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Kiev: Chestnuts Blossom Again
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I had to whip up my courage to go to the Ukraine. There was a recent spate of political killings in the unhappy and lovely land, and the perpetrators never apprehended; among those killed was Oles Buzina, a renowned writer and a dear friend. Two years ago, well before the troubles, we had a drink under a chestnut tree in a riverside café. Buzina was in his forties, rather tall and slim, had a narrow sarcastic face of Mephistopheles, a bald head, a hint of moustache and a bad temper. He was a Thersites among the warlike nationalists of Kiev, laughing at their sacred myths of eternal Ukraine Above All. He called their beloved nationalist poet, the first one to write in the local dialect, “a vampire” for his predilection to bloody scenes. Buzina wrote in Russian, the language educated writers of the Ukraine preferred and perfected since Gogol, and he rejected the parochial narrative of the recent coup d’état.

He was shot at high noon, in a street near his home in central Kiev, and the killers just vanished in thin April air. He was not alone: opposition journalists were killed, shot like Buzina and Suchobok, parliament members, governors and officers of law were defenestrated like Chechetov, MP in the “epidemics of suicides”. Were they killed by local extremists freely operating in the land, or did they become victims of Seal Team Six, the feared American assassins who kill enemies of the Empire by their thousands from Afghanistan to Ukraine to Venezuela? Who knows. Many more independent journalists and writers escaped by the skin of their teeth – to Russia like Alexander Chalenko or to Europe like Anatol Shary.

I’ve met them in Kiev before the troubles, I’ve met them in their exile, and they told me of threats, of gangs of armed football fans and neo-Nazis roaming the land. I was scared, as in my advanced age I did not fancy a sojourn in a torture cellar, but curiosity, desire to see with my own eyes and judge for myself, and above all, the attraction of chestnuts in full tender bloom defeated the fear, and I took a rare Moscow-Kiev train. Always full in normal days, it was half empty. Other travellers were also worried: the Ukrainian border guards were known to arrest people on slightest suspicion or to ban entry after a few hours in a police cooler.

The border guard that checked my Israeli passport was a huge man in a military camouflage with a large strip displaying his blood type in bold Latin numerals: IV Rhesus-. Still, he let me in after checking with his computer and asking a few questions. I was to see many soldiers and officers in battle dress all over Ukraine, as many as in Israel, perhaps. The Kiev government obviously took a leaf from Israel’s cookbook: schmaltzy advertising for military is ubiquitous, including calls to join the army, to support soldiers, to feed soldiers, to entertain soldiers, as if these soldiers of theirs are defending the homeland from barbarians. In reality, they are shelling and looting the breakaway provinces, like the Yankees in the Gone with the Wind.

The looting made the war quite popular for a while with an average Ukrainian. That is, until coffins began to arrive from two major defeats of the Kiev army, under Ilovaisk and Debaltsevo. Pictures of young men who died fighting to regain Donbass are displayed in prominent places in Ukrainian cities – there are too many of these martyrs for a small victorious war. The stream of volunteers dried up, and the regime began drafting able-bodied men. A number of draftees chose to flee to Russia or went into hiding, but the army is being beefed up all the same – by the mercenaries of Western private companies as well.

The Minsk agreements quelled the war, though shooting and shelling goes on. The Renewal of full-scale hostilities is still very possible: the US wants a proxy war against Russia. The regime may choose war for economic reasons as things go from bad to worse. Standards of living dropped sharply: hryvna, the currency, went down, prices went up, while salaries and pensions remained as they were.

Do people complain, do they regret the February 2014 coup? Not really. They blame Russia’s Putin in all their misfortunes and refer to him by an obscene nickname. “Putin is envious of us for we shall join the EU”, a burly internet café owner in camouflage told me, though at that very time, in Riga, the EU leaders made it clear that in no way Ukraine will become a full member of EU. Rather, an associated one, like Turkey or North Africa. Militarist propaganda (“stand by our boys”) made an impact. As does the nationalist one. Many Ukrainians speak with palpable hatred of Russia, though with surprising ease they go to work and live in Russia if and when an opportunity arises.

Russians believe that deprivations will sober the people of Ukraine, but it seems unlikely. The Ukrainians, like all Russians (and that’s what they are, for Ukraine is the south-western part of historical Russia, and as Russian as any place) are hardy, stubborn, patient, frugal and able to survive in most adverse conditions. A reverse could be possible: in 2004, the first Maidan coup (also sponsored by the West) installed a pro-Western president, but he earned universal scorn and failed to get re-elected. The second Maidan coup could suffer a similar fate, but this time the regime decided to ban the opposition parties. The Communist Party is banned, and the previously ruling Regions Party was dismantled and its members are forbidden to participate in elections. The Kiev regime does not need an appearance of democracy, as they have the West’s support.

ORDER IT NOW

I do not want to exaggerate: Kiev is not hell on earth; it is still a comfortable city. People are reluctant to express their views in public, and some do not want to be seen with a man from Moscow, but their fear is not overwhelming. Communists and pro-Russian people in general are more likely to lose their job than their life. And a lot of Ukrainians look at Russia with love and sorrow, and express it. These are the Communists, who suffer daily threats; these are the Orthodox Christians, for the regime favours the Uniate Catholic Church of Eastern Rite and strong-arms the Orthodox from their churches; these are Russian-language writers and intellectuals who had their newspapers closed down and books removed; last but not least, there are industrial workers employed in still-surviving industries, for the Ukraine was the most industrialised part of Russia.

In the South-East of Ukraine, they fight with weapons; elsewhere, a slow-going war of words and ideas goes on. What do they fight for? The Russian version of the story – ethnic Ukrainian Neo-Nazi followers of Bandera persecute Russians of Ukraine – is a great over-simplification. So is the Ukrainian version of Ukraine choosing Europe against Russia pulling it back into its unwanted embrace. The reality is quite different. You understand that when you encounter pro-Ukrainian Russians of Russia. They are numerous, influential, prominently placed in Moscow, as opposed to numerous but disenfranchised pro-Russian Ukrainians of Kiev. The civil war goes in Ukraine and Russia, and it is not ethnic strife, as both sides often pretend.

This is the ongoing struggle between comprador bourgeoisie and its enemies: the industrialists, workers, military. This struggle has gone on since 1985, for 30 years. In 1991, the Empire won. The Soviet Union was undone. Its Industry and armed forces were dismantled. Science was eliminated. Workers lost their jobs. The state (in both Russia and Ukraine) became subservient to the Empire. This was a tragedy for ordinary people, but an opportunity for collaborationists.

Many people prospered at the dismantling of the Soviet Union. Not only the oligarchs – a whole class of people who could get a piece at privatisation. The Western companies bought a lot of industries and dismantled them. The agricultural complex was destroyed. Russia and Ukraine were hooked to the global imperial economy: they bought manufactured goods and food from the West, or from China for US dollars. The only produce of Russia has been its oil and gas.

There were two failed attempts to reverse the tide in Russia. Yeltsin blocked both with tanks. Worn and hated, he appointed Putin to succeed him. Putin was chosen and supported by oligarchs and by the West to rule Russia with an iron fist in a velvet glove and to keep it hooked and subservient. Very slowly he began to shift ground to independence. Putin’s Russia is still far away from full independence; it is far from clear Putin even wants that. Putin is not a communist, he does not want to restore the Soviet Union; he is loyal to Russia’s rich, he sticks to the monetarist school of thought, he trades in dollars through Western banks, he did not nationalise the many industries and lands taken over by the crooks.

Still Putin’s became the third attempt to reverse the tide. He did much more than it was permitted by the Empire. He crossed red lines in his internal policies by banning Western companies from buying Russian resources; he crossed the red line in his foreign policy while protecting Syria and securing Crimea. He began to re-industrialise Russia, produce wheat and buy Chinese goods bypassing dollar. He limited power of oligarchs.

But Yeltsin’s people, the Reaganite compradors, retained their positions of power in Moscow. They control the most prestigious universities and the High School of Economics, they run the magazines and newspapers, they have financial support of the oligarchs and of foreign funds, they are represented in the government, they have the mind of Russian intelligentsia, they miss Yeltsin’s days and they do love America and support the Kiev regime for they correctly see it as direct continuation of Yeltsin’s.

