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Perhaps the Jewish Messiah is already here, though we are not aware of his coming? All Jewish dreams and desires were fulfilled this mid-May. Well, almost all. Two great world power leaders competed in their benevolence to Jews, while ordinary Israelis had fun and exhilarating soft target practice shooting unarmed Gazans or at least cheering the sharpshooters. Iranians gnashed their teeth but did nothing. The US Congress deemed that the Poles should pay the Jews $300 billion in tribute. And an exceedingly obnoxious Jewish wench got the crown of the European art scene, accidentally ensuring that the new capital of Israel, Jerusalem, will be the location of a prominent international gathering next year.

If you think that some of this benevolence should drip to you and that your lot should be somewhat better, think again. Nobody promised you a rose garden. The Jewish Messiah is good for the Jews, while non-Jews should just work harder and prepare for divine vengeance. There are arguments about whether all the goyim will be hit by vengeance, or whether some should survive to buy retail. However, benevolence towards non-Jews is not a striking feature of this arrangement.

I was quite apprehensive in the beginning of May. The schedule appeared scary. The Iranians had established themselves in Syria, the Russians were prepared to equip Syria with their best S-300 system (it is more reliable than the new and fancy S-400). The Palestinians planned to demonstrate on the 70th anniversary of their Nakba loosely coinciding with the US Embassy move to Jerusalem and with beginning of Ramadan. A war with Iran and Hezbollah, riots in the Palestinian territories, loss of the God-given right to fly and bomb as we wish all over the Middle East – dangers galore were stored for the first half of May. With all my critical attitude, the utter destruction of the beloved land is not my wet dream.

Prudent people would tread cautiously, preferring to minimize their risks in such a situation, but Jews are all for maximising them. If we must have trouble, let us have all the trouble now to have it done with, said Netanyahu. And all troubles – the Iran nuclear deal collapse, the Nakba anniversary, the shift of the US embassy to Jerusalem, the confrontation in Syria, the beginning of Ramadan – were unloaded at once. Israel passed it with flying colours. There was no big war.

Palestine

True, some 60 Palestinian demonstrators were shot dead, the same number as were martyred in the Sharpeville Massacre, but what a difference! South Africa turned into a pariah state overnight, and the global campaign to dismantle apartheid began in earnest. The Gaza Massacre has been whitewashed by the obedient mainstream media, reported the RT. This event proved once again that mass media and social networks all over the world are in the Jewish grip, firm and invisible. Governments, parties, diplomats can and did protest, but the general public was insulated from the event.

The global system of mass information has changed a lot since 1960. There is an incredible abundance of information, a veritable flood that washes off everything. People think only what they are told today, and mass campaigns are produced by media and think tanks, they do not produce themselves. People are being told every day about, say, the Holocaust, or about Assad’s atrocities, or Putin’s meddling so it is kept in their minds. The moment the campaign is turned off, interest flags and the matter is totally forgotten, like the Skripal Affair was forgotten after it had been played to full capacity. Now Skripal has been disappeared by the British Secret Services, but this is not mentioned, outside of this publication.

And the mass murder in Gaza is already on its way to oblivion. They wanted to remind the world that they are buried alive in the grave of Gaza, and now they are dead. The people of Gaza have been locked up there for 70 years; the last 12 years were the worst, as the Gaza Strip has been under siege by Israel since they voted for Hamas. Gaza is almost unliveable, as Israel has bombed its power station, its sewage plants, its harbour and airfield. They can’t even fish, as Israeli boats machinegun the fishing boats. They can see their homes and fields taken from them just because they aren’t Jews, and they can’t reach them. This expulsion, dispossession, imprisonment of three generations, and siege are a unique Jewish sin.

Perhaps, the Holocaust was a divine punishment for Jewish treatment of Gaza, since for God, time sequence is of no importance. In the Torah, there are no earlier or later events, בתורה מאוחר ואין מוקדם אין, teaches the Talmud, and it is true. One can be punished for the sins not yet committed, and if they will not be committed, the punishment will be undone, too. If the Jews wouldn’t torture Gaza, there would be no Auschwitz.

Gaza is a noble place despite its depredation. In many countries, children of rulers are turning into billionaires. The daughter of the Angolan president is the richest woman in Africa: she is the only mobile telephony provider in diamond-rich Angola. But there is another tradition, of the children of the rulers being first to war. That is the tradition of Gaza. Among those shot by Israeli sharpshooters, there were thee children of Gaza’s leaders.

The son of the ex-Prime Minister of Gaza, Ismail Haniye, Maaz, has been among the heavily wounded. Ahmed al-Rantisi, the son of Abd el Aziz al-Rantisi, the founder of Hamas, has been killed. His father, called the Lion of Palestine, was been assassinated by the Jews in 2004, when an Israeli helicopter gunship launched a missile at his car in the centre of Gaza, killing him, his bodyguards and wounding passers-by. And now his son has followed him. Izz al-Din al-Sammak, son of Musa al-Sammak, a Hamas leader, was killed, and he was only 14 years old.

Altogether over a hundred boys and young men, the flower of Palestine, have been reaped in these unarmed demonstrations of April-May. A purpose of this killing spree was to show that non-violent resistance is futile. It is more fun to kill an armed opponent, if you are much better armed. When you kill an unarmed one, it is obviously not cricket. But such consideration has never stopped a Jew.

The reason is the serious doubt in the humanity of non-Jews that is planted in the centre of the Jewish religious Weltanschauung. A good Israeli who condemns Gaza killings most probably is a vegetarian, who objects to the killing of animals, too. Such good Israelis are often anti-male, and prefer to use a feminine form of nouns, like Zochrot. Such good Israelis usually are anti-native, and support unlimited immigration of Africans to Palestine. Such people can’t be numerous, and they aren’t.

As for other Jews, they learned from the Matrix protagonist, Neo (Keanu Reeves), who had been taught to (dis)regard obvious dangers as maya, as a mirage created by the Matrix, and he jumped from skyscrapers and dodged bullets. Jews apparently have a similar attitude to reality. One day it won’t work, to their surprise, but this time it worked.

 
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A wonderful, joyful day, a jubilant summit! On the bloody 38th parallel, for the first time in many years, the two Koreans met, the leaders of the two Korean states. There were affable smiles and a spontaneous brief and unscripted visit of the southern president to the northern country, and then the northern one – to the southern one. Kim led his colleague over the concrete lump marking the border of two worlds. Now there are hopes of getting out of the impasse into which the Koreans were driven, and on the horizon – the hope of the two states’ reunification.

Only a few weeks ago, President Trump had threatened to erase North Korea from the face of the earth and kill tens of millions of civilians, boasting that he had a bigger red button (or was it missile?) than Kim. It turned out that Kim’s will was stronger than the American’s will; and willpower is more important than gun power. And best is will power reinforced by armed force.

Trump’s threats bore an unexpected benefit: the President of South Korea looked into the abyss and saw his country and his people driven to annihilation. He saw that – and took a step towards reconciliation, showing an unexpected independence of mind.

You can compare the two Koreas in different ways. You can say: one is rich, the other one is poor. One is for the market, the other one is communist. One is the country of Samsung, and the other one has nuclear weapons. Alternatively, you can say: one Korean state is independent – North Korea – while the other one is occupied – South Korea. This is a fact, not an opinion.

Many years have passed since the forces of its former allies, the Russians and the Chinese, left North Korea, but the Americans do not even think about leaving the South. The ruler of the North, Kim, can do anything that his people agree to do. But the ruler of the South, Moon, must defer to Washington for every important decision. Many presidents of the South have been removed, imprisoned, or killed by the Americans and their agents for their attempts to reconcile with the North. We’ll see whether Moon will be able to stay in the presidential palace after this summit, but he took a chance, and this will be written to his credit in the history books.

