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"Felix Keverich"
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    Moscow 2018. Can't believe it has been almost a month since the last Open Thread. Quick updates: Was in the UK for a couple of weeks (as you presumably gathered). Apart from the march in London, I also took the opportunity to tick off Canterbury and the Tank Museum in Bovington. Unfortunately, I was not...
  • @Thorfinnsson
    Question for the Russians here--Karlin, Dmitri, and Felix Keverich.

    Are you guys long on your own country's stock market? Prices are extremely attractive.

    No. What’s the point owning a market that consistently underperforms? Russian stock market is a joke anyway, dominated by state controlled energy companies. You will be better off owning XLE.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    What do you own?

    I don't own XLE (indexing is for cowards), but I do own Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, Hess, and Kinder Morgan.

    The point of owning a market that consistently under performs is that cheap valuations imply superior future returns. The US stock market is very expensive at the moment, though things have been improving this year.

    See here: https://www.starcapital.de/en/research/stock-market-valuation/

    The state capitalism thing is a big problem with Russia. I own Magnit for instance. Now one third of Magnit is owned, apparently against the wishes of Magnit's founder, by a Kremlin-controlled bank. Depressing.

    And that's basically why I am hesitant to go in more. I also have modest positions in Gazprom, RSX, and RSXJ (small cap Russian stocks). Normally I am opposed to index funds as indexing is for cowards, but hard for me to do good scuttlebutt on Russian companies for obvious reasons.

    I first went into Russia when the Rouble mysteriously collapsed a few years ago.
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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    As long as the Israelis don't touch Russians in Syria (which they haven't done - unlike Americans) and don't hinder the Syrian anti-jihadist operation, the Israelis don't even threaten Russia's goals in Syria.

    Syria gets put back together - incidentally, the main obstacles to that are going to be the Turks, who actually have an overt occupation zone there, and the Americans, who overtly lay claim to a zone of influence, before the Israelis - and Russia's job there is going to be done.

    The Israelis will ofc retain the Golan, but that's only natural, considering that was the pre-civil war status quo.

    What is “Syrian anti-jihadist operation”? As I understand it Assad’s army today is mostly a mix of Alawite militias, pro-Iranian militias and Russian mercenaries. Israelis are demanding that pro-Iranian militias, a key component of “Syrian anti-jihadist operation”, leave.

    I don’t believe that Israelis can compel pro-Iranian forces to leave (and if they do, it will be up to Russia to find some people to take their place!). Israelis will continue bombing military infrastructure in Syria, threatening the lives of Russian personnel (how can you be certain they didn’t kill some Russians already?). Israelis will do it simply because they can, until they finally do enough to aggravate Iran, and it causes a regional war, and Russia will be caught in the middle of it.

    This notion that Syria gets put back together, and Jews go gentle into the night, accept Iranian bases in Syria, give up their dreams of regional domination – it just seems implausible to me.

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    • Replies: @Mitleser

    As I understand it Assad’s army today is mostly a mix of Alawite militias, pro-Iranian militias and Russian mercenaries. Israelis are demanding that pro-Iranian militias, a key component of “Syrian anti-jihadist operation”, leave.
     
    That is not Assad's army.
    That is just a bunch of pro-government forces.
    Assad's army is the Syrian Arab Army, the dominant pro-government force.

    and if they do, it will be up to Russia to find some people to take their place!
     
    They already have the SAA for this job.
    Iranians prefer their militias.
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  • @reiner Tor

    This is the essence of the JQ. Jewish interest transcends borders and so it is futile to speak of “Israel wants” when essentially all the major Jewish orgs are very Zionist and in effect act as a fifth column within their respective host nations.
     
    The big mistake of Jew-aware people and organizations is (and has always been in the past) to treat Jews based on that perceived unity as if they were a monolithic organization, which they aren't.

    Hitler thought that Jews were pushing the US (and previously the UK) to enter the war. (He was not wrong.) He thought that a good way to make them stop this would be to threaten European Jews. He thought that if American Jews saw that a war might endanger the very lives of all European Jews (and his threats beginning in January 1939 were quite explicit in that regard - "if Jews succeed in pushing the world into a world war once again, the result will be the extermination of European Jewry"), then American Jews might be deterred from pushing the US into the war.

    Hitler's calculations would've been correct, if Jewry were monolithic organization, which it is not. If there was a World Jewish Committee which would regularly meet, then they'd coolly and rationally examine the possibilities, and perhaps decide that the destruction of the National Socialist German Reich was not worth the destruction of European Jewry. They might try to engage in talks with the Germans to get Jews out of Europe in exchange for guaranteed peace, or something.

    But Jewry was totally decentralized. Hitler's anti-Jewish threats merely had the effect of making Jews (including influential Jews) more determined in their anti-German or anti-Nazi hatred, and so strengthened their push for war.

    I'm afraid a similar strategy (which I had proposed just this week) would probably lead to similar results: if Russia started threatening Israel in response to American policies (pushed by American Jewry), the result would be a strengthening of resolve and would make Israel (whose policies are currently not very hostile to Russia, for example they don't participate in any sanctions or embargoes against it) also explicitly hostile to Russia.

    So I'm not sure what a strong Russian stance against Israel would accomplish. I understand for example utu, since he'd be delighted if a nuclear war broke out between Israel and Russia, but I can understand why Russians (including Putin and Karlin) don't really want to risk it for Arabs.

    Obviously, Israel is primarily a problem for its neighbours like Syria, but ever since Kremlin blundered into Syria, it has become Russia’s problem also. There will be no stability and no lasting success for Russia in Syria until some solution is found for the problem of Israel.

    Putin’s approach to managing Israel is to bury his head in the sand and hope that his ass goes unmolested, and apparently Karlin thinks it’s a bright idea, but to me it is very DUMB, and embarrassing for a country that fashions itself as a great power.

    This does not mean that we must immediately escalate to nuclear war, but the Israelis must pay some price for their destabilising activities. Otherwise, why would they stop?

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    As long as the Israelis don't touch Russians in Syria (which they haven't done - unlike Americans) and don't hinder the Syrian anti-jihadist operation, the Israelis don't even threaten Russia's goals in Syria.

    Syria gets put back together - incidentally, the main obstacles to that are going to be the Turks, who actually have an overt occupation zone there, and the Americans, who overtly lay claim to a zone of influence, before the Israelis - and Russia's job there is going to be done.

    The Israelis will ofc retain the Golan, but that's only natural, considering that was the pre-civil war status quo.
    , @Dmitry

    apparently Karlin thinks it’s a bright idea, b

     

    He is still more strong interventionalist than average people, who can't explain the reason for soldiers dying there without a strong motivation like the bombing of ISIS had been.

    Aside from a few thousand people who follow Syria online like an obsessive soap opera, and will usually be the ones who post comments underneath the website articles calling for interventions, most people are less interventionalist than people like Karlin.

    This said, popular view is not necessarily the objectively correct one, but it makes sense from Putin - as a politician - to follow kind of position that the matches average people's reasoning and level of knowledge about the Middle East.

    I'm much stronger on the other side, with personal connections to Israel - but still can't take a step back, and objectively think about advantages of sending money and soldiers for defending Iranian positions in Syria. In a scenario where the Assad regime in which the Kremlin had invested is safe, then falling Iranian influence over the investment is not necessarily a bad thing, as getting a large portion of a prize that has to be shared .

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  • Concerning Syria, Russia’s passivity in the face of Israeli agression emboldens American neocons:

    Next thing you know, he will be calling for airstrikes on Crimea bridge. Actually, he already did!

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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    Serves what person?

    This idiotic (I am talking about utu) that everyone is getting paid handsomely to write what they write is idiotic, and almost always wrong.

    The idea that a magazine which prominently and intrusively sells MUGS and BASEBALL CAPS to stay in operations is getting paid to do what it does is preposterous.

    Occam's Razor explanation: Most reasonable people dgaf about your (utu's) obsession with Israel.

    Most reasonable people dgaf about your (utu’s) obsession with Israel.

    We are not obsessed. Israel is a nasty country, but that’s not the point. The point is that Israel (the Jewry) is Russia’s chief opponent in Syria. The international campaign to unseat Bashar Assad is really a Jewish campaign. There is absolutely no way Russia’s interests in Syria can be reconciled with Israel’s. They say they want Iranian influence out of the country. That’s not going to happen. What will happen is a slow motion war of attrition between Iran and Israel, with Russian servicemen standing helplessly in the middle of it.

    Russia can put an end to this crap by introducing some costs for the Israelis. Treating Netanyahoo as a guest of honor, while he attacks our allies gets us nowhere. If we are going to have Syria stabilised, we’ll need to confront the problem of Israel.

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    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @Polish Perspective

    Israel is a nasty country, but that’s not the point. The point is that Israel (the Jewry) is Russia’s chief opponent in Syria. The international campaign to unseat Bashar Assad is really a Jewish campaign.
     
    This is entirely correct. That Israel is in a tussle with Iran doesn't concern me per se. It is the fact that Israel uses its diaspora lobbies to drag the West into the war by unseating Assad and they've essentially bribed all of the US political class into doing so.

    This is the essence of the JQ. Jewish interest transcends borders and so it is futile to speak of "Israel wants" when essentially all the major Jewish orgs are very Zionist and in effect act as a fifth column within their respective host nations. They also have a lot of influence. Even they admit this.

    http://mondoweiss.net/2016/04/forward-columnist-and-emilys-list-leader-relate-gigantic-shocking-role-of-jewish-democratic-donors/

    For AK to underplay this, I think, basically boils down to cowardice. Bashing muslims carries little social cost. Going after Jews does. This doesn't change the fact that some people overplay the JQ to the detriment of other issues, but it's a major factor in the West today. A lot of WNs tried to avoid it, like Jared Taylor and he got absolutely nothing in return for it.
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  • This has apparently been getting harder (h/t Betlo): The panel also noted that it is now more difficult to recruit intelligence sources inside Russia than it was during the Soviet era. During the Soviet era, the CIA relied upon “volunteers” who would approach American intelligence officers, Bearden said, but the pool of Russians willing to...
  • This sounds implausible to me. Thousands of Russian government officials and oligarchs have homes in the West, keep their money in the West etc. I’d expect this to give CIA plenty of leverage.

    Someone like Kostin would probably jump at the opportunity to become an informer for the CIA. All they would have to do is promise to keep him off the sanctions list.

    Another factor could be declining competence amongst Western spooks focusing on Russia.

    Yes, this probably has more to do with declining competence of our enemies. In truth CIA has plenty of options for espionage in Russia. Perhaps, relying on SIGINT too much made them lazy.

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    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    Thousands of Russian government officials and oligarchs have homes in the West, keep their money in the West etc.
     
    Citation, as they say, needed. Reality is not the crooked-mirror image you see online. (Sometimes worse, to be sure.)
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  • Moscow 2018. Can't believe it has been almost a month since the last Open Thread. Quick updates: Was in the UK for a couple of weeks (as you presumably gathered). Apart from the march in London, I also took the opportunity to tick off Canterbury and the Tank Museum in Bovington. Unfortunately, I was not...
  • Crimea has 5x fewer cars per capita than the Russian average. Results of two and a half decades of Ukrainian occupation.

    I hate to say it, but it’s probably inaccurate. Wikipedia says there are 200 cars in the Ukraine per 1000 inhabitants. Crimea can’t be doing so much worse, than the Ukraine.

    Also, as of 2014 the average car in the Ukraine was 20 years old. lol

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    A pity. I suppose such a huge differential was too good to be true. Probably just a registration issue, then.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    One of my cars is 15 years old (a Ford truck). I will almost certainly still own it when it is 20 years old, and then it will be eligible for collector car plates from my state. In addition to being far cheaper to register ($20 vs. $70), collector car plates are distinctively blue with red script.

    The downside is that you can't drive a car with collector plates for one week in January, but since I own multiple cars who cares?

    I once owned a 1989 Volvo 740, which I wish I had never sold. Incredibly distinctive car, and rock solid reliability.

    I assume the typical car in the Ukraine is nothing one would be proud of owning, of course.
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  • @iffen
    Higher oil price means greater value of Russian exports

    Trump payoff to Russia via abrogation of Iran agreement?

    Trump payoff to Jewish mafia is more like it. Russia cannot get him impeached, but Jews can.

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    • Agree: utu
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  • China projects an increase in trade with Russia from around $100 billion last year to $200 billion next year. Much needed diversification. As I point out, Russia can live without China, and it can even live without the West, but it can’t live without either of them.

    The increase in trade with China comes primarily from rising oil prices. Higher oil price means greater value of Russian exports, not necessarily volume.

    Russia-China trade turnover reached $80 billion in 2017. $100 billion can happen this year, but $200 billion for 2019 seems unrealistic.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Higher oil price means greater value of Russian exports

    Trump payoff to Russia via abrogation of Iran agreement?
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  • Broke: Russians downed MH17 so Russia must pay reparations, withdraw from the Ukraine, Putler must go to the Hague. Woke: Muh Ukrainian false flag. *scribbles 5,000 words on obscure alt media webzine that no-one will read* Bespoke: Russians downed MH17 and Russia must face up to it like a civilized, Western country (i.e. no apologies,...
  • I think that this would be the right moment for the masterful American diplomacy to cross-reference Libya again, this time in regard to the downing of flight Pan Am 103. Offer the Russians restoration of full diplomatic relations plus cancellation of sanctions by the west, even though Russia didn’t do anything wrong. In return Russia compensates the victims to the tune of 10 million per person – Lockerbie style and then the west will look into the possibility of providing an involuntary colonoscopy for Putin – Gaddafi style.

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    • LOL: Felix Keverich
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  • @German_reader
    Are there any new developments about this or why did you post that (you wrote pretty much the same years ago iirc)?
    I still think Russia ought to pay compensation for that, and imo the cretins who shot MH17 down ought to be punished for their incompetence. Probably not going to happen, but the Dutch have every reason to be outraged (doesn't matter to Russia of course).
    The Americans are hypocrites of course, but that doesn't make Russian behaviour in this case any better.

    I personally do not think that the crew manning BUK is to blame here. After all it was a very unusual, “hybrid” deployment. Most likely the crew lacked resources to properly identify a plane, and had to make an educated guess every time. They were also forbidden from using comms.

    If anything the fault lies with the person who authorised this “hybrid” strategy, i.e. Putin himself.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    Maybe, I can't judge that. In any case, I don't believe it was intentional, rather a tragic mistake.
    , @anonymous coward

    Most likely the crew lacked resources to properly identify a plane
     
    No, that's bullshit. The speed and altitude of a civilian airliner is so completely unlike a military plane that there's no way you could confuse them.
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  • @reiner Tor
    OT

    What about North Korea? Back to square one...

    After Trump cancelled Iran deal, what did you think was going to happen? NK got a clear message that USA can’t be trusted to honor its commitments. Comparing NK to Libya certainly didn’t help.

    I for one never though that Kim was desperate to get sanctions relief. He had nothing to lose by agreeing to a summit, but giving up nukes was never an option. And it appears the USA was not going to settle for anything less. So they will just watch as NK develops its nuclear missile program. lol

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    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Trump has bought the BS about how smart and tough he was. Bolton deliberately sabotaged with his Libya comment, something Pence then followed up. Having NK unresolved serves the interests of some in the US.
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  • @LondonBob
    Nice of them to have decided to scrutinize images just before the WC. Finally the definitive proof that surely exists and has duly been presented.

    Indeed. Using the tragedy for propaganda purposes. The Dutch have no respect for their dead.

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  • @reiner Tor
    The US agreed to pay Iran Air Flight 655 victims in 1996, eight years after it happened. So I think there’s a requirement for Russia to pay compensation for citizens of a generally hostile country within eight years of the incident.

    America can afford it, Russia not so much.

    Russia should not value the citizens from a generally hostile country more than the people of Donbass who will never be compensated for their miserable fates.

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    • Agree: Felix Keverich
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  • Agreed. It was an unfortunate accident, not a war crime, and our persistent denials only make us look guilty.

    I also think that this accident could have been avoided if the Kremlin took care to warn international flight operators, that we are taking down planes over Eastern Ukraine. Something to consider for the future…

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    if the Kremlin took care to warn international flight operators, that we are taking down planes over Eastern Ukraine
     
    LDNR should've done so.
    , @inertial

    Agreed. It was an unfortunate accident, not a war crime, and our persistent denials only make us look guilty.
     
    Whereas admission of guilt will not make Russia look guilty. Right.
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  • I recently had a look at the polling for the Ukrainian Presidential elections in March 2019. They don't look good for him, to put it mildly. While austerity, stymied reforms and continuing corruption, and the lack of a resolution to the War in Donbass have been dragging at Poroshenko's ratings for several years now, since...
  • @Kinez
    All these references to Operation Storm are ridiculous. Putin's Russia in 2018 bears absolutely no comparison to Milošević's Yugoslavia in 1995. The latter was a small country which by 1995 had been subjected to three years of a comprehensive UN trade embargo, and whose leader was ideologically confused (he was a Yugoslav Communist, and the foundation stone of Yugoslav Communism was an opposition to supposed bourgeois Greater Serbian oppression). He didn't care about the Krajina Serbs, who were viewed as a bunch of irrelevant hotheaded peasants, nor did he care about the (Bosnian) Serb Republic, on which he had imposed sanctions in 1994(!?). Incidentally, the UN "sanctions" on the "third Yugoslavia" (Serbia and Montenegro) were supported by Russia, with only China and (I think) Zimbabwe abstaining.

    Putin, whatever his faults, is ten classes above Milošević, who was the wrong man, at the wrong time, in the wrong place. Not to mention that Russia has the capacity and the will to prevent any Operation Storm-type action, as it already showed in 2008 when Saakashvili attempted his own Operation Storm.

    In that case how do see this conflict resolving? The current Ukrainian regime appears stable and unlikely not be overthrown from the inside. It will never agree to implement Minsk accords as they are written and the continued existence of LDNR is a major obstacle to NATO membership.

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  • @Beckow
    Let's see: Kiev attacks Donbass and as they are conquering it with hundreds of thousands refugees, thousands dead, Russia stands back and stadiums full of Russian fans cheer on World Cup games. Right, I don't see that happening.

    How about: Kiev attacks, collapses, Russia is blamed, World Cup is overshadowed by 'Ukraine crisis', some teams go home (England, Sweden, Poland), nobody cares.

    I think it will be the third option: nothing much happens. they missed the window for any action.

    Russia is waiting for the World Cup to be over, North Stream II built, China pipelines done, then they will strike.

    Russia is waiting for the World Cup to be over, North Stream II built, China pipelines done, then they will strike.

    These are merely excuses. I’m sure some other issue will arise in the future, that pro-Kremlin commentators will use to justify inaction. The real problem is that Putin lacks balls. His machismo image is all for show. The one moment when Putin displayed real courage and leadership – return of Crimea – he did it to save his own skin.

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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    Probably correct (I don't follow Markov myself to be a judge), but presumably what Russia's 2nd most influential politologist says is not of entirely negligible interest.

    You worry too much about stuff as usual. A week-long timeline is definitely a fantasy, considering that Ukraine lacks overwhelming advantage in firepower and LDNR had 3,5 years to dig in. No way American generals can be this stupid.