Yes, there is a big difference: Yeltsin was an enemy of nationalists, while Kiev uses nationalism as the means to consolidate its hold. Kiev is also much more militarised than Moscow ever was. The common ground is their hatred of the Soviet past, of communism and socialism. Kiev decided to destroy all monuments of the Soviet era and rename all the streets bearing Soviet names. Moscow anti-communists loudly supported this move and called to emulate it in Russia. Gorbachev’s intellectual elite, elderly but still going strong, also supported Kiev’s resolute anticommunism.

Putin hardly moved these people out of power. He cherishes his ties with Anatoly Chubays, an arch-thief of Yeltsin’s days, and with Kudrin, the Friedmanite economist. Recently he began to deal with their supply lines: Western NGOs and funds have to register, their transactions have been made visible and revealed huge financial injections from abroad into their media. Still, people identified as pro-Putin are a minority in Moscow establishment. So much for his “ruthless dictator” image!

This duality of Russian power structure influences Russian policy towards Ukraine. A minority that is “more pro-Putin than Putin”, calls for war and liberation of the eastern provinces of the Ukraine. They see confrontation with the West as unavoidable. The powerful comprador group calls to abandon Donbass and to make peace with Kiev and with New York. They want Russia to follow in the footsteps of Kiev, minus its nationalism. Putin rejects both extremes and treads the middle ground, annoying both groups.

The Kiev regime could use this reluctance of Putin and broker a good stable peace. But their sponsors want war. The breakaway Donbass was the power engine of all the Ukraine. The new regime is keen to de-industrialise the land: industrial workers and engineers speak Russian and relate to the Soviet Union and to Russia its heir, while Ukrainian-speakers and supporters of the regime are mainly small farmers or shopkeepers. This is a standard fare of ex-USSR: de-industrialisation is the weapon of choice for pro-Western regimes from Tajikistan to Latvia. Of Russia, too: the first thing carried out by pro-Western reformers in Gorbachev and Yeltsin’s days was de-industrialisation. It is said that Obama’s Transatlantic Free Trade Area (TAFTA) will de-industrialise Germany and France. Thus industrial Donbass has good reasons resisting its inclusion in the Ukraine, unless this will be a federated state leaving much of its authority to the provinces. Kiev prefers war depopulating the region.

ORDER IT NOW

So in Ukraine I found a follow-up to dramatic events of 1990s. Who will win: the next generation of Gorbachev’s reformers in the nationalist folkish dress – or the industrial workers? Perhaps Putin could answer this question, but he is not in haste. In the second article we shall look at Moscow and its recent moves.

Israel Shamir may be reached at [email protected]

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Russia, Ukraine 
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  1. In my opinion, this is the first article in Unz Review, which honestly talks about Eltsyn’s time “privatization” as stealing of the nation’s wealth by a group of “oligarchs”.

    Shamir correctly explains, that Putin, whatever his personal intent, is tied by comprador elite and oligarchs, whose main interest is to continue sucking ever diminishing national wealth into their pockets.
    Russian-speaking readers of Unz Review may find this line detailed in the blog of
    Anatoliy Evgenievich Nesmiyan, writing under pseudonym “El-Murid”,

    http://el-murid.livejournal.com/

    • Replies: @Axierus
    , @HA
  2. Good, serious article by Shamir.
    Key words in it are “comprador elites” in Russia.

  3. Axierus says:

    A very good and informative article. However, the term “the Reagonite compradors” is somewhat misleading. I would replace it with “the Clintonite compradors”.

  4. Axierus says:
    @Immigrant from former USSR

    Sorry, but El Murid is – in terms of the Israel’s article – probably the best example of the “more pro-Putin than Putin” fraction. He and his host Musin did everything possible to provoke a full-scale war in Ukraine. Citing him lets one appear unserious in any respectful russian blog. In some sense he and his friends are the russian version of John McCain.

  5. @Axierus

    Thank you, Mr. Axierus.
    Nesmiyan (El Murid) is more pro-Putin than Putin in the sense that
    Nesmiyan loves Russian people; Putin and his comprador government — not much.
    Who provokes war in Ukraine is, to my sorrow, USA, the country, where my kids and grandkids live and hopefully will live.
    Best to you. IffU.

  6. DH says:

    Good honest article.
    Regarding this:

    The common ground is their hatred of the Soviet past, of communism and socialism.

    I can understand why… Holdomor. I hope the Ukranians can distinguish Russians from those responsible for the Holdomor though…

    • Replies: @inertial
    , @annamaria
  7. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:

    Among the very nasty things that the Democratic Party-and its narcissistic homosexual Kenyan Foriegner Dear Leader-has in store for Conservative Orthodox Christian Russia:

    1)Forcing young Conservative Orthodox Christian Russian Women into sexual slavery to satisfy the bestial urges of violent psychopathic serial rapist Billy Clinton from Hot Springs Arkansas, Democratic Party Donor and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstien..and suspected pedophile and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz.

    2)The Homo-Pedophile norming of Conservative Orthodox Christian Russia.

    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
  8. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:

    Democratic Party Family Values=The US Navy=A Global Force for Global Homosexual Pedophile Filth!!!!!

  9. inertial says:
    @DH

    The supposed hatred Ukrainians feel for Russians due to Holodomor was almost entirely Ukrainian diaspora phenomenon until quite recently. Even that hatred was mostly theoretical, i.e. learned. Note that great majority of foreign Ukrainians comes from regions unaffected Holdomor. There is a strong inverse relationship between having an ancestor/relative starve in Holdomor and hating Russia.

    • Replies: @HA
  10. HA says:
    @Immigrant from former USSR

    In my opinion, this is the first article in Unz Review, which honestly talks about Eltsyn’s time “privatization”…

    Steve Sailer has written about this for years:

    Marc Rich and the Rape of Russia

  11. HA says:
    @inertial

    “The supposed hatred Ukrainians feel for Russians due to Holodomor was almost entirely Ukrainian diaspora phenomenon until quite recently.”

    Gee, I wonder those mired in nearly a century of Soviet rule and propaganda might be less willing to make the Holodomor an issue than those in the diaspora?

    Yeah, that’s a real puzzle.

    • Replies: @inertial
  12. annamaria says:
    @DH

    Do Ukrainians have same hatred of Germany because of the German past? Just to give you a prospective, the greatest emigration from Israel has been to Germany (you know about the main propagators of Holocaust, of course.) Russian Jews, when having a choice to emigrate either to Israel or to Germany, prefer what country? … Yes, Germany. The Holodomor was carried in Ukraine by people of various ethnicities, including Ukrainians. If the topic of the past massacres with regard to the ongoing US/RF conflict in Ukraine was taken seriously, then the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Galician)’ mass-murder expeditions in Poland and other Slavic countries (members of the EU, by the way) would be discussed along with the atrocities carried on in the Soviet Union by some Soviets against other Soviets.

  13. Jim says:

    I know little about the Ukraine. Almost everything one reads now about it is either a story of good Ukrainians vs. bad Russians or bad Ukrainians vs. good Russians.

  14. inertial says:
    @HA

    You have to be some kind of foreigner to see this as a genocide perpetrated by Russians as people against Ukrainians as people.

    • Replies: @HA
  15. @HA

    Thank you, Mr. HA.
    Yes, I 100% agree with you, Steve Sailer wrote about it many times.
    But to the best of my understanding, in June 2013
    (date of your reference of magnificent Steve; no irony here),
    Unz Review did not exist yet.
    So, if you do not consider the archives of Unz Review,
    this Shamir’s article is one of the first and of the best.
    Your I.f.f.U.

    • Replies: @HA
  16. HA says:
    @inertial

    “You have to be some kind of foreigner to see this as a genocide perpetrated by Russians as people against Ukrainians as people.”

    And you have to be putting words in my mouth or setting up a straw man. My comment had to do with how those in the Soviet Union – Russian and Ukrainian – might have a different, and indeed, harsher view on what went on there than those in the diaspora. You are the one who in your previous comment found that curious enough to make something of it.