There is no doubt that the people of Korea, of the North and the South, want peaceful reunification and the prosperity of their country. But so far the US has prevented it. The US deep state preferred to have its military bases in South Korea with its nuclear weapons aimed not only at Pyongyang, but also at Beijing and Vladivostok. Last year, the US brought in its THAAD missile defence system to South Korea, directly threatening the North, Russia, and China.

The Americans outlined the goal of the talks as they see it – the nuclear disarmament of North Korea. This is all that interests them. A North Korea without nuclear weapons is always vulnerable to a volley of Tomahawks, as in Syria. But Kim is not that simple. Instead of “nuclear disarmament of North Korea,” he proposed “the liberation of the Korean peninsula from nuclear weapons” – and, importantly, these words were repeated by the president of the South.

The liberation of the peninsula from nuclear weapons means, first of all, the removal of American bases and occupation forces, and the banning of American ships capable of carrying nuclear weapons from entering Korean ports. And then, without the invaders being present, the two independent Koreas will agree on their own terms. This, roughly, is the logic of Kim – and Moon accepted it, uttering the cherished words “the liberation of the peninsula” instead of “the elimination of the North Korean nuclear program.”

Russia as an original member of the nuclear club has traditionally supported the idea of ​​nuclear disarmament of all non-member countries. But it does not actively insist on it, if only because India, Pakistan and Israel are among the new nuclear powers, and the last not only did not sign the non-proliferation treaty, but also does not agree with any control over its nuclear weaponry. Under these conditions, it makes no sense to insist on the nuclear disarmament of North Korea. But, let us repeat, Russia is for disarmament. If this disarmament brings about the elimination of US bases in South Korea, this can only be welcomed.

The summit in the DMZ (demilitarized zone) has already had an effect. We have no doubt that the North is short of freedom, but in the South, there is certainly freedom of speech, isn’t there?

It turned out that in South Korea until this very day no one had seen or heard Kim, the North Korean president, on a video or in live broadcast. The Independent, a British quality newspaper, reported:

Until the meeting, many South Koreans had never actually heard Kim Jong-un speak. The leader is usually seen only in heavily edited footage, and accessing more videos of him can land people in jail. “I can’t believe I’m listening to the voice of Kim Jong Un. Someone I have only seen as a jpeg is speaking now,” South Korean Lee Yeon-su wrote on Twitter. It is a dramatic change for South Koreans, who under the National Security Act are banned on threat of jail from accessing media considered pro-North Korean.

Internet resources “sympathetic to North Korea” or, worse, praising North Korea, are banned there; and accessing such sites, or listening to Pyongyang Radio can send a South Korean to prison for several years. A good word about the northern neighbour can earn you a long stretch in jail under the Law on Combating Terrorism.(The law also provides for the death penalty, but it has not been used for the last ten years.) Anti-communist propaganda in the South is part of the school curriculum, part of the news program, part of everyday life.

After the summit, the surprised South Koreans wrote in their social media that the bloody tyrant from the North looked like a teddy bear, small, plump and cute.

And he speaks the same language as they do. And he eats buckwheat noodles, which they love.

Demonization of North Korea was the first victim of the summit: the South Koreans saw that the much besmirched Kim was quite a worldly guy, even with a very slight trace of Swiss German in his speech. Women’s diplomacy also played a role: Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, made the first contact with the President of the South during her visit to the Olympics. Kim’s wife, a well-known actress, became friends with Moon’s wife. This North Korean ruler is a regular guy, they say today in Seoul.

At the NATO headquarters there was a lot of teeth gnashing and demands not to relax the sanctions, or rather to add some more sanctions. The Western mainstream media keeps saying that this summit had been just a preparation for the real main thing, for the meeting of Kim and Trump. But a sharp-sighted observer of The Guardian had noticed that it won’t be easy for Trump to do his usual bellicose sabre-rattling after the peaceful meeting of the two Korean leaders. He has been trapped. “If Trump tries to play hardball with Kim, he risks looking like a warmonger and a bully whose policies are inimical to Korean interests, north and south. Intentionally of otherwise, Moon, a lifelong advocate of detente with personal connections to North Korea, has spiked Trump’s guns.”

Actually, there is not much of reason for the Trump-Kim summit. Trump can take his troops home, and let the Koreans to settle their relations as they find fit. If the Russians and the Chinese did it, so can the Americans, too. The world, including Korea, is fully grown up and it can live without American tutelage.

 
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With slight disappointment the public regarded the field. Just a minute ago, two knights were converging in fearsome joust, their spears pointing forth, plumage blowing, horses galloping, ladies out waving their handkerchiefs to their champions, – and now we see they have passed each other, both firmly in the saddle, plumage unruffled, spears unbloodied, horses trotting away joyfully.

“Cowards!” – the boys shouted, while the ladies are happy to see their knights riding off the field unharmed. We all know this was just the first joust, where prudence often inhibits the testosterone flush. Soon, the knights will ride again.

This is a brief summary of the Syrian strike. An external force had pushed the leaders of Russia and the US into confrontation; Putin and Trump were equally unwilling to fight, but they couldn’t avoid the charge. The best they could do, they did: they avoided each other.

This was the somewhat unexpected conclusion of the carefully planned encounter. It plainly did not make sense to fire up fear and loathing of Russians to its unprecedented heights for such a finale. A mountain gave birth to a mouse, as Horace said. Presumably, the mountain will make another effort.

The last thing I want is to cheer and encourage the next encounter. The two presidents already have displayed vigour and courage by limiting the damage to a minimum. It is unwise to troll them for failing to defeat their opponent, though this is now being done by hundreds of pundits and by millions of private persons.

On the US side, Trump has been castigated by such brilliant humanitarians as Mr Mohammed (brother to late unlamented Zahran) Alloush, the leader of Jaysh al-Islam, a moderate Jihadi fighter group supported and paid for by that most progressive prince and lady drivers’ best friend, Mohammed bin Salman. The airstrikes were “a farce”, he said. Israel is also upset that President Trump “did the minimum he could”.

If Trump hasn’t been skinned yet by the neocons in Washington, it’s because he judiciously brought into his camp the worst warmongers, John Bolton and Nikki Haley as human shields in the case of a neocon attack: nobody can accuse a man whose security adviser is Bolton and the UN ambassador is Haley of being soft on Putin. Now they can’t voice their indignation. As they say in the army, it’s better to have them inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in.

Well, some guys are anyway unhappy. Vil Mirzayanov, the Russian expert, who had spied over the development of the Novichok chemical weapon and immigrated to the US,, wrote in his blog to his erstwhile CIA masters: “[by this strike], Trump confirmed that he is a Putin’s agent! Poor Nikki [Haley] should slam the door and leave, as an honest person can’t serve under Kremlin’s agent”.

Real Kremlin’s agents, trolls and scribes, or alternatively, Western dissidents presented the strike as a “huge victory for Putin”. This is the common ground of Putin and anti-Putin trolls: whatever the Kremlin ruler does, has to be presented as his great victory. Afterwards, they part their ways, and Putin’s agents bless the Lord for Putin, while anti-Putin trolls call to fight him harder and accuse everybody softer than Genghis Khan of collaboration with the tyrant.

It is silly to present the strike as Putin’s achievement. Kremlin tried to avoid the strike altogether, spoke darkly of a harsh response, of “carriers” being shot at, of Satan 2.0 and nuclear winter, but the talk failed to stop the strike. No British or American planes were downed, or even shot at. The Russians didn’t use their S-300 or S-400 SAM systems, claiming the US missiles didn’t approach Russian bases. This is a dubious argument: Putin tried to stop at attack on Damascus; and Damascus is not a Russian base. Let us face it: Putin did not stop the strike and he didn’t make the offender pay a price for this breach of the Law of Nations.

