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    With a bit less than a year left to Russia's Presidential elections in 2018, the general contours of this cycle's protest movement against Putin are already coalescing. Alexey Navalny has called a march for tomorrow along Tverskaya Street, a central boulevard that leads to the Kremlin. The Moscow mayoralty refused to allow it, and Navalny...
  • Is Putin corrupt?

    No an accusation, just want to know.

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  • […] the rise of radical Islam in Central Asia The Triumph of “Patriotic Corruption” Russia’s Protest Season Russian presidential candidate Alexei Navalny and An Analysis of Navalny’s […]

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  • In an infamous 2008 article, Alexander Dugin makes the distinction between "patriotic corruption" and "comprador corruption," or "Eurasian corruption" and "Atlanticist corruption." Here are the main features of "Eurasian" (patriotic) corruption: Doesn't damage Russia's national security; Concentrates the proceeds of corruption on Russian territory, or that of allied or strategically important countries; Doesn't put the...
  • […] in Saint-Petersburg and Sweden Moderate Kazakh Rebels the rise of radical Islam in Central Asia The Triumph of “Patriotic Corruption” Russia’s Protest Season Russian presidential candidate Alexei Navalny and An Analysis of […]

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  • @Felix Keverich
    There is a difference between believing in old Soviet propaganda about "brotherly peoples" and actually embracing Ukrainian nationalists like Navalny does. One is a honest delusion, another is treason. I'm personally offended by Navalny rhetoric on Crimea:

    "Что сделать с Крымом теперь, когда там все получили российские паспорта?" - implying that he would love to shove it back into Ukraine, but the public opinion won't let him. What a low-life, YUCK.

    Indeed, there is a difference, Navalny does it only verbally, while the Kremlin has been helping Ukraine materially, often at the expense of Russia itself and the Russian people. How is it difficult to understand that the main Ukrainian nationalists have been in the Kremlin? Russia is the biggest investor to Ukraine and its biggest creditor (through the IMF). The post-Soviet Russian state has never ever questioned the credibility of the existence of Ukraine and the Ukrainian nation independent from Russians. The “brotherly nations” rhetoric is nothing but a Soviet mumbo jumbo, a fig leaf for the Soviet support of non-Russian nationalisms.

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  • @AP

    In general I would agree
     
    Thank you.

    An opinion poll taken immediately soon after the formation of the LDNR-Ukraine frontline show a very marked difference in opinion towards Russia, Putin, Ukraine, etc. – one that didn’t exist before. I can try hunting it down if you wish.
     
    If it's not too much trouble, it would be interesting to see.

    I'm sure that propaganda plays a role also, I just question the idea that all or most of the shift against Russia can be attributed to it. If someone's kid, or friend, or neighbor got killed by a volunteer tourist from Russia (like Motorola) or by Russian-supplied bullets (actual possibilities) their negative feelings towards the Russian state that trained and sent such volunteers and sent the ammo wouldn't need evil brainwashing as an explanation. That has much more of an effect than TV bombardment about thousands of Russian soldiers, glorification of Bandera, or other nonsense.

    I have a 1/4 Russian cousin from central Ukraine who got mobilized and sent to Luhansk; he is back now. He was never any sort of nationalist before. He is now, as will probably be his children. It wasn't because of what has been broadcast on state TV.

    Okay, just spent an hour searching my archive of polls, can’t find it, which frustrates me.

    It was a poll from 2014 and showed a pretty big difference in pro-Russia and attitudes towards the Ukrainian vs. Russian media between the territories of the LDNR and the rest of those oblasts.

    Although a difference could be expected because the territories of what would become the LDNR were more pro-Russian in the first place, plus there was an additional selection effect as the new borders appeared, their magnitude was starker than what might be expected, as in 70% vs. 20% or something like that.

    Anyhow maybe I’ll find it eventually.

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  • AP says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    In general I would agree.

    That said:

    2. Of course when Russia supplies fighters and bullets that kills Ukrainian troops, and grabs Ukrainian territory, a pro-Russian party will lose support in Ukraine. You really think all or most of the loss of popularity is due to repression and massive propaganda?
     
    An opinion poll taken immediately soon after the formation of the LDNR-Ukraine frontline show a very marked difference in opinion towards Russia, Putin, Ukraine, etc. - one that didn't exist before. I can try hunting it down if you wish. (I know that Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts are not uniform, but the new differences were too sharp to be natural).

    This suggests that the effects of war propaganda and/or fear of reprisal is a factor on at least one and possibly both sides.

    In general I would agree

    Thank you.

    An opinion poll taken immediately soon after the formation of the LDNR-Ukraine frontline show a very marked difference in opinion towards Russia, Putin, Ukraine, etc. – one that didn’t exist before. I can try hunting it down if you wish.

    If it’s not too much trouble, it would be interesting to see.

    I’m sure that propaganda plays a role also, I just question the idea that all or most of the shift against Russia can be attributed to it. If someone’s kid, or friend, or neighbor got killed by a volunteer tourist from Russia (like Motorola) or by Russian-supplied bullets (actual possibilities) their negative feelings towards the Russian state that trained and sent such volunteers and sent the ammo wouldn’t need evil brainwashing as an explanation. That has much more of an effect than TV bombardment about thousands of Russian soldiers, glorification of Bandera, or other nonsense.

    I have a 1/4 Russian cousin from central Ukraine who got mobilized and sent to Luhansk; he is back now. He was never any sort of nationalist before. He is now, as will probably be his children. It wasn’t because of what has been broadcast on state TV.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Okay, just spent an hour searching my archive of polls, can't find it, which frustrates me.

    It was a poll from 2014 and showed a pretty big difference in pro-Russia and attitudes towards the Ukrainian vs. Russian media between the territories of the LDNR and the rest of those oblasts.

    Although a difference could be expected because the territories of what would become the LDNR were more pro-Russian in the first place, plus there was an additional selection effect as the new borders appeared, their magnitude was starker than what might be expected, as in 70% vs. 20% or something like that.

    Anyhow maybe I'll find it eventually.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @AP

    Pro-Russian figures were imprisoned, exiled and simply killed (Buzina, dozens of formers Party of Regions officials). Their murders were not properly investigated.

    As were pro-Ukrainian figures in Russian nationalist-controlled territory.

    Now what is this, if not a classic example of “whataboutism”? You won’t be able to brush off regime’s crimes in this fashion.
     

    No, but I point out the hypocrisy of someone complaining about "regimes crimes" while also defending an entity that is no better, and indeed far worse. 10% of Ukraine's parliament consists of Opposition Bloc members. Only 2 parties - Russian nationalist ones- were allowed in the DNR/LNR elections.

    "Opposition Bloc has 10% of the parliamentary seats which roughly matched their level of support."

    I personally wouldn’t read too much into these numbers. A poll held in the midst of a civil war, conducted by a regime that labels its opponents “terrorists”, when all major media are tightly controlled and geared to produce propaganda
     

    1. But that level of support isn't hugely different in absolute % from what it was before the war, when you exclude Crimea and Donbas. Were those Yanukovich-era elections and polls also fakes? You just have to look at any election maps, remove Crimea and Donbas, and you'll get an easy pro-Western majority. Suppressing the remaining pro-Eastern vote 5% or 10% won't change that. It's like boosting Putin's UR by 10%. The result is not any different.

    2. Of course when Russia supplies fighters and bullets that kills Ukrainian troops, and grabs Ukrainian territory, a pro-Russian party will lose support in Ukraine. You really think all or most of the loss of popularity is due to repression and massive propaganda?

    And how much of the repression causes loss of support for pro-Russian parties, vs. simply reflecting populism and what people want? If a Ukrainian nationalist is beaten up or killed in Donetsk, does this prove that Ukrainian nationalism isn't popular in Donetsk because of repression? Or does the repression prove that a lot of people in Donetsk are fed up with Ukrainian nationalists? I'd guess it's the latter. And it's similar in Ukraine.

    BTW, do you avoid to read too much into Pution's popularity, given that the state controls a lot of mass media. I wonder if you are aware that you write of Ukraine, as clueless western Russophobes often write of Russia.

    In general I would agree.

    That said:

    2. Of course when Russia supplies fighters and bullets that kills Ukrainian troops, and grabs Ukrainian territory, a pro-Russian party will lose support in Ukraine. You really think all or most of the loss of popularity is due to repression and massive propaganda?

    An opinion poll taken immediately soon after the formation of the LDNR-Ukraine frontline show a very marked difference in opinion towards Russia, Putin, Ukraine, etc. – one that didn’t exist before. I can try hunting it down if you wish. (I know that Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts are not uniform, but the new differences were too sharp to be natural).

    This suggests that the effects of war propaganda and/or fear of reprisal is a factor on at least one and possibly both sides.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    In general I would agree
     
    Thank you.

    An opinion poll taken immediately soon after the formation of the LDNR-Ukraine frontline show a very marked difference in opinion towards Russia, Putin, Ukraine, etc. – one that didn’t exist before. I can try hunting it down if you wish.
     
    If it's not too much trouble, it would be interesting to see.

    I'm sure that propaganda plays a role also, I just question the idea that all or most of the shift against Russia can be attributed to it. If someone's kid, or friend, or neighbor got killed by a volunteer tourist from Russia (like Motorola) or by Russian-supplied bullets (actual possibilities) their negative feelings towards the Russian state that trained and sent such volunteers and sent the ammo wouldn't need evil brainwashing as an explanation. That has much more of an effect than TV bombardment about thousands of Russian soldiers, glorification of Bandera, or other nonsense.

    I have a 1/4 Russian cousin from central Ukraine who got mobilized and sent to Luhansk; he is back now. He was never any sort of nationalist before. He is now, as will probably be his children. It wasn't because of what has been broadcast on state TV.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Philip Owen
    Errata - Strelkov paid $100 a month not a day for the five hundred 40 year old long term unemployed. To get to 25,000 often quoted, Strelkov's successors paid $300 a day or amounts as described above. Even so, Borodai when Prime Minister made statements that suggested that 9,000 of the 25,000 were foreigners with 6,000 being from the Russian Federation (Serbs, Transneistrians, White Guards from Estonia etc being the balance).

    We’ve been through this already. Multiple lines of evidence from summer 2014 onwards indicate that around 80% of the NAF are Ukrainian citizens, even though AP has a point that the percentage of Russians amongst the early leaders was relatively higher.

    It was a grassroots uprising, but one in which passionary Russians with experience played a role in helping survive in its early stages.

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  • @Philip Owen
    Your nationalism is blinding you. The ATO was against a foreign led and in the early stages, manned intrusion. The Russian nationalist intruders couldn't even recruit an army until pay reached $300 a month (other versions included $100 for battle days, $1000 per dead Ukrainian). At $100 a day "Strelkov" recruited about 500 long term unemployed, mostly over 40. There was no locally inspired uprising in the Donbass. It was Russian leadership and Russian money, in neither case directly governmental, true but stoppable at any moment by the government. Information dating from September 2014 from a local paper in Saratov that interviewed a volunteer from Saratov to Donetsk who was turned down for lack of military experience.

    And then there was the Russian army tank fitter specialising in wheels, who I met on the train talking about the two week instruction course he had given in Rostov to DNR militia during his extended leave. My Russian is poor but my accent is good (all my Russian has been learnt in Saratov) in short bursts of 4 or 5 sentences of everyday words my accent is not always detectable. So I overhead much before I revealed myself.

    There were plenty of local volunteers joining the DNR and LNR militias even in the earliest periods (incidentally, those “long term unemployed” alcoholics and drug addicts were at any rate more than what Ukraine’s ramshackle and demoralized troops could handle… how sad is that?). They numbered 20,000 by the summer of 2014.

    Yes, Russia does provide weapons and training to the NAF (“Northern Wind”), that is not some kind of big revelation you have in your hands there. I have never denied that. It’s great that Russia did extend this help, though it could have done more.

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  • […] Patrick Armstrong, RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 30 MARCH 2017. 14. The Unz Review: Anatoly Karlin, The Triumph of “Patriotic Corruption” 15. Dances With Bears: John Helmer, RUSSIAN ANGER AT CORRUPTION IS A POLITICAL ASSET FOR PRESIDENT […]

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  • Кажется что Анатолий Карлин превратился от эксперта о всём Русском в сатирика.

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  • AP says:
    @Felix Keverich


    Pro-Russian figures were imprisoned, exiled and simply killed (Buzina, dozens of formers Party of Regions officials). Their murders were not properly investigated.
     
    As were pro-Ukrainian figures in Russian nationalist-controlled territory.
     
    Now what is this, if not a classic example of "whataboutism"? You won't be able to brush off regime's crimes in this fashion.

    Opposition Bloc has 10% of the parliamentary seats which roughly matched their level of support.
     
    I personally wouldn't read too much into these numbers. A poll held in the midst of a civil war, conducted by a regime that labels its opponents "terrorists", when all major media are tightly controlled and geared to produce propaganda, when people are encouraged to rat out their "separatist" neighbours - such poll can't be considered a real election.

    Pro-Russian figures were imprisoned, exiled and simply killed (Buzina, dozens of formers Party of Regions officials). Their murders were not properly investigated.

    As were pro-Ukrainian figures in Russian nationalist-controlled territory.

    Now what is this, if not a classic example of “whataboutism”? You won’t be able to brush off regime’s crimes in this fashion.

    No, but I point out the hypocrisy of someone complaining about “regimes crimes” while also defending an entity that is no better, and indeed far worse. 10% of Ukraine’s parliament consists of Opposition Bloc members. Only 2 parties – Russian nationalist ones- were allowed in the DNR/LNR elections.

    “Opposition Bloc has 10% of the parliamentary seats which roughly matched their level of support.”

    I personally wouldn’t read too much into these numbers. A poll held in the midst of a civil war, conducted by a regime that labels its opponents “terrorists”, when all major media are tightly controlled and geared to produce propaganda

    1. But that level of support isn’t hugely different in absolute % from what it was before the war, when you exclude Crimea and Donbas. Were those Yanukovich-era elections and polls also fakes? You just have to look at any election maps, remove Crimea and Donbas, and you’ll get an easy pro-Western majority. Suppressing the remaining pro-Eastern vote 5% or 10% won’t change that. It’s like boosting Putin’s UR by 10%. The result is not any different.

    2. Of course when Russia supplies fighters and bullets that kills Ukrainian troops, and grabs Ukrainian territory, a pro-Russian party will lose support in Ukraine. You really think all or most of the loss of popularity is due to repression and massive propaganda?

    And how much of the repression causes loss of support for pro-Russian parties, vs. simply reflecting populism and what people want? If a Ukrainian nationalist is beaten up or killed in Donetsk, does this prove that Ukrainian nationalism isn’t popular in Donetsk because of repression? Or does the repression prove that a lot of people in Donetsk are fed up with Ukrainian nationalists? I’d guess it’s the latter. And it’s similar in Ukraine.

    BTW, do you avoid to read too much into Pution’s popularity, given that the state controls a lot of mass media. I wonder if you are aware that you write of Ukraine, as clueless western Russophobes often write of Russia.

    Read More
    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    In general I would agree.

    That said:

    2. Of course when Russia supplies fighters and bullets that kills Ukrainian troops, and grabs Ukrainian territory, a pro-Russian party will lose support in Ukraine. You really think all or most of the loss of popularity is due to repression and massive propaganda?
     
    An opinion poll taken immediately soon after the formation of the LDNR-Ukraine frontline show a very marked difference in opinion towards Russia, Putin, Ukraine, etc. - one that didn't exist before. I can try hunting it down if you wish. (I know that Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts are not uniform, but the new differences were too sharp to be natural).

    This suggests that the effects of war propaganda and/or fear of reprisal is a factor on at least one and possibly both sides.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @AP

    What is this “Ukraine” you are talking about? There is this regime, that only seems to represent svidomy types, who live in West.
     
    The "regime" represents the same political parties who won the popular vote, even under Yanukovich.

    Pro-Russian activists demanded referendums on self-determination, not just in Donbass, but in Kharkov, and other regions.
     
    "Pro-Russian activists" are not elected representatives. Many of the pro-Russian activists weren't even Ukrainians. No one is under obligation to meet demands of random unelected activists. If Pussy Riot made demands, should the Russian state fulfill them?

    If elected regional parliaments had demanded referendums that would have been a different story. But that wasn't the case.

    You want to compare Crimea to Sudetenland, but why not compare it to East Germany?
     
    I don't recall the West German army seizing East Germany. To provide "security."

    Crimea’s sesession from Ukraine was approved by its elected parliament, and endorsed by voters in a referndum.
     
    The ethnic German majority in Sudatenland also approved of Germany's actions.

    You will not win this argument, because “Ukraine” is not a victim.
     
    And Czechoslovakia was not a victim, the Germans who had been forced to live in it but were liberated by the German state were the true victims, right?

    “Pro-Russian activists” are not elected representatives. Many of the pro-Russian activists weren’t even Ukrainians. No one is under obligation to meet demands of random unelected activists. If Pussy Riot made demands, should the Russian state fulfill them?

    If elected regional parliaments had demanded referendums that would have been a different story. But that wasn’t the case.

    Well it was obvious that the idea of a referendum had massive popular support, at least in Donbass. The turnout at a refendum in DNR was huge – I remember seeing pictures, it was a sea of old people. The response by Ukrainian regime was to send in the Neo-Nazis to try and disrupt the vote. (https://rutube.ru/video/fb3b211ab431e94b56924c3907fa1962/)

    And in Crimea the elected representatives actualy approved the secession, before putting it before voters on a referendum. Do you think Ukrainian regime wouldn’t try to disrupt the vote if they could?

    This is why Russian troops were in Crimea: to deter the Ukrainian agression. Think about that.

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  • @AP

    Ukrainian “government” that launched ATO was unelected at the time.
     
    A dishonest half-truth.

    The government that launched ATO consisted of elected members of parliament who represented those parties who had won the popular vote in the most recent elections but who, prior to the revolution, had been shut out of power due to electoral "reforms" by the previous, unelected parliamentary majority.

    There is no comparison between the immediate post-revolutionary government and the mixture of local and foreign Russian nationalist activists whom the government attacked, in terms of electoral legitimacy.

    Pro-Russian figures were imprisoned, exiled and simply killed (Buzina, dozens of formers Party of Regions officials). Their murders were not properly investigated.
     
    As were pro-Ukrainian figures in Russian nationalist-controlled territory. But in Kiev-controlled Ukraine, the Opposition Bloc participated in elections and has representation. Compare to DNR territory.

    The fact is pro-Russians have no legitimate ways to pursue their interests through Ukrainian political system
     
    Opposition Bloc has 10% of the parliamentary seats which roughly matched their level of support. The Communists were banned, and several small pro-Russian parties didn't cross the 5% threshold; if all of these were in the parliament, maybe the parliament would be 15% or even 20% pro-Russian. Without Crimea and urban Donbas pro-Russian electoral forces would have zero chance of winning an election. Any difficulties they face don't actually change the ultimate result. As in Putin's Russia, an unfair difference of a few percentage points aren't enough to change who is in power (somehow I don't see you complaining that in Russia the Commies or Liberals got screwed out of a few % or that as a result the Russian government is illegitimate).

    This is very different than it had been under Yanukovich, where the side that actually won the national popular vote was shut out of power.

    Pro-Russian figures were imprisoned, exiled and simply killed (Buzina, dozens of formers Party of Regions officials). Their murders were not properly investigated.

    As were pro-Ukrainian figures in Russian nationalist-controlled territory.

    Now what is this, if not a classic example of “whataboutism”? You won’t be able to brush off regime’s crimes in this fashion.

