two main bus lines carrying passengers between St Petersburg and Helsinki, EcoLines and Lux, have just announced termination of their services effective 18 November. This means that the only practical way for Europeans to get to Russia will be by flying via Istanbul or Dubai. This will double or triple the cost of a visit and take people to people exchanges back to the worst times of the Cold War. Only this war is more likely to be Hot.

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2023

Postscript: With regard to travel to and from Russia, I am obliged to revise my remarks as follows: the present situation is far worse than in the worst days of the Cold War. I say this based on my personal experience dating back to the 1960s. Back then, most European countries had direct flights to Moscow. Since the onset of Covid, these no longer exist. No sooner did the pandemic end than the Ukraine war came along and the West imposed sanctions preventing any restoration of air, rail and now bus connections. During the Cold War, travelers from the United States and other overseas locations also had the option of using Copenhagen or Helsinki as transit points to Moscow. I do not speak about Petersburg or other Russian cities, because during the Cold War nearly all international traffic went to Moscow. The choke point on passenger flows back then was on the Soviet side. Soviet citizens had to pass loyalty checks before being issued a foreign passport to travel abroad, and then there was a hierarchy of foriegn destinations which were permitted. The most easily accessible were countries of Soviet controlled Eastern Europe, and even then travel usually was in groups led by a Komsomol monitor.. The saying at the time was Курица не птица и Польша не за граница. That rhymes in Russian; its sense is “A chicken is not a bird and Poland is not abroad.” Today the chokepoint is entirely on the Western side which is doing everything imaginable to keep out Russians.

https://gilbertdoctorow.com/2023/11/16/ ... clear-war/
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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blindpig
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Re: Russia today

Post by blindpig » Sat Nov 18, 2023 4:04 pm

MEDUZA: WOULD RUSSIANS SUPPORT PUTIN IF HE DECIDED TO END THE WAR? 70 PERCENT OF RUSSIAN RESPONDENTS IN A NEW SURVEY BY THE LEVADA CENTER SAID THEY WOULD
NOVEMBER 17, 2023 NATYLIESB

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Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
Meduza, 11/1/23

Russians are ready to support the war’s end (if that’s what Putin decides). They are in favor of negotiations with Ukraine.

The majority of Russians would support an immediate cessation of hostilities in Ukraine, according to a new poll conducted by the Levada Center. However, a majority of respondents said that they don’t agree with giving Russian-occupied territories back to Ukraine.

As part of the survey, which the Levada Center conducts on a monthly basis, respondents were randomly divided into two groups. The first group was asked: “If President Vladimir Putin decided to end the military conflict in Ukraine this week, would you, or would you not, support this decision?”

Responses

37% — Definitely support

33% — Mostly support

12% — Definitely oppose

9% — Mostly oppose

9% — Difficult to answer

The second group of respondents was asked: “If President Vladimir Putin decided to end the military conflict in Ukraine this week and return the annexed territories to Ukraine, would you, or would you not, support this decision?”

Responses

16% — Definitely support

18% — Mostly support

19% — Definitely oppose

38% — Mostly oppose

10% — Difficult to answer

More than half of respondents said they would support peace talks over continuing the war.

Russians support the army

Three quarters of respondents said that they support “the actions of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine.” 62 percent of respondents aged 18-24 and 82 percent of those over the age of 55 gave this response.

Nearly half of Russians would like to ‘reverse’ the decision to start the war.

Respondents were asked: “If you had the opportunity to go back in time and either reverse or support the start of the military operation in Ukraine, you would…”

Responses

23% — Definitely have reversed it

18% — Mostly likely have reversed it

22% — Definitely have supported it

21% — Mostly likely have supported it

15% — Difficult to answer

Russians believe that the war will go on for a long time, though they believe the war has been successful

Nearly half of respondents (46 percent) believe that Russia’s war against Ukraine will continue for at least another year. In May 2022, three months after the start of the full-scale invasion, 21 percent of people said they thought it would continue for at least another year.

62 percent of respondents said they were confident that Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine is going “very successfully” or “rather successfully.”

Why did Russia start the war?

When asked why Russia started the war, 23 percent of respondents said they don’t know why, or found it difficult to answer why. 25 percent said they believe Russia is “protecting and liberating” the residents of the Donbas. Every 10th person believes that “it’s necessary to reclaim our historic lands.” 14 percent said that it’s necessary to “eradicate fascism,” while 13 percent believe that “we were forced and abused."

https://natyliesbaldwin.com/2023/11/med ... hey-would/

Russia has been telling everyone it's in for the long haul. It is certainly capable of that, but could be blowing smoke. The manpower/morale situation is such that a serious breakthrough could lead to a 'Germany 1918' situation. And Russia has been husbanding it's mechanized reserves for just such a possibility I believe.

********

Russia is transitioning to gas heating in the countryside – Europe is moving to log fireplaces in the city
gilbertdoctorow Uncategorized November 18, 2023

These past few days the international situation has stabilized at bad to terrible, and, accordingly, with nothing much changing I have had no requests for interviews from international broadcasters. But a few developments right around me here in Brussels have set my mind to projecting an essay that I now wish to share with readers.

Once again at the center of my attention is how the Green Agenda is wreaking havoc on the European quality of life and on the economy. Put more broadly, the problem is that European elites who run the show have followed and then gone a few meters further down the rabbit hole of ideology-driven policies than their American counterparts. The economic interests of the middle and lower classes count for nothing. The Gross Domestic Product is taken for granted if you throw enough debit-financed subsidies around here and there to cheer up business executives. And we roll on towards the ….stone age.

What got me going was the sight of a few cubic meters of split logs blocking my way on the sidewalk as I pulled my caddy with groceries up the hill on the short path back to my home. As I passed, a middle aged woman resumed her work loading these logs into plastic crates for carrying up to her apartment.

The dump of split logs in front of a house is a sight I had last seen a couple of years ago when a truck deposited a half-load, 10 cubic meters of split birch logs in the driveway of our dacha house in Orlino, a hamlet 80 km south of St Petersburg, Russia. Back then every house in the community that was occupied in winter took such deliveries. However, even then some of our neighbors were being connected to the Gazprom network and moving to natural gas heating.

Since the start of the Special Military Operation in Ukraine and the European boycott of Russian pipeline gas, the process of ‘gasification’ of the Russian countryside has been made a priority task under orders from Vladimir Putin. Effectively, a good part of the gas that Europe no longer takes is now being redirected to warm the houses of Russian country dwellers and provincial cities.

As we know, new Russian gas production capacity is being fed into compression plants for delivery of LNG worldwide by sea-going tankers. I am speaking now strictly of gas that was produced in European Russia and Western Siberia for European markets. Gas in the Far North was intended for LNG exports from the start. Gas in Eastern Siberia was produced for the Chinese and other Asiatic markets from the start. A connecting pipeline still has to be built to unify the Russian pipeline grid from the Western frontiers to the Pacific.

And now, what do I see in Brussels? An apartment owner in a building that is obviously served by a heating oil or gas-fed furnace is turning to logs for heating! There is no reason to be surprised that advertisements for lodgings for sale or rent listed on the secondary market in Brussels feature ‘a working fireplace’ as a point of pride for prospective clients. And aesthetics have nothing to do with this choice.

This new trend in the city follows by about a year what has been going on in suburban housing around Brussels. Our daughter, who owns a house 20 km from Brussels invested a year ago in an upgrade to her fireplace and has used every opportunity to take wood from trees felled by friends to keep warm this winter.

Thus, by irony of fate, the Green Regime now sharing power at the regional and federal level in Belgium is supervising a shift back to …the stone age. And it is all due to the implementation of cruel sanctions against Russia over its dispute with Ukraine, that in turn, had at its origin a clash over the structure of European security between Russia and NATO. The Greens were among the most vociferous Russia-bashers, though to be fair about it, nearly all Belgian and European elites were of a single mind about this. A bit of common sense and self-interest might have prevented the return to the stone age, but common sense has no place in ideologically-driven policies.

*****

Moving from the international dimension of our woes today to the strictly local dimension, my thoughts focus on the terrible effects of the Green Agenda on ordinary citizens as I proceed with latest requirements imposed on everyone putting a residential property up for sale in Belgium or considering a purchase. I have in mind the filing of a Certificate of Energy Performance. The ratings go from A, which has the characteristics of a hermetically sealed tomb, to G, which has the characteristics of living in the wild. That the pluses and minuses of living in a hermetically sealed tomb might be debatable seems to interest no one. Obviously our elites have not heard about the life cycle of microscopic spiders in our houses that hate air currents. And they have forgotten or never read about how our 19th century ancestors were firm believers in the health value of open windows.

The whole issue suddenly came to my attention when we decided it was time to ‘downsize’ and move out of our townhouse in Brussels and into an apartment. The certification (PEB, in French) was performed and yesterday I read the results in a pdf file kindly forwarded by our real estate agent. Naturally, our old house came in at the ‘G’ level, and the accredited estimator gave a long description of what must be done to double glaze our windows, while not violating the rules on preservation of the original look of vintage houses; how to insulate the floors and ceilings; how to replace the small 50 liter electric hot water boiler serving the whole house that we purchased a year ago by some new contraption working on ‘dynamic’ principles, etc., etc.

All of his recommendations are in keeping with the government policies put in place to reduce energy consumption, whatever the capital cost to homeowners. By my guess, it would take fifty years or more to recover the expenses you would incur following the recommendations of the PEB specialist by annual savings in heating and electricity costs.

Though the real world has nothing whatever to do with these regulations, the reality is that we modest folks have paid a pittance in heating oil bills because our old house has very thick brick walls, and because we are a row house and only two facades are exposed to the elements. Yes, we have large expanses of windows, which provide the ‘luminosity’ that is a positive feature in the description of the property to prospective buyers. Yes, they are single pane windows. But, and this is a ‘but’ that plays no role in the estimates, the largest windows, as for example those in the ‘jardin d’hiver’ room facing the tiny garden, are equipped with the wooden slatted shutters that you can lower at night for sound and heat insulation. These shutters were de rigueur throughout France at the time of construction in 1895.

I will not go on further. My point is simple: it is not only in Germany that homeowners are up in arms over the Greens imposed regulations on home heating and shift to heat pumps. Here in Belgium the same awful expenses are being imposed on homeowners in other areas, including, by the way, encouragement of installation of solar panels on rooftops, without regard to the obvious climatic fact that we have a vast number of overcast and rainy days.

And now, in the midst of this sanctimonious policy-making in favor of proper insulation of houses and clean energy heating, what I see around me is stone-age heating with logs taking hold as people try to stay warm without going broke.

*****

On these pages, I mentioned some observations about the terrible consequences of the Green Agenda policies as they concern our forests in Belgium. In particular, I shared my thoughts about the degradation of the main forest attraction of the Greater Brussels region, the Forêt de Soignes. Allow me to quote from the visit.brussels website with regard to this forest:

With its approximately 4,000 hectares of surface area, the Forêt de Soignes is the green lungs of Brussels, even if it is traversed by some roads, highways and train lines. This space in close proximity to the city shelters natural forest and archeological reserves. It extends across the Brussels Capital, Flemish and Walloon regions and the Bois de la Cambre is one point of entry to this forest.

A sign that is posted at various other entry points to the Forêt de Soignes informs visitors that half of the forest consists of beech trees. What it does not tell you is that this very concentration on one tree species was unique in Europe. This is the largest beech forest in Europe. It was planted in the days when the region was ruled by the Hapsburgs and the aristocrats in their suite knew what they were doing when they created an outdoor cathedral of immense trees for us all to enjoy.

More to the point today, the sign and the visit.brussels website do not mention that this single species forest has beena matter of contention, with the Greens in power doing what they can to return the forest to its “natural” state consisting of the ‘native trees’ to the region. I will not comment on the aesthetic value of these ‘native trees,’ for example, dwarf oaks. There is little need to do so because there have been almost no apparent tree planting operations in the past decade. Instead what gives the Forêt de Soignes its main shambolic characteristic today is the implementation of the second Greens principle: to allow fallen trees to naturally decay and provide a home for various types of insects. Remember biodiversity?

This ‘policy’ has its advantages for the state budget: no culling of trees, removal of fallen debris means no need for a budgetary entry. Little matter that in the distant past clearing the forest of debris and harvesting trees was a right sold to outside entrepreneurs. Letting logs rot on the ground also seems most peculiar today when there is a tight market for firewood even in the city center. However, do not look for logical consistency in the various policies written and implemented by our governing elites.

When Josep Borrell famously commented that all the world is a jungle while Europe is a garden, he obviously was not thinking of the forest land on the edge of the city where he keeps his office and his home. Perhaps he simply does not like walks in the woods.

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2023

https://gilbertdoctorow.com/2023/11/18/ ... -the-city/

Well, those recommendations are good but should not be made mandatory without serious carrots to accompany the sticks. Petty bourgeois whining. As for the forests, Gilbert don't know shit about ecology and wants the environment to look like a city park.

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For Latvian Independence Day
No. 11/87.XI.2023

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter,” one of the smartest enemies of communism, Winston Churchill, once said.

The idiocy that is happening on the Internet on the eve of “our common Latvian holiday” is overwhelming and does not fit into any framework.

Not only ordinary people, but also people familiar to many from TV screens and social networks express their complete historical and political stupidity - social activists and politicians who have made the goal of their existence the fight for the rights of Russian Latvians and are regularly outraged by both the difficult economic situation of the country's inhabitants, and the political repressions that the Latvian authorities have unleashed in recent years against dissidents.

It is impossible to solve a problem without delving into its essence. But the wrestlers not only don’t want to delve into it, but they refuse to study it properly with all their hands and feet.

If we are talking about state patriotism, then finally drive simple truths into your empty heads: state patriotism is not a Christmas tree on which you need to hang as many ribbons of the “correct” color as possible, but commitment to the basic foundations of the state in which you live.

Once you understand this simple truth, you will never have stupid questions:

*Why did the regime demolish the Victory Monument?
*Why is it increasingly difficult for most residents to literally survive every year, receiving pittance wages, while officials wallow in luxury?
*Why didn’t they give citizenship to such and such, because they did so much for this state?
*Why did they open a criminal case against so-and-so or why don’t they open a criminal case against people talking about Russian occupiers or Russian lice?