General (Ret) Leonid Ivashov, an important Russian military observer, said the strike had annihilated Russian deterrence, exposed Putin’s bluff of his powerful new weapons and, worst of all, proved him indecisive and unable to respond to an attack. We walked away with our tail between our hind legs, as punished dogs, he continued. Russia’s achievements in Syria have been erased by this shameful inaction.

What is worse, Trump’s strike destroyed what was left of the international law structure established by Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin. These three giants created the UN and its Security Council in order to avoid such eventualities by forbidding aggression, and the strike has been definitely an act of aggression against a sovereign state despite an objection of a permanent SC member, namely Russia. Now the gates of hell are open, international law has been demolished, and this happened because Putin agreed to accommodate Trump’s strike, said Ivashov.

Though official Russian media speaks of a great Russian victory, as no Russian or Syrian soldiers were killed, many Russians subscribe to the bleak view of Ivashov. The main question is whether this Russian fight aversion will encourage the Americans to carry out a future strike, or whether Trump will rein in his adversaries.

It is hard to accept the official Russian version saying the Syrian SAM systems intercepted 70% of the incoming missiles, as the excellent journalist Pepe Escobar did. This would be too good a result even for the best, latest, and most update systems. The unimpressive outcome of the attack can be explained easier by Trump’s decision to minimise the damage, as indeed the Israeli military says.

The Russian military experts here in Moscow told me that out of a hundred missiles fired by the US and their allies, only one or two were modern cruise missiles (“nice and smart”)and they destroyed the research institute in Barzeh. (It was not a “chemical weapons centre”, just a chemical research institute; it’s destruction was a copy-paste of Bill Clinton’s bombing of the pharmaceutical factory in Sudan over a similar pretext.)

All other missiles were old and at the end of their service; they had to be utilised somehow, and so they were. A few of them might have been downed by Syrian anti-aircraft fire, others fell without inflicting much damage. Syrian air defence is not able to blow modern cruise missiles out of sky; Syrian appeals to supply them with modern SAM systems have been refused at the request of Israel. (Netanyahu came to Moscow saying that S-300 in Syrian hands will turn all Israel into a no-fly zone; Putin agreed with him, and the Syrians were denied modern SAMs.) Now, hopefully these modern systems will find its way to Syrian army.

The Russian experts who were in contact with the US military told me that the US military used this occasion for retraining and refreshing reserve pilots; what they call “a milk run”. This combination of old missiles and less experienced pilots helped to lower the efficiency of the strike. And both sides, the Russians and the Americans, admitted that the deconfliction line was operative all the time, to avoid eventualities.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Donald Trump, Russia, Syria 
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President Trump is so pissed off by the Stormy affair that he is likely to prefer a good old war to another humiliation. This suits his enemies and friends (though not his voters) to a tee. He has a choice of doing a difficult manly act that needs all his courage, but which one? Should he put the well-being of his country at stake and brave Russian missiles, or risk the displeasure of the elites and sack Mueller? He is tempted to do the easy thing. Thus he has been maneuvered into deep waters by a powerful coalition of Brits and Jews, the same people who delivered you the last two world wars.

His attempt to make sense and drop the Syrian hot potato (“I strongly wish for the withdrawal of our forces from Syria”, he tweeted) has been rebuffed by the indomitable Mr Netanyahu. Don’t even think of doing it, the big man from Tel Aviv said to Donny in the tense telephone conversation. Don’t leave Syria, you still have to fight the Iranians and Russians. And don’t forget the Syrian kiddies, added the man still covered with the gore of 2,500 Palestinians shot on his orders last week. The Pentagon and US intelligence agencies take their orders directly from Tel Aviv, or via AIPAC; they are already preparing for an extended stay in Syria, despite Donny’s declarations.

The Jews went ballistic when they heard of Trump’s intention to leave Syria. The scribes of WaPo and NY Times condemned the step as playing into Russian hands. “Washington Post columnist and CNN commentator Catherine Rampell said that “Putin must be ecstatic” with Trump’s instructions to begin planning for withdrawal from the region. Forget the fact that it’d be odd for a president to base all of his foreign policy decisions on what would bother Russia — why isn’t Rampell focusing on how delightful it must be for American soldiers to finally reunite with their families, or how the resources this country has spent overseas can now be used domestically?”, – noted a media reporter. This was the cue for Mueller’s raid of Cohen’s office. The old fool has to be pushed, if he does not want to go by his own will, they decided.

America with its Puritan background is the only country where sexual mores are so strict that they lead to war. Clinton went to war in Yugoslavia because of a blow job, while Trump will possibly destroy the world because of a one-night stand.

An attack on Syria is likely to bring a Russian response. At the least, it will be a local conflagration, a joust, a trial of forces and wills. Who knows how it will end? This was been postponed in 2013, when the US armada sailed to Syria’s shores to avenge some other alleged chemical attack. I wrote about that fateful encounter, perhaps over-optimistically, in a piece called The Cape of Good Hope.

“It was touch and go, just as risky as the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. The chances for total war were high, as the steely wills of America and Eurasia had crossed in the Eastern Mediterranean. The most dramatic event of September 2013 was the high-noon stand-off near the Levantine shore, with five US destroyers pointing their Tomahawks towards Damascus and facing them – the Russian flotilla of eleven ships led by the carrier-killer Missile Cruiser Moskva and supported by Chinese warships. Apparently, two missiles were launched towards the Syrian coast, and both failed to reach their destination. (We shall return to these two missiles later).

After this strange incident, the pending shoot-out did not commence, as President Obama stood down and holstered his guns. This was preceded by an unexpected vote in the British Parliament. This venerable body declined the honour of joining the attack proposed by the US. This was the first time in two hundred years that the British parliament voted down a sensible proposition to start a war; usually the Brits can’t resist the temptation. This misadventure put paid to American hegemony , supremacy and exceptionalism. Manifest Destiny was over.”

As we see now, the high noon was been postponed by five years, and now it is being re-run. The British Prime Minister Theresa May decided she does not need parliament’s approval, President Trump decided he does not need an approval of Congress. So these brakes had been removed.

And now back to those two missiles of 2013. They were sent by the Israelis, whether they were trying to jump-start the shoot-out or just observed the clouds, as they claim. The missiles never reached its destination, shot down by the Russian ship-based sea-to-air defence system, or perhaps rendered useless by Russian GPS jammers.

Fast forward to 2018. On the night of April 10, in the small hours, the Syrian air field T-4 had been attacked by eight air-to-ground missiles; five were downed by the Syrian defence, three (or two) reached their goal and killed a few personnel. For a while, it was thought this was the American attack, but rather quickly, “Russia outed Israel”, as Haaretz reported. Israel tried to dissimulate, at first claiming they warned Putin and got his okay. When Putin’s spokesman denied that, they said they did it by the US request. Most probably they again tried to bring the confrontation to the fore.

Now, with the US Navy in place, with the support of England and France, the countdown to a confrontation has apparently started. The Russians are grimly preparing for the battle, whether a local one or the global one, and they expect it to begin any moment.

The road to this High Noon had led through the Scripal Affair, the diplomats’ expulsion and the Syrian battle for Eastern Ghouta, with an important side show provided by Israeli shenanigans.

The diplomats’ expulsion flabbergasted the Russians. For days they went around scratching their heads and looking for an answer: what do they want from us? What is the bottom line? Too many events that make little sense separately. Why did the US administration expel 60 Russian diplomats? Do they want to cut off diplomatic relations, or is it a first step to an attempt to remove Russia from the Security Council, or to cancel its veto rights? Does it mean the US has given up on diplomacy? (The answer “it’s war” didn’t come to their minds at that time).