    Also, you haven’t explained how they are going to cancel Russia’s World Cup. That’s just silly!

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    • Replies: @Mikhail
    They might very well not succeed in cancelling it. At the same time, they can create negativity. The Kiev regime has gone out of its way to try to denigrate the upcoming World Cup.

    BTW, Kiev is about to host the the UEFA Champions League final on May 26.
    , @notanon

    He claims the Americans think the Ukrainians can force a Russian intervention (or doom the LDNR to defeat) within a week of kicking off a full-scale war.
     

    No way American generals can be this stupid.
     
    He's probably talking to Bill Kristol.
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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    Sergey Markov thinks it might start around June 3-5.

    He claims the Americans think the Ukrainians can force a Russian intervention (or doom the LDNR to defeat) within a week of kicking off a full-scale war.

    World Cup starts in June 14.

    If these calculations are correct, it would all make sense.

    Markov is a blowhard, who opines on all sorts of issues, but is usually wrong. He is not credible as an analyst. He cannot possibly know what Americans think, because Americans are not talking to him. lol

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Probably correct (I don't follow Markov myself to be a judge), but presumably what Russia's 2nd most influential politologist says is not of entirely negligible interest.
    , @Mikhail
    He's arguably the other side of Michael McFaul. There're US based Russia watchers who're understandably not so impressed with McFaul.

    I recall Markov saying in a Canadian interview that the West shouldn't be so interventionist in Ukraine, because such a move increases the stature of Russian nationalists. In addition to not being accurate, that claim isn't good PR for Russia.

    It suggestively and erroneously portrays Russia as being subject to unnecessarily nationalist activity, while downplaying what should otherwise be a key element to analytically consider. Specifically, the pro-Russian sentiment in the former non-Russian Soviet republics.

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  • To IQ research (h/t whyvert): Strictly speaking, this isn't exactly accurate - Lynn and Vanhanen peg Somali IQ at around 72 - but it's certainly closer to the mark than the politically correct European 100. Anyhow, while I realize that Sweden is basically a meme country at this point, this is still an incredible development....
  • @AP

    The Ukraine is dying out! First 3 months of 2018 – only 85.000 babies; 21,6% of Russia’s level.
     
    To be precise: the pro-Russian parts of Ukraine are dying out. You are gloating at the extinction of your own people (or at least, allies):

    http://datatowel.in.ua/natural/birth-death-regions-historical

    This only goes to the end of 2016 but the pattern hasn't changed.

    The rest of Ukraine is not much different from Russia itself. The western parts may be a little better.

    That is assuming Ukrainian statistics is telling us truth, and there is still 42 million people in the Ukraine
     
    42 million excludes Crimea but includes DNR/LNR. So the Ukrainian state has around 38 million plus however many Donbas refugees have moved to Kiev-controlled territory. If the low birth rate in Ukraine includes DNR/LNR than that accounts for huge amount of the loss.

    38 million is 26.4% of Russia's population. If births are 21.6% of Russia's, the relative drop is not so dramatic, and not so bad from the perspective of the Ukrainian state given that it represents a decline in the more pro-Russian population within the state.

    To be precise: the pro-Russian parts of Ukraine are dying out. You are gloating at the extinction of your own people (or at least, allies):

    http://datatowel.in.ua/natural/birth-death-regions-historical

    This only goes to the end of 2016 but the pattern hasn’t changed.

    I’m not seeing it. This website shows that regions with the lowest birthrates are Sumy and Chernigov – hardly pro-Russian. Western Ukraine always had relatively higher birthrates, due to greater percentage of the rural population, but the difference is not dramatic, and make no mistake about it, every part of the country was affected by the recent downturn.

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    • Agree: RadicalCenter
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  • I recently had a look at the polling for the Ukrainian Presidential elections in March 2019. They don't look good for him, to put it mildly. While austerity, stymied reforms and continuing corruption, and the lack of a resolution to the War in Donbass have been dragging at Poroshenko's ratings for several years now, since...
  • Is it fair to say that Timoshenko will be the preferred candidate for Kremlin, i.e. someone they can do business with?

    Meanwhile, Russia experiences a last minute collapse of the FIFA World Cup

    What do you mean? I could see England boycotting the tournament over the “invasion of Ukraine”, but how many other counties will?

    As for ‘Operation Storm’ — the Ukrainian army can’t win against LDNR even if Russia doesn’t intervene. That’s a non-starter.

    Yes, I doubt such an operation can be completed by mid-July. The time is rapidly running out for it.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Sergey Markov thinks it might start around June 3-5.

    He claims the Americans think the Ukrainians can force a Russian intervention (or doom the LDNR to defeat) within a week of kicking off a full-scale war.

    World Cup starts in June 14.

    If these calculations are correct, it would all make sense.
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  • I have long been pointing out that one of the clearest electoral patterns in Russia is the inexorable collapse of the KPRF as you go down the age pyramid. This decline is reflected in a FOM poll published on May 5, the 200 year anniversary of Marx's birthday. Whereas there are no major differences between...
  • @Timmy T. Bone
    Lets get to the crux of the issue - Karl Marx was a Jew. A lot of the Bolsheviks were Jews, a lot of the high ranking communists were also Jews, a lot of people that ran the KGB were also Jewish.

    After WW2 lots of Jews were put in control of the communist governments by the Soviets - lets see Poland, Hungary, E. Germany, etc....

    Of course we are not supposed to notice any of this as its anti-semitic . But it doesnt change the reality of the situation.

    Let’s go deeper. Marxism is not scientific. It is a beliefs system: it has its dogmas, that must be strictly enforced, it has its heretics that must purged…It is a religion. Developed by the Jew, for the goyim. Not unlike Christianity btw, which started out as a Jewish sect (although the Jews quickly lost control of it). We live in a moral universe, that was shaped by the Jews.

    Vladimir Putin recently compared Soviet communism to Christianity. He is more right, than he realises.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Lol I have to agree with you that it is a very similar origin story to Christianity, and the two belief systems are highly similar to each other in structure (Marxism is a modernized version, but it substitutes a lot of the old superstitions simply for new, more dangerous ones).

    But the idea that the Jewish-origin people who created the two ideologies, didn't believe it themselves? They believed in it quite fanatically, if you read the biography of both cases.
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  • It would be more accurate to say that communist indoctrination in Russia has faded. And without mass indoctrination the Russians no longer know what to think about Marx. They are not curious enough to figure out what he stood for and form an opinion for themselves.

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    • Replies: @utu
    People including communists did not know much about Marx and what he really stood for. He wrote a lot of nonsense like the linked piece about Slavs. People had a package of cliches at their disposal that were used to string together statements with purpose to justify the system and condemn its opponents but mostly to signal their belonging and subservience. It is no different with, say the so-called capitalists and people living under them who like to talk about Adam Smith and liberalism and use his authority to justify their conditioned prejudices. Do you think that some Wall Street trader thinks about Adam Smith when he makes decision about trades? No, he will use Smith authority only to state platitudes about the system. The marketing people who developed methods of affecting people dispositions and choices use a very simple models of a human being which seem to work. People rarely ever think for themselves when trying to parse and explain reality. They rarely have a need of explaining it. They just want to justify it and affirm. It really comes to conditioning and simple binary good-bad, like-dislike conditioning. More and more I come to believe that B. F. Skinner was substantially correct.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    At least the British ambassador to the UN still thinks Marx was a Russian hero.
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  • To IQ research (h/t whyvert): Strictly speaking, this isn't exactly accurate - Lynn and Vanhanen peg Somali IQ at around 72 - but it's certainly closer to the mark than the politically correct European 100. Anyhow, while I realize that Sweden is basically a meme country at this point, this is still an incredible development....
  • @Jaakko Raipala
    Ever since Crimea there has been an absolutely massive fear mongering propaganda push over Russia. They have a certain set of recurring narratives with no historical precedent like "Russia wants Gotland to control the Baltic Sea" that are nevertheless presented by pro-NATO "experts" as factual expositions of Russian strategic planning. There is next to no criticism of this ridiculous fear mongering in the Swedish media.

    The fear propaganda is working in Sweden but curiously not in Finland - support for NATO has increased in Sweden but dropped in Finland. (I used to be pro-NATO but I can clearly see that we are being manipulated into something and that can't be good.)

    Way before the term SJW, Finnish internet used the meme "former Stalinist". A journalist who was previously known for his pro-Soviet opinions kept presenting the United States as an example of successful multiculturalism in a TV debate and a confused nationalist asked "wait a minute, why are you praising America, aren't you a Stalinist?". He was slightly taken aback but then declared himself a "former Stalinist" on the spot, sparking years of memes about "former Stalinists" who all now push for NATO membership, russophobia, immigration and worship of magic communist negroes as our new moral leaders.

    What has been happening to the West since the 1960s is really a slow motion Bolshevik revolution. It's not "cultural Marxism", it's just Marxism. They are the same people who took over Russia in 1917 who haven't even changed their beliefs, only their tactics. Russia may have lost the Cold War but the Reds won.

    Russia may have lost the Cold War but the Reds won.

    As a Russian I disagree. Russia actually won since the country isn’t communist anymore. Of course 7 decades of communism have taken a heavy toll, but unlike US and Western Europe, there is still hope. That and the simple fact that Russian people have never lived better.

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  • Completely off-topic, but check out this chart:

    The Ukraine is dying out! First 3 months of 2018 – only 85.000 babies; 21,6% of Russia’s level. And fertility rate at 1,31 is probably the lowest in Europe at this point.

    That is assuming Ukrainian statistics is telling us truth, and there is still 42 million people in the Ukraine. I suspect the actual number is closer to 32 million. For example, if we apply Russian fertility patterns to the Ukraine, it would produce an estimate of:

    147*0,216=31,75 million.

    Another interesting data point is South Korea. The first major nation to drop under 1.o TFR – something is deeply wrong in the SK society.

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    • Replies: @AP

    The Ukraine is dying out! First 3 months of 2018 – only 85.000 babies; 21,6% of Russia’s level.
     
    To be precise: the pro-Russian parts of Ukraine are dying out. You are gloating at the extinction of your own people (or at least, allies):

    http://datatowel.in.ua/natural/birth-death-regions-historical

    This only goes to the end of 2016 but the pattern hasn't changed.

    The rest of Ukraine is not much different from Russia itself. The western parts may be a little better.

    That is assuming Ukrainian statistics is telling us truth, and there is still 42 million people in the Ukraine
     
    42 million excludes Crimea but includes DNR/LNR. So the Ukrainian state has around 38 million plus however many Donbas refugees have moved to Kiev-controlled territory. If the low birth rate in Ukraine includes DNR/LNR than that accounts for huge amount of the loss.

    38 million is 26.4% of Russia's population. If births are 21.6% of Russia's, the relative drop is not so dramatic, and not so bad from the perspective of the Ukrainian state given that it represents a decline in the more pro-Russian population within the state.
    , @Toronto Russian

    Another interesting data point is South Korea. The first major nation to drop under 1.o TFR – something is deeply wrong in the SK society.
     
    https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-average-day-like-for-a-Japanese-or-Korean-high-school-student

    https://www.quora.com/How-is-the-working-culture-like-in-Korea

    Would you bring a living being into the world for such hellish existence?
    , @Daniel Chieh
    Korea somehow managed to acquire all of the negative aspects of Japanese work culture, without any of the positives while being simultaneously pummeled with liberal values thanks to their American masters.

    Its fun.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    Japan's figures are actually not that bad. Consider:

    • The country is in East Asia
    • The country has very few immigrants or people of immigrant origin (note: South Korea now has quite a lot)
    • The country has been prosperous for a long time
    • The country in this century has gone from Italian levels of female workforce participation to above American levels

    Japan might even have a higher TFR than some white nations once you strip out the TFR of the invaders. Note that it's comparable to Finland (few invaders until quite recently) and Scotland (98% white)

    Obviously TFR of 1.43 and Japan is making a number of wrong moves, but this speaks to some sort of resilience in Japan which doesn't exist elsewhere among confucian orientals.

    As for what's wrong with South Korea, perhaps one of our oriental commenters can answer. From the outside two things stand out:

    • The plastic surgery obsession
    • The decision to embrace multiculturalism and immigration (Global Korea, dropping the pledge to the Han race)

    South Korea's conscription might unintentionally contribute. It gives women a head start in the workforce, thereby inflating their earning power over men of the same age cohort. As women want to marry up and orientals are famously materialistic, this could have a materially negative impact on family formation.

    I suggest comparative demography between conscription countries to volunteer countries as a research topic.
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  • @reiner Tor
    There’s no such thing as “true Marxism.”
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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Ah, okay, then. I’m sleepy, no coffee yet.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Stalinism in Russia was NOT true Marxism, but Sweden might get there over time.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    There’s no such thing as “true Marxism.”
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Either Iran fulfills the following, or it gets the "strongest sanctions in history": Since this is two more demands than the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia in 1914, and they are in principle unfulfillable anyway, why not go the full hog and make some further additions: Convert to Evangelical Christianity Host a gay pride parade in...
  • @reiner Tor
    It’s not an either-or question. A lot of EU members were arguing for lesser sanctions. Due to this, the final sanctions were watered down and weren’t very strong at all.

    However, if it were a stronger Russian intervention, the position of these Russia-friendly countries within the EU would’ve become untenable; they’d have come under much stronger pressure; and they themselves would’ve supported stronger sanctions anyway.

    Regarding China, the Chinese weren’t all too happy with the Crimea annexation, and it’s unclear how their behavior might’ve changed if Russia pushed too hard. Emperor Xi was still just First Consul Xi back then, so he couldn’t fully concentrate on foreign policy, and the traditional Chinese viewpoint was not too friendly to military interventions and violent border changes.

    Then there’s Belarus. There’s Kazakhstan. There are other countries whose opinions might matter.

    IMO none of this is worth the lifes of thousands of Russians, who were killed in Donbass since 2014. Putin’s restraint is seen as a sign of weakness and only encourages Western pressure on Russia. Putin’s restraint is giving Ukrainians hope that they could actually win, prolonging the conflict.

    I believe entire war could have prevented if back in in February 2014 Putin sent the troops to Kiev to disperse Evromaidan. Get rid of Yanukovich, install some Russian spy as a president, and run the country as a pro-Russian dictatorship. Kill pro-Western politicians.

    Instead Putin always goes for the minimum thing he thinks he could do, which never proves enough. Putin allows the problem to grow, requiring ever growing commitment of resources in order to contain it. When you look at the kind of resources that Russia has deployed in and around Donbass, back in February 2014 it would have been sufficient to install a pro-Russian government in the Ukraine. Now it’s barely enough to deter Ukrainian offensive in Donbass. ‘Barely enough’ appears to be Putin’s M.O. So frustrating!

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I'm not sure how easy it would've been to install a Russian puppet government, but depending on how competently it was done, it might have been easier. For example I think that the annexation of Crimea is a better propaganda point than installing a puppet government would have been. It would probably be easier to accept for the Chinese, who don't like the idea of a secession by referendum. It might alienate Ukrainian public opinion (in Eastern Ukraine) less. (Though it wouldn't help with Western Ukrainian public opinion.)

    But of course it would've been riskier.
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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    Well yes, Russia handicapped itself by not using its full suite of EW capabilities, completely avoiding exercising its air power, and only making a brief, very limited excursion across its borders.

    This still allowed countries that wanted to believe (e.g. for commercial reasons) that Russia did not intervene to do just that.

    In The Current Year, I doubt this will still be feasible, due to Ukrainian military improvements.

    This still allowed countries that wanted to believe (e.g. for commercial reasons) that Russia did not intervene to do just that.

    Which countries are you talking about exactly? Every EU member state voted for anti-Russian sanctions, so presumably they all agree that Ukrainian conflict was caused by “Russian agression”.

    Notably, China refers to conflict in the Ukraine as an internal Ukrainian conflict. So could this charade really be aimed at appeasing the Chinese? Otherwise, we must consider it a complete flop. Nobody in the West has been willing to adopt Russia’s view of the conflict.

    Should the incontrovertible evidence of Russian involvement emerge, do you think this could prompt the Chinese to reassess their relationship with Russia? I rather doubt it.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Does anyone know who they describe the Ukraine conflicts in Chinese state media?
    , @reiner Tor
    It’s not an either-or question. A lot of EU members were arguing for lesser sanctions. Due to this, the final sanctions were watered down and weren’t very strong at all.

    However, if it were a stronger Russian intervention, the position of these Russia-friendly countries within the EU would’ve become untenable; they’d have come under much stronger pressure; and they themselves would’ve supported stronger sanctions anyway.

    Regarding China, the Chinese weren’t all too happy with the Crimea annexation, and it’s unclear how their behavior might’ve changed if Russia pushed too hard. Emperor Xi was still just First Consul Xi back then, so he couldn’t fully concentrate on foreign policy, and the traditional Chinese viewpoint was not too friendly to military interventions and violent border changes.

    Then there’s Belarus. There’s Kazakhstan. There are other countries whose opinions might matter.
    , @Anatoly Karlin

    So could this charade really be aimed at appeasing the Chinese?
     
    I agree with you. It would in fact be the single most defensible justification of the Kremlin's Ukraine policy. Relations between China and the US were far better in 2014.

    It is also possible that the Western reaction might have been far harsher had the Kremlin intervened more overtly - for instance, kicking it out of SWIFT, which it was not yet prepared for. Perhaps that is what Swiss President Didier Burkhalter communicated to Putin in May 2014.
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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    Interesting take.

    I don't really buy the weapons systems argument. In my opinion, there are almost no true Wunderwaffen - improvements are almost always gradual. And in any case the improvements in the Ukrainian military's human capital have been more important than the incoming hardware upgrades. The basic fact is that now (as opposed to 2014) Russia is almost certainly incapable of saving the LDNR without getting involved in a way that is not at least minimally deniable. This was Zhuchkovsky's assessment - a Russian nationalist who's intimately involved with the NAF's PR outreach and recruitment - more than a year ago, i.e. that the Ukraine can now fold up the LDNR in a matter of a couple of weeks.

    A Ukrainian attack right about now will create a real dilemma for Putin.

    1. Intervention = last minute collapse of the FIFA World Cup, which is very important for Kremlin cargo cultists; annulation of the rifts (however real or fictive) that have been growing between the EU and the US.

    2. No intervention = a humiliation that is highly unlikely to even lead to the reversal of Donbass-related sanctions; Russian nationalists moving from an on average ambiguous position towards Putin, to outright oppositionism (full disclosure: That would include myself). Probably a 10%-20% point fall in approval ratings. Still, with that at 80%, Putin might risk it.

    The basic fact is that now (as opposed to 2014) Russia is almost certainly incapable of saving the LDNR without getting involved in a way that is not at least minimally deniable.

    It was not minimally deniable back in 2014. The Kremlin sent paratroopers from Pskov and some of them got captured by Ukraine, there were reports in Russian press that soldiers were awarded medals for action in the Ukraine, including posthumously.