    Opposition Bloc has 10% of the parliamentary seats which roughly matched their level of support.

    I personally wouldn’t read too much into these numbers. A poll held in the midst of a civil war, conducted by a regime that labels its opponents “terrorists”, when all major media are tightly controlled and geared to produce propaganda, when people are encouraged to rat out their “separatist” neighbours – such poll can’t be considered a real election.

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    • Replies: @AP

    Pro-Russian figures were imprisoned, exiled and simply killed (Buzina, dozens of formers Party of Regions officials). Their murders were not properly investigated.

    As were pro-Ukrainian figures in Russian nationalist-controlled territory.

    Now what is this, if not a classic example of “whataboutism”? You won’t be able to brush off regime’s crimes in this fashion.
     

    No, but I point out the hypocrisy of someone complaining about "regimes crimes" while also defending an entity that is no better, and indeed far worse. 10% of Ukraine's parliament consists of Opposition Bloc members. Only 2 parties - Russian nationalist ones- were allowed in the DNR/LNR elections.

    "Opposition Bloc has 10% of the parliamentary seats which roughly matched their level of support."

    I personally wouldn’t read too much into these numbers. A poll held in the midst of a civil war, conducted by a regime that labels its opponents “terrorists”, when all major media are tightly controlled and geared to produce propaganda
     

    1. But that level of support isn't hugely different in absolute % from what it was before the war, when you exclude Crimea and Donbas. Were those Yanukovich-era elections and polls also fakes? You just have to look at any election maps, remove Crimea and Donbas, and you'll get an easy pro-Western majority. Suppressing the remaining pro-Eastern vote 5% or 10% won't change that. It's like boosting Putin's UR by 10%. The result is not any different.

    2. Of course when Russia supplies fighters and bullets that kills Ukrainian troops, and grabs Ukrainian territory, a pro-Russian party will lose support in Ukraine. You really think all or most of the loss of popularity is due to repression and massive propaganda?

    And how much of the repression causes loss of support for pro-Russian parties, vs. simply reflecting populism and what people want? If a Ukrainian nationalist is beaten up or killed in Donetsk, does this prove that Ukrainian nationalism isn't popular in Donetsk because of repression? Or does the repression prove that a lot of people in Donetsk are fed up with Ukrainian nationalists? I'd guess it's the latter. And it's similar in Ukraine.

    BTW, do you avoid to read too much into Pution's popularity, given that the state controls a lot of mass media. I wonder if you are aware that you write of Ukraine, as clueless western Russophobes often write of Russia.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • AP says:

    What is this “Ukraine” you are talking about? There is this regime, that only seems to represent svidomy types, who live in West.

    The “regime” represents the same political parties who won the popular vote, even under Yanukovich.

    Pro-Russian activists demanded referendums on self-determination, not just in Donbass, but in Kharkov, and other regions.

    “Pro-Russian activists” are not elected representatives. Many of the pro-Russian activists weren’t even Ukrainians. No one is under obligation to meet demands of random unelected activists. If Pussy Riot made demands, should the Russian state fulfill them?

    If elected regional parliaments had demanded referendums that would have been a different story. But that wasn’t the case.

    You want to compare Crimea to Sudetenland, but why not compare it to East Germany?

    I don’t recall the West German army seizing East Germany. To provide “security.”

    Crimea’s sesession from Ukraine was approved by its elected parliament, and endorsed by voters in a referndum.

    The ethnic German majority in Sudatenland also approved of Germany’s actions.

    You will not win this argument, because “Ukraine” is not a victim.

    And Czechoslovakia was not a victim, the Germans who had been forced to live in it but were liberated by the German state were the true victims, right?

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    “Pro-Russian activists” are not elected representatives. Many of the pro-Russian activists weren’t even Ukrainians. No one is under obligation to meet demands of random unelected activists. If Pussy Riot made demands, should the Russian state fulfill them?

    If elected regional parliaments had demanded referendums that would have been a different story. But that wasn’t the case.
     

    Well it was obvious that the idea of a referendum had massive popular support, at least in Donbass. The turnout at a refendum in DNR was huge - I remember seeing pictures, it was a sea of old people. The response by Ukrainian regime was to send in the Neo-Nazis to try and disrupt the vote. (https://rutube.ru/video/fb3b211ab431e94b56924c3907fa1962/)

    And in Crimea the elected representatives actualy approved the secession, before putting it before voters on a referendum. Do you think Ukrainian regime wouldn't try to disrupt the vote if they could?

    This is why Russian troops were in Crimea: to deter the Ukrainian agression. Think about that.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @AP

    We live in a world, where great powers (and Russia certainly is one) pursue their national interests, sometimes breaking stuff in the process. This is the international norm. Russia’s policies in Ukraine do not fall outside the international norm.
     
    Okay. Just be honest and admit that the USA and others are aggressive towards smaller countries while pursuing their interests, and Russia also is aggressive towards other countries in pursuing its interests. Is that hard to do? To admit that Russia has behaved aggressively towards Ukraine? You seem to be dancing around admitting that, referring vaguely to international norms or "breaking stuff." Just admit that Russia has been aggressive towards Ukraine.

    Now insulting Russia by comparing us to Nazi Germany as some Western politicians have done,
     
    Comparisons to Nazi Germany are incendiary and inappropriate due to what Nazi Germany was doing in the 1940s; obviously Putin is no Hitler and there is nothing genocidal about his state. But Russia's actions are actually very similar to some of the things that Nazi Germany was doing in the 30s. Crimea wasn't much different than Sudatenland.

    Okay. Just be honest and admit that the USA and others are aggressive towards smaller countries while pursuing their interests, and Russia also is aggressive towards other countries in pursuing its interests. Is that hard to do? To admit that Russia has behaved aggressively towards Ukraine?

    What is this “Ukraine” you are talking about? There is this regime, that only seems to represent svidomy types, who live in West. This regime has behaved agressively towards pro-Russian citizens, who live in the East. Pro-Russian activists demanded referendums on self-determination, not just in Donbass, but in Kharkov, and other regions. The regime quickly moved to put these people in prison. In a strict libertarian sense this was also an act of agression.

    You want to compare Crimea to Sudetenland, but why not compare it to East Germany? Crimea’s sesession from Ukraine was approved by its elected parliament, and endorsed by voters in a referndum. It’s a plain lie, when they say that it was a refendum “at the barrel of a gun” – Russian troops where only there to provide security from Ukrainian regime. Of course, in a world where non-agression principle is the norm, Ukraine would allow everyone who wanted to secede, and no troops would be necessary.

    You will not win this argument, because “Ukraine” is not a victim. The regime that seized power through street-violence, and immideately moved to delegitimise the opposition, this regime is a victim? Don’t make me laugh!

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  • AP says:
    @Felix Keverich

    At some point the government was going to use force against unelected rebels
     
    Ukrainian "government" that launched ATO was unelected at the time. All elections that happened afterwards took place in the atmosphere of war propaganda and mass repression. Pro-Russian figures were imprisoned, exiled and simply killed (Buzina, dozens of formers Party of Regions officials). Their murders were not properly investigated. The fact is pro-Russians have no legitimate ways to pursue their interests through Ukrainian political system and war remains the only option. Regime in Kiev created this situation by labelling any pro-Russian opposition as "terrorists".

    It is also worth mentioning that not all activists in Euromaidan were local. Plus, Foreign support for Euromaidan is well documented. The activists were trained in anti-police tactics in Polish training camps. And yet, Yanukovich government did not bomb them from fighter jets.

    Ukrainian “government” that launched ATO was unelected at the time.

    A dishonest half-truth.

    The government that launched ATO consisted of elected members of parliament who represented those parties who had won the popular vote in the most recent elections but who, prior to the revolution, had been shut out of power due to electoral “reforms” by the previous, unelected parliamentary majority.

    There is no comparison between the immediate post-revolutionary government and the mixture of local and foreign Russian nationalist activists whom the government attacked, in terms of electoral legitimacy.

    Pro-Russian figures were imprisoned, exiled and simply killed (Buzina, dozens of formers Party of Regions officials). Their murders were not properly investigated.

    As were pro-Ukrainian figures in Russian nationalist-controlled territory. But in Kiev-controlled Ukraine, the Opposition Bloc participated in elections and has representation. Compare to DNR territory.

    The fact is pro-Russians have no legitimate ways to pursue their interests through Ukrainian political system

    Opposition Bloc has 10% of the parliamentary seats which roughly matched their level of support. The Communists were banned, and several small pro-Russian parties didn’t cross the 5% threshold; if all of these were in the parliament, maybe the parliament would be 15% or even 20% pro-Russian. Without Crimea and urban Donbas pro-Russian electoral forces would have zero chance of winning an election. Any difficulties they face don’t actually change the ultimate result. As in Putin’s Russia, an unfair difference of a few percentage points aren’t enough to change who is in power (somehow I don’t see you complaining that in Russia the Commies or Liberals got screwed out of a few % or that as a result the Russian government is illegitimate).

    This is very different than it had been under Yanukovich, where the side that actually won the national popular vote was shut out of power.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich


    Pro-Russian figures were imprisoned, exiled and simply killed (Buzina, dozens of formers Party of Regions officials). Their murders were not properly investigated.
     
    As were pro-Ukrainian figures in Russian nationalist-controlled territory.
     
    Now what is this, if not a classic example of "whataboutism"? You won't be able to brush off regime's crimes in this fashion.

    Opposition Bloc has 10% of the parliamentary seats which roughly matched their level of support.
     
    I personally wouldn't read too much into these numbers. A poll held in the midst of a civil war, conducted by a regime that labels its opponents "terrorists", when all major media are tightly controlled and geared to produce propaganda, when people are encouraged to rat out their "separatist" neighbours - such poll can't be considered a real election.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • AP says:
    @Felix Keverich

    In the case of Ukraine – as in Syria, or Yemen (I don’t know much about that conflict but I’ll take your word for it) arming, sending volunteers, military advisers, trainers and specialists into another country’s territory for the purpose of enabling and continuing a bloody war is an act of aggression.

    Do you think that an aggressive act is not aggressive if the purpose is defending a country’s interests? The two are not mutually exclusive.
     
    Now this is pure sophistry, and not interested in having this sort of conversation. We don't live in a word where libertarian non-agression principle is universally accepted and applied. We live in a world, where great powers (and Russia certainly is one) pursue their national interests, sometimes breaking stuff in the process. This is the international norm. Russia's policies in Ukraine do not fall outside the international norm.

    That's the point that I'm trying to make, not that Russia is angelic. Now insulting Russia by comparing us to Nazi Germany as some Western politicians have done, and throwing scary words like "hybrid war", designed to demonise Russia - none of it will make Russia back off from its legitimate interests in Ukraine. But this language will make Ukrainian conflict harder to resolve, it is dishonest, misleading and, frankly, offensive.

    We live in a world, where great powers (and Russia certainly is one) pursue their national interests, sometimes breaking stuff in the process. This is the international norm. Russia’s policies in Ukraine do not fall outside the international norm.

    Okay. Just be honest and admit that the USA and others are aggressive towards smaller countries while pursuing their interests, and Russia also is aggressive towards other countries in pursuing its interests. Is that hard to do? To admit that Russia has behaved aggressively towards Ukraine? You seem to be dancing around admitting that, referring vaguely to international norms or “breaking stuff.” Just admit that Russia has been aggressive towards Ukraine.

    Now insulting Russia by comparing us to Nazi Germany as some Western politicians have done,

    Comparisons to Nazi Germany are incendiary and inappropriate due to what Nazi Germany was doing in the 1940s; obviously Putin is no Hitler and there is nothing genocidal about his state. But Russia’s actions are actually very similar to some of the things that Nazi Germany was doing in the 30s. Crimea wasn’t much different than Sudatenland.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    Okay. Just be honest and admit that the USA and others are aggressive towards smaller countries while pursuing their interests, and Russia also is aggressive towards other countries in pursuing its interests. Is that hard to do? To admit that Russia has behaved aggressively towards Ukraine?
     
    What is this "Ukraine" you are talking about? There is this regime, that only seems to represent svidomy types, who live in West. This regime has behaved agressively towards pro-Russian citizens, who live in the East. Pro-Russian activists demanded referendums on self-determination, not just in Donbass, but in Kharkov, and other regions. The regime quickly moved to put these people in prison. In a strict libertarian sense this was also an act of agression.

    You want to compare Crimea to Sudetenland, but why not compare it to East Germany? Crimea's sesession from Ukraine was approved by its elected parliament, and endorsed by voters in a referndum. It's a plain lie, when they say that it was a refendum "at the barrel of a gun" - Russian troops where only there to provide security from Ukrainian regime. Of course, in a world where non-agression principle is the norm, Ukraine would allow everyone who wanted to secede, and no troops would be necessary.

    You will not win this argument, because "Ukraine" is not a victim. The regime that seized power through street-violence, and immideately moved to delegitimise the opposition, this regime is a victim? Don't make me laugh!
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  • “he has also gone on record calling for Russians to smoke more to benefit the Treasury”

    In the 90′s Margaret Thatcher was hired by Philip Morris to lobby Eastern European governments against restrictions on tobacco advertising and sales.

    Her argument was that tobacco raised tax revenue and reduced pension liabilities.

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  • @AP

    ATO was about militarising the conflict that prior to that had been mostly political. Example, in Lugansk local activists took over a city admistration, the regime BOMBED the building from Su-24.
     
    Not all the activists in the East were local. The guy who famously hung up the Russian fag in Kharkiv was a Russian tourist, for example. In Crimea, Ukrainians were peaceful and what happened. At some point the government was going to use force against unelected rebels (and before you compare the Russian activists to Maidan, remember that the political parties in Maidan had actually won the national popular vote in the most recent parliamentary election).

    True, the rebel army wasn’t formed overnight, which is comletely natural.
     
    As I had written on another article's comment pages awhile ago:

    In the beginning both the main military leader (Girkin/Strelkov) and PM (Borodai) were Russians from Russia, not locals. Borodai, a Russian nationalist activist form Moscow, ran his government with 2 deputy prime ministers: Andrei Purgin and Vladimir Antyfeyev. Purgin was a local but Antyufeyev was also a Russian from Russia (a Russian nationalist adventurer, Antyufeyev had tried to overthrow the Latvian government in 1991 and was active in Transnistria for many years after that before returning to Russia). The Russians were veterans, with linked to the Russian government, who had experience setting up rebel governments and militaries outside Ukraine.

    This suggests this project was pretty much a Russian one in the critical early months, with natives later being eased into leadership positions.

    If Russia or any other state found itself in a similar situation I would expect them to use force against the "rebels."

    At some point the government was going to use force against unelected rebels

    Ukrainian “government” that launched ATO was unelected at the time. All elections that happened afterwards took place in the atmosphere of war propaganda and mass repression. Pro-Russian figures were imprisoned, exiled and simply killed (Buzina, dozens of formers Party of Regions officials). Their murders were not properly investigated. The fact is pro-Russians have no legitimate ways to pursue their interests through Ukrainian political system and war remains the only option. Regime in Kiev created this situation by labelling any pro-Russian opposition as “terrorists”.

    It is also worth mentioning that not all activists in Euromaidan were local. Plus, Foreign support for Euromaidan is well documented. The activists were trained in anti-police tactics in Polish training camps. And yet, Yanukovich government did not bomb them from fighter jets.

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    • Replies: @AP

    Ukrainian “government” that launched ATO was unelected at the time.
     
    A dishonest half-truth.

    The government that launched ATO consisted of elected members of parliament who represented those parties who had won the popular vote in the most recent elections but who, prior to the revolution, had been shut out of power due to electoral "reforms" by the previous, unelected parliamentary majority.

    There is no comparison between the immediate post-revolutionary government and the mixture of local and foreign Russian nationalist activists whom the government attacked, in terms of electoral legitimacy.

    Pro-Russian figures were imprisoned, exiled and simply killed (Buzina, dozens of formers Party of Regions officials). Their murders were not properly investigated.
     
    As were pro-Ukrainian figures in Russian nationalist-controlled territory. But in Kiev-controlled Ukraine, the Opposition Bloc participated in elections and has representation. Compare to DNR territory.

    The fact is pro-Russians have no legitimate ways to pursue their interests through Ukrainian political system
     
    Opposition Bloc has 10% of the parliamentary seats which roughly matched their level of support. The Communists were banned, and several small pro-Russian parties didn't cross the 5% threshold; if all of these were in the parliament, maybe the parliament would be 15% or even 20% pro-Russian. Without Crimea and urban Donbas pro-Russian electoral forces would have zero chance of winning an election. Any difficulties they face don't actually change the ultimate result. As in Putin's Russia, an unfair difference of a few percentage points aren't enough to change who is in power (somehow I don't see you complaining that in Russia the Commies or Liberals got screwed out of a few % or that as a result the Russian government is illegitimate).

    This is very different than it had been under Yanukovich, where the side that actually won the national popular vote was shut out of power.
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  • @AP

    My point about Yemen was the word “agression” is being applied to Russia’s actions too liberally, without sufficient justification.
     
    In the case of Ukraine - as in Syria, or Yemen (I don't know much about that conflict but I'll take your word for it) arming, sending volunteers, military advisers, trainers and specialists into another country's territory for the purpose of enabling and continuing a bloody war is an act of aggression.

    Put simply, the West is trying to delegitimise Russia’s defence of its interests in Ukraine by slapping offensive labels on it.
     
    Do you think that an aggressive act is not aggressive if the purpose is defending a country's interests? The two are not mutually exclusive.

    I’m not convinced that the word “usurpation” was applicable with regards to president Yanukovich. He was within his right as the head of state to postpone the signing of EU association agreement, which sparked protests
     
    As I wrote, the usurpation of total power over the government by Yanukovich was a years-long process. The EU association agreement debacle was merely the spark, the final straw.

    If you recall, Yanukovich barely won the election. When he was elected he had limited powers and faced an elected, Opposition-controlled parliament. He then proceeded to take control over the constitutional court, and without new elections flip the parliament illegally (according to the previous rules, but his court then changed them). The new courts and new (unelected) parliamentary majority then granted him additional powers. No elections or referendums validated these changes. The new parliament gave itself an extra year and then changed the election laws in such a way that in the next election the Opposition would fail to retake parliament despite easily winning the popular vote. Other "gems" under his rule included refusing to hold mayoral elections in Kiev (because his man had no chance of winning, so he had a loyal appointee), passing a special law barring a presidential candidate who was beating him by double-digits in presidential polls from running, and raiding the offices of another candidate with a double digit lead.

    That sort of behavior can work if the leader is actually popular. But if he's not, it's a recipe for instability.


    Anyway, I think we can all agree that starting violent riots and seizing government buildings was not the right way to remove the president, not when Ukraine had an election scheduled for 2015.
     
    Given the behavior in the years leading up to the revolution (see above) it is understandable that the people would not trust handing power back to Yanukovich, at a time when he was caught by surprise and (temporarily?) helpless. If in the process of an armed robbery you somehow snatch away the gun and have the robber subdued, to you give it back because he promises to wait for the police and undertake the legal process?

    In the case of Ukraine – as in Syria, or Yemen (I don’t know much about that conflict but I’ll take your word for it) arming, sending volunteers, military advisers, trainers and specialists into another country’s territory for the purpose of enabling and continuing a bloody war is an act of aggression.

    Do you think that an aggressive act is not aggressive if the purpose is defending a country’s interests? The two are not mutually exclusive.

    Now this is pure sophistry, and not interested in having this sort of conversation. We don’t live in a word where libertarian non-agression principle is universally accepted and applied. We live in a world, where great powers (and Russia certainly is one) pursue their national interests, sometimes breaking stuff in the process. This is the international norm. Russia’s policies in Ukraine do not fall outside the international norm.