The astonished Russians responded all right. They also expelled 60 diplomats, and they made it painful: all US diplomats engaged in the political department of the Moscow Embassy were on the non-grata list. The Political department consisted of three sections, dealing with foreign policy, internal Russian politics and military analysis; the most important centre of data collection, of liaison with Russian politicians, of military consequences, of Syria and Ukraine, of North Korea and China, experienced first-class intelligence officers and field hands – all gone, including their Political Officer Christopher Robinson (POL). The Russians expelled Maria Olson, the Embassy’s well-known spokesperson, and the Ambassador’s interpreter. They closed down St Petersburg Consulate, an important centre for connecting, influencing and interacting with the opposition in this ‘second capital’ of Russia. The US has lost many of its Moscow hands, people who knew Russia and had developed personal relations with important Russians. It will take a lot of time and effort for the US State Department and intelligence agencies to get back to the positions they had lost. The Brits who initiated the deportations also lost about fifty of their Moscow Embassy staff.

 
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Our grandparents faced a quandary when they had to describe some body parts or physical activity. The ‘obscene words’ remained taboo at least until D.H. Lawrence broke the prohibition in Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and the four-letter words became printable only recently. However, now we have new banned words, or words one can use only at one’s own peril.

‘The Jews’ is such a word. Speaking about the Jews is fraught with consequences. Jews do not like to be referred to, unless in extremely flattering terms. You are likely to be banned in Facebook and other social networks for referring to ‘Jews’. You can be fired. Even a hundred years ago it was a troublesome step, likely to cause social ostracism.

Therefore, there is a permanent demand for euphemisms.

  • “Semite” is an early and enduring euphemism of the 19th century which is still with us thanks to “anti-Semitism”.
  • The Clergy prefer to write ‘Masons’ instead of ‘Jews’.
  • ‘Khazar’ or ‘Khazarian’ is popular in the networks, thanks to Arthur Koestler, the author of The Thirteenth Tribe. He claimed modern Jews were the descendants of the Turkic Khazars who were Judaised in 12th century.
  • The nickname ‘Ashkenazi’ originally referred to the Jews of Central Europe; the East European Jews of Lithuanian and Ukrainian origin gladly accepted it despite the German Jews’ objections. Nowadays it is just an euphemism for a Jew, with an extra bonus: not-very-prominent (outside trade and money) Oriental Jews will gladly join in Ashkenazi denunciation.
  • ‘Zionist’ is a popular term of use and abuse, as in “Jews are fine, it is Zionists whom I dislike”.
  • “Reptilian” or ‘Illuminati’ are the words used when all the rest fail.

There is one big problem with these words. They clearly show that you are afraid to write the J word. And they know how to deal with frightened persons. It is enough to murmur in response, “It’s an antisemitic slur”, and the guy will collapse in a paroxysm of denial. There is a second problem: it makes very little sense to call the Bolshevik Jews “Zionists.”

The Jews themselves have proposed a few euphemisms of their own: ‘Hebrews’ or ‘Israelites’ were the preferred ones, but they didn’t make much inroad in the English-speaking world. However, ‘Hebrews’ became the official designation of Jews in Russia, while the ‘Jews’ moniker had been outlawed, though it survived in Poland and the Ukraine.

Now the US has produced a new word: “globalists.” The Huffington Post called the tweet of Donald Trump about the dismissal of “globalist Gary Cohen” – anti-Semitic. It turns out that a “globalist” is just a Jew. For example, globalists like gefilte fish.

This neologism pleased Ann Coulter, and she amused her numerous readers with her tweets: “Paul Newman is only half globalist,” “How many globalists came under the distribution in the fight against male assault and harassment!”, “Israel is the last refuge of globalists.” These Tweets received thousands of likes and reposts, and caused an angry condemnation … of globalists.

Mahmud Abbas, the president of Palestine, created an euphemism accidentally. He called the US Ambassador to Israel a “son of a bitch”, and His Excellence Right Honourable Ambassador David Friedman said it is was an “antisemitic slur”.

A propos, the creation of euphemisms is a very Jewish way to deal with taboos. At first, the Jews banned the Name of God יהוה, and then they banned the substitute, and the substitute of the substitute, and the substitute of the substitute of the substitute. Nowadays, the religious Jews refer to ‘God’ in writing in an oblique way.

The whole of political correctness (PC) grew out of extrapolating this Jewish attitude to other groups. In the PC culture, the word ‘Negro’ was displaced by “Black”, and then by ‘black’ in low case, and then by “Afro-American”. Thus PC had created a new fence around the ban.

The idea of fences is another Jewish concept. A Jew is forbidden to pick fruit on the Sabbath. Fine! Then, the Jews created a fence around this prohibition forbidding the climbing of an apple tree on the Sabbath. The idea is: if you climb on an apple tree, you may be tempted to pick an apple. And then they built another fence, forbidding the climbing of any tree one the Sabbath. Otherwise, you’ll get used to climbing a pine on the Sabbath, and one day you’ll climb an apple tree.

PC is this additional fence. If today you refer to a black person, tomorrow you will be tempted to refer to Jews. And if you refer to Jews, perhaps you will do so in unflattering terms. The concept of micro-insults and micro-aggressions completes the fence.

And now we have a new fence: a reference to ‘bankers’, ‘moneylenders’ and even ‘globalists’ has become forbidden, as in the case of George Soros. The Hungarians referred to him as a “globalist banker” and the Jewish world rushed to his defence. Not that he is liked by his fellow Jews, he isn’t, but they have to fight the breach in the fence. You know the logic: today you call Soros ‘’a globalist’, and tomorrow you will call a Jew – a Jew.

President Putin did just that. In an interview with Megyn Kelly, he answered her question about the 13 Russians who were indicted by Mueller for alleged interference in the elections: “They do not represent the interests of the Russian state. Maybe they are not Russians, but Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews with Russian citizenship. Check it out.”

He was attacked ferociously. The leading Jewish organization ADL (Anti-Defamation League) referred to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (this is their standard response whenever a Jew is mentioned), and added, “Don’t you dare blame the Jews for interfering in American elections!”

This is especially piquant – if there is a foreign country that actively interferes in the US politics and elections, it is primarily the Jewish state and its supporters. American friends of Israel, Sheldon Adelson and Jeff Katzenberg are the largest donors; and in general Jews spent more money on presidential elections in the US than on helping needy Jews. Israeli diplomats are actively interfering in American elections at all levels, as the Jewish website Mondoweiss writes. But you can mention that only in marginal publications on the verge of a ban from Google and Twitter.

And in Israel, the energetic young MK Xenia Svetlova, (a Knesset Member for the Zionist Union), accused Putin of anti-Semitism and called upon Netanyahu to ‘protect the Jews’. It’s nothing personal – Xenia grew up in Moscow, worked for Russian TV channels, even loved Russia, but when she went into politics, she had to prove that she was not a Putin stooge. And she calls for Israeli intervention in Syria against Assad and Putin, and for the condemnation of Putin’s anti-Semitism.

The Tatars and Ukrainians did not resent Putin’s words. The Russian Jews in Russia dismissed it, too. For a good reason: the taboo on the word ‘Jew’ is not universal. It does not exist in Russia. Russia is the land of many native ethnicities, a hundred and fifty or so, from Yakut to Mordva, and people freely refer to all of them without fear. The Jews in Russia are just another ethnicity, or ethnos, or nation, one of many. ‘Russians’ in Russia connote members of Russian ethnicity, the most numerous nation of the Russian Federation, not the citizens of Russia, as you would expect.

 
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The Russian presidential elections are blissfully over, for they were extremely nasty and embarrassing. Mr Putin could have won more modestly and plausibly. The election results would make Turkmenistan proud, if not North Korea. The turnout was quite high, 68%. The incumbent President received almost 77% of the vote, while his main contender Mr Grudinin’s share has been announced at less than 12%.