    The whole strategy was so dumb: sending small groups of soldiers to fight a war “covertly”, i.e without adequate resources and support. Absolutely nobody in the West bought in the idea of an indigenous rebellion in Donbass, but most likely it was our ихтамнеты who shot down Malaysian airplane, an event that spurred the EU into sanctioning Russia.

    A classic case of Putin being too clever by half.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Well yes, Russia handicapped itself by not using its full suite of EW capabilities, completely avoiding exercising its air power, and only making a brief, very limited excursion across its borders.

    This still allowed countries that wanted to believe (e.g. for commercial reasons) that Russia did not intervene to do just that.

    In The Current Year, I doubt this will still be feasible, due to Ukrainian military improvements.
    , @anonymous coward

    but most likely it was our ихтамнеты who shot down Malaysian airplane
     
    Are you an idiot? Nobody "accidentally" shoots down a passenger airliner, it's impossible. Whoever shot down the plane did it deliberately, as a false flag operation.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Perhaps the Jewish Messiah is already here, though we are not aware of his coming? All Jewish dreams and desires were fulfilled this mid-May. Well, almost all. Two great world power leaders competed in their benevolence to Jews, while ordinary Israelis had fun and exhilarating soft target practice shooting unarmed Gazans or at least cheering...
  • @utu
    Summary

    Jews are winning on all fronts.

    Russia humiliated and ready to surrender.

    Iran isolated. Was correct to not trust Russia.

    Poor grotesque Poland. Always #1 among losers.

    Do not count on Europe. Merkel overslept.

    China remains isolated. Was correct in assessment of Russia as not a viable ally.

    Russia humiliated and ready to surrender.

    Iran isolated. Was correct to not trust Russia.

    China remains isolated. Was correct in assessment of Russia as not a viable ally.

    What, you don’t like Putin’s Russia no more? lol

    Iran doesn’t have a lot of options. Russia is one of the few countries in the world willing to brave American sanctions regime and do business with Iran. And that means Russia can afford to hurt Iran’s feelings. It doesn’t matter how many times Russia hurts Iran’s feelings, because at the end of the day Iran has nobody else to turn to: they are genuinely isolated, and China isn’t exactly rushing to defend Iranians from Israeli airstrikes.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    I would like to know what was the Plan in 2015 when Putin moved in to Syria? Or what was Netanyahu getting from it. It was Netanyahu who gave Putin the green light. W/o it Putin would not move to Syria. Was a trap?

    What Russia is getting in return now that she could not get w/o its Syrian adventure? Is there something positive? That Syria regime is still there, that Hezbollah is still there?

    Besides, is it really over? It looks like it but we can't be sure.

    Is China responsible for this outcome by being too timid and too distant?

    In 2015 Putin looked good and many projected their hopes on him as the Great Savior of White Man Gentile Civilization. Now they must cope with their disappointment. There are several stages to it like denial, anger and so on.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • The blogger Audacious Epigone has done yeoman's work over the past couple of years documenting the surprising "basedness" of Generation Z(yklon). With the collapse of the Alt Right and Trump turning out to be a damp squib, it might well be that Gen Z is the last best hope for America to remain a somewhat...
  • I see no data at all about foreign policy attitudes…and given the kind of idiocy many Trump voters support, I find it increasingly hard to care about US demographics or the interests of white Americans. For the rest of the world, including Europe, it might perhaps even be better if Hispanicization of the US proceeds unchecked. If the US becomes increasingly fragmented and unstable at home, this might constrain American interventionism abroad and finally make it possible to evict the Americans from Europe, which is a necessary precondition for ending the liberal order.

    Read More
    • Agree: Felix Keverich
    • Replies: @songbird
    I agree with you in the very limited sense that NATO is obviously a liability for Europeans now, and it is even quite possible that it was never a good thing for either side - facilitating exorbitant social welfare programs which helped attract Muslims and Africans like a magnet. Encouraging a bankrupting and distracting interventionist policy in America.

    Obviously, I don't agree with the "Screw my fellow whites!" sentiment and never do. The problem with that is most people weren't to blame for what happened. I don't even believe it about Sweden.
    , @DFH

    finally make it possible to evict the Americans from Europe, which is a necessary precondition for ending the liberal order.
     
    This is such a lame excuse. American (geopolitical) hegemony in Europe is objectionable for other reasons, but the political pozzing comes from native elites. It's the EU that tries to destroy nationalist governments, not NATO.
    , @iffen
    I find it increasingly hard to care about US demographics or the interests of white Americans.

    Right back atcha, GR.
    , @John Gruskos
    The worst foreign policy faction in America is the Hillary Clinton Democrats.

    As the Hispanic/Asian share of the population increases, this will be the faction that increasingly dominates.

    The Bernie Democrats are mostly SWPLs who feel guilty about their own prosperity, and the Buchanan Republicans are Bible Belt types. These isolationist factions will decline along with the White share of the population.

    You are wishing for President Adam Schiff - which is a very foolish sentiment.
    , @dfordoom

    For the rest of the world, including Europe, it might perhaps even be better if Hispanicization of the US proceeds unchecked.
     
    Definitely. Anything that weakens the US is a good thing for the rest of the world.

    A completely hispanic US might also be not quite so dominated by neocons.
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  • Mankind’s IQ is 84-88. Becker May 2018 update. Belorussia has long been a blank spot on the world IQ maps (and when it was not so, its results were based on the average of Ukraine, Russia, and Lithuania's scores). However, in David Becker's latest world IQ update, there finally appeared a concrete estimate of Belorussian...
  • @Dmitry
    It's true that nomenclature is comically important in these issues. If the gods exist, it's one of the reason they will be laughing at humans. A good reflection of our primitive intellectual level.

    In the case of Israel-Arab conflict. If in 1948, the Jews had continued to call themselves 'Palestinians' (as they had before 1948), instead of giving themselves a new name as Israel - then they would have had a lot less problems about being called 'colonizers' by the world (in which the Muslims have the original name of the territory and the Jews have stupidly - or suicidally - given themselves a new name).

    The creation of the Jewish state was accompanied by a massive act of ethnic cleasing. The Zionists could call themselves whatever they wanted, the world would still be upset at them for stealing other people’s land and homes. They would still need to construct a wall, complete with snipers and machine-gunners, in order to keep Palestinian people out of Palestine. The world might call it ‘apartheid’.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    99% of people have no more 1 minutes of knowledge or interest in learning about a subject.

    If the one side called themselves Palestinian Jews (like before 1948). And the other side would be Palestinian Muslims. Then the colonization concept would not exist in the same way, that was created by the name changing, where one side keeps the original name, and another side takes a new name.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    The cucks and liberasts of the world would be upset, that is.

    I have no objections whatsoever to conquest.

    The only problem is that the lands occupied by Israel should rightly be under the control of a Christian kingdom or a monastic order state.

    Apartheid, likewise, is a good and wonderful thing. It literally means separateness. Keeping people you don't get along with separate from you.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Has had more post-Soviet economic success than Russia, let alone the Ukraine, despite having no significant natural resources apart from gas pipeline rents.

    That’s not true. The number one export from Belarus is “petroleum products”, but the country produces no oil. They buy oil from Russia at subsidized prices, “refine” it, and resell to the EU at international prices. The resulting profit is a form of rent, that amounts for some 10% of Belorussian annual GDP.

    It is also kinda odd for you to say that Belarus had more economic success given that its GDP is between 50% and 70% of Russia’s level.

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  • 666D Checkers, Clever Plan Overclock, Mnogokhodovka Immanentized, etc.
  • I’m an atheist, and this is what most religious people look like to me.

    Do you think he is being paid to write this nonsense? It certainly doesn’t look like it. It must come from faith.

    Read More
    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin, Dmitry
    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Quite the opposite to me. Proves GK Chesterton's dictum that when you stop believing in God that you start believing in anything. In this Communism and the eternal Soviet Union.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • The key problem isn't Washington DC's direct sanctions - Russia's trade with the US is small, any restrictions can be easily substituted for or retaliated against, while harsher measures would require an unrealistic degree of international cooperation to be effective. As I have written, the main problem is American secondary sanctions: It appears that Russia...
  • @Thorfinnsson
    Or just do nothing at all.

    The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is something that concerns Russia in no way whatsoever. The global obsession with it is one of the strangest things in the world.

    I don't even know what happened, and I absolutely refuse to learn about it. Caring about this is a character flaw unless one has skin in the game (i.e. is Judish, Mohammedan, or Arabalonian).

    That said I could understand cynically exploiting the issue to put pressure on Israel as required.

    It’s a rare opportunity for Russia to position itself as a moral superpower. After all the crap we got for “bombing Aleppo hospitals”, it’s the least we could do.

    I would also like to see “Russian opposition leaders” (most of them are Jewish and militantly pro-Israel) on national TV trying to justify this massacre.

    There are so many opportunities here, which the Kremlin is underutilising…

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    The Aleppo thing was hilarious. Russia was apparently blowing up 500 hospitals per hour to judge by our propaganda.

    I don't think anyone gives a shit about the "moral superpower" thing, as this simply means Western liberalism. Instead Russia will be denounced as ANTISEMITIC.

    It's also clear that the Islamic world, other than Iran, doesn't give a shit about the Palestinians either. Maybe Turkey.

    That said the domestic political angle you suggest is interesting.
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  • I understand that going to war with Israel is probably not the smartest move, but this kind of statement is simply DEGRADING for a country that aspires for an important role in the Middle East.

    You can either unapologetically side with murderers (the way US does), or with their victims (like Iran did). But drawing a moral equivalence between the murderers and their victims, asking the victims to “show restraint” is something that only Putin’s Russia does today.

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record, @Thorfinnsson
    Or just do nothing at all.

    The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is something that concerns Russia in no way whatsoever. The global obsession with it is one of the strangest things in the world.

    I don't even know what happened, and I absolutely refuse to learn about it. Caring about this is a character flaw unless one has skin in the game (i.e. is Judish, Mohammedan, or Arabalonian).

    That said I could understand cynically exploiting the issue to put pressure on Israel as required.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @reiner Tor

    The idea of conflict between Russia and Israel
     
    I think I'm less horrified than Karlin, for example I thought that developing Syrian air defenses (with Russian mercenary crews, because it became obvious that the Syrians themselves are not quite up to the task of operating them) would be the way forward. After they start losing warplanes, their eagerness to bomb Syria would disappear.

    They might, of course, start a land war in response, but that would require a whole new level of escalation, something which might be difficult even for Israel, and would open up Israeli cities for retaliation by masses of ballistic missiles etc. Though Greasy wrote that that's what the Israeli military has been planning for for a long time, and that the Israeli public is prepared for taking losses (including civilian losses), it'd be difficult.

    However, Russia needs a game plan for the eventuality of an Israeli escalation to land war. I'd say let's Iran and Israel fight it out with land troops, with limited Russian air support over Syria. I don't think Israel has the ability to militarily occupy the whole of Syria - at worst they might encircle or even occupy Damascus (at least some parts of it - I doubt they'd have the stomach to organize a proper military occupation there), and maybe create a puppet South Syrian government, thus reigniting the civil war. But Israel's appetite for taking losses is relatively small, so I'd think there'd be a ceasefire pretty soon, after at worst a few months.

    But I understand the arguments why it wouldn't be much in Russia's interest to risk land war, much less nuclear war (in case of a US intervention), for the sake of Arabs or Iran. The main argument to do so is to enhance Russian credibility or something, which sounds to me similar to neocon arguments why Trump should care about some military coup in Mali or support Ukraine.

    I think some better arguments could be made that Russia should never threaten with something it isn't willing to follow through: Russia could be perfectly credible if it never threatened to provide Syria S-300 systems, and then indeed not delivering them. While the optics of Russia threatening with it, and then not following through, does hurt Russia's credibility.

    Similarly, don't threaten with retaliation against American launch platforms, and then not attack those launch platforms. It might be smarter to just threaten with war indirectly: place your nuclear forces on high alert, ask diplomatically NATO allies what they'd do in the event of a US attack on Russian or allied (i.e. Syrian) forces leading to a US-Russian war, and similar things. These would be implicit threats, and so not following through them wouldn't damage Russian credibility.

    The idea of Israelis fighting a land war in Syria doesn’t seem plausible to me. Their army is simply not up to the task. The Jews are cowardly people, very afraid of dying. Their preferred way of fighting is to use the goyim to do their fighting for them. So what could actually happen is that Israelis will somehow compel the rebels in Southern Syria to go on offensive against Assad with Israeli air support.

    The rebels in Southern Syria thus pose a potential threat. Eliminating them should be a priority for pro-Assad coalition.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Well the first sentence was obviously right. But then afterwards it was a cartoon.

    Israeli culture (like a lot of Arab culture) is often glorification for dying for the country and they are often dying as soldiers in the army (while we are posting comments about cowardliness while on an internet message board, sitting in front of a desk). The historical saying for families in Israel, was should have 3 children because you'll sacrifice 1 in the army.

    As for whether Israel will launch a land-war in Syria, obviously not, as I don't think they are completely retarded.

    As for whether Russia should be involved in the region. Yes - to bomb some terrorists. But not to an extent that risks any personnel, or is wasting economic resources.
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  • @reiner Tor
    OT

    This is an interesting article I found in The Diplomat that you linked to:

    https://thediplomat.com/2018/05/russia-inducts-its-own-carrier-killer-missile-and-its-more-dangerous-than-chinas/

    Also, what do you guys think of the North Korean developments? Apparently it ain't over till it's over...

    It seems amateurishly written. The columnists in Diplomat love to speculate about military stuff they do not really understand, so take it with a grain of salt. But Russian missile tech is superior to Chinese missile tech – we knew that already.

    Also, what do you guys think of the North Korean developments?

    Basically, Americans are offering NK the same deal they offered to Iran: unilateral disarmament in exchange for some minor sanctions relief. But after USA broke Iran deal, NK might be having second thoughts.

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  • @utu
    I followed your exchange of arguments with AK and I was pleased to see that you argued more skillfully along the same line as I did with Reiner Tor few days ago. He basically did not want to have anything to do with Israel and wanted to allow Israel to keep bombing, For many reasons much sounder and safer approach is to make an ultimatum to Israel that they must stop or else where the else must be something forceful and credible including a threat of nuclear strike. By doing nothing the risk of nuclear war is higher and chances of getting first in conflict with the US first is more likely while in the meantime having Russia power and reputation being eroded with every new Israeli attack. In last comment to Reiner Tor I made a table of risks for all possibilities.

    Karlin's arguments just like Reiner Tor's were shortsighted not guided by prudent but by some inhibitions and prejudice. AK can't do Real Politik arguing that Syria does not really love Russia and is just an opportunist Russophile. And Assad spent too much time in Paris instead of showing his obsequiousness in Moscow. Then Iran is not loving Russia strong enough either because it did not recognize Crimea. Once a Russian always a Russian. Apparently AK was not cured from Russia hurt ego while living in the US. Russians want to be loved. But you can't do politics if you want to be loved.

    What Russia will do nobody knows. Will Bibi help to make a deal with Trump for Russia? Or will Bibi get even more difficult during the World Cup? Perhaps AK should come up with some poll about possible outcomes for the next two months. With prizes. The grand prize for the one who predicts WWIII and the total annihilation.

    Karlin’s arguments just like Reiner Tor’s were shortsighted not guided by prudent but by some inhibitions and prejudice.

    I agree. The idea of conflict between Russia and Israel seem to horrify AK for some reason. When I said that Russia should consider economic sanctions on Israel (by ending pension payments for example), he opposed even that.

    Once a Russian always a Russian. Apparently AK was not cured from Russia hurt ego while living in the US. Russians want to be loved. But you can’t do politics if you want to be loved.

    I don’t believe that is the case. Karlin is a perfectly rational and feisty Russian nationalist, it’s just that his nationalism disappears, when we broach the subject of Israel, for some reason.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    The idea of conflict between Russia and Israel
     
    I think I'm less horrified than Karlin, for example I thought that developing Syrian air defenses (with Russian mercenary crews, because it became obvious that the Syrians themselves are not quite up to the task of operating them) would be the way forward. After they start losing warplanes, their eagerness to bomb Syria would disappear.

    They might, of course, start a land war in response, but that would require a whole new level of escalation, something which might be difficult even for Israel, and would open up Israeli cities for retaliation by masses of ballistic missiles etc. Though Greasy wrote that that's what the Israeli military has been planning for for a long time, and that the Israeli public is prepared for taking losses (including civilian losses), it'd be difficult.

    However, Russia needs a game plan for the eventuality of an Israeli escalation to land war. I'd say let's Iran and Israel fight it out with land troops, with limited Russian air support over Syria. I don't think Israel has the ability to militarily occupy the whole of Syria - at worst they might encircle or even occupy Damascus (at least some parts of it - I doubt they'd have the stomach to organize a proper military occupation there), and maybe create a puppet South Syrian government, thus reigniting the civil war. But Israel's appetite for taking losses is relatively small, so I'd think there'd be a ceasefire pretty soon, after at worst a few months.

    But I understand the arguments why it wouldn't be much in Russia's interest to risk land war, much less nuclear war (in case of a US intervention), for the sake of Arabs or Iran. The main argument to do so is to enhance Russian credibility or something, which sounds to me similar to neocon arguments why Trump should care about some military coup in Mali or support Ukraine.

    I think some better arguments could be made that Russia should never threaten with something it isn't willing to follow through: Russia could be perfectly credible if it never threatened to provide Syria S-300 systems, and then indeed not delivering them. While the optics of Russia threatening with it, and then not following through, does hurt Russia's credibility.

    Similarly, don't threaten with retaliation against American launch platforms, and then not attack those launch platforms. It might be smarter to just threaten with war indirectly: place your nuclear forces on high alert, ask diplomatically NATO allies what they'd do in the event of a US attack on Russian or allied (i.e. Syrian) forces leading to a US-Russian war, and similar things. These would be implicit threats, and so not following through them wouldn't damage Russian credibility.

    , @reiner Tor
    I thought about the following, I don't know if there's any truth to it, since it's just a brainstorm idea, and I have exactly zero evidence* to back it up.

    It's well known that Israel has sold China some sensitive military technology it had received from the US. Is it not possible that they are transferring some military tech to Russia in exchange for Putin folding to them?

    *After a quick search, I found this:

    https://www.haaretz.com/1.5125231

    So there might be something to it.
    , @Dmitry

    I agree. The idea of conflict between Russia and Israel seem to horrify AK for some reason. When I said that Russia should consider economic sanctions on Israel (by ending pension payments for example), he opposed even that.

     

    Most people know military involvement with unrelated armies thousands of kilometers away is dumb, as it even with Turkey (well Turkey is a NATO member).

    The economic measures are easier, without risks and dangers, and can be more effective - the main one was used already with Turkey, in relation to stopping tourist flow there after shoot down of a Su-24 in November 2014. Tourist flow to Turkey fell 92% and the Turkish economy lost billions of dollars.

    But there would be a logical sequence of events if/when the Kremlin was unhappy with Israel airstrikes.

    The first thing would be (as was attempted after the US/France/UK airstrikes), to issue a condemnation in the UN Security Council. If after this is blocked, there would be looking into economic measures.