    • Replies: @HA
  17. @HA

    I would like to add that the main emphasis of Sailer’s article cited by you
    is the bad American guys of certain ethnicity,
    who helped bad guys from former USSR
    (of various ethnicities, but again, mostly of a certain one)
    to “privatize” USSR into their common pockets.
    By the way, an oligarch from Russian Federation Alisher Usmanov, of Uzbek ethnicity himself
    (but with a J**sh wife, as I just learned from Wikipedia),
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alisher_Usmanov ,
    decided to buy out James Watson’s Nobel prize medal and to return it to Watson,
    http://www.newsweek.com/russian-billionaire-returns-nobel-prize-james-watson-344013 .
    I have no personal opinion of Usmanov, but it sounds to me more noble than the purchase of a yacht by oligarch Abramovich, also from Russian Federation, now in London.
    Funny, none of billionaires in USA did it.

  18. HA says:
    @Immigrant from former USSR

    “But to the best of my understanding, in June 2013…Unz Review did not exist yet.”

    Sailer has written about it since then as well – it is something of an ongoing theme with him – for example:

    The Rape of Russia Explained by Anne Williamson

  19. @War for Blair Mountain

    I honestly have not seen naked hatred like yours on any site I visit, what drives that hate? why do you think the way you do? assuming you aren’t just trolling.

  20. I always find the aging lefty defends Putin’s Russia articles very amusing. The terminology is always highly questionable for instance Reaganite compradors instead of the far more accurate Clinonite compradors. No Reagan era officials were involved in Russia’s efforts at privatization whereas Clintonites abounded.

    If an aging leftists is willing to lie in order to score points against a long-dead honorable man what chances are there that he tells the truth in a still simmering conflict. And of course he doesn’t. The Maidan protests are characterized as coups-though the 2004 Orange Revolution could not in any manner be characteristized as such- while the Neo-Soviet led coup that Yeltsin heroically defeated is characterized as “an attempt to turn the tide.” As if military hardliners surrounding the Russian parliament with tanks is some kind of peaceful protest movement. To go even further and accusing Yeltsin as the one who used tanks is so dishonest that it suggests a kind of sociopathic contempt for truth.

    • Replies: @5371
    , @Seamus Padraig
  21. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:
    @Astuteobservor II

    Are not creatures spawned in Hell itself deserving of intense hatred? You know who else I really hate?…JFK…no doubt rotting in hell at the moment in Satan’s own personal toilet bowl…for bringing the Human Species to within 60 seconds of permanent Extinction….And we can thank a Conservative Orthodox Christian Russian Naval Commander named Vassily Akripov(Unz review commenter Smoothieex1 was mentored by Cammander Vassily at the Russian Naval Academy) for interfering with the over-sexed-degenerate Irish Catholic Cockroach JFKs manic obsession to cause the mass extinction of the Human Species….

    JFK..species classification:Blattaria Gigantus

  22. rod1963 says:

    I’ve always found it funny the way Conservative/GOP FoxNews is routinely making Putin out to be another Hitler bent on invading Eastern Europe and how we have the right to meddle in Russia’s back yard because a bunch of oligarchs and dual-passport holders in the DOD and State say so.

    It’s even more amusing when Fox brings out the various pasty faced little chickenhawks who spent their careers in the government or cushy think tanks gets on TV and demands we need to “get tough” with Russia, send weapons and troops to the Ukraine, get in a hot war, etc. While they sit back and watch the slaughter from their mansions in the Hamptons.

    It’s a replay of the Serbian war and Iraq invasion all over. In the end we’ll have our war with Russia, because the Conservatives really want it. Without war the GOP is dead in the water politically as they have nothing to offer the ordinary people domestically except a stick in the eye.

    • Replies: @Minnesota Mary
  23. 5371 says:
    @Sam Haysom

    Idiot boy, the parliament was being attacked by tanks at Yeltsin’s command.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @Sam Haysom
  24. @War for Blair Mountain

    that doesn’t explain your previous post. so, trolling?

  25. @War for Blair Mountain

    I really wish Unz.com would stop letting your comments through.

  26. The BBC is very unhappy at how Christian Russia is becoming:

    The monument to a Russian warlord called Vladimir
    By Caroline Wyatt BBC News, Moscow

    Plans to build an enormous statue of Russia’s patron saint in Moscow are causing alarm – but it’s not easy to protest against St Vladimir.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33109476

    • Replies: @HA
  27. whahae says:

    It is said that Obama’s Transatlantic Free Trade Area (TAFTA) will de-industrialise Germany and France.

    It is said? By whom?

  28. @HA

    Thank you for the reference. I remember reading it in February 2014.
    I read in on iSteve; Unz Review was not yet in my field of view:

    http://isteve.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-rape-of-russia-explained-by-anne.html

    Again, it is mostly about bad American guys.
    And actually there are almost no Sailer’s comments; it is a report by Ms. Anne Williamson, quite long one.
    You are right, I should not claim that Shamir’s article is _the_first_ one on the subject.
    But Shamir’s article is really good.
    Your I.f.f.U.

  29. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    POOR GULLIBLE UKRAINIANS–GOING FROM ONE JEWISH HOLODOMOR TO ANOTHER JEWISH HOLODOMOR.

    * * *

    [Posting multiple comments under different names is totally unacceptable here. Continue doing so and all your future comments will be summarily trashed.]

    • Replies: @5371
  30. HA says:
    @Cagey Beast

    “The BBC is very unhappy at how Christian Russia is becoming:..”

    The article is about the statue of St. Vladimir, and when completed it will be “more than 25 meters”, which means it will be taller that the 2nd largest statue of Lenin. in Dubna. Nice.

    However, it would need to be 30m to be as tall as the Lenin statue in Volgograd which is 30m (listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the highest monument of a man who lived). I wonder what implications we should draw from that?

    For what it’s worth, I also do not know if the St. Vladimir statue will be as tall as the Lenin statue Kharkov, which was 28m, but that one was toppled back in September. I’m sure there’s some previous comment on this site crying about the dark political implications of that, too.

    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
  31. HA says:
    @HA

    …sorry, in case it isn’t obvious, I should have replaced “harsher” with “milder”.

  32. @whahae

    By Michael Hudson, inter alia

  33. anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @5371

    Idiot boy,

    He’s truly an idiot yet always buzzes around insulting commenters who are trying to make a point or two. It’s hard to have worthwhile discussions when know-nothings like this always intrude.

    • Replies: @Sam Haysom
  34. @HA

    I wish you’d be more clear about what you’re accusing people of. Are you saying there are a lot of sympathizers of Lenin posting comments here at Unz.com?

    • Replies: @HA
  35. HA says:
    @Cagey Beast

    “I wish you’d be more clear about what you’re accusing people of.”

    You are apparently convinced that the writers of the article are alarmed about the growth of Christianity in Russia, and you take a large statue of St. Vladimir as evidence of that growth. (If you want to characterize that last sentence as an accusation, go ahead, but then you’re just letting paranoia get the best of you.) As I see it, the article interprets the statue not as the fruits of some Christian resurgence, but rather, as an implicit celebration of a more recent strongman named Vladimir. Sure, the BBC probably would be alarmed if Russians (or anyone else, for that matter) started taking Christianity seriously, but there’s little in the article about that, unless one confuses Christianity with building large monuments.

    If you’re looking for an actual accusation, let’s see if this will satisfy you: You seem to be quite enamored of Russian political figures making outward professions of religiosity. I, for one, am aware of what Stalin and other rulers did with Christianity whenever they found it useful, and am less prone to celebrate such gestures. (If that’s just my own paranoia, well, at least it is referenced to a not-so-distant Soviet past that this new Vladimir and others like him are trying very hard to whitewash and resurrect.)

    That being said, if the Russians are indeed embracing Christianity, good for them.

    If you can draw far-reaching political/social/spiritual conclusions based simply on the erection of some statue, you might allow others to do the same, in which case, toppled Lenin statues (not to mention the ones still standing proudly) are fair game.

  36. You are apparently convinced that the writers of the article are alarmed about the growth of Christianity in Russia … Sure, the BBC probably would be alarmed if Russians (or anyone else, for that matter) started taking Christianity seriously, but there’s little in the article about that, unless one confuses Christianity with building large monuments.