A brief history of Latvian (and not only) statehood for irons.

In February 1917, the Russian Empire collapsed.

The bourgeois revolution was obviously progressive in nature, because it sent the autocracy (along with its obscurantism, classes, unresolved land issue, poverty and lawlessness) into the trash can of history.

The bourgeois revolution in February 1917 led to a parade of bourgeois independence in the territories of the former Russian Empire with fairly developed capitalist relations. It was extremely important for the national bourgeoisie to take advantage of the new opportunities to create their own national fiefdoms, where they could rule undividedly, imposing their economic and political will on the population of these territories.

In order to rely on the population in this matter, they raised national banners and national slogans, which always has an exciting effect on the fragile minds of people of any nation.

The only way to unite the country, torn apart by the proto-Kravchuks, proto-Yeltsins, proto-Shushkeviches, proto-Putins (that is, representatives of capital who sought to create their own national capitalist states on the remains of the stinking tsarist corpse), was to unite all these peoples on a different basis - on the basis of social economic justice, on the basis communism, at that moment understood as the principle: to each according to his labor contribution to the common cause.

It was thanks to this formulation of the question that the Bolsheviks were able to wrest their national banners from the hands of the bourgeoisie and lead all these peoples, defeating most of the new bourgeois state formations.

And Latvia was no exception in this regard. In Latvia, in the period 1917 - 1920, three concepts of government, three governments, fought for life: the bourgeois government under the leadership of Ulmanis (based on English capital), the bourgeois government under the leadership of Niedra (supporters of German capital) and the Soviet government under the leadership of Peter Stuchka.

Each concept has its own heroes, its own symbolism, its own values.

If it were not for the active support of the Entente and Kaiser Germany, the likelihood of the Latvian bourgeoisie retaining power would be zero. Just as there would not have been a bloody civil war in Russia.

And the fact that the Entente was not interested in preserving the integrity of Russia, much less the formation of the USSR within the borders of the Republic of Ingushetia, must be explained to the Russian Ruskomirs, who are firmly convinced that the collapse of the Republic of Ingushetia is the merit of the Bolsheviks and... Latvians.

The Russians are a completely separate topic that deserves a separate study. In their stupidity and straightforwardness of thinking, they are no different from the stupidity and straightforwardness of the Latvian national patriots.

Latvian nationalists completely ignore the civil war that broke out between Latvians during this period, vulgarly equating all Latvian riflemen and presenting them as fighters for an independent bourgeois state. Independent is independent, but the Latvians had completely different ideas about the structure of this state.

In the minds of modern Latvians, the successors to the work of the Latvian riflemen are the Latvian SS legions, who fought Bolshevism during the Second World War together with their German “comrades,” but at the same time this public does not recognize itself as supporters of fascism.

The Russians, both in Latvia and in Russia, rightfully hating modern bourgeois Latvia, absolutely blatantly expose the Red Latvian Riflemen as the founders of bourgeois Latvia and at the same time the support of the Bolsheviks in establishing Soviet power in Russia, who, quote, “abundantly shed seas of Russian Orthodox blood on territory of Russia and are engaged in genocide of modern Russians on the territory of modern Latvia .”

Both positions are a blatant lie and obvious schizophrenia, in which, despite all the existing contradictions among themselves, there is a common basis - anti-Sovietism and anti-communism.

In essence, on the territory of Latvia during this period, as, indeed, everywhere on the territory of the former Republic of Ingushetia and as, most likely, will happen tomorrow, several forces clashed simultaneously, having completely different goals, entering into temporary, shaky blocs and alliances, trying to use each other.

These are both the interests of the Latvian bourgeoisie and the goals of the Latvian communists; these are both the interests of the Russian White Guards and the goals of the Russian Bolsheviks; These are the interests of English and German capital.

But today both sides of the “patriots” primitively reduce this whole mess to November 18th. The Latvian nationalists and the ruling clique are drooling over him, on the one hand, and the Russomirites are cursing him, on the other. With the formulations “all Latvians are fascists” or “all Russians are Putinists.”

Briefly about the formation of Latvian statehood.

In August 1917, the Executive Committee of the Council of Workers', Soldiers' and Landless Deputies of Latvia (Iskolat) established Soviet power in the territory occupied by the Latvian Red Rifles. The so-called The Republic of Iskolata, whose power extended to the part of the Livonia province not occupied by German troops and the Latgale districts of the Vitebsk province.

Fricis Rozin was elected chairman of the Iskolat.

In September 1917, in Riga, occupied by German troops, Latvian political parties formed a bourgeois coalition - the Democratic Bloc.

On December 24, 1917, in Valka, the Central Committee of the SDL and Iskolat adopted a declaration on the self-determination of Latvia as an autonomous part of Soviet Russia, which stated:

“The Latvian proletariat... has never, anywhere, expressed a desire or shown a tendency to secede from Russia.”

After the breakdown of peace negotiations with Soviet Russia in Brest-Litovsk, on February 18, 1918, German troops launched a rapid offensive along the entire front and by February 22 occupied the entire territory of Latvia.

And only after the Kaiser’s Germany admitted its defeat in the First World War, on November 18, 1918, the Declaration of Independence of bourgeois Latvia was adopted. Karlis Ulmanis became the first Prime Minister of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Latvia.

Moreover, under the terms of the Treaty of Compiegne, Germany was obliged not to withdraw its troops from the Baltic countries in order to prevent their Sovietization.

At the same time, on November 18 and 19, an underground XVII conference of Latvian Social Democrats (Bolsheviks) took place in Riga, the participants of which, among the first tasks, put forward the organization of an armed uprising, the expulsion of occupation army units from the republic, the overthrow of the Provisional Government of Karlis Ulmanis and the establishment of Soviet power in Latvia.

For the practical implementation of preparations for the uprising, the Military Revolutionary Committee of Latvia was formed at the conference, under which were mobile organized combat squads. The leadership of the Latvian Military Revolutionary Committee was taken over by members of the SDL Central Committee Janis Šilf and Janis Zukovsky.

In a short period of time, local cells of the Latvian Military Revolutionary Committee were created in many cities and towns of the country. On November 27, 1918, the Riga Military Revolutionary Committee was formed. Its most active participants were fighters for Soviet power in the republic Fritz Schneider, Janis Miram and Vilum Zile.

On November 29, 1918, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin sent a telegram to the commander-in-chief of all armed forces of the RSFSR, Joakim Ioakimovich Vatsietis, in which he instructed the Red Army to support by all means the process of establishing Soviet governments in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Belarus.

Even before this telegram was sent, on November 13, an extraordinary meeting of the Military Revolutionary Council of the RSFSR was held, at which it was decided to immediately begin to provide support to the Baltic Bolshevik armed forces fighting to establish Soviet power in the former Baltic provinces occupied by the Kaiser’s army. According to this decision, in mid-November, the military units of the Western Defense District were consolidated into the Western Army.

Further, realizing the numerical and technical superiority of the German armed formations left in Latvia, the Military Revolutionary Council of the RSFSR sent separate Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian Soviet army units, which had previously fought on other sectors of the front, to the republic at the disposal of the Seventh and Western Armies.

On December 4, 1918, the Central Committee of the SDL, together with representatives of the Council of Workers' Deputies of Riga, Valka and Liepaja, formed the provisional government of Soviet Latvia. Peter Stuchka was elected its chairman.

On December 17, 1918, the Manifesto of the Provisional Workers' and Peasants' Government of Latvia, headed by Peter Stuchka, was issued on the establishment of Soviet power.

On December 22, 1918, the Russian government issued a declaration recognizing the independence of Soviet Latvia.

With the help of the Latvian Red Rifles and other units of the Red Army, the Stuchka government managed to establish control over the main part of Latvia, including Riga, which was taken on January 3, 1919.

On January 13, 1919, the Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic was proclaimed in Riga.

Thus, the Bolsheviks in 1918 supported the SOVIET Latvia of Stuchka, but the Bolsheviks never supported the BOURGEOIS Latvia of Ulmanis in the same way as they spoke AGAINST the bourgeois Ukraine of Petlyura and FOR Soviet Ukraine.

Therefore, all accusations from the Russians about the Bolsheviks encouraging separatist sentiments in the country and about the creation of a modern Nazi Ukraine by the communists themselves are anti-scientific and false.

Precisely because the Bolsheviks were materialists, they did not go against historical laws of an objective nature, only directing such processes in a creative direction. “National in form, socialist in content”—this is the formula with which they snatched the population from the clutches of the national small-town bourgeoisie. The Bolsheviks did the main thing to eradicate the causes of ANY nationalism - SOCIALIZED the means of production .

Returning to the events of a hundred years ago in Latvia.

As a result of bloody battles and the intervention of the Entente, Poland and Germany, by August 1920 the Latvian Red Army was defeated and was forced to leave the country. On August 11, 1920, the government of already bourgeois Latvia signed an armistice agreement with the RSFSR, according to which the Soviet government recognized the independence, independence and sovereignty of the Latvian bourgeois state.

On January 26, 1921, the victorious countries in the First World War officially recognized the independence of the Republic of Latvia.

On September 22, 1921, Latvia and the other two Baltic countries were recognized by the League of Nations.

It is quite natural that bourgeois Latvia of the 1920s is building its own system of values, at the forefront of which are integration into Europe, anti-Sovietism, anti-communism, and opposition to Soviet Russia.

In 1940, we omit the details, but this type of state ceases to exist and is replaced by another - the Soviet one, which succeeds the Stuchka government from Latvia.

Then the Great Patriotic War, against the backdrop of which another civil war broke out within Latvia between old opponents - supporters of bourgeois and Soviet statehood.

The red flag over the Reichstag brings back the Soviet model to Latvia.

The destruction of the Union in 1991 restores here again the type that was from 1920 to 1940, and therefore the same basic values ​​are restored with it.

In my opinion, it is not difficult to understand why May 9 is not a holiday in modern Latvia, why there are no more monuments to the Latvians Sudmalis, Vilis Lacis, Oshkalns in cities - they are heroes of THAT other Latvia and, therefore, for this, the current one, they are enemies.

When Soviet power is restored in Latvia, in the same way all the heroes of bourgeois Latvia will be outlawed, and modern bourgeois monuments will be dismantled so as not to generate nationalist sentiments in society. The political and punitive apparatus of bourgeois Latvia will be subjected to the most ruthless repressions, but only from the side of the Soviet state and the Soviet punitive authorities. For only that power has the right to exist that knows how to defend its class interests.

This is the function of any state, whether bourgeois or Soviet. So it was, is and will be, no matter what the petty-bourgeois hamsters in the street and liberal intellectuals like the journalists Alekseevs or Mamykins, who did poorly at school and today bat their eyes stupidly under the flywheel of the state repressive machine of the Latvian bourgeois state, fantasize about. Either the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, or the dictatorship of the working class, which holds all market lovers by the throat with an iron hand.

Why? Yes, because the market is unable to give birth to anything other than nationalism and Nazism.

So. On March 16, Latvian legionnaires are honored who fought under Nazi banners for the bourgeois model of the state, hand in hand with their German Nazi brothers.

You can make tearful films as much as you like about non-citizens who worked for “our country” and were deprived of citizenship, or cry about the demolition of monuments to Latvian Soviet writers and scientists, but they worked for the Soviet model of the state and therefore IN THIS, bourgeois, their merits are not check.

The funny thing is that all of the above is constantly drummed into your heads, but not by the “evil ruling regime,” but by the entire way of modern life, from street names and public holidays to de-Sovietization, nationalism and statelessness.

But only blind and deaf “Russian-speaking Latvians” continue to goggle and shout about the inadmissibility of rewriting history.

Yes, you yourself rewrote it a long time ago... in your heads, from the moment you accepted the bourgeois market model of socio-economic relations. When they themselves abandoned the fight for Soviet power in 1989-1991, when the Popular Front of Latvia could have been strangled with relatively little bloodshed.

You yourself rushed with gusto into the seething capitalist sea, frantically privatizing your apartments, which the bourgeois government threw to you, like hungry dogs, in exchange for your silence, when there was a grandiose slaughter of the people's Soviet property - land, forests, enterprises. And now you whine about exorbitant utility bills, property taxes, and the inaccessibility of medicine and quality education.

The authorities are directly shouting in your face, quote:

“It’s just that Lenin died more than 100 years ago, and the land does not belong to the people - it is private land, private property.”

Forcing you to pay land barons, forcing you to take out bank loans for home renovation, which supposedly will save you from wild heating bills.

Don't hope - it won't save you. And on top of the regular inflated bills for water, electricity and gas, you will also be paying greedy bankers.

If you are happy with capitalism, then maybe you shouldn’t torture Latvians with Soviet monuments and the Russian language?

And the Latvians, whom the authorities are leading like sheep to the slaughter, under the roar of drums into the millstones of the third world war, perhaps they should not torture their authorities about the reasons for their disregard for their own population and the introduction of newfangled gender topics in schools?

After all, capitalism is a struggle for personal profit and survival, where only one in a hundred fortune hunters will survive, right?

In a word - welcome to hell, which was successfully illuminated with festive fireworks.

Both sides deserve it.

Y. Aleinikov
11/18/2023

https://prorivists.org/87_latvia/

Harsh judgement, but I will not argue. A good history lesson.
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Re: Russia today

Post by blindpig » Mon Nov 20, 2023 4:04 pm

A very good edition of ‘News of the Week’

The premier Sunday evening news program on Russian state television hosted by Dmitry Kiselyov seems to run longer and longer. Last night’s edition of Vesti nedeli (News of the Week) came in at three hours. For those of you who have a command of Russian, the show is accessible online the day following its first transmission and is packaged in thematic segments which are easy to navigate: https://smotrim.ru/brand/5206?utm_sourc ... paign=serp

Selection of segments was, of course, not an option in the live broadcast. But for those of us with the required Sitzfleisch, uninterrupted viewing was still worthwhile. I am thinking in particular of the coverage of the St Petersburg International Cultural Forum that took place in the Northern Capital over three days, Tuesday through Thursday; of the lengthy coverage of the Ukraine war from the Vesti correspondents in situ; and the presentation of Russia’s archival materials about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, to mark the 60th anniversary of his death in Dallas.

