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The latest news craze is about the possible delivery of US anti-tank weapons (the FMG-148 Javelin is often mentioned) to the Nazi junta in Kiev. These stories typically include a discussion of “defensive” vs “offensive” and “lethal” vs “non-lethal” weapons and always display a child-like belief in the existence of some magic technology which would perform miracles on the battlefield. None of that has anything to do with the real world and this is why the folks who write this kind of nonsense like to hide their ignorance by peppering their articles with nonsensical figures such as range, armor penetration, guidance system types or expressions like “fire and forget”. The truth is that all these self-appointed experts all quote each other and all parrot the official propaganda line which tries to suggest that the delivery of weapons to the Ukraine could be a game changer. The latter is actually true, but not in military terms. So let’s try to make sense of all this nonsense.

First, forget goofy concepts like “defensive” vs “offensive” and “lethal” vs “non-lethal” weapons. All weapons are lethal and they are all offensive, at least potentially. Even the putatively “defensive” ones actually can be used to “defend” offensive weapons/units/forces and are therefore play a very important role in the offense. Even a combat fatigue or a flask of water is offensive when used in the offense because it makes the offensive possible in the first place.

Second, modern warfare is simply too complex to make it possible for one weapons system to radically change the face of the battlefield. When Hezbollah used the Russian-made RPG-29, the AT-14 Kornet and the Metis-M and successfully destroyed the most advanced Israeli tank, the Merkava-4, that did not by itself determine the outcome of the war. Yes, the Israelis were shocked by the defeat of their best tank, but no more than by the Hezbollah missile strike on INS Spear, a Saar-5 Class destroyer or, for that matter, by the well-prepared fortification system Hezbollah had built over the years right across the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Frankly, this western obsession with military high-tech (along with an equally infantile belief that more expensive weapons are for some reason better than cheaper ones) is a reflection of a culture which has long stopped relying on courage, patriotism and even good tactics to win wars. All this Hollywood like nonsense came tumbling down in 2006 when second-rate Hezbollah forces (the best one were kept in reserve north of the Litani river) defeated the best of the best of the putatively “invincible” Israeli forces, including the famous “Golani Brigade”. And Hezbollah won precisely because Hezbollah fighters displayed the moral and intellectual qualities which are so clearly lacking nowadays in western military forces. Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah very clearly explained that during his “Divine Victory” speech when he said:

How could this group of mujahidin defeat this army without the support and assistance of almighty God? This resistance experience, which should be conveyed to the world, depends – on the moral and spiritual level – on faith, certainty, reliance [on God], and readiness to make sacrifices. It also depends on reason, planning, organization, armament, and, as is said, on taking all possible protective procedures.

Needless to say, western military ‘experts’ chose to ignore his words and instead made a truly valiant effort to simply forget it all. Fair enough – what could they have to say about morals or spirituality anyway? As for the regime in Washington, it simply declared that the Israelis won, end of discussion.

This amazing ability to believe your own propaganda is also what is misleading US decision makers to pretend like the delivery of “defensive” anti-tank missiles to the Junta in Kiev will meaningfully alter the balance of power between, on one hand, the Ukrainian army and assorted death squads and, on the other, the Novorussians. It won’t. If only because the US has *already* delivered anti-tank weapons to the Ukrainians (via Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and others). We know that thanks to a recent report by SouthFront which obtained exclusive photos of the contract between the Ukrainian state-run company Spetstechnoexport and the American company AirTronic USA on the delivery of lethal weapons to Ukraine (see here). And this is just one example, there are probably many more.

True believers in the US propaganda will reply that the “advanced” Javelins are much more capable than anything seen in the Ukraine so far and that their delivery would really make a difference. Let’s look into this claim a little closer.

It is true that the Javelin is a rather complex and high-tech system. Unlike most other anti-tank weapons, the Javelin, once fired, does not need to be controlled as it guides itself against its target, which makes it possible for the firing crew to seek cover and not to have to worry about hitting the target (hence the “fire and forget” characterization). The Javelin can also hit the enemy tank from the top, where the tank’s armor is typically much thinner than in the front or sides sectors. Do these characteristics make the Javelin some kind of super-weapon? Not at all.

ORDER IT NOW

For one thing, one should take all the claims about the tactical-technical characteristics of the Javelin with a solid pound of salt. It is one thing to have this system operated by professional experts in perfect conditions and at zero risk, and quite another to try to use it against actual Russian tanks protected by infantry, snipers, artillery and their own missile systems. Add to this very complex terrain and often extreme weather conditions (mud, fog, rain, heat, snow, winds, vegetation, villages, cities, etc.) and the quasi-miraculous capabilities of any fancy weapon system suddenly begin to rapidly decline. Besides, the Javelin naturally has all the disadvantages inherent to most infrared targeting and guidance systems such as the dependence upon a slow and short-lived cooling system, the fact that the missile cannot be controlled in flight and that its guidance system is susceptible to deception by means of various heat sources.

One of the main problems with the delivery of Javelins by the US to the Ukraine would be that it would free (politically speaking) the hands of the Russians to deliver their own weapons systems to the Novorussians, including IR-jammers, active tank-protection systems or even their own anti-tank missiles. Nobody knows how the Javelin would actually perform against modern Russian systems, but even if it did a good job against them, the correct use of the Javelin would entirely depend on the training and motivation not only of the actual firing crews, but also on the training and motivation of the forces supporting them and supported by them. After all, an anti-tank position is rarely used “by itself”: typically these weapons are engaged as part of an offensive or defensive effort. The outcome out the encounter is thus simply the product of effectiveness of all the various subunits and systems engaged. Simply put, if your infantry sucks, your anti-tank crews won’t save the day.

But the real problem is not technical, of course, it is political.

Overtly sending these weapons to the Junta would mean that the US is basically giving up on the Minsk-2 Agreement and that they are also overtly disregarding the views of the West Europeans (the East Europeans don’t have “views”, they just compete for the title of most russophobic “ally” of the Neocons; they therefore don’t really matter very much).

The reality on the ground is that the Russian have what is sometimes referred to as “escalation dominance”: they, not the Americans, control how much the conflict can escalate and how fast. For example, Russia can provide more anti-tank weapons systems covertly and in just a few days than the US could in many months. Furthermore, the Russians could choose to respond to any Javelin deployments not only by sending their own anti-tank systems, but by responding “asymmetrically” or even covertly. The range of Russian options is large and includes non-military measures. Would it not be ironic if, after years of anti-Russian sanctions supposedly aimed at discouraging Moscow from backing the separatists, the delivery of anti-tank weapons to the Ukraine would finally convince the Kremlin to do that which it had refrained from doing before but which it can still very much could do: throw its full weight behind the Novorussians and actively begin destabilizing the Nazi-occupied Ukraine, but this time for real. If they realize that there is nothing to lose, that nobody in the West is serious about finding a negotiating solution, the Russians might even recognize the two Novorussian republics and send in their military forces, but this time in full view of the media, with waving flags interviews at the border. What would the US do in this case? Send in more weapons? Send in NATO forces? Nobody in Europe has any stomach for that, not even the Poles, and that would leave the US very much alone in a policy everybody would oppose.

The truth is that this entire notion of sending in Javelins is pure political propaganda and doing so, at best, makes no difference and, at worst, could result in a sharp escalation on the ground. Thus, either way, this entire idea makes no sense whatsoever. This is just a way for the Neocons to further humiliate Trump and his naïve plans of working with the Russians. It also is a way to toss the nationalist Ukrainian émigré lobby a short-lived pipe dream about defeating the separatists (in the Nazi-occupied Ukraine the Javelins are presented as super-weapons which totally terrify Putin, of course). There is no doubt in my mind that the US military and intelligence communities fully understand the futile and potentially dangerous nature of this idea, but they simply cannot say so openly.

The slowly fossilizing cold warriors in the US are having dreams about sending in Javelins to the Ukraine the way the CIA sent Stinger missiles into Afghanistan which, according to the official narrative in the USA, was a key contributor to the Soviet defeat. This narrative is comprehensively counter-factual on too many level to discuss in detail right now, but I will just mention a few of the key fallacies underlying this dream beginning with the assumption that the Ukie Junta is comparable to the Afghan Mujahideen (or, for that matter, that the Novorussian forces are comparable to the Soviet ones). Also forgotten is the fact that while the Soviets did initially suffer heavy losses from the introduction of the Singers, they did adapt and develop effective counter-measures and counter-tactics to them. Finally, in Afghanistan the Soviet had an overwhelming material and technological advantage against the Afghans, which can hardly be said about the Novorussians. This is all nonsense: the Stingers did not defeat the Soviets and the Javelins won’t defeat the Novorussians.

In the meantime, there are plenty of reasons to fear for the future of the two Novorussian republics. For one thing, the steady flow of weapons and experts from the West into the Nazi-occupied Ukraine could eventually result in a meaningful increase in Ukronazi capabilities. Furthermore, in specific but key areas, such as reconnaissance and targeting, the Junta forces have made a lot of progress. And then there are sheer numbers. Right now, the force correlation is roughly 3:1 in favor of the Ukronazis. That, by itself, is not good. So the real question is how well the Novorussians have prepared themselves and whether they have finally succeeded in correcting the many problems they have had for years. At least one recent report suggests that they have not. I honestly don’t know, but I hope that we will never find out.

Conclusion:

The delivery of Javelins to the Junta could be a game changer, not in militarily terms, but in political terms. It would signal that the US is not interested in a negotiated solution and that the Europeans can’t rein in the US Neocons. This would be as substantial as it would be bad. Right now some Americans are suggesting that these weapons would be kept back in the western Ukraine as a reserve against a hypothetical Russian attack. This is laughable. If, truly, the Russians (from Russia) were to attack, 200 or so Javelins near Ivano-Frankovsk or Lvov won’t make any difference (and neither would they on the line of contact for that matter). Furthermore, this obsession with hardware is really unhelpful and childish, which is what one would expect from politicians, of course, but which serious adults should not engage in. Finally, I would argue that these Javelins are not really aimed at the Novorussians but that they are aimed at Donald Trump. As soon as this fact is taken into consideration, everything else falls in place.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Media, Neocons, Russia, Ukraine 
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  1. Randal says:

    First, forget goofy concepts like “defensive” vs “offensive” and “lethal” vs “non-lethal” weapons. All weapons are lethal and they are all offensive, at least potentially.

    Yes, the “non-lethal aid” canard is another of the standard US sphere propaganda tropes used to cover and propagandise for aggressive interference, like misnaming proposed preventive wars against eg North Korea or Iran as “pre-emptive”, and using the term “regime” as code for governments targeted by the US sphere establishment for destabilisation and overthrow.

    When there is conflict, any assistance whatsoever, however supposedly “humanitarian”, that helps one side means more people on the other side are going to get killed. And that’s what it’s almost invariably intended to do, in reality.

    second-rate Hezbollah forces

    I think you mean “second line” here, not second rate.

    The truth is that this entire notion of sending in Javelins is pure political propaganda and doing so, at best, makes no difference and, at worst, could result in a sharp escalation on the ground. Thus, either way, this entire idea makes no sense whatsoever.
    …….
    Finally, I would argue that these Javelins are not really aimed at the Novorussians but that they are aimed at Donald Trump. As soon as this fact is taken into consideration, everything else falls in place.

    Indeed, as so often US foreign policy is primarily driven by internal squabbles, which is common I think to all empires and partly explains the breath-taking incompetence of US foreign policy when it is interpreted through the perspective of the national interest. To the extent genuine foreign issues are involved in determining policy, it’s the interests of foreign lobby groups that have the money and connections to allow them to influence policy.

    It’s about attacking Trump, and it’s about increasing the entanglement of the US with the Ukrainian side, in the hope of increased confrontation with Russia in the longer term, for those parties that see that as beneficial to their own interests.

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  2. JL says:

    This would be as substantial as it would be bad.

    Why would it be categorically bad? If Russia uses American arms supplies to Ukraine to justify recognizing LDPR, and sending in the troops to protect them, the conflict there would end. Full stop. There would be no more Ukrainian or Novorussian casualties. This is especially true if the above mentioned fears about the future of the republics are legitimate.

    Granted, geopolitical tensions in this scenario would increase substantially, but that’s going to happen eventually anyway. Perhaps the best thing for everyone is to end this slow dance and make the whole thing official. This will have the added advantage of forcing the embarrassingly wishy washy Europeans into picking sides – Trump or Putin.

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  3. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Putin has always been careful to be seen as responding to western maneuvers rather than being perceived as an initiator of what could be viewed as aggressive, or potentially so, moves. The US strategy is to bait the Russians into losing their composure and lashing out. This would help hype that they’re a ‘threat’ to the Europeans and thus keep NATO relevant and help the US to continue in it’s predominant position. Long term goal of the Russians is to improve and enlarge relations with all parts of Europe, something which is being actively thwarted by the US who is, after all, an out-of-continent interloper into European affairs. Thus the Russians want to be careful not to spook the Europeans whereas it’s in the interest of the US to create conflict. Putting others into hock for weapons and other worthless items also has the benefit of being able to skim off whatever money and resources the recipient country has in order to keep up the standard of living for some Americans.

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  4. peterike says:

    If the Ukraine government are such Nazis, why is the bulk of wealth in Ukraine still controlled by Jewish oligarchs (and one Muslim oligarch)?

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    • Replies: @Avery
    {If the Ukraine government are such Nazis,....}

    They are, they are.
    Exhibit A: Noe-Nazi Azov battalion.
    https://pp.vk.me/c624319/v624319338/bdee/oYSPOCYhtB0.jpg

    {....., why is the bulk of wealth in Ukraine still controlled by Jewish oligarchs}

    Good question.
    But at least one Ukrainian-Jewish oligarch funds......wait for it.......the Neo-Nazi Azov battalion (amongst many others private battalions in Ukraine)

    [In April 2014 Kolomoyskyi offered a bounty for the capture of Russian-backed militants and incentives for the turning in of weapons.He also is believed to have spent $10 million to create the Dnipro Battalion,and also funds the Aidar, Azov, Dnepr 1, Dnepr 2, and Donbas volunteer battalions.] (Wiki)

    Yep, a Jewish oligarch funding a Neo-Nazi battalion.
    Strange, but true.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Because its not.

    It's a corrupt neoliberal regime, authoritarian but highly mitigated by incompetence and oligarchic factionalism, which uses Nazis as its useful idiots.