    From the article:

    And these days, it’s true, Russians hesitate to criticise the Church too loudly – not least with new anti-blasphemy laws allowing harsh punishment for those “offending religious feeling”. Even the opposition Communist Party is rehabilitating God and the Orthodox Church as it seeks voters; Christianity is well and truly back as part of Russia’s new national identity.
    ….
    I think of another conversation I’d had about the statue with my friend Alexei the day before. He was firmly against it.

    “I’m an atheist,” he told me. “I believe in science. Not superstition or saints. In the old days under the Communists, we weren’t allowed to believe in God. Religion was forbidden. These days, it’s compulsory.
    ….

    …. a not-so-distant Soviet past that this new Vladimir and others like him are trying very hard to whitewash and resurrect.

    Vladimir Putin has done neither of these things. In fact he’s spoken ill of the Bolsheviks at least half a dozen times I can think of and has laid a wreath at the Polish monument for the officers massacred in the Katyn forest. Medvedev did the same at a monument to those who died in the Siberian Gulags.

    If you can draw far-reaching political/social/spiritual conclusions based simply on ….

    I’m not doing anything of the sort. I’m not ethnically connected to that part of the world so I look at it all far more dispassionately than others do. How a North American with no ethnic dog in the fight can be passionately anti-Russian is beyond me.

    • Replies: @HA
    , @AP
  37. I know HA will be asking me for “this mythical half dozen times” Putin has spoken ill of the Bolsheviks so I’ll give him one as an appetizer:

    Visiting the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre

    Vladimir Putin visited the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre where Hebrew books and manuscripts from the Schneerson collection are housed.
    June 13, 2013
    [....]
    Vladimir Putin: The rabbi just mentioned the difficult fate of a clergy member who was arrested in 1927. He said that today’s event is truly momentous in the lives of Jewish people.

    You know, I thought about something just now. The decision to nationalise this library was made by the first Soviet government, whose composition was 80–85% Jewish.

    But they were guided by false ideological considerations and supported the arrest and repression of Jews, Russian Orthodox Christians, Muslims and members of other faiths. They grouped everyone into the same category.

    Thankfully, those ideological goggles and faulty ideological perceptions collapsed. And today, we are essentially returning these books to the Jewish community with a happy smile. I congratulate all of you on this event.

    http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/18336#sel=12:1,15:33

    Here’s video of Putin making the statement in Russian with French subtitles:
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2tcsa5_au-musee-juif-de-moscou-poutine-rappelle-la-composition-du-premier-gouvernement-bolchevique_news

    Actually HA, just go to the Kremlin site yourself and look up Putin’s references to the Bolsheviks: http://en.kremlin.ru/search?query=Bolshevik

    • Replies: @Fran Macadam
  38. HA says:
    @Cagey Beast

    Look over the sentence before the one you bold-faced. It reads as follows:

    Even the opposition Communist Party is rehabilitating God and the Orthodox Church as it seeks voters;

    If you don’t find historical parallels there with Stalin and others like him who rehabbed the Orthodox Church as it suited them, well, let’s just say you and I see things differently. As for Putin’s criticism of Bolshevism, you have a rather selective and assessment of the man given his far more emphatic claim that the dissolution of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the last century, not to mention his KGB/FSB tenure (as well as his mistress and financial dealings). I would submit that all those should be considered together in assessing which god he serves. And really, if your understanding of American (or Canadian, if you prefer) politicians who thump the Bible has not taught you to be suspicious of others who do the same, then you are gullible indeed.

    “…I look at it all far more dispassionately than others do. How a North American with no ethnic dog in the fight can be passionately anti-Russian is beyond me.”

    Now you’re just going for comedy. I would suggest to you that the second sentence in that block implies that you’re not quite as dispassionate as you make yourself out to be, as if your bi-weekly repostings from RussiaToday didn’t already make that abundantly clear. And since I’m assuming the characterization of “passionately anti-Russian” is one you wish to foist on me, I will further state that I have no bone to pick with Russians in general, apart from the fact that I disagree strongly with those who do not realize that what Putin is doing is going to cost them dearly as well.

  39. @5371

    More lies. Both the Tamanskaya and Kantemirovskaya tank divisions loyal to the Stalinist coup plotters entered Moscow against orders and surrounded the White House. Look up Operation Gorm before you spout off again old man. This isn’t family dinner at the relatives where Grandpa 5371 terrorizes everyone else with rage and spittle.

    How are basic facts beyond your comprehension. It’s embarrassing because frankly while I assume you are dishonest it’s quite clear in this case that you are simply misinform. This is all you do all day long come on here and spout off Russophile BS and you don’t even know basic facts.

    • Replies: @5371
  40. @anonymous

    Yes it is difficult to spout propaganda when people like me insist on a true accounting of the facts. If you guys want a forum where Russian bro-Stalinist propaganda is substituted for cold hard facts then yes I’m an obstacle to that. Too bad if my at most three comments a month draw a little spittle and rage from Putin’s fifth column geriatric brigade.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  41. 5371 says:
    @Anonymous

    [Posting multiple comments under different names is totally unacceptable here. Continue doing so and all your future comments will be summarily trashed.]

    Is it also unacceptable from the artist who calls himself “HA”, “AP” and “Dr. Preobrazhensky”?

  42. @HA

    As for Putin’s criticism of Bolshevism, you have a rather selective and assessment of the man given his far more emphatic claim that the dissolution of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the last century ….

    This one phrase has become vitally important to anti-Putin types and so I think it merits being quoted in context:

    Annual Address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation
    April 25, 2005

    I consider the development of Russia as a free and democratic state to be our main political and ideological goal. We use these words fairly frequently, but rarely care to reveal how the deeper meaning of such values as freedom and democracy, justice and legality is translated into life.

    Meanwhile, there is a need for such an analysis. The objectively difficult processes going on in Russia are increasingly becoming the subject of heated ideological discussions. And they are all connected with talk about freedom and democracy. Sometimes you can hear that since the Russian people have been silent for centuries, they are not used to or do not need freedom. And for that reason, it is claimed our citizens need constant supervision.

    I would like to bring those who think this way back to reality, to the facts. To do so, I will recall once more Russia’s most recent history.

    Above all, we should acknowledge that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century. As for the Russian nation, it became a genuine drama. Tens of millions of our co-citizens and compatriots found themselves outside Russian territory. Moreover, the epidemic of disintegration infected Russia itself.

    Individual savings were depreciated, and old ideals destroyed. Many institutions were disbanded or reformed carelessly. Terrorist intervention and the Khasavyurt capitulation that followed damaged the country’s integrity. Oligarchic groups – possessing absolute control over information channels – served exclusively their own corporate interests. Mass poverty began to be seen as the norm. And all this was happening against the backdrop of a dramatic economic downturn, unstable finances, and the paralysis of the social sphere.

    Many thought or seemed to think at the time that our young democracy was not a continuation of Russian statehood, but its ultimate collapse, the prolonged agony of the Soviet system.

    But they were mistaken.

    That was precisely the period when the significant developments took place in Russia. Our society was generating not only the energy of self-preservation, but also the will for a new and free life. In those difficult years, the people of Russia had to both uphold their state sovereignty and make an unerring choice in selecting a new vector of development in the thousand years of their history. They had to accomplish the most difficult task: how to safeguard their own values, not to squander undeniable achievements, and confirm the viability of Russian democracy. We had to find our own path in order to build a democratic, free and just society and state.

    When speaking of justice, I am not of course referring to the notorious ”take away and divide by all“ formula, but extensive and equal opportunities for everybody to develop. Success for everyone. A better life for all.

    http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/22931#sel=6:1,14:37

  43. @HA

    …. your bi-weekly repostings from RussiaToday didn’t already make that abundantly clear.