    But no condemnation has not been issued of these airstrikes in the UN Security Council so far. There has been no indication on the diplomatic level yet that Putin is unhappy with them, just an indication on a media level are embarrassed certain aspects like the Pantsir Twitter video.

    If there is unhappiness, the first thing will be seen is a condemnation submitted in the UN forum, as there was after the US/France/UK airstrikes in April.

    , @Gerard2

    I don’t believe that is the case. Karlin is a perfectly rational and feisty Russian nationalist, it’s just that his nationalism disappears, when we broach the subject of Israel, for some reason.
     
    Karlin is not a Russian nationalist, he's not a Russian ethno-nationalist ( which is what I think you meant in the first instance).......he can only be described as a Russian-hating liberast, smart enough to know that if he writes directly the retarded things common on Ekho,meduza,new times,Novaya Gazeta,Dozhd,Znak etcet......then he will only appeal to the 1% of losers who believe this nonsense.....instead he must promote their nonsense via nefarious ways (like linking exclusively to their articles on one of his blog posts)

    Put it this way.....the hilariously stupid lies about Red Army "mass rapes" in Berlin, is exactly the kind of bullshit he would agree occured as part of his russophobia...done under the guise of being staunchly anti-Communist. His russian ethno-nationalism is that weak he couldn't even blame it on the central Asians or Kavkaz in the USSR because to do so would be disproven easily from the lack of any children with these kind of facial features born there.....so the Russian liberast take is what he would naturally fall back on.

    On the Israel issue, there's no excuse for Georgia and Ukraine now having close ties to Israel....Russia must force /bargain over Syria/Iran with Israel and get them to recognise officially and invest in Abkhazia & South Ossetia....and to recognise Crimea as part of Russia....particularly as Israel is under no pressure to be part of the "international community" needing to "send a signal " to Russia
    , @utu

    Karlin is a perfectly rational and feisty Russian nationalist, it’s just that his nationalism disappears, when we broach the subject of Israel, for some reason.
     
    What might be the reason? The simplest one that does not invoke hidden allegiances and so on is that it is ineluctably systemic. Anybody who subscribes to IQism and some form of Libertarianism which are basically post Enlightenment mechanical and post Darwin biological belief systems w/o room for higher values of culture and religion will be easily demoralized with the meme of Jewish superior IQ and Jewish evident domination which he will not be able to counteract and basically won't be able to find any reason that biologically inferior (lower IQ) 'species' like Russians should dominate or even survive as Russians. Unlike the Han chauvinist Duke of Qin who wants Han Chinese to survive and dominate regardless of their culture because he sees them biologically superior (higher IQ). Correction, I do not really know what Duke of Qin thinks.

    Ideas have consequences and impoverished and banal ideas like IQism and Libertarianism have only bad consequences. It is possible they are being promoted for this exactly reason among young and impressionable young white boys in search of complete and consistent belief system. Fortunately women are more resistant to them probably for the same reason they do not like sci-fi as much as boys. These ideas keep boys longer in the sand box and the make belief world and they are debilitating because in this determinist world nothing really depends on them. In the deterministic Calvinism you could through hard work only after long time of effort find out if you were the chosen one but here a ten min IQ test will tell you with 50% probability that you are not the chosen one so just submit, bend over and and prepare for the life time of giving the blow jobs.

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  • @reiner Tor
    As I wrote elsewhere, China in its current form is an asshole, but a rational asshole. It doesn't care how you govern your country, as long as business is good for them. You can talk to them on a rational basis, and can come to an understanding. Obviously they will take from you if they feel they need it a lot and feel sufficiently strong to get it (see South China Sea), but you can talk to them.

    (Russia is similar. Russia doesn't give a shit about Russian minorities in your country, as long as you are supportive enough of Russian oligarchic interests and foreign policy goals. That might have been a way forward for the Baltic states back when it was still feasible in the 1990s. Probably it would've been easier to kick out Russians from their countries while being friendly to Russia itself, than being hostile to Russia and joining the West - the West allows them not to grant citizenship to all Russians there, but it doesn't allow them harder discrimination against them, so reducing their numbers is not so easy. Similarly, Ukraine could've gone fully unironically Nazi, outlawing Russian speech, while being friendly to Russia, before 2014. This route was open to them, Putin wouldn't have cared.)

    On the other hand, the US is just crazy. Orbán was quite friendly to them back before 2002, but their ambassador (appointed by W.) started attacking him for the "spread of anti-Semitism" or somesuch. Then he was still friendly to the US (and anti-Russian) during his opposition years (for example denouncing the "Russian aggression" in Georgia), but the US attacked him nevertheless (though these were already the Obama years) for his "attack on democracy" or whatnot.

    Similarly, the Americans forced South Korea and Taiwan (etc.) to democratize (and they became less successful economically after that), even though in the case of South Korea it was probably an own goal for the Americans (the South Koreans occasionally elect pro-North Korean leaders, like the current South Korean president), similarly like how democratization in some of the Arab countries was an own goal, but the US just can't help itself. It's actually similar with the EU (which is an autonomous vassal of the US empire), they forced Turkey to democratize, only to be surprised by the Islamization of Turkey and the increasingly authoritarian Erdogan government.

    Basically, you cannot just satisfy the current American/European elites by satisfying their interests: no, you also need to be a homosexual-loving immigrant-loving minority-loving "democratic" country (censoring "hate speech" is recommended), and in many cases their demands are just so irrational that they contradict each other (like democratization and secularization in the case of Turkey), but they just can't help.

    Having such an empire with its mad ideology is just bad, because you cannot satisfy their demands (their demands basically amount to national suicide in the long run), so Chinese (or Russian) overlords can only be improvements. (This might change in the future: China is still Marxist, Russia might go nationalist like Anatoly is proposing, and that might change the equation. I personally think that while it's possible that in 2014 they could've conquered a relatively large chunk of Ukraine, his insistence that he could easily assimilate half of Ukrainians within a few years or at worst a generation is just irrational, i.e. not a good model for reality. It'd create a large and hostile population within Russia's borders, which would probably weaken rather than strengthen it. All the while it'd be a drain on resources for a long time to come. Annexing Belarus might be different, but its political effects would be much worse, since Russia would just attack and annex an ally.)

    Similarly, Ukraine could’ve gone fully unironically Nazi, outlawing Russian speech, while being friendly to Russia, before 2014. This route was open to them, Putin wouldn’t have cared.

    What? This seems to make sense inside your head, but it would have never worked like this in real life. You see, Ukrainian nationalists hate Moscow as a power center far more than they hate individual Russians. The more nationalistic the Ukraine is, the stronger is the anti-Moscow sentiment. It couldn’t have worked any other way.

    Futhermore, I question your assumption that mass repressions against the Russians in the Ukraine would have elicited zero response from Russia, provided the regime in Kiev had no pro-Western aspirations. To be sure, the Russian public would care. And the Kremlin, always mindful of public opinion, would have to adjust its stance accordingly.

    Just to give you an example, the Kremlin cared when Kazakhstan tried to ban Russian television channels, and Kazakh regime is as friendly as they come. The idea that Kremlin would just ignore the assault on Russian language in the Ukraine seems absurd to me.

    https://thediplomat.com/2017/12/in-kazakhstans-battle-for-cable-tv-russia-stands-its-ground/

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Ukrainian nationalists hate Moscow as a power center
     
    I understand it, but it's basically a choice of Ukrainian nationalists. Similarly, the Baltic peoples hate Russia, so there's no way they'd have accommodated it.

    Just to give you an example
     
    Thanks. I agree, then my assumptions were probably off.

    Still I remember how oppression of the remaining Russian minority in places like Turkmenistan (or even Chechnya) elicited zero response from the Russian government. That's what I based my opinion on.
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  • @Pavlo
    It took them four years to come up with an idea this obvious?

    Has it really taken them this long to realise that the current bout of western tard-raging isn't going to blow over like the last one?

    Hope is the last thing to die. Remember, Russian “elite” keeps their stolen money in the West; their children and wifes live in the West.

    Putin’s spokesman/personal assistant Peskov has two ex-wifes, and they both live in the West. Peskov’s daughter leads a glamorous life in France. Yakunin’s 2 sons live in West. Lavrov’s daughter lived in America until for PR reasons he brought her to Russia. One of Putin’s daughters used to live in Netherlands with her foreign BF until revently.

    Western travel bans are really painful for the Putin’s elite, because now they need to rethink their entire way of life. And they hate it. They seem to really hate the idea of living in the country they have built over the past 18 years. They are hoping against hope that the whole thing will blow over, and then they can go back to the way things were.

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  • @Dmitry
    It's just a standard bar from Ukraine.

    My question is not about sanctions on Roshen though (apologies for confusion). But the fact they are using so much English writing (completely English front of packaging), even when it's chocolate bars for internal Ukrainian consumption. I'll quickly snap a picture


    https://i.imgur.com/1ZDtPsm.jpg?1


    https://i.imgur.com/i5ZaZel.jpg?1

    I think they are using so much English, because це Європа. But what does this have to do with Karlin’s article? We were discussing sanctions here.

    Hey, you shouldn’t be eating this stuff, it has Benzopyrene and all sorts of other crap in it.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Sure - I was just eating Roshen chocolate at the time and remembered the grey area around people discussing sanctioning of Roshen.

    The Ukrainians changing their favourite chocolate to English was more justifying what this guy said in the conversation yesterday.
    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/russian-aircraft/#comment-2329620
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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    The only world in which confrontation with Israel over Syria will be worth it for Russia is if it is seriously planning to use that as a pretext to destroy Ukraine.

    I really doubt that's the case.

    If push comes to shove, it will be Israel that, well, shoves Russia out of Syria. With all the attendant humiliations, plus sealing Syria's fate anyway.

    Here is how I see things, anyway. By fomenting color revolutions in the Near Abroad, the US has unacceptably waded into Russia's rightful sphere of influence. They are lucky to get away with it because the Kremlin is full of cucks and compradors. By extension, Russia in Syria is playing a dangerous and delicate game where it is wading into what several different countries see as their sphere of influence (Israel, the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran). There is only so much some of these players are willing to accept until they give Russia the boot (which the first three, at any rate, are perfectly capable of).

    Unless there's a long-range master plan behind it, pushing things too hard in Syria risks catastrophe. As reiner Tor always notes, Israeli strikes on Syria have been a fact of life well before Russia got involved, so Russia trying to put an end to that - as opposed to drawing a red line on novel US adventures - would be presumptuous in the extreme. Not sure that Israel would tolerate it.

    If push comes to shove, it will be Israel that, well, shoves Russia out of Syria. With all the attendant humiliations, plus sealing Syria’s fate anyway.

    How many airfields does Israel operate? How many missiles does it take to shut down an Israeli airfield?

    I’m no military expert, but you may be overestimating Jewish military prowess. They couldn’t even shove Hezbollah from Southern Lebanon, remember?

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  • @for-the-record
    the ban only applied to products from Roshen factories in the Ukraine

    According to Wiki it's not made in Russia any more, as the Lipetsk factory was liquidated.

    Could be a very old chocolate bar. They are also made in Lithuania and Hungary.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    It's just a standard bar from Ukraine.

    My question is not about sanctions on Roshen though (apologies for confusion). But the fact they are using so much English writing (completely English front of packaging), even when it's chocolate bars for internal Ukrainian consumption. I'll quickly snap a picture


    https://i.imgur.com/1ZDtPsm.jpg?1


    https://i.imgur.com/i5ZaZel.jpg?1

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  • @for-the-record
    There have been no attempts by the Kremlin to impose any kind of sanctions on the Ukraine.

    While there may not be a general ban on Ukrainian imports, according to Wiki a Russian import ban on (Po)Roshen(ko) chocolates has been in place since July 2013 (date is interesting):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roshen

    I googled and found an article that says the ban only applied to products from Roshen factories in the Ukraine. Dmitry, if you’re still here, tell us, where your chocolate bar was made?

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    • Replies: @for-the-record
    the ban only applied to products from Roshen factories in the Ukraine

    According to Wiki it's not made in Russia any more, as the Lipetsk factory was liquidated.
    , @Philip Owen
    Sugar comes into it. Ukraine supplied a lot of best sugar to Russia Keeping out Ukrainian sugar has made new beet mills, especially the big one in Penza very profitable. Next stop lemonade (see John Helmer).
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  • @Dmitry
    Tangentially to issue of unsuccessful sanctions - I just finished a bar of Roshen chocolate.

    Can someone explain why they started to write English on the front of the packaging nowadays, even though there is no English on the back, and they don't export to any English speaking countries?

    I guess Ukrainians now see the English writing as more 'sophisticated'.

    Tangentially to issue of unsuccessful sanctions – I just finished a bar of Roshen chocolate.

    You are probably confused. There have been no attempts by the Kremlin to impose any kind of sanctions on the Ukraine. Russia remains Ukraine’s No.1 trading partner; trade is up some 30% in the Q1 2018. Infuriating.

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    • Replies: @for-the-record
    There have been no attempts by the Kremlin to impose any kind of sanctions on the Ukraine.

    While there may not be a general ban on Ukrainian imports, according to Wiki a Russian import ban on (Po)Roshen(ko) chocolates has been in place since July 2013 (date is interesting):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roshen
    , @Philip Owen
    The customs blockade ever stopped on products that were undercutting major Russian firms, like Pinchuk's pipes.
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  • @Voloz
    A judge will decide what punishment is applicable in the particular case. He can choose between fine (~$10 000) / prison term (up to 4 years), but in addition to imprisonment, he can also add a fine which will be equal to the yearly income of the criminal.

    a fine which will be equal to the yearly income of the criminal

    heh, we’re potentially talking about Sberbank management here. Does this mean Sberbank’s annual profit gets confiscated? Or just Herman Gref’s annual salary?

    I still believe that prison term is disproportionate punishment in this situation. It will likely be applied incosistently and abused by siloviki to steal businesses.

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  • On May 6, there was a big free speech march through Central London jointly organized by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance and Veterans Against Terrorism. Many of the big names in the British Alt Lite were attending, so I decided to show up myself. (I appear in the sidelines a few times in this video...
  • Compare and contrast

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    • LOL: Felix Keverich
    • Replies: @German_reader
    One interesting contrast between 2nd and 3rd picture is Union jack vs St George's cross. Which probably says something about the erosion of Britishness over the last few decades.
    Pretty depressing though..."does equality not apply to Islamists?" is a really lame slogan.
    , @Kevin O'Keeffe
    It's like they're all under arrest already, and somehow don't realize it.
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  • The key problem isn't Washington DC's direct sanctions - Russia's trade with the US is small, any restrictions can be easily substituted for or retaliated against, while harsher measures would require an unrealistic degree of international cooperation to be effective. As I have written, the main problem is American secondary sanctions: It appears that Russia...
  • @Ali Choudhury
    If Erdogan could swallow his pride and make peace with Russia for the sake of selling Turkish tomatoes and hosting sun-bathing tourists in Antalya, Putin should do the same with the West for the sake of peace and prosperity. Russia has plenty of land already and does need to gather more.

    Terrible analogy: Erdogan was the agressor a conflict with Russia, attacking Russian plane without provocation. Similarily, the West instigated its latest conflict with Russia, staging a coup in the Ukraine, overthrowing a Russia-friendly leader. It was Russia’s response to this agression that brought Western sanctions.

    At stake is much bigger issue than Putin’s pride: we’re talking about Russia’s soveregnty, including the right to defend its legitimate interests and conduct independent foreign policy. This is what the US is trying to deny us through sanctions.

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    • Replies: @Ali Choudhury
    If you fly bombers close to\in the airspace of a power that has repeatedly said it does not want you there, aggressive actions can be expected. Invasions of territory make you touchy.
    , @Philip Owen
    The Russian blockade of Ukraine for the crime of talking to the EU timber women leverage preceded the Maidan. Ukrainian oligrach submission triggered the Maidan.
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  • I wanted to wait out the day before I put something concrete together, because for quite some time, I felt like anything could happen up to and including use of WMD’s in Gaza. Because let’s be honest – what we saw today on the Gaza border was sick. Like the resurrection of the Bolsheviks and...
  • Oh, that is a beautiful headline!

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  • The key problem isn't Washington DC's direct sanctions - Russia's trade with the US is small, any restrictions can be easily substituted for or retaliated against, while harsher measures would require an unrealistic degree of international cooperation to be effective. As I have written, the main problem is American secondary sanctions: It appears that Russia...
  • Reports are coming that the draft law has just passed the first hearing in Duma. More details about the proposed law from the Russian opposition website:

    https://meduza.io/en/cards/the-russian-authorities-want-to-jail-people-for-observing-or-even-promoting-western-sanctions

    They seem scared :)

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    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    Hey, thanks for the link! I never read meduza, and so would never have come across this:

    https://meduza.io/en/shapito/2018/05/14/the-300-puppies-rescued-from-the-chernobyl-exclusion-zone-are-bound-for-the-u-s

    I hope that any new counter-sanctions don't prevent me from getting one of those teenage mutant ninja puppies.

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  • Impose fines (~$10,000)/prison time (up to 4 years) on individuals and entities who support Western sanctions by refusing to do business with Russian citizens or entities on America’s SDN list.
    Impose fines (~$8,000)/prison time (up to 3 years) bans Russian citizens from directly promoting Western sanctions, such as “providing recommendations and sharing information.”

    Is this ‘and’ or ‘or’? You get to pay a fine of $10.000 – chump change for a Russian olygarch, or spend 4 years in a Russian prison?

    I feel that fines and much bigger fines is the way to go in this situation. Russian state throws people in prison far too easily.

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    • Replies: @Voloz
    A judge will decide what punishment is applicable in the particular case. He can choose between fine (~$10 000) / prison term (up to 4 years), but in addition to imprisonment, he can also add a fine which will be equal to the yearly income of the criminal.
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  • There are some pretty strange ideas floating around that Russia is obligated to help Syria/Iran in their decades-long squabbles with Israel, and that Putin is "betraying his people" by not doing so. Well, last time I checked, Putin is President of Russians, not Syrians/Iranians. Indeed, the term "сирийские братушки" ("Syrian brothers") has long been an...
  • @German_reader

    Comparing the situation Russians in Lithuania and Latvia (good and peaceful citizens that would like to be ordinary citizens)
     
    You're leaving out the historical context, which is the Soviet Union annexing the Baltic states in 1940, carrying out massive terror against the native population and intentionally using settlement of Russians as a means to keep any stirrings for independence suppressed. You may think that historical background shouldn't matter, but obviously Balts disagree, and tbh given the sentiments displayed by Russian nationalists like Felix Keverich they're probably right to do so.
    And it wasn't me who compared Russians in the Baltic states with Palestinians, let alone Palestinian suicide bombers. But nor do I think the Baltic states can be said to be "worse than Israel". I understand you think Israel is too liberal (and by the standards of its neighboorhood maybe it is), but still, Israel regularly reacts to Palestinian attacks with much bigger (some might say disproportionate) force. Just in the airstrikes on Gaza in 2014 they killed hundreds, if not thousands of Palestinian civilians. It's absurd to claim anything what the Baltic states are doing is even remotely on the same level.

    You’re leaving out the historical context, which is the Soviet Union annexing the Baltic states in 1940, carrying out massive terror against the native population and intentionally using settlement of Russians as a means to keep any stirrings for independence suppressed.