    Calling it "Nazi" is just angry (i.e. obvious, and therefore ineffective) propaganda.
    , @annamaria
    Have you asked yourself, if the Lobby is such a strong fighter against antisemitism, then how come that a prominent member of a Jewish Kagans' clan was a major instructor and collaborator with Ukrainian-neo-Nazis during the illegal coup d'etat in Kiev -- and the Lobby has completely ignored this well-documented fact. A similar question arises with regard to the Israelis' well-documented help for ISIS' and Al Qaeda' "freedom fighters." Don't expect too many moral efforts from ziocons.
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  5. Avery says:
    @peterike
    If the Ukraine government are such Nazis, why is the bulk of wealth in Ukraine still controlled by Jewish oligarchs (and one Muslim oligarch)?

    {If the Ukraine government are such Nazis,….}

    They are, they are.
    Exhibit A: Noe-Nazi Azov battalion.

    {….., why is the bulk of wealth in Ukraine still controlled by Jewish oligarchs}

    Good question.
    But at least one Ukrainian-Jewish oligarch funds……wait for it…….the Neo-Nazi Azov battalion (amongst many others private battalions in Ukraine)

    [In April 2014 Kolomoyskyi offered a bounty for the capture of Russian-backed militants and incentives for the turning in of weapons.He also is believed to have spent $10 million to create the Dnipro Battalion,and also funds the Aidar, Azov, Dnepr 1, Dnepr 2, and Donbas volunteer battalions.] (Wiki)

    Yep, a Jewish oligarch funding a Neo-Nazi battalion.
    Strange, but true.

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    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    There are bigger photo opportunities to portray Nazis in Russia. And it's always the same one from Ukraine. How many men there?
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  6. One of the main problems with the delivery of Javelins by the US to the Ukraine would be that it would free (politically speaking) the hands of the Russians to deliver their own weapons systems to the Novorussians, including IR-jammers, active tank-protection systems or even their own anti-tank missiles.

    Putinist Russia has already delivered such things to their troops in the Donbas. No sense in lying about any more.

    US is basically giving up on the Minsk-2 Agreement

    Putin has rendered it nugatory. It hasn’t been operable since the thing was signed. Putin had no intention of honoring it.

    Russia can provide more anti-tank weapons systems covertly and in just a few days than the US could in many months.

    One of Saker’s many bald assertions. Russia is financially in serious straights. It is quite unlikely that Russia can do a lot more than what they are already doing.

    the Stingers did not defeat the Soviets and the Javelins won’t defeat the Novorussians.

    I don’t know of anyone claiming that Stinger missiles won the fight in the Rock Pile. It is well known that the manner in which Soviet Tactical Aviation operated radically changed after the Stinger was introduced and made it far more difficult for them. It was simply one more piece to the puzzle that led to Gorbachev to withdraw Soviet Troops.

    It would signal that the US is not interested in a negotiated solution and that the Europeans can’t rein in the US Neocons.

    There is no negotiated solution available. Putin has seen to that by rendering the entire thing nugatory. Putin seems to think Russia’s interests are served by an ongoing conflict and so has supplied troops and equipment that are forbidden under Minsk.

    Saker’s BS could easily be written by a 16 year old. It’s about as informed and realistic. And, just as laughable.

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    • Replies: @Name Caller
    Didn't see any facts in your reply, just assertions, and empty critique. It takes more to sound intelligent than just playing devil's advocate. If you have names, dates, places, numbers, and events to contradict an article then present them. Don't just quote the article and say 'naw'. Otherwise to thinking people, you're a paid troll.
    , @padre
    So, your point is, they are not allowed to do it, because you (USA) didn't OK it?Can you give at list rough number of interventions western countries did, and you with your OK?
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  7. It’s ironic that the excellent though quite depressing report at Colonel Cassad’s blog that The Saker cites (which contains a section on how night vision equipped Ukrainian spec ops used highly technical means to kidnap a Russian citizen serving with the NAF) directly contradicts his rhetoric about the uselessness of hi-tech weapons.

    Not only Donbass but other military conflicts of recent times confirm the growing role of technical means of surveillance and reconaissance, and their wide use in Syria by Russia proves that they can solve an entire complex of problems, all the way up to strategic ones…

    Anyhow at this stage I am all for the US supplying Javelins to Ukraine. If anything will force Putlet to act decisively, that will. Otherwise, the defeat of the LDNR is inevitable anyway.

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    • Replies: @Aedib
    Given the smuggling activities crossing ‘the border’, I would not be surprised if some Javelins end in NAF hands and a few day later in Russian hands.
    , @Philip Owen
    Cassad's report was very interesting. This is not a football game. This is cricket, A drawn out endurance test.

    I tried selling Russian NV equipment n the late 1990's. Volumes were too low for a real business. There was no shortage of capacity to build them. If the insurgents are not being supplied NV goggles then they are not getting anything else either. How much ammo have they got?

    If NV goggles are only now a thing then they weren't in use before. The Ukrainian army is clearly improving operationally.

    The LDNR rely on provoking the Ukrainians to maintain fear and thus their control of the civilian population. It's also necessary to keep their fun revolutionary army motivated. If their supply budget is falling and the Ukr response is inflicting losses they may lose their ability to do this, not due to boredom and drink anymore but due to death by sniper not being what Sergeant Beast and his mates signed up for. Where's the adrenaline in that?
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    quite depressing report at Colonel Cassad’s blog
     
    Anatoly, you can visit Sevastopol's Political Forum (I am sure late 2013-early 2014 posts are still there) frequented by Mr. Rozhin and you will easily find me (handle Popsicle) plus a bunch of other military professionals who pointed out to Rozhin's constant panic-mongering. I will repeat--it took Vlad Shurigin's interview with the North Wind to shut Rozhin-Cassad and his idol Girkin for a while. To treat some dedicated young communist , however nobly inclined (???), amateur as a source of viable strategic assessments--I apologize--but that is not even serious.
    , @Max Payne
    Pshh. Hi-tech weaponry.

    Hey even Nazi Germany had night vision technology ( http://www.achtungpanzer.com/german-infrared-night-vision-devices-infrarot-scheinwerfer.htm ). They lost. Oh technology... how could you fail the Aryan race? Those crafty partisans and their black pajamas I tell ya...



    Look at Vietnam. I get it...you ladies think Vietnam had some elite anti-air system that was tighter than a crabs ass (so elite it stopped the Christmas bombings that decimated North Vietnam...oh wait...) Yet with the latest in chemical warfare (Agent Orange) and dropping more bombs on piss-poor Vietnam than the whole of Dubbya-Dubbya-Too... all that couldn't win the war (even with helicopters and shit; it's an aircraft that flies up and down... talk about some high-tech shit especially in the 60s-70s).

    All that technology beaten by the ultimate of all weapons.... black pajamas.

    NVGs? If only that poor kidnapped Russian had black pajamas on...... probably could've taken the whole of Ukraine all by himself.

    A 5 year old with a gun is still a 5 year old with a gun. Yeah... it's dangerous... but it's a friggin' weak ass child. Throw a brick hard enough at it and you'll be fine. I hate kids...
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  8. So if the USA supplies weapons to their pawns and the Russians supply countermeasures to their pawns, then the US sees where their system is vulnerable and takes steps to counter the countermeasures so that the next time the US faces the Russians the Russian countermeasures are impotent. Did I get that right?

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  9. @peterike
    If the Ukraine government are such Nazis, why is the bulk of wealth in Ukraine still controlled by Jewish oligarchs (and one Muslim oligarch)?

    Because its not.

    It’s a corrupt neoliberal regime, authoritarian but highly mitigated by incompetence and oligarchic factionalism, which uses Nazis as its useful idiots.

    Calling it “Nazi” is just angry (i.e. obvious, and therefore ineffective) propaganda.

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    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    I'd also add that the 'Nazis,'as some like to call ultra right wing Ukrainians, usefulness seems to have diminished over time. Things change quickly in Ukraine, and what was functional 3.5 years ago is no longer the case. The right wing parties have not been able to secure any prominence within the Ukrainian politicum since 2014, and their support and leadership are in disarray. In other words,
    the Ukrainian 'Nazis' are irrelevant, as I'm sure that you already know.
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  10. Aedib says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    It's ironic that the excellent though quite depressing report at Colonel Cassad's blog that The Saker cites (which contains a section on how night vision equipped Ukrainian spec ops used highly technical means to kidnap a Russian citizen serving with the NAF) directly contradicts his rhetoric about the uselessness of hi-tech weapons.

    Not only Donbass but other military conflicts of recent times confirm the growing role of technical means of surveillance and reconaissance, and their wide use in Syria by Russia proves that they can solve an entire complex of problems, all the way up to strategic ones...
     
    Anyhow at this stage I am all for the US supplying Javelins to Ukraine. If anything will force Putlet to act decisively, that will. Otherwise, the defeat of the LDNR is inevitable anyway.

    Given the smuggling activities crossing ‘the border’, I would not be surprised if some Javelins end in NAF hands and a few day later in Russian hands.

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  11. Javelins have been around since 1990s. I think Russian military knows how they work by now.

    At the end of the day, the most effective anti-tank weapon is another tank. To my knowledge Ukrainian tanks are being manufactured and repaired on a Soviet era military plant in the city Kharkov, some 40 km from the Russian border.

    http://fakty.ictv.ua/ru/videos/yak-u-harkovi-z-popelu-vidrodzhuyut-tanky-dlya-zsu/

    This plant is well within the range of Russian artillery. Frankly, it should have been destroyed on day 1. As a Russian, I honestly don’t understand why our government is allowing the Ukraine to keep its defence industry.

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  12. @Avery
    {If the Ukraine government are such Nazis,....}

    They are, they are.
    Exhibit A: Noe-Nazi Azov battalion.
    https://pp.vk.me/c624319/v624319338/bdee/oYSPOCYhtB0.jpg

    {....., why is the bulk of wealth in Ukraine still controlled by Jewish oligarchs}

    Good question.
    But at least one Ukrainian-Jewish oligarch funds......wait for it.......the Neo-Nazi Azov battalion (amongst many others private battalions in Ukraine)

    [In April 2014 Kolomoyskyi offered a bounty for the capture of Russian-backed militants and incentives for the turning in of weapons.He also is believed to have spent $10 million to create the Dnipro Battalion,and also funds the Aidar, Azov, Dnepr 1, Dnepr 2, and Donbas volunteer battalions.] (Wiki)

    Yep, a Jewish oligarch funding a Neo-Nazi battalion.
    Strange, but true.

    There are bigger photo opportunities to portray Nazis in Russia. And it’s always the same one from Ukraine. How many men there?

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    • Replies: @Avery
    Let's see you produce Russian political _leaders_ with Nazi salute.

    https://journal-neo.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/john-mccain-oleh-tyahnybok.jpg

    https://journal-neo.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Far_right_leader_in_Ukraine.jpg

    http://www.veteranstoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Yatsenyuk-salute.jpeg

    Heil Hitler!
    Seig Heil!

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  13. Russia”s increasingly forlorn (lost?) hope is to reinject the rump Donbass into Ukraine to block it’s progress towards the EU and NATO. All Ukraine has to do to win is sit it out. Russia may chose to fund “Novorossiya” until Putin goes in 2024 but that is a long time away. It is now 3 years since Russia’s economy collapsed with the oil price. Growth has returned but is anaemic.

    Referring a family holiday, flat, car, washing machine is OK for 2-3 years. That time horizon is being reached. The one thing in Ps favour is the labour shortage which sets a floor for those young enough to work but oil driven growth is dead and cereal production does not employ many. Jobs but not much money.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    Russia’s economy collapsed
     
    You realise that Ukrainian economy is doing a lot worse, right? And given Ukrainian penchant for anarchy that regime is much more likely to collapse. I reckon that's what Putin is counting on.
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  14. @Anatoly Karlin
    It's ironic that the excellent though quite depressing report at Colonel Cassad's blog that The Saker cites (which contains a section on how night vision equipped Ukrainian spec ops used highly technical means to kidnap a Russian citizen serving with the NAF) directly contradicts his rhetoric about the uselessness of hi-tech weapons.

    Not only Donbass but other military conflicts of recent times confirm the growing role of technical means of surveillance and reconaissance, and their wide use in Syria by Russia proves that they can solve an entire complex of problems, all the way up to strategic ones...
     
    Anyhow at this stage I am all for the US supplying Javelins to Ukraine. If anything will force Putlet to act decisively, that will. Otherwise, the defeat of the LDNR is inevitable anyway.

    Cassad’s report was very interesting. This is not a football game. This is cricket, A drawn out endurance test.

    I tried selling Russian NV equipment n the late 1990′s. Volumes were too low for a real business. There was no shortage of capacity to build them. If the insurgents are not being supplied NV goggles then they are not getting anything else either. How much ammo have they got?

    If NV goggles are only now a thing then they weren’t in use before. The Ukrainian army is clearly improving operationally.

    The LDNR rely on provoking the Ukrainians to maintain fear and thus their control of the civilian population. It’s also necessary to keep their fun revolutionary army motivated. If their supply budget is falling and the Ukr response is inflicting losses they may lose their ability to do this, not due to boredom and drink anymore but due to death by sniper not being what Sergeant Beast and his mates signed up for. Where’s the adrenaline in that?

    Read More
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  15. @Philip Owen
    Russia"s increasingly forlorn (lost?) hope is to reinject the rump Donbass into Ukraine to block it's progress towards the EU and NATO. All Ukraine has to do to win is sit it out. Russia may chose to fund "Novorossiya" until Putin goes in 2024 but that is a long time away. It is now 3 years since Russia's economy collapsed with the oil price. Growth has returned but is anaemic.

    Referring a family holiday, flat, car, washing machine is OK for 2-3 years. That time horizon is being reached. The one thing in Ps favour is the labour shortage which sets a floor for those young enough to work but oil driven growth is dead and cereal production does not employ many. Jobs but not much money.

    Russia’s economy collapsed

    You realise that Ukrainian economy is doing a lot worse, right? And given Ukrainian penchant for anarchy that regime is much more likely to collapse. I reckon that’s what Putin is counting on.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Aedib
    The whole "Russia’s economy collapse" is being erased in just one year (2017)

    https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/russian-economy-2014-2016-the-years-of-sanctions-warfare/

    The collapse is just wishful thinking of Western propaganda. The 2015-2016 recession was in fact more related to the tight monetary policy of the RCB than to the over-noised but quite harmless Western sanctions.