Theresa May and Boris Johnson were prominent contributors to Vladimir Putin’s landslide victory. Their ultimatum to Russia, their baseless accusations, and their threats mobilised millions of Russians who weren’t inclined to go to the polls at all. Before the Salisbury affair, a lot of Russians were indifferent to the forthcoming elections. They felt it made little sense to take part in the show with predefined results. However, the British hard line regarding the murky story of an assassination attempt changed the public mood.

Were the results falsified? Probably, up to a point, and quite unnecessarily, too.

The first true results coming from the Russian Far East gave over 20% to the Communist, and about 60% to Putin. It seems that the administration overseers who reportedly had backdoor access to the results decided to ‘improve’ them forcefully. The results received after that were already adjusted for desired numbers.

In the far-away Yakut province, with its mind-boggling frost of minus 35 ° below zero, the Communist contender has got almost 30% of the vote. In the Vladivostok province, in the region facing Japan, Grudinin has got over 20%, likewise in the Siberian university city of Omsk. On the other side, in the notoriously dishonest and despotic Muslim republic of Chechnya the contender was given less than 5%.

My guess is that true un-cooked results would be between 18% and 25% for the Communist, and correspondingly, around 60-65% for the incumbent, still good enough for Putin’s outright win, but not good enough for his zealous aides.

The veteran nationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky got less than 6%. So much for the predictions of my esteemed colleague Anatoly Karlin: he quoted VTSIOM’s prognoses of 6% for Grudinin and 7% for Zhirinovsky (or other way around) as reliable numbers. These two men, and these two parties are just not in the same league. Zhirinovsky’s National-Democratic Party is likely to disappear unless radically revamped; the Communists have a solid following. And sociologist prognoses are of little value nowadays: they are tools of psychological warfare against the voter.

Miss Xenia Sobchak, the leading liberal and pro-Western candidate, was treated softly and gently by the state media. She had positive coverage every day of the election campaign. She is supposed to be a godchild of Mr Putin, and a daughter of Mr Putin’s senior colleague, the former Petersburg Mayor, and of Mrs Narusova, a member of the Russian Senate. She got the votes of Mr Navalny who was banned from running due to his criminal conviction. Still she had received one and a half per cent of the vote, showing little support for an active pro-Western agenda.

The remaining candidates were also-run, getting around one per cent or less. However, they played an important role in the Kremlin election strategy of undermining Mr Grudinin’s appeal. The main medium the Russian people have to learn of the candidates is through the state-owned TV, and its two programs: one, reports of the Central Election Board, and the debates of the candidates.

The reports were biased against Paul Grudinin; practically every report contained some negative news about him. The official posters with the names of the contenders issued by the CEB contained a claim that the CEB could not verify Mr Grudinin’s information.

The debates were even worse: Putin was exempt, while the remaining seven contenders were given four minutes each to state their cause and one minute to respond. Thus the real leading contender Mr Paul Grudinin and a Kremlin spoiler fake “also-communist” Mr Suraykin (he received 0.67% of the vote) were given the same exposure. Mr Suraykin brought to the debates a person who claimed she was cheated by Mr Grudinin, and this person was allowed to participate in the debates (imagine Mrs Clinton bringing Stormy Daniels to the debates with Donald Trump). Mr Zhirinovsky swore freely at Grudinin and at Miss Sobchak, the only female of the lot. All in all, the impression created was that of a pack of clowns in a provincial circus.

The Russians have called this shameful show Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. Snow White was surely Mr Putin, who didn’t participate in the debates and thus had been projected as one standing above the crowd.

This technique was supplemented by the dominance of pro-Putin trolls in the social networks. They roamed the Russian networks aggressively commenting on posts supporting Putin’s rivals.

It was alleged the administration bought the allegiance of some well-known independent leftists, and they traveled around Russia preaching against Grudinin as “not a real Communist.” These people could hardly afford to fly around those long Russian distances unless somebody were footing the bill.

This dirty campaign was quite unnecessary: Putin would win with less effort and less intimidation, too. I’d guess that zealous Russian officials went into overkill hoping to curry favour with the Commander-in-Chief. Alas, this is typical for Russia: the officials know neither limits nor decency in pursuing the perceived goals of their superiors.

I do not think Mr Putin personally approved, or was aware of these tactics, but that is what happens when every official tries his best (or his worst) to reach and overreach the goal.

The leading contender Mr Grudinin had more problems at home. His party KPRF (the Communist Party) didn’t try hard to help him. He was an outsider, like Mr Trump had been an outsider for the Republicans. I was told that in many cities, the KPRF officials quietly sabotaged the campaign and spent the state-assigned election funds for their own benefits.

The Party leader Mr Zyuganov didn’t want to part with the limelight; he insisted on accompanying the candidate and speaking instead of him. There were very few videos of the campaign free of Mr Zyuganov’s overwhelming presence.

After the elections, Mr Zyuganov expressed satisfaction with the results and called upon Mr Putin to appoint his erstwhile rival Mr Grudinin as a new Prime Minister. Mr Grudinin refrained from seconding this call.

As a part of anti-Grudinin campaign, his Jewish ancestry was addressed in the social networks, even by the “leftists”, though he is not more ‘Jewish’ that John Kerry or Vladimir Lenin. He is not the only candidate with Jewish ancestry: Mr Zhirinovsky has some Jewish blood, too. It doesn’t mean much in Russia, outside ultra-nationalist circles.

A big part of Russian educated classes has some Jewish ancestry: after all, the Soviet Jews freely intermarried with the ethnic Russians for the last hundred years, with majority marrying outside of the community. Children of mixed marriages usually identified themselves as Russians; those who identified themselves as Jewish left for Israel. There they learned that the Jews do not consider them being members of the Chosen People, and many of them trekked back to Russia, cured of their illusions. However, Jewishness or otherwise of the candidates hasn’t been played up much in the course of the elections.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Pavel Grudinin, Russia, Vladimir Putin 
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Putin’s March 1st presentation of new Russian weapons has been greatly misunderstood as a declaration of strategic parity or triumphalism. There was a much more urgent need, namely, to prevent an imminent strike. This danger is not over yet, for a week later, on March, 7, President Putin emphasised his readiness to employ the nuclear weapons for retaliation purposes, even if it would end the world.

“Certainly, it would be a global disaster for humanity; a disaster for the entire world,” Putin said, “but, as a citizen of Russia and the head of the Russian state I must ask myself: Why would we want a world without Russia?”

This was a bold answer. A lesser man would probably reply hypocritically, dodging the brutal “yes, I shall destroy the world.” It means that the danger is still imminent, and that by these frank words President Putin wants to dissuade whoever intends to push him too far.

Why indeed, all of a sudden, did the Russian President decide now, of all times, to tell the world about these new weapons? It’s not that the Russians (or the Americans, for that matter) are accustomed to deliver hardware updates orbi et urbi. And 2002, the year the US withdrew from the ABM treaty, was consigned to history years ago. What was the reason, or at least the trigger?

Some observers bet it was a wily pre-election trick aimed at a domestic audience. This could be a consideration, but a minor one. The leading opponent of Mr Putin, the communist candidate Mr Grudinin, didn’t argue against Putin’s foreign policy or defence spending; the voters do approve of Putin’s foreign policy, anyway. Putin’s revelation made Russians proud, but they would vote Putin anyway.

The reason for Putin’s speech was a different and more urgent one: a terrible crescendo of threats had made Russia feel very vulnerable. Presumably their spy agencies convinced the Russian leader the threats were real.