    Funny you should mention RT because I just found a little bit of information there this morning:

    ‘True friend of Ukraine’ Tony Blair tapped by Poroshenko to join Kiev advisory council

    http://rt.com/news/267967-blair-poroshenko-ukraine-advisor/

    Good old Tony. Good old Fabian Society Tony:The wolf in sheep’s clothing gang:
    The ones who took the slow and steady, “long march through the institutions”, “cultural Marxist” strategy while the Bolsheviks took the direct approach. The Fabians and the Bolsheviks recognized one another as fellow travellers but disagreed on techniques. It turns out the Fabians were right because the Bolsheviks are gone while the Fabians are large and in charge. People need to recognize it’s now our western part of Christendom that hosts the nest, not Moscow.

    • Replies: @HA
  44. annamaria says:
    @HA

    Please remind us, currency of what country has an inscription “In God we trust.” On a topic of Christian Presidency, nobody can compete with Mr. Bush that claimed that his policies (which inflamed and devastated the Middle East and looted the US treasury for the benefits of war profiteers and financial cabals) were dictated to him directly by the Christian God.
    The Russian Federation became encircled by the Breedlove’s NATO; there is the US-sponsored process of Iraqization of Ukraine on the Russian border. The Iraqization involves neo-Nazi battalions that sprang to life thanks to the US State Department encouragement (see the numerous pictures of the US officials fraternizing with neo-Nazi leaders, like this: http://www.infowars.com/us-backed-neo-nazi-party-given-key-roles-in-ukrainian-government/)
    You are absolutely right that the conflict with Russia will cost dearly to the US and EU taxpayers, because the armament industries, and other war profiteers, have a huge bill for the taxpayers.
    And as a side comment, does not it bother you that your thoughts are so completely in accord with the pronouncement of corporate mass media?

  45. 5371 says:
    @Sam Haysom

    Cretinous child, does the month of October 1993 not call up any associations in what passes for your brain?

    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
  46. anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Sam Haysom

    Yes it is difficult to spout propaganda when people like me insist on a true accounting of the facts. I

    This is so absurdly delusional and grandiose that I now realize people with psychiatric conditions take a fancy to their own perceived capabilities and inject themselves into these discussions. There’s a few others here also, making their pronouncements in all caps for example or riding the same hobby-horse in every comment no matter the subject.

  47. @5371

    This kind of post is just noise, not data or wit. Can you save that stuff for the other 99.99% of the web and leave this one site alone?

    • Replies: @5371
  48. @annamaria

    Dear Ms. annamarina:
    My main concern with the build-up of this big statue of St. Vladimir on the particular open place in Moscow is nostalgic.
    I was brought by my mother from maternity ward to the house, where my parents and sisters lived; the house located about 1 km (half a mile) from the prospective place of the statue. I lived in that house for 21 years. I went to school there. I participated in mountain-skiing exercises and won 3-rd place at Moscow junior competition just 100 meters from the prospected statue, on the “Leninskie gory”, so called “Vorob’ev Hills”, or “Lenin Hills”. My sisters and I have graduated from the big and beautiful building behind that place. One of my sisters still works at an institute about 1 km from the place.

    The problem is that the soil in the prospected place is prone to the landslides — down from the hill towards Moscow river.
    Also, the view of the big and beautiful building will be obstructed by the statue.

    But in comparison with other “modern” high-rise architecture that you can see from Moscow-river, I do not think so bad about the project.

    My nephew goes to high School in Moscow, and I heard no complains about excessive religion from him.

    Disclosure: all of the above is neither approval, nor a disapproval, of the existing government of the Russian Federation and its actions.

  49. @Sam Haysom

    As if military hardliners surrounding the Russian parliament with tanks is some kind of peaceful protest movement. To go even further and accusing Yeltsin as the one who used tanks is so dishonest that it suggests a kind of sociopathic contempt for truth.

    Sam,tThere’s something that happened in 1993 that you don’t seem to know about: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1993_Russian_constitutional_crisis

    It was under-reported in the western media, which (unlike most Russians by then) were gaga over Yeltsin, but that’s how it happened.

  50. @whahae

    It is said? By whom?

    For a good description of theory, see: http://fortruss.blogspot.de/2015/06/the-boring-g7-consensus-about-sacrifice.html

    Excerpt:

    The tool with which the U.S. wants to shift the demand of EU citizens towards their products is the creation of a North Atlantic free trade zone.

    Today Germany is increasing its exports to the United States with the growth of the dollar relative to the Euro. Once the non-tariff barriers protecting EU markets are removed, Western Europe and Germany in particular will feel the same thing that Eastern Europe and the Baltic States felt after joining the EU: they will have to turn into a market for American goods. Hardly Bulgarians wanted to liquidate their industry – but no one asked them. This will be the same thing.

    To be sure, I myself don’t share this theory. I see TTIP as a giant NAFTA. Has NAFTA improved America’s export picture? Well, on balance, no. But a lot of TTIP opponents in Euro-stan believe this. Whatever. Anything that keeps this wretched “free” trade zone from coming into existence is fine by me.

  51. 5371 says:
    @Cagey Beast

    So the idiot’s nonsense is fine by you, but putting a stop to it doesn’t meet your high standards?

  52. AP says:
    @Cagey Beast

    Christianity is well and truly back as part of Russia’s new national identity.

    Let’s put Russia’s hoped-for status as a beacon of Christianity in some realistic perspective by comparing Russia to its rivals and neighbors on actual behavior, rather than rhetoric:

    Divorce rate (2011-2010):

    Russia: 51%
    Ukraine: 42%
    Poland: 27%
    USA: 53%

    % of people who never go to church (2008):

    Russia: 30%-40% (same as Sweden and Germany)
    Ukraine: 10%-20%
    Poland: <10%

    % of pregnancies that end in abortion:

    Russia (2014): 29.3%
    Ukraine (2010): 21.2%
    Poland (2012): 1.95%
    USA (2011): 16.9%

    Homicide rate:

    Russia (2012): 9.2
    Ukraine(2010): 4.3
    Poland (2011): 1.2
    USA: (2012): 4.7

    Adult HIV prevalence (2011, according to WHO):

    Russia: 1.1%
    Ukraine: .9%
    Poland: .1%
    USA: .6%

    Looks like Poland is the hero. And Russia the villain, with the USA and Ukraine in between. (although, for Ukraine, the stats are skewed because the bad stuff mostly happens in pro-Russian Donbas).

    Conservatives who support Russia against the USA, Ukraine, Poland are quite silly. Doing so is like giving money to some televangelist who talks about Christ and morals after doing drugs with his boyfriend in some hotel.

  53. You do understand that “Christianity is well and truly back as part of Russia’s new national identity.” is a claim made by the BBC reporter I quoted and not me?

    Conservatives who support Russia against the USA, Ukraine, Poland are quite silly.

    Are you yourself from one of these neighbouring countries with an historical grievance against Russia or have those sort of ethnic ties to the area?

    • Replies: @AP
  54. Here’s my thumbnail sketch of the last 150yrs or so of history as it pertains to this topic:

    - From the 1870s to 1940s Marxist, Fabians, Leninists, Trotskyites, Bolsheviks, socialists and progressives all mixed, mingled and swapped notes with one another quite happily. After the Iron Curtain was declared “our” bunch on this side of the Iron Curtain went crypto.

    - The East Bloc got Marxism-Leninism and we got managerialism-technocracy as the ruling ideology.

    - They got brutally straightforward dictatorship and we got softer, more sneaky more subtle rule by a self-styled elite. They got a dictatorship by the vanguard of the proletariat dishing out Nineteen-Eighty Four and we got Brave New World.

    - The LSE, EU, Rockefeller, Carnegie and Ford Foundation types are the closest living relatives to the old Bolshevik ruling clique left.

    - The Russian Federation under Putin and Medvedev is escaping this 20th century game while we in the West are still stuck in it. That’s why Russia matters.

    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
  55. HA says:
    @Cagey Beast

    Hmmm… ex-Fabian Society or ex-KGB. Which to choose, which to choose…

    Well, neither, since it’s not my choice to make. But I can well see how Ukrainians might prefer the former, given that Fabians were, as you yourself noted, never about the tanks, whereas regardless of which way the ideological flag is blowing, the tanks seem perpetually ready to roll whenever Moscow is involved.