    , @Philip Owen
    My discussion of the prices elsewhere on this blog, look at my answers to find it quickly, shows how much worse Ukraine is. Although Venuzuela which offers 48% return on a three year bond is worse.
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  16. Aedib says:
    @Felix Keverich

    Russia’s economy collapsed
     
    You realise that Ukrainian economy is doing a lot worse, right? And given Ukrainian penchant for anarchy that regime is much more likely to collapse. I reckon that's what Putin is counting on.

    The whole “Russia’s economy collapse” is being erased in just one year (2017)

    https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/russian-economy-2014-2016-the-years-of-sanctions-warfare/

    The collapse is just wishful thinking of Western propaganda. The 2015-2016 recession was in fact more related to the tight monetary policy of the RCB than to the over-noised but quite harmless Western sanctions.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Collapse of rouble was the real culprit IMO. It made imports less affordable. Retail and wholesale trade declined by double digit figures in 2015, and this sector is like 15% of GDP.

    RCB is doing everything right. They could have free-floated rouble sooner and saved some 50 billion in currency reserves in 2014, but I assume they faced a lot of political pressure at the time.
    , @Philip Owen
    In case you didn't notice, the price of oil went down a lot. Rather more significant than sanctions.
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  17. Mr. Hack says:

    The delivery of Javelins to the Junta could be a game changer, not in militarily terms, but in political terms. It would signal that the US is not interested in a negotiated solution and that the Europeans can’t rein in the US Neocons.

    As if Moscow has shown any inclination whatsoever to use Minsk 2 as a negotiating table to resolve any perceived problems? Laughable and contrary to any evidential material! :-(

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Are you some kind of idiot?

    Putin wrote the Minsk agreement. It is very favourable to Russia, which is why Ukrainian regime has gone out of its way to sabotage it.

    Basically, Minsk ensures continued Russian domination of Ukraine by reincorporating LDNR in Ukraine, while keeping rebel political structures intact. Under Minsk II, Ukraine was supposed to amend its Constitution to accomodate LDNR. The rebels were to be legitimised and given effective veto powers over Ukraine's foreign policy.

    Do you see now why Kiev refused to implement this? Minsk II amounts to a total defeat and capitulation for Ukraine. What happened instead is that Ukrainian regime and its foreign sponsors have attempted to redefine Minsk post factum, by pretending that there are some "commitments" that Russia "needs to live up to" - that's utter BS, the only side that has commitments under Minsk II is the Ukraine. Russia isn't even mentioned as part of the conflict.
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  18. Avery says:
    @Philip Owen
    There are bigger photo opportunities to portray Nazis in Russia. And it's always the same one from Ukraine. How many men there?

    Let’s see you produce Russian political _leaders_ with Nazi salute.

    Heil Hitler!
    Seig Heil!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    You can use Google yourself. Start with Liminov. Then try Orthodox Fascists.
    , @Michael Kenny
    The middle photo: the Nazi salute is given with the right hand, not the left (is there anyone who doesn't know that?). Since, in the photograh, the man's eyes are looking upward and to the left, my guess is that he is taking part in a meeting is an auditorium and is either giving the floor to a speaker above him and to his left or is taking a question from such a person. As a matter of common sense, if he had wanted to give a Hitler salute why would he have done it with the wrong hand? This sort of thing simply discredits the argument it is supposed to be supporting.
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  19. Mr. Hack says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Because its not.

    It's a corrupt neoliberal regime, authoritarian but highly mitigated by incompetence and oligarchic factionalism, which uses Nazis as its useful idiots.

    Calling it "Nazi" is just angry (i.e. obvious, and therefore ineffective) propaganda.

    I’d also add that the ‘Nazis,’as some like to call ultra right wing Ukrainians, usefulness seems to have diminished over time. Things change quickly in Ukraine, and what was functional 3.5 years ago is no longer the case. The right wing parties have not been able to secure any prominence within the Ukrainian politicum since 2014, and their support and leadership are in disarray. In other words,
    the Ukrainian ‘Nazis’ are irrelevant, as I’m sure that you already know.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Well no, I disagree, that's stretching it too far in the other direction. They may not have all that many bodies - though this is in substantial part a function of all significant Ukrainian political forces having adopted nationalism - but they do have a surfeit of arms and passionarity.

    This gives them political influence well beyond what their numbers on paper would indicate, and indeed they have repeatedly managed to force the authorities to take actions they were plainly unenthusiastic about. The formal legalization of the Donbass blockade would be a good recent example. (Though that probably only happened because certain oligarchic interests happened to be aligned with the ultranationalist position).
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  20. @Aedib
    The whole "Russia’s economy collapse" is being erased in just one year (2017)

    https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/russian-economy-2014-2016-the-years-of-sanctions-warfare/

    The collapse is just wishful thinking of Western propaganda. The 2015-2016 recession was in fact more related to the tight monetary policy of the RCB than to the over-noised but quite harmless Western sanctions.

    Collapse of rouble was the real culprit IMO. It made imports less affordable. Retail and wholesale trade declined by double digit figures in 2015, and this sector is like 15% of GDP.

    RCB is doing everything right. They could have free-floated rouble sooner and saved some 50 billion in currency reserves in 2014, but I assume they faced a lot of political pressure at the time.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JL
    The collapse of the Rouble was itself a result of the fall in the price of oil. They correlate quite tightly. Of the economic pain Russia felt from 2014-2016, maybe 15-20% was from sanctions, the rest from the oil price drop. While this was painful in the short term, a lot of long term good will come out of it. Remember, a weaker Rouble helps domestic producers and makes their products more competitive. But what was once an economy of middlemen doesn't turn around overnight.
    , @Philip Owen
    RCB has been little short of brilliant.
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  21. @Anatoly Karlin
    It's ironic that the excellent though quite depressing report at Colonel Cassad's blog that The Saker cites (which contains a section on how night vision equipped Ukrainian spec ops used highly technical means to kidnap a Russian citizen serving with the NAF) directly contradicts his rhetoric about the uselessness of hi-tech weapons.

    Not only Donbass but other military conflicts of recent times confirm the growing role of technical means of surveillance and reconaissance, and their wide use in Syria by Russia proves that they can solve an entire complex of problems, all the way up to strategic ones...
     
    Anyhow at this stage I am all for the US supplying Javelins to Ukraine. If anything will force Putlet to act decisively, that will. Otherwise, the defeat of the LDNR is inevitable anyway.

    quite depressing report at Colonel Cassad’s blog

    Anatoly, you can visit Sevastopol’s Political Forum (I am sure late 2013-early 2014 posts are still there) frequented by Mr. Rozhin and you will easily find me (handle Popsicle) plus a bunch of other military professionals who pointed out to Rozhin’s constant panic-mongering. I will repeat–it took Vlad Shurigin’s interview with the North Wind to shut Rozhin-Cassad and his idol Girkin for a while. To treat some dedicated young communist , however nobly inclined (???), amateur as a source of viable strategic assessments–I apologize–but that is not even serious.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    It's fine to criticise and be a "fear monger", but what I cannot understand is becoming a cheerleader for the Kremlin. Where is value in that?

    It's not the first time I saw you deny some obvious problem. Remember our talk about Kadyrov and Chechens? You also don't like to aknowledge the obvious economic difficulties in Russia, or the fact that political system that Putin built is rather fragile and weak.

    Rozhin is our best foreign policy/military commentator, I check his blog every day. Strelkov is a soldier, who started this whole Novorossia rebellion, without him there would be no "people's republics" at all. Strelkov and Rozhin are very different individuals, but smart, and both have been succesful in their respective roles. If those two men agree on something, it's probably true. So what good is taking the ostrich position? Does denying a problem gives you psychological comfort or something?

    , @Anatoly Karlin
    This one: https://forum.sevastopol.info/ ?

    You've mentioned it a few times. A Google search doesn't find any user called "Popsicle," though I might be doing something wrong.

    Anyhow, the account in question wasn't even written by Rozhin, but by another guy (Vladimir Orlov).
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  22. @Mr. Hack

    The delivery of Javelins to the Junta could be a game changer, not in militarily terms, but in political terms. It would signal that the US is not interested in a negotiated solution and that the Europeans can’t rein in the US Neocons.
     
    As if Moscow has shown any inclination whatsoever to use Minsk 2 as a negotiating table to resolve any perceived problems? Laughable and contrary to any evidential material! :-(

    Are you some kind of idiot?

    Putin wrote the Minsk agreement. It is very favourable to Russia, which is why Ukrainian regime has gone out of its way to sabotage it.

    Basically, Minsk ensures continued Russian domination of Ukraine by reincorporating LDNR in Ukraine, while keeping rebel political structures intact. Under Minsk II, Ukraine was supposed to amend its Constitution to accomodate LDNR. The rebels were to be legitimised and given effective veto powers over Ukraine’s foreign policy.

    Do you see now why Kiev refused to implement this? Minsk II amounts to a total defeat and capitulation for Ukraine. What happened instead is that Ukrainian regime and its foreign sponsors have attempted to redefine Minsk post factum, by pretending that there are some “commitments” that Russia “needs to live up to” – that’s utter BS, the only side that has commitments under Minsk II is the Ukraine. Russia isn’t even mentioned as part of the conflict.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack

    Do you see niev refused to implement this?
     
    The way that you explain it, yes I do - it seems unfair for Ukraine to have to treat rebels and traitors with too much respect and deference. These traitors should be all caught and shot, as they would no doubt do in Russia if any similar situation were to occur within its state boundaries.

    As far as your attempts to extricate Russia's role in the conflict, your feeble pleas fall on deaf ears. Russia's role in this conflict is apparent to everybody who's involved and indeed Russia is named as part of the 'Trilateral Contract Group' charged with mediating the conflict. The Minsk II protocol clearly calls for the:

    Pullout of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, and also mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE supervision. Disarmament of all illegal groups.
     
    which has not occurred, mostly because of Russia's belligerence and uncooperative stance, notwithstanding its blatant lies to the contrary that it is 'not a participant to the conflict'
    , @Mr. Hack

    Do you see niev refused to implement this?
     
    The way that you explain it, yes I do - it seems unfair for Ukraine to have to treat rebels and traitors with too much respect and deference. These traitors should be all caught and shot, as they would no doubt do in Russia if any similar situation were to occur within its state boundaries.

    As far as your attempts to extricate Russia's role in the conflict, your feeble pleas fall on deaf ears. Russia's role in this conflict is apparent to everybody who's involved and indeed Russia is named as part of the 'Trilateral Contract Group' charged with mediating the conflict. The Minsk II protocol clearly calls for the:

    Pullout of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, and also mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE supervision. Disarmament of all illegal groups.
     
    which has not occurred, mostly because of Russia's belligerence and uncooperative stance, notwithstanding its blatant lies to the contrary that it is 'not a participant to the conflict'
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  23. @Mr. Hack
    I'd also add that the 'Nazis,'as some like to call ultra right wing Ukrainians, usefulness seems to have diminished over time. Things change quickly in Ukraine, and what was functional 3.5 years ago is no longer the case. The right wing parties have not been able to secure any prominence within the Ukrainian politicum since 2014, and their support and leadership are in disarray. In other words,
    the Ukrainian 'Nazis' are irrelevant, as I'm sure that you already know.

    Well no, I disagree, that’s stretching it too far in the other direction. They may not have all that many bodies – though this is in substantial part a function of all significant Ukrainian political forces having adopted nationalism – but they do have a surfeit of arms and passionarity.

    This gives them political influence well beyond what their numbers on paper would indicate, and indeed they have repeatedly managed to force the authorities to take actions they were plainly unenthusiastic about. The formal legalization of the Donbass blockade would be a good recent example. (Though that probably only happened because certain oligarchic interests happened to be aligned with the ultranationalist position).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack

    Though that probably only happened because certain oligarchic interests happened to be aligned with the ultranationalist position
     
    And therein lies the crux of the whole matter, without powerful oligarch support, ultra rightist influence in Ukraine is listless and unpopular.
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  24. @Andrei Martyanov

    quite depressing report at Colonel Cassad’s blog
     
    Anatoly, you can visit Sevastopol's Political Forum (I am sure late 2013-early 2014 posts are still there) frequented by Mr. Rozhin and you will easily find me (handle Popsicle) plus a bunch of other military professionals who pointed out to Rozhin's constant panic-mongering. I will repeat--it took Vlad Shurigin's interview with the North Wind to shut Rozhin-Cassad and his idol Girkin for a while. To treat some dedicated young communist , however nobly inclined (???), amateur as a source of viable strategic assessments--I apologize--but that is not even serious.

    It’s fine to criticise and be a “fear monger”, but what I cannot understand is becoming a cheerleader for the Kremlin. Where is value in that?

    It’s not the first time I saw you deny some obvious problem. Remember our talk about Kadyrov and Chechens? You also don’t like to aknowledge the obvious economic difficulties in Russia, or the fact that political system that Putin built is rather fragile and weak.

    Rozhin is our best foreign policy/military commentator, I check his blog every day. Strelkov is a soldier, who started this whole Novorossia rebellion, without him there would be no “people’s republics” at all. Strelkov and Rozhin are very different individuals, but smart, and both have been succesful in their respective roles. If those two men agree on something, it’s probably true. So what good is taking the ostrich position? Does denying a problem gives you psychological comfort or something?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    You also don’t like to aknowledge the obvious economic difficulties in Russia,
     
    I quote myself:

    The Russian economy is not without problems, far from it—it still tries to break with the “heritage” of robbery and deformities of 1990s and still tries to find its way on a path different from destructive ideology of Russia’s “young reformers” who still dominate policy formulation, be it from the positions of power or through such institutions as notorious High School of Economics.
     
    http://www.unz.com/article/assessing-russias-military-strength/

    what I cannot understand is becoming a cheerleader for the Kremlin. Where is value in that?
     
    Let me try one explanation: maybe because President Of Russian Federation has daily briefings by what amounts to the one of the two best in the world SignInt, HumInt and Military-Analytical apparatuses whose level of knowledge and processing power is not only in a different universe than of some amateur but because "Kremlin" does bear responsibility for 146 million of Russian citizens. So, yeah I have to "cheer-lead" for "Kremlin". Am I in the ball park?