The US establishment has been looking for a way to humiliate and punish Russia since Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russians. The indictment alleged that “the Russian conspirators wanted to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy,” in the words of Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general overseeing the Mueller’s inquiry. It did not matter that the indicted Russians weren’t officials of the Russian state; that their effort (if these existed at all) were puny: a few ads at the cost of about $100,000, a drop in the ocean compared to the vast amounts of money spent by both the Clinton and Trump campaigns. However, the US establishment called these minor actions of private Russian citizens an “act of war.”

On February 19, Glenn Greenwald summed up the US reactions in the piece called A Consensus Emerges: Russia Committed an “Act of War” on Par With Pearl Harbor and 9/11. He reminded us that Senators from both parties, such as Republican John McCain and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, have long described Russian meddling in 2016 as an “act of war.” Hillary Clinton described Russia’s alleged hacking of the DNC and John Podesta’s email inbox as a “cyber 9/11.” Tom Friedman of the New York Times said on “Morning Joe” that Russian hacking “was a 9/11-scale event. They attacked the core of our democracy. That was a Pearl Harbor-scale event.”

After the indictment, this comparison became a common place rhetoric. “The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty, complaining about President Donald Trump’s inaction, asked readers to “imagine how history would have judged Franklin D. Roosevelt in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, if he had taken to the radio airwaves to declare that Tokyo was ‘laughing their asses off.’ Or if George W. Bush had stood in the rubble of the World Trade Center with a bullhorn and launched a name-calling tirade against the Democrats.”

Greenwald concluded: “If Russian election meddling is on par with the Pearl Harbor and 9/11 attacks, then should the U.S. response be on par with its response to those attacks?” In other words, the US politicians and media called to give Russia the same treatment the US gave to Japan (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and to Afghanistan (invasion followed by 16 years of occupation).

In the search for escalation from fiery talk to fire, the Anglo-American establishment turned to the familiar device of alleged Syrian gas attacks. People have been trained to respond to such accusations (and alternatively, to keep mum while the US bombs Mosul and Raqqa, or prepares to nuke North Korea). Assad and Russia were accused of gassing the rebel stronghold of Eastern Ghouta, the West’s last chance to enforce regime change in Syria by virtue of its location near the capital.

The alleged gas chlorine attack was reported on February 25th, and it was immediately denied by the Russians and the Syrians. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that this anonymous ‘bogus report’ had been originated in the US in order to denigrate Syrian government and its troops, to accuse them of war crimes and to cause permanent breakup of Syria. The US and its allies, he said, were “simply exploiting baseless allegations of toxic weapons use by Damascus as a tool of anti-Syrian political engineering”.

The rebels said they were attacked by chlorine gas, as opposed to previous times when they claimed gas sarin was used. Chlorine gas is a tricky stuff; it is not deadly though unhealthy for inhaling. It is also quite difficult to monitor and verify, for chlorine is widely used for domestic purposes from cleaning bathrooms to purifying water and is not a banned substance (though the gas chlorine is forbidden). This difficulty to verify had made it an easy one to claim.

The situation in E. Ghouta was a replay of Aleppo; reports of wounded children, films produced by the White Helmets, and stubborn attempts by the rebels to prevent civilian exodus from the area. Whenever the rebels are pushed hard, they produce a story of suffering civilians and of gas attacks, hoping the US will force the Syrian government and their Russian allies to relent.

Undoubtedly civilians have suffered in the Syrian war; however, there is a way to end their suffering. The rebels could lay down their arms and join the political process, like everybody else. There are plenty of Americans unhappy with the Trump regime, but they do not shell Washington DC; they hope for a better and different outcome at the next elections. Their example can be emulated by the Syrian rebels, and then, the civilians won’t suffer.

If that’s too much to ask for, they can let the civilians leave; and fight to the bitter end. But no, they do not let the civilians out; instead, they produce reports of civilians suffering and wait for the Mounties to ride in and save them.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Russia, Syria 
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The best Prime Minister the country has ever had. This is how Benjamin Netanyahu is referred to by his numerous supporters. He is the longest-serving one, since the founder of the Jewish state, David Ben Gurion; he served longer than Vladimir Putin. But now apparently he is on the way to follow his predecessor Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to jail. Olmert had been released only half a year ago after a stint for corruption and obstruction of justice. Now it is Netanyahu’s turn to taste prison gruel, instead of pink champagne he is so fond of. Or isn’t it?

The ring of the Israeli PM story sounds familiar to the American ears. Israeli police chief Ronny Alsheich has fought Bibi as hard as Robert Mueller has fought Trump, while Israeli media stood with police against the Prime Minister as the New York Times stood with the FBI. Every accusation had been leaked to the press well in advance of hearing. The public had been bombarded by accusations day and night. Not only the PM, but his wife, the woman of harsh and ungenerous manners, has been relentlessly attacked, too.

The modus operandi of Israeli Police had been very similar to that of the FBI. They found a weaker man, jailed him for some invented (or true) reason and forced him to denounce the boss. What was done to Manafort and Gates, had been done to Shlomo Filber and Ari Harow.

In the end, the police succeeded in forcing the PM’s inner circle to betray their benefactor. Shlomo Filber, the suspended Communications Ministry director general had spent “two nights in a cold, stinking cell in the police lockup”, says Haaretz newspaper, and he agreed to incriminate Netanyahu.

It is very, very difficult to plead for the Israeli Prime Minister. He is the man who killed the peace process, who enslaved the Palestinians, tortured Gaza, bombed Syria and Lebanon, did his damnedest to ignite war with Iran. However, there is a Jewish tradition of apologia, of finding positive points of villains.

A Rabbi had been asked to eulogise Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism, the man greatly hated by observant Jews of his day. He said, Herzl had never walked into a WC while wearing phylacteries; he never studied Talmud on Christmas Eve; and he didn’t shave on Sabbath. These acts are strictly prohibited by the Jewish law, and Herzl didn’t transgress against these prohibitions. (It is beside the point that he didn’t shave, didn’t study Talmud and didn’t wear phylacteries ever at all).

Another Rabbi had defended Satan regarding his persistence in tormenting Job. He said: God loved Job, the wonderful goy, and even preferred him to Abraham, the first Jew. Satan’s intervention had turned God’s kindness to Abraham; it was actually a good deed, restoring Divine attention to the Chosen folk. After hearing that, Satan flew to the wise Rabbi and kissed the fringe of his robe.

In the spirit of these wise Rabbis, I’ll try to raise a few points in favour of the Israeli PM.

Netanyahu didn’t take a bribe in any regular meaning of the word. He is not a corrupt man, keen to make a quick buck; he is not a fastidious one, either, but politicians rarely are.

* He is accused of having a good time with and accepting gifts from the Israeli billionaire and ex-spy Arnon Milchan. This appears to be a proper thing to do in the case of a man who produced pro-Israeli films and did much for the state of Israel. Every Israeli PM would do the same, while enjoying his splendid cigars and good whisky. Netanyahu tried to promote a regulation that would benefit Milchan, but this act would benefit every rich Jew investing in Israel, not just Milchan.

* Netanyahu is accused of helping media owners and asking them for a favourable press coverage. This does not strike me as an offence: everybody asks media lords for a positive coverage. Netanyahu had the same problem Trump has: media is universally hostile to him. It was not objective; media was out to get him, spilling lies or exaggerating his minor transgressions. In order to rule efficiently, he needed some positive coverage, but they were prejudiced against him, so he was forced to use this subterfuge by their hostility.

* There is a lot of unsubstantiated stories about Mr and Mrs Netanyahu, all of them petty penny-pinching: they overcharged the state while ordering catering, they overpaid their electrician, they returned empty bottles to the shop and got the deposit back, but didn’t refund it to the state. The Attorney General reasonably concluded that there is no proof they actually knew of this detail of housekeeping.