    And are you sure it’s the Fabians we need to worry about? Because I thought it was the neo-fascists. Wait, no — was it the EU… or NATO. Ah, forget it. Let’s just split the difference and blame it all on the Jews. In any case, one doesn’t have to have an ethnic link to this conflict to recognize why Ukrainians might feel averse to the notion that their independence and indeed, lives, must be sacrificed on the altar of sticking it to whichever bogeymen RT has put on today’s headlines, especially since it doesn’t even bother to distinguish them.

    As I’ve said earlier, if Putin had tried to take over Ukraine in its entirety, in much the same way as whoever it ways that got Belorussia into its current geostrategic cuddle without a single shot, that would have been fine by me. (Maybe its diplomats like that who can pull of feats like that who really deserve a statue.) He could have easily done so — Ukrainian political shifts of late have little staying power, and whatever Nuland promised them, I have little doubt that in a little while, they would have seen through that as well.

    But he chose a different path, and given both England’s and America’s participation in the Budapest Memorandum, I can understand why Ukrainians feel those two countries ought to at least do something. Not declare war, certainly, but something. And if bringing Blair into the picture is helping to put a fine point on that implicit UK obligation, I sort of get it, though I’m no fan of the man either.

    You’re free to feel otherwise, and if you’re so convinced that Russia is the savior of the West, I’m sure they have room for you. As it is, your cheerleading comes across as a tad hypocritical, not to mention far less dispassionate than you claim.

    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
    , @Seraphim
  56. HA says:
    @annamaria

    “On a topic of Christian Presidency, nobody can compete with Mr. Bush that claimed that his policies (which inflamed and devastated the Middle East and looted the US treasury for the benefits of war profiteers and financial cabals) were dictated to him directly by the Christian God.”

    Thank you for emphasizing my point that politicians professing Christianity (for what it’s worth, I think Bush’s overtures were sincere) are hardly an indication that Christianity is on the rise. Let that be a lesson to all of us to never be so gullible again, but let us not limit our cynicism to the US alone.

    “And as a side comment, does not it bother you that your thoughts are so completely in accord with the pronouncement of corporate mass media?”

    You obviously know little of my thoughts. I’ll leave it at that.

  57. @HA

    Let’s just split the difference and blame it all on the Jews.

    Ah okay, now I know what bee is in your bonnet.

    • Replies: @HA
  58. @Cagey Beast

    Not to mention, Putin championed dissident anti-communist Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s exposes of Soviet crimes to become part of the national curriculum. He also awarded Solzhenitsyn Russia’s highest honor. Solzhenitsyn himself was no Putin opponent. The Russian politicians’ Christianity is at least as sincere as that of our own, which isn’t saying much, but their credibility is better because they actually overthrew their atheist tyranny themselves, when we thought it would be implacable forever. As Reagan put it, this time correctly, we didn’t win the Cold War so much as the Russians themselves did, against the Soviet, and freed themselves. That’s worth a whole lot more than the CIA coups and Nuland-Kagans deciding who to put on thrones.

    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
  59. We coulda , woulda, shoulda been pals with the Russkies, if only they hadn’t had the bad sense to go all religious on us, just at the exact time we were giving it up.

    Every time they get around to doing what we said we wanted, we’re a step ahead of them.

    One day we’ll be calling down Hell on the immoral Slavs for some kind of seasonal peversion that’s since gone out of favor over here, before they can catch on.

  60. @Fran Macadam

    Yes, Solzhenitsyn made a point of the fact that Putin’s work in the KGB was in counter-intelligence, ie. dealing with foreign intelligence threats rather than internal state security. This is an important distinction.

    Putin’s counter-intelligence background reminded me of a guy I saw in one of the many Vice News reports from Eastern Ukraine who was fighting on the rebel side. He was checking a convoy of ambulances from the Kiev side being allowed in to retrieve the bodies of those killed in an attempted breakout last summer. This guy identified himself as the head of a “counter-reconnaissance” unit. In other words, he zaps the guys from the other team’s recon units. Kind of like Putin’s job but grittier.

  61. HA says:
    @Cagey Beast

    “Ah okay, now I know what bee is in your bonnet.”

    I rather doubt that — between accusations of being a paid neoCon (“warmongering filth”, to boot), hasbara, Polish, a semi-imaginary sock puppet, and any number of other terms leveled at me that, shall we say, clearly were not intended as compliments, I’ve yet to find one that has hit close to home.

    But as for the remaining bogeymen I enumerated in that list, I stand by that. To the extent you focused your attention on just one of them, consider the possibility that this says more about you than it does about me.

  62. @Cagey Beast

    The video clip I mentioned is at YouTube under: “Aftermath of Ambush on Ukrainian Forces: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 75) “

  63. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @Cagey Beast

    Yes, Solzhenitsyn made a point of the fact that Putin’s work in the KGB was in counter-intelligence, ie. dealing with foreign intelligence threats rather than internal state security. This is an important distinction.

    Counter-intelligence is a sphere of clandestine operations dealing both with external and internal threats. In fact, there are INTELLIGENCE operations conducted for counter-intelligence purposes and, in general, counter-intelligence is a modus operandi of special services, generally, limited by the realm. SMERSH (which was an acronym for Death to Spies) was a counter-intelligence structure and so were and ARE, what used to be the KGB’s 3rd Chief Directorate–Military Counter-Intelligence. Ministry Of Internal Affairs DOES have counter-intelligence services, which, at some point were also known as Special Departments and, in fact, in late 1980s OOs (or Osobye Otdely–Special Departments) were introduced in the MVD and were staffed mostly with….KGB operatives. But then again, what is the point of Solzhenitsyn making a point? Solzhenitsyn was exiled in 1974 and lost any contact with Soviet/Russian reality which was amply demonstrated in the last 20 years. Hell, last 40, at least.

    • Disagree: Seamus Padraig
  64. @Andrei Martyanov

    But then again, what is the point of Solzhenitsyn making a point? Solzhenitsyn was exiled in 1974 and lost any contact with Soviet/Russian reality which was amply demonstrated in the last 20 years. Hell, last 40, at least.

    Yeah Solzhenitsyn never made a good album after Thriller. Hang on, am I thinking of someone else?

    For those interested, here’s the interview with Solzhenitsyn on the topic:

    SPIEGEL: Thirteen years ago when you returned from exile, you were disappointed to see the new Russia. You turned down a prize proposed by Gorbachev, and you also refused to accept an award Yeltsin wanted to give you. Yet now you have accepted the State Prize which was awarded to you by Putin, the former head of the FSB intelligence agency, whose predecessor the KGB persecuted and denounced you so cruelly. How does this all fit together?

    Solzhenitsyn: The prize in 1990 was proposed not by Gorbachev, but by the Council of Ministers of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, then a part of the USSR. The prize was to be for “The Gulag Archipelago.” I declined the proposal, since I could not accept an award for a book written in the blood of millions.

    In 1998, it was the county’s low point, with people in misery; this was the year when I published the book “Russia in Collapse.” Yeltsin decreed I be honored the highest state order. I replied that I was unable to receive an award from a government that had led Russia into such dire straits.

    The current State Prize is awarded not by the president personally, but by a community of top experts. The Council on Science that nominated me for the award and the Council on Culture that supported the idea include some of the most highly respected people of the country, all of them authorities in their respective disciplines. The president, as head of state, awards the laureates on the national holiday. In accepting the award I expressed the hope that the bitter Russian experience, which I have been studying and describing all my life, will be for us a lesson that keeps us from new disastrous breakdowns.

    Vladimir Putin — yes, he was an officer of the intelligence services, but he was not a KGB investigator, nor was he the head of a camp in the gulag. As for service in foreign intelligence, that is not a negative in any country — sometimes it even draws praise. George Bush Sr. was not much criticized for being the ex-head of the CIA, for example.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/spiegel-interview-with-alexander-solzhenitsyn-i-am-not-afraid-of-death-a-496211.html

  65. AP says:
    @Cagey Beast

    You do understand that “Christianity is well and truly back as part of Russia’s new national identity.” is a claim made by the BBC reporter I quoted and not me?

    Yes, and my comment was a general one not aimed at you particularly.