*****

This was the 9th Cultural Forum and the first to be held under normal in-person conditions since the onset of the Covid pandemic. It was meticulously prepared and brought together not only many of the country’s cultural leaders in the various arts but also sizable delegations from abroad, including the United States and other “unfriendly nations.”

As always, the round table discussions were mostly suitable for experts, though most were open to the public subject to advance registration. As in the past, the organizational center of the Forum and site of many events was the tsarist era General Staff building located just across the Palace Square from the main corpus of the Hermitage Museum. In the late 1990s this enormous complex was extensively rebuilt to suit the needs of the Museum for additional exhibition space. The building is best known to tourists for housing a remarkable collection of the French Impressionists, which is the pride of the Hermitage. And whereas the Winter Palace often has immense lines, which will only grow longer now that Chinese mass tourism to Russia has been restored, the General Staff building presents no difficulty in procuring tickets at the entrance. Meanwhile, the building’s use as a conference center was foreseen from the beginning and there are large public spaces such as the multi-story high atrium configured as a grand staircase on which seats can be arranged to accommodate several hundred guests.

It was precisely in this vast space that has a Mussolini era scale and de-humanizing grandeur that the organizers convened the culmination gathering of the Forum, its plenary session. In keeping with tradition, President Vladimir Putin delivered a set speech and then interacted with honored guests in the audience. None was more honored or politically important than Pierre de Gaulle, grandson of France’s towering military and political leader of the 20th century, Charles de Gaulle.

Pierre de Gaulle attracted the close attention of Russian journalists by declaring during his visit that he would be honored to acquire Russian citizenship. Excerpts from his short speech when given the microphone in the plenary session were carried on News of the Week. The main point was his admiration for Russia for “fighting for traditional values, the family and spirituality.” He claimed that these values have disappeared in the West. Pierre de Gaulle left no doubt that he sides with Russia in its conflict with Ukraine.

Putin’s response was in part spontaneous: he expressed his pleasure at seeing this descendant of France’s greatest 20th century leader present in the auditorium. The greater part of his response was prepared in advance and was well calculated to put the present stand-off between Russia and Western Europe in perspective.

Putin remarked that in WWII France had two leaders who embodied sharply contrasting responses to the German occupation of their country. There was Marshal Petain, who remained in France as head of state and followed orders from Berlin in line with a policy of ‘acquiescence.’ And there was General de Gaulle, who decamped abroad to lead the fight against the Germans.

Putin then likened the present day ruling elites in the European Union as practitioners of the Petain policy: they have surrendered sovereignty and national traditions while acquiescing in domination by the USA. He was placing Pierre de Gaulle squarely in the tradition of his grandfather as a fighter for national sovereignty and values. Putin concluded, based on what he heard from Pierre, that perhaps France should submit an application to join BRICS.

It is interesting to note that mainstream French media have been quick to denounce Pierre de Gaulle. RTL.fr tells us that “De Gaulle would turn over in his grave” upon hearing the words of his grandson.

However, the logic in the grandson’s position cannot be so easily dismissed. After all it was Charles de Gaulle who withdrew France from NATO (1967). It was Charles de Gaulle who favored ‘a Europe from Brest to Vladivostok.’ The General had no wish to kowtow to Washington.

Curiously, the French commentary on Pierre de Gaulle has said nothing about his father Philippe, the General’s son, who rose in the French navy to the rank of rear admiral. Following his retirement from military service in 1982, Philippe de Gaulle became an ambassador for French big business. It was in about 1987 that I encountered Philippe when he appeared as a genial host to a delegation of Polish telecoms officials during their visit to Paris and talks with Alcatel, my employer at the time, over transfer of the world’s leading digital switching technology in a highly valued contract. Let us remember that Poland was at the time still Communist run and the technology in question was state of the art. Clearly the General’s son had no problems pursuing a major contract on behalf of France against other international competitors, chiefly in North America.

*****

The very long segment of front line reporting by Russia’s war correspondents on last night’s news wrap-up of the week made it manifestly clear that Russia is moving forward, from ‘active defense’ as Putin modestly described it a few weeks ago, to open offensive action that is advancing by several kilometers a day into Ukrainian lines thanks to massive artillery barrages day and night and drone-targeted bombing of Ukrainian trenches and strong points. As one soldier said frankly, ‘I wouldn’t like to be on the receiving end of this, but they have a choice if they want to survive – surrender.’ The soldier in question carries the nom de guerre Stary (old) and indeed by the unmasked part of his face he looked to be 55 or more. Like other fighters from the Donbas, he has been actively engaged on the front lines for 9 years, since 2014.

Listening to these people on the ground, it is clear that they will settle for nothing less than Ukrainian capitulation. Those in the West who are negotiating among themselves about some ‘frozen conflict’ outcome of this war miss the point entirely.

The whole report makes it plain that Russia will dictate the terms of a peace from a position of strength and Ukraine will be the supplicant. That is the reality as seen on Russian television.

Finally, allow me to offer a few remarks on last night’s segment devoted to the 60th anniversary of the assassination of JFK. It was based on documents pertaining to the case from the Soviet Central Committee archives that were only recently opened to the public. These included materials dispatched to the Kremlin by the then Soviet ambassador to the United States Dobrynin and materials from Nikita Khrushchev’s personal archival files. The presenters let the documents speak for themselves and did not venture to say more than was set down in 1963-64.

The point is that Kennedy and Khrushchev established some kind of personal rapport following the conclusion of the Cuban Missile crisis. The two leaders set up a backchannel for secret communications between themselves. On the American side the go-between was Pierre Salinger. The two sides were in agreement that nuclear war must be avoided and were taking steps to deconstruct the Cold War.

President Kennedy’s speech to the American University in Washington a few weeks before the assassination was remarked upon in Moscow by those who saw the possibility of a page being turned. JFK mentioned the Russian experience of war, its having lost 20 million in WWII, more than any other combatant country.

Khrushchev’s papers show that he was greatly shocked and saddened when he learned of Kennedy’s death. His wife Nina wrote personally to Jacqueline Kennedy to express her sadness.

The investigation report into the assassination issued in the States several weeks after the event was read with great skepticism in Moscow, where intelligence experts found the notion of a single murderer Oswald acting in isolation to be incredible. They believed the assassination was carried out by a group with unlimited financial and technical resources.

The Russians conducted their own investigation into Oswald and his several years spent in Minsk, where he married his wife Marina. They passed this information over to Washington in good faith.

As I say, last night’s News of the Week segment on JFK was aimed at removing any suspicion that Russia was involved. It did not point a finger in any direction, but with a little imagination, you might easily conclude that the CIA did it.

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2023

https://gilbertdoctorow.com/2023/11/20/ ... -the-week/
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Re: Russia today

Post by blindpig » Fri Nov 24, 2023 4:34 pm

The Lithuanian Elite Is Splitting Into Ideologues & Pragmatists On Russia

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ANDREW KORYBKO
NOV 24, 2023

If this country’s elite is splitting into ideologues and pragmatists on Russia despite their infamous reputation as Russophobes, then it should be taken for granted that the entire West’s is splitting too, the trend of which is expected to accelerate as the conflict continues winding down.

Lithuania is known to be one of the most Russophobic countries on the planet, which is why it was so surprising that President Gitanas Nauseda just slapped down Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis for fearmongering that freezing NATO’s proxy war on Russia through Ukraine could lead to war in Europe. That country’s top diplomat predicted that Russia would attack in a few years should that happen, which prompted its president to react by demanding that he “sit down and calm down.”

“NATO’s Proxy War On Russia Through Ukraine Appears To Be Winding Down” for the reasons contained in the preceding hyperlinked analysis, with even Bloomberg noting in its detailed article from Friday that the West has seen the writing on the wall and has begun pressuring Ukraine to consider a compromise. The problem is that some Western elite have been radicalized throughout the course of this nearly decade-long conflict’s latest phase and have thus attempted to stop that from happening.

Those like Landsbergis can’t countenance even an armistice, let alone a formal peace, for ideological reasons since that outcome would contradict their Russophobic worldview. In their minds, only fools trust Russia, which is supposedly always pining to invade its neighbors and will never lose this imperial lust. It would therefore amount to an unprecedented post-Old Cold War victory for Russia in their minds for Kiev to recommence peace talks in compliance with the West’s reported pressure as of late.

By contrast, while the entirety of the Lithuanian elite and most of the Western one in general nowadays is indisputably Russophobic, there still exist some comparatively more pragmatic figures who accept that the West lost the “race of logistics”/“war of attrition” to Russia and must now compromise with it. Considering how increasingly difficult it’s becoming to maintain the pace, scale, and scope of armed aid to Ukraine, freezing the conflict is deemed the “lesser evil” to risking a potential Russian breakthrough.

In the event that Russia smashes through the Line of Contact and steamrolls as far and fast as it can behind the front, then there’s a credible chance that the US would panic by authorizing a conventional (perhaps Polish-led) NATO intervention aimed at drawing a line in the sand as far east as possible. That would dramatically raise the risk of World War III by miscalculation, hence why only the most irredeemably radicalized ideologues like Landsbergis aren’t scared of that scenario.

To the contrary, he and his ilk across that New Cold War bloc have convinced themselves that Russia is extremely weak, will certainly back down under such direct military pressure, and would easily be destroyed by NATO if it doesn’t. The Russophobic worldview that was just described isn’t shared by the most influential members of the Western elite, even if it remains unclear what ratio of them in general agree with its precepts, as proven by that having not yet happened despite their repeated pleadings.

The comparative pragmatists among them had hitherto been reluctant to publicly express their more realistic views on this matter even though their most influential figures were formulating policy according to it since they feared that their ideological rivals would get the media to “cancel” them. At the very least, they’d be smeared as so-called “Russian agents”, “defeatists”, and/or “appeasers”, which could have forced their resignations under duress and thus ruined their lives.

The failure of Ukraine’s over-hyped and ultra-expensive counteroffensive revolutionized the Western discourse about this proxy war, however, as it’s now no longer taboo to talk about “face-saving” exit strategies from that conflict. In fact, it’s actually the latest narrative trend for the reasons that were earlier explained, which makes sense from the Western elite’s interests as a whole since fear that their class will be discredited in the public’s eyes if expectations about the endgame aren’t soon tempered.

They see the writing on the wall and know that Ukraine’s hoped-for maximalist victory over Russia is impossible to attain, yet freezing the proxy war without first tempering the public’s expectations could result in the radicalized masses turning against their elite on the pretext that they “sold out” to Russia. Ideologues like Landsbergis don’t realize it, but pushing their radical Russophobic worldview at this pivotal juncture in the proxy war discredits his class as a whole and is therefore counterproductive.

These calculations explain why the president had no choice but to slap down his top diplomat after the latter’s latest fearmongering, which set a powerful example for all their Western counterparts considering Lithuania’s infamous reputation for Russophobia. If this country’s elite is splitting into ideologues and pragmatists on Russia, then it should be taken for granted that the entire West’s is splitting too, the trend of which is expected to accelerate as the conflict continues winding down.

https://korybko.substack.com/p/the-lith ... -splitting

*******

Russia's Murmansk Region on Alert After Finland Closes Border

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Migrants at a crossing on the Finnish border, Nov. 23, 2023. | Photo: X/ @HucknLeberry

Migrants are exposed to a critical situation due to Finnish obstructions to their entry into Europe.

On Thursday, Murmansk Governor Andrey Chibis said that a high-alert regime has been introduced to ensure the safety of local residents. This regime will remain in force until December 23.

"The governor of Russia’s Murmansk region has declared a state of emergency. He says Finland’s decision to close all but one border crossing, located in the region, will likely cause an influx of foreign nationals trying to enter the E.U. through the area," Meduza reported.

The Murmask measures were taken after Finland announced on Wednesday to close almost all checkpoints on its border with Russia, except the one in the far north adjacent to Russia's Murmansk region.

The number of foreign citizens wishing to enter Finland through Murmansk region may increase several times as a result of the closure, Governor Chibis said.

He noted that as many as 400 foreigners were waiting to enter Finland from Murmansk on Wednesday, and only 50 of them were let through. The number was expected to rise further.

"Authorities in Murmansk plan to establish three reception points for migrants heading towards Finland. The centers will be located in Murmansk City and the towns of Kola and Kandalaksha," the Barents Observer reported.

After closing four checkpoints on the border with Russia last week, Finland decided to temporarily close three more checkpoints on the border with Russia, leaving only the northernmost checkpoint "Raja-Jooseppi" operating.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Finland should have raised its concerns in order to work out a mutually acceptable solution.

She also said that Russian authorities were willing to work with Finnish officials to reach an agreement on the issues.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Rus ... -0005.html

******

How NATO lobbyists are helping Armenia break ties with Russia
November 23, 2023
Rybar

Image

This week we profiled the consulting firm Rasmussen Global, founded by former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, which provides strategic advice to governments, global organizations and large corporations.

In addition to lobbying the interests of foreign businesses in Ukraine , Rasmussen Global seeks to establish itself in other countries of the post-Soviet space. This work is developing especially actively in Armenia .

The republic has long become a favorite place for various NGOs and foundations that are literally tearing the country apart, lobbying the interests of their Western sponsors. Rasmussen Global is not lagging behind, providing special services to the government of Armenia, for which they receive a warm welcome from the Prime Minister of the Republic Nikol Pashinyan.

Activities of Rasmussen Global in Armenia
At the end of February 2023, the company entered into a formal agreement for the provision of advisory and lobbying services with the government of Armenia. On the Armenian side, the agreement was signed by the head of the office of the Prime Minister of the Republic, Arayik Harutyunyan.

The subject of the agreement is “to assist Yerevan in achieving its political goals regarding Europe,” which in turn involves the provision of services such as promoting Armenia’s position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and building up defensive capabilities in cooperation with the West.