    Rozhin is our best foreign policy/military commentator
     
    Our who?
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  25. @Andrei Martyanov

    quite depressing report at Colonel Cassad’s blog
     
    Anatoly, you can visit Sevastopol's Political Forum (I am sure late 2013-early 2014 posts are still there) frequented by Mr. Rozhin and you will easily find me (handle Popsicle) plus a bunch of other military professionals who pointed out to Rozhin's constant panic-mongering. I will repeat--it took Vlad Shurigin's interview with the North Wind to shut Rozhin-Cassad and his idol Girkin for a while. To treat some dedicated young communist , however nobly inclined (???), amateur as a source of viable strategic assessments--I apologize--but that is not even serious.

    This one: https://forum.sevastopol.info/ ?

    You’ve mentioned it a few times. A Google search doesn’t find any user called “Popsicle,” though I might be doing something wrong.

    Anyhow, the account in question wasn’t even written by Rozhin, but by another guy (Vladimir Orlov).

    Read More
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  26. Mr. Hack says:
    @Felix Keverich
    Are you some kind of idiot?

    Putin wrote the Minsk agreement. It is very favourable to Russia, which is why Ukrainian regime has gone out of its way to sabotage it.

    Basically, Minsk ensures continued Russian domination of Ukraine by reincorporating LDNR in Ukraine, while keeping rebel political structures intact. Under Minsk II, Ukraine was supposed to amend its Constitution to accomodate LDNR. The rebels were to be legitimised and given effective veto powers over Ukraine's foreign policy.

    Do you see now why Kiev refused to implement this? Minsk II amounts to a total defeat and capitulation for Ukraine. What happened instead is that Ukrainian regime and its foreign sponsors have attempted to redefine Minsk post factum, by pretending that there are some "commitments" that Russia "needs to live up to" - that's utter BS, the only side that has commitments under Minsk II is the Ukraine. Russia isn't even mentioned as part of the conflict.

    Do you see niev refused to implement this?

    The way that you explain it, yes I do – it seems unfair for Ukraine to have to treat rebels and traitors with too much respect and deference. These traitors should be all caught and shot, as they would no doubt do in Russia if any similar situation were to occur within its state boundaries.

    As far as your attempts to extricate Russia’s role in the conflict, your feeble pleas fall on deaf ears. Russia’s role in this conflict is apparent to everybody who’s involved and indeed Russia is named as part of the ‘Trilateral Contract Group’ charged with mediating the conflict. The Minsk II protocol clearly calls for the:

    Pullout of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, and also mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE supervision. Disarmament of all illegal groups.

    which has not occurred, mostly because of Russia’s belligerence and uncooperative stance, notwithstanding its blatant lies to the contrary that it is ‘not a participant to the conflict’

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    it seems unfair for Ukraine to have to treat rebels and traitors with too much respect and deference. These traitors should be all caught and shot
     
    That would be a clear breach of Ukraine's committments under Minsk I and Minsk II. I want to spell it more clearly for you: by signing Minsk II the Ukraine has taken an official commitment to grant amnesty to the rebels, all of them.

    your feeble pleas fall on deaf ears.
     
    Does it look like I am pleading for something? I'm just explaining what Minsk accords are about: they are about submission and capitulation of the Ukraine.

    Again, you can accuse Putin of many things, but you can never accuse him of breaking Minsk accords, because he actually wrote them. Since Russia never admitted to having any troops in the Ukraine it has no formal obligation to pull them out. Those NATO instructors will have to go though. ;)

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  27. Mr. Hack says:
    @Felix Keverich
    Are you some kind of idiot?

    Putin wrote the Minsk agreement. It is very favourable to Russia, which is why Ukrainian regime has gone out of its way to sabotage it.

    Basically, Minsk ensures continued Russian domination of Ukraine by reincorporating LDNR in Ukraine, while keeping rebel political structures intact. Under Minsk II, Ukraine was supposed to amend its Constitution to accomodate LDNR. The rebels were to be legitimised and given effective veto powers over Ukraine's foreign policy.

    Do you see now why Kiev refused to implement this? Minsk II amounts to a total defeat and capitulation for Ukraine. What happened instead is that Ukrainian regime and its foreign sponsors have attempted to redefine Minsk post factum, by pretending that there are some "commitments" that Russia "needs to live up to" - that's utter BS, the only side that has commitments under Minsk II is the Ukraine. Russia isn't even mentioned as part of the conflict.

    Do you see niev refused to implement this?

    The way that you explain it, yes I do – it seems unfair for Ukraine to have to treat rebels and traitors with too much respect and deference. These traitors should be all caught and shot, as they would no doubt do in Russia if any similar situation were to occur within its state boundaries.

    As far as your attempts to extricate Russia’s role in the conflict, your feeble pleas fall on deaf ears. Russia’s role in this conflict is apparent to everybody who’s involved and indeed Russia is named as part of the ‘Trilateral Contract Group’ charged with mediating the conflict. The Minsk II protocol clearly calls for the:

    Pullout of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, and also mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE supervision. Disarmament of all illegal groups.

    which has not occurred, mostly because of Russia’s belligerence and uncooperative stance, notwithstanding its blatant lies to the contrary that it is ‘not a participant to the conflict’

    Read More
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  28. Mr. Hack says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Well no, I disagree, that's stretching it too far in the other direction. They may not have all that many bodies - though this is in substantial part a function of all significant Ukrainian political forces having adopted nationalism - but they do have a surfeit of arms and passionarity.

    This gives them political influence well beyond what their numbers on paper would indicate, and indeed they have repeatedly managed to force the authorities to take actions they were plainly unenthusiastic about. The formal legalization of the Donbass blockade would be a good recent example. (Though that probably only happened because certain oligarchic interests happened to be aligned with the ultranationalist position).

    Though that probably only happened because certain oligarchic interests happened to be aligned with the ultranationalist position

    And therein lies the crux of the whole matter, without powerful oligarch support, ultra rightist influence in Ukraine is listless and unpopular.

    Read More
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  29. @Mr. Hack

    Do you see niev refused to implement this?
     
    The way that you explain it, yes I do - it seems unfair for Ukraine to have to treat rebels and traitors with too much respect and deference. These traitors should be all caught and shot, as they would no doubt do in Russia if any similar situation were to occur within its state boundaries.

    As far as your attempts to extricate Russia's role in the conflict, your feeble pleas fall on deaf ears. Russia's role in this conflict is apparent to everybody who's involved and indeed Russia is named as part of the 'Trilateral Contract Group' charged with mediating the conflict. The Minsk II protocol clearly calls for the:

    Pullout of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, and also mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE supervision. Disarmament of all illegal groups.
     
    which has not occurred, mostly because of Russia's belligerence and uncooperative stance, notwithstanding its blatant lies to the contrary that it is 'not a participant to the conflict'

    it seems unfair for Ukraine to have to treat rebels and traitors with too much respect and deference. These traitors should be all caught and shot

    That would be a clear breach of Ukraine’s committments under Minsk I and Minsk II. I want to spell it more clearly for you: by signing Minsk II the Ukraine has taken an official commitment to grant amnesty to the rebels, all of them.

    your feeble pleas fall on deaf ears.

    Does it look like I am pleading for something? I’m just explaining what Minsk accords are about: they are about submission and capitulation of the Ukraine.

    Again, you can accuse Putin of many things, but you can never accuse him of breaking Minsk accords, because he actually wrote them. Since Russia never admitted to having any troops in the Ukraine it has no formal obligation to pull them out. Those NATO instructors will have to go though. ;)

    Read More
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  30. Mr. Hack says:

    My understanding is that there were several parties involved in the writing of theMinsk II protocols. Your insistence that it was a document written solely by Putin seems bizarre, as does your less than honest recap of Russia not involving its own regular troops (or disguised regular troops) within the Donbas conflict. One has to only be familiar with the battle at Debaltsevo to understand that Russian regular troops were indeed involved within the conflict zone. To deny this is a lie, as are almost all Russian stories regarding its involvement in this war.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    It seems bizarre to you because it contradicts your picture of the world, which was borrowed directly from the pages of Washington post. Like I said Kiev and its Western sponsors have attempted to redefine Minsk accords post factum.

    I assume the thinking here is that sanctions and diplomatic pressure will be enough to cause the Kremlin to capitulate, regardless of any previous diplomatic agreements, regardless of the military situation on the ground. This kind of thinking ensures that the war will continue until either Russian or Ukrainian regime collapses. It could last decades.

    Position of different Western countries is interesting here: I suppose a permanent conflict would suit the US just fine, but when it comes to Europe, I doubt that's what they want. Germany and France are signatories to Minsk II, they know exactly what it's about, and they also know that Kiev is in violation. Frankly, I'd expect them to start pressuring Kiev by now.
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  31. @Mr. Hack
    My understanding is that there were several parties involved in the writing of theMinsk II protocols. Your insistence that it was a document written solely by Putin seems bizarre, as does your less than honest recap of Russia not involving its own regular troops (or disguised regular troops) within the Donbas conflict. One has to only be familiar with the battle at Debaltsevo to understand that Russian regular troops were indeed involved within the conflict zone. To deny this is a lie, as are almost all Russian stories regarding its involvement in this war.

    It seems bizarre to you because it contradicts your picture of the world, which was borrowed directly from the pages of Washington post. Like I said Kiev and its Western sponsors have attempted to redefine Minsk accords post factum.

    I assume the thinking here is that sanctions and diplomatic pressure will be enough to cause the Kremlin to capitulate, regardless of any previous diplomatic agreements, regardless of the military situation on the ground. This kind of thinking ensures that the war will continue until either Russian or Ukrainian regime collapses. It could last decades.

    Position of different Western countries is interesting here: I suppose a permanent conflict would suit the US just fine, but when it comes to Europe, I doubt that’s what they want. Germany and France are signatories to Minsk II, they know exactly what it’s about, and they also know that Kiev is in violation. Frankly, I’d expect them to start pressuring Kiev by now.

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  32. Mr. Hack says:

    Frankly, I’d expect them to start pressuring Kiev by now.

    Looks to me like you’re the one infected with a severe case of Russian myopic visions, supplied by the likes of the Surkovs, Solovyov’s etc; Because France and Germany know ‘what it’s all about’, they’re also signatories of the sanctions slapped on Russia for its belligerent behavior in Ukraine.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    they’re also signatories of the sanctions slapped on Russia
     
    I know. But remember, it took a lot of arm twisting by the Obama administration to get Europe to impose sanctions on Russia in the first place. A plane full of Dutch citizens had to be shot down (we're still not entirely sure who shot it down). I cannot help, but feel that Germany and France are being held hostage to Washington's policy. Either way these sanctions is as much of a punishment for Europe as they are for Russia.
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  33. JL says:
    @Felix Keverich
    Collapse of rouble was the real culprit IMO. It made imports less affordable. Retail and wholesale trade declined by double digit figures in 2015, and this sector is like 15% of GDP.

    RCB is doing everything right. They could have free-floated rouble sooner and saved some 50 billion in currency reserves in 2014, but I assume they faced a lot of political pressure at the time.

    The collapse of the Rouble was itself a result of the fall in the price of oil. They correlate quite tightly. Of the economic pain Russia felt from 2014-2016, maybe 15-20% was from sanctions, the rest from the oil price drop. While this was painful in the short term, a lot of long term good will come out of it. Remember, a weaker Rouble helps domestic producers and makes their products more competitive. But what was once an economy of middlemen doesn’t turn around overnight.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Weaker rouble also reduced the purchasing power of Russians, there was negative impact on investment as well: traditionally 50% of Russia's imports is machinery and equipment. All in all, most businesses in Russia find it harder to make money, so I would rather have higher oil prices to be honest. ;)

    Russia will always have a commodity-driven economy. We should embrace it, make the best of it. Be like Canada, Australia. If you look at a chart of Australia's exports, it is mostly commodity stuff, but they live well.
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  34. @JL
    The collapse of the Rouble was itself a result of the fall in the price of oil. They correlate quite tightly. Of the economic pain Russia felt from 2014-2016, maybe 15-20% was from sanctions, the rest from the oil price drop. While this was painful in the short term, a lot of long term good will come out of it. Remember, a weaker Rouble helps domestic producers and makes their products more competitive. But what was once an economy of middlemen doesn't turn around overnight.

    Weaker rouble also reduced the purchasing power of Russians, there was negative impact on investment as well: traditionally 50% of Russia’s imports is machinery and equipment. All in all, most businesses in Russia find it harder to make money, so I would rather have higher oil prices to be honest. ;)

    Russia will always have a commodity-driven economy. We should embrace it, make the best of it. Be like Canada, Australia. If you look at a chart of Australia’s exports, it is mostly commodity stuff, but they live well.

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    • Replies: @JL
    So, you're fine with a commodity export driven, nay, dependent, economy, but simultaneously complain that it's harder to make money when the value of those exports drop in price by some 50%. Does that really make sense to you?

    Be like Canada, Australia.
     
    Frankly, if you don't understand the fundamental differences between Russia, on the one hand, and Canada and Australia on the other, there's not much point in continuing this conversation.
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  35. @Mr. Hack

    Frankly, I’d expect them to start pressuring Kiev by now.
     
    Looks to me like you're the one infected with a severe case of Russian myopic visions, supplied by the likes of the Surkovs, Solovyov's etc; Because France and Germany know 'what it's all about', they're also signatories of the sanctions slapped on Russia for its belligerent behavior in Ukraine.

    they’re also signatories of the sanctions slapped on Russia

    I know. But remember, it took a lot of arm twisting by the Obama administration to get Europe to impose sanctions on Russia in the first place. A plane full of Dutch citizens had to be shot down (we’re still not entirely sure who shot it down). I cannot help, but feel that Germany and France are being held hostage to Washington’s policy. Either way these sanctions is as much of a punishment for Europe as they are for Russia.

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    • Replies: @A22
    Don't forget that Australia and Canda are both small population wise with huge resources. While Russia has enormous Resources it has relatively large population. Also the people that Russia imports machinery and equipment from are not friendly ( unlike the case of Canada and Australia ).

    I think higher oil prices can be beneficial in case there was a clear plan of how to invest the money in domestic industry. There should be strict capital control and corruption money should be invested in the domestic market insted of western economies ( if you can't kill corruption, at least do not let the money go outside).
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  36. Mr. Hack says:

    Either way these sanctions is as much of a punishment for Europe as they are for Russia.

