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By using John F. Kennedy’s words that “Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us,” in order to wrap up his speech about a new cold war at the Munich Security Conference, Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev unintentionally revealed the Kremlin’s policy of dodging the domestic agenda while creating an image of external enemy. In the current political narrative, the inner economic, ideological, and societal disorder (that had reigned even before the sanctions and the oil prices slump) is projected on the “unstable” and “disoriented” Europe struggling with the refugee and identity crises. However, despite Russia’s ambitious international policy, one cannot ignore what has always been inherent in the Russian political cuisine: a pinch of absurdity or, rather, at this stage, it is not a pinch anymore but a surfeit.

 

Sanctions, Oil, and Wheat

It is no more a secret that Russia’s richness in natural resources is not a boon but rather a curse to some extent.Russian economy is heavily dependent on oil prices with the oil-and-gas sector comprising 52% of federal budget revenues and over 70% of total exports. Needless to say that when the oil prices reached the bottom, a level unseen since 1998, it significantly shook up the economy. However, lamenting about misfortunes in the oil market and the overall global recession is the most convenient way for the Russian government to get away with the question who is responsible for the situation in which we observe reduction of ordinary people’s income and lay-offs en mass while, according to the 2015 reports, the state companies’ and banks’ CEOs have gained hefty compensations. Unsurprisingly, the champion of compensations has been Rosneft (the leader of Russia’s petroleum industry about 70% of which is owned by the Russian government) which granted its CEOs, including Igor Sechin, the head of the company, 312 million rubles, which is 43% higher (!) than in 2014. Obviously, Mr. Medvedev was right when he said in the interview for Euronews during the Munich Conference that “a priority for the government” is “to keep them [Russian citizens] as comfortable as possible.” Surely, those Russian citizens in Rosneft, Sberbank, and Gazprom feel the comfort.

When asked about the effect of the sanctions, the prime minister pointed out that they also had “a positive effect:” “The economy is healing, it is becoming less dependent on oil, and we have an opportunity to develop our own industry and agriculture.” He also mentioned that, “wheat, for example, is now exported in large quantities.” At this point, a curious question arises, why did not they have this opportunity to develop their own agriculture before the crisis? Well, actually they did but the oil addiction is just like a drug addiction. Although, in the period between 1999 and 2008, the Russian economy witnessed recovery and growth, generally , the share of agriculture in total GDP shrunk from 14.3% in 1991 to 4% in 2011. Despite the fact that Russia’s wheat market is export-oriented, it comprised only 0.78% of the whole export in 2013. The numbers seem to be bizarre, if not absurd, for a country that occupies the territory of 17.1 million km² and is full of plains. Perhaps, the Ministry of Agriculture simply has Scarlett O’Hara’s logic: I’ll think about that tomorrow.

As demonstrated by Mr. Medvedev’s self-confident answer, he is quite optimistic about the future of agriculture in Russia, but concerned about the European Union farmers’ incomes, which is very considerate of him. However, it is not so simple. On the one hand, Russia is indeed European Union’s third-biggest trading partner, and the European agri-food exports have suffered a considerable loss. Nevertheless, according to the EPRS, this loss is limited due to redirecting these exports to alternative markets. Meanwhile, the Russian market has been hit substantially by the loss of foreign investors. On the other hand, it is hard to estimate the damage on the both sides because of the general economic slow-down and the crisis in Russia even before the sanctions. Additionally, such a piece of cake as Crimea is certainly a new financial burden for the Russian economy. No wonder, Kremlin ordered, in desperation, to bulldoze tons of foreign cheese in August 2015 to show everybody how tough the “enfant terrible” can be.

 

Military Diet

Being tough with the European cheese and bacon is not enough, though. Militarization, specifically of the Russian Arctic, has become one of the priorities during the crisis. Since global warming has had its impact on the Arctic region, allowing to explore it farther, countries have resumed their activities here. In February, Russia submitted an application to the UN commission to expand the Arctic shelf bordersby 1.2 million km², which can theoretically take about three years under the review. A similar claim was already made by the Russian government in 2002, but was rejected for lack of scientific evidence. Obviously, it is not scientific exploration of the region that is in focus for the Kremlin, but rather military and defense. In March 2015, Mr. Putin demonstrated that his plans for this territory are determined and the numbers are quite impressive: six military bases, 35,000 Russian troops, 50 surface ships and submarines along with 110 aircraft, and 41 already existing icebreakers and 11 in planning. Moreover, it was allegedly planned to deploy 80,000 troops to the Far North in a crisis.

The international media have been questioning the Russian militarization of the Arctic region ever since, and versions vary, as usual with the unpredictability of Russia. Primarily, the “land grab” and the demonstration of military power are seen as a sign of escalation of a new cold war with NATOand a claim for the region’s oil and gas reserves. Some see it as farceand Mr. Putin flexing his muscles. The official explanation was given by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who denied the militarization of the Russian Arctic, stating, “If we come to the Arctic region economically and implement such global projects as the work on the Arctic shelf, the development of the Northern Sea Route, it is clear that the economy requires security.”