In particular, the consultants promised the Armenians to attract foreign investment and build closer relations with the EU. This is planned to be achieved by directly contacting key decision-makers in the European Commission and using the entire arsenal of advisers to the organization’s founder, former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

The mission will be carried out, among other things, with the involvement of the Armenian embassies in Brussels and capitals and through relevant events where the republic can be presented to business leaders. Rasmussen Global will develop media campaigns specifically for this purpose . The organization also promises to push Armenian politicians into key EU political events.

By the way, Armenia, as, by the way, Ukraine and Moldova, for Rasmussen Global are unique examples of their work, so the lobbyists are trying very hard. This is especially evident in the development of long-term strategies for several years ahead.

The remuneration for services, by the way, is 68,750 euros per month , including 25% Danish VAT.

As part of the execution of the contract, the company has already conducted a number of interviews with EU functionaries regarding the possible allocation of financial resources to Armenia from the European Peace Fund (EPF).

As it became known, on June 28 this year, the Armenian Defense Minister sent a letter to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell asking for EPF support for Armenia. However, Borrell rejected the offer, which caused discontent in a number of European countries. The main argument was that the EPF would undermine the EU's role as mediator in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Also extremely interesting is the report on the trip of representatives of the Armenian government to Brussels in July 2023, organized by Rasmussen Global . The head of the Armenian delegation, Secretary of the Security Council of the Republic Armen Grigoryan , at the very beginning of the meeting with the ambassadors, immediately stated that the main goal of his country at this point in time is to get rid of the widespread narrative that “Armenia is a strategic partner of Russia . ” This statement, in his opinion, does not contribute to the development of the country’s relations with the EU. In this regard, Armenia has already taken and plans to take a number of other measures aimed at getting out of Russia’s influence.
“the inability of the Russian Federation to protect Armenia and its interests,” Moscow’s popularity in the republic fell sharply. And here he was greatly helped by the data collected by Rasmussen Global consultants: the perception of Russia as positive at that time was 49%, compared to 89% a few years earlier. While 90% of respondents had a positive attitude towards the EU.

Grigoryan also stated that Armenia intends to completely abandon Russian weapons. Although at the moment, according to his own data, the Armenian Armed Forces are armed with about 96% of Russian-made weapons.

In addition, he pointed out the need for military reform in order to completely change the practice of army training, reorienting it to NATO standards. At the same time, it is planned to create a new intelligence service. It will probably not include people who were trained in Russia .

And in order to gain energy independence, Armenia plans to build an American nuclear power plant on its territory.

At the same time, there are a number of issues that currently do not allow Armenia to become the center of attention among European politicians; in particular, it is necessary to significantly increase the mention of Armenia in the European media.

As a result of the meetings, Rasmussen Global and representatives of Armenia agreed on comprehensive support for the country in the EU, organizing its promotion in the news feeds of major media companies in Europe, as well as other lobbying steps that need to be taken to build closer relations with the EU and get rid of the image of a “strategic Russia's partner."

During the working interaction of the Rasmussen Global team with representatives of the Armenian government, it was proposed to create a democracy promotion fund in the country - the Armenian Democracy Foundation (ADF), which “could take on the task of establishing communication with democratic countries.”

Taking into account the direct participation in this fund of foreign analytical centers and other democratic institutions , we can talk about an attempt to create a control organization that will give direct instructions on democratic transformations in the country, which, in turn, is a way to establish control over the politics of Armenia and create a “puppet government" to the detriment of state sovereignty.

Rasmussen Global stated that in order to receive comprehensive assistance , Armenia needs to implement a plan of several points, the implementation of which would allow it to achieve this as quickly as possible. The plan included, for example, a visible demonstration of political solidarity with the democratic government in Yerevan through high-level meetings and visits. In addition, it included a clause on expanding the EU Mission to Armenia (EUMA) through additional observers, field offices and geographical coverage. There is also a condition for the deployment of a full-scale CSDP military mission (the main element of the EU's common foreign and security policy) and the division of forces along the entire Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

In response to this, Western representatives promise to begin a discussion on visa liberalization, as well as its inclusion in the planned Black Sea Energy submarine cable project and the lifting of the embargo on arms sales to the republic.

As of early November of this year, active interaction between Rasmussen Global and the Armenian authorities was systematically increasing .

In particular, our editorial office has at its disposal a confidential company report on a working trip to Armenia, which took place from October 9 to October 12, 2023. It contains theses of meetings held with various functionaries of the Armenian government, as well as representatives of the diplomatic corps of the EU countries, Great Britain and the United States in the country.

The main points highlighted, for example, were that Yerevan is turning away from Moscow and seeking to diversify its relations. This includes not only the West, but also countries like India.

What's the result?
It can be stated that Rasmussen Global is making significant efforts to reach out to the former USSR countries and integrate them into the European space. At the same time, one cannot help but note the fact that the organization is not a “think tank” in a certain sense, but using its lobbying capabilities, it makes money from “third world” countries, forming “turnkey cases” from them.

The former NATO Secretary General does not miss the opportunity to remind himself and monetize his past connections and authority. At the same time, for the “clients” of Rasmussen and his company, such methods ultimately result in the loss of state sovereignty, which both the Ukrainian and Armenian authorities are only too happy to share.


In particular, according to Grigoryan, after revealing

https://rybar.ru/kak-byvshie-funkczione ... sya-ot-rf/

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Re: Russia today

Post by blindpig » Sat Nov 25, 2023 4:47 pm

BEN ARIS: PUTIN HOLDS A THIRD OLIGARCH MEETING
NOVEMBER 24, 2023 NATYLIESB
By Ben Aris, Intellinews, 11/17/23

Russian President Vladimir Putin held a late-night oligarch meeting on November 16 where dozens of Russia’s top oligarchs expressed anxiety over a wave of nationalisations since the start of the war in Ukraine just under two years ago, Vedomosti reports.

As reported by bne IntelliNews, there has been a tsunami of M&A deals in the last year, as leading Russian companies and people close to the government have snapped up the businesses of departing multinationals. Amongst the victims of forced takeovers have been some leading Russian companies like Tinkoff bank and Yandex that have been acquired, or are being acquired, by state-owned businesses of people close to the Kremlin.

This is the third time that Putin has called in Russia’s business elite for a meeting. The first was held on July 28 just after he took office for the first time in 2000, where the president famously made the pact: keep what you got but stay out of politics.

Oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky famously reneged on that deal and was arrested in 2003, convicted of fraud in May 2005 and spent the next nine years in a Russian labour camp. Putin held a second oligarch meeting shortly after Khodorkovsky’s arrest where he added to the terms of the unwritten agreement, “… and use your wealth for the betterment of the country,” ushering in the “ZAO Kremlin” economic model. For several years Putin held one-on-one meetings with leading businessmen, who had to present their investment plans. Putin, acting more like a CEO than a president, would then “explain” how those plans could be adjusted to dovetail with the Kremlin’s own development plans.

ZAO Kremlin was a failure as the oligarchs continued to buy influence and pursue their own goals. In one famous incident at the end of this era Putin flew to the mono-city of Pikalyovo in 2009 and publicly humiliated a top oligarch Oleg Deripaska who had a factory there where the workers had not been paid for months. Putin, playing on the anger of protesting workers in the town, forced Oleg Deripaska, a top metals tycoon and once Russia’s richest man and a close Kremlin insider, to sign a contract for supplies to help idle factories restart operations on live TV. The coup de grace was Putin’s venomous comment: “Give me back my pen” after Deripaska had signed the deal, but walked off the pen he had been given by Putin.


Putin abandoned trying to co-op the oligarchs into his programme to develop the economy and focused more on containing their avarice, turning instead to the stoligarchs, the small group of state-sponsored oligarchs that were personal friends of Putin’s and came to control a fifth of the Russian economy. The rest of the oligarchs were left largely alone to run their business in the privately owned part of the economy, managed by the liberal economics team, headed by former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin and his protegees.

The details of the third meeting, held between 10am and midnight on November 16 remain vague, as few of those that attended where willing to talk, but leading Russian business daily Vedomosti reports that one of the topics of conversation was the rising anxiety amongst Russia’s captains of industry over the Kremlin’s aggressive policy of taking control of some of Russia’s biggest businesses.

At the meeting with dozens of Russian business leaders they complained of the increasing number of nationalisations that have occurred since the invasion of Ukraine, according to anonymous sources cited by Vedomosti.

The sources highlighted the trend of state seizures of private businesses over the past year and a half as “frightening” and expressed alarm. While officials attempted to address the 80 business mens’ concerns during the two-hour meeting, participants left with the impression that the Kremlin would also raise taxes for increased war spending, rather than tightening fiscal policies, and that would also cause them problems.

The stated purpose of the meeting was to discuss ways to “improve Russia’s investment climate” in the face of extreme Western sanctions and create conditions for companies transferring assets to Russian jurisdiction from “unfriendly” countries. However, the meeting can be characterised as yet another addition to Putin’s pact with the oligarchs: “… and pay more taxes to support the war effort or I will take your companies away after all.”

Prominent attendees at the meeting included Sberbank CEO German Gref and Russian Railways head Oleg Belozerov, who are both stoligarchs identified in bne IntelliNews’ 2016 cover article. Also in attendance were Kamaz head Sergei Kogogin, as well as government officials like presidential economic advisor Maxim Oreshkin, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov, and Economics Minister Maxim Reshetnikov.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has been working hard to avoid raising taxes to fund the war, where state spending has been ballooning as Putin clearly is preparing for a long war.

The sanctions were designed to starve the Kremlin of funds to fuel its war machine and that goal has clearly failed. After reporting deep twin deficits in December 2022 and January 2023, the economy has made a strong recovery and the economy is on course to turn in 2.2% growth this year, while most of the rest of Europe is teetering on the edge of recession. “The worst is over”, declared Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin at an economic conference in October. The realisation that sanctions have failed to do enough damage to Russia to end the war quickly is starting to sink in as epitomised by a Wall Street Journal editorial on November 16 entitled “It’s Time to End Magical Thinking About Russia’s Defeat”, which admits sanctions have failed.

“At the front line, there are no indications that Russia is losing what has become a war of attrition. The Russian economy has been buffeted, but it is not in tatters. Putin’s hold on power was, paradoxically, strengthened following Yevgeny Prigozhin’s failed rebellion in June. Popular support for the war remains solid, and elite backing for Putin has not fractured,” the Wall Street Journal wrote.

Russia has survived the first two years of a proxy war against the West, but analysts are unanimous that the sanctions will tell over the longer term. Putin’s third oligarch meeting was all about getting ready for the problems to come, not the problems he already has to cope with.

Russia has already transformed from an open, largely private sector economy with an open current account, to a closed system where the state’s share and interference in the economy has rapidly escalated.

The threat of nationalisation is seen as a component of Russia’s approach to punishing countries that have seized Russian [assets] in the rest of Europe, but well connected opportunistic entrepreneurs are also making use of the war chaos and the complete shake up nearly ever sector to enrich themselves and establish new empires, as bne IntelliNews reported in Russia’s new business elite.

https://natyliesbaldwin.com/2023/11/ben ... h-meeting/

Compelling the rich to pay taxes! How fucking novel.(Not even the Roman emperors could do that.) It's still capitalism and must be destroyed but compared to the liberal Western version quasi-humanistic. Putin better keep his numbers high, if they slide the butt-hurt oligarchs will have their knives out.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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Re: Russia today

Post by blindpig » Sun Nov 26, 2023 11:15 pm

What Russian talk shows are discussing: NATO General Harald Kujat‘s interview and ‘Bild’ exposé on suing for peace
November 25, 2023 18

As I have mentioned in recent weeks, Russian talk shows like Sixty Minutes do not fabricate material for their audience. No, they take video and text from mainstream Western media outlets and put up on the screen very representative excerpts of what is being said in the West about the war in Ukraine. This is then discussed by panelists. Sometimes, when the material is especially outrageous in demonstrating the ignorance and or moral depravity of Western politicians, it is passed along to viewers without comment so that they may digest it on their own.

A couple of weeks ago, Russian television directed special attention to an interview with General Harald Kuyat that was properly published in the West. Kuyat is ex-head of the NATO Military Committee and, before that he was Germany’s highest ranking officer with the title of Inspector General of the Bundeswehr. The interview was originally posted on youtube in German: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ws0wX6ZTjkk

The interview was given the title: “NATO General Kujat: Ukraine mit riesigen Verlusten, Selenskyj kann Krieg nicht gewinnen!” [NATO General Kujat: Ukraine has taken enormous losses, Zelensky cannot win the war!”]

If you have not heard about this interview, which is likely, the reason is not due to the language issue. A slightly shortened English language transcript of the interview came out soon afterwards and is available here:

https://vpk.name/en/794057_the-german-g ... ussia.html

The Russian news broadcasters focused attention on the evaluation this high military expert gave to the state of the war, in particular to the way that Russia is emerging much stronger militarily and economically than it was in February 2022, contrary to the expectations of the United States and its allies, while Ukraine has lost its military potential and cannot win however much assistance it receives from the West since its human reserves have been depleted.

Secondarily, the Russians called out General Kujat’s conclusion that the war could have been prevented had only the United States taken seriously Russia’s demands in December 2021 that Ukraine not be admitted to NATO and that the security architecture of Europe be renegotiated. Moreover, Kujat blames the United States and Britain for sabotaging the March 2022 tentative peace treaty reached between Kiev and Moscow, and for missing another opportunity to conclude a peace on relatively advantageous terms for Kiev in September 2022. He insists that Putin was and is open to holding negotiations while Kiev and its backers in the West have prevented them, even as Ukraine’s war casualties have grown exponentially.

Those of you who take the time to read the transcript will find that there are several other very important points in the interview that Russian broadcasters did not deal with. First, General Kujat remarks that quite apart from control of given territories formerly part of the Ukrainian state, no one will win this war in terms of their political objectives, and for that reason it should be ended as soon as possible before hundreds of thousands more are killed or maimed.