    This is laughable, Soviet Union was never as devious as that. If the goal was to end Baltic separatism, they would all be deported to Kazakhstan. Instead, USSR invested resources promoting local languages and culture…

    There was never any sign of separatism in the Baltic republics right until the moment USSR dissolved, at which point the natives suddenly discovered their pride, and began a campaign of revenge against their Russian minorities.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    If the goal was to end Baltic separatism, they would all be deported to Kazakhstan
     
    Well, in the 1940s a lot of Balts were deported. I admit I don't know that much about policies in the last decades of the Soviet Union, but many Balts certainly felt there was a deliberate effort to swamp them in their own countries with Russian settlers loyal to the Soviet project.
    Anyway, I'm not that invested in the topic...just find it irritating how obsessed many Russian nationalists seem to be with the Baltic states. Can't you focus your ire on more deserving targets like Chechens?
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  • @reiner Tor
    You didn’t address my point about Russian settlers, mostly from the 1960s to the 1980s.

    I find it hillarious when you try to compare Hungary and Russia. It’s so cute.
     
    You started by comparing Russians to Israeli Arabs.

    You didn’t address my point about Russian settlers, mostly from the 1960s to the 1980s.

    The Soviet Republics of Latvia and Estonia were parts of the Soviet Union, and “settling” there was not a crime. No immigration laws were broken by these Russians, and many of them were long-term residents at the time of the Soviet break-up, so it was unfair to expect them to “return home”. The Balts should be grateful for independence they didn’t have to fight for, and not try to recreate demographic balance that existed in 1939 – that’s just nuts.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    In the context of the propiska system no one could just move there. They were deliberately settled there by the Soviet government to dilute the Baltic ethnic majorities.

    Yes the Russians settled there didn’t break any laws, but neither did the tens of thousands of Estonians who were deported to penal colonies or the gulag. The “penalty” that these Russians received was that they had to live there as legal aliens (unless they learned Estonian, in which case they could apply for citizenship), enjoying slightly higher living standards than Russians in Russia.

    I’m unsure where you get your information about the lack of separatism among Balts, but I can assure you it’s wrong. The Forest Brothers guerrilla movement was strong for a long time despite the unsuitability of the terrain. (Before that, in the first days of Operation Barbarossa, a whole corps of the Red Army, organized from the former Baltic armies, deserted and joined the Germans en mass.) Then of course it was precisely here that the first openly separatist movements were formed after perestroika started. It would be surprising if it wasn’t the case, given their history.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propiska_in_the_Soviet_Union?wprov=sfti1

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_Brothers?wprov=sfti1

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singing_Revolution?wprov=sfti1

    The Balts should be grateful for independence they didn’t have to fight for,
     
    Yeah, grateful that the Russians were incompetent enough to let their empire disintegrate.

    If I were an anti-Russian propagandist, I’d just distribute your comments across Central Europe and the Baltic states.
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  • @reiner Tor

    The Balts have certainly done enough to warrant a campaign of terrorism against them.
     
    No.

    The Balts are waging an open war against the Russian culture, trying to create a monoethnic society.
     
    One can hardly blame them after getting a very large and mostly hostile Russian settler population. They could easily have gone home in 1991, or learned the language and gotten citizenship.

    By the way something similar (creating a monoethnic society) is attempted at times in places like Slovakia and Romania. I have yet to meet a Hungarian who explicitly says that it warrants a terrorist campaign against these countries.

    The territory you’re talking about has been a part of Russian empire for 2 centuries. The states of Estonia and Latvia are fairly recent inventions, and a lot of Russians, including me as well, have difficulty taking them seriously. The Balts themselves have a tremendous amount of insecurity on top of huge inferiority complex, and I suspect this is where their campaign against the Russian language comes from. They cannot hope to compete against the superior Russian culture, so they are trying to suppress it.

    PS: I find it hillarious when you try to compare Hungary and Russia. It’s so cute.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    You didn’t address my point about Russian settlers, mostly from the 1960s to the 1980s.

    I find it hillarious when you try to compare Hungary and Russia. It’s so cute.
     
    You started by comparing Russians to Israeli Arabs.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    The Baltic states were ruled by the Baltic German nobility in the Russian Empire, who were given great autonomy. The Treaty of Nystad even allowed them the right of secession, which they in fact exercised in 1918.

    The ethnic Balts themselves were left unmolested by their German overlords provided they paid their feudal dues.

    The Baltic German nobility went on to play a very important role in the development of Russia, furnishing many important statesmen and military leaders. Right down to WWI when Rennenkampf got creamed by Hindenburg and Ludendorff

    Towards the end of the Empire Russia instituted its Russification policy, which understandably created resentment among both the Germans and Balts (not that I blame Russia for pursuing such a policy).

    The Balts are small and weak and thus not serious, but they're clearly not Russian. This is a very different case from the Ukraine and Belarus, whose claims to not be Russian are very dubious indeed (especially Belarus, which would be like if Thuringia or whatever decided to pretend to be not German).
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  • @German_reader

    As for getting away with stuff, in my opinion, among the white and relatively civilized places, Estonia and Latvia get away with far worse things than Israel.
     
    Ahem, I can see how the Baltic states can be criticized for some of their policies regarding minority rights (language, education etc.), but come on, do the Baltic states just have snipers gun down Russian demonstrators like Israel recently did? How many Russians have been killed in the Baltic states since 1991? Really a bit of a silly comparison imo.
    You may have a better case regarding Ukraine with its shelling of the eastern territories which must have caused quite a few civilian casualties.

    Last time I checked Arabic is the official language in Israel. I think that’s what he meant.

    The Balts are waging an open war against the Russian culture, trying to create a monoethnic society. The only reason you don’t see violence in Latvia and Estonia is that unlike the Arabs, Russian minority has been extraordinary docile. The Balts have certainly done enough to warrant a campaign of terrorism against them.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    The Balts have certainly done enough to warrant a campaign of terrorism against them.
     
    No.

    The Balts are waging an open war against the Russian culture, trying to create a monoethnic society.
     
    One can hardly blame them after getting a very large and mostly hostile Russian settler population. They could easily have gone home in 1991, or learned the language and gotten citizenship.

    By the way something similar (creating a monoethnic society) is attempted at times in places like Slovakia and Romania. I have yet to meet a Hungarian who explicitly says that it warrants a terrorist campaign against these countries.
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  • @Felix Keverich
    Hey, I'm a proud Russian nationalist, and while I would never call you "a Jew-loving neocon cockroach", you do seem to be too soft on the Jewish Question:

    If you want Russia to take Iran’s place as the main enemy of the Jewish people, this is a good way to go about it.
     
    1. Russia is already there. You published charts showing US Russophobia is primarily a Jewish thing. A prominent Jewish pundit on Bloomberg news writes articles about how Russia is a "cancer", a "termite", eating away at the international community. When Trump cancelled Iran deal, the main argument I heard (from US pundits) why this is bad was that rising oil price helps Russia.

    2. There is no article in the Russian Constitution that says we must donate money to the Israelis. This was Putin's dumb idea, and he can simply rescind it.


    Kristallnacht 2.0
     
    3. A classic strawman: there is a thousand ways that Russian bureaucracy can make your life unbearable, that stop short of an actual pogrom. I also find it funny how you didn't even try to argue that Jewish businesses provide benefit to the community, do you agree with me on this point?

    Concerning the JQ, check out this latest headline from the Jewish New York Times:

    What really bothers me is that ordinary Russians are completely unaware of how much the Jews hate them. Propaganda is needed to rectify this.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    New York Times is anti-Israel oriented newspaper in English, so I don't see a good match to relations to Israel. They put Russia and Israel in a similar 'bad' category. The difference is that at least Israel has supporters to publicize on giant posters in New York.

    http://www.camera.org/nytimes


    -

    There is some asymmetry between Russia attitude to Israel, and Israel attitude to Russia.

    Public in Russia is a lot more friendly to Israel, than public in Israel is to Russia.

    http://newsru.co.il/israel/05jun2011/drug_vrag_104.html


    Although in the survey, Russia is one of the highest for 'which country is necessary to strengthen relations'.

    http://newsru.co.il/info/bigpoll/drug_vrag.html

    -

    In Israel you can often see Russian flags on buildings and hanging out of peoples' windows. I have photos of them on my phone from walking around. Also you see Ukraine and America flags people put on their balconies and cars. But not flags of other countries.

    Strangers in Israel are usually happy when they find you are Russian, and it is a place where Russia has prestige in some dimensions, unlike in the West. Especially the military. An brown old (native Israeli) woman in the pancake shop, told us when she was serving us - 'Russia has the best soldiers' ("hachayalim haky tovim" Hebrew)

    The place in Israel where you can get discrimination for the Russian passport, is at the passport control.

    So I would say there is a mixed situation with Russia and Israel.

    -
    As for American Jews. In my life, I don't think I had a conversation ever with any American Jews outside the internet.

    But I talked on the facebook groups a little with Russian-speaking Americans (they seem mainly Jewish). My experience is they think Russia is still 'total shithole' and 'prison camp', that they have escaped. But apart from that they have no interest in Russia politics and don't respond. It doesn't seem a demographic that cares or is interested in Russia. They seem right-wing and kind of rednecks , exchangeable with people on the Sailer forum - they love Trump and (ironically) hate immigrants.

    The people inventing or believing Russia conspiracy theories are people who think Russia is some powerful country, with a competent government that has power over world events. It's also possible they don't believe Russia actually has this power, but it is politically useful to say it.
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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    Look, I like you Felix, often I feel you're my only ideological ally here, but I disagree with almost all of this.

    1. As you note Jews have major influence over the Western media. If you want Russia to take Iran's place as the main enemy of the Jewish people, this is a good way to go about it. Unfortunately, it will also be accompanied by the dislocation of major NATO forces to the Baltics and the Ukraine far earlier than would otherwise be the case.

    2. Russia spends very little on pensions to emigre Jews. Abrogating this will set back rule of law and institute potentially very harmful precedents, which might very well rebound against Russians.

    3. Kristallnacht 2.0 combines the worst of both the above two points.

    Hey, I’m a proud Russian nationalist, and while I would never call you “a Jew-loving neocon cockroach”, you do seem to be too soft on the Jewish Question:

    If you want Russia to take Iran’s place as the main enemy of the Jewish people, this is a good way to go about it.

    1. Russia is already there. You published charts showing US Russophobia is primarily a Jewish thing. A prominent Jewish pundit on Bloomberg news writes articles about how Russia is a “cancer”, a “termite”, eating away at the international community. When Trump cancelled Iran deal, the main argument I heard (from US pundits) why this is bad was that rising oil price helps Russia.

    2. There is no article in the Russian Constitution that says we must donate money to the Israelis. This was Putin’s dumb idea, and he can simply rescind it.

    Kristallnacht 2.0

    3. A classic strawman: there is a thousand ways that Russian bureaucracy can make your life unbearable, that stop short of an actual pogrom. I also find it funny how you didn’t even try to argue that Jewish businesses provide benefit to the community, do you agree with me on this point?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Concerning the JQ, check out this latest headline from the Jewish New York Times:

    https://twitter.com/ASLuhn/status/995549179786223616

    What really bothers me is that ordinary Russians are completely unaware of how much the Jews hate them. Propaganda is needed to rectify this.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Map of the biggest airports in Russia and the ex-USSR by 2017 passenger traffic including transit flights. Source: Seva Bashirov Moscow is clearly a central node, accounting for 89 million passengers in 2017 - up from just 19 million in 2001, near the trough of the post-Soviet collapse. Incidentally, this makes Moscow the world's 13th...
  • @songbird
    Russia is one of those countries where I hear of a particular city, and then check up on its population and am surprised that I never can recall hearing about it before. I guess another one would be China, but who can keep track of all of China's cities? I'll bet not even the Chinese.

    Do you know what I find really funny as a Russian? When some Western news outlet writes about a Russian city, they mention its distance from Moscow, even if it’s a major city like Yekaterinburg. It looks like this:

    In the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, around 1,500 km (900 miles) east of Moscow, a Reuters reporter saw more than 1,000 people protesting, some shouting “Down with the Tsar!”

    They do it even when it makes zero sense. For example:

    Police detain protesters in Russia’s far east who were rallying against plans to raise tariffs on imported used Japanese cars in the central part of the Pacific port of Vladivostok, about 4,000 miles east of Moscow.

    :)

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    • Replies: @songbird
    4,000 miles? LMAO. That is a greater distance than London from NYC.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • What other Soviet republics used to make civilian aircraft? The Ukraine?

    Also, LOL at Tashkent being a major aviation hub within USSR!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    A number of Antonov (Ukrainian) transport aircraft had wings manufactured in Uzbekistan.

    I believe the wing plant is now abandoned and inhabited by wolves.

    In Tsarist times the Baltic states were the most advanced manufacturing area in Russia and an early center of both aircraft and automobile production. I don't know if this persisted past the revolution, probably not.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • There are some pretty strange ideas floating around that Russia is obligated to help Syria/Iran in their decades-long squabbles with Israel, and that Putin is "betraying his people" by not doing so. Well, last time I checked, Putin is President of Russians, not Syrians/Iranians. Indeed, the term "сирийские братушки" ("Syrian brothers") has long been an...
  • @Thorfinnsson
    How do you suggest Russia retaliate against Israel?

    How do you suggest Russia retaliate against Israel?

    Not inviting Netanyahoo would be a start. If you attack our friends and allies, you should not be treated as a guest of honor at our “sacred” annual ritual.

    Step two: ramp up anti-Israel propaganda on state TV. The Jews are highly sensitive to this stuff. For now domestic propaganda mostly ignores Israel, when they do report on Israel, they cover it positively.

    Ending direct wealth transfers to Israel. Under Putin’s initiative, Russia pays pensions to Soviet Jews, who emigrated to Israel – a bizarre arrangement for all sorts of reasons.

    Russia’s economic relationship with Israel in general is very one-sided and mostly serves as a conduit for Jews to extract wealth from Russia. The government should make it harder for the Israeli citizens to do business in Russia, ideally pressuring them to sell their businesses and get out. This is not a retaliation measure per se, just sound economic nationalism, because having Jewish businesses in Russia is bad for Russians.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry

    Under Putin’s initiative, Russia pays pensions to Soviet Jews, who emigrated to Israel – a bizarre arrangement for all sorts of reasons.
     
    The fact Putin started to do this, must be another confusing thing for people like Saker who say Putin is anti-Israel.

    This said, it seems a minimum social pension - of around $80 a month.

    They are still giving the pension to people who did not accumulate enough pension points to get the pension if they were in Russia, and based on how many years they were in Israel.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Look, I like you Felix, often I feel you're my only ideological ally here, but I disagree with almost all of this.

    1. As you note Jews have major influence over the Western media. If you want Russia to take Iran's place as the main enemy of the Jewish people, this is a good way to go about it. Unfortunately, it will also be accompanied by the dislocation of major NATO forces to the Baltics and the Ukraine far earlier than would otherwise be the case.

    2. Russia spends very little on pensions to emigre Jews. Abrogating this will set back rule of law and institute potentially very harmful precedents, which might very well rebound against Russians.

    3. Kristallnacht 2.0 combines the worst of both the above two points.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • There have been major developments this week, all of them bad, including Putin re-nominating Medvedev as his Prime Minister, and Bibi Netanyahu invited to Moscow to the Victory Day Parade in spite of him bombing Syria, a Russian ally, just on the eve of his visit. Once in Moscow, Netanyahu compared Iran to, what else,...
  • @jim76
    on another note after seeing shabas putin next to netanyahu holding picture of a commie terrorist commissar let me say Saker the "ukronazis" have the stalinist russians pegged right thank God they left Russia some hope for a jew free state

    Ukrainian president and prime-minister are both Jews. All the Ukrainian olygarchs, with the sole exception of Ahmetov, are Jews. It is a regime run by the Jews for the Jews.

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    • Replies: @AP

    Ukrainian president and prime-minister are both Jews
     
    Poroshenko being (half-) Jewish is fake news. Allegedly his father was Jewish and changed his surname. Actually this is his father:

    https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Порошенко,_Алексей_Иванович

    The family originate from a Russian garrison-town on the romanian border which had been populated by Ukrainians, Russian, Bulgarans, and no Jews.

    There is even fake news that Parubiy is Jewish!

    Both Poroshenko's parents are ethnic Ukrainians and he is an Orthodox Christian.

    All the Ukrainian olygarchs, with the sole exception of Ahmetov, are Jews
     
    Richest people in Ukraine:

    Poroshenko - Ukrainian
    Akhmetov - Tatar
    Boholiubov - Jewish
    Tyhypko - Ukrainian
    Korban - Jewish
    Kosiuk - Ukrainian
    Zhevago -Russian
    Novinsky - Russian, major supporter of Russian Orthodox Church
    Kolomoysky - Jewish
    Pinchuk - Jewish
    Tymoshenko- 1/2 Ukrainian, 1/4 Latvian, 1/4 Jewish (1/4 Jewish isn't Jewish)

    So 4/11 are Jewish.

    What is Russia's ratio?
    , @Minnesota Mary
    And I seem to remember reading that eleven of the twelve Russian Oligarchs are Jews. This probably has a bearing on why Putin is being so docile.
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  • There are some pretty strange ideas floating around that Russia is obligated to help Syria/Iran in their decades-long squabbles with Israel, and that Putin is "betraying his people" by not doing so. Well, last time I checked, Putin is President of Russians, not Syrians/Iranians. Indeed, the term "сирийские братушки" ("Syrian brothers") has long been an...
  • I have to say the optics of Netanyahoo’s visit to Moscow was just embarrassing. Syria is not a “training ground”, it’s Russia’s ally (to the extent that Russia has any allies at all): we have all sorts of bilateral agreements, we invested a lot of money in Syria, Syria even recognised Crimea as a part of Russia.

    Attacks on allies should not be tolerated. At the very least we must impose sanctions on Israel: this economic relationship benefits the Jews far more than it benefits Russians.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    How do you suggest Russia retaliate against Israel?
    , @Dmitry

    Attacks on allies should not be tolerated. At the very least we must impose sanctions on Israel: this economic relationship benefits the Jews far more than it benefits Russians.

     

    I think economic relationship with Israel is mainly

    1. Russia is number one or two seller of oil to Israel (along with Azerbaijan).

    2. Israel receives hundreds of thousands of tourists from Russia each year.

    3. Russia imports some agricultural products.

    Oil is substitutable (unlike gas which needs pipelines).

    While the tourism is more possible instrument of foreign policy (like what happened with Turkey).
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Of course Russia should fight/retaliate first and foremost when Russians are killed. And while I would personally love Russia to wipe out Israel, of course Russia is not obligated to fight them and it’s not in your interest to do so.

    HOWEVER, inviting Netanyahu to the parade is a bit much. It’s simply tasteless and something that Putin could have done without, and this would not have hurt Russia’s interests.