Well, the Arctic is indeed a tasty pie stuffed with the estimated 90billion barrels of oil beneath its seabed and with around 30% of the world’s yet undiscovered natural gas. However, at the end of the day, it is all about money. Firstly, drilling oil and gas in the Arctic is a very high-cost and high-risk production, let alone the environmental issues. The current financial and economic situation in Russia will hardly make it possible, even in the nearest future. However, it won’t come as a surprise, if the Kremlin decides to boost money by cutting budget spending (a strategy that it has already implemented) or by imposing new taxes on the population as already done with Platon System, which caused a huge strike by truckers. Secondly, bringing weapons and troops to the region can hardly produce a favorable impression on potential investors. Thirdly, even if the money issue is miraculously solved and drilling is in full swing, Russia is facing the same old story again that is economy dependent on natural resources (see Sanctions, Oil, and Wheat). So far, strategically, it all can be justified as showing off muscles to the population, as well as to NATO.

 

Russian Spirit

The Russian government has always had fatherly feelings for its own people. Thus, it has been concerned not only about the economic well-being of its population but also the spiritual one, which is even more essential, especially, in the times of the external threat. Its concerns for the “moral safety” were reflected in a bunch of bills and initiatives, such as the criminal punishment for insults of the sentiments of religious believers, the prohibition of sale, import, and production of lace panties, the anti-gay propaganda law, the law banning swearing in media and in the arts, and—the latest initiative—punishment for insulting patriotic sentiments. Well, in the situation when the people fleeing from their own country en mass while, among those who stay, about 20 million people live below the poverty line, and with the S&P cutting the country’s rating to ‘junk’, this is surely the right moment to punish those who undermine patriotism among the citizens.

Who else can fulfil the function of keeping the nation’s spirit alive better than the HolyRussianChurch? Since Mr. Putin came to power, the Orthodox Church has been gaining more and more property, influence, and political clout. For example, in 2013, the Church’s revenues comprised 140 million dollars. Moreover, it actively invests money in business and financial activities. Let us assume that this is the God’s will and priests have to earn money because not all sinners are capable of paying for their redemption. But the Patriarch’s activities are not confined by the accumulation of wealth. He also feels responsible for the whole civilization including the “doomed” West and warns Europe about losing its Christian roots. He himself presented a good example of his holiness and righteousness recently by visiting Antarctica to commune with penguins. With all due respect (to penguins), is this the most important mission of he spiritual leader at the moment? No answer is needed when the photos and the video of the trip are published online.

 

Pinning blame on the West, historically, is not new for the Russian political discourse. Trapped by the economic and social turmoil, the Kremlin resorts to the policy of fear and loathing, and plays the role of enfant terrible in Europe by showing his military muscles, while demanding love and understanding at the same time. The difference between the domestic games and the international ones is that the first turned to be a theatre of the absurd even before the oil crisis and the sanctions. It would be funny if it were not so sad.

 

Rita Rozhkova is currently enrolled in the Masters Program in American Studies at the University of Leipzig. Her spheres of interest include political economy, critical theory, literature, and visual communication.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Russia 
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  1. 22pp22 says:

    Neocon crap. I see a lucrative career for this woman in US academia or in a Wshington “think” tank.

  2. attonn says:

    Mrs. Rita Rozhkova is showcasing some decent skills in distorting reality to make it fit into a narrative of her US and German sponsors. She needs to try harder, though, so far the effort is not hugely impressive.

    • Replies: @TheJester
  3. 5371 says:

    Despicable drivel from a treasonous teenage moron.

    • Replies: @Parbes
  4. I suppose there is money in Russia bashing. Nobody would write this drek for free.

  5. now BS russophobia hits unz full scale even better in MSM.

    Europe’s “Enfant Terrible”

    Europe’s who? It is EU our Russian (and US, and even Turkey’s too) bitch. Just look on the map, Europe is a small piece of this planet, inhabited with a bunch of sexual perverts, spaghetti-prayers and giraffe-slashers. Russians don’t care of what remains of modern EU anymore.

    Who can judge Russia? Petty EU bureaucrats or US imbeciles? Russia sets the pace for morals and culture on this planet, with its ambassadors looking like gods of Olymp between primitive representatives of EU and US.

    The Russian government has always had fatherly feelings for its own people.

    Since non-Russian governments rob their people, providing for military-industrial complex, terrorist groups and hordes of immigrants just to keep their rule, it is a matter of jealousy between other nations.

    while demanding love and understanding at the same time

    No one in Russia expects love and understanding from perverts and idiots of the West, as one cannot induce sympathy in a criminal – it can appear even more dangerous than the lack of it. Russia needs staying on high alert with more dakka to keep the distance from the West.

    Rita Rozhkova is currently enrolled in the Masters Program in American Studies at the University of Leipzig. Her spheres of interest include political economy, critical theory, literature, and visual communication.

    The lady is getting false-education (studying nothing in particular) in a US school for saboteurs and provocateurs. She writes such crap to make her Judas bidding or just as part of ‘American studies’. The university of Leipzig, once a place of learning, now became a US cloaca for mass-production of ‘pussy riots’ and domesticated Goebbels wannabees.

  6. Priss Factor [AKA "Dominique Francon Society"] says: • Website

    Why do you say the ‘West’?

    The ONLY reason for the tension between Russia and the ‘West’ is because Jews run the West.

    Jews want to control Russia like they control America. Jews want to destroy Russia’s economy and foment revolution so Jews can take over. Jews did this in 1917.

    It’s like Jews were behind the Iraq War. It wasn’t the ‘West’. It was Jews behind the West.

    Unless you mention the Jews, you will not understand.