And the interview is remarkable for what Kujat has to say about his compatriots, about the German government leaders’ incompetence and irresponsibility, with, as one might expect, special mention of German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s personal contribution to the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine. I believe this merits a quotation at length:

The whole problem is that at least since the last change of government here in Germany, we have people in the leadership of the country who…Let’s just say that these people because of their incompetence and ignorance, make mistakes, and we have the policy that they pursue…

This is a dangerous policy. It is carried out fanatically, according to the same principle that a horse runs with blinders on his eyes. No one looks to the right or to the left. Benfits and losses for the Germans are not taken into account. But here’s the main thing: no one thinks what consequences such a policy will lead to for the Ukrainians. But they suffer primarily from the current fighting. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed, the country was destroyed. Our politicians take all this out of context and shout loudly: ‘The main thing is that Ukraine must win.’ It sounds like a mantra…

But, listen, this is not politics! This is not how politics is done. This is fanaticism. And this is a big disappointment. And, of course, it is very difficult to observe how all the experience that we have accumulated over the past decades is being forgotten. The German leadership is simply trampling on this experience, although it has come in handy both in foreign policy and in the security sphere. It was this experience that allowed us to achieve the reunification of Germany. Thanks to the policy based on this experience, we have lived in security and prosperity for decades…

I consider this behavior [of German politicians] irresponsible.

*****

Yesterday there was another German-sourced news item that received top attention on Russian state television’s Sixty Minutes: an article in the tabloid Bild suggesting that German Chancellor Scholz and U.S. President Biden have agreed to pressure Zelensky to negotiate a peace with Russia. Bild cites sources in the German government who say that the two leaders plan to scale back arms deliveries to Ukraine so that Kiev can hold the line but not have the means to advance against Russian forces and recover its lost territories. Zelensky will be urged to explain to the nation that it is time to open talks with Moscow. Failing that, the war should be declared a frozen conflict without any formal treaty.

In the West, the Bild articlehas been widely reported by media including The Telegraph and Yahoo News.

In Russia, the Bild articleis in line with what they have been talking about on air for weeks, namely how the United States seeks to use the cover of the Israel-Hamas war to disengage from the Ukraine conflict, as if a nod and a wink from Washington is all that is needed to settle up with the Russians..

In talk shows like Evening with Vladimir Solovyov, the host and panelists all agree that their country will not stop until the objectives of the Special Military Operation are achieved now that the Russian forces clearly have the upper hand and are poised for a massive offensive. There will be no ‘frozen conflict’ until the Ukrainian armed forces are destroyed and there is regime change in Kiev, meaning the removal not just of the figurehead Zelensky but of the entire neo-Nazi gang that has directed policy since the Maidan coup d’état in February 2014.

Those in the United States who believe Vladimir Putin will settle for less are deluding themselves

*****

I close this essay with a step back from current events. I want to share with readers what I discovered last night while preparing old files in my archive for shredding now that I am about to move house and must ‘downsize.’

As I was going through documents from 2015, I came across an email exchange with Professor Stephen Cohen that is a valuable reminder not to ‘worship graven images,’ if I may put the lesson in Biblical terms.

Many of you knew Cohen as a profound voice on Russian affairs outside of classrooms, in mainstream broadcasting, going back to the late 1990s when he was routinely invited on air for comment by CBS, CNN and other major channels. In the new millennium he fell from grace as U.S. relations with Russia deteriorated and from 2014 on he was blacklisted by American television for what was deemed to be pro-Russian views. However, he remained accessible to a radio audience that was syndicated nationally and held forth once a week nearly until his death in 2020. His last book, War with Russia? is, regrettably, even more timely than when it first appeared.

For the six years till his death, I was in a close, almost daily correspondence with Cohen. We were co-founders of the American Committee for East West Accord. I was secretary and treasurer of the organization as well as founder of a European office of ACEWA. In that capacity on 2 March 2015 I arranged a round table entitled “Defining a New Security Architecture for Europe that Brings Russia in from the Cold” The venue was the International Press Club of Brussels, now re-launched as the Ukrainian Press Club – times do change! I was the moderator. Steve, his wife Katrina Vanden Heuvel and John Mearsheimer were the panelists. The show was videotaped and posted on the internet where it is still available for viewing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6loGinpUtU&t=130s

In the dinner party at our home in downtown Brussels on the evening before the Round Table, John Mearsheimer and I had a chat over Russia’s place in the world. John was totally dismissive of Russia, even if he believed the country had to be given better treatment from the West.

A few days later I wrote to John after reflecting upon our conversation:

“You were fairly certain that [Russia] has no future and based your judgment on economic indicators, in particular GDP per capita, but also on the loss of half the population of what was the USSR, on the de-industrialization that took place in the 1990s, on the over-dependence today on extractive industries, and so forth.”

I proceeded to explain why he was wrong, why GDP is a false measure of potential for Hard Power, and why the resilience of the Russian people would restore its position as a great power come what may.

I then wrote to Cohen about this exchange of views and he responded with the following email:

“In John you encounter what I did. He knows nothing about Russia and is dependent on all the lousy media ‘sources’ that abound. That’s why I say he is a one trick pony we can ride only so far…”

Whether or not he is a ‘one trick pony,’ Mearsheimer’s dismissiveness based on willful ignorance and lack of feel for the country is much bigger than the man.


John Mearsheimer is the present day dean of the Realist School in American political science. He holds a professorship at the University of Chicago which from the days of Hans Morgenthau has been the cradle of the Realist School.

In principle, the Realist School bases itself on factual knowledge of each and every country that counts in global politics. In that respect it differentiates itself from the now dominant Idealist School, or Wilsonian School, which is embedded in globalism and the belief that people are the same everywhere and so knowledge of languages and country histories is not necessary; it is universal metrics like GDP which tell you all you need to know.

Regrettably, if John Mearsheimer cares not a whit about the intangibles that make a country great or otherwise, then it is a poor quality Realism he is preaching. In this he is by no means alone: Henry Kissinger, another leader of the Realist School in the 20th century also could not be bothered learning much about the country (Russia) that formulated and guided the Holy Alliance that came out of the Congress of Vienna which was the subject of his doctoral work. Henry’s love later in his life was China, as anyone who has picked up his volume On China will understand.

What I am saying is that the difference between Realists and Idealists in American political science is less than theory would suggest. And lest I be misunderstood, my remarks about the shortcomings of Mearsheimer with respect to Russia in no way detract from my admiration and respect for his courageous explanation of why the West is to blame for the Russian-Ukrainian war that goes back to an article he published in Foreign Affairs in 2014.

As a final point, my response to Mearsheimer on Russia’s underappreciated tangible and intangible assets led to publication of my article “Does Russia Have a Future?” which in turn provided the title and opening chapter of a collection of essays that I published later in the year 2015.

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2023

*******

Retaining wall
November 26, 11:09

Image

The biggest scandal in Sevastopol in recent times. A recently repaired retaining wall collapsed in the very center of the city on Admiral Oktyabrsky. To the governor’s credit, he did not shield the guilty and heads have already rolled + the governor apologized to the townspeople.
( Collapse )

Good evening. Right now, work is continuing to strengthen a fragment of the retaining wall on the street. Admiral Oktyabrsky, which was previously partially dismantled, and early this morning the remaining part of the masonry spilled onto the road. The road was previously fenced off, the pedestrian passage was closed, and no one was injured.

Nevertheless, the fact itself gave rise to fair criticism of the Sevastopol residents. By the way, throughout the rainy week a lot was said and written about the wall. Responsible officials got away with calming reports from contractors who were “monitoring” the situation.

Today I spent most of the day debriefing. Here are the main conclusions:

1. The destruction of this area in general initially began and came to the current situation due to the bricking up of storm drainage pipes. In Soviet times, during renovations in the 80s, when the wall was covered with granite mosaics, they were there. Presumably, they were bricked up during the renovation of the wall in 2018-19. And the water from the upper level did not actually flow onto the road, as in most retaining walls of the city, but saturated the rubble masonry in the body of the wall (this is clearly visible after sprinkling - the characteristic black dirty soil under the drainage hole). At the same time, by the way, trees were cut down along the Blood Center, which took away some of the moisture and stabilized the soil. Law enforcement officers will now deal with this contract, its curators and executors.

2. What the renovation of 2018 led to became obvious in the summer of this year. The wall gave way. I gave all the necessary instructions. Secure the site as much as possible and prepare for major reconstruction. Part of the wall, as I already said, was dismantled, the upper pedestrian level was closed, fences were installed, and the lighting pole with the trolleybus support was removed. This helped avoid a much more unpleasant situation. The selected contractor began surveying and designing the wall reconstruction. The project was supposed to be ready by the end of December, work began at the end of January, beginning of February.

3. Responsibility and conclusions. My deputy, Evgeniy Sergeevich Gorlov, who was entrusted with leading the project, poorly assessed the situation and did not take all measures to more quickly resolve the problem, and did not exercise sufficient control over the implementation of the project. He will have the opportunity to correct the situation, but while he has been declared incomplete, I will also on Monday withdraw the letter from the Legislative Assembly approving him for the position of my deputy.

The director of the city affairs department will leave his position on Monday. The contractor will be excluded from the design and, of course, execution of the work. Based on the results of the inspection by the prosecutor's office, conclusions will be drawn about the quality and completeness of the contractor's implementation of emergency work.

4. A new designer will be identified, all errors will be taken into account, including the situation with the drainage of wastewater from the entire hospital campus. When reconstructing the wall, we will organize everything correctly and in an engineering sense and return the wall to its authentic appearance for the city; we will finish it with rubble masonry (the wall, of course, will be made of reinforced concrete). We will discuss the new look at the Architectural Council.

5. A question that is long overdue, and which was emphasized by the situation that happened today. Wastewater and drainage systems must be dealt with in detail and professionally. In Sevastopol there is no specific person responsible; some are done by the water utility, some by the city farm, and some by the Criminal Code. We have developed and approved a storm drainage scheme, we are designing LOS-4, treatment plants for storm drainage for most of the Leninsky district, but we need an organization that should be responsible for this area. In Moscow, for example, it is Mosvodostok. Therefore, now we will create a separate department in the work of Vodokanal, which will be responsible for the city drainage system, and in the future, when implementing the scheme, we will make this division a separate service.

Dear residents of Sevastopol, I apologize for this unpleasant situation. It is definitely surmountable. As you know, the one who does nothing makes no mistakes. Good evening again. (c) Razvozhaev

PS. The main thing is that this time it should be done right.

https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/8788336.html

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"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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Re: Russia today

Post by blindpig » Tue Nov 28, 2023 12:11 am

Three hundred thousand Israelis have fled abroad since 7 October
November 27, 2023

The opening discussion on yesterday’s edition of Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyov centered on the number of Israelis who have fled abroad since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. The host quoted the figure 300,000 and put it into a context that is very closely watched in Russia: how many of their own compatriots fled abroad in the first year of the Special Military Operation in Ukraine, most of them in the days immediately following the announcement of a partial mobilization in September of that year.

The flight of several hundred thousand Russians abroad was trumpeted by mainstream Western media, which even sent journalists to remote places in Kazakhstan and Georgia to interview the draft-dodgers. We were told that the young Russians who fled were highly concentrated in IT and that their loss would do irreparable harm to Russian industry and to the war effort. These young men at the start of their professional careers tended to move to the Near Abroad, where they hoped to find employment easily given the universal demand for their technical skills and where they could receive remittances from their parents and friends via the existing banking system, whereas in the West they would be cut off from such sources of funds.

Both at the very start of the Ukraine war and in smaller numbers straight up to this past summer, there were also high visibility Russians in the business world, in the creative arts and especially in the entertainment industry who moved out of Russia to express their disapproval of the Putin ‘regime’ and its armed aggression. Some were quiet about their motives, but others spoke out openly, saying they could no longer live in a country that invaded its neighbors and violated international law. This group was older, wealthier than the IT nerds and chose to move out into the greater world where they might continue to enjoy the creature comforts to which their money made them accustomed. Since London and Paris were longer welcoming to Russians of any and all stripes, a good many chose to settle in Israel, both Jews and non-Jews alike. Russia has a visa free regime with Israel and many direct daily flights to Tel Aviv. Other well-to-do Russians moved to Dubai.

As for the first group of Russian ‘war exiles,’ most were disappointed by the professional opportunities they found in the former Soviet republics. Pay was low, the cost of housing was high and rising with each additional refugee arrival looking to rent. Meanwhile, back in Russia it became clear that there were exemptions available for really talented programmers and the likelihood of any further conscription was minimal now that more than 400,000 Russian men were volunteering for military service out of both rising patriotism and very attractive monetary rewards for service in the combat zone. As a result, a great many of the draft dodging young men slowly and quietly packed up and moved back to Russia.

For the second group of Russians, the stars and wealthy, the onset of the Israel-Hamas war put them in a most awkward situation. The Financial Times was quick to alert us that on 8 October Alfa Bank founder Mikhail Fridman, who had left his London mansion and a good part of his frozen-assets fortune behind to resettle in Israel earlier this year, had taken the first available flight out of Israel and flew back to Moscow, for a ‘temporary’ respite. Abrupt departure from Israel was also the path taken by the aging star Alla Pugacheva, another rather recent ‘settler’ in Israel, ostensibly there for medical treatment at the spas. Pugacheva flew out to Cyprus. We may assume that high-living Russians constituted a significant minority share of the 300,000 folks who fled Israel for safer climes at the start of the war. Hence the particular interest in the subject among Moscow’s chattering classes.

This entire issue of what Russia media today amusingly call the релоканты, ‘relocators’ in English, touches a deep chord among the opinion leaders who appear on the Russian talk shows. We may assume that the topic also figures large when ordinary Russians in Moscow and elsewhere break bread together.

Should these people upon their return be shipped out to Magadan, where the Russian Far East meets the Pacific ocean, best known as a transit hub in the Stalinist gulags? None other than Chairman of the Russian State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin publicly proposed this fate for them. But Volodin had in mind only those who used their time outside Russia to defame the country, not those who quietly sipped their champagne in restaurants by the sea in Tel Aviv.