* Years ago, a person close to the PM had sounded out a candidate for the post of Attorney General on Mrs Netanyahu’s case. This was presented as an attempt to sell the high position in return for dropping the case; but it was a reasonable precaution. Pity Donald Trump did not sound out Sessions on RussiaGate before appointing him.

Thus, despite much talk, there is very little real hard stuff against PM Netanyahu, but he had been already tried by media and found guilty. However, Bibi is not indicted yet, though the police chief had recommended that. The decision is that of the Attorney General; he will probably postpone making it unless Ronny Alsheich, the top policeman, will find a way to put pressure on the AG.

If and when Bibi will be indicted, he may fight all the way through the court, and he may win. His followers won’t take his defeat easily, shrug their shoulders and go home. They will cause a lot of trouble, and Bibi is not the type to surrender.

However, if he will have to leave his post, who is likely to become the leader of the Jewish state? There are no good guys we can hope to inherit the throne. Like its neighbour Lebanon, Israel is divided into communities divided by their origin and their attitude to religion. Economically the strongest one is the secular East European Ashkenazi community, but it suffers of the same illness of mind the WASPs of America are heirs to. They are liberal and uncertain of their ability and right to rule. They accepted the minorities-prone agenda like the American white liberals: they are for LGBT, for black African refugees and they would like to have Oriental Jews fronting for them.

The Oriental Jewish communities hate Ashkenazi Jews, but they hate Arabs even more. This hatred to Arabs is the cement of the Jewish state. The Orientals want to be top dogs, but they aren’t certain of their abilities and actually prefer the Ashkenazis to take care of the state affairs.

Religious Jewish communities also subscribe to hatred of Arabs, but they are split between ultra-orthodox and nationalist. The ultra-orthodox care more about their own self-interest, while the nationalist religious are millenarians and chiliasts.

Now there are six persons with some chance of inheriting the PM office; more can appear, and some may drop out. Let us look at them briefly. From the Right to Centre-Right, there are

(1) the fiery-spoken secular Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, the Russian Jew from Moldova, who called for bombing the Aswan Dam and threatened Lebanon with a war of extinction;

(2) The Minister of Education Naphtali Bennett, the clean-shaven religious nationalist of American background, who said authorities should lock Ahed Tamimi up and throw away the key.

These two candidates are far right.

At the Centre-Right, there are

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel 
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Do you remember the terrible onslaught of the mainstream media on presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2016? Dozens of revelations about his fake hair, pussy grabbing, tax avoidance and what not; dozens of public polls proving that the nation wanted Hillary and hated Trump, opinion pieces convincing you that only racist white trash could think of voting for him. They even printed that Time weekly (or was it Newsweek?) cover with a Madam President! greeting. And then came the day of counting.

This development comes to my mind as I follow the incessant attacks in the Russian media and social networks on presidential candidate Paul N. Grudinin (usually nicknamed Gru). Russian state-owned TV is supposed, by its charter, to play a neutral role in the election campaign. They did it for a week after his name was entered into the race. In that week’s time, Gru’s rating skyrocketed and almost reached that of President Putin. This was an unexpected turn of events for the Kremlin, whose political witch-doctors expected Gru to make a modest showing and to improve the doubtful legitimacy of the forthcoming elections.

When they recognised the magnitude of their mistake, they gave a command to their obedient TV channels, and Gru became the target of their daily attacks. Out of eight candidates, Gru is the only one who gets negative coverage. About him, they speak bad or nothing, just like about Trump in the US in his time.

A veteran candidate, the old Nationalist Zhirinovsky gets plenty of time on the TV, for he has only one message, Down with Gru. His wild attacks on Gru are broadcasted in every election campaign program every evening on the TV.

There is a spoiler, a tiny ‘Russian Communists’ Trotskyite party, whose only purpose in life is to steal votes from the mainstream Communist Party (KPRF). It is a virtual party that disappears after elections to come back to life before new elections. Some innocent souls in the Russian hinterland vote for them being convinced that this is the Communist Party. They are violently anti-Gru, and post like mad in Facebook their denunciations of the not-quite-communist Gru.

However, Gru is not a run-of-the-mill communist candidate. A successful manager of an agricultural holding called Lenin Sovkhoz, he is a good example of Russian industrialists otherwise called ‘Red directors’, that is managers of Soviet factories and enterprises who adjusted to the new system. They are producers of goods for local consumption, and their interests do not coincide with those of the Putin (or Yeltsin) oligarchs. Those oligarchs made their fortunes by importing consumer goods and exporting raw materials; they are the base of Putin’s power.

The producers, both industrialists and agriculturalists, want more protectionist measures and cheaper credits, they want to boost the buying power of ordinary Russians, that is increase salaries and pensions. Their fortunes lie with the fortunes of the ordinary Russian workers. They are dissatisfied with President Putin, and even more with his government led by Mr Medvedev.

Gru became the candidate for a plethora of political organisations from the Left and from the Right; he is supported by Russian Nationalists, though his main alliance is with the KPRF (the mainstream Russian Communist Party). He is a combination of Sanders and Trump, for workers, against immigration, for protective trade barriers and low-cost credits for small producers. A self-made-man of the upper-middle class, not a billionaire, but definitely a wealthy man, he does not scare middle-class Russians who would be afraid to support a real red-in-tooth-and-claw Communist.

Though the official prediction grouop, the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, VTSIOM (ВЦИОМ) claims 70% of electorate will vote for Putin and only 7% for Grudinin, the feeling on the ground is very different. There are a few sites allowing people to express their preference by “voting”; a biggish site of this sort is http://president-rf.ru/ where out of 180,000 voters 60% preferred Gru, and only 30% voted for President Putin. On other sites, Gru gets anything from 30 to 80 per cent of the vote.

It is difficult to predict the result, and it is still over a month until election day, but VTSIOM’s assessment appears too low to justify the ferocious campaign against Gru. If he were about to get 6-7%, the top wheeler-dealer, the presidential administration, would not bother and would not activate its troll factories and fake social network accounts to stop Grudinin. It seems that man has a chance to win the battle, that is if the elections are reasonably fair.

Putin has been a good president, and a popular one, but he has his limitations. He still feels obliged to keep the Deal he made with the late President Yeltsin; he still keeps fighting the Soviet memory, he is surrounded by his buddies who roll in cash; he does not support local production except for the weapons industry. While he was good for a long while, there is a feeling that the country is ripe for a changing of the guard.

A teacher in the preparatory school may be wonderful, but sooner or later, the child should move on, to new teachers. Gru is the first man who has excited the Russians since 1996, and he is likely to make a strong bid.

The Russian Left is Different.

Grudinin has the support of the left and of the right; of workers and of managers; of communists and of nationalists. How could this happen? The main reason is that the Russian Left is quite different from the European Left. The Russians are Bolsheviks. The Western Left is predominantly Menshevik.

Historically, the Russian Social Democrats were divided into Bolsheviks, the Majorites, and Mensheviks, the Minorites. The actual argument that divided the Social Democrats into these majority and minority groups is of little importance now and of even less relevance. Nowadays, the Majorites are the Left for the Majority, while Minorites are the Left for Minorities.

The Russian Left is the force for the majority, for the workers, for the natives. The Western Left is for gender, ethnic, religious minorities. If you’d ask a Western worker about the Left, he will probably tell you: the Left is not for us, they care only for gays and migrants who take our jobs.

Mensheviks are (and were) better for Jews, as Jews are the ultimate minority. Bolsheviks accepted Jews as individuals and equals, not as a separate and preferred minority group. Bolsheviks fought against the Bund, the Jewish Social Democrats, while the Mensheviks joined with the Bund.

Stalin observed (and Trotsky quoted that in his book on Stalin):

“the majority of the Menshevik group were Jews. On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of the Bolshevik group were ethnic Russians. In this connection a Bolshevik observed in jest that the Mensheviks constituted a Jewish group while the Bolsheviks constituted a true-Russian group and, therefore, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for us Bolsheviks to organise a pogrom in the Party”.