    Not to mention that when Israel bombs Syria, they hurt not only Syria, but Russia’s reputation as well. You don’t have formal obligation to defend them but they are your ally, you have two bases there and the Israelis bomb Syria in the most blatant and insolent manner. Again, yes – Russia’s reputation is already hurt much more by what it allows every day in the Donbass. But still, Israel’s unpunished constant aggression is something that hurts it further, too.

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    • Agree: Felix Keverich
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • There have been major developments this week, all of them bad, including Putin re-nominating Medvedev as his Prime Minister, and Bibi Netanyahu invited to Moscow to the Victory Day Parade in spite of him bombing Syria, a Russian ally, just on the eve of his visit. Once in Moscow, Netanyahu compared Iran to, what else,...
  • Ukrainians have been pissing in Putin’s mouth since 2014. I’m surprised it took you this long to realise Putin is not the geopolitical genius he is made out to be. Rather, he is a typical post-Soviet thug, whose main concern is continuation of his regime.

    Read More
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  • The idea that the pomp and pageantry around the annual festivities commemorating Victory in the Great Patriotic War constitute a sort of foundational myth of the Russian state is a popular one. There are any number of articles on the Internet making this argument, mostly from the last few years, though come to think of...
  • @AP

    You will probably find greater genetic differences between Galicia and Kharkov. The people from Western Ukraine even look different.
     
    LOL. Felix continues his record of nonsense about Ukraine.

    Genetic study shows that an ethnic Ukrainian not only from Kharkiv, but also from Belgorod in Russia, is genetically closer to an ethnic Ukrainian from Lviv than he is to an ethnic Russian in Kharkiv or Kursk:

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.3103/S0095452715040106

    " a detailed analysis of highly informative Y-chromosome markers showed that both nations retain the ethnic specificity of their gene pools after 3.5 centuries of coexistence in the same historical territory: the Ukrainian populations are similar to the rest of Ukraine, and Russian populations gravitate towards the south of European Russia. The persistent genetic differences may be due to the spatial characteristics of marriage migration and the predominant ethnic environment."

    Article can be downloaded here.

    Page 250 shows genetic distance:

    https://i.imgur.com/ETnKYkI.jpg

    The authors of this “study” are all Ukrainians and it was published in 2015 under new Maidanist regime. A parody of Nazi science basically. Not surprising considering how Ukrainian nationalists are trying to emulate the Third Reich.

    I stand by my opinion: that face

    is a very particular “Galician” face. You don’t really see such faces anywhere else in the former USSR, but there is plenty of them in Western Ukraine.and Poland as well.

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    • Replies: @AP

    The authors of this “study” are all Ukrainians and it was published in 2015
     
    Your string of failures remains unbroken. :-)

    Authors of study:

    O. M. Utevskaa, A. S. Pshenichnovb, Kh. D. Dibirovab, S. Rootsic , A. T. Agdzhoyand, M. I. Churnosove, E. V. Balanovskab, L. A. Atramentovaa, and O. P. Balanovskyb,

    Kharkov National University, Kharkov, Ukraine

    Research Center for Medical Genetics, Moscow, Russia

    Estonian Biocenter, Tartu, Estonia

    Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, Moscow, Russia,

    Belgorod State University, Belgorod, Russia

    Published in 2015, but written in 2013.

    Does it hurt, when you fail so hard?
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  • @AP

    There’s no comparison with Chechnya. In the late 90′s and early 00s, the Russian military was in even worse shape than Ukraine’s was in 2014.
     
    Not at all. The Russian military was capable of fielding 100,000s of troops at that time. In 1999 it sent about 80,000 into Chechnya (per wiki). In 2014 Ukraine had perhaps 120,000 troops but only 20,000 or so combat-ready ones (IIRC), with mostly nonfunctional equipment. Ukraine and Russia both degraded in the 1990s but by 2014 Ukraine had degraded much further. The transformation since 2014 has been remarkable. Pound-for-pound, Ukraine's military is probably comparable to Russia's military circa 2005. Improvement continues.

    Also, Ukrainians aren’t Chechens. At their peak the Chechen rebels numbered about 40,000, which relative to population size, would be the equivalent of the 20 million in east and central Ukraine fielding a rebel army of over 550,000.
     
    Correct.

    And prolonged urban combat in Kiev is unlikely, since any Ukrainian force in the city would inevitably be encircled and doomed, and Ukrainians aren’t Muslim fanatics eager to martyr themselves.
     
    Maidan showed that the people in Kiev were capable of mass unrest and violence. Suicide attacks, no. A lot of house to house fighting? Probably. It would be not as extreme was Warsaw during the uprising but much worse than Belfast. Bombings, machine gun attacks, snipers, locals being uncooperative with the Russian authorities, etc. Warsaw in 1939 had 1/3 the population of Kiev today. If the intensity of resistance in Kiev was 1/3 that of Warsaw, casualties would be similar.

    In the end, Russia would have to rebuild the place, and invest in a Brezhnev-era comprehensive repressive state apparatus to keep things quiet from a population that hates it.

    In Kharkiv, home base of Azov, it would be lighter, more Belfast type of resistance; Russia would have local supporters analogous to the Ulster Paramilitary force vs. Azov's IRA.

    "There are plenty of weapons and 100,000s of these people have been through the army and seen some combat."

    Most of that combat has involved shelling villages from miles away with heavy artillery.
     
    Not all. And the point is that, unlike in 2014, there are 100,000s of Ukrainian men who have been trained how to shoot, plenty of weapons, and plenty of nationalism. There are thus ingredients for significant insurgency across central Ukraine.

    I visited relatives in central Ukraine, including a village, in 2017. The difference from 2013 was shocking - it was like these people had become Galicians. War builds nations.

    The initial invasion wouldn’t be quite the same cakewalk it would have been in 2014 (maybe 1000-2000 KIA instead of a few hundred)
     
    Perhaps.

    but its very implausible that Russian losses to a post-invasion insurgency would be in the tens of thousands
     
    Russia lost about 7,200 personnel in the Chechen war. Chechnya has 4.5% of the population of western plus central Ukraine (about 30 million). At the same rate Russia would lose 152,000 people in Ukraine.

    Of course, Ukrainians are not Chechens and Russia's military has much-improved since 1999. But a loss rate of 30,000 or so to insurgency, 1/5 of the rate in Chechnya, (in addition to the 1,000-2,000 killed during the initial invasion) is not an unreasonable estimate.

    When the insurgency finally ends, there will be years of occasional IRA style attacks, killings of Russian officials or native collaborators, with the passive support of the general population.

    If Russian forces stop at the 1939 border and don't enter Galicia, perhaps they will lose 10,000 to insurgency (plus the 1-2K in the initial invasion). And then a few dozen a year to IRA-style attacks in Kiev and other occupied cities until the FSB infiltrates and neutralizes the nationalist groups (though lone wolf attacks will always exist). They will have to invest in a Cold War Iron-Curtain style fence separating western Ukraine from occupied Ukraine to prevent weapons and fanatics from coming in. They will be under NK-style sanctions and will rebuild these cities populated by people who hate them.

    I wonder if Russia is so nationalistic that its people will be willing to sacrifice 12,000 (if they avoid Western Ukraine) or 30,000 people (if they take all of Ukraine), NK-style isolation, severe economic loss, and the cost of feeding 20 million people who hate them, just to extend Russia's borders.

    As someone who thinks that the conquest of the Ukraine is a realistic, attainable goal, allow me to make two points:

    1. You are grossly overestimating the extent to which the Ukrainian population is invested in the idea of Ukrainian independence. We can easily assemble a large proxy army made up of men from Eastern Ukraine. It will be reasonably effective, it will be cheap. Assuming that Russian airforce does its part in destroying Ukrainian command and control, destroying Ukrainian industry, transport infrastructure, destroying Ukrainian army as an organised force, the conquest of the Ukraine could then be accomplished by Ukrainians loyal to Russia, and in that scenario they will bear most of the casualties. Basically, my idea would be to apply the experience of Syrian war in the Ukraine.

    2. Russia is not North Korea, it is a major part of the world’s economy and a No1 energy exporter. US, and especially the EU won’t be able to completely break their ties with Russia, without inflicting substantial economic pain on their own populations, and their populations are notoriously sensitive to pain. The rest of the world simply doesn’t care. Once again, you overestimate how far people are willing to go to protect the Ukraine.

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    • Replies: @Talha
    I also think it’s attainable. You just have to drop any regard for that pesky “international law” business; maybe this is why Bibi was visiting - to give tips?

    Peace.
    , @AP
    As we have already seen plenty of times, you know nothing about Ukraine and everything you've written about it has been wrong (your silly claim about western Ukrainians being genetically different from Eastern ones was already debunked here) . So when you make claims like: "You are grossly overestimating the extent to which the Ukrainian population is invested in the idea of Ukrainian independence." the fact that you have made this claim is itself evidence that the claim is false.

    Most Ukrainians vote for nationalist parties and oppose union between the two countries. There are about 200,000 Ukrainian soldiers and another 200,000 demobilized former soldiers/reserves.

    The conquest of the Ukraine could then be accomplished by Ukrainians loyal to Russia, and in that scenario they will bear most of the casualties
     
    There was basically no Ukrainian government in 2014; if there was an appetite to end Ukraine this was the time. And it only happened in the ethnic Russian settled parts of Donbas oblast. Given the chance to join Russia, most Ukrainians rejected it.

    The most pro-Russian part of Ukraine (and populated by about 50% ethnic Russians) managed 45,000 people to fight a defensive war. Many do so because it's the only source of income there, and are not particularly enthusiastic. Let's say you raise another 40,000 in Kharkiv and Odessa.
    You think they would be able to conquer 30 million? How many of these would be willing to die in street to street fighting in Kiev? Do you think if the British military took out much of the Irish military with airpower and missiles, the Ulster Protestants would be able to conquer and hold the island on their own?
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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    In all fairness I wouldn't even mind giving up DICh (and, naturally, imposing immigration restrictions immediately afterwards), but this is so politically unrealistic and feeding into the meme of Russian nationalists wanting Russia's dismemberment that there's zero point in wasting political capital on it.

    It is an idiotic strategy above everything else. Our problem is not the Caucasus, but the Caucasian people. Our solutions must target the people.

    A smarter approach would be to encourage migration of Chechens into US and EU. That way we can kill two birds with one stone: weakening the West and strengthening Russia at the same time. Incidentally, this is what the Israelis are doing.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry

    A smarter approach would be to encourage migration of Chechens into US and EU. That way we can kill two birds with one stone: weakening the West and strengthening Russia at the same time. Incidentally, this is what the Israelis are doing.

     

    This an idea discussed/invented in Israel, but it did not yet become policy or popular. It is a proposal so far of a politician Moshe Feiglin (very non-influential, eccentrics nationalist politician).* Currently this kind of policy would be illegal under their Supreme Court (although could change in the future).

    Aside from the liberalism issue in Israel stopping it, it would be both very expensive (he suggested paying $500,000 per family), and also it cannot be expected that more than minority will accept it. This means it could change finely the demographic balance, but it's unlikely to remove all or even majority of existing inhabitants.

    An alternative is 'two-state solution', in which separate territory are created. Or 'demilitarized two state solution' (the current official position for Israel).

    Now for the Russian Federation. a proposal for 'multi-state' solution with certain republics sounds tempting.

    But it would only make so much sense from nationalist (or demographic-nationalist) perspective if it is combined with immigration restriction, border fence, etc. I think this is more realistic as an alternative, especially considering what a waste of money certain republics are.

    I see less problem personally with directly the demographics, but above with the economic costs of supporting some areas.

    However, latter goes so much against current directions of policy, as to appear almost surreal to me. Where official policy goals now are to integrate countries of the region, and in the last few years Eurasian Economic Union results that even asking for the purpose of visits at the border, or requiring work permits, are not necessary for citizens of separate countries to live in Russia.

    * http://www.timesofisrael.com/likud-hardliner-suggests-paying-palestinian-families-to-emigrate-from-west-bank

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  • @DFH

    In what universe giving up a part of your own country makes sense?
     
    It's easy to imagine situations where part of a country only drains it of resources while not being strategically significant.

    Should France get rid of Paris?
     
    No, but they should give up French Guyana

    It’s easy to imagine situations where part of a country only drains it of resources while not being strategically significant.

    LMAO, it’s only easy when it is somebody else’s country, trust me.

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    • Replies: @DFH
    Britain was strengthened by giving up all of its useless African possessions.

    It's only hard to think about if you have a Risk-map understanding of national strength.
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  • @iffen
    I suspect Putin would be thrilled to see every last Iranian or Iranian-paid mercenary in Syria killed.

    Since Smoothie is not here to enlighten us dummies, we'll have to figure it out for ourselves.

    I suspect Assad received the systems from Russia with the understanding that they will only be used to protect Assad. Further, I assume that since they are no longer needed, Assad would like for the Israelis to destroy the Iranians forces and proxies currently in Syria. The engaged defense systems were probably commanded by rogues (or perhaps manned by Iranians) who are failing to keep in line with Assad's wishes.

    Further, I assume that since they are no longer needed, Assad would like for the Israelis to destroy the Iranians forces and proxies currently in Syria.

    You seem to have all sorts of weird assumptions about people! :)

    The priority for Assad is to win his country back: large parts of Syria continue to be occupied by the US, Israel, Turkey and their proxies. Iran is indispesable partner in this fight.

    Israeli attacks on the Syrian army are nothing new: Israelis have been backing Assad’s opponents covertly and not so covertly since the start of the war.

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  • @Anonymous

    This is doubly insane for Russian civilization, which should not be confused with the entity presently calling itself the Russian Federation, which has always had trouble justifying its own existence.
     
    Just get rid of the North Caucasian Federal District. They should be their own country and stop being a burden to Russia. Then the Russian Federation will make sense.

    In what universe giving up a part of your own country makes sense? Should France get rid of Paris? Should Texas be returned to Mexico?

    Russian Federation is already too much of a rump state. The way to improve it is by annexing the neighbouring European land, and ditching the “Federation” part.

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    • Replies: @DFH

    In what universe giving up a part of your own country makes sense?
     
    It's easy to imagine situations where part of a country only drains it of resources while not being strategically significant.

    Should France get rid of Paris?
     
    No, but they should give up French Guyana
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  • @LondonBob
    I would be surprised if Russians are genetically closer to Ukrainians than English and Scots are, very surprised.

    You will probably find greater genetic differences between Galicia and Kharkov. The people from Western Ukraine even look different.


    This facial type is very atypical for Eastern Slavs. I would call it a Polish face. You never really see it east of Dnieper.

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    • Replies: @AP

    You will probably find greater genetic differences between Galicia and Kharkov. The people from Western Ukraine even look different.
     
    LOL. Felix continues his record of nonsense about Ukraine.

    Genetic study shows that an ethnic Ukrainian not only from Kharkiv, but also from Belgorod in Russia, is genetically closer to an ethnic Ukrainian from Lviv than he is to an ethnic Russian in Kharkiv or Kursk:

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.3103/S0095452715040106

    " a detailed analysis of highly informative Y-chromosome markers showed that both nations retain the ethnic specificity of their gene pools after 3.5 centuries of coexistence in the same historical territory: the Ukrainian populations are similar to the rest of Ukraine, and Russian populations gravitate towards the south of European Russia. The persistent genetic differences may be due to the spatial characteristics of marriage migration and the predominant ethnic environment."

    Article can be downloaded here.

    Page 250 shows genetic distance:

    https://i.imgur.com/ETnKYkI.jpg
    , @Gerard2

    The people from Western Ukraine even look different.
     
    Look different....and most importantly, think different. If we were to make a comparison of a western equivalent....it would be the cast of the bad guys from the film "Deliverance". That's not to confuse rural background ( which I am from) with stupidity and lack of enlightenment....but the particular backwardness of these morons...further exacerbated by EU/US funding is strikingly obvious....perhaps explains why western Ukraine is the poorest and least populated part of the country....in fact 5 of the top 7 most populated oblasts of Ukraine are in Novorossiya ( most of the wealth there) and 1 of the remainder is Kiev....the most Russian city of all
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  • @AP

    In the same way, I like Austrians and Montenegrines, but that doesn’t mean that they are real countries.
     
    You do realize that Ukrainian and Russian are about as different as Dutch and German, and not like Austrian German vs. standard High German?

    Using the Russian and Ukrainian languages as a metric to decide whether Ukraine can or cannot be incorporated by Russia is irrelevant when we know that the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians, except in Galicia, speak fluent Russian.

    Ethnically, Ukrainians are closer to Russians than Scots are to Anglos.

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    • Agree: Felix Keverich
    • Replies: @Mikhail
    That and some other particulars have been mentioned to him.

    As I brought up to him (which he later mentions in another context), the Han and Mandarin languages are very much different from each other.

    The point being that examples can be given either way. Meantime, there's no legitimate denying that Ukraine (at least most of it) and Russia have had a reasoned basis for an extended togetherness.

    Maybe that's not going to happen again. At the same time, Russia and much of Ukraine are understandably not so distinct when compared to just about any set of two other countries with each other.

    Post-Soviet Russia has exhibited the willingness to recognize a separate Ukrainian state. The hindering factor is the anti-Russian variant among some (stress some) Ukrainians, whose extremism prompts a reply from pro-Russian elements in Ukraine (whether ethnic Russian or otherwise), as well as others, including a good number of those in Russia with ties to Ukraine.

    This very matter is what led to the reunification of Crimea with Russia and the developed unrest in Donbass.

    , @LondonBob
    I would be surprised if Russians are genetically closer to Ukrainians than English and Scots are, very surprised.
    , @AP

    Russia is irrelevant when we know that the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians, except in Galicia, speak fluent Russian.
     
    Most Dutch speak English, no?

    And most Irish speak only English.

    Ethnically, Ukrainians are closer to Russians than Scots are to Anglos.
     
    Genetics shows Ukrainians are closer to Slovaks than they are to Russians. Russians are in third place.
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  • @Druid

    And airstrikes started 20 minutes after Netanyahu’s plane landed in Israel from the airport.

    The question is what is Putin’s rationales.
     
    He's using Israel to cut Iran's influence in Syria down to size. Russia and Iran are allies (by definition, of convenience), not friends. There are plenty of background differences between Russia and Iran, including on territorial issues, with Iran probably harboring a mess of resentments re the excision of the Caucasian parts of the Persian empire by Russia, with pieces currently in Russia itself, and other parts (like Armenia and Azerbaijan) currently independent of Iran. According to Lieberman, Iran has spent $13b in Syria, an amount that should buy Teheran an outsized role in Syria. By vaporizing a good number of Iranian installations, Israel has just increased Russia's influence in Syria. Once the danger to Assad is mostly gone, I suspect Putin would be thrilled to see every last Iranian or Iranian-paid mercenary in Syria killed.

    That doesn’t really make sense, not when the US refuses to recongnise Assad as the legitimate ruler, and continues to illegally occupy 30% of the country. The mercenaries we should be looking to kill are the American ones.

    My plan would be to arm Iran and its proxies, so they would stage deadly attacks against Americans, forcing US to withdraw from Syria, similar to what happened in Iraq. IMO it’s a much better plan than becoming Netanyahoo’s patsy.