    That’s the point that I’m trying to make, not that Russia is angelic. Now insulting Russia by comparing us to Nazi Germany as some Western politicians have done, and throwing scary words like “hybrid war”, designed to demonise Russia – none of it will make Russia back off from its legitimate interests in Ukraine. But this language will make Ukrainian conflict harder to resolve, it is dishonest, misleading and, frankly, offensive.

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    • Replies: @AP

    We live in a world, where great powers (and Russia certainly is one) pursue their national interests, sometimes breaking stuff in the process. This is the international norm. Russia’s policies in Ukraine do not fall outside the international norm.
     
    Okay. Just be honest and admit that the USA and others are aggressive towards smaller countries while pursuing their interests, and Russia also is aggressive towards other countries in pursuing its interests. Is that hard to do? To admit that Russia has behaved aggressively towards Ukraine? You seem to be dancing around admitting that, referring vaguely to international norms or "breaking stuff." Just admit that Russia has been aggressive towards Ukraine.

    Now insulting Russia by comparing us to Nazi Germany as some Western politicians have done,
     
    Comparisons to Nazi Germany are incendiary and inappropriate due to what Nazi Germany was doing in the 1940s; obviously Putin is no Hitler and there is nothing genocidal about his state. But Russia's actions are actually very similar to some of the things that Nazi Germany was doing in the 30s. Crimea wasn't much different than Sudatenland.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • AP says:

    ATO was about militarising the conflict that prior to that had been mostly political. Example, in Lugansk local activists took over a city admistration, the regime BOMBED the building from Su-24.

    Not all the activists in the East were local. The guy who famously hung up the Russian fag in Kharkiv was a Russian tourist, for example. In Crimea, Ukrainians were peaceful and what happened. At some point the government was going to use force against unelected rebels (and before you compare the Russian activists to Maidan, remember that the political parties in Maidan had actually won the national popular vote in the most recent parliamentary election).

    True, the rebel army wasn’t formed overnight, which is comletely natural.

    As I had written on another article’s comment pages awhile ago:

    In the beginning both the main military leader (Girkin/Strelkov) and PM (Borodai) were Russians from Russia, not locals. Borodai, a Russian nationalist activist form Moscow, ran his government with 2 deputy prime ministers: Andrei Purgin and Vladimir Antyfeyev. Purgin was a local but Antyufeyev was also a Russian from Russia (a Russian nationalist adventurer, Antyufeyev had tried to overthrow the Latvian government in 1991 and was active in Transnistria for many years after that before returning to Russia). The Russians were veterans, with linked to the Russian government, who had experience setting up rebel governments and militaries outside Ukraine.

    This suggests this project was pretty much a Russian one in the critical early months, with natives later being eased into leadership positions.

    If Russia or any other state found itself in a similar situation I would expect them to use force against the “rebels.”

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    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    At some point the government was going to use force against unelected rebels
     
    Ukrainian "government" that launched ATO was unelected at the time. All elections that happened afterwards took place in the atmosphere of war propaganda and mass repression. Pro-Russian figures were imprisoned, exiled and simply killed (Buzina, dozens of formers Party of Regions officials). Their murders were not properly investigated. The fact is pro-Russians have no legitimate ways to pursue their interests through Ukrainian political system and war remains the only option. Regime in Kiev created this situation by labelling any pro-Russian opposition as "terrorists".

    It is also worth mentioning that not all activists in Euromaidan were local. Plus, Foreign support for Euromaidan is well documented. The activists were trained in anti-police tactics in Polish training camps. And yet, Yanukovich government did not bomb them from fighter jets.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Philip Owen
    Your nationalism is blinding you. The ATO was against a foreign led and in the early stages, manned intrusion. The Russian nationalist intruders couldn't even recruit an army until pay reached $300 a month (other versions included $100 for battle days, $1000 per dead Ukrainian). At $100 a day "Strelkov" recruited about 500 long term unemployed, mostly over 40. There was no locally inspired uprising in the Donbass. It was Russian leadership and Russian money, in neither case directly governmental, true but stoppable at any moment by the government. Information dating from September 2014 from a local paper in Saratov that interviewed a volunteer from Saratov to Donetsk who was turned down for lack of military experience.

    And then there was the Russian army tank fitter specialising in wheels, who I met on the train talking about the two week instruction course he had given in Rostov to DNR militia during his extended leave. My Russian is poor but my accent is good (all my Russian has been learnt in Saratov) in short bursts of 4 or 5 sentences of everyday words my accent is not always detectable. So I overhead much before I revealed myself.

    ATO was about militarising the conflict that prior to that had been mostly political. Example, in Lugansk local activists took over a city admistration, the regime BOMBED the building from Su-24. That was a concious decision that Kiev made: instead of creating a government of national unity receptive to Russians’s needs, they branded their opposition “terrorists” and moved to violently supress them.

    True, the rebel army wasn’t formed overnight, which is comletely natural. In Syria the whole process – moving from anti-government protests to full-scale warfare took even longer.

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  • @Anon

    I don’t see why it’s wrong to call Putin’s party the ‘Party of Crooks and Thieves’
     
    It implies that politicians from other parties are not crooks and thieves which is not true.
    The recently assassinated Voronenkov was a CPRF MP.
    Navalny himself took advantage of his position as advisor of the governor of Kirov who was a member of the Union of Right Forces party and corrupt as well.
    Other parties appear less corrupt than the UR primarily because they have less opportunities to be corrupt.

    It implies that politicians from other parties are not crooks and thieves which is not true.

    All politicians from all political parties in every country are crooks and thieves. That’s what democracy is all about. Democracy is the buying and selling of political favours. It’s prostitution.

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  • AP says:
    @Felix Keverich
    Just placing Russian behavior in international context. My point about Yemen was the word "agression" is being applied to Russia's actions too liberally, without sufficient justification. Put simply, the West is trying to delegitimise Russia's defence of its interests in Ukraine by slapping offensive labels on it. We, Russians, have every right to reject this unfair characterization.

    Mentioning the illegal nature of the “coup” without mentioning the illegal usurpation of power by Yanukovich in the years leading up to the “coup” is akin to describing World War II starting from late 1944 and referring to it as an invasion of Germany. A dishonest half-truth.
     
    I'm not convinced that the word "usurpation" was applicable with regards to president Yanukovich. He was within his right as the head of state to postpone the signing of EU association agreement, which sparked protests.

    Anyway, I think we can all agree that starting violent riots and seizing government buildings was not the right way to remove the president, not when Ukraine had an election scheduled for 2015.

    My point about Yemen was the word “agression” is being applied to Russia’s actions too liberally, without sufficient justification.

    In the case of Ukraine – as in Syria, or Yemen (I don’t know much about that conflict but I’ll take your word for it) arming, sending volunteers, military advisers, trainers and specialists into another country’s territory for the purpose of enabling and continuing a bloody war is an act of aggression.

    Put simply, the West is trying to delegitimise Russia’s defence of its interests in Ukraine by slapping offensive labels on it.

    Do you think that an aggressive act is not aggressive if the purpose is defending a country’s interests? The two are not mutually exclusive.

    I’m not convinced that the word “usurpation” was applicable with regards to president Yanukovich. He was within his right as the head of state to postpone the signing of EU association agreement, which sparked protests

    As I wrote, the usurpation of total power over the government by Yanukovich was a years-long process. The EU association agreement debacle was merely the spark, the final straw.

    If you recall, Yanukovich barely won the election. When he was elected he had limited powers and faced an elected, Opposition-controlled parliament. He then proceeded to take control over the constitutional court, and without new elections flip the parliament illegally (according to the previous rules, but his court then changed them). The new courts and new (unelected) parliamentary majority then granted him additional powers. No elections or referendums validated these changes. The new parliament gave itself an extra year and then changed the election laws in such a way that in the next election the Opposition would fail to retake parliament despite easily winning the popular vote. Other “gems” under his rule included refusing to hold mayoral elections in Kiev (because his man had no chance of winning, so he had a loyal appointee), passing a special law barring a presidential candidate who was beating him by double-digits in presidential polls from running, and raiding the offices of another candidate with a double digit lead.

    That sort of behavior can work if the leader is actually popular. But if he’s not, it’s a recipe for instability.

    Anyway, I think we can all agree that starting violent riots and seizing government buildings was not the right way to remove the president, not when Ukraine had an election scheduled for 2015.

    Given the behavior in the years leading up to the revolution (see above) it is understandable that the people would not trust handing power back to Yanukovich, at a time when he was caught by surprise and (temporarily?) helpless. If in the process of an armed robbery you somehow snatch away the gun and have the robber subdued, to you give it back because he promises to wait for the police and undertake the legal process?

    Read More
    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    In the case of Ukraine – as in Syria, or Yemen (I don’t know much about that conflict but I’ll take your word for it) arming, sending volunteers, military advisers, trainers and specialists into another country’s territory for the purpose of enabling and continuing a bloody war is an act of aggression.

    Do you think that an aggressive act is not aggressive if the purpose is defending a country’s interests? The two are not mutually exclusive.
     
    Now this is pure sophistry, and not interested in having this sort of conversation. We don't live in a word where libertarian non-agression principle is universally accepted and applied. We live in a world, where great powers (and Russia certainly is one) pursue their national interests, sometimes breaking stuff in the process. This is the international norm. Russia's policies in Ukraine do not fall outside the international norm.

    That's the point that I'm trying to make, not that Russia is angelic. Now insulting Russia by comparing us to Nazi Germany as some Western politicians have done, and throwing scary words like "hybrid war", designed to demonise Russia - none of it will make Russia back off from its legitimate interests in Ukraine. But this language will make Ukrainian conflict harder to resolve, it is dishonest, misleading and, frankly, offensive.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Philip Owen
    Your nationalism is blinding you. The ATO was against a foreign led and in the early stages, manned intrusion. The Russian nationalist intruders couldn't even recruit an army until pay reached $300 a month (other versions included $100 for battle days, $1000 per dead Ukrainian). At $100 a day "Strelkov" recruited about 500 long term unemployed, mostly over 40. There was no locally inspired uprising in the Donbass. It was Russian leadership and Russian money, in neither case directly governmental, true but stoppable at any moment by the government. Information dating from September 2014 from a local paper in Saratov that interviewed a volunteer from Saratov to Donetsk who was turned down for lack of military experience.

    And then there was the Russian army tank fitter specialising in wheels, who I met on the train talking about the two week instruction course he had given in Rostov to DNR militia during his extended leave. My Russian is poor but my accent is good (all my Russian has been learnt in Saratov) in short bursts of 4 or 5 sentences of everyday words my accent is not always detectable. So I overhead much before I revealed myself.

    Errata – Strelkov paid $100 a month not a day for the five hundred 40 year old long term unemployed. To get to 25,000 often quoted, Strelkov’s successors paid $300 a day or amounts as described above. Even so, Borodai when Prime Minister made statements that suggested that 9,000 of the 25,000 were foreigners with 6,000 being from the Russian Federation (Serbs, Transneistrians, White Guards from Estonia etc being the balance).

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    We've been through this already. Multiple lines of evidence from summer 2014 onwards indicate that around 80% of the NAF are Ukrainian citizens, even though AP has a point that the percentage of Russians amongst the early leaders was relatively higher.

    It was a grassroots uprising, but one in which passionary Russians with experience played a role in helping survive in its early stages.
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  • @Mr. Hack
    I've made six replies back to different comments, although not initially making them using the reply button (sorry). I'm getting the hang of how the protocol works here. I've been civil as to my tone and style, and my only crime has been to supply an opposing viewpoint from the norm here. If Anatoly wants to ban me, then so be it, he would be doing so in a historic Russian manner. :-) Oh, I guess that another fault of mine, as you can see, is that I love to employ sarcasm in my debating style, if you consider that a fault. I'm sure that Anatoly can handle that aspect, however, I'm not so sure about you? It's interesting to note that I've been a contributor to another Russian's blog now for several years, and have never encountered the threat of a ban, and this is only my first time out here. The blogger's name is Vladimir Kara-Murza? This, is a rough crowd! :-)

    I promise you that there are far rougher crowds out there who are not prepared to argue their views at all. Russian Insider, for example, started out pretending to be serious but quickly became a grotesque parody site. The comments section makes you fear for the mental state of the far right everywhere.

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  • @Felix Keverich
    You came to a pro-Russian blog to spew MSM platitudes about "Russian agression", you shouldn't be surprised when people start disagreeing with you. But who is the troll here?

    It's true that Russian is backing LDNR, but US is backing Ukrainian regime. IMF is financing regime's war effort. This is what a civil war looks like in the 21 century, just look at Syria.

    Russian backed war machine in Donbas has only managed to subjugate half of the Donbas region
     

    Now, this is a ridiculous statement! If anyone is trying to subjugate the Donbass, it's the Ukrainian regime. So far, unsuccesfully.

    Your nationalism is blinding you. The ATO was against a foreign led and in the early stages, manned intrusion. The Russian nationalist intruders couldn’t even recruit an army until pay reached $300 a month (other versions included $100 for battle days, $1000 per dead Ukrainian). At $100 a day “Strelkov” recruited about 500 long term unemployed, mostly over 40. There was no locally inspired uprising in the Donbass. It was Russian leadership and Russian money, in neither case directly governmental, true but stoppable at any moment by the government. Information dating from September 2014 from a local paper in Saratov that interviewed a volunteer from Saratov to Donetsk who was turned down for lack of military experience.

    And then there was the Russian army tank fitter specialising in wheels, who I met on the train talking about the two week instruction course he had given in Rostov to DNR militia during his extended leave. My Russian is poor but my accent is good (all my Russian has been learnt in Saratov) in short bursts of 4 or 5 sentences of everyday words my accent is not always detectable. So I overhead much before I revealed myself.

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    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    Errata - Strelkov paid $100 a month not a day for the five hundred 40 year old long term unemployed. To get to 25,000 often quoted, Strelkov's successors paid $300 a day or amounts as described above. Even so, Borodai when Prime Minister made statements that suggested that 9,000 of the 25,000 were foreigners with 6,000 being from the Russian Federation (Serbs, Transneistrians, White Guards from Estonia etc being the balance).
    , @Felix Keverich
    ATO was about militarising the conflict that prior to that had been mostly political. Example, in Lugansk local activists took over a city admistration, the regime BOMBED the building from Su-24. That was a concious decision that Kiev made: instead of creating a government of national unity receptive to Russians's needs, they branded their opposition "terrorists" and moved to violently supress them.

    True, the rebel army wasn't formed overnight, which is comletely natural. In Syria the whole process - moving from anti-government protests to full-scale warfare took even longer.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    There were plenty of local volunteers joining the DNR and LNR militias even in the earliest periods (incidentally, those "long term unemployed" alcoholics and drug addicts were at any rate more than what Ukraine's ramshackle and demoralized troops could handle... how sad is that?). They numbered 20,000 by the summer of 2014.

    Yes, Russia does provide weapons and training to the NAF ("Northern Wind"), that is not some kind of big revelation you have in your hands there. I have never denied that. It's great that Russia did extend this help, though it could have done more.
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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    The classic example: Kasyanov, aka "Misha 2%" as he was known in the Yeltsin government (for the size of his levy).

    Has a respectable estate on Rublevka despite having only ever worked in government and/or political roles.

    Made leader of the democratic opposition in December 2015.

    Exposure of Kasyanov was a very crude case of selective justice. It was part of the replacement of the almost entire government by siloviki. His departure made Medvedev’s arrival possible.

    I am sure that the siloviki were acting specifically against corruption and so justified their putsch, subsequently endorsed by electoral victory. And since that time, there have been numerous more or less successful anticorruption measures. This is indeed, Putin’s real contribution to Russia. Riding the oil boom without going completely Nigerian is part of the anticorruption perspective. No economic brilliance from Putin there nor to be fair, major foul ups.

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  • @JL
    I know very little of these matters, but it seemed to me significant that Serdyukov was pardoned right after the Crimean operation. Perhaps it was an act of gratitude, acknowledging that reforms he began led to such success there?

    Quite so. At the time of Georgia, the army was still a soviet shambles little better than Ukraine’s.

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  • @AP

    "It’s Russian aggression in the way that Turkish/Saudi/Western support for anti-Assad forces is aggression. Aggression is not necessarily an overt military invasion."

    You know, when you put it this way Ukraine’s support for Chechen separatists can be construed as an act of agression against Russia. :)
     

    Correct, but the scale of Ukrainian support for Chechen separatists is dwarfed by the scale of Russian support for Donbas separatists. Moreover, the former was in no way official but private acts of aggression by nationalist organizations. Russia has been sending in advisers and trainers, special ops, providing sophisticated weapons, etc. (I agree the the claim of thousands of official troops is b.s.). In Ukraine's case it was a few hundred (low hundreds) nationalist volunteers going to Chechnya.

    It also undeniable that Moscow’s interests were hurt by an illegal coup that took place in Ukraine
     
    Mentioning the illegal nature of the "coup" without mentioning the illegal usurpation of power by Yanukovich in the years leading up to the "coup" is akin to describing World War II starting from late 1944 and referring to it as an invasion of Germany. A dishonest half-truth.

    As is, of course, describing a popular revolt of half the country as a "coup."


    Now consider this: Saudi Arabia intevened in Yemen in a similar situation when a friendly ruler was overthrown. The “international community” of course didn’t label it an act of agression. In fact US is aiding Saudi campaign.
     
    So two wrongs make a right? A Sovok-era sort of argument - "but you abuse blacks?"

    Just placing Russian behavior in international context. My point about Yemen was the word “agression” is being applied to Russia’s actions too liberally, without sufficient justification. Put simply, the West is trying to delegitimise Russia’s defence of its interests in Ukraine by slapping offensive labels on it. We, Russians, have every right to reject this unfair characterization.

    Mentioning the illegal nature of the “coup” without mentioning the illegal usurpation of power by Yanukovich in the years leading up to the “coup” is akin to describing World War II starting from late 1944 and referring to it as an invasion of Germany. A dishonest half-truth.

    I’m not convinced that the word “usurpation” was applicable with regards to president Yanukovich. He was within his right as the head of state to postpone the signing of EU association agreement, which sparked protests.

    Anyway, I think we can all agree that starting violent riots and seizing government buildings was not the right way to remove the president, not when Ukraine had an election scheduled for 2015.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    My point about Yemen was the word “agression” is being applied to Russia’s actions too liberally, without sufficient justification.
     
    In the case of Ukraine - as in Syria, or Yemen (I don't know much about that conflict but I'll take your word for it) arming, sending volunteers, military advisers, trainers and specialists into another country's territory for the purpose of enabling and continuing a bloody war is an act of aggression.

    Put simply, the West is trying to delegitimise Russia’s defence of its interests in Ukraine by slapping offensive labels on it.
     
    Do you think that an aggressive act is not aggressive if the purpose is defending a country's interests? The two are not mutually exclusive.

    I’m not convinced that the word “usurpation” was applicable with regards to president Yanukovich. He was within his right as the head of state to postpone the signing of EU association agreement, which sparked protests
     
    As I wrote, the usurpation of total power over the government by Yanukovich was a years-long process. The EU association agreement debacle was merely the spark, the final straw.