While being comradely to Jewish comrades, Stalin effectively de-Jewified the Russian Communist Party by bringing in many ethnic Russian workers and peasants. He treated the Jews as just one of the tribes populating Eurasia, not as the Chosen Ones. This is the sin of Stalin in Jewish eyes, and that is why they condemn him now.

 
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While you have probably already forgotten the feast, Russia is only now slowly coming back to life after its overlong Christmas break completed on January 14 by the quaintly named Old New Year, or even perhaps by the Epiphany on January 19. Everybody went somewhere, even candidates for the presidential race coming in on March 18: the Communist one went to ski in Austria, while the right-winger went to Bali. On the eve of Epiphany, they dipped in the ice-cold waters: the ultimate trial of Russian fitness. Not only he-man Putin, but even she-woman Sobchak did it!

And now, at last, as the feasts are over, the real trial begins. The US is preparing a new round of sanctions, including seizure of Russian oligarch assets. They are ripe for collection. The confiscation of Russian holdings in Cyprus banks in 2013 passed without a hitch and served as a trial balloon. Putin didn’t object overmuch, for he is a sworn enemy of offshore accounts. None of the fleeced Russian businessmen succeeded in recovering their losses in court. Now is the time for the real thing, and much of the anti-Russian hysteria is aimed at preparing the ground for the seizure. In this way, they plan to get a cool trillion dollars into the US Treasury. Who will lose his assets and who will survive, this is the talk of the day in Moscow.

The Russian assets in the west could be divided into New Money, assets of Putin’s people, and the Old Money, assets of Yeltsin’s people. The sanctions are supposed to deal with Putin’s people, but Russian experts think the Old Money is more vulnerable, for a good reason. The New Money is under Putin’s protection. If the US or any other western authority grabs it, the Russian government may seize Western shares in Russian companies and properties.

But what about the Old Money? Its owners, elder oligarchs, are extremely worried about Putin’s nonchalance. Putin takes it easy, they say. Ma’alish, the Arab in Putin says. Que sera sera, says his inner Frenchman. And this nonchalant attitude drives the oligarchs crazy. They want him to fight and save their money. They insisted on his meeting with President Trump in Vietnam; some say the meeting took place in the depth of the night, far from prying eyes, and didn’t bring results. Now Putin says to the Old Money: if you want to save your money, repatriate it to Russia. We aren’t that mad, they reply. You have to defend us anyway! That was the Deal!

Now we are coming to a difficult part. The Deal. Connected people, in-the-know, claim that a top-secret agreement was reached between the late Mr Yeltsin and his cronies, on one side, and The West, on the other side, in 1991. Yeltsin et al had sold Russia’s interests down the river, and in return, The West allowed the bastards to hoard their ill-gotten gains in the Western financial system. Yeltsin et al had promised to let the Soviet republics go; to disarm; to follow the Washington Consensus, i.e. to stick to the liberal economic model; to allow the free import of consumer goods; to allow Western access to the Russian military complex; to let the West write Russian laws; to permit the free outflow of capital from Russia. The West promised to bring investment, to let Russia live in peace, to keep NATO away from Russian borders.

Mr Putin inherited The Deal. Slowly, the Deal has been eroded from both sides. NATO troops moved eastward, no sizeable investment came in, the West supported Chechen rebels. Russia limited Western access to its military-industrial complex; took Crimea; regained some of its international independence.

Putin was elected, or you may say, he was appointed to stick to the Deal and to serve as the Supreme Arbiter among the oligarchs, with very little of a power base of his own. Slowly, he created his own oligarchs (they are described as “siloviki”, though not all of them have some security forces background), and he had built up a limited power base; though many important positions, in particular in the economic sphere, remained in the hands of the Old Guard, Yeltsin’s men. This, too, was a part of the Deal.

The powerful personalities of Yeltsin’s era remained embedded in the upper echelons of Putin’s state. Chubais and Kudrin were and are untouchable. They are connected with the FRS and the IMF, they go to Bilderberg and Davos, they are often described as ‘the colonial administration’. They steal with both hands, and do it with impunity. Just last week it was revealed and published that Mr Chubais and Mr Kudrin appropriated a cool billion dollars of Russian state money while repaying the Soviet debt to the Czech Republic. The worst Putin can do about them is to give them a fat chunk of the Russian economy to chew on, while limiting their access to the rest. So he gave Mr Chubais the Rusnano company that made no profit but embezzled billions. This was the Deal.

Yeltsin’s oligarchs remained as rich as they were; Yeltsin’s family still possesses immense riches. And Putin does not dare to touch them. He goes hat in hand to open a Yeltsin’s Memorial Centre; he is courteous with Yeltsin’s widow and daughter. Putin’s establishment cautiously avoided celebration, or even mention of the Revolution centenary, in keeping with Yeltsin’s anticommunism. This is the Deal.

The topmost schools of Russia, the most endowed, the most privileged schools for the children of the new nobility are the HSE, (the Higher School of Economics, a clone of the LSE and the economic think-tank of the government), and MGIMO, (Moscow State Institute of International Relations, the school for perspective diplomats). Their graduates were been trained to despise Russia and admire the neo-liberal West (just like the Indian students trained by the Brits, had admired England and despised their country in the days of the British Raj). Professor Medvedev of the HSE called upon Russian government to transfer the Russian Far North to the international community, though this is the place of the greatest gas reserves (he kept his position). Professor Zubov of the MGIMO had compared Putin to Hitler, and denounced Russian diplomats as liars (his contract hasn’t been prolonged). All that is a part of the Deal.

Putin has been unhappy with the Deal for a long time, vocally so since his Munich talk in 2007, but he stuck to the script. Even now, Russia’s economy follows the liberal model; billions of dollars are being siphoned out of Russia monthly; billions of dollars’ worth of Western manufactured consumer goods are imported and sold in Russia, though it would make perfect sense to organise local manufacture. Russia’s Central Bank is directly connected to the Western finance system, and its emission is limited by the amount of hard currency in its coffers. The Rouble carry trade prospers, like the Yen carry trade did years ago.

Meanwhile, the Deal has been undone from the West, as a result of the epic struggle between Bankers and Producers, otherwise described as Liberals vs. Conservatives, or Globalists vs. Regionalists, personalised as Clinton vs. Trump. Yeltsin’s people are historically aligned with the Clinton camp. Now, their assets in the West, previously protected by the Deal, have lost their protection and come up for grabs.

The Old Money people are putting their effort into persuading the West, namely the US, to let them live in peace and instead confiscate the pro-Putin New Money.

 
Israel Shamir
About Israel Shamir

Israel Shamir has written extensively on public affairs, primarily relating to the Israel/Palestine conflict and Russia, including three books, Galilee Flowers, Cabbala of Power and Masters of Discourse available in English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Norwegian, Swedish, Italian, and Hungarian.

He describes himself as a native of Novosibirsk, Siberia, who he moved to Israel in 1969, served as paratrooper in the army and fought in the 1973 war, afterwards turning to journalism and writing. During the late 1970s, he joined the BBC in London later living in Japan. After returning to Israel in 1980, Shamir wrote for the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, and was the Knesset spokesman for the Israel Socialist Party (Mapam), also translating and annotating the cryptic works of S.Y. Agnon, the only Hebrew Nobel Prize winning writer, from the original Hebrew into Russian.

His perspective on the Israel/Palestine conflict was summed up in The Pine and the Olive, published in 1988 and republished in 2004. That same year, he was received in the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem and Holy Land, being baptised Adam by Archbishop Theodosius Attalla Hanna. He now lives in Jaffa and spends much time in Moscow and Stockholm; he is father of three sons.