    That said, yes, the Russians are too corrupt and slovenly to deal effectively with the current crisis.

    If I ruled Russia, I would change things and Russia would win.

    Alas, Putin doesn’t know how to convince Russians to stop dancing on tables and instead learn to make tables.

  7. Paulm says: • Website

    Are you serious that this is a piece of actual journalism?
    One minute Russia is milatarising the arctic just because it feels like it and the next maybe its because of the oil
    Couldn’t she at least ‘pretend’ to be a little balanced in her arguments? Russia-bashing for the hell of it is getting a little passe

  8. Beckow says:

    “granted its CEOs, including Igor Sechin, the head of the company, 312 million rubles”

    Wouldn’t that be around $5 million? Is that for just Sechin or more “CEOs”? Even if the $5 million is for Sechin alone that is around what a medium size, second tier CEO makes in US, actually a lot less than average. Why is that a problem, it doesn’t seem that much. Are you trying to scare us with the “millions” term, why not show it in dollars?

    The rest of the article is mostly meaningless trash as would suit a graduate student (in Leipzig) trying to impress potential benefactors. The endless tired and shallow historical stereotyping, the “fear” bugaboo (as if that was not about the same all around the world), and some silly nonsensical random factoids. Yes, Russia has not been exporting that much wheat, and now they are starting to, why is that an earth-shattering observation? And the EU agro producers with their “alternative markets”; where are those markets, who is buying Polish apples? From what anyone can see in Europe the farm sanctions have been pretty catastrophic. Trying to minimize it is simply not a serious argument.

  9. Realist says:

    The article is an excellent mirror of the US position.

  10. utu says:

    We need more meaningful numbers. It does not seem that author did any research on the topic of the current economic situation of Russia. Having Russian sounding name does not make one an expert on Russia. The author does not seem to be too happy with the current regime in Russia. But why? She does not make her case.

  11. Thirdeye says:

    At this point, a curious question arises, why did not they have this opportunity to develop their own agriculture before the crisis?

    Simple. Opening Russia’s markets to imports was a condition of membership in the WTO, at the cost of developing domestic production. That was overridden by the sanctions and countersanctions. If the sanctions are lifted, it is doubtful that the trade relationships would be status quo ante. Russia has seen the vulnerability that situation exposed them to and is unlikely to return.

  12. “enrolled in the Masters Program in American Studies at the University of Leipzig”

    With sponsors like the Consulate General of the United States in Leipzig, the German American Chamber of Commerce California, and Taco Bell, it’s small wonder Roshkova comes off more or less like one of Leipzig’s better educated (propagandized, actually) neo-Nazis.

    Presuming (foolishly more than likely) Roshkova might not be adverse to widening her horizons, despite likely requirement she perform certain duties per a sycophant on her knees to a stiffed up, America infatuated German professor, she might begin her alternative education here:

    http://ronaldthomaswest.com/2014/03/25/germanys-martyrs-of-the-maidan/

    ^

  13. A very good article but since it doesn’t praise Putin to high heaven expect a storm of negative comments and outright insults from Putin’s worshippers. My only disagreement is with the last paragraph. Throughout history the West has been trying to subjugate Russia so one should not be surprised by their paranoia. In the last few years the West has redoubled its efforts to get Russia and its resources under its control trough various kinds of provocations, political manoeuvres and economic warfare. This of course is no excuse for the miserable state of Russian economy but is it just the government’s fault? If you look at the history of Slavs for the most part they were always behind the West in many areas. Perhaps their inferior performance has something to do with their mentality, character, attitudes, etc. Putin does not have the best material to work with and since the brightest and more capable people are leaving it will only get worse. He and his government are the only ones to blame though for their heavy reliance on oil and their naive belief that the price will never go down. This was a dangerous assumption. As far as so called “spiritual revival” is concerned what can one feel about the return to superstitious beliefs but sadness.

    • Replies: @annamaria
  14. Tervel says:

    >Rita Rozhkova is currently enrolled in the Masters Program in American Studies at the University of Leipzig. Her spheres of interest include political economy, critical theory

    >critical theory

    So another western-raised cultural marxist.

    I thought Unz is about “A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media ”

    Considering how cultural marxism is the mainstream in both American and European media, I am really not sure what is this doing here.

    It’s nothing you can’t read in a random article about Russia in the NYT or the Guardian.

    Still, about the article – I do agree that Russia’s internal policies have many faults and absurdities, which western cultural marxists like Ms Rozhkova are skilled in overexposing and exaggerating. Even so, I would say that overall Russia is still better than the west in both economic and cultural policies. Important strategic things like low debt that continues to get lower, increasing its gold reserves, or not letting cultural marxism redefine institutions that are older than the state itself, such as marriage for example, promoting traditional family values which shows in the steadily increasing fertility rates, and other basic fundamentals of both economic and cultural long term planning. Still, yes there are a lot of things that could be better.

    However, the Russian foreign policy is pretty much without fault.

    If Ms Rozhkova was actually Russian and not a run of the mill “liberal” russophobe, she would have also known how important the military security is for Russia in the global geopolitics game and how correct the Arctic’s “militarization” is for ensuring and protecting Russian interests.

    Russia is also the undeniable good guy in both Syria and Ukraine, and the Russians were right about everything from Serbia to Libya to Iraq. There is a reason why so many americans and europeans are on Russia’s side and don’t buy the “Russian aggressor” bullcrap.