No doubt kitchen talk in Russia runs close to what Solovyov says on air: that Russian cultural leaders who moved abroad in protest at the bestial nature of their homeland, like the celebrated authors Lyudmila Ulitskaya or Vladimir Sorokin, must be eating their words as they witness the utter brutality of the Israeli Defense Forces pursuing their atrocities in Gaza.

Coming back to the figure of 300,000 Israelis who have fled the country since the start of the war, Solovyov noted, with justice, that if you project the ratio of these turncoats to the general Israeli population of 9 million onto Russia, with its 145 million plus inhabitants, then the number of Russians who fled after 22 February 2022 would have been 4.5 million, while the actual numbers of Russians were between 10 and 15 times less. His inescapable conclusion is that Russians are far more patriotic than Israelis are.

The rest of the Sunday night program was largely devoted to fleshing out the argument that Russians have been far too self-deprecating, far too unappreciative of their own strength and their own achievements since the start of the war in Ukraine. The ability of the country within the scope of two years to institute a war economy that has increased many fold the output and delivery to the front lines of latest technology tanks, artillery, kamikaze and surveillance drones, fighter jets is very impressive, especially when set out in detail by a military expert, a retired Lieutenant General who was a panelist on the show. The ability of Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and his cabinet to manage the domestic civilian economy was also hailed. Russia is now feeding itself from a vastly strengthened agribusiness sector and is steadily expanding the array of consumer products produced at home, while importing from China and elsewhere in the East other products, including more than half of all new cars sold in Russia, that are often of higher quality and carry price tags way below what had been imported from Europe before the war.

For reasons that will not surprise attentive readers, none of these achievements gets much attention in Western media. However, the Chinese are watching closely. A delegation of Russian parliamentarians who went to Beijing this past week in an annual visit was exceptionally received by Chinese President Xi, who according to protocol, does not meet with foreign legislators. Russian output in Q3 of this year reached 5% growth. That matches the relatively low pace of the Chinese economy this year. But for Russia it is a new high in this millennium. The open question on the Solovyov show was how to emulate the Chinese model of relations between the central bank and the government in order to sustain financing of the economy needed to continue at this pace and not have a relapse to 1.5% annual growth, which is the scenario being prepared by the bank director Nabiullina. This is an issue in Russian political discourse that will not go away.

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2023

https://gilbertdoctorow.com/2023/11/27/ ... 7-october/

*******

The situation in Moldova for November 20 - 26
November 27, 2023
Rybar

Image

Interior furnishings
Renewed farmer protests and agrarian crisis
Farmer protests have resumed in Moldova . Videos of clashes between protesters and the police, who blocked traffic on the Ialoveni-Chisinau highway to prevent farmers from entering the capital, appeared online .

The farmers still managed to get their equipment to the center of Chisinau, but none of the government members wanted to negotiate with them.

The Power of Farmers association has been holding protests since May, demanding that the government, following the example of other countries, limit the uncontrolled export of Ukrainian products to Moldova, pay compensation to small and medium-sized farmers, and also introduce a moratorium on their bankruptcy.

Moldova is being made into a transit territory for the military and economic needs of Ukraine, simultaneously destroying the national agriculture for the sake of corporations such as Blackrock .

Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Vladimir Bolya admitted that “farmers are driven into a dead end,” but insisted that the authorities cannot intervene in the banking system to comply with their demands for a moratorium on bankruptcy.

Former President of Moldova Igor Dodon said that the authorities are deliberately ruining farmers in order to transfer their lands to large foreign holdings. According to him, all commercial banks in Moldova are owned by foreigners, so we can talk about an established scheme between the authorities and banks for the bankruptcy of farmers.

Economist Veaceslav Ionita believes that Moldovan farmers are suffering losses incomparable to any other period.

The Euronews channel made a report about the colossal traffic jams at border points that do not allow Moldovan farmers to export their products. In particular, the Moldovan border point of Giurgiulesti is overloaded with Ukrainian trucks .

Protests of motor carriers
On the same day , Moldovan road carriers, who lined up in a column of buses near the government building, came out to protest on the National Assembly Square in Chisinau .

Road carriers do not agree with the new Transport Code proposed by the Ministry of Infrastructure, which could result in large fines and loss of licenses. In their opinion, the interests of corrupt groups are behind the amendments.

Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development Andrei Spinu said that he “didn’t understand what” road carriers want: “They come and blame us for everything, but don’t say what exactly they want.”

Second round of local elections
The second round of local elections took place in Moldova . The ruling Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) won only a third of the country's localities - 291 out of 895.

Next comes the Party of Socialists (PSRM) , which won in 144 localities, and the third is completed by independent candidates who won in 116 entities.

In the second round, mayors of 12 cities were additionally elected: PAS candidates won only two of them - Calarasi and Nisporeni.

The socialists gained the upper hand in three cities - Bessarabka, Floresti, Sholdanesti. Candidates from “Our Party” were also elected in three cities - in Balti (the second largest city), Riscani, and Cantemir.

An independent candidate won in Ungheni, despite the fact that a PAS representative was in the lead in the first round. In the capital of Gagauzia, Comrat, an independent candidate was also elected, but in the traditionally Russian-speaking autonomy, the ruling party of Maia Sandu does not even field its candidates.

In the district councils of the country, PAS received 32.8% of the votes, PSMR - 23.5%, and the European Social Democratic Party - 8.1%.

As in the first round, the ruling PAS party was unable to achieve significant success, despite the use of administrative resources and severe pressure on the opposition.

Economist Veaceslav Ionice believes that Moldovans’ disappointment with the actions of PAS “creates an alarming situation for the vector of European integration.”

The expert also identified three types of voters in Moldova: pro-European and anti-Russian (30%), pro-Russian and anti-European (30%) and “business executives who want peace with everyone” (40%).

Extension of the state of emergency
The Moldovan authorities have again extended the state of emergency in the country, which was introduced in 2021. This time, representatives of the ruling PAS party said that the state of emergency would be extended until the end of the conflict in Ukraine, which “creates a direct risk for the national security of the Republic of Moldova.”

The opposition opposed the next decision, and the representative of the opposition Bloc of Communists, Vlad Batrincea , claims that the state of emergency allows Maia Sandu and her party to break the law.

Creation of a center to combat disinformation
The head of the newly created center for combating disinformation, Anna Revenko , said that active work is now underway on its “potential structure.” Previously, Revenco headed the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but resigned after the shooting at Chisinau airport in June 2023.

The media also spread information that the position at the center could be taken by the former head of the Border Police, Rosian Vasiloi , who left his previous post only after the second serious emergency at the capital’s airport, when an inadmissible passenger escaped from the passport control zone in early November.

Apparently, the center for combating disinformation will become a haven for incompetent personnel from Maia Sandu’s team .

Foreign policy
Visit of Maia Sandu to Kyiv

President of Moldova Maia Sandu arrived in Kiev and took part in the mourning event on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Maidan together with the Zelensky couple.

It was Sanda who was sent to honor the memory of the Maidan activists, and the European and American officials who arrived in Kyiv decided not to highlight themselves once again, since Ukraine was no longer in the trend in the media.

In Kiev, Sandu and Zelensky also met with the head of the European Council, Charles Michel, about the prospects for European integration of both countries. Michel warned that they face a long negotiation process that is "full of demands and sometimes frustrating."

Anti-Russian policy and exit from the CIS
On November 24, the Parliament of Moldova approved the denunciation of seven treaties within the CIS: in the field of health protection, information activities, mutual assistance in accidents and other emergencies at power plants, providing border guards with weapons and military equipment, as well as on scientific and nuclear research.

Earlier, Chairman of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation Valentina Matvienko noted that Moldova will not be a member of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly from February 8 .

The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova , said that Moldova has set a course for artificial de-Russification of the country, prohibiting the broadcast of Russian-language materials under far-fetched pretexts and discriminating against citizens on the basis of language.

According to her, “Russian institutions are working to protect the Russian language in Moldova, organizing various linguistic events, round tables, and conferences.”

Military escalation and Transnistria
Possible military escalation in Transnistria
A number of Ukrainian and Moldovan Telegram channels express the opinion that Maia Sandu’s visit to Kiev was associated with a discussion of the military scenario in Transnistria.

In addition, a week earlier, the new British Foreign Minister David Cameron visited Kiev and then Chisinau , after which supposedly “work with British intelligence on the line of possible scenarios in the PMR sharply intensified.”

Transnistria is considered as a second front against the backdrop of the failure of the Ukrainian Armed Forces' counter-offensive. Ukraine's target could also be a weapons warehouse in Kolbasna .

Moldova's accession to the South-Eastern European Defense Ministers' Meeting (SEDM)
Moldova has officially joined the South-Eastern European Defense Ministers (SEDM) platform, which operates under the patronage of NATO . The corresponding document was signed by Defense Minister Anatoly Nosaty at the SEDM summit in Ankara.

On July 1, Romania became the chairman of the SEDM coordinating committee , and since the summer Bucharest has been busy lobbying for Moldova to join the organization.

On the sidelines of the summit, Nosatiy also held a meeting with Turkish Defense Minister Yashar Güler , at which they discussed the role of the Turks in the “modernization of the Moldovan army” and the training of the Moldovan military in Turkish educational institutions.

Romanization of the Moldavian army
An honor guard of the Moldovan Army will march through Bucharest on December 1 at a military parade on the occasion of the National Day of Romania . Contingents of the armies of NATO countries stationed in Romania will also take part in the parade.

https://rybar.ru/obstanovka-v-moldavii- ... -noyabrya/
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Re: Russia today

Post by blindpig » Tue Nov 28, 2023 4:52 pm

Europe Is Written Off.

And how do we know this? Easy, today, at Primakov Readings:

(Video at link, Russian)

Вопрос: Каковы перспективы российско-европейских торгово-экономических отношений? Учитывая, что Россия является поставщиком почти одной трети углеводородов в Европу, которая, видимо, будет искать альтернативу. Как Москва представляет себе развитие этих отношений?

С.В.Лавров: Даже не буду пытаться гадать, что Европа собирается делать. Думаю, она (кроме Канцлера ФРГ О.Шольца и вице-канцлера Р.Хабека) поняла, где оказалась.

Почитайте статистику, во сколько раз США обгоняют экономический рост Европы. Франция, судя по всему, будет в «нулях». Некогда «локомотивы» европейской экономики (Германия, Великобритания) будут «расти» вниз. После серии законов, принятых американцами для борьбы с инфляцией и по другим темам, цены на энергоносители в США в 4-5 раз ниже, чем в Европе, где происходит деиндустриализация.

Думающий о своем будущем бизнес переезжает в Соединенные Штаты. Убежден, что это не просто стечение обстоятельств, а осознанная политика Вашингтона. Потому что Европа – это тоже конкурент, который США не нужен. Им нужна группа «серых» людей, выполняющих то, что прикажут. Не хочу обижать европейцев, но нынешние политические элиты действуют именно так.

Смотрим статистику. Полезно понимать, что происходит. Но на данном этапе нам не надо думать о том, как восстановить отношения с Европой. Сейчас нужно думать, как не зависеть от «вывертов» в европейской политике (прежде всего в торговой, экономической, инвестиционной сферах), которые они делают под воздействием Вашингтона. Мы должны обезопасить себя во всех ключевых отраслях нашей экономики (безопасности и жизни в целом), от которых зависит будущее страны. Мы должны самостоятельно производить всё, что нам нужно для безопасности, развития экономики, обеспечения решений социальных вопросов, внедрения современных технологий (недавно прошло очередное мероприятие по искусственному интеллекту), чтобы не страдать от новых «капризов», когда и если они захотят накинуться на нас с санкциями.

Рестрикции никуда не исчезли. Запад хочет закончить всё «втихаря», по-хитрому. Заморозить, выиграть время (как было с Минскими соглашениями), опять вооружить нацистский режим в Киеве и продолжать свою гибридную (или не гибридную) агрессию против Российской Федерации. Но даже когда всё закончится, большинство санкций останутся.

Нам надо жить своим умом. Когда и если к ним придет «протрезвление», и нам будут что-то предлагать, мы десять раз подумаем, взвесим, отвечают ли все предложения нашим интересам и насколько европейские коллеги надежны. Они свою договороспособность и репутацию сильно подорвали. Может быть еще не окончательно



Translation:

Question: What are the prospects for Russian-European trade and economic relations? Considering that Russia supplies almost one third of hydrocarbons to Europe, which will apparently be looking for an alternative. How does Moscow imagine the development of these relations?

Sergey Lavrov: I won’t even try to guess what Europe is going to do. I think she (except for German Chancellor O. Scholz and Vice-Chancellor R. Habeck) understood where she ended up. Read the statistics on how many times the US economic growth is faster than Europe. France, apparently, will be in the “zeros”. The once “locomotives” of the European economy (Germany, Great Britain) will “grow” downwards. After a series of laws adopted by the Americans to combat inflation and other topics, energy prices in the United States are 4-5 times lower than in Europe, where deindustrialization is taking place. Businesses thinking about their future move to the United States. I am convinced that this is not just a coincidence, but a deliberate policy of Washington. Because Europe is also a competitor that the United States does not need. They need a group of “gray” people who do what they order. I don’t want to offend Europeans, but this is exactly how the current political elites act. Let's look at the statistics. It's useful to understand what's going on.

But at this stage we do not need to think about how to restore relations with Europe. Now we need to think about how not to depend on the “twists” in European politics (primarily in the trade, economic, and investment spheres) that they make under the influence of Washington. We must protect ourselves in all key sectors of our economy (security and life in general), on which the future of the country depends. We must independently produce everything we need for security, economic development, providing solutions to social issues, introducing modern technologies (another event on artificial intelligence was recently held), so as not to suffer from new “whims” when and if they want to attack us with sanctions. The restrictions have not disappeared anywhere. The West wants to finish everything “on the sly,” in a cunning way. Freeze, buy time (as was the case with the Minsk agreements), again arm the Nazi regime in Kyiv and continue their hybrid (or non-hybrid) aggression against the Russian Federation. But even when everything is over, most of the sanctions will remain. We need to live by our own mind. When and if they “sober up” and they offer us something, we will think ten times, weigh whether all the proposals meet our interests and how reliable our European colleagues are. They have greatly undermined their ability to negotiate and their reputation. It may not be final yet.