    If you recall, Yanukovich barely won the election. When he was elected he had limited powers and faced an elected, Opposition-controlled parliament. He then proceeded to take control over the constitutional court, and without new elections flip the parliament illegally (according to the previous rules, but his court then changed them). The new courts and new (unelected) parliamentary majority then granted him additional powers. No elections or referendums validated these changes. The new parliament gave itself an extra year and then changed the election laws in such a way that in the next election the Opposition would fail to retake parliament despite easily winning the popular vote. Other "gems" under his rule included refusing to hold mayoral elections in Kiev (because his man had no chance of winning, so he had a loyal appointee), passing a special law barring a presidential candidate who was beating him by double-digits in presidential polls from running, and raiding the offices of another candidate with a double digit lead.

    That sort of behavior can work if the leader is actually popular. But if he's not, it's a recipe for instability.


    Anyway, I think we can all agree that starting violent riots and seizing government buildings was not the right way to remove the president, not when Ukraine had an election scheduled for 2015.
     
    Given the behavior in the years leading up to the revolution (see above) it is understandable that the people would not trust handing power back to Yanukovich, at a time when he was caught by surprise and (temporarily?) helpless. If in the process of an armed robbery you somehow snatch away the gun and have the robber subdued, to you give it back because he promises to wait for the police and undertake the legal process?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Mr. Hack
    Well, the problem with your opinion is that you really cannot deny that there has been a Russian aggression perpetrated against Ukraine, now can you?

    No, at this point in my analogy, Russia hasn’t pulled the trigger yet. Crimea was a small child that the wild eyed lunatic (Ukraine) had with him when he brandished the gun on Russia. Russia managed to get the small kid safely and peacefully on her side, and now is just waiting for the drugs to wear off, hoping that the psychotic lunatic might come to its senses before it’s forced to pacify it.

    Read More
    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • AP says:
    @Felix Keverich

    It’s Russian aggression in the way that Turkish/Saudi/Western support for anti-Assad forces is aggression. Aggression is not necessarily an overt military invasion.
     
    You know, when you put it this way Ukraine's support for Chechen separatists can be construed as an act of agression against Russia. :)

    It also undeniable that Moscow's interests were hurt by an illegal coup that took place in Ukraine. Now consider this: Saudi Arabia intevened in Yemen in a similar situation when a friendly ruler was overthrown. The "international community" of course didn't label it an act of agression. In fact US is aiding Saudi campaign.

    “It’s Russian aggression in the way that Turkish/Saudi/Western support for anti-Assad forces is aggression. Aggression is not necessarily an overt military invasion.”

    You know, when you put it this way Ukraine’s support for Chechen separatists can be construed as an act of agression against Russia. :)

    Correct, but the scale of Ukrainian support for Chechen separatists is dwarfed by the scale of Russian support for Donbas separatists. Moreover, the former was in no way official but private acts of aggression by nationalist organizations. Russia has been sending in advisers and trainers, special ops, providing sophisticated weapons, etc. (I agree the the claim of thousands of official troops is b.s.). In Ukraine’s case it was a few hundred (low hundreds) nationalist volunteers going to Chechnya.

    It also undeniable that Moscow’s interests were hurt by an illegal coup that took place in Ukraine

    Mentioning the illegal nature of the “coup” without mentioning the illegal usurpation of power by Yanukovich in the years leading up to the “coup” is akin to describing World War II starting from late 1944 and referring to it as an invasion of Germany. A dishonest half-truth.

    As is, of course, describing a popular revolt of half the country as a “coup.”

    Now consider this: Saudi Arabia intevened in Yemen in a similar situation when a friendly ruler was overthrown. The “international community” of course didn’t label it an act of agression. In fact US is aiding Saudi campaign.

    So two wrongs make a right? A Sovok-era sort of argument – “but you abuse blacks?”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Just placing Russian behavior in international context. My point about Yemen was the word "agression" is being applied to Russia's actions too liberally, without sufficient justification. Put simply, the West is trying to delegitimise Russia's defence of its interests in Ukraine by slapping offensive labels on it. We, Russians, have every right to reject this unfair characterization.

    Mentioning the illegal nature of the “coup” without mentioning the illegal usurpation of power by Yanukovich in the years leading up to the “coup” is akin to describing World War II starting from late 1944 and referring to it as an invasion of Germany. A dishonest half-truth.
     
    I'm not convinced that the word "usurpation" was applicable with regards to president Yanukovich. He was within his right as the head of state to postpone the signing of EU association agreement, which sparked protests.

    Anyway, I think we can all agree that starting violent riots and seizing government buildings was not the right way to remove the president, not when Ukraine had an election scheduled for 2015.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Cyrano
    I thought this article was supposed to be about patriotic corruption, instead it turned into one about Ukraine. Well, since that’s the case, here we go: When a troubled man wants to commit suicide but doesn’t want to admit what a total failure he is – he draws a gun on the cops. It’s called suicide by cops.

    After 26 years of “independence”, the losers in Ukraine don’t want to admit what a total failure they are as a country – unable to manage their own affairs in any sense, so they’re trying to provoke Russia to put them out of their misery. It’s called Ukrainian suicide by Russia. That way they can go on spreading national myths that they could have made it as an independent country if it wasn’t for the Russian “aggression”.

    Well, the problem with your opinion is that you really cannot deny that there has been a Russian aggression perpetrated against Ukraine, now can you?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cyrano
    No, at this point in my analogy, Russia hasn’t pulled the trigger yet. Crimea was a small child that the wild eyed lunatic (Ukraine) had with him when he brandished the gun on Russia. Russia managed to get the small kid safely and peacefully on her side, and now is just waiting for the drugs to wear off, hoping that the psychotic lunatic might come to its senses before it’s forced to pacify it.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anatoly Karlin
    I agree with this.

    After a Russian Maidan, the legal situation will no doubt become better for people who want to play Pokemon Go in churches. On the other hand, I am going to bet that Kholmogorov is going to vanish quite quickly from Komsomolskaya Pravda's op-ed pages, and am not excluding the possibility of websites like SiP and ROG-pravo being banned for hate speech and their contributors legally pursued.

    Since Russian liberalism (like Ukrainian svidomism) is primarily a Western cargo cult, it is probable that they will simply just rush to adopt all the shittiest aspects of Western globalism, such as SJWism, but without, say, America's respect for and legal enshrinement of freedom of speech to hold them back.

    Since Russian liberalism (like Ukrainian svidomism) is primarily a Western cargo cult, it is probable that they will simply just rush to adopt all the shittiest aspects of Western globalism, such as SJWism, but without, say, America’s respect for and legal enshrinement of freedom of speech to hold them back.

    I’ll have to kindly disagree with you here. It may be the case that Russian liberalism takes on more of this sort of alignment, but Ukrainian ‘svidomism’, I think not. If you equate ‘svidomism’ with extreme right wing views (as I think that you do), then maybe you’re right, but as this is such a small percentage of the whole Ukrainian population it’s really an incorrect view. As most Ukrainians have just a healthy self respect for their own nationality, a sense of local patriotism, I think that Ukrainian self awareness is more than just a passing ‘cargo cult’ phenomena. Unfortunately, the Russian aggression against Ukraine has polarized society more into an anti-Russian conformity and has encouraged an environment less open to freedom of speech. Hopefully, Russian aggression will cease and things will get back to a more normal footing.

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • I thought this article was supposed to be about patriotic corruption, instead it turned into one about Ukraine. Well, since that’s the case, here we go: When a troubled man wants to commit suicide but doesn’t want to admit what a total failure he is – he draws a gun on the cops. It’s called suicide by cops.

    After 26 years of “independence”, the losers in Ukraine don’t want to admit what a total failure they are as a country – unable to manage their own affairs in any sense, so they’re trying to provoke Russia to put them out of their misery. It’s called Ukrainian suicide by Russia. That way they can go on spreading national myths that they could have made it as an independent country if it wasn’t for the Russian “aggression”.

    Read More
    • LOL: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    Well, the problem with your opinion is that you really cannot deny that there has been a Russian aggression perpetrated against Ukraine, now can you?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Felix Keverich

    The ‘cliches’ that I use, that seem to cause you so much discomfort are ones that have been well formulated and need to be debunked first before I stop using them.
     
    Debunking Russophobic cliches is what this blog is for. The fact that you insist on using them indicates that you are not here to learn about Russia. You are here to be disruptive and snarky. :-)

    Debunking Russophobic cliches is what this blog is for

    Well, go to it man, I’m still waiting for you to get to work, instead of blurting out redundancies and stating meaningless sophisms. And while we’re at it, I wasn’t aware that Karlin has entrusted you with being the guardian of his gate and the supreme arbiter as to what the correct orthodoxy is around here? Cut the crap Keverich and get real!:-)

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  • @AP

    If there had been true Russian aggression, Ukraine would have ceased to exist in 2014.
     
    It's Russian aggression in the way that Turkish/Saudi/Western support for anti-Assad forces is aggression. Aggression is not necessarily an overt military invasion.

    Ukraine saw no or negligible improvements in corruption in 2004-2010, when “Orange” forces held sway as now
     
    Orange forces took over in 2005.

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

    Actually there was lower corruption after 2004 than before. The difference was indeed pretty small, though. 2006 was tied with 1998 as the year when Ukraine was least corrupt, 2007 was the second-least corrupt year.

    The average CPI score for the Orange years of 2005-2010 was 2.53. It was 2.4 for the previous 6 years (with a worsening trend).

    There was a similarly slight decrease in corruption after Yanukovich was overthrown.

    This suggests that Ukraine's non-easterners are almost, but not quite as, corrupt as its easterners.

    There were several reasons why the people of western and central Ukraine overthrew Yanukovich. Corruption was one of them. In general this issue has been a failure.

    It’s Russian aggression in the way that Turkish/Saudi/Western support for anti-Assad forces is aggression. Aggression is not necessarily an overt military invasion.

    You know, when you put it this way Ukraine’s support for Chechen separatists can be construed as an act of agression against Russia. :)

    It also undeniable that Moscow’s interests were hurt by an illegal coup that took place in Ukraine. Now consider this: Saudi Arabia intevened in Yemen in a similar situation when a friendly ruler was overthrown. The “international community” of course didn’t label it an act of agression. In fact US is aiding Saudi campaign.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    "It’s Russian aggression in the way that Turkish/Saudi/Western support for anti-Assad forces is aggression. Aggression is not necessarily an overt military invasion."

    You know, when you put it this way Ukraine’s support for Chechen separatists can be construed as an act of agression against Russia. :)
     

    Correct, but the scale of Ukrainian support for Chechen separatists is dwarfed by the scale of Russian support for Donbas separatists. Moreover, the former was in no way official but private acts of aggression by nationalist organizations. Russia has been sending in advisers and trainers, special ops, providing sophisticated weapons, etc. (I agree the the claim of thousands of official troops is b.s.). In Ukraine's case it was a few hundred (low hundreds) nationalist volunteers going to Chechnya.

    It also undeniable that Moscow’s interests were hurt by an illegal coup that took place in Ukraine
     
    Mentioning the illegal nature of the "coup" without mentioning the illegal usurpation of power by Yanukovich in the years leading up to the "coup" is akin to describing World War II starting from late 1944 and referring to it as an invasion of Germany. A dishonest half-truth.

    As is, of course, describing a popular revolt of half the country as a "coup."


    Now consider this: Saudi Arabia intevened in Yemen in a similar situation when a friendly ruler was overthrown. The “international community” of course didn’t label it an act of agression. In fact US is aiding Saudi campaign.
     
    So two wrongs make a right? A Sovok-era sort of argument - "but you abuse blacks?"
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Mr. Hack

    You mean this “Russian politician” who only visits Russia long enough to get himself “poisoned”? Piss off!


    Ooh, reverting to primitive expletives must make you feel good, but don't worry,I wont point this out to Karlin and ask him to ban you for being so uncouth. As to what I read to inform my opinions I can assure you that it's quite varied and includes several Russian blogs, not all ones favorable to my point of view. I also read Ukrainian and Russian language information sites too.

    The 'cliches' that I use, that seem to cause you so much discomfort are ones that have been well formulated and need to be debunked first before I stop using them. So far, you've not proven yourself worthy of the task! :-)

    My own participation at this blog will remain solely my own decision and that of Anatoly. You seem like a weakling if you find discomfort at having somebody question your viewpoints and beliefs. You should consider joining in Mark Chapman's blog where all of his loyal little stooges are all of one mind and never dissent from their Master's direction. I find his style and substance boring and unpalatable, unlike Anatoly's.

    The ‘cliches’ that I use, that seem to cause you so much discomfort are ones that have been well formulated and need to be debunked first before I stop using them.

    Debunking Russophobic cliches is what this blog is for. The fact that you insist on using them indicates that you are not here to learn about Russia. You are here to be disruptive and snarky. :-)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack

    Debunking Russophobic cliches is what this blog is for
     
    Well, go to it man, I'm still waiting for you to get to work, instead of blurting out redundancies and stating meaningless sophisms. And while we're at it, I wasn't aware that Karlin has entrusted you with being the guardian of his gate and the supreme arbiter as to what the correct orthodoxy is around here? Cut the crap Keverich and get real!:-)
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • AP says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    It would be more accurate to judge the situation in Ukraine,if it weren’t subjected to maintaining a war in the East geared against Russian aggression.
     
    If there had been true Russian aggression, Ukraine would have ceased to exist in 2014.

    But regardless, you seem to be ducking out of addressing why Ukraine saw no or negligible improvements in corruption in 2004-2010, when "Orange" forces held sway as now, with no (Russian) Man keeping them down.

    He bolsters his own image at home and he is able to keep a toehold in Ukraine,making sure that its economy doesn’t improve and possibly even outstrip the Russian one.
     
    Considering that the differential between Russian and Ukrainian GDP per capita is 5x in nominal terms, and 3x in PPP-adjusted ones, that will take a couple of decades even if you were to indefinitely freeze Russia at its current levels while giving Ukraine East Asian tiger-like growth rates.

    If there had been true Russian aggression, Ukraine would have ceased to exist in 2014.

    It’s Russian aggression in the way that Turkish/Saudi/Western support for anti-Assad forces is aggression. Aggression is not necessarily an overt military invasion.

    Ukraine saw no or negligible improvements in corruption in 2004-2010, when “Orange” forces held sway as now

    Orange forces took over in 2005.

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

    Actually there was lower corruption after 2004 than before. The difference was indeed pretty small, though. 2006 was tied with 1998 as the year when Ukraine was least corrupt, 2007 was the second-least corrupt year.

    The average CPI score for the Orange years of 2005-2010 was 2.53. It was 2.4 for the previous 6 years (with a worsening trend).

    There was a similarly slight decrease in corruption after Yanukovich was overthrown.

    This suggests that Ukraine’s non-easterners are almost, but not quite as, corrupt as its easterners.

    There were several reasons why the people of western and central Ukraine overthrew Yanukovich. Corruption was one of them. In general this issue has been a failure.

    Read More
    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    It’s Russian aggression in the way that Turkish/Saudi/Western support for anti-Assad forces is aggression. Aggression is not necessarily an overt military invasion.
     
    You know, when you put it this way Ukraine's support for Chechen separatists can be construed as an act of agression against Russia. :)

    It also undeniable that Moscow's interests were hurt by an illegal coup that took place in Ukraine. Now consider this: Saudi Arabia intevened in Yemen in a similar situation when a friendly ruler was overthrown. The "international community" of course didn't label it an act of agression. In fact US is aiding Saudi campaign.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • AP says:
    @Felix Keverich

    I’ve been a contributor to another Russian’s blog now for several years, and have never encountered the threat of a ban, and this is only my first time out here. The blogger’s name is Vladimir Kara-Murza?
     
    You mean this "Russian politician" who only visits Russia long enough to get himself "poisoned"? Piss off!

    You fail to adress the points that people are making. You just keep releasing these rants filled with MSM buzzwords like:


    hybrid war, Russian agression, cleptocratic regime
     
    As well as Western MSM cliches such as

    Russia and Putin fomented this war, it has consolidated the Ukrainian people & Ukraine chooses to fight a war in its Eastern provinces to mitigate its spread further west.
     
    None of this is true. I also find it very irritating.

    You must think of yourself as a smart and educated person, because you learned about Russia&Ukraine by reading articles in Vox and Washington Post, but understand that reading this crap in Washington Post etc does not make it true. If you have nothing to say aside from repeating these MSM platitudes, you might as well keep you mouth shut, since all of us are educated people here. We all understand English and read Western MSM.

    “Russia and Putin fomented this war, it has consolidated the Ukrainian people & Ukraine chooses to fight a war in its Eastern provinces to mitigate its spread further west.”

    None of this is true. I also find it very irritating.

    All of that is true, and you find the truth to be irritating.

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    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • You mean this “Russian politician” who only visits Russia long enough to get himself “poisoned”? Piss off!

    Ooh, reverting to primitive expletives must make you feel good, but don’t worry,I wont point this out to Karlin and ask him to ban you for being so uncouth. As to what I read to inform my opinions I can assure you that it’s quite varied and includes several Russian blogs, not all ones favorable to my point of view. I also read Ukrainian and Russian language information sites too.

    The ‘cliches’ that I use, that seem to cause you so much discomfort are ones that have been well formulated and need to be debunked first before I stop using them. So far, you’ve not proven yourself worthy of the task! :-)

    My own participation at this blog will remain solely my own decision and that of Anatoly. You seem like a weakling if you find discomfort at having somebody question your viewpoints and beliefs. You should consider joining in Mark Chapman’s blog where all of his loyal little stooges are all of one mind and never dissent from their Master’s direction. I find his style and substance boring and unpalatable, unlike Anatoly’s.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    The ‘cliches’ that I use, that seem to cause you so much discomfort are ones that have been well formulated and need to be debunked first before I stop using them.
     
    Debunking Russophobic cliches is what this blog is for. The fact that you insist on using them indicates that you are not here to learn about Russia. You are here to be disruptive and snarky. :-)
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Mr. Hack
    I've made six replies back to different comments, although not initially making them using the reply button (sorry). I'm getting the hang of how the protocol works here. I've been civil as to my tone and style, and my only crime has been to supply an opposing viewpoint from the norm here. If Anatoly wants to ban me, then so be it, he would be doing so in a historic Russian manner. :-) Oh, I guess that another fault of mine, as you can see, is that I love to employ sarcasm in my debating style, if you consider that a fault. I'm sure that Anatoly can handle that aspect, however, I'm not so sure about you? It's interesting to note that I've been a contributor to another Russian's blog now for several years, and have never encountered the threat of a ban, and this is only my first time out here. The blogger's name is Vladimir Kara-Murza? This, is a rough crowd! :-)

    I’ve been a contributor to another Russian’s blog now for several years, and have never encountered the threat of a ban, and this is only my first time out here. The blogger’s name is Vladimir Kara-Murza?

    You mean this “Russian politician” who only visits Russia long enough to get himself “poisoned”? Piss off!

    You fail to adress the points that people are making. You just keep releasing these rants filled with MSM buzzwords like:

    hybrid war, Russian agression, cleptocratic regime

    As well as Western MSM cliches such as

    Russia and Putin fomented this war, it has consolidated the Ukrainian people & Ukraine chooses to fight a war in its Eastern provinces to mitigate its spread further west.

    None of this is true. I also find it very irritating.

    You must think of yourself as a smart and educated person, because you learned about Russia&Ukraine by reading articles in Vox and Washington Post, but understand that reading this crap in Washington Post etc does not make it true. If you have nothing to say aside from repeating these MSM platitudes, you might as well keep you mouth shut, since all of us are educated people here. We all understand English and read Western MSM.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    "Russia and Putin fomented this war, it has consolidated the Ukrainian people & Ukraine chooses to fight a war in its Eastern provinces to mitigate its spread further west."

    None of this is true. I also find it very irritating.
     