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  • @LondonBob
    Syrians are perfectly capable of protecting themselves, have the tools to do it. Russians don't want Syria falling in to the Israeli trap of escalating when Syrian only gets stronger as time goes by. Israelis obviously trying to provoke conflict.

    The Syrian “tools” are generously supplied by Russia. Israeli tools – by the USA.

    The difference of course is that Russia doesn’t print the world’s reserve currency. Should this evolve into a war of attrition between Israel and Syria, we cannot hope to win.

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  • @AP

    There is absolutely no way Ukrainians could take down a Pansir system.
     
    I would probably have agreed with this, until you wrote it - given your track record about anything to do with Ukraine.

    Remind us again about how Azov are all western Ukrainians :-)

    your track record

    I have a consistent track record of triggering you with my posts about the Ukraine, but no record of being wrong ;)

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    • Replies: @AP

    I have a consistent track record of triggering you with my posts about the Ukraine, but no record of being wrong
     
    Almost everything you've ever written about Ukraine has been wrong. One of many examples -

    You wrote:

    https://www.unz.com/akarlin/military-spending-in-2017/#comment-2316166

    "Ukrainian Neo-Nazi paramilitaries such as the so-called Donbass and Azov “batallions” are indeed Ukrainian, but they are not native to Donbass. They originate from Western parts of the Ukraine. You know, the same way Panzer Army Afrika was not actually African. lol"

    Reality, lol:

    The Azov Battalion has its roots in a group of Ultras of FC Metalist Kharkiv named “Sect 82″ (1982 is the year of the founding of the group).[18] “Sect 82″ was (at least until September 2013) allied with FC Spartak Moscow Ultras.[18] Late February 2014, during the 2014 Ukrainian crisis when a separatist movement was active in Kharkiv, “Sect 82″ occupied the Kharkiv Oblast regional administration building in Kharkiv and served as a local “self-defense”-force.[18] Soon, on the basis of “Sect 82″ there was formed a volunteer militia called “Eastern Corps”

    It’s leader is a native of Kharkiv, born and grew up there:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andriy_Biletsky_(politician)

    Born in 1979 in Kharkiv, Soviet Union, Biletsky’s father Yevhen Mykhailovych Biletsky hailed from an old Cossack family that founded the village of Krasnopavlivka (Lozova Raion), while Biletsky’s mother Olena Anatolivna Biletsky (née Lukashevych) descended from a noble family from Zhytomyr region, to which belong the Decembrist Vasiliy Lukashevich (Vasyl Lukashevych) who founded the “Little-Russian Secret Society”.

    It’s deputy commander, now in charge of Kiev oblast’s police, is another Kharkiv native:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vadym_Troyan

    Troyan was born on 12 September 1979 in a village Orylka, Loziv district, Kharkiv region. In 2000 he graduated in Law from Kharkiv National University. Until 2003 he served as an investigator at the Loziv district police station in Kharkiv region.[1]

    Its patron Avakov is a Kharkiv politician (born in Baku to Armenian parents, came to Kharkiv at age two).

    :::::::::::::

    You ran away to your safe space last time you were debunked on this.
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  • @Dmitry

    Of course it was given for free! It costs $15 million a piece, it’s not like Syria could pay for it.
     
    Do you have a source? Hopefully this is not true.

    Because with the purchase of the S-300 complexes, I have read discussions that Syria planned to pay for it (through Iranian funding). And other discussions about whether it will be given for free or not.*

    *(Total cost of the S-300 transfer is described as $900 million).

    My question is what was the point of hosting Netanyahoo in Moscow, and treating him as a guest of honor?

     

    Netanyahu was discussing his plans for this airstrike. He didn't come because of a ceremony.

    In the same afternoon (yesterday) he said that Putin would not probably limit them.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-israel-russia/russia-unlikely-to-limit-israeli-actions-in-syria-netanyahu-idUSKBN1IA2UA

    And airstrikes started 20 minutes after Netanyahu's plane landed in Israel from the airport.

    The question is what is Putin's rationales.

    To gain some legitimacy by standing next to an actual international statestman? Whatever it was, it had nothing to do with protecting Russian investments in Syria.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    I wrote a few weeks ago that it could be partly the situation where if Assad is failing, then strong Iran in Syria is desirable from the Kremlin perspective. But if Assad is secure, then strong Iran in Syria becomes not so desirable.

    There is best case scenario for Syria (Assad survives) and a worse case Syria (Assad does not survive), from Kremlin perspective.

    In a situation where the best case scenario is achieved, then strong Iran in Syria is probably less desirable, as it reduces the final prize (power/influence over Syria). However, strong Iran in Syria also reduces the probability of the worst case Syria (Assad does not survive).

    At the same time, Israel destroying expensive equipment and weakening image of power projection is a negative. So the Kremlin view is confused of how to react.
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  • @French Basque
    Interesting video. Do we know what piece of hardware took down the Pantsir system?

    That does not bode well for the alleged superiority of Russian AA/AD systems.

    A quarter of century ago while doing my military service in an anti-tank unit of the French military, I several times felt how our lives would be at the mercy of a minor technical advantage of our opponents, in the case of a real conflict, and that one's chances of staying alive would be to stay clear of the most technologically-advanced assets -- as opposed to close or inside them, because they would most likely be the prime targets of the technologically superior adversary. And that was even before the advent of fully-integrated systems.

    Interesting video. Do we know what piece of hardware took down the Pantsir system?

    That does not bode well for the alleged superiority of Russian AA/AD systems.

    You see, that’s the advantage of fighting a war of conquest against the Ukraine as opposed to “fighting terrorists” in Syria. There is absolutely no way Ukrainians could take down a Pansir system. Israelis, on the other hand, have all the best American stuff, and their high IQ soldiers know how to make the best use of it.

    God, how did the Kremlin get into this?! They deserved to be inside that machine.

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    • Replies: @AP

    There is absolutely no way Ukrainians could take down a Pansir system.
     
    I would probably have agreed with this, until you wrote it - given your track record about anything to do with Ukraine.

    Remind us again about how Azov are all western Ukrainians :-)
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  • @Dmitry
    It does look like is it. A question is is this destroyed equipment a paid for system (as in received money in the bank, by Syria through using aid from Iran?), or was it given for free?

    Of course it was given for free! It costs $15 million a piece, it’s not like Syria could pay for it.

    My question is what was the point of hosting Netanyahoo in Moscow, and treating him as a guest of honor?

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    • Replies: @Dmitry

    Of course it was given for free! It costs $15 million a piece, it’s not like Syria could pay for it.
     
    Do you have a source? Hopefully this is not true.

    Because with the purchase of the S-300 complexes, I have read discussions that Syria planned to pay for it (through Iranian funding). And other discussions about whether it will be given for free or not.*

    *(Total cost of the S-300 transfer is described as $900 million).

    My question is what was the point of hosting Netanyahoo in Moscow, and treating him as a guest of honor?

     

    Netanyahu was discussing his plans for this airstrike. He didn't come because of a ceremony.

    In the same afternoon (yesterday) he said that Putin would not probably limit them.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-israel-russia/russia-unlikely-to-limit-israeli-actions-in-syria-netanyahu-idUSKBN1IA2UA

    And airstrikes started 20 minutes after Netanyahu's plane landed in Israel from the airport.

    The question is what is Putin's rationales.
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  • Netanyahoo was Putin’s guest of honor at the Victory parade!
    He was wearing St. George’s ribbon!!
    He was marching in the Immortal Regiment!!!

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    It does look like is it. A question is is this destroyed equipment a paid for system (as in received money in the bank, by Syria through using aid from Iran?), or was it given for free?
    , @French Basque
    Interesting video. Do we know what piece of hardware took down the Pantsir system?

    That does not bode well for the alleged superiority of Russian AA/AD systems.

    A quarter of century ago while doing my military service in an anti-tank unit of the French military, I several times felt how our lives would be at the mercy of a minor technical advantage of our opponents, in the case of a real conflict, and that one's chances of staying alive would be to stay clear of the most technologically-advanced assets -- as opposed to close or inside them, because they would most likely be the prime targets of the technologically superior adversary. And that was even before the advent of fully-integrated systems.
    , @LondonBob
    https://youtu.be/DfHJDLoGInM
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  • So Putin has just entered his fourth and almost certainly last term. Where to now? Putin has a vast, legitimate mandate to leave his final imprint on Russia, but what precisely that involves is still just a black box - as I repeatedly noted during my Russia elections coverage, Putin did not even bother with...
  • @Dmitry
    Sure, but when you arrive at fertility rate numbers slightly below 2.1, the change in population size (and age profile) will at least be occurring very slowly and potentially quite easy to reverse.

    It's not scary in the way it is when it drops down to the lower numbers.

    Ukraine had actually dropped to a total fertility rate of 1,07 in the year 2000. (It may have been the lowest in the world).

    Another issue for Ukraine is emigration.

    On the positive side, Ukraine still has a large population (42 and a half million people), so the issue is not quite so scary in the way falling population is for small population countries like Lithuania and Latvia. To say the obvious, the primarily depressing thing about Ukraine is the economy.

    Ukraine still has a large population (42 and a half million people)

    This number comes from Maidanist regime and includes the estimated population of LDNR. It’s probably closer to 32 million in real life.

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  • The idea that the pomp and pageantry around the annual festivities commemorating Victory in the Great Patriotic War constitute a sort of foundational myth of the Russian state is a popular one. There are any number of articles on the Internet making this argument, mostly from the last few years, though come to think of...
  • @iffen
    Explain your thinking here.

    I can't understand a "Russian" who does not have an emotional attachment to something like the Battle of Stalingrad and the WWII victory in general. By extension, if one is a "Ukrainian" and wishes to deny any Russian identity as a part of that identity, then rejection of the WWII victory is logical.

    Y'all just go ahead and sort it out as you wish, just my opinion.

    I can’t understand a “Russian” who does not have an emotional attachment to something like the Battle of Stalingrad and the WWII victory in general.

    I was born long after the war was over, and emotional attachment to WW2 doesn’t come naturally to me. I know that too many people died – it was worse than a tragedy, unprecendented national catastrophy, so what exactly are we celebrating here?

    I can honestly tell you that I don’t get the Victory Day. This holiday is one of the more obnoxious elements of Soviet legacy, that I would love to go away.

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    • Replies: @Pavlo

    I would love to go away
     
    Do it.

    Since you can't seem to produce or convincingly imitate human emotions and attachments, you should probably give California a shot.

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  • @silviosilver
    AK, despite the daft reasoning this article is riddled with, if you're pissing off "real Russian nationalists", I'd say you have to be doing something right, so keep it up.

    Also, the great pity of WWI is that the central powers lost. That would, no doubt, have created numerous problems of its own. But it would have afforded a much better chance of avoiding WWII, which makes it all worth it.

    AK, despite the daft reasoning this article is riddled with, if you’re pissing off “real Russian nationalists”, I’d say you have to be doing something right, so keep it up.

    To my knowledge, the only Russian nationalists on this website are me and Karlin. And maybe Spisarevski. The cult of “Great Victory” is a mainstream phenomenon in Russia, but Russian nationalists are not particularly enthusiastic about it.

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  • @Yevardian
    I am already agreed with you on the first point. Note I prefixed the Ukraine with an article. If you think the eradication of local languages and cultures is worthy goal, good for you I guess. Are suppose you support the sort of "nationalist" scums beating up kids in Udmurtia for not speaking their own language in public. Somehow people like you and our dear author manage to combine a liberast mindset with the worst aspects of Great Russian chauvinism.

    If you think the eradication of local languages and cultures is worthy goal, good for you I guess.

    I see no value in preserving local languages and dialects. None at all. Particularly when it keeps minority groups from assimilating. There is a natural tendency for the minor languages to disappear. The мова in the Ukraine is being kept alive by the copious amount of government regulations demanding its use everywhere.

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  • @iffen
    If a Russian can't celebrate the defeat of Nazism and Hitler then he doesn't need to celebrate anything at all.

    If Belorussians and Ukrainians don't celebrate Victory Day, I would take that as a serious clue that they don't want to be or think of themselves as Russians.

    I don’t get it: a Russian is obligated celebrate “the defeat of Fascism”*, but no such obligation exists for Belorussian? Why is that? Last time I checked WW2 was more than just a Russo-German affair. Explain your thinking here.

    Is “Victory Day” a core part of Russian identity or something? I personally don’t want to see Russian identity reduced to bunch of Soviet era platitudes. The Russians are bigger than the fucking “Victory Day”.

    PS: it was always “Fascism”, never Nazism in official Soviet propaganda, because the phrase ‘National-Socialism’ could create uncomfortable associations.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Explain your thinking here.

    I can't understand a "Russian" who does not have an emotional attachment to something like the Battle of Stalingrad and the WWII victory in general. By extension, if one is a "Ukrainian" and wishes to deny any Russian identity as a part of that identity, then rejection of the WWII victory is logical.

    Y'all just go ahead and sort it out as you wish, just my opinion.
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  • @anonymous coward

    There is a tiny strip of land in the southern tip of Primorsky Krai, which has temperatures comparable to European Russia
     
    This "tiny strip" (along with Kamchatka, another place with mild climate) is basically the whole of the Russian Far East. The rest is mountains.

    Leave Siberia to miners and herders, at least until global warming comes.
     
    Siberia is not the Far East. The two regions are thousands of kilometers apart. You're pretending like you're some sort of expert, but yet you fail at even basic grade-school geography.

    Moreover, you missed my third point: the empiric fact is that the colder places in the Russian Far East have better population growth. It's 2018, we finally invented warm clothes and climate doesn't matter. (Infrastructure does.)

    I’m no expert, but I’m clearly smarter and better educated than you’re. What kind of clown calls Kamchatka a “place with mild climate”? You might want to visit it during winter. lol

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    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    I’m no expert, but I’m clearly smarter and better educated than you’re. What kind of clown calls Kamchatka a “place with mild climate”?
     
    The kind of clown who has actually been there. Kamchatka has a mild, atlantic climate. Very wet and foggy without serious temperature extremes. (Think Seattle.) The average January temperature there is -7 degrees, only one degree colder than Moscow.

    https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9F%D0%B5%D1%82%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%BF%D0%B0%D0%B2%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%B2%D1%81%D0%BA-%D0%9A%D0%B0%D0%BC%D1%87%D0%B0%D1%82%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B9#%D0%9A%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%82

    https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9A%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%82_%D0%9C%D0%BE%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B2%D1%8B#%D0%9A%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%B3%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%BC%D0%BC%D0%B0

    Their problem is heavy snowfalls, not cold.

    Moreover, the Russian Far East is a very mountainous place: http://rfmaps.ru/images/fizicheskaja-karta-rossii.jpg

    A valley might have a different climate than the next one over.

    (BTW, Siberia is the green flat part between the Ural and the Altai mountains. Siberia indeed does have a cold climate, and also three times the population. Again, cold doesn't correlate with low population density.)

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  • @Yevardian
    Ukrainian isn't widely spoken in the cities, but don't go and spout bullshit like nobody speaks it without monetary incentives, go west and you find plenty. Ukrainian isn't Belorussian.
    Personally I think the Ukraine would be much better off as an autonomous entity within Russia, but I get tired of all these people denying its existence. The lady doth protest too much, methinks. It's a least as different as Danish from Norwegian, the basic words all have different forms, not just an extensive series of slang words like in Scots.

    Personally I think the Ukraine would be much better off as an autonomous entity within Russia, but I get tired of all these people denying its existence.

    The biggest mistake that people make when talking about the Ukraine is treating it as a single, relatively monogenous entity, as if it was, you know, an actual nation. It’s anything but. There are greater linguistic differences between the Ukrainians in Lvov and Kharkov, than between the people of Kharkov and the Russian city of Vladivostok.

    Which “Ukraine” you are talking about exactly? If you mean Galicia, the only solution for it is be completely eradicated, the way Eastern Prussia was eradicated. It would save us a lot of trouble. The rest of the country already has Russian as its primary language: the мова will die as soon as official requirement to use it everywhere is dropped.

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    • Replies: @Yevardian
    I am already agreed with you on the first point. Note I prefixed the Ukraine with an article. If you think the eradication of local languages and cultures is worthy goal, good for you I guess. Are suppose you support the sort of "nationalist" scums beating up kids in Udmurtia for not speaking their own language in public. Somehow people like you and our dear author manage to combine a liberast mindset with the worst aspects of Great Russian chauvinism.
    , @Mr. Hack

    Which “Ukraine” you are talking about exactly? If you mean Galicia, the only solution for it is be completely eradicated, the way Eastern Prussia was eradicated.
     
    You'll need to 'eradicate'a lot more than just Galicia. This is a complete misnomer that the Ukrainian language and pride in Ukrainianess is limited to Galicia. Looks like you'll have to reestablish the gulag system, in order to 'eradicate' the millions of people that you're talking about, Mr. Ukrainophobe. Even Stalin saw the folly in trying to do something as stupid as that, tovarishch!
    , @AP

    Which “Ukraine” you are talking about exactly? If you mean Galicia, the only solution for it is be completely eradicated, the way Eastern Prussia was eradicated.
     
    East Prussia had about 2.5 million people when it was eradicated. This eradication was tolerated because the Germans had genocided tens of millions of people.

    Galicia itself has 4.5 million people. The fully (urban + rural) Ukrainian-speaking regions of Ukraine (Galicia plus Volhynia plus Bukovyna and Trtanscarpathia) have about 10 million people. Eradicating a region of 10 million people would be quite a groundbreaking "accomplishment." Done because, I don't know - Russia wants Kiev? Of course Kiev despite being Russian-speaking is as nationalistic as Galicia. You'd have to eradicate at least 3 million or so of its 4 million people too.

    Of course, outside this region there are another 15 million or so Ukrainian-speakers, living in rural areas and raion centers.

    I hope you don't complain about Ukrainian extremists who want to eradicate Donbas or Crimea. you are their twin.
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  • @anonymous coward

    Otherwise, it’s really dumb idea, dumping money into territories, where nobody wants to life.
     
    Factually false. Three points:

    a) The Far East has better fertility than European Russia. Despite the lack of infrastructure, it's a good place to live.

    b) Most of the Far East is warmer than Moscow and certainly warmer than St. Petersburg.

    c) In reality, the cold places in the far north have better population growth than the warm ones. Seems like people actually don't mind cold weather.

    You, Sir, do not have a slightest clue what you’re talking about!

    There is a tiny strip of land in the southern tip of Primorsky Krai, which has temperatures comparable to European Russia. Otherwise this region is ill-suited for human habitation. It’s natural resources can be extricated using automation/robots.

    The tentency in post-Soviet Russia has been for ethnic Russians to migrate out of Siberia, out of the Far East, and into Western and Southern parts of the Russian Federation. It’s perfectly natural when you look at the map of average temperatures. The government shouldn’t fight this.

    Leave Siberia to miners and herders, at least until global warming comes.

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    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    There is a tiny strip of land in the southern tip of Primorsky Krai, which has temperatures comparable to European Russia
     
    This "tiny strip" (along with Kamchatka, another place with mild climate) is basically the whole of the Russian Far East. The rest is mountains.

    Leave Siberia to miners and herders, at least until global warming comes.
     