    And for Ukraine too. It appears that Putin is ready to try and bleed Ukraine to death, literally. It’s really a no win situation for all involved. Look, I’m not myopic enough to believe that a long protracted war with Russia is in anybody’s best interest. Before this stupid war started, roughly 60% of all Ukrainians (including the East and South) were for a pro-EU orientation, 40% pro Russia. This was a large minority, whose opinion had to be respected. But now? Probably 95% vs 5%. Even if Ukraine were to gain full EU membership down the road, so what? It would probably prosper at some point and would provide Russia with a stable, close trading partner. If things didn’t work out, it could always leave and join some other Russian led union. Look at Great Britain. It’s true that Russia is a mystery wrapped in an enigma!

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    • Replies: @Eagle Eye

    Look, I’m not myopic enough to believe that a long protracted war with Russia is in anybody’s best interest.
     
    Actually, war with Russia, whether protracted or short, is definitely in the financial and ideological interest of many IMPORTANT people in the Military-Industrial-Media complex.
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  37. Christian says:

    There is another problem with the Javelin, it is VERY expensive compared to other anti-tank missiles. Often more expensive than the half broken down 40 year old tank it is trying to take out. Of course missiles miss and tanks can be repair. So while Javelins may be effective in a well coordinated offensive, they are largely useless in a low intensity war of attrition.

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  38. Cyrano says:

    I think that the export version of the javelin for the Ukrainian market should be renamed boomerang or even better hara-kiri – because this nicely captures the results which using this weapon will have on Ukraine if they try to use it against Novorossiya.

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  39. @Aedib
    The whole "Russia’s economy collapse" is being erased in just one year (2017)

    https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/russian-economy-2014-2016-the-years-of-sanctions-warfare/

    The collapse is just wishful thinking of Western propaganda. The 2015-2016 recession was in fact more related to the tight monetary policy of the RCB than to the over-noised but quite harmless Western sanctions.

    In case you didn’t notice, the price of oil went down a lot. Rather more significant than sanctions.

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    • Replies: @Aedib

    In case youdidn’t notice, the price of oil went down a lot. Rather more significant than sanctions.
     
    Off-course. Low oil prices hit hard the Russian economy during 2015. Much harder than Western sanctions. But right now the RCB policy of very high interest rates (9% = 5% over inflation) is what is braking the Russian economy. A progressive easing policy should star now.
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  40. @Avery
    Let's see you produce Russian political _leaders_ with Nazi salute.

    https://journal-neo.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/john-mccain-oleh-tyahnybok.jpg

    https://journal-neo.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Far_right_leader_in_Ukraine.jpg

    http://www.veteranstoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Yatsenyuk-salute.jpeg

    Heil Hitler!
    Seig Heil!

    You can use Google yourself. Start with Liminov. Then try Orthodox Fascists.

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    • Replies: @Avery
    {You can use Google yourself. }

    No: it's your turn to use Google, or whatever.
    I already did, and produced pics of UkroNazis.
    Still waiting for youse to produce something,


    {Start with Liminov. Then try Orthodox Fascists.}



    No, you start.
    Not my obligation to prove whatever point _you_ are trying to prove.

    pssssst: youse desperately trying not-to- produce, e.g {Let's see you produce Russian political _leaders_ with Nazi salute.} is proof that you got nothing. and Limonov is a Russian fringe nut, not a Russian political or any other _leader_.

    Youse lose, homes.

    Heil Hitler!
    Seig Heil!
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  41. @Felix Keverich
    Collapse of rouble was the real culprit IMO. It made imports less affordable. Retail and wholesale trade declined by double digit figures in 2015, and this sector is like 15% of GDP.

    RCB is doing everything right. They could have free-floated rouble sooner and saved some 50 billion in currency reserves in 2014, but I assume they faced a lot of political pressure at the time.

    RCB has been little short of brilliant.

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  42. @Felix Keverich
    It's fine to criticise and be a "fear monger", but what I cannot understand is becoming a cheerleader for the Kremlin. Where is value in that?

    It's not the first time I saw you deny some obvious problem. Remember our talk about Kadyrov and Chechens? You also don't like to aknowledge the obvious economic difficulties in Russia, or the fact that political system that Putin built is rather fragile and weak.

    Rozhin is our best foreign policy/military commentator, I check his blog every day. Strelkov is a soldier, who started this whole Novorossia rebellion, without him there would be no "people's republics" at all. Strelkov and Rozhin are very different individuals, but smart, and both have been succesful in their respective roles. If those two men agree on something, it's probably true. So what good is taking the ostrich position? Does denying a problem gives you psychological comfort or something?

    You also don’t like to aknowledge the obvious economic difficulties in Russia,

    I quote myself:

    The Russian economy is not without problems, far from it—it still tries to break with the “heritage” of robbery and deformities of 1990s and still tries to find its way on a path different from destructive ideology of Russia’s “young reformers” who still dominate policy formulation, be it from the positions of power or through such institutions as notorious High School of Economics.

    http://www.unz.com/article/assessing-russias-military-strength/

    what I cannot understand is becoming a cheerleader for the Kremlin. Where is value in that?

    Let me try one explanation: maybe because President Of Russian Federation has daily briefings by what amounts to the one of the two best in the world SignInt, HumInt and Military-Analytical apparatuses whose level of knowledge and processing power is not only in a different universe than of some amateur but because “Kremlin” does bear responsibility for 146 million of Russian citizens. So, yeah I have to “cheer-lead” for “Kremlin”. Am I in the ball park?

    Rozhin is our best foreign policy/military commentator

    Our who?

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Hey, remember that episode when Putin was giving an interview to Oliver Stone and showed a video footage of what he claimed was a Russian helicopter attacking ISIS in Syria. Turns out that video was in fact stolen from youtube, and it was not a Russian helicopter at all, it was a US Apache bombing Taliban. Predictably, Western media were all over this, the Kremlin was humiliated. But the kicker here is not that the video was stolen, it's that the officers at Russia's General Staff presented it to Putin as part of intelligence briefing on Syria!
    http://www.rbc.ru/politics/23/06/2017/594bc1589a7947fc3a08f886

    This episode really goes to show what sort of intelligence President of Russia is getting. These folks are not giants, they are corrupt and lazy, and with limited IQ, they make mistakes all the time. Their mistakes have costs too: remember when Putin gave a $3 billion loan to Yanukovich only to watch him get overthrown 2 months later?


    Rozhin is our best foreign policy/military commentator
     
    Our who?
     
    No offence, but Rozhin is a better analyst than you are. Critical thinking approach is essential to a good analysis, and Rozhin, despite his obvious pro-Russian bent, has been willing to apply it to Kremlin's foreign policy in Ukraine.
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  43. Be like Canada, Australia.

    Those two nations have space programs, have vast and sophisticated nuclear deterrent? First time I hear of that. Just those two factors preclude any parallels between Russia and Australia. Just those two, there are, of course, hundreds of them. But I am sure Mr. Rozhin will educate you on that;-)

    P.S. Take a look at the map, when you have a time.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    That's funny. Do you know that Rozhin is a Stalinist? His views on the economy are probably closely alligned with yours. ;)
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  44. Avery says:
    @Philip Owen
    You can use Google yourself. Start with Liminov. Then try Orthodox Fascists.

    {You can use Google yourself. }

    No: it’s your turn to use Google, or whatever.
    I already did, and produced pics of UkroNazis.
    Still waiting for youse to produce something,


    {Start with Liminov. Then try Orthodox Fascists.}

    No, you start.
    Not my obligation to prove whatever point _you_ are trying to prove.

    pssssst: youse desperately trying not-to- produce, e.g {Let’s see you produce Russian political _leaders_ with Nazi salute.} is proof that you got nothing. and Limonov is a Russian fringe nut, not a Russian political or any other _leader_.

    Youse lose, homes.

    Heil Hitler!
    Seig Heil!

    Read More
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  45. Max Payne says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    It's ironic that the excellent though quite depressing report at Colonel Cassad's blog that The Saker cites (which contains a section on how night vision equipped Ukrainian spec ops used highly technical means to kidnap a Russian citizen serving with the NAF) directly contradicts his rhetoric about the uselessness of hi-tech weapons.

    Not only Donbass but other military conflicts of recent times confirm the growing role of technical means of surveillance and reconaissance, and their wide use in Syria by Russia proves that they can solve an entire complex of problems, all the way up to strategic ones...
     
    Anyhow at this stage I am all for the US supplying Javelins to Ukraine. If anything will force Putlet to act decisively, that will. Otherwise, the defeat of the LDNR is inevitable anyway.

    Pshh. Hi-tech weaponry.

    Hey even Nazi Germany had night vision technology ( http://www.achtungpanzer.com/german-infrared-night-vision-devices-infrarot-scheinwerfer.htm ). They lost. Oh technology… how could you fail the Aryan race? Those crafty partisans and their black pajamas I tell ya…

    [MORE]

    Look at Vietnam. I get it…you ladies think Vietnam had some elite anti-air system that was tighter than a crabs ass (so elite it stopped the Christmas bombings that decimated North Vietnam…oh wait…) Yet with the latest in chemical warfare (Agent Orange) and dropping more bombs on piss-poor Vietnam than the whole of Dubbya-Dubbya-Too… all that couldn’t win the war (even with helicopters and shit; it’s an aircraft that flies up and down… talk about some high-tech shit especially in the 60s-70s).

    All that technology beaten by the ultimate of all weapons…. black pajamas.

    NVGs? If only that poor kidnapped Russian had black pajamas on…… probably could’ve taken the whole of Ukraine all by himself.

    A 5 year old with a gun is still a 5 year old with a gun. Yeah… it’s dangerous… but it’s a friggin’ weak ass child. Throw a brick hard enough at it and you’ll be fine. I hate kids…

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Hey even Nazi Germany had night vision technology
     
    Even Red Army had night vision technology during WWII.
    , @Anon
    Vietnam was won by regular NVA troops with armor, transport, etc. supplied by the USSR (and China to an extent), not by irregular "black pyjamas".
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  46. @Max Payne
    Pshh. Hi-tech weaponry.

    Hey even Nazi Germany had night vision technology ( http://www.achtungpanzer.com/german-infrared-night-vision-devices-infrarot-scheinwerfer.htm ). They lost. Oh technology... how could you fail the Aryan race? Those crafty partisans and their black pajamas I tell ya...



    Look at Vietnam. I get it...you ladies think Vietnam had some elite anti-air system that was tighter than a crabs ass (so elite it stopped the Christmas bombings that decimated North Vietnam...oh wait...) Yet with the latest in chemical warfare (Agent Orange) and dropping more bombs on piss-poor Vietnam than the whole of Dubbya-Dubbya-Too... all that couldn't win the war (even with helicopters and shit; it's an aircraft that flies up and down... talk about some high-tech shit especially in the 60s-70s).

    All that technology beaten by the ultimate of all weapons.... black pajamas.

    NVGs? If only that poor kidnapped Russian had black pajamas on...... probably could've taken the whole of Ukraine all by himself.

    A 5 year old with a gun is still a 5 year old with a gun. Yeah... it's dangerous... but it's a friggin' weak ass child. Throw a brick hard enough at it and you'll be fine. I hate kids...

    Hey even Nazi Germany had night vision technology

    Even Red Army had night vision technology during WWII.

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  47. The USA pays an absurd $250,000 for each Javelin, an example of corruption in the USA. It works well in open country, but can be confused in clustered areas or when lots of things are exploding. The Ukrainians are likely to sell them to the CIA run Saudi funded arms pipeline to ISIS in Syria.

    The big picture is that if we provide weapons to Ukraine to kill Russians, they will ship weapons to Afghanistan, as we once did. Our losses there would mount quickly, to include an aircraft shot down weekly.

    Meanwhile, Russian military thinking is advancing faster than in the USA. They are realizing “The Tank is Dead” as I explain here:

    http://www.g2mil.com/Anti-armor.htm

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  48. @Quartermaster

    One of the main problems with the delivery of Javelins by the US to the Ukraine would be that it would free (politically speaking) the hands of the Russians to deliver their own weapons systems to the Novorussians, including IR-jammers, active tank-protection systems or even their own anti-tank missiles.
     
    Putinist Russia has already delivered such things to their troops in the Donbas. No sense in lying about any more.

    US is basically giving up on the Minsk-2 Agreement
     
    Putin has rendered it nugatory. It hasn't been operable since the thing was signed. Putin had no intention of honoring it.

    Russia can provide more anti-tank weapons systems covertly and in just a few days than the US could in many months.
     
    One of Saker's many bald assertions. Russia is financially in serious straights. It is quite unlikely that Russia can do a lot more than what they are already doing.

    the Stingers did not defeat the Soviets and the Javelins won’t defeat the Novorussians.
     
    I don't know of anyone claiming that Stinger missiles won the fight in the Rock Pile. It is well known that the manner in which Soviet Tactical Aviation operated radically changed after the Stinger was introduced and made it far more difficult for them. It was simply one more piece to the puzzle that led to Gorbachev to withdraw Soviet Troops.

    It would signal that the US is not interested in a negotiated solution and that the Europeans can’t rein in the US Neocons.
     
    There is no negotiated solution available. Putin has seen to that by rendering the entire thing nugatory. Putin seems to think Russia's interests are served by an ongoing conflict and so has supplied troops and equipment that are forbidden under Minsk.

    Saker's BS could easily be written by a 16 year old. It's about as informed and realistic. And, just as laughable.

    Didn’t see any facts in your reply, just assertions, and empty critique. It takes more to sound intelligent than just playing devil’s advocate. If you have names, dates, places, numbers, and events to contradict an article then present them. Don’t just quote the article and say ‘naw’. Otherwise to thinking people, you’re a paid troll.

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  49. Pavlo says:

    There is no indication that the Ukrainian forces ever solved the personnel and command issues that lost them the campaign of 2014, whining from the DNR’s soldiers and well-wishers notwithstanding. Kiev has put together an army that can perform adequately in small, intermittent skirmishes because they’re quite happy for the war to continue at that level indefinitely.

    That said, a few NATO pieces for photo-ops would be a boost to their troops’ morale – they could do with some straws to grasp at.

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  50. That Brussels is imperialist is made quite clear by the Ukraine association treaty, it has a paragraph about military cooperation.
    Politicians of EU member state continue to state that Russia is aggressive, just a few days ago our Dutch Rutte visited Estonia, where also Dutch troops defend the country against Russia, as Rutte stated.
    Verhofstadt’s dream is incorporating Russia in the EU, then Brussels reigns from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
    As Gorbatschow says about the EU ‘it is all about economic power’, Schulz indeed boasts that the EU is the biggest economic entity now.
    Youth unemployment figures around 50% in Greec, Italy and Spain do not bother socialist Schulz.
    Collateral damage.