    All of that is true, and you find the truth to be irritating.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anatoly Karlin

    It would be more accurate to judge the situation in Ukraine,if it weren’t subjected to maintaining a war in the East geared against Russian aggression.
     
    If there had been true Russian aggression, Ukraine would have ceased to exist in 2014.

    But regardless, you seem to be ducking out of addressing why Ukraine saw no or negligible improvements in corruption in 2004-2010, when "Orange" forces held sway as now, with no (Russian) Man keeping them down.

    He bolsters his own image at home and he is able to keep a toehold in Ukraine,making sure that its economy doesn’t improve and possibly even outstrip the Russian one.
     
    Considering that the differential between Russian and Ukrainian GDP per capita is 5x in nominal terms, and 3x in PPP-adjusted ones, that will take a couple of decades even if you were to indefinitely freeze Russia at its current levels while giving Ukraine East Asian tiger-like growth rates.

    If there had been true Russian aggression, Ukraine would have ceased to exist in 2014.

    It’s the new style Russian aggression, called a ‘hybrid war’, not designed to be an all out war that would be more difficult to conceal Russia’s participation. You should know Anatoly, Russia’s not really involved in the Donbas war, not supplying lethal weapons nor directing operations. It’s all a home grown phenomena.

    Ukraine saw no or negligible improvements in corruption in 2004-2010, when “Orange” forces held sway as now, with no (Russian) Man keeping them down

    .

    You’re right in pointing this out, and it’s a real tragedy. I’m no big fan of Poroshenko’s, and it irks me that his involvement in shenanigans uncovered through the Panama papers not too long ago was squashed so thoroughly and quietly, as if it never happened. But let’s be honest, Putin’s involvement through close friends and proxys was squelched too. Big brother/little brother; Big Russia/LittleRussia; big corruption/little corruption. :-)

    Considering that the differential between Russian and Ukrainian GDP per capita is 5x in nominal terms, and 3x in PPP-adjusted ones, that will take a couple of decades even if you were to indefinitely freeze Russia at its current levels while giving Ukraine East Asian tiger-like growth rates.

    You’re right to question this one too. I thought about this one right after I submitted it and wished that I could have revised it. Of course you’re right in questioning this for the reasons that you enumerate. What I meant to say is that Putin isn’t interested in seeing a more prosperous economy in Ukraine (not necessarily outstripping the Russian one) for this would show that it could mange its own affairs without Russian interference, and would also provide an alternative to the Russian political model and its reliance on more authoritarian methods.

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  • @Felix Keverich
    I think it's fair to say that Mr. Hack is a troll. All he does is repeating stupid MSM cliches about Russia, doesn't listen or respond to anything people here say to him.

    I thought you had the ability to ban posters like this? This would be a good time to do it imo.

    AK: You have to work hard to be banned here. Really as long as you're not spamming relentlessly like Rehmat, or being very stupid and asinine like Revusky, or making legal threats against me like one other commenter, you'd probably be fine.

    I’ve made six replies back to different comments, although not initially making them using the reply button (sorry). I’m getting the hang of how the protocol works here. I’ve been civil as to my tone and style, and my only crime has been to supply an opposing viewpoint from the norm here. If Anatoly wants to ban me, then so be it, he would be doing so in a historic Russian manner. :-) Oh, I guess that another fault of mine, as you can see, is that I love to employ sarcasm in my debating style, if you consider that a fault. I’m sure that Anatoly can handle that aspect, however, I’m not so sure about you? It’s interesting to note that I’ve been a contributor to another Russian’s blog now for several years, and have never encountered the threat of a ban, and this is only my first time out here. The blogger’s name is Vladimir Kara-Murza? This, is a rough crowd! :-)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    I’ve been a contributor to another Russian’s blog now for several years, and have never encountered the threat of a ban, and this is only my first time out here. The blogger’s name is Vladimir Kara-Murza?
     
    You mean this "Russian politician" who only visits Russia long enough to get himself "poisoned"? Piss off!

    You fail to adress the points that people are making. You just keep releasing these rants filled with MSM buzzwords like:


    hybrid war, Russian agression, cleptocratic regime
     
    As well as Western MSM cliches such as

    Russia and Putin fomented this war, it has consolidated the Ukrainian people & Ukraine chooses to fight a war in its Eastern provinces to mitigate its spread further west.
     
    None of this is true. I also find it very irritating.

    You must think of yourself as a smart and educated person, because you learned about Russia&Ukraine by reading articles in Vox and Washington Post, but understand that reading this crap in Washington Post etc does not make it true. If you have nothing to say aside from repeating these MSM platitudes, you might as well keep you mouth shut, since all of us are educated people here. We all understand English and read Western MSM.

    , @Philip Owen
    I promise you that there are far rougher crowds out there who are not prepared to argue their views at all. Russian Insider, for example, started out pretending to be serious but quickly became a grotesque parody site. The comments section makes you fear for the mental state of the far right everywhere.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anatoly Karlin

    It would be more accurate to judge the situation in Ukraine,if it weren’t subjected to maintaining a war in the East geared against Russian aggression.
     
    If there had been true Russian aggression, Ukraine would have ceased to exist in 2014.

    But regardless, you seem to be ducking out of addressing why Ukraine saw no or negligible improvements in corruption in 2004-2010, when "Orange" forces held sway as now, with no (Russian) Man keeping them down.

    He bolsters his own image at home and he is able to keep a toehold in Ukraine,making sure that its economy doesn’t improve and possibly even outstrip the Russian one.
     
    Considering that the differential between Russian and Ukrainian GDP per capita is 5x in nominal terms, and 3x in PPP-adjusted ones, that will take a couple of decades even if you were to indefinitely freeze Russia at its current levels while giving Ukraine East Asian tiger-like growth rates.

    I think it’s fair to say that Mr. Hack is a troll. All he does is repeating stupid MSM cliches about Russia, doesn’t listen or respond to anything people here say to him.

    I thought you had the ability to ban posters like this? This would be a good time to do it imo.

    AK: You have to work hard to be banned here. Really as long as you’re not spamming relentlessly like Rehmat, or being very stupid and asinine like Revusky, or making legal threats against me like one other commenter, you’d probably be fine.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    I've made six replies back to different comments, although not initially making them using the reply button (sorry). I'm getting the hang of how the protocol works here. I've been civil as to my tone and style, and my only crime has been to supply an opposing viewpoint from the norm here. If Anatoly wants to ban me, then so be it, he would be doing so in a historic Russian manner. :-) Oh, I guess that another fault of mine, as you can see, is that I love to employ sarcasm in my debating style, if you consider that a fault. I'm sure that Anatoly can handle that aspect, however, I'm not so sure about you? It's interesting to note that I've been a contributor to another Russian's blog now for several years, and have never encountered the threat of a ban, and this is only my first time out here. The blogger's name is Vladimir Kara-Murza? This, is a rough crowd! :-)
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  • Anatoly, Americans and Brits have a proverb relevant to your whimsical and much-enjoyed defense of “patriotic” corruption in Russia: “Corruption is corruption … you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

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  • @Mr. Hack
    'Just look at the Ukraine.'

    It would be more accurate to judge the situation in Ukraine,if it weren't subjected to maintaining a war in the East geared against Russian aggression. It's common knowledge that Putin is using war and conquest to help solidify his popularity among a mass of doting Russian subjects. He has little else that is 'positive' these days to show the masses of his accomplishments, so war and conquest is on the menu. By pursuing war in Ukraine Putin accomplishes two things. He bolsters his own image at home and he is able to keep a toehold in Ukraine,making sure that its economy doesn't improve and possibly even outstrip the Russian one. How long will this keep up, who knows?

    It would be more accurate to judge the situation in Ukraine,if it weren’t subjected to maintaining a war in the East geared against Russian aggression.

    If there had been true Russian aggression, Ukraine would have ceased to exist in 2014.

    But regardless, you seem to be ducking out of addressing why Ukraine saw no or negligible improvements in corruption in 2004-2010, when “Orange” forces held sway as now, with no (Russian) Man keeping them down.

    He bolsters his own image at home and he is able to keep a toehold in Ukraine,making sure that its economy doesn’t improve and possibly even outstrip the Russian one.

    Considering that the differential between Russian and Ukrainian GDP per capita is 5x in nominal terms, and 3x in PPP-adjusted ones, that will take a couple of decades even if you were to indefinitely freeze Russia at its current levels while giving Ukraine East Asian tiger-like growth rates.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    I think it's fair to say that Mr. Hack is a troll. All he does is repeating stupid MSM cliches about Russia, doesn't listen or respond to anything people here say to him.

    I thought you had the ability to ban posters like this? This would be a good time to do it imo.

    AK: You have to work hard to be banned here. Really as long as you're not spamming relentlessly like Rehmat, or being very stupid and asinine like Revusky, or making legal threats against me like one other commenter, you'd probably be fine.
    , @Mr. Hack

    If there had been true Russian aggression, Ukraine would have ceased to exist in 2014.
     
    It's the new style Russian aggression, called a 'hybrid war', not designed to be an all out war that would be more difficult to conceal Russia's participation. You should know Anatoly, Russia's not really involved in the Donbas war, not supplying lethal weapons nor directing operations. It's all a home grown phenomena.

    Ukraine saw no or negligible improvements in corruption in 2004-2010, when “Orange” forces held sway as now, with no (Russian) Man keeping them down
     
    .

    You're right in pointing this out, and it's a real tragedy. I'm no big fan of Poroshenko's, and it irks me that his involvement in shenanigans uncovered through the Panama papers not too long ago was squashed so thoroughly and quietly, as if it never happened. But let's be honest, Putin's involvement through close friends and proxys was squelched too. Big brother/little brother; Big Russia/LittleRussia; big corruption/little corruption. :-)


    Considering that the differential between Russian and Ukrainian GDP per capita is 5x in nominal terms, and 3x in PPP-adjusted ones, that will take a couple of decades even if you were to indefinitely freeze Russia at its current levels while giving Ukraine East Asian tiger-like growth rates.
     
    You're right to question this one too. I thought about this one right after I submitted it and wished that I could have revised it. Of course you're right in questioning this for the reasons that you enumerate. What I meant to say is that Putin isn't interested in seeing a more prosperous economy in Ukraine (not necessarily outstripping the Russian one) for this would show that it could mange its own affairs without Russian interference, and would also provide an alternative to the Russian political model and its reliance on more authoritarian methods.
    , @AP

    If there had been true Russian aggression, Ukraine would have ceased to exist in 2014.
     
    It's Russian aggression in the way that Turkish/Saudi/Western support for anti-Assad forces is aggression. Aggression is not necessarily an overt military invasion.

    Ukraine saw no or negligible improvements in corruption in 2004-2010, when “Orange” forces held sway as now
     
    Orange forces took over in 2005.

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

    Actually there was lower corruption after 2004 than before. The difference was indeed pretty small, though. 2006 was tied with 1998 as the year when Ukraine was least corrupt, 2007 was the second-least corrupt year.

    The average CPI score for the Orange years of 2005-2010 was 2.53. It was 2.4 for the previous 6 years (with a worsening trend).

    There was a similarly slight decrease in corruption after Yanukovich was overthrown.

    This suggests that Ukraine's non-easterners are almost, but not quite as, corrupt as its easterners.

    There were several reasons why the people of western and central Ukraine overthrew Yanukovich. Corruption was one of them. In general this issue has been a failure.

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  • @Mr. Hack
    Because of your apparent brand of pessimism it looks like noone alive in Russia today is able to offer a political vision that allows Russia to prosper along more democratic lines. Putin and his corrupt system is all that there is, and it looks like most of the readers here,including you, are content to continue supporting the status quo (pimping Putin to the Western world)...Sad, dishonest and boring. :-(

    No one or no-one, Noone is an Irish surname.

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  • @Felix Keverich
    You came to a pro-Russian blog to spew MSM platitudes about "Russian agression", you shouldn't be surprised when people start disagreeing with you. But who is the troll here?

    It's true that Russian is backing LDNR, but US is backing Ukrainian regime. IMF is financing regime's war effort. This is what a civil war looks like in the 21 century, just look at Syria.

    Russian backed war machine in Donbas has only managed to subjugate half of the Donbas region
     

    Now, this is a ridiculous statement! If anyone is trying to subjugate the Donbass, it's the Ukrainian regime. So far, unsuccesfully.

    Russia, besides being the architect in the current hybrid war in Ukraine, has been supplying the rebels with lethal weapons from the very beginning, unlike the US that at most can be faulted for providing Ukraine with ‘milk and cookies’! Ukraine should be grateful to Russia and Putin for fomenting this war, for it has consolidated the Ukrainian people as nothing else would have in such a short amount of time. Also, the biggest irony is that the real motivation for this war was to bring the recalcitrant Ukrainians into line for having upset Putin’s Eurasian project and putting it on hold. Ukraine has never been as far from Russia politically as it is today. Putin should have left Ukraine alone, let it taste the misery of being a part of Europe, and then come back to the fold. It looks like Ukraine becoming a part of Putin’s Eurasian dream today is non-existent. Oh, boo-hoo…

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    • Disagree: Dan Hayes, Daniel Chieh
    • Troll: Felix Keverich
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  • @Mr. Hack
    Because of your apparent brand of pessimism it looks like noone alive in Russia today is able to offer a political vision that allows Russia to prosper along more democratic lines. Putin and his corrupt system is all that there is, and it looks like most of the readers here,including you, are content to continue supporting the status quo (pimping Putin to the Western world)...Sad, dishonest and boring. :-(

    Maybe that’s all there is. Reality can be boring.

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  • @Mr. Hack
    Pure fantasy and Russian troll like logic! If Putin doesn't seek war and conquest in Ukraine, why did he invade it and incorporate the Crimea so quickly? A plebiscite so soon after an invasion at the point of the barrel of a gun is no way to express oneself as a good and peaceful neighbor. It's common knowledge that if Putin were to stop his support for the war in Donbas, it would cease immediately. Ukraine chooses to fight a war in its Eastern provinces to mitigate its spread further west. By these parameters it's doing a quite decent job as the Russian backed war machine in Donbas has only managed to subjugate half of the Donbas region (after three years of fighting).

    You came to a pro-Russian blog to spew MSM platitudes about “Russian agression”, you shouldn’t be surprised when people start disagreeing with you. But who is the troll here?

    It’s true that Russian is backing LDNR, but US is backing Ukrainian regime. IMF is financing regime’s war effort. This is what a civil war looks like in the 21 century, just look at Syria.

    Russian backed war machine in Donbas has only managed to subjugate half of the Donbas region

    Now, this is a ridiculous statement! If anyone is trying to subjugate the Donbass, it’s the Ukrainian regime. So far, unsuccesfully.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    Russia, besides being the architect in the current hybrid war in Ukraine, has been supplying the rebels with lethal weapons from the very beginning, unlike the US that at most can be faulted for providing Ukraine with 'milk and cookies'! Ukraine should be grateful to Russia and Putin for fomenting this war, for it has consolidated the Ukrainian people as nothing else would have in such a short amount of time. Also, the biggest irony is that the real motivation for this war was to bring the recalcitrant Ukrainians into line for having upset Putin's Eurasian project and putting it on hold. Ukraine has never been as far from Russia politically as it is today. Putin should have left Ukraine alone, let it taste the misery of being a part of Europe, and then come back to the fold. It looks like Ukraine becoming a part of Putin's Eurasian dream today is non-existent. Oh, boo-hoo...
    , @Philip Owen
    Your nationalism is blinding you. The ATO was against a foreign led and in the early stages, manned intrusion. The Russian nationalist intruders couldn't even recruit an army until pay reached $300 a month (other versions included $100 for battle days, $1000 per dead Ukrainian). At $100 a day "Strelkov" recruited about 500 long term unemployed, mostly over 40. There was no locally inspired uprising in the Donbass. It was Russian leadership and Russian money, in neither case directly governmental, true but stoppable at any moment by the government. Information dating from September 2014 from a local paper in Saratov that interviewed a volunteer from Saratov to Donetsk who was turned down for lack of military experience.

    And then there was the Russian army tank fitter specialising in wheels, who I met on the train talking about the two week instruction course he had given in Rostov to DNR militia during his extended leave. My Russian is poor but my accent is good (all my Russian has been learnt in Saratov) in short bursts of 4 or 5 sentences of everyday words my accent is not always detectable. So I overhead much before I revealed myself.
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  • @Felix Keverich
    You are not making any sense at all! Putin doesn't seek war and conquest of Ukraine. His plan was originally to levegare pro-Russian sentiment in the South-East to force Kiev into political reforms ("federalisation"). But the new regime in Kiev had none of that: they launched so-called "ATO (anti-terrorist operation)" to supress pro-Russian activists. Only when the regime began shelling cities with heavy artillery is when Putin made a decision to intervene.

    Misnk agreement was an olive branch extented by Putin to Kiev regime. Ukraine was supposed to gain control of its broder, but only after political reform in Ukraine, granting a special status to the LDNR, which presumably included veto powers over Ukraine's foreign policy. Ukrainian regime used the ceasefire to rearm, and since then they just demand that Russia gives them control of the border. There has been zero progress on special status for LDNR.

    The bottomline is that Ukraine was not subjected to war in Donbass, the Kiev regime chooses to fight a war on its pro-Russian regions, when the alternative is a political compromise, that would give pro-Russians a seat at table, and some influence over the country's politics.

    Pure fantasy and Russian troll like logic! If Putin doesn’t seek war and conquest in Ukraine, why did he invade it and incorporate the Crimea so quickly? A plebiscite so soon after an invasion at the point of the barrel of a gun is no way to express oneself as a good and peaceful neighbor. It’s common knowledge that if Putin were to stop his support for the war in Donbas, it would cease immediately. Ukraine chooses to fight a war in its Eastern provinces to mitigate its spread further west. By these parameters it’s doing a quite decent job as the Russian backed war machine in Donbas has only managed to subjugate half of the Donbas region (after three years of fighting).

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    You came to a pro-Russian blog to spew MSM platitudes about "Russian agression", you shouldn't be surprised when people start disagreeing with you. But who is the troll here?

    It's true that Russian is backing LDNR, but US is backing Ukrainian regime. IMF is financing regime's war effort. This is what a civil war looks like in the 21 century, just look at Syria.

    Russian backed war machine in Donbas has only managed to subjugate half of the Donbas region
     

    Now, this is a ridiculous statement! If anyone is trying to subjugate the Donbass, it's the Ukrainian regime. So far, unsuccesfully.
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  • @Mr. Hack
    'Just look at the Ukraine.'

    It would be more accurate to judge the situation in Ukraine,if it weren't subjected to maintaining a war in the East geared against Russian aggression. It's common knowledge that Putin is using war and conquest to help solidify his popularity among a mass of doting Russian subjects. He has little else that is 'positive' these days to show the masses of his accomplishments, so war and conquest is on the menu. By pursuing war in Ukraine Putin accomplishes two things. He bolsters his own image at home and he is able to keep a toehold in Ukraine,making sure that its economy doesn't improve and possibly even outstrip the Russian one. How long will this keep up, who knows?

    You are not making any sense at all! Putin doesn’t seek war and conquest of Ukraine. His plan was originally to levegare pro-Russian sentiment in the South-East to force Kiev into political reforms (“federalisation”). But the new regime in Kiev had none of that: they launched so-called “ATO (anti-terrorist operation)” to supress pro-Russian activists. Only when the regime began shelling cities with heavy artillery is when Putin made a decision to intervene.

    Misnk agreement was an olive branch extented by Putin to Kiev regime. Ukraine was supposed to gain control of its broder, but only after political reform in Ukraine, granting a special status to the LDNR, which presumably included veto powers over Ukraine’s foreign policy. Ukrainian regime used the ceasefire to rearm, and since then they just demand that Russia gives them control of the border. There has been zero progress on special status for LDNR.