    • Replies: @geokat62
    , @Rurik
  15. Just look on the map, its Europe a terrible dwarf.

    Rita Rozhkova is currently enrolled in the Masters Program in American Studies at the University of Leipzig. Her spheres of interest include political economy, critical theory, literature, and visual communication.

    A US mastering program of saboteurs, agents provocateurs, ‘pussy riots’ and Dr. Goebbels wannabees. Her ‘spheres’ seem not to interest males in Russia, so she studies nothing in particular to get her 30 pieces of silver from uncle Sam.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  16. Whatever Russia’s problems might be, and I certainly admit that she has them, it will at least face them with a racially homogeneous population–not the heterogenous glob seething mutual antipathy that increasingly characterizes western Europe and North America.

    I’m not sure what the point is about staking claims in and militarizing the Arctic. I’ve been to Prudhoe Bay in Alaska–it’s a hell of a place from which to extract oil, and I can’t imagine it’s all that much easier in Siberia. And putting lots of military assets in the Arctic–does the author fear an invasion of Norway from the east or Alaska from the west? Not clear to me why this is a problem or why the Kremlin is doing it.

    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
  17. As Henry Kissinger is reputed to have once said, “just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean there are people not out to get you.”

    Give what has been thrown at them the past twenty years or so, the Russian government and the Russian people have been rather restrained and rather scrupulous in their reactions. But maybe my judgement won’t be so kind after they invade and destablise the next seven or so countries; it would seem they have some catching up with the West in other ways too.

  18. TheJester says:
    @attonn

    This essay is incoherent, resembling the all-t00-typical, serialized rants against “Putin and his cronies” for reclaiming Russia’s sovereignty from the Atlanticists (a polite word to avoid referring to Wall Street, Harvard University, Victoria Nuland, the neocons, and the CIA). However, she did leave out the piece about Putin hiding billions of dollars in off-shore banks, making him one of the wealthiest people in the world.

    The essay sounds like Rita plagiarized it from the editorial pages of the Washington Post. She did reference her source of information on Russian government salaries … RBC (a key element supporting her claim about corruption). But I’m not sure that improves her credibility. A quick Google.

    From the RBC website: “RBC is a leading Russian multimedia holding. It operates in the Internet, television and print media segments. RBC occupies leadership positions in news and business media as well as in domain name registration and hosting.”

    From Wikipedia: “The channel (RBC) was launched in September 2003 in partnership with the CNBC and CNN television channels.”

  19. unit472 says:

    It is a legitimate question to why Russia, a nation with almost 2.5 times the Italian population and 50 times the land area produces less wealth and, even with Italian industry being far from robust by Western standards, stands head and shoulders above that of Russia. Italy can, with some difficulty, export cars and it builds many of the world’s luxury cruise ships. Russia, OTOH has lost whatever expertise it had in shipbuilding to the point it had to outsource to France the building of those amphibious landing ships which are not exactly the pinnacle of Naval architecture!

    Germany only has a couple of hundred main battle tanks in its inventory but no one doubts that, were building tanks a major government objective, Germany could build better ones than Russia and turn them out in larger quantities without breaking its economy. Putin can only wish he could say the same and hope that Germany never returns to spending even 3% of its GDP on defense or Russian ambitions in Europe are over.

  20. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Your criticism of Russia is directed at the Russian government but what about the flaws of the Russian people. Take what you said about agriculture.

    Although, in the period between 1999 and 2008, the Russian economy witnessed recovery and growth, generally , the share of agriculture in total GDP shrunk from 14.3% in 1991 to 4% in 2011. Despite the fact that Russia’s wheat market is export-oriented, it comprised only 0.78% of the whole export in 2013.

    Could the lack of Russian agriculture exports despite the depreciated ruble have a lot to do with the terrible work ethic of Russian men because they drink too much? At commuter hour in Russia how many women are their versus men? Russian men can’t hold down a steady job because of the government or due to deep cultural deficiencies of Russians?

    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
  21. Not a heavyweight article but what it sadly brings out is the swarming round UR of so many commenters who can’t be bothered to deal with the article by argument or evidence but exhibit their anti-American angst, despair or bitterness in a pathetic fawning on Russia.

    • Replies: @schmenz
  22. The authors comments about agriculture show her ignorance of the subject. Ask yourself what the agricultural production of northern British Columbia is, then trace that latitude around the globe. Then one understands why the vast stretches of land in Russia aren’t particularly productive. The fact that Russia limts the export of grain to keep the price of Bread low tells us all we need to know about Russia’s new productivity.

  23. schmenz says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    I think many of the comments have indeed already dealt “with the article by argument or evidence”, so I am unclear why you should not think so.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  24. The map above is wrong. Crimea belongs to Russia.