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    • Replies: @Beckow
    Yes, Brussels has been sleep walking into what they imagine is an inevitable greatness. But other than the military clause in the Ukraine Association, the real doozy was the un-negotiated open access to Russia's market through Ukraine with this EU treaty.

    To use a marriage analogy, Russia and Ukraine had a sort of an economic marriage, with open borders for trade, no duties, not even any particular controls. (It also includes Belarus, Kazakstan, Armenia, ...). Barging into this existing economic space, EU insisted on signing an agreement with Ukraine allowing open access by EU goods and services to Ukraine. By definition, that would also mean Russia, but EU refused to even meet to negotiate with Russia. EU's attitude was that 'it is none of Russia's business'. Almost exactly as if one spouse would one day simply bring a new partner into an existing long-term marriage and declare that it is 'none of anyone's business', this was a form of economic bigamy.

    All the protestation to the contrary by Brussels that it could be 'managed', that 'safeguards could be put in place later', or that any free flow of EU goods to Russia through Ukraine would be 'minimal', were shallow attempts to avoid looking at what was happening - a backdoor attempt to obtain access to the profitable Russia's market via an "Association Treaty" with Kiev. Without any negotiation with Russia. For example Russia's consumer market for cars, electronics or food could be - and would be - immediately accessible via a simple re-export through subsidiaries in Ukraine. So no more need to pay duties or manufacture some content in Russia - as is required today.

    It was a de facto one-sided declaration of an economic war on Russia by EU. One can argue that Russia would a have similar opportunity to use Ukraine to freely export to EU, but the nature of what EU and Russia export and import is very different, so that was simply not the case.

    Thus we had a military aggression, since Ukraine in NATO and Russian Navy out of Crimea were a given. But we also had a brazen economic aggression trying to access Russia's market by backdoor through Ukraine. Now wonder this absolute idiocy has backfired and we are all stuck with an ugly stalemate in Ukraine. Brussels is run by morons and they will cause more damage as morons with power always do.

    (Coming next 'sanctions' on Poland, Czech and Hungary because they don't want to become like Londonistan. And the inevitable backlash that will come. But that's what we get when we are ruled by idiots.)
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  51. JL says:
    @Felix Keverich
    Weaker rouble also reduced the purchasing power of Russians, there was negative impact on investment as well: traditionally 50% of Russia's imports is machinery and equipment. All in all, most businesses in Russia find it harder to make money, so I would rather have higher oil prices to be honest. ;)

    Russia will always have a commodity-driven economy. We should embrace it, make the best of it. Be like Canada, Australia. If you look at a chart of Australia's exports, it is mostly commodity stuff, but they live well.

    So, you’re fine with a commodity export driven, nay, dependent, economy, but simultaneously complain that it’s harder to make money when the value of those exports drop in price by some 50%. Does that really make sense to you?

    Be like Canada, Australia.

    Frankly, if you don’t understand the fundamental differences between Russia, on the one hand, and Canada and Australia on the other, there’s not much point in continuing this conversation.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    So, you’re fine with a commodity export driven, nay, dependent, economy, but simultaneously complain that it’s harder to make money when the value of those exports drop in price by some 50%. Does that really make sense to you?
     
    Does it look like I'm complaining? I don't, I was just trying to explain the situation.

    Some people speak of "resource curse" and "the oil needle", but I don't see it that way. The ability to export commodities on international markets simply means a boost to country's trade and income. It does not make a country more corrupt and technologically backward, than it otherwise would have been. A "commodity-dependent economy" is an economy that responds to cycles in commodity markets. Those can give it a powerful boost when commodity prices are rising, but cause a "hangover" during downturns.

    Russia is always going be "commodity-dependent" since it will be exporting huge amounts of commodities. Oil prices will rise again, and competitive advantages that domestic manufacturers enjoy right now will evaporate, but on the other hand the Russian consumer will have more money to spend so on balance, the effect will be positive for domestic businesses. In the meantime, the country is simply missing out on good income, that's all. Unlike you, I don't see much of silver lining at all.
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  52. peterAUS says:

    Saker is just working on “perception management” here.

    Not quite sure is it simple working for Moscow, or just assuaging own anxieties.

    The Empire, as since 90′s, is having an initative and rising stakes.
    Russia, as always, is not having an initiative, and will respond in certain way.

    I strongly believe there are deep structural faults in Donbass/LDPR/whatever.
    Faults created by Moscow.
    And people there will pay heavy price for that.

    That’s my deep belief and I think I have ample reason for that.
    No,not willing to debate that again; those interested could take a look at my post history here.

    Personally, I am just watching all that.
    If I had anyone I love in Donbass/LDPR/whatever I’d just tell them to get out of there.
    Sooner is better.

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  53. A22 says:
    @Felix Keverich

    they’re also signatories of the sanctions slapped on Russia
     
    I know. But remember, it took a lot of arm twisting by the Obama administration to get Europe to impose sanctions on Russia in the first place. A plane full of Dutch citizens had to be shot down (we're still not entirely sure who shot it down). I cannot help, but feel that Germany and France are being held hostage to Washington's policy. Either way these sanctions is as much of a punishment for Europe as they are for Russia.

    Don’t forget that Australia and Canda are both small population wise with huge resources. While Russia has enormous Resources it has relatively large population. Also the people that Russia imports machinery and equipment from are not friendly ( unlike the case of Canada and Australia ).

    I think higher oil prices can be beneficial in case there was a clear plan of how to invest the money in domestic industry. There should be strict capital control and corruption money should be invested in the domestic market insted of western economies ( if you can’t kill corruption, at least do not let the money go outside).

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    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
    The main difference between Russia and Australia would have to be that Russia is an independent nation while Australia is little more than a colony. Australia's economy is supported by consumer credit while any worthwhile national assets are sold off cheaply to corporate cronies, often foreign.

    Having recently emerged from the greatest mining boom in its history, Australia the nation and Australians the people are deeply in debt. Very little manufacturing is done in Australia and while clean (gas) energy is practically given away to companies like Exxon and Chevron for export to China and elsewhere, domestic gas prices are some of the highest anywhere hurting manufacturing even more.

    Like Americans, Australians deserve to suffer in future for the crimes of allowing their taxes to be used to wage illegal and immoral wars. The sellout of their liberties by their politicians to the most dictatorially inclined along with the debt bomb ensures that the suffering will be real and enduring.
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  54. So let’s try to make sense of all this nonsense…

    Furthermore, this obsession with hardware is really unhelpful and childish, which is what one would expect from politicians, of course, but which serious adults should not engage in.

    You did it! You made sense out of nonsense, and hit the nail on the head.

    Too many childish morons with too much power is the key to understanding the predicaments we find ourselves in. The former Greek Finance Minister, Yannis Varoufakis, even wrote a book about the concept entitled “Adults in the Room” which explains that there are too few, if any, in “high” places.

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  55. Speaking of children, Uri Avnery writes this about Israel, and it gives a hint as to why we should believe nothing from the prominent press and “invincible” militaries.

    File 2000 concerns a peculiar matter. Yedioth Ahronoth (“Latest News”) was Israel’s largest daily newspaper, until Israel Hayom (“Israel Today”) appeared – a paper distributed for nothing. It was founded by Sheldon Adelson, an admirer of Netanyahu and the owner of huge casinos in Las Vegas and Macao. It is devoted to the single task of glorifying King Bibi. In a recorded private conversation, Netanyahu offered Noni Moses, the owner of Yedioth, a deal: Israel Today would reduce its size and circulation if Yedioth started to glorify Bibi. Legally, this may amount to bribery.

    This week, a prestigious [Israeli]TV program aired an investigation, and the picture was shocking. The entire military and civilian environment seems to be infected by corruption, as in a failed African state.

    Uri Avnery, “Anyone But Bibi” 12/08/17

    http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1502458442/

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  56. @Andrei Martyanov

    You also don’t like to aknowledge the obvious economic difficulties in Russia,
     
    I quote myself:

    The Russian economy is not without problems, far from it—it still tries to break with the “heritage” of robbery and deformities of 1990s and still tries to find its way on a path different from destructive ideology of Russia’s “young reformers” who still dominate policy formulation, be it from the positions of power or through such institutions as notorious High School of Economics.
     
    http://www.unz.com/article/assessing-russias-military-strength/

    what I cannot understand is becoming a cheerleader for the Kremlin. Where is value in that?
     
    Let me try one explanation: maybe because President Of Russian Federation has daily briefings by what amounts to the one of the two best in the world SignInt, HumInt and Military-Analytical apparatuses whose level of knowledge and processing power is not only in a different universe than of some amateur but because "Kremlin" does bear responsibility for 146 million of Russian citizens. So, yeah I have to "cheer-lead" for "Kremlin". Am I in the ball park?

    Rozhin is our best foreign policy/military commentator
     
    Our who?

    Hey, remember that episode when Putin was giving an interview to Oliver Stone and showed a video footage of what he claimed was a Russian helicopter attacking ISIS in Syria. Turns out that video was in fact stolen from youtube, and it was not a Russian helicopter at all, it was a US Apache bombing Taliban. Predictably, Western media were all over this, the Kremlin was humiliated. But the kicker here is not that the video was stolen, it’s that the officers at Russia’s General Staff presented it to Putin as part of intelligence briefing on Syria!

    http://www.rbc.ru/politics/23/06/2017/594bc1589a7947fc3a08f886

    This episode really goes to show what sort of intelligence President of Russia is getting. These folks are not giants, they are corrupt and lazy, and with limited IQ, they make mistakes all the time. Their mistakes have costs too: remember when Putin gave a $3 billion loan to Yanukovich only to watch him get overthrown 2 months later?

    Rozhin is our best foreign policy/military commentator

    Our who?

    No offence, but Rozhin is a better analyst than you are. Critical thinking approach is essential to a good analysis, and Rozhin, despite his obvious pro-Russian bent, has been willing to apply it to Kremlin’s foreign policy in Ukraine.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I had forgotten all about that episode. (Sad) LOL.

    There is very little competence or conscientiousness in Russia's state structures and I find it difficult to imagine that the security agencies would be some kind of glaring exception to the general pattern.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    No offence, but Rozhin is a better analyst than you are
     
    Non taken.

    it to Kremlin’s foreign policy in Ukraine.
     
    As I said not for once, Mr. Rozhin lacks a serious foundation which would allow him to assess Russia's capabilities across the board (economic, military etc.), not to speak of a dynamics (change) of those capabilities and resources depending on the geopolitical dynamics. I, certainly, wouldn't object to you basing your views on "analysis" of Rozhin as opposed to my albeit I will have to somehow learn with it;-)
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  57. Z-man says:

    Please don’t include Israel as a western nation.

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  58. @Andrei Martyanov

    Be like Canada, Australia.
     
    Those two nations have space programs, have vast and sophisticated nuclear deterrent? First time I hear of that. Just those two factors preclude any parallels between Russia and Australia. Just those two, there are, of course, hundreds of them. But I am sure Mr. Rozhin will educate you on that;-)

    P.S. Take a look at the map, when you have a time.

    That’s funny. Do you know that Rozhin is a Stalinist? His views on the economy are probably closely alligned with yours. ;)

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    His views on the economy are probably closely alligned with yours
     
    And what are my views on economy? I myself don't know what are my views exactly because I never stop learning and adjust those accordingly. Can you please elaborate on my views on economy and how they are "closely aligned" with those of some "Stalinist"?
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  59. @Felix Keverich
    Hey, remember that episode when Putin was giving an interview to Oliver Stone and showed a video footage of what he claimed was a Russian helicopter attacking ISIS in Syria. Turns out that video was in fact stolen from youtube, and it was not a Russian helicopter at all, it was a US Apache bombing Taliban. Predictably, Western media were all over this, the Kremlin was humiliated. But the kicker here is not that the video was stolen, it's that the officers at Russia's General Staff presented it to Putin as part of intelligence briefing on Syria!
    http://www.rbc.ru/politics/23/06/2017/594bc1589a7947fc3a08f886

    This episode really goes to show what sort of intelligence President of Russia is getting. These folks are not giants, they are corrupt and lazy, and with limited IQ, they make mistakes all the time. Their mistakes have costs too: remember when Putin gave a $3 billion loan to Yanukovich only to watch him get overthrown 2 months later?


    Rozhin is our best foreign policy/military commentator
     
    Our who?
     
    No offence, but Rozhin is a better analyst than you are. Critical thinking approach is essential to a good analysis, and Rozhin, despite his obvious pro-Russian bent, has been willing to apply it to Kremlin's foreign policy in Ukraine.

    I had forgotten all about that episode. (Sad) LOL.

    There is very little competence or conscientiousness in Russia’s state structures and I find it difficult to imagine that the security agencies would be some kind of glaring exception to the general pattern.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    There is very little competence or conscientiousness in Russia’s state structures and I find it difficult to imagine that the security agencies would be some kind of glaring exception to the general pattern.
     
    So, I have to inevitably ask a question--and your personal claim on a right to such sweeping generalizations is based on exactly what? Have you tried to express your opinions on gastroenterology or quantum mechanics?
    , @peterAUS

    There is very little competence or conscientiousness in Russia’s state structures and I find it difficult to imagine that the security agencies would be some kind of glaring exception to the general pattern.
     
    Agree.

    And, I believe there is even less competence or conscientiousness in Donbass structures.

    Doesn't bode well for little people there.
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  60. padre says:
    @Quartermaster

    One of the main problems with the delivery of Javelins by the US to the Ukraine would be that it would free (politically speaking) the hands of the Russians to deliver their own weapons systems to the Novorussians, including IR-jammers, active tank-protection systems or even their own anti-tank missiles.
     
    Putinist Russia has already delivered such things to their troops in the Donbas. No sense in lying about any more.

    US is basically giving up on the Minsk-2 Agreement
     
    Putin has rendered it nugatory. It hasn't been operable since the thing was signed. Putin had no intention of honoring it.

    Russia can provide more anti-tank weapons systems covertly and in just a few days than the US could in many months.
     