    The bottomline is that Ukraine was not subjected to war in Donbass, the Kiev regime chooses to fight a war on its pro-Russian regions, when the alternative is a political compromise, that would give pro-Russians a seat at table, and some influence over the country’s politics.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    Pure fantasy and Russian troll like logic! If Putin doesn't seek war and conquest in Ukraine, why did he invade it and incorporate the Crimea so quickly? A plebiscite so soon after an invasion at the point of the barrel of a gun is no way to express oneself as a good and peaceful neighbor. It's common knowledge that if Putin were to stop his support for the war in Donbas, it would cease immediately. Ukraine chooses to fight a war in its Eastern provinces to mitigate its spread further west. By these parameters it's doing a quite decent job as the Russian backed war machine in Donbas has only managed to subjugate half of the Donbas region (after three years of fighting).
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  • ‘Just look at the Ukraine.’

    It would be more accurate to judge the situation in Ukraine,if it weren’t subjected to maintaining a war in the East geared against Russian aggression. It’s common knowledge that Putin is using war and conquest to help solidify his popularity among a mass of doting Russian subjects. He has little else that is ‘positive’ these days to show the masses of his accomplishments, so war and conquest is on the menu. By pursuing war in Ukraine Putin accomplishes two things. He bolsters his own image at home and he is able to keep a toehold in Ukraine,making sure that its economy doesn’t improve and possibly even outstrip the Russian one. How long will this keep up, who knows?

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    You are not making any sense at all! Putin doesn't seek war and conquest of Ukraine. His plan was originally to levegare pro-Russian sentiment in the South-East to force Kiev into political reforms ("federalisation"). But the new regime in Kiev had none of that: they launched so-called "ATO (anti-terrorist operation)" to supress pro-Russian activists. Only when the regime began shelling cities with heavy artillery is when Putin made a decision to intervene.

    Misnk agreement was an olive branch extented by Putin to Kiev regime. Ukraine was supposed to gain control of its broder, but only after political reform in Ukraine, granting a special status to the LDNR, which presumably included veto powers over Ukraine's foreign policy. Ukrainian regime used the ceasefire to rearm, and since then they just demand that Russia gives them control of the border. There has been zero progress on special status for LDNR.

    The bottomline is that Ukraine was not subjected to war in Donbass, the Kiev regime chooses to fight a war on its pro-Russian regions, when the alternative is a political compromise, that would give pro-Russians a seat at table, and some influence over the country's politics.

    , @Anatoly Karlin

    It would be more accurate to judge the situation in Ukraine,if it weren’t subjected to maintaining a war in the East geared against Russian aggression.
     
    If there had been true Russian aggression, Ukraine would have ceased to exist in 2014.

    But regardless, you seem to be ducking out of addressing why Ukraine saw no or negligible improvements in corruption in 2004-2010, when "Orange" forces held sway as now, with no (Russian) Man keeping them down.

    He bolsters his own image at home and he is able to keep a toehold in Ukraine,making sure that its economy doesn’t improve and possibly even outstrip the Russian one.
     
    Considering that the differential between Russian and Ukrainian GDP per capita is 5x in nominal terms, and 3x in PPP-adjusted ones, that will take a couple of decades even if you were to indefinitely freeze Russia at its current levels while giving Ukraine East Asian tiger-like growth rates.
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  • Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Other parties appear less corrupt than the UR primarily because they have less opportunities to be corrupt.

     

    It;s too bad that the current system is all geared towards propping Putin up to remain in power. The other parties deserve a fairer playing field so that once in power, there governance could be
    objectively weighed. As it is now, there is really only one political party running the show in Russia and even its supporters (including Karlin) are relegated to having to admit that it is full of corruption. Real competition is good for ferreting out the crap. Trump offered a completely different vision for America than what the Democratic party was offering - now we'll be able to judge his actions and not his rhetoric and see how it will work over the next four years.

    It;s too bad that the current system is all geared towards propping the Russian elite up to remain in power.

    FIFY

    Replace Russian with American, and you get the situation in America.

    Real competition is good for ferreting out the crap.

    Competition between two corrupt sides does not lessen it.
    Just look at the Ukraine.
    If you want to lessen corruption, change society, don’t rely on the illusion of choice.

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  • @Anonymous

    I don’t see why it’s wrong to call Putin’s party the ‘Party of Crooks and Thieves’, because that’s precisely what it is. Even Anatoly has confirmed this here at this thread by stating:
     
    it’s right to call Putin’s party the ‘Party of Crooks and Thieves’. But all party in the world is ‘Party of Crooks and Thieves’.

    There are two exeption - two party of honest, not corrupt idealists. It is Lenin Bolshevik Party and ISIS

    There are two exeption – two party of honest, not corrupt idealists. It is Lenin Bolshevik Party and ISIS

    It’s too bad for folks of your ilk that the current leader of Russia decided to betray his interests and membership in the Communist party and instead helped create a new one called ‘United Russia’ which I euphemistically refer to as the ‘Party of Crooks and Thieves’. I guess Putin figured out that it was more profitable for himself personally to sever his allegiance to a party that ostensibly stood for improving the lot of the common man, to one devoted to helping improve his own personal standing, that has indeed made him a very wealthy man. Filling your own pocket at the espense of the masses (corruption) is more profitable that living on a bureaucrat’s salary! :-)

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  • @Anon

    I don’t see why it’s wrong to call Putin’s party the ‘Party of Crooks and Thieves’
     
    It implies that politicians from other parties are not crooks and thieves which is not true.
    The recently assassinated Voronenkov was a CPRF MP.
    Navalny himself took advantage of his position as advisor of the governor of Kirov who was a member of the Union of Right Forces party and corrupt as well.
    Other parties appear less corrupt than the UR primarily because they have less opportunities to be corrupt.

    Other parties appear less corrupt than the UR primarily because they have less opportunities to be corrupt.

    It;s too bad that the current system is all geared towards propping Putin up to remain in power. The other parties deserve a fairer playing field so that once in power, there governance could be
    objectively weighed. As it is now, there is really only one political party running the show in Russia and even its supporters (including Karlin) are relegated to having to admit that it is full of corruption. Real competition is good for ferreting out the crap. Trump offered a completely different vision for America than what the Democratic party was offering – now we’ll be able to judge his actions and not his rhetoric and see how it will work over the next four years.

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    • Replies: @Anon

    It;s too bad that the current system is all geared towards propping the Russian elite up to remain in power.
     
    FIFY

    Replace Russian with American, and you get the situation in America.


    Real competition is good for ferreting out the crap.
     
    Competition between two corrupt sides does not lessen it.
    Just look at the Ukraine.
    If you want to lessen corruption, change society, don't rely on the illusion of choice.
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  • @Anatoly Karlin

    Just an organic Russian road to more freedoms and the right of people to assemble and to form political parties that might be in opposition to the current crowd of ‘Crooks and Thieves’.
     
    Well, that is allowed.

    The Moscow protesters were offered a couple of alternative venue. They wanted the more central location. That is right, but then it is also the police's right to disperse them. As happens to unauthorized protests in most Western countries too, and sometimes with considerably more police violence.

    There are 75 registered parties in Russia: http://minjust.ru/ru/nko/gosreg/partii/spisok.
    Nobody is stopping you from doing that.

    Navalny may not be a saint, but why shut him down just because he offers a legitimate alternative to the Dark Lord?
     
    Where, exactly, did I support shutting him down? My main (though old) article largely made the opposite case.

    Why is that?
     
    As I already explained quite a few times, because I am skeptical the people around Navalny or Khodorkosky have the capability to effect positive change, considering: (1) The long standing and long-rooted nature of corruption in Russia, under many different forms of government; (2) The failure of Ukraine's experiments, twice over; (3) The dubious nature of the people around Navalny himself (just one example of many: Navalny's friend Belykh, whose corruption Navalny rationalized as Kremlin persecution).

    Because of your apparent brand of pessimism it looks like noone alive in Russia today is able to offer a political vision that allows Russia to prosper along more democratic lines. Putin and his corrupt system is all that there is, and it looks like most of the readers here,including you, are content to continue supporting the status quo (pimping Putin to the Western world)…Sad, dishonest and boring. :-(

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    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Maybe that's all there is. Reality can be boring.
    , @LondonBob
    No one or no-one, Noone is an Irish surname.
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  • With a bit less than a year left to Russia's Presidential elections in 2018, the general contours of this cycle's protest movement against Putin are already coalescing. Alexey Navalny has called a march for tomorrow along Tverskaya Street, a central boulevard that leads to the Kremlin. The Moscow mayoralty refused to allow it, and Navalny...
  • @Boris N

    Navalny’s program of prostituting Russia to the West simply doesn’t cut it for a majority of Russians.
     
    Navanly is an ethnic Ukrainian*, so he thinks Ukrainian.

    *Not fully, his mother is Russian, but he openly said he is rather Ukrainian (citation: "Я наверное, больше украинец по своим каким-то корням и генетике" = "I am probably rather Ukrainian by origin and genetics").

    “Я наверное, больше украинец по своим каким-то корням и генетике”

    God. What an idiot! Russian government need to hire trolls to promote this line on social networks – teenagers will stop supporting him.

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  • In an infamous 2008 article, Alexander Dugin makes the distinction between "patriotic corruption" and "comprador corruption," or "Eurasian corruption" and "Atlanticist corruption." Here are the main features of "Eurasian" (patriotic) corruption: Doesn't damage Russia's national security; Concentrates the proceeds of corruption on Russian territory, or that of allied or strategically important countries; Doesn't put the...
  • @Boris N

    Navalny is pro-Ukrainian.
     
    So is the Kremlin. And the Kremlin have done million times more favors to Ukraine than Navalny might have ever done, right now he just says stupid words. It is like who is more dangerous: a blabbing fool or a silent plotter.

    But don't take my words as a claim Navalny being any better. He is flesh and blood of the regime. An official "opposition" clown of the Kremlin. This is his role: to convince everybody the alternative is worse.

    There is a difference between believing in old Soviet propaganda about “brotherly peoples” and actually embracing Ukrainian nationalists like Navalny does. One is a honest delusion, another is treason. I’m personally offended by Navalny rhetoric on Crimea:

    “Что сделать с Крымом теперь, когда там все получили российские паспорта?” – implying that he would love to shove it back into Ukraine, but the public opinion won’t let him. What a low-life, YUCK.

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    • Replies: @Boris N
    Indeed, there is a difference, Navalny does it only verbally, while the Kremlin has been helping Ukraine materially, often at the expense of Russia itself and the Russian people. How is it difficult to understand that the main Ukrainian nationalists have been in the Kremlin? Russia is the biggest investor to Ukraine and its biggest creditor (through the IMF). The post-Soviet Russian state has never ever questioned the credibility of the existence of Ukraine and the Ukrainian nation independent from Russians. The "brotherly nations" rhetoric is nothing but a Soviet mumbo jumbo, a fig leaf for the Soviet support of non-Russian nationalisms.
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  • With a bit less than a year left to Russia's Presidential elections in 2018, the general contours of this cycle's protest movement against Putin are already coalescing. Alexey Navalny has called a march for tomorrow along Tverskaya Street, a central boulevard that leads to the Kremlin. The Moscow mayoralty refused to allow it, and Navalny...
  • @JL
    Communists and LDPR, even more despicable!

    Not according to NYT, WP, Guardian and who not, who organized a propaganda media campaign in the West during 2011-2012. They must’ve been Commies undercover. McCarthy’s cause was never finished!

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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    The main way Russian electoral fraud works is not by reassigning votes from KPRF to ER or whatever, but by directly adding fictitious votes to ER (hence the close correlation between turnout and percentage of the vote for ER across polling stations in those regions where fraud is happening).

    Since KPRF is usually the best performing opposition party it does typically suffer most in absolute terms, but not in relative ones.

    But the result is the same anyway: the Commies get more seats.

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  • In an infamous 2008 article, Alexander Dugin makes the distinction between "patriotic corruption" and "comprador corruption," or "Eurasian corruption" and "Atlanticist corruption." Here are the main features of "Eurasian" (patriotic) corruption: Doesn't damage Russia's national security; Concentrates the proceeds of corruption on Russian territory, or that of allied or strategically important countries; Doesn't put the...
  • @Felix Keverich
    Navalny is pro-Ukrainian. That's a good reason to shut him down. ;)

    Besides, it's not like he has anything important or interesting to say: no practical solutions to the problem of corruption, he is just using this topic to de-legitimise the regime. Navalny is a demagogue. People like this are dangerous.

    Navalny is pro-Ukrainian.

    So is the Kremlin. And the Kremlin have done million times more favors to Ukraine than Navalny might have ever done, right now he just says stupid words. It is like who is more dangerous: a blabbing fool or a silent plotter.

    But don’t take my words as a claim Navalny being any better. He is flesh and blood of the regime. An official “opposition” clown of the Kremlin. This is his role: to convince everybody the alternative is worse.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    There is a difference between believing in old Soviet propaganda about "brotherly peoples" and actually embracing Ukrainian nationalists like Navalny does. One is a honest delusion, another is treason. I'm personally offended by Navalny rhetoric on Crimea:

    "Что сделать с Крымом теперь, когда там все получили российские паспорта?" - implying that he would love to shove it back into Ukraine, but the public opinion won't let him. What a low-life, YUCK.
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  • How obvious does a parody troll have to be, if calling yourself Mr. Hack and throttling your bishop to the fight against corruption is not obvious enough.

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  • @Mr. Hack
    I don't see why it's wrong to call Putin's party the 'Party of Crooks and Thieves', because that's precisely what it is. Even Anatoly has confirmed this here at this thread by stating:

    ' the Russian ruling clique has a common interest in regulating corruption. Those who overstep the bounds of what is permissible, e.g. by practicing “compador” corruption, such as United Russia MP Vladimir Pekhtin with his Florida waterfront condo; or who end up stealing far too much for their station, such as the former head of Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin and former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, are quietly dismissed.
     
    What I hear here is the exact type of formula set by mafia type groupings throughout the world. In this instance, the Godfather, Putin, sets the parameters of what's permissible to steal, and what is not. This is not the type of governance that leads to anything good, anything sane. Defending this type of governance is pure nonsense of the highest order, and points to the utter lack of moral conviction by anyone who holds dear to it.
    '

    That’s certainly a nice list of Russophobic myths. I’m pretty sure 99.9% of anti-Putin/liberal journalists are very much alive and many (most?) of the killed journalists were not even against the Dark Lord. The numbers are nothing out of the ordinary, journalists are killed in other countries too. You could read this: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/trump-right-on-putin/

    Anatoly, years ago you argued numerous times how it’s reasonably likely that the Russian corruption is actually not that bad and quite similar to many Central European and other middle income countries around the world. Have you changed your mind?

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  • @Mr. Hack
    I don't see why it's wrong to call Putin's party the 'Party of Crooks and Thieves', because that's precisely what it is. Even Anatoly has confirmed this here at this thread by stating:

    ' the Russian ruling clique has a common interest in regulating corruption. Those who overstep the bounds of what is permissible, e.g. by practicing “compador” corruption, such as United Russia MP Vladimir Pekhtin with his Florida waterfront condo; or who end up stealing far too much for their station, such as the former head of Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin and former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, are quietly dismissed.
     
    What I hear here is the exact type of formula set by mafia type groupings throughout the world. In this instance, the Godfather, Putin, sets the parameters of what's permissible to steal, and what is not. This is not the type of governance that leads to anything good, anything sane. Defending this type of governance is pure nonsense of the highest order, and points to the utter lack of moral conviction by anyone who holds dear to it.
    '

    What I hear here is the exact type of formula set by mafia type groupings throughout the world.

    What your hear here is the exact type of formula set by all states throughout the world. Exception? May be ISIS

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Mr. Hack
    I don't see why it's wrong to call Putin's party the 'Party of Crooks and Thieves', because that's precisely what it is. Even Anatoly has confirmed this here at this thread by stating:

    ' the Russian ruling clique has a common interest in regulating corruption. Those who overstep the bounds of what is permissible, e.g. by practicing “compador” corruption, such as United Russia MP Vladimir Pekhtin with his Florida waterfront condo; or who end up stealing far too much for their station, such as the former head of Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin and former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, are quietly dismissed.
     
    What I hear here is the exact type of formula set by mafia type groupings throughout the world. In this instance, the Godfather, Putin, sets the parameters of what's permissible to steal, and what is not. This is not the type of governance that leads to anything good, anything sane. Defending this type of governance is pure nonsense of the highest order, and points to the utter lack of moral conviction by anyone who holds dear to it.
    '

    I don’t see why it’s wrong to call Putin’s party the ‘Party of Crooks and Thieves’, because that’s precisely what it is. Even Anatoly has confirmed this here at this thread by stating:

    it’s right to call Putin’s party the ‘Party of Crooks and Thieves’. But all party in the world is ‘Party of Crooks and Thieves’.

    There are two exeption – two party of honest, not corrupt idealists. It is Lenin Bolshevik Party and ISIS

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    • Replies: @Mr. Hack

    There are two exeption – two party of honest, not corrupt idealists. It is Lenin Bolshevik Party and ISIS
     
    It's too bad for folks of your ilk that the current leader of Russia decided to betray his interests and membership in the Communist party and instead helped create a new one called 'United Russia' which I euphemistically refer to as the 'Party of Crooks and Thieves'. I guess Putin figured out that it was more profitable for himself personally to sever his allegiance to a party that ostensibly stood for improving the lot of the common man, to one devoted to helping improve his own personal standing, that has indeed made him a very wealthy man. Filling your own pocket at the espense of the masses (corruption) is more profitable that living on a bureaucrat's salary! :-)
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  • isn’t the FED/ECB giving money (quiet literally) to the first in the inflation chain (elites) morally the same as a state bank giving a direct loan (to an elite)? i would even argue that the slow money dilution of the westerners is more nefarious bc. it cannot be easily fixed and there is no direct responsibility.
    not even talking about defense contractors which is pure tax payer ripoff, or the silicon valley bunch who are second in line in the chain for the funny money.

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  • @Anon

    I don’t see why it’s wrong to call Putin’s party the ‘Party of Crooks and Thieves’
     
    It implies that politicians from other parties are not crooks and thieves which is not true.
    The recently assassinated Voronenkov was a CPRF MP.
    Navalny himself took advantage of his position as advisor of the governor of Kirov who was a member of the Union of Right Forces party and corrupt as well.
    Other parties appear less corrupt than the UR primarily because they have less opportunities to be corrupt.

    The classic example: Kasyanov, aka “Misha 2%” as he was known in the Yeltsin government (for the size of his levy).

    Has a respectable estate on Rublevka despite having only ever worked in government and/or political roles.

    Made leader of the democratic opposition in December 2015.

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    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    Exposure of Kasyanov was a very crude case of selective justice. It was part of the replacement of the almost entire government by siloviki. His departure made Medvedev's arrival possible.

    I am sure that the siloviki were acting specifically against corruption and so justified their putsch, subsequently endorsed by electoral victory. And since that time, there have been numerous more or less successful anticorruption measures. This is indeed, Putin's real contribution to Russia. Riding the oil boom without going completely Nigerian is part of the anticorruption perspective. No economic brilliance from Putin there nor to be fair, major foul ups.
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  • @Glossy
    Another thing: the liberal claim of being for freedoms and the right to assembly is false. Yeltsin ordered tanks to shoot at the Russian parliament building, killing hundreds inside. The Kiev junta has banned many kinds of speech. It put up billboards which ask people to rat on each other to the secret police for inappropriate PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS. There are actual phone numbers on the billboards which citizens are supposed to call.