    Conservatives who support Russia against the USA, Ukraine, Poland are quite silly.
    Are you yourself from one of these neighbouring countries with an historical grievance against Russia or have those sort of ethnic ties to the area?

    I have close ties to Poland, Ukraine and Russia and warm feelings towards all three countries. Which is irrelevant here; I simply posted facts.

  66. […] (The Unz Review) – I had to whip up my courage to go to the Ukraine. There was a recent spate of political killings in the unhappy and lovely land, and the perpetrators never apprehended; among those killed was Oles Buzina, a renowned writer and a dear friend. Two years ago, well before the troubles, we had a drink under a chestnut tree in a riverside café. Buzina was in his forties, rather tall and slim, had a narrow sarcastic face of Mephistopheles, a bald head, a hint of moustache and a bad temper. He was a Thersites among the warlike nationalists of Kiev, laughing at their sacred myths of eternal Ukraine Above All. He called their beloved nationalist poet, the first one to write in the local dialect, “a vampire” for his predilection to bloody scenes. Buzina wrote in Russian, the language educated writers of the Ukraine preferred and perfected since Gogol, and he rejected the parochial narrative of the recent coup d’état. […]

  67. @Cagey Beast

    Anyhow, my point was that Russia’s Putin is not Lenin, Stalin, Kruschev, Brezhnev or even the Communist Gorbachev, whom Ronald Reagan praised as “this good man” responsible for ending “the evil empire.” Whatever else you want to say about Solzhenitsyn, this noted anticommunist and Russian Orthodox believer did not share the current western propaganda cartoon view of Putin as either Hitler or Stalin and every negotiation with a Russia at least as democratic as the west (unlike most of either’s client countries) to be avoided as another “Munich 1938.”

    Last I looked, our own oligarchs aren’t bothered by their close partnerships with the single party Chinese dictatorship. Clearly, all the public posturing and mendacity is trying to put lipstick on the pig of seeking power and money by any and all means.

  68. anonym says:

    18/06/2015.-
    putin’s folly and russian suicide.
    Those who have been saying that Putin is a chess master and all that clever moves or lack of moves is really his clever way to ensnare west are either deluding themselves or they are really enemy of Russia. Because Putin has so much messed up that he is made to fight on thousands of fronts simultaneously while he was never prepared for a single fight because of his illusion about his “ partners”.
    Just today on the day of st. peteresberg economic forum(which frankly assembles enemies of Russia) the Belgium authorities are thinking of seizure of assets belonging to Russia at the behest of the Isle of Man-based Yukos Universal Limited, a subsidiary of the Russian energy giant, which was dismantled in 2007.now isle of man is occupied by who? You guess it right. The perewnnail villain and evil English . so Mikhail Khodorkovsky is being used by the English race to punish Russia. The same Mikhail Khodorkovsky whom putin released on flimsy ground just before sochi Olympics and just before maidan ! Just to please the anglos dictated west.!! the third rate country like england is plotting every day and Putin has no guts to give ultimatum to england to stop those tax haven shelter thieves otherwise Russia would b entitled to attack and occupy that isle of man and from there a massive invasion england must proceed immediately. But no-that putin and lavrov will go on soliciting their enemies thinking profit will trump over politics forgetting that anglos want profit but they prefer loot more because it is completely free especially when fighting will be done by mercenaries like ISIS and others.
    Then on same day the traitor ex fiancé minister Kudrin threw an idea so dear to the anglo enemies who want to destroy Russia-how to get rid of putin so that kudrin wants to throw this idea to muddle up the water by asking for presidential election now instead of 2018. His excuse is that putin needs new mandate through Putin won by not a slim margin but by 65% of votes.
    Can that kurdrin guts to tell the same to usa president or English prime minster to leave poweraat2 years and seek fresh mandate?
    Such traitors are given voice at high forums-that shows Russia is rtotten from inside. Unless those traitors are purged like Stalin did to anti Russians elements-russia will be /is in grave danger.

  69. @rod1963

    True Conservatives are not pro-war, but Neoconservatives are. The GOP was hijacked by the Neoconservatives a long time ago. Neoconservatives are very facile, and they flow throughout Democrat administrations and Republican ones.

    FOX’s two military media darlings, Lt. Col. Ralph Barney Fife Peters and Gen. Jack Keane-for-War are on the payroll of the Military Industrial Complex to spread their war propaganda.

  70. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @Cagey Beast

    I declined the proposal, since I could not accept an award for a book written in the blood of millions.

    Sure. I also wonder if Solzh paid any royalties to Shalamov (a true GULAG author) for stealing his experiences but, I guess, after Solzh’s “ethics” in literature for which he was awarded Nobel Prize in literature (Neither Tolstoy nor Dostoevsky managed to do so) it doesn’t really matter. And yes, he was singing like a bird after he really encountered the realities of the post-Soviet Russia of 1990s and came up with another (totally delirious) typical Solzhenitsyn manifesto “Russian Question In The End Of The 20th Century” and when he understood that he becomes irrelevant he came up with “200 Years Together”. Enough to mention how this Nobel Prize laureate supported War in Vietnam. And then, of course, his version of Russian “history”–US power elites LIVE by it and that is why we are really on the verge of some really serious sh.t. I guess Solzh would have had an aneurism should he have seen 70th Anniversary of Victory Parade and, especially so, evening concert at the Red Square. In fact, I am sure he was spinning in his grave.

    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
  71. […] (The Unz Review) – I had to whip up my courage to go to the Ukraine. There was a recent spate of political killings in the unhappy and lovely land, and the perpetrators never apprehended; among those killed was Oles Buzina, a renowned writer and a dear friend. Two years ago, well before the troubles, we had a drink under a chestnut tree in a riverside café. Buzina was in his forties, rather tall and slim, had a narrow sarcastic face of Mephistopheles, a bald head, a hint of moustache and a bad temper. He was a Thersites among the warlike nationalists of Kiev, laughing at their sacred myths of eternal Ukraine Above All. He called their beloved nationalist poet, the first one to write in the local dialect, “a vampire” for his predilection to bloody scenes. Buzina wrote in Russian, the language educated writers of the Ukraine preferred and perfected since Gogol, and he rejected the parochial narrative of the recent coup d’état. […]

  72. @Cagey Beast

    “They got brutally straightforward dictatorship and we got softer, more sneaky more subtle rule by a self-styled elite. They got a dictatorship by the vanguard of the proletariat dishing out Nineteen-Eighty Four and we got Brave New World.”

    this is about as good as it gets . I love this part of your post.

    soooooo much clarity.

    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
  73. @Andrei Martyanov

    All true, but:

    A.) Putin was with the KGB Foreign Service, not the Domestic Service. The latter was primarily responsible for ferreting out spies in the USSR itself; and

    B.) He was a German specialist who spent most of his hitch in East Germany.

    Both of these facts make it highly unlikely that he had much to do with domestic counter-intel work.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  74. @Andrei Martyanov

    I guess, after Solzh’s “ethics” in literature for which he was awarded Nobel Prize in literature (Neither Tolstoy nor Dostoevsky managed to do so) it doesn’t really matter.

    Well, in Dostoevsky’s case at least, there’s an obvious reason for failing to win the Nobel: he died twenty years before the prize was first awarded.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  75. @Astuteobservor II

    Thanks very much. The interesting thing about Nineteen Eighty-Four is that it was strongly inspired by a book called The Managerial Revolution written by James Burnham, a Trotskyite who went on to be a very influential figure in the mainstream American conservative movement:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Burnham#The_Managerial_Revolution

    John O’Sullivan, the former editor of National Review gives a summary of Burnham’s ideas and influence, starting around the 43 minute mark in a CSPAN talk here:

    http://www.c-span.org/video/?322871-3/life-political-thought-james-burnham

    What all of this has to do with Russia, Putin, the KGB and the legacy of the Soviets is simply that we need to understand the quiet revolution that happened in our own West before we start throwing stones at the current governing class of Russia. If we’re worried about oligarchs, or a permanent managerial class that imposes cultural revolution from the top, then we should have a look at our own side of the old Iron Curtain.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  76. Ron Unz says:
    @Cagey Beast

    Actually, some years ago I think I came across mention of a letter supposedly written by a Japanese diplomat stationed in DC during the late 1930s to his superiors back home.