    One of Saker's many bald assertions. Russia is financially in serious straights. It is quite unlikely that Russia can do a lot more than what they are already doing.

    the Stingers did not defeat the Soviets and the Javelins won’t defeat the Novorussians.
     
    I don't know of anyone claiming that Stinger missiles won the fight in the Rock Pile. It is well known that the manner in which Soviet Tactical Aviation operated radically changed after the Stinger was introduced and made it far more difficult for them. It was simply one more piece to the puzzle that led to Gorbachev to withdraw Soviet Troops.

    It would signal that the US is not interested in a negotiated solution and that the Europeans can’t rein in the US Neocons.
     
    There is no negotiated solution available. Putin has seen to that by rendering the entire thing nugatory. Putin seems to think Russia's interests are served by an ongoing conflict and so has supplied troops and equipment that are forbidden under Minsk.

    Saker's BS could easily be written by a 16 year old. It's about as informed and realistic. And, just as laughable.

    So, your point is, they are not allowed to do it, because you (USA) didn’t OK it?Can you give at list rough number of interventions western countries did, and you with your OK?

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  61. @JL
    So, you're fine with a commodity export driven, nay, dependent, economy, but simultaneously complain that it's harder to make money when the value of those exports drop in price by some 50%. Does that really make sense to you?

    Be like Canada, Australia.
     
    Frankly, if you don't understand the fundamental differences between Russia, on the one hand, and Canada and Australia on the other, there's not much point in continuing this conversation.

    So, you’re fine with a commodity export driven, nay, dependent, economy, but simultaneously complain that it’s harder to make money when the value of those exports drop in price by some 50%. Does that really make sense to you?

    Does it look like I’m complaining? I don’t, I was just trying to explain the situation.

    Some people speak of “resource curse” and “the oil needle”, but I don’t see it that way. The ability to export commodities on international markets simply means a boost to country’s trade and income. It does not make a country more corrupt and technologically backward, than it otherwise would have been. A “commodity-dependent economy” is an economy that responds to cycles in commodity markets. Those can give it a powerful boost when commodity prices are rising, but cause a “hangover” during downturns.

    Russia is always going be “commodity-dependent” since it will be exporting huge amounts of commodities. Oil prices will rise again, and competitive advantages that domestic manufacturers enjoy right now will evaporate, but on the other hand the Russian consumer will have more money to spend so on balance, the effect will be positive for domestic businesses. In the meantime, the country is simply missing out on good income, that’s all. Unlike you, I don’t see much of silver lining at all.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Russia is always going be “commodity-dependent” since it will be exporting huge amounts of commodities. Oil prices will rise again, and competitive advantages that domestic manufacturers enjoy right now will evaporate
     
    Can you please elaborate on Russia's manufacturers' competitive advantage "evaporating". What does it even mean? What manufacturers, who manufacture what?
    , @JL

    Does it look like I’m complaining? I don’t, I was just trying to explain the situation.
     
    When you wrote that Russia should be like Australia and Canada because "they live well", yes, it sounded like you were complaining. I happen to agree with you that being a large commodity exporter in and of itself is not a bad thing; if you've got it, use it. Furthermore, commodity price volatility can be modulated with counter-cyclical fiscal policy. Indeed, this is what allowed the Russian government to bail out the private sector after the 2008 crisis.

    What makes Russia different is the amount of resources it needs to devote to security (tbh, I feel silly even writing this, like pointing out that water is wet). By now it should be equally obvious that the geopolitical paradigm has changed. As such, it cannot rely on the import of anything from anywhere and it absolutely has to be self sufficient in all areas that matter, from food to energy to manufacturing.

    In short, Russia has no choice to but to update its economic model. It can no longer accumulate reserves to offset commodity price weakness. It needs to create and utilize domestic pools of liquidity for internal investment. In addition to state security, this will also help to cushion commodity price weakness. There's no reason why the monetary authorities can't create an environment whereby the Rouble remains relatively weak even if oil prices were to go up, or the government can't continue to stimulate investment.
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  62. The author is Russian and he is defending his country. Fair enough. He would be more credible, though, if he avoided hysterical formulations like “Nazi junta in Kiev” or “Nazi-occupied Ukraine”. That kind of hysteria suggests panic and completely undermines the rest of his argument. The elephant in the room, of course, is whether young Russians would fight for a crooked gangster regime that has been robbing them blind for over 25 years. And that’s to say nothing of the 30 million non-Russians still living under Russian colonial rule who would probably be delighted to see Putin wreck the Russian Federation so that they could grab their independence (as Ukraine itself did from the wreckage of the Soviet Union). Equally, why would Russians obey an order to launch nuclear weapons against the US knowing that by doing so, they risked bringing down nuclear retaliation on the heads of their own families? The idea of the fanatical Russian soldier is cold war nonsense. Indeed, we know now that it wasn’t true even then. 2017 is the anniversary of the most famous military mutiny in Russian history. Why would today’s Russians be any more willing to die for a corrupt regime in 2017 than their ancestors were 100 years ago?

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    • Replies: @EugeneGur

    why would Russians obey an order to launch nuclear weapons against the US knowing that by doing so, they risked bringing down nuclear retaliation on the heads of their own families?
     
    Lat time I checked, Russia wasn't going to attack anyone. It is the US that's threatening everyone and waging endless wars. The Russians will respond to an attack or react when facing an imminent attack. I am thinking about the US, though. How likely would the Americans be to launch an attack on Russia knowing that would subject them to a nuclear retaliation? And for what? To please the Congress stuffed with billionaires?

    And that’s to say nothing of the 30 million non-Russians still living under Russian colonial rule who would probably be delighted to see Putin wreck the Russian Federation so that they could grab their independence (as Ukraine itself did from the wreckage of the Soviet Union).
     
    This sentence alone shows how little you know about Russia. Ukraine tried to "grab independence" - and a lot of good it did it. It's the local "elites" that wanted and, perhaps, some still want, what they thought would be a bigger piece of the pie; the people never wanted the separation, because they knew they'd lose, and lose they did. In the end, everybody does. Ukraine as the case in point - Ukraine pretty soon will be no more.

    Why would today’s Russians be any more willing to die for a corrupt regime in 2017 than their ancestors were 100 years ago?
     
    In a senseless war - no; in a just one - yes. You only need to remember the civil war of 1917-1922; the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945; the war in Donbass of 2014, for that matter, where many Russian volunteers lost their lives. The Russian history is packed with "fanatical Russian soldiers".
    , @peterAUS
    Toning down rhetoric wouldn’t hurt your posts either.
    Like:

    That kind of hysteria suggests panic and completely undermines the rest of his argument.
     
    That kind of attitude suggest anxiety and slightly undermines the rest of his argument.
    Or

    The elephant in the room, of course, is whether young Russians would fight for a crooked gangster regime that has been robbing them blind for over 25 years.
     
    The elephant in the room, of course, is whether young Russians would fight for the plutocracy in Moscow.
    This is O.K.

    And that’s to say nothing of the 30 million non-Russians still living under Russian colonial rule who would probably be delighted to see Putin wreck the Russian Federation so that they could grab their independence (as Ukraine itself did from the wreckage of the Soviet Union).
     
    As for

    Equally, why would Russians obey an order to launch nuclear weapons against the US knowing that by doing so, they risked bringing down nuclear retaliation on the heads of their own families?
     
    Well…………..now you are being a bit naïve.
    They’d launch for the same reason American crews would launch.
    And

    Why would today’s Russians be any more willing to die for a corrupt regime in 2017 than their ancestors were 100 years ago?
     
    Now, that’s a very complex question. Depends on a lots of variables.
    , @Cyrano

    The elephant in the room, of course, is whether young Russians would fight for a crooked gangster regime that has been robbing them blind for over 25 years.
     
    Remember how US sent 3 aircraft carriers towards N. Korea few months ago in order to scare them? I propose US should do the same in order to test the resolve of the young Russians. They should send 2-3 aircraft carriers into Russian waters – provided those things can sail that far north. If the young Russians show any signs of panic and despair – like asking for asylum in Ukraine, that means the US tactics has paid off and Moscow is ready for regime change. If not, the Russians can always use some new targets for practice.
    , @Che Guava
    I gather that dear The Saker is a US citizen, may be incorrect there, but don't tihink so!
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  63. @Avery
    Let's see you produce Russian political _leaders_ with Nazi salute.

    https://journal-neo.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/john-mccain-oleh-tyahnybok.jpg

    https://journal-neo.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Far_right_leader_in_Ukraine.jpg

    http://www.veteranstoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Yatsenyuk-salute.jpeg

    Heil Hitler!
    Seig Heil!

    The middle photo: the Nazi salute is given with the right hand, not the left (is there anyone who doesn’t know that?). Since, in the photograh, the man’s eyes are looking upward and to the left, my guess is that he is taking part in a meeting is an auditorium and is either giving the floor to a speaker above him and to his left or is taking a question from such a person. As a matter of common sense, if he had wanted to give a Hitler salute why would he have done it with the wrong hand? This sort of thing simply discredits the argument it is supposed to be supporting.

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    • Replies: @Avery
    {... the Nazi salute is given with the right hand, not the left (is there anyone who doesn’t know that?)}

    So you are therefore confirming that former Prime Minister of Ukraine is giving the Nazi salute. Yes?
    And therefore, what is a smiling Oleh Tyahnybok doing standing on a podium next to PM Yatsenyuk giving the Nazi salute with his _right_ hand?

    But, wait.......there is more.

    Behold, the symbol* of Social-National Party of Ukraine (SNPU) founded by Tyahnybok.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svoboda_(political_party)#/media/File:IN_(yellow_background).svg

    There is a long entry in Wiki about SNPU and its Neo-Nazi ties and its roots**.
    The whole lot of them are neo-Nazis with barely concealed affinity to Nazism.

    So nothing has been discredited.
    Try again.

    ______
    * [The Wolfsangel was an initial symbol of the Nazi Party]
    ** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svoboda_(political_party)

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  64. Aedib says:
    @Philip Owen
    In case you didn't notice, the price of oil went down a lot. Rather more significant than sanctions.

    In case youdidn’t notice, the price of oil went down a lot. Rather more significant than sanctions.

    Off-course. Low oil prices hit hard the Russian economy during 2015. Much harder than Western sanctions. But right now the RCB policy of very high interest rates (9% = 5% over inflation) is what is braking the Russian economy. A progressive easing policy should star now.

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  65. Aedib says:

    In the end, it is quite likely that if some Javelin are spotted near the contact line, them some Kornet ‘magically’ would appear in hands of the Donbas army.

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  66. Beckow says:
    @jilles dykstra
    That Brussels is imperialist is made quite clear by the Ukraine association treaty, it has a paragraph about military cooperation.
    Politicians of EU member state continue to state that Russia is aggressive, just a few days ago our Dutch Rutte visited Estonia, where also Dutch troops defend the country against Russia, as Rutte stated.
    Verhofstadt's dream is incorporating Russia in the EU, then Brussels reigns from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
    As Gorbatschow says about the EU 'it is all about economic power', Schulz indeed boasts that the EU is the biggest economic entity now.
    Youth unemployment figures around 50% in Greec, Italy and Spain do not bother socialist Schulz.
    Collateral damage.

    Yes, Brussels has been sleep walking into what they imagine is an inevitable greatness. But other than the military clause in the Ukraine Association, the real doozy was the un-negotiated open access to Russia’s market through Ukraine with this EU treaty.

    To use a marriage analogy, Russia and Ukraine had a sort of an economic marriage, with open borders for trade, no duties, not even any particular controls. (It also includes Belarus, Kazakstan, Armenia, …). Barging into this existing economic space, EU insisted on signing an agreement with Ukraine allowing open access by EU goods and services to Ukraine. By definition, that would also mean Russia, but EU refused to even meet to negotiate with Russia. EU’s attitude was that ‘it is none of Russia’s business’. Almost exactly as if one spouse would one day simply bring a new partner into an existing long-term marriage and declare that it is ‘none of anyone’s business’, this was a form of economic bigamy.

    All the protestation to the contrary by Brussels that it could be ‘managed’, that ‘safeguards could be put in place later’, or that any free flow of EU goods to Russia through Ukraine would be ‘minimal’, were shallow attempts to avoid looking at what was happening – a backdoor attempt to obtain access to the profitable Russia’s market via an “Association Treaty” with Kiev. Without any negotiation with Russia. For example Russia’s consumer market for cars, electronics or food could be – and would be – immediately accessible via a simple re-export through subsidiaries in Ukraine. So no more need to pay duties or manufacture some content in Russia – as is required today.

    It was a de facto one-sided declaration of an economic war on Russia by EU. One can argue that Russia would a have similar opportunity to use Ukraine to freely export to EU, but the nature of what EU and Russia export and import is very different, so that was simply not the case.

    Thus we had a military aggression, since Ukraine in NATO and Russian Navy out of Crimea were a given. But we also had a brazen economic aggression trying to access Russia’s market by backdoor through Ukraine. Now wonder this absolute idiocy has backfired and we are all stuck with an ugly stalemate in Ukraine. Brussels is run by morons and they will cause more damage as morons with power always do.

    (Coming next ‘sanctions’ on Poland, Czech and Hungary because they don’t want to become like Londonistan. And the inevitable backlash that will come. But that’s what we get when we are ruled by idiots.)

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    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    The EU did not barge in. It was invited by Yanukovich who wanted leverage n negotiations with Russia. The EU was obliged to talk by its treaties. Ukraine s sovereign. Russia had no treaty giving it control of Ukrainian foreign policy. Relations with Russia were up to Ukraine. Ukraine chose not to involve Russia. Russia went outside the normal diplomatic measures with a supremely arrogant customs blockade. The blowback has been enormous. Russia lost Ukraine to EU and NATO in a spectacular self inflicted disaster.
    , @jacques sheete

    Brussels is run by morons and they will cause more damage as morons with power always do.
     
    Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek finance minister, makes a similar point about Brussels and some of the central bankers as well in his excellent "Adults in the Room." He sez they are in dire need of some.