There, everything is answered. And yes, Russia will talk to Washington only and only when she sees that Washington is ready to talk. Well, this is what happens when the high-school basketball team tries to play with NBA squad. Everything has been calculated and forecasted.

http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2023/11 ... n-off.html

*******

For the freedom of Russia and the whole world
November 28, 17:58

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Putin made a number of policy statements on the topic of war with the West.

1. Russia is fighting for its national sovereignty and freedom of the whole world.
2. For Russia, the current conflict is of a national liberation nature.
3. The goal of the West is the dismemberment and plunder of Russia.
4. They will try to destroy Russia along national lines, but the enemy will fail.
5. Russian is more than a nationality. It is, first of all, an identity.
6. Racism and neo-Nazism are the official ideology of Western elites.
7. Russia will be a country-civilization that will form a new, fair world order.

In general, the stated theses clearly show why the West says that Russia’s current diplomatic position is not inclined to negotiations (read: concessions), since the West is not ready for equal negotiations with Russia. Therefore, the conflict will continue to be existential in nature for both sides. Ukraine in this war will be expendable and a battlefield.

https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/8793451.html

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Re: Russia today

Post by blindpig » Wed Nov 29, 2023 4:28 pm

RUSSIAN OLIGARCHS CONTEMPLATE THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP SEA — NEVER HAS THEIR GRIP ON THE KREMLIN BEEN MORE THREATENED, NEVER HAS RUSSIAN OPPOSITION TO OLIGARCH RULE BEEN WEAKER

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by John Helmer, Moscow @bears_with

It was the US strategy for dismembering the Soviet Union, and then destroying the surviving Russian part, to install individual politicians and formations of economic assets controlled by Washington. The first chosen was Boris Yeltsin; then his prime minister Yegor Gaidar and chief of staff Anatoly Chubais; and then the oligarchs who emerged from the 1996 presidential election campaign controlling almost everything that counted.

Yeltsin’s removal and replacement by Vladimir Putin in 2000 was another US operation through the oligarchs.

When they began to lose control of the reviving Russian military, and the Army took tighter control of Putin, the US methods for the destruction of Russia accelerated across the border with the Ukraine. As this US military strategy has now led to the near-total destruction of the Ukraine, and of everything the US and NATO have put on the battlefield, there remains for the US its last Russian card to play. This is the oligarch card.

The sanctions war began in March 2014 and has been running against Russia’s strategic economic assets and its technological capacities to wage war against the US. It has aimed at the Russian oligarchs, not because they are Putin’s “cronies” – as the US Treasury regularly refers to them — but to compel them to take sides with Putin and the Army, or against them. This is the oligarch trap – and for the time being only a few have fallen into it: Mikhail Fridman and his partners, Pyotr Aven and Alexei Kuzmichev of the Letter One group of banks, supermarkets, energy, and communications; Oleg Tinkov of the Tinkoff bank; and Arkady Volozh of the Yandex group are the most obvious casualties. Oleg Deripaska isn’t more loyal to the state than to the oligarchy, but he hasn’t fallen into the American trap because US sanctions against him began much earlier.

At Putin’s annual dinner for the oligarchs, the president appears to cater, they appear to kowtow, in a public ceremony of loyalty which means less of that, and more of favour than either of them lets on. In this year’s ceremony, there were eighty at the table – three state officials plus Putin, and 76 oligarchs, the largest number in the nine-year record of the dinner. But unlike the earlier dinners, the Kremlin and the oligarchs are keeping secret not only what was said, but also the names of the invitees. For the oligarchs who are already sanctioned by the US and the NATO allies, this secrecy is no benefit. The secrecy instead is for the domestic political purpose of concealing the terms on which the oligarchs will continue to dictate the state’s economic priorities, and prevent the state recovering the assets the oligarchs have been stealing from the beginning.

Putin began the practice of publicly hosting the oligarchs at an annual Christmas dinner on December 19, 2014. Before then, their meetings were undisclosed or camouflaged as having official purpose.

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Putin meets Roman Abramovich on May 27, 2005, when Abramovich was officially governor of Chukotka. There is no other Kremlin record of Putin and Abramovich meeting together.

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The last Kremlin record of Putin meeting Oleg Deripaska to “discuss work and development plans for the GAZ Group and Russian Aluminium (RUSAL). GAZ Group is a supplier of medical vehicles as part of the Healthcare national project. Speaking about the group’s car-making plans, Mr Deripaska told the President that a decision has been taken to transform GAZ into an international automobile manufacturing business.” Putin and Deripaska agreed in secret for Deripaska to attempt a takeover of a major European car manufacturer. This led to the ill-fated scheme to acquire General Motors’ Opel division in Germany and Vauxhall in the UK, bribing Hillary Clinton to agree. She took the money, then reversed her consent. That story is told in The Man Who Knows Too Much About Russia, Chapter 6. According to the Kremlin record, Mikhail Fridman’s only face-to-face presidential meetings were with President Dmitry Medvedev in 2008-2009. Fridman was in the group of British Petroleum officials who met with Putin after they had formed their TNK-BP joint venture in 2003, then the largest foreign investment in Russia. The last of those meetings was in 2007.

The ceremony of the oligarch dinners was Putin’s answer to the opening of the war in the Ukraine and the start of the sanctions war; it was a message for Washington.

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Original source: http://tvrain.ru
The Kremlin was originally reluctant to confirm the names around the table – four officials, forty-one oligarchs.

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Source: https://johnhelmer.net/

The next year, 2015, the dinner was held on December 26. There were 46 invitees this time – five more than the year before. Putin claimed in the Kremlin transcript that he was offering an amnesty on all capital returned to Russia from abroad – that was amnesty from tax penalties and prosecution for theft and fraud. The oligarchs ignored him, and Putin desisted; capital amnesty was a failure. Then Putin publicly offered deoffshorization – incentives to reregister the corporate entities through which the oligarchs invested their Russian corporate profits and capital stripping in tax havens and private wealth schemes. But deoffshorization was another failure, one which Putin has never analysed aloud for the oligarchs or the Russian people to understand. For the latter, he didn’t need to. In polls repeated over the years, it is the view of the majority of Russians that the oligarchs are personally close to the president, and control what he does. What he says doesn’t matter.

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Source: Levada poll, December 12, 2017 . For analysis, click to read.

This Putin has made obvious by what he has hidden from the record of the oligarch dinners. Missing from both the 2014 and 2015 guest lists are three names identified on US and European Union (EU) sanctions lists as oligarch-sized businessmen whom the US Treasury believes to be closest personally to Putin — the Rotenberg brothers, Arkady and Boris; and St. Petersburg banker Yury Kovalchuk. They were missing in 2016; Fridman was also missing. That year at dinner the total of oligarchs and also smaller businessmen came to 62.

In December 2017 Putin was running for re-election and didn’t want to appear to the voters to be courting the oligarchs and mobilising their workforces and payrolls to get out the vote. That is exactly what Russian voters believed. At the time, Russian political analysts reported Putin didn’t want to appear at the start of the election campaign in the company of the oligarchs. It was also the reason Putin did not want to meet Deripaska at his GAZ automobile plant for the election campaign launch – and why Deripaska’s men would not admit it. And so the dinner for that year was cancelled. But days later, the Kremlin had a change of mind, and it was rescheduled. This time 56 were invited to the table; the Rotenbergs, Kovalchuk and Fridman were missing again.

In 2018 there was no dinner at all, In 2019 there was another last-minute change of Kremlin mind, and 60 oligarchs were summoned at the last minute for the ceremony on December 25. A week earlier Putin had told a session of the combined houses of parliament: “We have overcome the situation when certain powers in the government were essentially usurped by oligarch clans.” This has never been true although the members of the clans have changed. Fridman’s appearance at the 2019 dinner was proof.

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(Left to right) Mikhail Fridman and Arkady Volozh at the December 2019 dinner. Both had been missing before. Source: https://johnhelmer.net

This year, earlier than usual, the latest ceremony for the oligarchs took place in the dark of night on November 15, and for the first time outside the Kremlin, at the president’s country residence at Novo-Ogarevo. The Kremlin record of Putin’s official programme on November 15 and 16 omits the meeting entirely; there are no official photographs of the president and his guests at the meeting.


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Source: http://en.kremlin.ru/

At Putin’s session with the Security Council following the oligarchs’ meeting, the focus was on international, not domestic issues, according to the Kremlin communiqué. “Several major international events have taken place recently. We took part in them and followed up by adopting certain decisions. I suggest that we review their current implementation. The Foreign Minister will report on this item. Mr Lavrov, go ahead, please.” When asked to explain the Kremlin secrecy over the oligarchs’ meeting, and explicitly whether Fridman was one of the invitees, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “We deliberately did not give a list of participants. For obvious reasons, to make them comfortable. And it was planned to hold the meeting behind closed doors so that a meaningful conversation would take place so that they could all talk calmly.”

The Russian business press, which has usually reported the meetings from their oligarch sources, didn’t learn what had taken place for at least twenty-four hours. According to Forbes Russia and Vedomosti, “Vladimir Putin’s meeting with business representatives took place at Novo-Ogarevo late in the evening on November 15 and ended around midnight…In total, about 80 people took part in the meeting, including presidential aide Maxim Oreshkin, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, as well as Russian Union of Entrepreneurs and Industrialists President Alexander Shokhin, the general directors of Russian Railways Oleg Belozerov and Kamaz Sergei Kogogin, head of Sberbank German Gref, etc. According to Vedomosti, the meeting began at about 22:00 Moscow time and lasted until almost midnight. The businessmen expressed concerns about the results of privatisation and proposed to raise taxes, Vedomosti found out At the meeting with President Vladimir Putin, business representatives mainly talked about fears about the revision of the results of privatisation and expressed their willingness to raise taxes in exchange for long-term predictability of tax policy. This was reported by Vedomosti with reference to its sources. According to one of the interlocutors, business ‘cannot but be concerned’ about the number of large companies that have been nationalised over the past year and a half. He called this number frightening, despite the fact that everyone understands the context and nuances of each case.”

“The second issue which worried the business community was related to the increase in the fiscal burden. The interlocutor, familiar with the report of the president of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs [RSPP is the Russian acronym, RUIE the English one] Alexander Shokhin, said that, according to him, business is ready to increase the income tax rate, but in exchange for guarantees of a stable and predictable burden on other taxes and duties, as well as the provision of tax deductions for investment.”

“In addition, the business representatives discussed with Putin ensuring non-disclosure of information about residents of special administrative districts and their results, as well as preserving preferences for those who are just starting to transfer business from abroad. According to the newspaper, the proposals and concerns of business were heard, including business concerns about the revision of the results of privatisation; according to a senior federal official, the authorities tried to dispel [the oligarchs’ concerns] completely. The proposal to raise the income tax in exchange for investments and stability was also heard, says another interlocutor. Now the business is waiting for the president’s instructions following the meeting.”

“Earlier, the press secretary of the president Dmitry Peskov said that [the meeting] was also about the transfer of companies to Russian jurisdiction. The ‘overwhelming majority’ of businessmen who participated in the meeting with Putin “have faced illegal treatment abroad,’ Peskov claims. In this regard, work is now underway so that businesses do not face problems when transferring companies to Russia and ‘open new jobs, create new enterprises, invest the money they earn here in their homeland.’’

This is not the first time in such a forum that the oligarchs have told Putin they are opposed to nationalisation of the state assets which were transferred during the Yeltsin period and represent the cornerstones of their own fortunes. Just hours after the start of the Special Military Operation in February 2022, Putin told a session of the RUIE that he would protect their domestic assets and compensate them for their losses to US and NATO sanctions and seizures abroad by a tit-for-tat exchange with foreign corporate assets in Russia. He repeated his assurances to Shokhin at a face-to-face meeting in the Kremlin on March 2, 2022.

Putin and Shokhin went further. By April of this year, it became clear the oligarchs were demanding nationalisation of their liabilities to the state, and continuing privatisation of their profits.

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Source: https://johnhelmer.net/

Then two months ago on September 12, Putin publicly defended the two most hated state officials, Anatoly Chubais and Alexei Kudrin, fabricators of the oligarch system in the 1990s and defenders ever since. He also defended Arkady Volozh’s flight to Israel and his public criticism of the war against the US and Ukraine.

Putin was then asked to say if he plans to renationalise oligarch assets. “[Igor Doronov] There is now an idea of a new privatisation in Russia, but the topic that is now very much worrying business and is being discussed here, on the sidelines of the WEF [World Economic Forum, Davos], and in Moscow they are talking about it is deprivation [confiscation], when the state, as it were, can be said, takes assets in its favour. And there are already several such cases. Businessmen say that we do not understand: have any rules changed or how do we look to the future in this situation? The topic is quite acute. How would you comment on it?

“Vladimir Putin: No, there is no deprivation [confiscation] planned, there will be no deprivation, I can tell you that for sure. The fact that the prosecutor’s office is actively working in certain areas, for individual companies – law enforcement agencies have the right to assess what is happening in the economy in specific cases, but this is not related to any decisions about deprivation. This will not happen, and [Prosecutor General] Igor Viktorovich [Krasnov] knows my position. Igor Viktorovich?”

Until the US and the NATO states escalated their threats to seize Russian oligarch assets in what had been their safe havens abroad, every attempt at repatriation of the oligarchs’ capital to Russia had failed. Now, however, between the twin threats of foreign confiscation and domestic renationalisation, the oligarchs are pressing the president to protect their special position in the domestic economy. Putin has now repeated his September reassurances. “ ‘We had a thorough conversation,’ Putin spokesman Peskov told Tass. ‘A number of issues were formulated through the RSPP. There were various speeches – both business spoke, and representatives of the economic bloc of the government spoke,’ Peskov added. Peskov said that Putin at a meeting with representatives of large Russian businesses discussed the transfer of some companies to Russian jurisdiction. ‘The speech was about possible steps to improve the investment attractiveness of our economy, to create more than competitive conditions for completing the process of transferring companies here,’ the Kremlin spokesman said… According to the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation, the meeting was held precisely so that this process would be well-established, so that business would not face problems and transfer its companies to Russia, opening new enterprises in it and creating new jobs. ‘That’s what, in fact, it was about, Peskov explained.”