    He said that one of the very odd things he’d discovered was that although the US was supposedly the leader of the Capitalist world and the USSR was supposedly the leader of the Communist world, it turned out that lots of the top American leaders behind the scenes were actually the second cousins of the top Soviet leaders, but none of the American people were aware of this.

    I can’t swear to the accuracy of this claim, and I might easily have gotten some of the details garbled…

    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
  77. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Great Article!

    Really feel like I learned a lot and this kind of reporting is never found in the west. Can’t wait for part 2.

  78. @Ron Unz

    Yeah and that sort of thing seems to be happening right now in and around Ukraine. There’s clearly a tight little social network of Georgians with western connections who are looking out for each other. We already know about Mikheil Saakhachvili himself but it turns out he’s part of a circle of friends:

    Mikheil Saakhachvili renouces his Georgian nationality
    …..
    Mikheil Saakchvili had been preceded by his ex-Minister of the Interior, Ekaterin Zgouladze, who had also renounced her Georgian citizenship in order to become the Vice-Minister of the Interior for Ukraine, on the 14 th December 2014. Mme. Zgouladze’s husband, Raphaël Glucksmann (son of the essayist and US agent, André Glucksmann), is an advisor to Mr. Saakachvili.

    http://www.voltairenet.org/article187806.html

    André Glucksmann is all over the French media. Yesterday he was saying the Front National, ISIS, Dieudonné and Putin are all part of a the same wave of anti-cosmopolitanism that opposes our democratic model.

    Another friend of Saakhachvili is the BBC reporter named Natalia Antelava. She wrote an article in Foreign Affairs called “In Praise of Saakashvili” in which she mentions that she too won an American scholarship like Saakashvili back in the ’90s.

    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/russia-fsu/2013-12-09/debating-saakashvili

    They all got a golden ticket to the chocolate factory and have been having a ball ever since. She’s doing bogus stories for the BBC that get picked up by the CBC and NPR and he’s having a grand old time as governor of Odessa. That’s just one series of social connections I’ve noticed while following the news via the web, imagine what people closer to the action can spot.

    http://www.cbc.ca/radio/day6/episode-229-a-fake-ukrainian-war-casualty-tig-notaro-danny-williams-and-sex-robots-1.3035508/the-ukrainian-casualty-of-war-who-wasn-t-1.3035515

  79. I don’t begrudge that anyone has their private bugs to boo, and it’s obvious the mention of Solzhenitsyn sets off one of his countrymen uncontrollably, but this is over the top:

    “Neither Tolstoy nor Dostoevsky managed to do so [win a Nobel prize, thanks to Gulag Archipelago author's lack of ethics]”

    Both Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky could themselves be discredited by unfair attacks on them via partially true aspects of their lives and character, if distorted by animus.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  80. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @Seamus Padraig

    Well, in Dostoevsky’s case at least, there’s an obvious reason for failing to win the Nobel: he died twenty years before the prize was first awarded.

    I am keenly aware of that. The point was in showing that titans of Russian literature, who are in different universe than Solzh, never were awarded anything–they just became classics. I am also very well informed about despicable Solzh’s attitude to Sholokhov. Solzh also had no problem to use Shalamov.

  81. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @Seamus Padraig

    My point was to show that “cadre flow” within KGB system was anything but simple. Putin, in the end, after serving in both 1st and 2nd Directorates, became FSB chief. Point was also in the fact, that Solzhenitsyn trying to to “characterize” Putin as not whatever Solzh thought was “moral”, as usual, missed.

  82. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @Fran Macadam

    I don’t begrudge that anyone has their private bugs to boo, and it’s obvious the mention of Solzhenitsyn sets off one of his countrymen uncontrollably, but this is over the top:

    Knowledge of the subject and ability (point by point) to point out both shortcomings and lies beats platitudes and cliches anytime. Judging by the West’s knowledge, or rather lack thereof, of Soviet period–no surprise that any talk about sensitive, for western “intellectuals” (or whatever passes for them) of Solzhenitsyn matter, seems to always end up with the sweeping generalizations. Any time there is a call for discussion of Solzhenitsyn’s “heritage”, including his open support and promotion of ROA and Vlasov or his outlandish megalomaniac version of history, both global and Russian, doesn’t seem to bother western people. But then again, I have to repeat, the whole “Russian studies” field in US (in this particular case) is dead, both in academic and public senses. Talking about Pochevenniki (to whom Solzh allegedly also belongs) and how it relates to the Soviet realities of 1960s on in the West it is akin to talking with 5th grader about quantum mechanics. But then again, how many really read Solzhenitsyn’s manifestos. Nor are they in any way aware of Solzh being branded long ago (mostly by dissidents) as “Russian people’s consciousness” and being promoted (in reality shoved down the throats) by mostly “reformist” forces in late USSR-early Russia. So, yes, Fran, ability to apply general “common sense” (that is the set of pop-cliches) doesn’t work in the field where real knowledge and understanding of problem is required. West’s understanding of Russian culture is that of the mostly primitive propaganda stereotypes, of which Solzhenitsyn was one of the most important purveyors. Russian history is not GULAG only and Russian people are way more complex and different from what Solzhenitsyn sold to the West which was only happy to oblige to buy it. And there are still ample reasons for this transaction, as even latest events show so well.

    “The real gap between two camps is one of knowledge….Irresponsible criticism is generally self-confident; but no one cares to be told “I am holier than thou”, especially by anyone who doesn’t know his facts…And knowledge alone is not enough without understanding, which is much more hardly won, to no country does it apply more than to Russia….This gap has to be filled, or it will cost us dear.”(c)

    Bernard Pares, History Of Russia, Page 571.

  83. John Laughland did a better job than I to tie together Ukraine, the colour revolutions, the “deep state” of the West and all the rest:

    The Technique of a Coup d’État
    by John Laughland

    The technique of a coup d’état, more recently also referred to as “coloured revolution”, finds its origins in abundant literature dating back to the beginning of the 20th century. It was successfully applied by the U.S. neo-conservatives to set the stage for “regime change” in a number of former Soviet republics. However, the technique backfired when it was tried in a different cultural environment (Venezuela, Lebanon, Iran). John Laughland, who reported on some of these operations for the Guardian, sheds new light on this phenomenon.
    [.....]

    http://www.voltairenet.org/article163453.html

  84. […] A Civil War (Mark 3, 25)      (Versione in Italiano) […]

  85. Seraphim says:
    @HA

    @ blame it all on the Jews

    Marxist, Fabians, Leninists, Trotskyites, Bolsheviks, socialists and progressives all mixed, mingled and swapped notes with one another quite happily. All Jews. Today they added the “oligarchs” (erh..elites!) and “neo-cons” (ex-Trotskyites). Jews.
    And some neo-fascists: “Right-Wing Ukrainian Leader Is (Surprise) Jewish, and (Real Surprise) Proud of It”. He is “Borislav Bereza, newly elected member of the Ukrainian Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada”. He is not at all shy to declare: “I am a Jew and also a Cohen. There have never been any questions about this. Right Sector is composed of people of varied nationalities, not just Ukrainians and Jews, but also Poles and Belorussians, Georgians, Chechens, we have people of every [Soviet] ethnicity represented. The question is not one of ethnicity; it is “are you a Ukrainian? Do you support Ukraine? Are you a Ukrainian patriot?” In which case, you are my brother. If you are Ukraine’s enemy, whatever nationality you might be, you and I have nothing to talk about.”
    @http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/187217/borislav-bereza
    Bereza is friend with Dmitro Yarosh (some suspect that Yarosh is in actual fact Avdim Yarosh)

    So, the following then makes sense:
    “Dnepropetrovsk could be renamed – Jerusalem-on-the-Dnieper, May 20, 2015
    Ukraina.ru
    “German journalists from Deutschlandradio published an article titled “Dnepropetrovsk will become Jerusalem”. Oleg Rostovtsev, a spokesman for the Jewish community, which has 50 000 parishioners, supports the renaming of Dnepropetrovsk to Jerusalem-on-the-Dnieper.

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