    • Agree: Rurik
  25. annamaria says:
    @22pp22

    Agree.
    Ms. Rozhkova should have been a darling of Kagans’ family already.
    She uses the facts that were convenient for her narrative while carefully avoiding the genesis 0f certain steps that Russian federation has been taking in response to the US (NATO) encroachment on the RF sphere of influence. Her paper is filled with venom. One wonders, whether in addition to the obvious career aspirations, there is also a hostility originating in the familial longing for the “historical motherland.”
    There are some stylistically interesting details in this article, which are supposed to demonstrate the author’s wit (and, perhaps, playful girlishness?):” Arctic is indeed a tasty pie,” “such a piece of cake as Crimea,” “with all due respect (to penguins),” “as usual with the unpredictability of Russia,” and so forth. She is actually a grown woman in her mid-thirties but this is not easy to deduce from her writing.
    Of course Russian federation has beens struggling. Of course there is corruption in the high places, including the Church. But Ms. Rozhkova presents these painful troubles with one and only one goal in mind: “the “land grab” [in Arctic] .. a sign of escalation of a new cold war with NATO.” – She tries hard to show the readers what a genuinely main-stream analyst she is. The Ms. Rozhkova analysis reminds of the writings by Bellingcat (though she is more careful with researching the sources); she is on the same level with Mr. Higgins and similar kind of journalists/politicians aspiring to feather their nests by presenting the “proper” conclusions for the MSM.

  26. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Somehow Russia is able to make new warplanes and missiles that actually appear to work. There must be something behind that.

    • Replies: @MarkU
  27. annamaria says:
    @Regnum Nostrum

    “Perhaps their inferior performance has something to do with their mentality, character, attitudes, etc. ”
    There was an interesting article (on Unz Review) about Russia by a girlfriend of a Turkish man in Germany. Imagine for a sec. that the above article about Russia was written by a woman from Jewish family. The article smells of a ziocon camp.

  28. @Diversity Heretic

    As the polar ice cap continues to melt, there’s going to be more and more oil drilling in the Arctic Circle. Russia, Norway, the US and Canada are all jockeying to secure their piece.

  29. @unit472

    The T-90 tank seems to be a pretty solid piece of equipment. Here’s video showing a T-90 surviving a direct hit from a US-made TOW anti-tank missile in Syria: http://russia-insider.com/en/military/fail-watch-us-tow-missile-fail-penetrate-russian-t-90/ri13079

    And note that the T-90 is even the newest tank in the Russian Army–that would be the brand-new Armata: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-14_Armata

    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
    , @unit472
  30. Cracker says:

    “The Russian government has always had fatherly feelings for its own people.”

    Indeed! For years, many Russians were sent to a gulag (or what I call a summer camp) in Siberia! Nothing but fun and toasting marshmallows and singing Kumbaya…

  31. @Anonymous

    Although, in the period between 1999 and 2008, the Russian economy witnessed recovery and growth, generally , the share of agriculture in total GDP shrunk from 14.3% in 1991 to 4% in 2011.

    Well, if Russia’s non-ag sectors have been growing faster than ag, one would kind of suspect that, as the economy generally has grown, ag would constitute an ever-smaller percentage of GDP. The mathematics of the situation are pretty straight-forward in this case.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  32. @Seamus Padraig

    And note that the T-90 is even the newest tank in the Russian Army…

    Ooops! That should read: “the T-90 isn’t even the newest tank in the Russian Army.”

  33. Cracker says:
    @unit472

    Russia has nothing to fear regarding Deutschland. All Moscow has to do is shut off the gas. Besides, if things keep going the way they are, Germany is gonna have plenty of trouble inside the “borders.” Capiche?

    • Replies: @unit472
  34. Philip Owen [AKA "Soarintothesky"] says:
    @Positive Dennis

    It’s more to do with protecting the pork cartel. (And saving face because the railway and port facilities are not -yet- up to the task of exporting during peak demand).

  35. Parbes says:
    @5371

    Yes; but why does Russia today keep producing so many Western-boot-licking treasonous morons spouting despicable drivel? THAT is the real question – and it doesn’t imply good things about the present-day Russian society, culture and education system…

    • Replies: @Cracker
    , @Vendetta
  36. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Why this hatred of the Russian Orthodox church and the sarcastic references to their Patriarch? The organization has revenue of about $140M yearly according to her 2013 number. She seems to be implying that that’s too much and that it’s a business. Considering what’s spent on religion in the US the amount doesn’t seem terribly large. What then would be the proper amount or would she prefer they go out of business altogether? The part about the banning of lace panties I haven’t heard before but if true certainly seems to be somewhat over the top although hardly something that the world revolves around.
    Russian is about to collapse any day now even as they become more expansionist, according to her. Seems I hear this every day, that they’re about to go under. Is this just wishful thinking expanded into an article? Would that be a good thing? That Russian average income is lower than that of Switzerland is no secret. Everybody knows that and furthermore that’s not going to change; not everybody is going to be rich. The writer will probably move to the US where she can become a Russia ‘expert’ like Masha Gessen and throw her weight behind the LGBT movement. Perhaps she and others could walk into some American church during services and stage a PussyRiot type demonstration at the altar and see how the Americans react.

    • Replies: @5371
  37. geokat62 says:
    @Tervel

    I thought Unz is about “A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media ”

    I agree. After the great success of Ramziya Zaripova’s essay (My Unique Perspective Into the Russian-Turkish Crisis), I’m surprised (disappointed, really) that another essay of similar quality managed to get published on UR.

    • Replies: @annamaria
    , @Anonymous
  38. Cracker says:
    @Parbes

    Why does the West produce so many Diversity-loving boot-licking treasonous morons spouting despicable drivel?

    • Replies: @Parbes
  39. Priss Factor [AKA "Dominique Francon Society"] says: • Website
    @22pp22

    I don’t think this is neocon crap.

    As much as I sympathize with Russia against Zio-globalism, Russians have failed to live up to their potential and still think like subjects of the state.