    A "liberal" regime in Russia would be less liberal than the current one, meaning that there would be fewer freedoms.

    I agree with this.

    After a Russian Maidan, the legal situation will no doubt become better for people who want to play Pokemon Go in churches. On the other hand, I am going to bet that Kholmogorov is going to vanish quite quickly from Komsomolskaya Pravda’s op-ed pages, and am not excluding the possibility of websites like SiP and ROG-pravo being banned for hate speech and their contributors legally pursued.

    Since Russian liberalism (like Ukrainian svidomism) is primarily a Western cargo cult, it is probable that they will simply just rush to adopt all the shittiest aspects of Western globalism, such as SJWism, but without, say, America’s respect for and legal enshrinement of freedom of speech to hold them back.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Hack

    Since Russian liberalism (like Ukrainian svidomism) is primarily a Western cargo cult, it is probable that they will simply just rush to adopt all the shittiest aspects of Western globalism, such as SJWism, but without, say, America’s respect for and legal enshrinement of freedom of speech to hold them back.


     

    I'll have to kindly disagree with you here. It may be the case that Russian liberalism takes on more of this sort of alignment, but Ukrainian 'svidomism', I think not. If you equate 'svidomism' with extreme right wing views (as I think that you do), then maybe you're right, but as this is such a small percentage of the whole Ukrainian population it's really an incorrect view. As most Ukrainians have just a healthy self respect for their own nationality, a sense of local patriotism, I think that Ukrainian self awareness is more than just a passing 'cargo cult' phenomena. Unfortunately, the Russian aggression against Ukraine has polarized society more into an anti-Russian conformity and has encouraged an environment less open to freedom of speech. Hopefully, Russian aggression will cease and things will get back to a more normal footing.
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  • @Mr. Hack
    But you haven't really answered my question, at all (looks like you're trying to duck it). Going to bat for a corrupt Russia elite, starting at the very top and moving down, doesn't sound like an antidote for fighting corruption! Nobody (least of all me) has brought up a 'Western Maidan' scenario to be the correct path for Russia. Just an organic Russian road to more freedoms and the right of people to assemble and to form political parties that might be in opposition to the current crowd of 'Crooks and Thieves'. Not the phony bologna 'technical' parties that may already exist to help bolster the current regime's image of being democratic and pluralistic. Navalny may not be a saint, but why shut him down just because he offers a legitimate alternative to the Dark Lord? You seem to admit that there's a lot of corruption going on in Russia today, yet you seem complacent to go along with the current situation, unable to see anything better down the road. Why is that?

    Just an organic Russian road to more freedoms and the right of people to assemble and to form political parties that might be in opposition to the current crowd of ‘Crooks and Thieves’.

    Well, that is allowed.

    The Moscow protesters were offered a couple of alternative venue. They wanted the more central location. That is right, but then it is also the police’s right to disperse them. As happens to unauthorized protests in most Western countries too, and sometimes with considerably more police violence.

    There are 75 registered parties in Russia: http://minjust.ru/ru/nko/gosreg/partii/spisok.
    Nobody is stopping you from doing that.

    Navalny may not be a saint, but why shut him down just because he offers a legitimate alternative to the Dark Lord?

    Where, exactly, did I support shutting him down? My main (though old) article largely made the opposite case.

    Why is that?

    As I already explained quite a few times, because I am skeptical the people around Navalny or Khodorkosky have the capability to effect positive change, considering: (1) The long standing and long-rooted nature of corruption in Russia, under many different forms of government; (2) The failure of Ukraine’s experiments, twice over; (3) The dubious nature of the people around Navalny himself (just one example of many: Navalny’s friend Belykh, whose corruption Navalny rationalized as Kremlin persecution).

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    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    Because of your apparent brand of pessimism it looks like noone alive in Russia today is able to offer a political vision that allows Russia to prosper along more democratic lines. Putin and his corrupt system is all that there is, and it looks like most of the readers here,including you, are content to continue supporting the status quo (pimping Putin to the Western world)...Sad, dishonest and boring. :-(
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  • Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Mr. Hack
    I don't see why it's wrong to call Putin's party the 'Party of Crooks and Thieves', because that's precisely what it is. Even Anatoly has confirmed this here at this thread by stating:

    ' the Russian ruling clique has a common interest in regulating corruption. Those who overstep the bounds of what is permissible, e.g. by practicing “compador” corruption, such as United Russia MP Vladimir Pekhtin with his Florida waterfront condo; or who end up stealing far too much for their station, such as the former head of Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin and former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, are quietly dismissed.
     
    What I hear here is the exact type of formula set by mafia type groupings throughout the world. In this instance, the Godfather, Putin, sets the parameters of what's permissible to steal, and what is not. This is not the type of governance that leads to anything good, anything sane. Defending this type of governance is pure nonsense of the highest order, and points to the utter lack of moral conviction by anyone who holds dear to it.
    '

    I don’t see why it’s wrong to call Putin’s party the ‘Party of Crooks and Thieves’

    It implies that politicians from other parties are not crooks and thieves which is not true.
    The recently assassinated Voronenkov was a CPRF MP.
    Navalny himself took advantage of his position as advisor of the governor of Kirov who was a member of the Union of Right Forces party and corrupt as well.
    Other parties appear less corrupt than the UR primarily because they have less opportunities to be corrupt.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    The classic example: Kasyanov, aka "Misha 2%" as he was known in the Yeltsin government (for the size of his levy).

    Has a respectable estate on Rublevka despite having only ever worked in government and/or political roles.

    Made leader of the democratic opposition in December 2015.
    , @Mr. Hack

    Other parties appear less corrupt than the UR primarily because they have less opportunities to be corrupt.

     

    It;s too bad that the current system is all geared towards propping Putin up to remain in power. The other parties deserve a fairer playing field so that once in power, there governance could be
    objectively weighed. As it is now, there is really only one political party running the show in Russia and even its supporters (including Karlin) are relegated to having to admit that it is full of corruption. Real competition is good for ferreting out the crap. Trump offered a completely different vision for America than what the Democratic party was offering - now we'll be able to judge his actions and not his rhetoric and see how it will work over the next four years.
    , @dfordoom

    It implies that politicians from other parties are not crooks and thieves which is not true.
     
    All politicians from all political parties in every country are crooks and thieves. That's what democracy is all about. Democracy is the buying and selling of political favours. It's prostitution.
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  • Who’s to really say that Navalny would be any worse than Putin? His proclivities for corrupt dealings seem far and few between whereas Putin, the ‘Dark Lord’ as you label him has earned his infamous epitaph. Being behind so many killings of journalists is only one facet of his multifarious career as an ‘ex’ KGB officer.

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  • @Mr. Hack
    I don't see why it's wrong to call Putin's party the 'Party of Crooks and Thieves', because that's precisely what it is. Even Anatoly has confirmed this here at this thread by stating:

    ' the Russian ruling clique has a common interest in regulating corruption. Those who overstep the bounds of what is permissible, e.g. by practicing “compador” corruption, such as United Russia MP Vladimir Pekhtin with his Florida waterfront condo; or who end up stealing far too much for their station, such as the former head of Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin and former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, are quietly dismissed.
     
    What I hear here is the exact type of formula set by mafia type groupings throughout the world. In this instance, the Godfather, Putin, sets the parameters of what's permissible to steal, and what is not. This is not the type of governance that leads to anything good, anything sane. Defending this type of governance is pure nonsense of the highest order, and points to the utter lack of moral conviction by anyone who holds dear to it.
    '

    So you’re pimping Navalny, who not only is not a legitimate alternative to Putin, but would be an even darker Dark Lord, and you’re accusing others of a lack of moral conviction?

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  • @5371
    This is an unpopular view, but it may be correct. Things seemed to start moving with Serdyukov as they had never done with Sergey Ivanov.

    I know very little of these matters, but it seemed to me significant that Serdyukov was pardoned right after the Crimean operation. Perhaps it was an act of gratitude, acknowledging that reforms he began led to such success there?

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    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    Quite so. At the time of Georgia, the army was still a soviet shambles little better than Ukraine's.
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  • @Glossy
    "and the right of people to assemble and to form political parties that might be in opposition to the current crowd of ‘Crooks and Thieves’

    The kind of people who use the phrase "Crooks and Thieves" are more corrupt than Putin, Medvedev and co. They (i.e. liberals, "pro-Westerners", etc.) proved that in the 1990s and more recently in the Ukraine. Anatoly said the same thing, but you're so wrong-headed that you deserve some repetition.

    Criticism of Medvedev's corruption from people who don't use phrases like "Crooks and Thieves" and who don't praise Navalny has the potential to be valid. Criticism from people who do use such phrases and who side with the liberal opposition is hypocritical BS. It's not even a pot calling a kettle black because these people are clearly worse.

    I don’t see why it’s wrong to call Putin’s party the ‘Party of Crooks and Thieves’, because that’s precisely what it is. Even Anatoly has confirmed this here at this thread by stating:

    ‘ the Russian ruling clique has a common interest in regulating corruption. Those who overstep the bounds of what is permissible, e.g. by practicing “compador” corruption, such as United Russia MP Vladimir Pekhtin with his Florida waterfront condo; or who end up stealing far too much for their station, such as the former head of Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin and former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, are quietly dismissed.

    What I hear here is the exact type of formula set by mafia type groupings throughout the world. In this instance, the Godfather, Putin, sets the parameters of what’s permissible to steal, and what is not. This is not the type of governance that leads to anything good, anything sane. Defending this type of governance is pure nonsense of the highest order, and points to the utter lack of moral conviction by anyone who holds dear to it.

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    • Replies: @JL
    So you're pimping Navalny, who not only is not a legitimate alternative to Putin, but would be an even darker Dark Lord, and you're accusing others of a lack of moral conviction?
    , @Anon

    I don’t see why it’s wrong to call Putin’s party the ‘Party of Crooks and Thieves’
     
    It implies that politicians from other parties are not crooks and thieves which is not true.
    The recently assassinated Voronenkov was a CPRF MP.
    Navalny himself took advantage of his position as advisor of the governor of Kirov who was a member of the Union of Right Forces party and corrupt as well.
    Other parties appear less corrupt than the UR primarily because they have less opportunities to be corrupt.
    , @Anonymous

    I don’t see why it’s wrong to call Putin’s party the ‘Party of Crooks and Thieves’, because that’s precisely what it is. Even Anatoly has confirmed this here at this thread by stating:
     
    it’s right to call Putin’s party the ‘Party of Crooks and Thieves’. But all party in the world is ‘Party of Crooks and Thieves’.

    There are two exeption - two party of honest, not corrupt idealists. It is Lenin Bolshevik Party and ISIS
    , @melanf

    What I hear here is the exact type of formula set by mafia type groupings throughout the world.
     
    What your hear here is the exact type of formula set by all states throughout the world. Exception? May be ISIS
    , @Kimppis
    That's certainly a nice list of Russophobic myths. I'm pretty sure 99.9% of anti-Putin/liberal journalists are very much alive and many (most?) of the killed journalists were not even against the Dark Lord. The numbers are nothing out of the ordinary, journalists are killed in other countries too. You could read this: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/trump-right-on-putin/

    Anatoly, years ago you argued numerous times how it's reasonably likely that the Russian corruption is actually not that bad and quite similar to many Central European and other middle income countries around the world. Have you changed your mind?

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  • @melanf

    or who end up stealing far too much for their station, such as … former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.
     
    Serdyukov very much reduced corruption in the Army (and greatly raised the quality of army). While Serdyukov has aroused very strong hatred of the military (which was forced to make a fare work instead of stealing and drinking vodka). This was the reason for dismissal Serdyukov (after he reformed the army), rather than his own corruptive actions

    This is an unpopular view, but it may be correct. Things seemed to start moving with Serdyukov as they had never done with Sergey Ivanov.

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    • Replies: @JL
    I know very little of these matters, but it seemed to me significant that Serdyukov was pardoned right after the Crimean operation. Perhaps it was an act of gratitude, acknowledging that reforms he began led to such success there?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • or who end up stealing far too much for their station, such as … former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.

    Serdyukov very much reduced corruption in the Army (and greatly raised the quality of army). While Serdyukov has aroused very strong hatred of the military (which was forced to make a fare work instead of stealing and drinking vodka). This was the reason for dismissal Serdyukov (after he reformed the army), rather than his own corruptive actions

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    • Replies: @5371
    This is an unpopular view, but it may be correct. Things seemed to start moving with Serdyukov as they had never done with Sergey Ivanov.
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  • @Mr. Hack
    But you haven't really answered my question, at all (looks like you're trying to duck it). Going to bat for a corrupt Russia elite, starting at the very top and moving down, doesn't sound like an antidote for fighting corruption! Nobody (least of all me) has brought up a 'Western Maidan' scenario to be the correct path for Russia. Just an organic Russian road to more freedoms and the right of people to assemble and to form political parties that might be in opposition to the current crowd of 'Crooks and Thieves'. Not the phony bologna 'technical' parties that may already exist to help bolster the current regime's image of being democratic and pluralistic. Navalny may not be a saint, but why shut him down just because he offers a legitimate alternative to the Dark Lord? You seem to admit that there's a lot of corruption going on in Russia today, yet you seem complacent to go along with the current situation, unable to see anything better down the road. Why is that?

    Another thing: the liberal claim of being for freedoms and the right to assembly is false. Yeltsin ordered tanks to shoot at the Russian parliament building, killing hundreds inside. The Kiev junta has banned many kinds of speech. It put up billboards which ask people to rat on each other to the secret police for inappropriate PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS. There are actual phone numbers on the billboards which citizens are supposed to call.

    A “liberal” regime in Russia would be less liberal than the current one, meaning that there would be fewer freedoms.

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    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I agree with this.

    After a Russian Maidan, the legal situation will no doubt become better for people who want to play Pokemon Go in churches. On the other hand, I am going to bet that Kholmogorov is going to vanish quite quickly from Komsomolskaya Pravda's op-ed pages, and am not excluding the possibility of websites like SiP and ROG-pravo being banned for hate speech and their contributors legally pursued.

    Since Russian liberalism (like Ukrainian svidomism) is primarily a Western cargo cult, it is probable that they will simply just rush to adopt all the shittiest aspects of Western globalism, such as SJWism, but without, say, America's respect for and legal enshrinement of freedom of speech to hold them back.
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  • @Mr. Hack
    But you haven't really answered my question, at all (looks like you're trying to duck it). Going to bat for a corrupt Russia elite, starting at the very top and moving down, doesn't sound like an antidote for fighting corruption! Nobody (least of all me) has brought up a 'Western Maidan' scenario to be the correct path for Russia. Just an organic Russian road to more freedoms and the right of people to assemble and to form political parties that might be in opposition to the current crowd of 'Crooks and Thieves'. Not the phony bologna 'technical' parties that may already exist to help bolster the current regime's image of being democratic and pluralistic. Navalny may not be a saint, but why shut him down just because he offers a legitimate alternative to the Dark Lord? You seem to admit that there's a lot of corruption going on in Russia today, yet you seem complacent to go along with the current situation, unable to see anything better down the road. Why is that?

    “and the right of people to assemble and to form political parties that might be in opposition to the current crowd of ‘Crooks and Thieves’

    The kind of people who use the phrase “Crooks and Thieves” are more corrupt than Putin, Medvedev and co. They (i.e. liberals, “pro-Westerners”, etc.) proved that in the 1990s and more recently in the Ukraine. Anatoly said the same thing, but you’re so wrong-headed that you deserve some repetition.

    Criticism of Medvedev’s corruption from people who don’t use phrases like “Crooks and Thieves” and who don’t praise Navalny has the potential to be valid. Criticism from people who do use such phrases and who side with the liberal opposition is hypocritical BS. It’s not even a pot calling a kettle black because these people are clearly worse.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    I don't see why it's wrong to call Putin's party the 'Party of Crooks and Thieves', because that's precisely what it is. Even Anatoly has confirmed this here at this thread by stating:

    ' the Russian ruling clique has a common interest in regulating corruption. Those who overstep the bounds of what is permissible, e.g. by practicing “compador” corruption, such as United Russia MP Vladimir Pekhtin with his Florida waterfront condo; or who end up stealing far too much for their station, such as the former head of Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin and former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, are quietly dismissed.
     
    What I hear here is the exact type of formula set by mafia type groupings throughout the world. In this instance, the Godfather, Putin, sets the parameters of what's permissible to steal, and what is not. This is not the type of governance that leads to anything good, anything sane. Defending this type of governance is pure nonsense of the highest order, and points to the utter lack of moral conviction by anyone who holds dear to it.
    '
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  • @Mr. Hack
    But you haven't really answered my question, at all (looks like you're trying to duck it). Going to bat for a corrupt Russia elite, starting at the very top and moving down, doesn't sound like an antidote for fighting corruption! Nobody (least of all me) has brought up a 'Western Maidan' scenario to be the correct path for Russia. Just an organic Russian road to more freedoms and the right of people to assemble and to form political parties that might be in opposition to the current crowd of 'Crooks and Thieves'. Not the phony bologna 'technical' parties that may already exist to help bolster the current regime's image of being democratic and pluralistic. Navalny may not be a saint, but why shut him down just because he offers a legitimate alternative to the Dark Lord? You seem to admit that there's a lot of corruption going on in Russia today, yet you seem complacent to go along with the current situation, unable to see anything better down the road. Why is that?

    Nobody (least of all me) has brought up a ‘Western Maidan’ scenario to be the correct path for Russia.

    I am willing to bet a lot of money that a lot of people have such plans in private and lots are openly calling for this, and I don’t need to do a quick casual search to confirm this, there really is no way that the neocons and liberals (same thing really) would not be for this.

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  • @Mr. Hack
    But you haven't really answered my question, at all (looks like you're trying to duck it). Going to bat for a corrupt Russia elite, starting at the very top and moving down, doesn't sound like an antidote for fighting corruption! Nobody (least of all me) has brought up a 'Western Maidan' scenario to be the correct path for Russia. Just an organic Russian road to more freedoms and the right of people to assemble and to form political parties that might be in opposition to the current crowd of 'Crooks and Thieves'. Not the phony bologna 'technical' parties that may already exist to help bolster the current regime's image of being democratic and pluralistic. Navalny may not be a saint, but why shut him down just because he offers a legitimate alternative to the Dark Lord? You seem to admit that there's a lot of corruption going on in Russia today, yet you seem complacent to go along with the current situation, unable to see anything better down the road. Why is that?

    Navalny is pro-Ukrainian. That’s a good reason to shut him down. ;)

    Besides, it’s not like he has anything important or interesting to say: no practical solutions to the problem of corruption, he is just using this topic to de-legitimise the regime. Navalny is a demagogue. People like this are dangerous.

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    • Replies: @Boris N

    Navalny is pro-Ukrainian.
     
    So is the Kremlin. And the Kremlin have done million times more favors to Ukraine than Navalny might have ever done, right now he just says stupid words. It is like who is more dangerous: a blabbing fool or a silent plotter.

    But don't take my words as a claim Navalny being any better. He is flesh and blood of the regime. An official "opposition" clown of the Kremlin. This is his role: to convince everybody the alternative is worse.
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  • @Mr. Hack

    'I am more interested in understanding how things work than pronouncing moral judgments'
     
    Oh, so am I. That's why I asked you:

    'Why somebody as intelligent as you, who is relegated to the unenviable position of ‘panhnadling’ for money goes to bat so loyally for a corrupt elite'

     

    You never really did explain 'how this works'? :-)

    AK: It's pretty simple, I would think. I assign a high probability to a pro-Western Maidan being disastrous for Russia, and I do not even think it will improve corruption (see Ukraine, twice; see the liberal opposition's own frequently demonstrated proclivities for corruption, which are limited only by their lack of power). Although many of my arguments about Russia are informed by these beliefs, I try to back them up with data and statistics, and apparently, some people are interested in reading them. That's all there is to it.