Redomiciliation without nationalisation and no new taxation – these are the oligarchs’ codewords for continuing the 25-year old system of domestic economic control despite wartime mobilisation and the removal of Chubais and Kudrin from their former Kremlin influence. According to Peskov, “the process of redomicilation should be absolutely perfect, so that business does not face problems, and so that business transfers its companies here, creates new jobs, opens new enterprises, invests and earns money here, at home.” Shokhin has also revealed that the oligarchs want to grandfather their old tax evasion and offshore holding company schemes in the form of Putin’s personal guarantee that their net domestic tax rate will not be raised.

The Kremlin’s silence on this oligarch agenda is one thing. The silence of the domestic political opposition is quite another. Sergei Glazyev, a former Yeltsin-era minister, Kremlin economic policy advisor, and current state job-holder, refuses point-blank to comment. Glazyev’s record for opposition policymaking in theory but political failure in practice can be followed in this archive. https://johnhelmer.net/?s=glazyev

For the Russian Communist Party, spokesman Alexander Yuschenko said by telephone that the party “wasn’t going to comment on [the oligarchs’] meeting at the moment and [readers] can always watch for official articles on the party website.”

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Left, Alexander Yuschenko, spokesman for the Russian Communist Party; right, Mikhail Delyagin. On how the Communiast Party has responded to the Prigozhin mutiny in June, read this.

Mikhail Delyagin gave a careful, ironic response to the telephoned questions. Delyagin is chairman of the State Duma Committee on Economic Policy and a fellow member with Glazyev of the Anti-crisis Expert Council. “The oligarchs,” Delyagin said, “were speaking about the necessity to create ‘a new business climate in Russia’ – that’s the one they have been trying to create since 1994. But the oligarchs themselves are the main reason why this business climate has not been built, and also why they are holding their finances offshore.”

“I suppose [the November 15 meeting] was about the re-registration of business here in Russia in our own offshore zones. As I have asked in MinEk [Ministry of Economic Development], nowadays there are 247 companies which have transferred their registration into Russia. But nobody knows how many are left abroad. It’s useless to speak about new preferences for business if they aren’t going to move, And I also suppose that because President Putin is such a kind person, the oligarchs have received a message about new preferences for them in the event they move to Russia.”

A veteran Moscow commodity trader comments: “What is happening is a carrot-and-stick display. Elections are coming, so the message is — say and do nothing to undermine VVP [Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin] and he will create conditions for you to keep your business and take over what Western companies have left. But do not complain too much. Those who go too far will get the Prigozhin treatment. So for everybody, there can be no wavering, no vacillation on this now.”

The paradox of this moment – unsaid publicly, acknowledged privately — is that never has oligarch rule of Russian economy been under greater threat, and the oligarchs politically less capable of resisting. On the other hand, the president intends by his dinner ceremony to reassure the oligarchs that he isn’t planning any threat to their domestic survival. They understand that, domestically, apart from Putin, there is no other threat. The organised political opposition to oligarch rule has never been weaker.

https://johnhelmer.net/russian-oligarch ... en-weaker/

Sad, a missed opportunity. The stance of the CPRF is disgraceful.

******

A monument to Wrangel was removed in Rostov
November 29, 17:04

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In Rostov, the recently erected monument to Baron Wrangel was dismantled.
This was preceded by citizen protests, as well as Zyuganov’s appeal to the leadership of the Rostov region.
As a result, it didn’t last long. The installation of a monument to an Entente puppet during the war with the West looked, frankly, amazing.

https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/8795447.html

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Re: Russia today

Post by blindpig » Thu Nov 30, 2023 11:07 pm

U.S. Extends Economic Carpet Bombing of Russia with Yet More Sanctions on Most Sanctioned Country in the World
By Jeremy Kuzmarov - November 30, 2023 0

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[Source: sott.net]

This When It Is Known That Sanctions Have Not Worked

On November 2, the Biden administration announced a sweeping new round of sanctions on Russia, which was already the most sanctioned country in the world.[1]

According to Reuters, the new sanctions targeted 90 entities and individuals, including a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Siberia in which the French energy giant Total had a 10% stake, and defense industries that procured parts used in the production of suicide drones.

Seven Russia-based banks and dozens of industrial firms were also hit with sanctions by the Treasury Department, including Gazpromneft Catalytic Systems LLC, which Treasury said manufactures chemical agents for advanced oil refining in Russia.

Dozens of individuals and companies in Turkey, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and China are additionally targeted by the new sanctions in an attempt to dissuade them from trading with Russia.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that “our global sanctions coalition has choked off Russia’s access to key inputs for its military industrial complex and has undermined the Kremlin’s ability to wage its unprovoked war. Today’s actions demonstrate our further resolve in continuing to disrupt every link of the Russian military supply chain, and target outside actors who would seek to support Russia’s war effort.”

Russian ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov said by contrast that the new sanctions were part of a “frontal assault” on Russia’s economy, which continues, despite its being harmful to the U.S. “Over the past years, the U.S. administration has done literally everything to curtail mutually beneficial Russian-American cooperation in the trade and economic sphere. Moreover, Washington is doing this to the detriment of its interests.”

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Janet Yellen [Source: usanews.com]
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[Source: washingtonian.com]

Indeed, in the last few years, hundreds of U.S. companies have left Russia,[2] while Russia has redirected its trade to China, America’s geopolitical rival. China today accounts for 20% of Russia’s exports and 35% of its imports. Trade between the two countries has surpassed $190 billion per year, with the renminbi supplanting the U.S. dollar as Russia’s most heavily traded currency.[3]

Economic Carpet Bombing
Prior to this latest round of sanctions, Russia was already the most sanctioned country in the world with more than 3,119 Russian companies and at least 9,669 Russian individuals on the sanctions list. More than 10,000 sanctions have also been applied over the last nine years.[4]

One analyst has likened the sanctions to the “economic carpet bombing of Russia,” and another to a “weapon of mass destruction.”[5]

The explicit goal, outlined in a Hudson Institute report, is to destroy Russia’s economy and “prepare for the dissolution of the Russian state.” The sanctions have indeed caused serious harm to Russia’s economy, causing a drop in GDP and helping U.S. LNG producers to gain the upper-hand over European markets.

Vladimir Putin’s government, however, has adapted by subsidizing local industries and technological development, nationalizing select industries, and expanding Russia’s trade with China and BRICS countries and with the Eurasian Union.[6]

In 2023, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected Russia’s economic growth at 1.5%. A leading wheat, oil and natural gas and fertilizer exporter and supplier of enriched uranium for nuclear energy power plants, Russia stands today as the fifth largest economy in the world and largest in Europe. Its foreign trade grew by 8.1% in 2022 reaching $850.5 billion, and its total wealth grew by $600 billion in 2022.[7]

These figures indicate that the strategy of trying to weaken Russia’s economy and fuelling social unrest leading to Putin’s downfall had failed. Putin’s adaptive response to the sanctions, rather, has enabled him to bolster his legitimacy in confronting a foreign threat that is very real in the eyes of most of the Russian population.

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Putin has adapted Russia’s economy to the sanctions and maintained political support in Russia as a result. [Source: france24.com]

Fraudulent Pretexts
The original U.S. sanctions bill targeting Russia that passed Congress in December 2012 was named after a Russian accountant, Sergei Magnitsky, who supposedly helped uncover a massive corruption scam by the Russian government and was then murdered in prison.

In real life, Magnitsky likely died of a heart attack and was an expert in tax evasion practices. He is suspected of helping an American hedge-fund billionaire named Bill Browder to perpetrate a scam that robbed the Russian government of $230 million.

Distorting the Truth: Behind the Magnitsky Act Film (Op-Ed) - The Moscow Times
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Bill Browder, left, and Sergei Magnitsky, right. [Source: themoscowtimes.com]

Browder—ironically, the grandson of former Communist Party USA leader Earl Browder—was a key lobbyist for the Magnitsky bill. He funded Democratic Party politicians who supported it like Ben Cardin (D-MD) through the Ziff Brothers financial house.

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Ben Cardin [Source: cardin.senate.gov]

According to investigative reporter Lucy Komisar, Ziff Brothers participated in Browder’s tax evasion practices in Russia and illegal attempts to gain control of Gazprom, the major Russian state-owned oil company, as investors in Hermitage Capital, which was owned by Browder.

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Dirk, Daniel and Robert Ziff. [Source: thekomisarscoop.com]

The Browder/Magnitsky hoax set a pattern—unrecognized in the mainstream media or academia—by which the U.S. has consistently ratcheted up sanctions on Russia based on fraudulent pretexts or uncorroborated accusations directed against Russia.

For example, the U.S. applied sanctions against Russia following the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in July 2014, which was blamed on Russia but had to have been committed by the Ukrainians.

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[Source: johnhelmer.net]

More sanctions were applied following the poisoning of Russian double agent Sergei Skirpal, which had all the hallmarks of a British intelligence operation designed to frame Russia; and after the fake poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, a white-collar criminal espousing far-right political views.[8]

Additional sanctions were applied owing to a) Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. election, which was never actually established; b) its supposed aggression in Crimea when Crimeans voted to rejoin Russia following an illegal U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine; and c) in response to alleged Russian atrocities in Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, which independent analysts said had to have been committed by Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov Battalion.

The War By Other Means
Angela Borozna and Lada Kochtcheeva are about to publish an illuminating new book I was asked to review entitled The War By Other Means: Western Sanctions on Russia and Moscow’s Response (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming). It shows how Russia has survived being the most sanctioned country in the world by reorienting its trade toward the East and other Eurasian countries and through import-substitution policies and investment in local industries.

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Lada KochtcheevaLada Kochtcheeva, a professor of political science at North Carolina State University. [Source: chass.ncsu.edu]
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Author LogoAngela Borozna, Ph.D. in political science from the Graduate Center, City University of New York. [Source: amazon.com]

Borozna and Kochtcheeva detail how the U.S. expanded sanctions considerably following Russia’s Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine, which the U.S. helped to provoke, freezing Russia’s access to its foreign reserves and imposing unprecedented export control measures while attempting to atrophy Russia’s industrial base.

The terrible human cost was epitomized by the 28 airplane crashes in Russia in 2022 that resulted from a shortage of airplane parts.[9]

U.S. President Joe Biden bragged about how the Russian economy was reeling from the sanctions, though they have not altered Russia’s foreign policies, or helped to facilitate economic collapse or civil unrest that would lead to regime change.

Vladimir Putin—whom the U.S. has long hated because of his nationalistic agenda—has been seen by most Russians as having looked out for their country’s interests in the face of a form of foreign aggression whose purpose is to collapse Russia’s economy and weaken the country, reducing it to vassal status of the West.

In 2015-16, the Putin-led government’s anti-crisis plan involved 2,000 projects across 19 sectors of Russia’s economy, which received state support. Putin at this time began taking measures to nationalize privately owned oil companies and to develop energy extraction equipment in Russia, while increasing Russia’s cooperation with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Putin additionally a) restricted food imports and expanded Russian agricultural production, leading it to become a top world producer of wheat; and b) developed a new national payment system called Mir to ensure the sovereignty of domestic banking transactions.

The latter was especially important because Visa and Mastercard terminated their services to some Russian banks and Russia was cut off from the SWIFT global financial transaction system.

The sanctions have ultimately caused more damage to Germany than Russia because of Germany’s dependence on Russian natural gas and oil imports and helped accelerate a process of de-dollarization, which is undermining U.S. global economic power.[10]

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[Source: energyintel.com]

Russia offset the loss of the European market by selling more oil and natural gas to India, China and other Southeast Asian countries, with oil production levels in the country increasing and foreign commodity exports reaching $591.5 billion in 2022, the highest in the country’s history.

Russian government revenues from the sale of oil and gas in 2022 were 34% higher than in 2021, and Gazprom recorded a record net profit of more than 2.5 trillion rubles in just the first half of 2022 because of extensive sales in Southeast Asia.[11]

The above numbers point to the failure of the U.S. sanctions policy, which has had ripple effects on the global economy and is helping to accelerate the transition to a multi-polar world order that is long overdue.


1.A case could also be made that Cuba is the most sanctioned country in the world, as it has suffered through 60 years of an embargo. ↑

2.These companies include: Shell, BP, Apple, GE, McDonald’s, Mastercard and Visa. ↑

3.Angela Borozna and Lada Kochtcheeva, The War By Other Means: The War By Other Means: Western Sanctions on Russia and Moscow’s Response (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming). ↑

4.Borozna and Kochtcheeva, The War By Other Means. ↑

5.Alfred De Zayas, a former senior lawyer with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights characterizes sanctions in general as “a form of state terrorism and a crime against humanity for the purpose of Article 7 of the Statute of Rome. Alfred De Zayas, The Human Rights Industry: Reflections of a Veteran Human Rights Defender (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2023), xvii. ↑

6.Russia has also been able to gain access to key technologies through trade with Turkey, UAE and other countries that have helped it to circumvent the sanctions. ↑

7.Borozna and Kochtcheeva, The War By Other Means, 52. See also Fadi Lama, Why the West Can’t Win: From Bretton Woods to a Multipolar World (Atlanta: Clarity Press Inc., 2023), 182, 184. Russia’s economy has grown more than tenfold under Putin’s rule, accounting for Putin’s popularity in Russia. ↑

8.See John Helmer, Skripal in Prison (John Helmer, 2020); Jacques Baud, The Navalny Case: Conspiracy to Serve Foreign Policy (Paris: Max Milo, 2023). ↑

9.Borozna and Kochtcheeva, The War By Other Means, 60. ↑

10.Borozna and Kochtcheeva, The War By Other Means. ↑

11.Borozna and Kochtcheeva, The War By Other Means. ↑

https://covertactionmagazine.com/2023/1 ... the-world/
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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