  40. 5371 says:
    @anonymous

    I think the nonsense about lace panties is a reference to an almost forgotten internet sensation. At the time of the “maidan” a certain svidomite female was photographed with a placard reading “I don’t want to join the Customs Union! I want lace panties and to join the EU!” Of course, within six months of the coup in Kiev she had moved to Moscow to survive by modelling or in some less avowable profession. The author’s words were a reflection of this incident as it struck an exceptionally feeble brain.

  41. annamaria says:
    @geokat62

    Actually, I think that the above article is a useful example of what is accepted by MSM as an analysis of the Russian federation’ policies and internal affairs. It is also valuable to know that the author grew up in Russia and that she has graduated from a university in Moscow. Her writing gives a glimpse at Fifth column in Russia. The opportunistic aspect of Ms. Rozhkova writing illuminates how Masha Gessen and such are getting shaped into MSM shills. Ms. Rozhkova is still an amateur, but a promising one.
    By the way, Masha Gessen has recently posted a tragically-sounding paper on (self)censorship in Russia, particularly tragic in relation to her opuses. The poor thing has completely forgotten that a great last book by A. Solzhenitsyn (a Nobel Prize laureate, no less), “Two Hundreds Years Together,” has never been published in the US and UK. That is, one cannot just go to any book store in the US and UK and buy an English translation of this book (or to order it on Amazon). http://truedemocracyparty.net/2012/05/most-banned-book-in-the-world-200-years-together-aleksandr-solzhenitsyn/
    Masha Gessen has a brother that earns his living by translating from Russian into English. Talk about self-censorship.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  42. @Seamus Padraig

    Thanks for the clarification. If the jockeying involves disputed territory, I suppose some military forces might prove useful. At present oil prices, however, I don’t think there’ll be much drilling. As I said, I’ve seen Prudhoe Bay and it’s a very hostile and costly environment to drill for oil or do much of anything else.

  43. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Poorly written garbage. I expect better from Unz

  44. Rurik says:
    @Tervel

    Russia is also the undeniable good guy in both Syria and Ukraine, and the Russians were right about everything from Serbia to Libya to Iraq. There is a reason why so many americans and europeans are on Russia’s side and don’t buy the “Russian aggressor” bullcrap.

    yep

    also when people try to imply hostility to Russia and Putin by “Germany”, it should be noted that all of that hostility is coming from the German government and media, not from the German people – who hate the German government/media as their deadliest enemy, as they should.

    So these hit pieces on Russia are just more of the same, lame, tired palaver that the occupied west flings at people they don’t like, because Putin, unlike Merkel, is not a stooge of the Satanic fiend waging wars and horrors all over the planet for fun and profit. So they relentlessly use ‘the smear’, as their tried and true weapon because of course they’re cowards and liars.

  45. unit472 says:
    @Cracker

    Just ‘turn off the gas’ eh Krankhaus? Did you happen to think what that would cost Russia in terms of lost revenue, to say nothing of its already damaged reputation as a reliable supplier? From over $11 per thousand cubic feet 5 years ago the current price is less than half that and well above what US LNG can be landed in Western Europe at. American shipments of LNG have started and have nowhere to go but up as the US price of gas is under $2 ! To whom would Russia sell its gas to or perhaps it could just strand some additional gas infrastructure and fire more Gazprom workers?

    As to main battle tanks, Russia puts a lot of stock and investment in them. No other modern military does. 70 ton mechanical behemoths are like a armored warships and knights on horseback. Battlefield dinosaurs

  46. Avery says:
    @unit472

    {… but no one doubts that, were building tanks a major government objective, Germany could build better ones than Russia and turn them out in larger quantities without breaking its economy.}

    I am sure a lot people doubt your hallucination, much less “no one”.

    During WW2, Germans produced the technological marvel Tiger Tank.
    It was so “advanced” and complicated to manufacture, that less than 500 were produced.
    Germans were shocked when they first encountered the T-34, with its revolutionary sloped armor and wide tracks. They never imagined the Untermenschen could produce a tank that was immune to their tanks and anti-tank guns (…except the excellent 88 flak-gun, also used as anti-tank at close range.)

    T-34 sailed through mud, while German engineering marvels got stuck fast.
    USSR produced about 60,000 T-34 during the war.
    And Germans were so impressed by the T-34, that they copied it in their Panther tank.

    Yeah, sure Germans can “turn them out in larger quantities”: history proves it.

  47. unit472 says:
    @Seamus Padraig

    The limitations on main battle tanks have become mathematical not technological. To increase main gun energy weight must be added and 70 tons seems to be about the maximum weight for a MBT. This limits the main gun energy to about 10-12 megajoules and a maximum range for a kinetic armor piercing projectile to a mile or so.

    Now a TOW is a 1970’s era US anti-tank missile system that can be delivered to the battlefield by any motorized vehicle or aircraft. It does not require a 1000 hp diesel or gas turbine to move around nor 1 gallon of fuel per mile to manoveur. It has a range equivalent to that of a MBT gun but is easily concealed and does not cost $5 million nor does it require a huge logistical tail to get in to the battlefield. I assume the US and other militaries have developed more potent warheads and anti armor missiles since the 1970’s.

  48. MarkU says:
    @Anonymous

    “Somehow Russia is able to make new warplanes and missiles that actually appear to work. There must be something behind that.”