    But you haven’t really answered my question, at all (looks like you’re trying to duck it). Going to bat for a corrupt Russia elite, starting at the very top and moving down, doesn’t sound like an antidote for fighting corruption! Nobody (least of all me) has brought up a ‘Western Maidan’ scenario to be the correct path for Russia. Just an organic Russian road to more freedoms and the right of people to assemble and to form political parties that might be in opposition to the current crowd of ‘Crooks and Thieves’. Not the phony bologna ‘technical’ parties that may already exist to help bolster the current regime’s image of being democratic and pluralistic. Navalny may not be a saint, but why shut him down just because he offers a legitimate alternative to the Dark Lord? You seem to admit that there’s a lot of corruption going on in Russia today, yet you seem complacent to go along with the current situation, unable to see anything better down the road. Why is that?

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Navalny is pro-Ukrainian. That's a good reason to shut him down. ;)

    Besides, it's not like he has anything important or interesting to say: no practical solutions to the problem of corruption, he is just using this topic to de-legitimise the regime. Navalny is a demagogue. People like this are dangerous.

    , @neutral

    Nobody (least of all me) has brought up a ‘Western Maidan’ scenario to be the correct path for Russia.
     
    I am willing to bet a lot of money that a lot of people have such plans in private and lots are openly calling for this, and I don't need to do a quick casual search to confirm this, there really is no way that the neocons and liberals (same thing really) would not be for this.
    , @Glossy
    "and the right of people to assemble and to form political parties that might be in opposition to the current crowd of ‘Crooks and Thieves’

    The kind of people who use the phrase "Crooks and Thieves" are more corrupt than Putin, Medvedev and co. They (i.e. liberals, "pro-Westerners", etc.) proved that in the 1990s and more recently in the Ukraine. Anatoly said the same thing, but you're so wrong-headed that you deserve some repetition.

    Criticism of Medvedev's corruption from people who don't use phrases like "Crooks and Thieves" and who don't praise Navalny has the potential to be valid. Criticism from people who do use such phrases and who side with the liberal opposition is hypocritical BS. It's not even a pot calling a kettle black because these people are clearly worse.
    , @Glossy
    Another thing: the liberal claim of being for freedoms and the right to assembly is false. Yeltsin ordered tanks to shoot at the Russian parliament building, killing hundreds inside. The Kiev junta has banned many kinds of speech. It put up billboards which ask people to rat on each other to the secret police for inappropriate PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS. There are actual phone numbers on the billboards which citizens are supposed to call.

    A "liberal" regime in Russia would be less liberal than the current one, meaning that there would be fewer freedoms.
    , @Anatoly Karlin

    Just an organic Russian road to more freedoms and the right of people to assemble and to form political parties that might be in opposition to the current crowd of ‘Crooks and Thieves’.
     
    Well, that is allowed.

    The Moscow protesters were offered a couple of alternative venue. They wanted the more central location. That is right, but then it is also the police's right to disperse them. As happens to unauthorized protests in most Western countries too, and sometimes with considerably more police violence.

    There are 75 registered parties in Russia: http://minjust.ru/ru/nko/gosreg/partii/spisok.
    Nobody is stopping you from doing that.

    Navalny may not be a saint, but why shut him down just because he offers a legitimate alternative to the Dark Lord?
     
    Where, exactly, did I support shutting him down? My main (though old) article largely made the opposite case.

    Why is that?
     
    As I already explained quite a few times, because I am skeptical the people around Navalny or Khodorkosky have the capability to effect positive change, considering: (1) The long standing and long-rooted nature of corruption in Russia, under many different forms of government; (2) The failure of Ukraine's experiments, twice over; (3) The dubious nature of the people around Navalny himself (just one example of many: Navalny's friend Belykh, whose corruption Navalny rationalized as Kremlin persecution).
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  • @neutral
    I have to ask this straight, when people use the word "Atlanticist" is that a more PC way of saying jews ?

    This sort of question is one of the great curses of our time. We in the West have to struggle to use terms to describe schools of thought or political factions because to give a label to a group of people is the first step on the slippery slope to Auschwitz. You cannot name others because that’s what Hitler did. It doesn’t help that many of our most powerful political players also belong to THE victim group that must always be talked about but never discussed.

    No, “Atlanticist” means what Karlin said it means.

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  • @neutral
    I have to ask this straight, when people use the word "Atlanticist" is that a more PC way of saying jews ?

    No, it means Westernist, pro-American (globalist), etc.

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  • I have to ask this straight, when people use the word “Atlanticist” is that a more PC way of saying jews ?

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    No, it means Westernist, pro-American (globalist), etc.
    , @Cagey Beast
    This sort of question is one of the great curses of our time. We in the West have to struggle to use terms to describe schools of thought or political factions because to give a label to a group of people is the first step on the slippery slope to Auschwitz. You cannot name others because that's what Hitler did. It doesn't help that many of our most powerful political players also belong to THE victim group that must always be talked about but never discussed.

    No, "Atlanticist" means what Karlin said it means.
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  • @Mr. Hack
    Look Anatoly, the bottom line is that 'corruption is corruption' and enriching oneself at the expense of the common man is just plain wrong, no matter where on this planet it takes place. Why somebody as intelligent as you, who is relegated to the unenviable position of 'panhnadling' for money goes to bat so loyally for a corrupt elite is beyond me?...Are you sure that a few crumbs from the table of some good natured oligarch doesn't somehow make its way to your small coffers?

    AK: ..."a few crumbs from the table of some good natured oligarch." Not from a Russian one at any rate, LOL! Anyhow, I am more interested in understanding how things work than pronouncing moral judgments (which is easy and what most people are doing anyway).

    ‘I am more interested in understanding how things work than pronouncing moral judgments’

    Oh, so am I. That’s why I asked you:

    ‘Why somebody as intelligent as you, who is relegated to the unenviable position of ‘panhnadling’ for money goes to bat so loyally for a corrupt elite’

    You never really did explain ‘how this works’? :-)

    AK: It’s pretty simple, I would think. I assign a high probability to a pro-Western Maidan being disastrous for Russia, and I do not even think it will improve corruption (see Ukraine, twice; see the liberal opposition’s own frequently demonstrated proclivities for corruption, which are limited only by their lack of power). Although many of my arguments about Russia are informed by these beliefs, I try to back them up with data and statistics, and apparently, some people are interested in reading them. That’s all there is to it.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    But you haven't really answered my question, at all (looks like you're trying to duck it). Going to bat for a corrupt Russia elite, starting at the very top and moving down, doesn't sound like an antidote for fighting corruption! Nobody (least of all me) has brought up a 'Western Maidan' scenario to be the correct path for Russia. Just an organic Russian road to more freedoms and the right of people to assemble and to form political parties that might be in opposition to the current crowd of 'Crooks and Thieves'. Not the phony bologna 'technical' parties that may already exist to help bolster the current regime's image of being democratic and pluralistic. Navalny may not be a saint, but why shut him down just because he offers a legitimate alternative to the Dark Lord? You seem to admit that there's a lot of corruption going on in Russia today, yet you seem complacent to go along with the current situation, unable to see anything better down the road. Why is that?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Look Anatoly, the bottom line is that ‘corruption is corruption’ and enriching oneself at the expense of the common man is just plain wrong, no matter where on this planet it takes place. Why somebody as intelligent as you, who is relegated to the unenviable position of ‘panhnadling’ for money goes to bat so loyally for a corrupt elite is beyond me?…Are you sure that a few crumbs from the table of some good natured oligarch doesn’t somehow make its way to your small coffers?

    AK: …”a few crumbs from the table of some good natured oligarch.” Not from a Russian one at any rate, LOL! Anyhow, I am more interested in understanding how things work than pronouncing moral judgments (which is easy and what most people are doing anyway).

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    • Agree: Philip Owen
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack

    'I am more interested in understanding how things work than pronouncing moral judgments'
     
    Oh, so am I. That's why I asked you:

    'Why somebody as intelligent as you, who is relegated to the unenviable position of ‘panhnadling’ for money goes to bat so loyally for a corrupt elite'

     

    You never really did explain 'how this works'? :-)

    AK: It's pretty simple, I would think. I assign a high probability to a pro-Western Maidan being disastrous for Russia, and I do not even think it will improve corruption (see Ukraine, twice; see the liberal opposition's own frequently demonstrated proclivities for corruption, which are limited only by their lack of power). Although many of my arguments about Russia are informed by these beliefs, I try to back them up with data and statistics, and apparently, some people are interested in reading them. That's all there is to it.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • With a bit less than a year left to Russia's Presidential elections in 2018, the general contours of this cycle's protest movement against Putin are already coalescing. Alexey Navalny has called a march for tomorrow along Tverskaya Street, a central boulevard that leads to the Kremlin. The Moscow mayoralty refused to allow it, and Navalny...
  • @Boris N

    one of the most detailed accounts of Russian electoral fraud in Russia.
     
    By the way, speaking about the frauds, it is always important to bear in mind that "ER" actually stole votes from the Communists. So most Western journalists, analysts, etc., who whine about the frauds (I do not mean you, don't worry) are actually supporting the bloody Communists! I wonder how many Western liberals are aware of that. Would they prefer more Communists in the current or previous Duma?

    The main way Russian electoral fraud works is not by reassigning votes from KPRF to ER or whatever, but by directly adding fictitious votes to ER (hence the close correlation between turnout and percentage of the vote for ER across polling stations in those regions where fraud is happening).

    Since KPRF is usually the best performing opposition party it does typically suffer most in absolute terms, but not in relative ones.

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    • Replies: @Boris N
    But the result is the same anyway: the Commies get more seats.
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  • @Boris N

    one of the most detailed accounts of Russian electoral fraud in Russia.
     
    By the way, speaking about the frauds, it is always important to bear in mind that "ER" actually stole votes from the Communists. So most Western journalists, analysts, etc., who whine about the frauds (I do not mean you, don't worry) are actually supporting the bloody Communists! I wonder how many Western liberals are aware of that. Would they prefer more Communists in the current or previous Duma?

    Communists and LDPR, even more despicable!

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    • Replies: @Boris N
    Not according to NYT, WP, Guardian and who not, who organized a propaganda media campaign in the West during 2011-2012. They must've been Commies undercover. McCarthy's cause was never finished!
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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    You are a very primitive person - indeed, a troll in the most direct sense of the word - who is either too stupid or too ideological to grasp the concept of nuance in political analysis.

    Absolutely nothing in this post conflicts with the main corpus of my work, which contains one of the most detailed accounts of Russian electoral fraud in Russia.

    As there, I am decidedly uninterested in discussing anything with you (read: Replying to your loaded questions). Go bark at The Kremlin Stooge, or whatever.

    PS. Just a reminder that I was anti-Medvedev way before it became cool.
    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/dam-what-a-president/
    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/medvedev-drug-warrior/

    one of the most detailed accounts of Russian electoral fraud in Russia.

    By the way, speaking about the frauds, it is always important to bear in mind that “ER” actually stole votes from the Communists. So most Western journalists, analysts, etc., who whine about the frauds (I do not mean you, don’t worry) are actually supporting the bloody Communists! I wonder how many Western liberals are aware of that. Would they prefer more Communists in the current or previous Duma?

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    • Replies: @JL
    Communists and LDPR, even more despicable!
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    The main way Russian electoral fraud works is not by reassigning votes from KPRF to ER or whatever, but by directly adding fictitious votes to ER (hence the close correlation between turnout and percentage of the vote for ER across polling stations in those regions where fraud is happening).

    Since KPRF is usually the best performing opposition party it does typically suffer most in absolute terms, but not in relative ones.
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  • @Esn
    I just want to thank you for the excellent, useful summary of the situation in this post and the following one. I was asked to explain those protests by my Canadian girlfriend, who'd seen a thread about them on Reddit, and I couldn't find a useful summary that passed the smell test on FortRuss, Russia Insider or ColonelCassad (Saker hasn't written anything yet). All the other write-ups focused either on dismissing it, making fun of it or spinning some elaborate conspiracy tale.

    Saker hasn’t written anything yet

    Don’t read “The Saker”, at least don’t take his hogwash ever seriously. He is a deranged Swiss retiring in the USA (sunshine FL, probably) who thinks his White-Russian emigre father (or grandfather?) makes him an expert on everything Russian. If one wants to read deranged Russian overzealous patriotards, better to read real Russians and not US residents.

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  • @Felix Keverich
    I'd say the idea of Russia as a great power is central to Russian national identity, and this is what separates Russians from other Eastern European people. While Poles and Hungarians have long accepted that their fate is to be dominated by great powers, Russians believe their country is a great power and want its leaders to act accordingly. Navalny's program of prostituting Russia to the West simply doesn't cut it for a majority of Russians.

    Navalny’s program of prostituting Russia to the West simply doesn’t cut it for a majority of Russians.

    Navanly is an ethnic Ukrainian*, so he thinks Ukrainian.

    *Not fully, his mother is Russian, but he openly said he is rather Ukrainian (citation: “Я наверное, больше украинец по своим каким-то корням и генетике” = “I am probably rather Ukrainian by origin and genetics”).

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    “Я наверное, больше украинец по своим каким-то корням и генетике”
     
    God. What an idiot! Russian government need to hire trolls to promote this line on social networks - teenagers will stop supporting him.
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  • What Western politician was ruined because of corruption? Just recently 65 million Americans have voted for a woman who is ten times more corrupt and evil than Medvedev, and other 62 million voted (out of despair, mostly) for a tycoon who is corrupted by the very definition of a tycoon.

    I think the idea of Russians that there is some fairy-tale land of honest people in the West is largely imaginary. Mostly it comes from the 1990s when the Russian people really tried to become westernized because they believed that the West, unlike of the USSR or Russia, is a perfect land with no vice. But the truth is the contrary idea that politicians along with businessmen, policemen, the military and some others are corrupt is deeply ingrained in the Western culture. A lot of Western books or movies depict their own corruption. And today everybody say how corrupt the system has become (or was it always that way?).

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  • @Mr. Hack
    I guess maligning Medvedev's good name is Okay, but the Dark Lord's is still sacrosanct (7 out of 10 aint bad in the world of politicians today, eh) ?
    How about Navalny? Is he still considered a dupe of the CIA, or has he now been deemed a legitimate opposition leader (is there even such a thing in Russia)? You seem to have undergone a metamorphosis over the last few years, or maybe I just pegged you wrong in the first place?

    You are a very primitive person – indeed, a troll in the most direct sense of the word – who is either too stupid or too ideological to grasp the concept of nuance in political analysis.

    Absolutely nothing in this post conflicts with the main corpus of my work, which contains one of the most detailed accounts of Russian electoral fraud in Russia.

    As there, I am decidedly uninterested in discussing anything with you (read: Replying to your loaded questions). Go bark at The Kremlin Stooge, or whatever.

    PS. Just a reminder that I was anti-Medvedev way before it became cool.

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/dam-what-a-president/

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/medvedev-drug-warrior/

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    • Replies: @Boris N

    one of the most detailed accounts of Russian electoral fraud in Russia.
     
    By the way, speaking about the frauds, it is always important to bear in mind that "ER" actually stole votes from the Communists. So most Western journalists, analysts, etc., who whine about the frauds (I do not mean you, don't worry) are actually supporting the bloody Communists! I wonder how many Western liberals are aware of that. Would they prefer more Communists in the current or previous Duma?
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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    I am sorry Philip but Russians are not Ukrainians, Russians have a sense of dignity and don't need any merchant cargo cults for the promise of a couple extra percentage points of GDP.

    The Russian economy is recovering and is due for a boom regardless of sanctions.

    Where is the capital coming from? The work force is shrinking at an enormous rate. Without large scale immigration (not desirable anywhere in the Old World), there will be a switch from profits to wages. This will compromise capital investment further. The opportunities for catch up investment are there but the money has to come from somewhere. Examples: The best the Chinese could offer was Russia’s own roubles back to build a section of rail track that would have locked Chinese trains onto the whole high speed network. Russian Railways is now working with Siemens again but much more on Siemens terms than first time. Internal distribution is a problem. The biggest developer of distribution warehouses in Russia is British. They are no longer building speculatively.

    Russia is not the sort of place do to bootstrapping well. Right now, the government is providing massive subsidies to all sorts of agricultural projects, like glass houses in Novosibirsk to try and substitute almost all imports of food. This is a huge misallocation of capital. Most of the economists know this; Najibulla does much to ameliorate it but the business lobbyists have the ear of the nationalists. Subsidy is spreading, at least until the wealth funds run out. Then tax must rise. It’s not going to impact hugely on the general population until the workforce decline is over. Their wages will be preserved. It’s a matter of lost opportunities, Argentinian style. Right now, the big opportunity is reconciliation with Japan which has bundles of cash and an ageing population. This is happening. China has noticed.

    http://expert.ru/2017/01/12/kitaj/

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  • @Verymuchalive
    You really don't get it, you Neoliberal dimwit. In the last 3 years, Russia has performed import substitution and innovations that were supposed to take decades. It even has its own Mir system to replace Visa/Database under SWIFT.
    USA with its $0.5 trillion a year Trade Deficit and $20 trillion Federal Deficit is facing Economic Collapse sometime shortly.
    No wonder Karlin minor went home to Russia.

    And how much business do you do in Russia? When you can distinguish total propaganda from something approaching reality, never actually possible, even direct experience, which I have, is partial, feel free to comment. Until then restrain the ad hominens. And I’m a Liberal not a neoliberal whatever straw man gibberish that is.

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  • @Felix Keverich

    Russia needs international trade for its (so far dismal) non commodity exports rather badly.
     
    Is there a market for Russian manufacturing exports in the West? Ukraine's example shows otherwise: their exports to EU actually declined since 2013. "Productivity enhancing" Western investment didn't come to Ukraine.

    Russia's own experience with the West shows that accomodation only breeds contempt. They made all sorts of concessions in 1990s and got nothing but democracy lectures in return. Suffice to say it took the US until 2012 to get Jackson-Vanic removed, only to replace it with Magnitsky act. :p

    Another Fortress Russia candidate will take the country further down the Argentinian road
     
    Based on demographics, US will look a Latin-American country by 2050. Europe will be increasingly Islamic. The West is clearly in decline, and I question the wisdom of attaching yourself to a dying civilisation.

    Russia’s experience shows that a high oil price breeds hubris. And contrary to nationalist myths, Yeltsin made few concessions. He blocked foreign direct takeovers during the voucher programme for example.

    The Argentinian point is mostly economic. Without anything to sell other than commodities and investment even in those, Australia fashion, Russia’s relative state of development will ebb away. Nationalist politics aimed at excluding foreign trade and investment didn’t help Argentina
    either. Other than that, see my next remark to Anatoly.

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  • @freemason
    The cost of fracking sand has skyrocketed since it collapsed along with oil. I'm pretty sure that is not used for conventional drilling. There are a lot of inputs that make shale oil more expensive, and this will forever be the case.

    The price could go into the $40s. It could also go into the $60s. My observation is that the doom-and-gloomers always overshoot it, so it will probably not go below $40 this year. A few years ago when he was president Medvedev said that oil prices over $40 would be disastrous for the Russian economy, and he was correct. The Russian government should be hoping for stable oil prices - not higher ones, and it should be working on a more stable ruble.

    I can only agree with that.

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