    Siberia is not the Far East. The two regions are thousands of kilometers apart. You're pretending like you're some sort of expert, but yet you fail at even basic grade-school geography.

    Moreover, you missed my third point: the empiric fact is that the colder places in the Russian Far East have better population growth. It's 2018, we finally invented warm clothes and climate doesn't matter. (Infrastructure does.)
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  • @DFH

    Russians will decide what is a Russian land. This is what a powerful people can do.
     
    Sorry Felix, the more powerful Yankees and Europeans have already decided that Ukraine and Belarus aren't Russian lands.

    Sorry Felix, the more powerful Yankees and Europeans have already decided that Ukraine and Belarus aren’t Russian lands.

    I question your notion that Europeans have more power than the Russian people. What is ‘Europeans’ anyway? Poland, Lithuania, Eurocrats? Don’t make me laugh!

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  • @Mitleser

    Here are a few real national ideas worthy of Russian civilization:
     
    What is your stance toward the development of North and Far East as national ideas?
    Too feasible and normie-esque?
    Too tied to the USSR?

    Your Solzhenitsyn supported it.

    «The North-East is our vector, chartered long ago for Russia’s natural progress and development…

    The North-East is a reminder that we, Russia, are the North-East of the planet! Our ocean is the Artic, not the Indian one, we are not the Mediterranean, we are not Africa, and we have no business there! Our hands, our sacrifice, our labor, our love is needed by these limitless spaces, recklessly abandoned to freeze in neglect for four centuries…

    The North-East is the key to solving many allegedly unsolvable Russian problems… Its spaces give us a way out of the global technological crisis… Its cold, mostly frozen spaces are yet unready for agriculture and would require an immense investment of energy – but the very depths of the North-East conceal this energy, which we haven’t yet put to waste…

    The North-East is larger than its name and deeper than its geography. The North-East would mean that Russia has eagerly taken the route of SELF-RESTRAINT, a choice of depth and not surface, an inward, not an outward choice. It would mean directing all of the citizens’ development – national, social, educational, family, and personal – toward an internal, not external prosperity.”
     

    What is your stance toward the development of North and Far East as national ideas?

    If by ‘development’ you mean building oil rigs/drilling holes in the ground, then Russia is doing this already. Otherwise, it’s really dumb idea, dumping money into territories, where nobody wants to life.

    Do you fancy living beyond the Arctic circle, Mitleser? -50°C winters, eh?

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    • Replies: @Mitleser
    Tropical Hyperborea shall fix that.

    -50°C winters, eh?
     
    Not that bad as long as it is not combined with (high) humidity.
    , @songbird
    It has a certain attraction, but mostly in the abstract: an underground city would be as snug as a bug in a rug. Cheaper than a Mars colony, and you are safe from the hordes of sub-Saharans that are ready to break loose.
    , @anonymous coward

    Otherwise, it’s really dumb idea, dumping money into territories, where nobody wants to life.
     
    Factually false. Three points:

    a) The Far East has better fertility than European Russia. Despite the lack of infrastructure, it's a good place to live.

    b) Most of the Far East is warmer than Moscow and certainly warmer than St. Petersburg.

    c) In reality, the cold places in the far north have better population growth than the warm ones. Seems like people actually don't mind cold weather.
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  • @JiriS
    Regathering of Russian lands? Who will decide what is a Russian land? The Poles? Lithuanians? Latvians ? Estonians? Malorossiyskie ? Moldovans? Armenians? Georgians ? Azeris? Forget anything east of the Caspian. That's Chinese territory now.

    Russians will decide what is a Russian land. This is what a powerful people can do.

    Forget anything east of the Caspian.

    How about north of the Caspian? We might be able to engineer a partition. Only nothern part of Kazakhstan is considered Russian.

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    • Replies: @DFH

    Russians will decide what is a Russian land. This is what a powerful people can do.
     
    Sorry Felix, the more powerful Yankees and Europeans have already decided that Ukraine and Belarus aren't Russian lands.
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  • @DFH

    The regathering of the Russian lands

     

    lol, sort of delusional to think that the annexation of two irrelevant nations (which will never ever happen) even poorer and more decrepit than Russia herself is a WINNER idea.

    They are not “nations”. lol They are just pieces of territory, parts of historical Russian heartland.

    You take 3 broken pieces of Russia, melt them, mold them, and, hopefully make a real country out of them – that’s the idea.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    Oh no, looks like the regathering will necessitate Stalinist type gulags, and maybe even Hitleresque concentration camps to help ‘melt and mold’ the recalcitrant Ukrainians. :-( but isn’t this a part of what Karlin is railing against here in this piece? I’d rather hear his take on the ‘melting and molding’, since he’s the High IQ guy running this blog, however, feel free to include your vision of the Russian version of Dante’s Inferno?………………….Karlin, what’s up? Nothing again -0-? (How long will you keep your loyal opposition in suspense?)
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  • So Putin has just entered his fourth and almost certainly last term. Where to now? Putin has a vast, legitimate mandate to leave his final imprint on Russia, but what precisely that involves is still just a black box - as I repeatedly noted during my Russia elections coverage, Putin did not even bother with...
  • @iffen
    Polish people were saved from Nazi genocide

    Only by killing as many as he could before they had a chance at them.

    Are you kidding? Hitler’s plan for Poland was total genocide. Polish people exist today only because of us. These damn ingrates!

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    • Agree: Greasy William
    • Replies: @Anon
    Two people, John and Robert, are confronted by serial killer. Robert joins in as serial killer beats up John with a lead pipe. Then killer turns on Robert who defends himself with a knife (he had a gun but is out of ammo) and they fight, while John though bleeding and half-conscious tries to help Robert. Some guy passing by gives Robert some ammunition and Robert manages to shoot the serial killer. Then he turns the gun on John and says "Okay, you're now my personal servant. Do whatever I say or I shoot you".
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  • There doesn't seem to be a shortage of opinions on the subject, so I don't have one.
  • He’s sold his soul to the neocons. But judging from internet comments, Trump’s 85 IQ base is eating it up.

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    • Replies: @Lot
    Trump's base likely averages an IQ of about 110.
    , @Charles Erwin Wilson II

    But judging from internet comments, Trump’s 85 IQ base is eating it up.
     
    So says the 65 IQ commenter.
    , @(((Owen)))

    Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.
     
    The neocons have always been the biggest fans of Herman Göring.

    And it worked. They got Bush re-elected just like that.
    , @Hapalong Cassidy
    Yep, Trump’s base is eating it up, as well as most of the right-wing pundits. For the more enlightened pro-Trumpers who feel betrayed, you are forgetting that Trump said he would tear up the Iran deal when he was on the campaign trail.
    , @Morris Applebaum IV

    He’s sold his soul to the neocons. But judging from internet comments, Trump’s 85 IQ base is eating it up.
     
    I'm sure you would accuse plenty of politicians of selling their souls to the "neocons," but only a man with cojones the size of Jupiter could accomplish great things.

    I really want to thank the alt.right, neo-Nazis, and White nationalists (I repeat myself) for providing the crucial energy and margin that elected Trump. Without the great contributions of people like David Duke and Richard Spencer there would be no embassy in Jerusalem. Perhaps they deserve a plaque at the new TRUMP SQUARE in Jerusalem. https://nypost.com/2018/05/08/jerusalem-to-name-square-near-new-us-embassy-in-honor-of-trump/
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  • So Putin has just entered his fourth and almost certainly last term. Where to now? Putin has a vast, legitimate mandate to leave his final imprint on Russia, but what precisely that involves is still just a black box - as I repeatedly noted during my Russia elections coverage, Putin did not even bother with...
  • @DFH
    If they belong to anyone else, they belong to Poland

    Polish people were saved from Nazi genocide and given a homeland by Joseph Stalin. That’s more than they deserved to be honest.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Polish people were saved from Nazi genocide

    Only by killing as many as he could before they had a chance at them.
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  • @Greasy William
    Ukraine was a dead end. You need to forget about the Ukraine. It isn't happening without starting WWIII.

    Putin prevented western backed regime change of an important ally and increased Iran's dependency on Russia. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the West respects Russian power.

    Israel has only once directly attacked the Syrian regime; back in February. Putin stopped the Israeli attack in minutes with a single phone call. Sorry that he didn't launch a nuclear war like you wanted.

    You need to forget about the Ukraine.

    We will never forget about the Ukraine! And “Belarus”. These territories rightly belong to us.

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    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Greasy William

    We will never forget about the Ukraine! And “Belarus”. These territories rightly belong to us.
     
    Fine with me. But how do you plan on getting them without war with the US?
    , @AP

    We will never forget about the Ukraine! And “Belarus”. These territories rightly belong to us.
     
    Says someone with a proven track record of knowing nothing about them :-)

    You have already lost Ukraine, with the consolation prize of Crimea (though getting Crimea came first and contributed to the loss of Ukraine). Donbas is yours for the taking, if you are willing to pay for it.

    Belarus has 50/50 odds of being lost to your side, too. It is maybe as Donbas was, before Kiev bombed it into Russia's arms, but drifting towards the West.

    Belarusians are starting to come in Poland in large numbers. When these people come to Western Europe, they see the problems (migrants, extreme progressivism) and want to avoid them even more at home. It is an advertisement against the West.

    But when they come to Poland they see a model.
    , @DFH
    If they belong to anyone else, they belong to Poland
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  • @Greasy William
    Ukraine was a dead end. You need to forget about the Ukraine. It isn't happening without starting WWIII.

    Putin prevented western backed regime change of an important ally and increased Iran's dependency on Russia. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the West respects Russian power.

    Israel has only once directly attacked the Syrian regime; back in February. Putin stopped the Israeli attack in minutes with a single phone call. Sorry that he didn't launch a nuclear war like you wanted.

    It isn’t happening without starting WWIII.

    Remarkable convergence. :)

    The people most actively propagating this meme about not falling into the Ukrainian WW3 trap were precisely the Western Russophiles and Starikovs (who however are fine with fighting a nuclear war with Israel over the desert training arena).

    Of course it would not lead to WW3. Just massively greater sanctions, cutting off Swift, anti-Russian info war, and intensified NATO military buildup at Russia’s borders. All of which is happening anyway, if a bit more gradually.

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    • Agree: Felix Keverich
    • Replies: @Greasy William
    You're saying that the US would let Russia conquer the Ukraine? I think they'd allow a nuclear strike on Israel before they'd tolerate a Russian annexation of Ukraine or even Belarus.

    Israel has no real strategic value, whereas Ukraine is crucial to European security.
    , @inertial
    The difference between Ukraine and Syria is that -- as we've been told a million times -- Russia is in Syria at the invitation of the legitimate, internationally recognized government. These legal niceties may not matter to you; and it certainly doesn't matter to US/Europe; but it matters to Putin. Most likely because it matters to China. Seriously, have you ever thought about how China would react to Russian invasion of Ukraine?

    The only legal way Russia could intervene in Ukraine was by giving support to the legitimately elected President Viktor Yanukovich. But the downside of this plan was that you'd be giving support to Viktor Yanukovich. So Putin passed.

    At any rate, Greasy is right. This problem can only be solved through peaceful means. Any violence will eventually come back and bite you in the ass.
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  • @Greasy William
    Lol at all the so called Russian Nationalists criticizing the Syria op. Even the western media admits it was a huge success for Putin.

    How is this a success for Putin? Every time there is an Israeli airstike on Syria, Putin ends up with an egg on his face. You can talk about “secret deals” with Israel all you want, the public at large is unaware of these deals. Putin just looks like a weakling unable to protect his ally.

    We expended billions of dollars and hundreds of good men in Syria to gain what exactly, combat experience? We could have gained it in the Ukraine.

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    • Replies: @Greasy William
    Ukraine was a dead end. You need to forget about the Ukraine. It isn't happening without starting WWIII.

    Putin prevented western backed regime change of an important ally and increased Iran's dependency on Russia. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the West respects Russian power.

    Israel has only once directly attacked the Syrian regime; back in February. Putin stopped the Israeli attack in minutes with a single phone call. Sorry that he didn't launch a nuclear war like you wanted.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @utu

    It appears that the decision to intervene in Syria was based on a miscalculation. The Kremlin approached Syria purely as a terrorism problem, while overlooking great power conflict around it.
     
    They did the right thing. Terrorism was used as justification but the goal was to restore the integrity of Syria and derailing the Yinon plan locomotive. They should have done it sooner and should have been more forceful.

    That’s some silly fantasy you’re having. Kremlin’s goal was to sell out Syria as part of new reset with the West. Now they cannot sell, since the West isn’t buying. Syria has emerged as a dead weight and a sunk cost for the Kremlin. I can almost guarantee Putin wouldn’t have intervened if he knew how that would turn out.

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    • Replies: @Mitleser
    More correctly, West is not willing to buy it for an acceptable price.
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  • @Dmitry
    The operation originally was discussed (at least unofficially - by analysts) as a move that could improve relations with the West and increase leverage in both the West and the Middle East, and that there would be a lot of gratitude, etc, and that maybe, maybe this could also help as well in the sanctions situation.

    By the way, the not entirely false when it comes to the Middle East, where Putin is worshipped nowadays by local rulers and Arab populations, in the way teenage girls worship to Justin Bieber.

    that there would be a lot of gratitude, etc, and that maybe, maybe this could also help as well in the sanctions situation.

    And now in the eyes of Western public, Russia is firmly tied to Assad’s “brutality”, including his use of “chemical weapons”. There is talk of sanctioning Russia over its support for the “regime”, and we must contend with periodic Western missile strikes against our ally.

    Hillarious, how it all went!

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    There were probably some inaccuracis in the original 'cost-benefit analysis'. And now sunk costs have given logic of their own.

    That said, the sunk costs have a long history there.

    Note date of the story (2005):

    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2005/Jan-26/71201-russia-writes-off-98-billion-of-syrian-debt.ashx
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  • @reiner Tor
    And the Germans then behave as if they were doing Putin a favor.

    Not only that, lately they’ve been making a new condition, that transit through the Ukraine must continue. This would defeat the very purpose of NS2.

    Putin is tired and old, he’s also weak. It’d have been best if he had already groomed a successor by 2018 and it would have been the successor’s inauguration.

    I agree. Though conditions in 2014-2018 weren’t ideal to implement a succession.

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  • @5371
    No, it was based on an absolutely correct calculation. Namely, that for Erdy job one would always be stopping the Kurds, not achieving any lasting change in Syria. So Putin promised not to use the Kurds against him from the beginning. And after a brief period of confrontation following the stab in the back, the Turk proved Putin right by pulling in his horns and becoming closer to Russia than ever, especially after the July 14 coup. That's how Russia was able to win in Syria.

    And after a brief period of confrontation following the stab in the back, the Turk proved Putin right by pulling in his horns

    How is this a “stab in the back” when Russia and Turkey have always been on the opposite sides?

    btw, another Russian helicopter crashed in Syria. These crashes happen way too often.

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    • Replies: @5371
    As I explained, it was a stab in the back because they discussed the Russian intervention beforehand, Erdy made a strong request not to support the Kurdish schemes and Putin stuck to his promise not to do that.
    Planes will crash occasionally even without coming under fire, random events tend to bunch up more than one would naively expect, otherwise they wouldn't be random.
    , @Mitleser
    This is the first Ka-52 crash.
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  • @Philip Owen
    Without Tartus, Sebastapol is pointless. The Turks can close the Bosporous at any time. Even with Tartus, Russia still needs to be (is being) very, very nice to Morocco to get a base on the Atlantic. The blowback from Syria is that, although Assad is still there, the Turks now control Idlib, within artillery range of Tartus. In a provocation against NATO, Tartus would be very vulnerable. Not much gain for increasingly large and stupid political and economic losses. On the plus side, the humiliation of the cruise missile overflights last month gives Putin some leverage against the Stavka when cutting their budgets in accordance with co-President Kudrin, if appointed. Gref to come back too or is he already in a critical role at Sberbank?

    ^^
    This post should be featured on Karlin’s twitter account as one of the reader’s “hottakes”. It’s hillarious!

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    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Mitleser
    Seconded.

    The naval facility in Tartus was not used much, hardly relevant to the Kremlin.
    Thinking that it was some sort of strategic centerpiece is so wrong that it is amusing.

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  • @Jon0815

    I propose a simple rule of thumb: when asessing probability of a certain action by the regime, we should always ask, is this action going to strengthen or weaken the regime’s chances of survival in the short-run (Kremlin thinkers cannot plan more than a few steps ahead)
     
    An exception to this rule might be Putin's decision to intervene directly in Syria.

    Assad being overthrown and Russia losing its naval semi-base in Tartus, would have been mildly embarrassing, but trivial compared to the previous loss of influence in Ukraine, and would not have posed much of a threat to the regime. Most Russians didn't care about Syria. Virtually nobody, probably including Putin himself, expected the intervention to be nearly as successful as it turned out to be. And there were multiple ways it could have gone terribly wrong (and theoretically still could) in a manner that seriously threatened the regime. It seems like there was a lot more potential downside than upside.

    I wonder if Putin might simply have been goaded into intervention by Obama's taunts about Russia being only a "regional power" etc., similar to how Trump was allegedly goaded into running for president by Obama mocking him at the WHCD.

    If so, that would it make all the more bizarre, if just a few years later Putin decided to essentially surrender to the West, after having achieved success in Syria. But some people who are well-informed about Russian politics seem to think that Putin is actually giving this Kudrin scheme serious consideration.

    It appears that the decision to intervene in Syria was based on a miscalculation. The Kremlin approached Syria purely as a terrorism problem, while overlooking great power conflict around it. Think about it: Russian plane was shot down by Turkey while bombing Turkish-backed rebels near the Turkish border and Putin called it “a stab in the back”. WTF? He expected Erdogan to be happy at the destruction of his Syria proxies, or what? Why was the Russian bomber operating near Turkish border without fighter escort?

    It appears they simply neglected to think how Turkey would react to Russian intervention in Syria. They certainly didn’t expect to find themselves in a conflict with Israel. They had this idea that they could form an anti-ISIS coalition with Western countries, thus bringing Russia out of relative isolation following events in the Ukraine. I know it’s hard to believe that somebody can be so naive and stupid, but this was the narrative I heard in pro-Kremlin media, so it must have been their thinking at the time.

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    • Replies: @5371
    No, it was based on an absolutely correct calculation. Namely, that for Erdy job one would always be stopping the Kurds, not achieving any lasting change in Syria. So Putin promised not to use the Kurds against him from the beginning. And after a brief period of confrontation following the stab in the back, the Turk proved Putin right by pulling in his horns and becoming closer to Russia than ever, especially after the July 14 coup. That's how Russia was able to win in Syria.
    , @Dmitry
    At the beginning of the intervention in Syria in September 2015, I remember many analysts saying intervention would improve relations with the West and could increase the chances of lifting sanctions, or at least leverage to do so.
    , @utu

    It appears that the decision to intervene in Syria was based on a miscalculation. The Kremlin approached Syria purely as a terrorism problem, while overlooking great power conflict around it.
     
    They did the right thing. Terrorism was used as justification but the goal was to restore the integrity of Syria and derailing the Yinon plan locomotive. They should have done it sooner and should have been more forceful.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.