    Probably because Russian warplanes and missiles are primarily designed to be functional, whereas the US ones are designed mainly to make money for defence contractors.

  49. annamaria says:

    “…its already damaged reputation as a reliable supplier…”
    Could you elaborate?
    You might be interested to learn that the US do not want the RF to find the ways to avoid cooperating with some very unreliable partner supported by the US. http://rbth.com/business/2016/02/03/ukraine-files-lawsuit-against-construction-of-nord-stream-2-gas-pipeline_564721
    How come that the visceral hatred towards Russians is so tightly intertwined with the parasitic desire to “partner” with them? Answer: transit fees. And, of course, the US want Russians to pay for the US adventures in Eastern Europe. http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2016-02-18/germany-s-planned-nord-stream-2-gas-pipeline-to-russia-must-go

  50. Few Americans realize that we have a crazed nut in charge of our NATO forces, General Breedlove is lusting for war with Russia and blaming them for every problem:

    http://www.stripes.com/news/breedlove-tells-congress-us-must-rebuild-forces-in-europe-to-confront-newly-aggressive-russia-1.396034

    He reminds me of General Turgison in the great movie “Dr. Strangelove”.

  51. Cracker says:
    @Avery

    RE: Tiger Tanks

    I remember reading that back in WW2, some Kraut officer said that a Tiger could take out 10 allied tanks. Some other guy hollered back that there were 11 allied tanks. YMMV, I guess…

  52. @Avery

    I don’t mean to refight the World War II Russian campaign, but I’d like to clarify the situation. The T-34 was almost certainly the best all-round tank of World War II, and it was a very nasty shock to the Wehrmacht when they encountered it in 1941, which shouldn’t have been the case since the Red Army had used it against the Finns in the 1940 Winter War. But the Wehrmacht ran up its biggest victories against the Red Army, which had plenty of T-34s as well as other less capable models, in 1941 and 1942, when the biggest guns carried on its tanks and Sturmgeschutz (essentially turretless tanks) were a high velocity 50 mm gun and a low velocity 75 mm cannon. German training and tactics, not equipment superiority, were the difference.

    By 1943 the Germans knew that they needed better armored fighting vehicles. Heinz Guderian wanted to simply copy the T-34 but there were design features that the German engineers thought would be difficult to copy and they feared that a simple copy would be inadequate to counter the improved tanks that they reasonably expected the Russians to begin producing. The model settled on was the Panther, a very good tank mounting a high-velocity 75 mm cannon, but there were problems getting it into production and it always suffered from transmission problems. The Tiger I, which gets all of the publicity in movies, was an expedient, as was the 88 mm Flak cannon adapted to the anti-tank role. The design was underpowered, the armor poorly sloped and the Germans ceased production even before the war ended.

    In addition to the Panther and the Tiger I and II (same engine and gun but even thicker armor and less mobility) the Germans fielded a large number of turretless tank destroyers. Maintaining all of these vehicles was a logistical nightmare, although it was a bonanza to post-WWII model builders.

    The Russians definitely had the better idea, but the German response wasn’t as bad as your post suggests.

    • Replies: @Avery
  53. Parbes says:
    @Cracker

    Yes, I agree; the fact that the West produces lots of morons of the type you specified doesn’t indicate good things about the West’s society, culture, and education system either. There is this difference, though: Whatever their faults and idiocies, the Western diversity-worshippers are NOT licking the boots of a foreign governmental entity which is a self-declared avowed enemy of, and wants to destroy, their home country.

  54. Avery says:
    @unit472

    The historical fact that the Red Army banner flew over the Reichstag, and the Nazi mass murderers committed suicide, proves that anytime Russia wants, she can overrun the Nazi or the Neo-Nazi Deutschlan, Deutschland über alles. And this time I doubt very much Russians will be as forgiving as the last time, when Germans invaded and caused about 30 million deaths of Soviet citizens.

    Neo-Nazidom will be raised to a radioactive ground.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  55. @unit472

    Russia is still recovering from the looting that the West perpetrated after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
    The Nation had a good piece on it back in 1998

    http://www.thenation.com/article/harvard-boys-do-russia/

    The Harvard boys who did Russia, are now doing the US.

  56. pyrrhus says:
    @22pp22

    Yes, this is really stupid anti-Russian propaganda, perhaps her college work is being paid for by the CIA…..I would expect better than this from good college students…

  57. Varenik says:

    Go ahead, Rita, tell us how you REALLY feel about Russia….
    Biased much ?
    Maybe building up the resume for ‘Toria’s perusal ?

  58. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website

    Rita Rozhkova is currently enrolled in the Masters Program in American Studies at the University of Leipzig. Her spheres of interest include political economy, critical theory, literature, and visual communication.

    I am currently enrolled in AA program in plumbing and I also have interests in wood-working and Tex-Mex cuisine and I recently read, critically, IKEA assembly instructions on how to assemble the bed. I guess, it is the time for me to write something on quantum mechanics and, possibly, on brain surgery.

  59. We Putin trolls just can’t ever get it into our thick Sovok skulls that NATO just wants to be Russia’s friend.
    http://patrickarmstrong.ca/2016/02/22/last-two-decades-explained-in-two-quotations/

    • Replies: @annamaria
  60. Avery says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    I have no quarrel with what you wrote.

    Germans definitely had better officers, better trained men, and better tactics.
    At least in the first couple of years of war or so.
    Later Red Army learned from its mistakes, and adapted.

    My post was simply in response to this irrational and factually false statement: {… but no one doubts that, were building tanks a major government objective, Germany could build better ones than Russia and turn them out in larger quantities without breaking its economy.}
    Under conditions of “do or die”, Germans produced as many as they possibly could, with pretty much their entire industrial might geared for war production: the quantity of tanks produced by each is proof the statement is a hallucination.

    Also, even though German training and tactics were superior, the huge disparity in numbers definitely made a difference. Germans simply ran out of armor (…and jet fighters, and bombers, and fighting age men,….)

  61. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Poles never learn

    This is where Linh Dinh just got done doing a teaching, gig. It can’t be all that bad of a school.

  62. annamaria says:
    @Patrick armstrong

    Fantastic! Cheney and Rasmussen as peace-makers! Who would imagine that? Perhaps nobody. But the news of hiring (buying) Rasmussen by Golden Sacks was easy to predict: “… with one hiring decision, Goldman not only assured its financial dominance over Denmark, but is now sure to capitalize on whatever military developments NATO unleashes in the coming weeks…” http://new.euro-med.dk/20150814-how-rothschild-conquered-denmark-and-nato-central-bank-and-his-goldman-sachs-bought-the-danish-finance-minster-at-a-bilderberg-meeting-and-bilderberger-former-prime-minister-and-nato-secretary-gene.php

    Rasmussen is worth of every penny given to him by the major war profiteers: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/11393707/Putin-could-attack-Baltic-states-warns-former-Nato-chief.html
    “Ex-NATO Chief Calls for Holy Crusade Against Russia in the Name of “Democracy:” http://russia-insider.com/en/ex-nato-chief-rasmussen-calls-holy-crusade-against-russia-name-democracy/5942

  63. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @geokat62

    Yet another of Linh Dinh’s “brilliant” students getting a go at the “Lord of Darkness”

    http://americanstudies.uni-leipzig.de/faculty/dinh

  64. Vendetta says:
    @Parbes

    Great question. I don’t know the answer either.

  65. @Seamus Padraig

    Don’t forget Denmark (Greenland).

  66. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    This is an “alternative” website? Then why publish a thoroughly establishmentarian hit piece against Russia?

    • Replies: @Avery
  67. @Seamus Padraig

    I doubt that if you try and spell them out in detail that you will find the figures straightforward. Cf. Australia when its coal and iron ore exports to China rose enormously; and Canada I think.

  68. @schmenz

    Maybe but my strong impression is that comment is weighted towards the vituperative and ad hominem – of which Annamarina #25 (I think) is a high class example.

  69. @annamaria

    I’m glad to note your care not to say as someone did on an earlier thread that “Two Hundred Years Together” wasn’t available in English (and, I think, had been suppressed). I had completely forgotten about it but you prompt the question why any one of thousands of anti-Jewish sources of money quite sufficient to finance its publication in English and promotion haven’t done so. It would be an easy anti-Jewish, anti-Zionist story to sell once it was being launched against (alleged) attempts at suppression. Even a Copyright case could serve the collateral purpose.

  70. @Avery

    Any time country A or its predecessor has had its (or its predecessors) flag up over country B’s parliament about the time a number of country B’s leaders give up and commit suicide you can infer that, for the forseeable future, country A will be able to overrun country B easily.

    Well, of course!

    Sorry? You were just wasting our time blowing wind? Just rhetoric? Of course , silly me.

    • Replies: @Avery
  71. Avery says:
    @Anonymous

    If you look at it from an, ahem, “alternative” viewpoint, it makes sense.
    In an establishmentarian site, very few, if any, of the counter-comments would be published. But here @UNZ, the dozens of different posters massively debunked the lies of this author and the other “Russian” (Tatar) young lady.

    So a neutral reader gets both the lies and the factual debunking.
    Whereas, in the establishmentarian world, the lies would go unchallenged, and a lot of people would just take it as fact.

    That’s the way I see it.

  72. Avery says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    {…wasting our time blowing wind}

    Who is this “our”, homes ?
    Is it like, the royal “we”, or you have taken the mantle of Neo-Nazis and are speaking on their behalf?

    Silly who?

  73. @Positive Dennis

    Positive Dennis, you are absolutely right about the very difficult geography, not to mention the rugged climate, with which Russia is blessed. Russia used to be the breadbasket of Europe when it included the territories which now form the Ukraine, which by the way was never an independent country until 1991 and the dissolution of the USSR.
    However, since on average I spend about half the year in Russia, I can say that the food at the local markets, whether meat or vegetables, has far more taste and is probably a lot healthier than the stuff I get here at my local Stop and Shop. The food Americans eat is designed to look good on the surface but it has no taste and little nutritious value. It is the product of the Agro-pharma-chemical-industrial complex and it is not surprising that so many Americans are doing poorly physically and mentally as a result.
    By the way, the best and most scrumptious lamb shish-kebab that I’ve ever had, I ate in a little shack on the Island of Ol’khon on the shore of Lake Baikal, served by a local Buryat who raises his own animals and caters to the visitors in the summertime. It put all American hamburgers to shame, and the price was exceedingly modest by New York restaurant standards.
    I myself am surprised that Unz Review would publish such a biased and poorly informed piece on such a vast and interesting topic.

  74. […] Only a legislature of barbarians would vote for “the prohibition of sale, import, and production of lace panties …” More […]

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