    Many other good points in your excellent comment, particularly the one about economic warfare, a concept that seems too little realized or understood at least here in Amerika.
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  67. EugeneGur says:
    @Michael Kenny
    The author is Russian and he is defending his country. Fair enough. He would be more credible, though, if he avoided hysterical formulations like “Nazi junta in Kiev” or “Nazi-occupied Ukraine”. That kind of hysteria suggests panic and completely undermines the rest of his argument. The elephant in the room, of course, is whether young Russians would fight for a crooked gangster regime that has been robbing them blind for over 25 years. And that’s to say nothing of the 30 million non-Russians still living under Russian colonial rule who would probably be delighted to see Putin wreck the Russian Federation so that they could grab their independence (as Ukraine itself did from the wreckage of the Soviet Union). Equally, why would Russians obey an order to launch nuclear weapons against the US knowing that by doing so, they risked bringing down nuclear retaliation on the heads of their own families? The idea of the fanatical Russian soldier is cold war nonsense. Indeed, we know now that it wasn’t true even then. 2017 is the anniversary of the most famous military mutiny in Russian history. Why would today’s Russians be any more willing to die for a corrupt regime in 2017 than their ancestors were 100 years ago?

    why would Russians obey an order to launch nuclear weapons against the US knowing that by doing so, they risked bringing down nuclear retaliation on the heads of their own families?

    Lat time I checked, Russia wasn’t going to attack anyone. It is the US that’s threatening everyone and waging endless wars. The Russians will respond to an attack or react when facing an imminent attack. I am thinking about the US, though. How likely would the Americans be to launch an attack on Russia knowing that would subject them to a nuclear retaliation? And for what? To please the Congress stuffed with billionaires?

    And that’s to say nothing of the 30 million non-Russians still living under Russian colonial rule who would probably be delighted to see Putin wreck the Russian Federation so that they could grab their independence (as Ukraine itself did from the wreckage of the Soviet Union).

    This sentence alone shows how little you know about Russia. Ukraine tried to “grab independence” – and a lot of good it did it. It’s the local “elites” that wanted and, perhaps, some still want, what they thought would be a bigger piece of the pie; the people never wanted the separation, because they knew they’d lose, and lose they did. In the end, everybody does. Ukraine as the case in point – Ukraine pretty soon will be no more.

    Why would today’s Russians be any more willing to die for a corrupt regime in 2017 than their ancestors were 100 years ago?

    In a senseless war – no; in a just one – yes. You only need to remember the civil war of 1917-1922; the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945; the war in Donbass of 2014, for that matter, where many Russian volunteers lost their lives. The Russian history is packed with “fanatical Russian soldiers”.

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  68. Avery says:
    @Michael Kenny
    The middle photo: the Nazi salute is given with the right hand, not the left (is there anyone who doesn't know that?). Since, in the photograh, the man's eyes are looking upward and to the left, my guess is that he is taking part in a meeting is an auditorium and is either giving the floor to a speaker above him and to his left or is taking a question from such a person. As a matter of common sense, if he had wanted to give a Hitler salute why would he have done it with the wrong hand? This sort of thing simply discredits the argument it is supposed to be supporting.

    {… the Nazi salute is given with the right hand, not the left (is there anyone who doesn’t know that?)}

    So you are therefore confirming that former Prime Minister of Ukraine is giving the Nazi salute. Yes?
    And therefore, what is a smiling Oleh Tyahnybok doing standing on a podium next to PM Yatsenyuk giving the Nazi salute with his _right_ hand?

    But, wait…….there is more.

    Behold, the symbol* of Social-National Party of Ukraine (SNPU) founded by Tyahnybok.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svoboda_(political_party)#/media/File:IN_(yellow_background).svg

    There is a long entry in Wiki about SNPU and its Neo-Nazi ties and its roots**.
    The whole lot of them are neo-Nazis with barely concealed affinity to Nazism.

    So nothing has been discredited.
    Try again.

    ______
    * [The Wolfsangel was an initial symbol of the Nazi Party]
    ** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svoboda_(political_party)

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  69. @Anatoly Karlin
    I had forgotten all about that episode. (Sad) LOL.

    There is very little competence or conscientiousness in Russia's state structures and I find it difficult to imagine that the security agencies would be some kind of glaring exception to the general pattern.

    There is very little competence or conscientiousness in Russia’s state structures and I find it difficult to imagine that the security agencies would be some kind of glaring exception to the general pattern.

    So, I have to inevitably ask a question–and your personal claim on a right to such sweeping generalizations is based on exactly what? Have you tried to express your opinions on gastroenterology or quantum mechanics?

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Okay, it didn't take me long to think up an example.

    In 2014, one of the oft-cited reasons that Russia didn't act as decisively as it could have and were pressing it to was because of a fear of getting cut off from SWIFT international financial messaging system.

    Now here's the thing. China had a domestic alternative. Japan - firmly ensconced into the Western sphere! - had a domestic alternative.

    But not Russia.

    Despite the risk of a serious geopolitical standoff with the West being evident by 2008 at the latest, it simply appears that nobody in Putin's "Military-Analytical apparatuses" had given any thought to it. A nanogenius advised by other nanogeniuses.

    This incompetence is hardly surprising. Russia's silovik agencies are very seriously bloated, and (official) salaries are not especially high. This is not the sort of environment that would attract high quality human capital and it shows.
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  70. @Felix Keverich
    That's funny. Do you know that Rozhin is a Stalinist? His views on the economy are probably closely alligned with yours. ;)

    His views on the economy are probably closely alligned with yours

    And what are my views on economy? I myself don’t know what are my views exactly because I never stop learning and adjust those accordingly. Can you please elaborate on my views on economy and how they are “closely aligned” with those of some “Stalinist”?

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  71. @Felix Keverich
    Hey, remember that episode when Putin was giving an interview to Oliver Stone and showed a video footage of what he claimed was a Russian helicopter attacking ISIS in Syria. Turns out that video was in fact stolen from youtube, and it was not a Russian helicopter at all, it was a US Apache bombing Taliban. Predictably, Western media were all over this, the Kremlin was humiliated. But the kicker here is not that the video was stolen, it's that the officers at Russia's General Staff presented it to Putin as part of intelligence briefing on Syria!
    http://www.rbc.ru/politics/23/06/2017/594bc1589a7947fc3a08f886

    This episode really goes to show what sort of intelligence President of Russia is getting. These folks are not giants, they are corrupt and lazy, and with limited IQ, they make mistakes all the time. Their mistakes have costs too: remember when Putin gave a $3 billion loan to Yanukovich only to watch him get overthrown 2 months later?


    Rozhin is our best foreign policy/military commentator
     
    Our who?
     
    No offence, but Rozhin is a better analyst than you are. Critical thinking approach is essential to a good analysis, and Rozhin, despite his obvious pro-Russian bent, has been willing to apply it to Kremlin's foreign policy in Ukraine.

    No offence, but Rozhin is a better analyst than you are

    Non taken.

    it to Kremlin’s foreign policy in Ukraine.

    As I said not for once, Mr. Rozhin lacks a serious foundation which would allow him to assess Russia’s capabilities across the board (economic, military etc.), not to speak of a dynamics (change) of those capabilities and resources depending on the geopolitical dynamics. I, certainly, wouldn’t object to you basing your views on “analysis” of Rozhin as opposed to my albeit I will have to somehow learn with it;-)

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    Mr. Rozhin lacks a serious foundation which would allow him to assess Russia’s capabilities across the board (economic, military etc.), not to speak of a dynamics (change) of those capabilities and resources depending on the geopolitical dynamics.

     

    LMAO is that the best you can do? You could challenge Rozhin's analysis, but impugning his credentials in this fashion is just lame. You think only qualified people can share an opinion on foreign policy issues? And what are your credentials btw? I hope it's not classified ;)

    Look, it doesn't take a "serious foundation" to realise that Kremlin made a terrible mess of Ukraine. You just need to open your eyes and see it. You could try it sometime.

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  72. A self-given right to sweeping generalizations is perhaps the main flaw of Russians.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    A self-given right to sweeping generalizations is perhaps the main flaw of Russians.
     
    I also liked your sweeping generalization. I suspect it is also self-given.
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  73. @Felix Keverich

    So, you’re fine with a commodity export driven, nay, dependent, economy, but simultaneously complain that it’s harder to make money when the value of those exports drop in price by some 50%. Does that really make sense to you?
     
    Does it look like I'm complaining? I don't, I was just trying to explain the situation.

    Some people speak of "resource curse" and "the oil needle", but I don't see it that way. The ability to export commodities on international markets simply means a boost to country's trade and income. It does not make a country more corrupt and technologically backward, than it otherwise would have been. A "commodity-dependent economy" is an economy that responds to cycles in commodity markets. Those can give it a powerful boost when commodity prices are rising, but cause a "hangover" during downturns.

    Russia is always going be "commodity-dependent" since it will be exporting huge amounts of commodities. Oil prices will rise again, and competitive advantages that domestic manufacturers enjoy right now will evaporate, but on the other hand the Russian consumer will have more money to spend so on balance, the effect will be positive for domestic businesses. In the meantime, the country is simply missing out on good income, that's all. Unlike you, I don't see much of silver lining at all.

    Russia is always going be “commodity-dependent” since it will be exporting huge amounts of commodities. Oil prices will rise again, and competitive advantages that domestic manufacturers enjoy right now will evaporate

    Can you please elaborate on Russia’s manufacturers’ competitive advantage “evaporating”. What does it even mean? What manufacturers, who manufacture what?

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    • Replies: @Beckow
    He means that when commodity prices inevitably go back up, the rubl will go up in value, imports will become cheaper and the current price advantage for domestic manufacturers will disappear.

    That is a valid point, but with sanctions that won't make any difference - Russia has a perfect excuse to protect domestic producers and limit imports (counter-sanctions, duties, etc...). WTO has been unilaterally dismantled by EU and US. Russia could have high commodity prices and rubl, and it won't hurt local manufacturers.

    That's what happens when leaders make decisions based on emotions. When they assume that the other side will not respond. When they think that it is a game with maps and dice and that the 'exceptional' ones make and enforce the rules.

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  74. @Simpleguest
    A self-given right to sweeping generalizations is perhaps the main flaw of Russians.

    A self-given right to sweeping generalizations is perhaps the main flaw of Russians.

    I also liked your sweeping generalization. I suspect it is also self-given.

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  75. annamaria says:
    @peterike
    If the Ukraine government are such Nazis, why is the bulk of wealth in Ukraine still controlled by Jewish oligarchs (and one Muslim oligarch)?

    Have you asked yourself, if the Lobby is such a strong fighter against antisemitism, then how come that a prominent member of a Jewish Kagans’ clan was a major instructor and collaborator with Ukrainian-neo-Nazis during the illegal coup d’etat in Kiev — and the Lobby has completely ignored this well-documented fact. A similar question arises with regard to the Israelis’ well-documented help for ISIS’ and Al Qaeda’ “freedom fighters.” Don’t expect too many moral efforts from ziocons.

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  76. Beckow says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Russia is always going be “commodity-dependent” since it will be exporting huge amounts of commodities. Oil prices will rise again, and competitive advantages that domestic manufacturers enjoy right now will evaporate
     
    Can you please elaborate on Russia's manufacturers' competitive advantage "evaporating". What does it even mean? What manufacturers, who manufacture what?

    He means that when commodity prices inevitably go back up, the rubl will go up in value, imports will become cheaper and the current price advantage for domestic manufacturers will disappear.

    That is a valid point, but with sanctions that won’t make any difference – Russia has a perfect excuse to protect domestic producers and limit imports (counter-sanctions, duties, etc…). WTO has been unilaterally dismantled by EU and US. Russia could have high commodity prices and rubl, and it won’t hurt local manufacturers.

    That’s what happens when leaders make decisions based on emotions. When they assume that the other side will not respond. When they think that it is a game with maps and dice and that the ‘exceptional’ ones make and enforce the rules.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    He means that when commodity prices inevitably go back up, the rubl will go up in value,
     
    Russia's expertise and true competitiveness are in her restoration of state control (a drawn out process) over key industries such as energy (extraction and production), aerospace, MIC. These are the main drivers of Russia's current and future development and growth which depend on commodities (prices) only indirectly. These are industrial sectors which are effectively singled out as key strategic industries and rightly so. For people who never had to deal with Soviet MIC (I dealt with it a lot) or with Russian one it is really difficult to understand what is in it and how it relates to Russian economy as a whole. Most of cutting edge technologies, with some exceptions of course, are produced within MIC not only in Russia, but in US and in EU. These were actually anomalous 1990s in Russia which proved it beyond the shade of a doubt. There IS a good understanding of that in Putin's circle--it is easily observable. Results also speak for themselves, some of them spectacular.
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  77. peterAUS says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    I had forgotten all about that episode. (Sad) LOL.

    There is very little competence or conscientiousness in Russia's state structures and I find it difficult to imagine that the security agencies would be some kind of glaring exception to the general pattern.

    There is very little competence or conscientiousness in Russia’s state structures and I find it difficult to imagine that the security agencies would be some kind of glaring exception to the general pattern.

    Agree.

    And, I believe there is even less competence or conscientiousness in Donbass structures.

    Doesn’t bode well for little people there.

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  78. peterAUS says:
    @Michael Kenny
    The author is Russian and he is defending his country. Fair enough. He would be more credible, though, if he avoided hysterical formulations like “Nazi junta in Kiev” or “Nazi-occupied Ukraine”. That kind of hysteria suggests panic and completely undermines the rest of his argument. The elephant in the room, of course, is whether young Russians would fight for a crooked gangster regime that has been robbing them blind for over 25 years. And that’s to say nothing of the 30 million non-Russians still living under Russian colonial rule who would probably be delighted to see Putin wreck the Russian Federation so that they could grab their independence (as Ukraine itself did from the wreckage of the Soviet Union). Equally, why would Russians obey an order to launch nuclear weapons against the US knowing that by doing so, they risked bringing down nuclear retaliation on the heads of their own families? The idea of the fanatical Russian soldier is cold war nonsense. Indeed, we know now that it wasn’t true even then. 2017 is the anniversary of the most famous military mutiny in Russian history. Why would today’s Russians be any more willing to die for a corrupt regime in 2017 than their ancestors were 100 years ago?

    Toning down rhetoric wouldn’t hurt your posts either.
    Like:

    That kind of hysteria suggests panic and completely undermines the rest of his argument.

    That kind of attitude suggest anxiety and slightly undermines the rest of his argument.
    Or

    The elephant in the room, of course, is whether young Russians would fight for a crooked gangster regime that has been robbing them blind for over 25 years.

    The elephant in the room, of course, is whether young Russians would fight for the plutocracy in Moscow.
    This is O.K.

    And that’s to say nothing of the 30 million non-Russians still living under Russian colonial rule who would probably be delighted to see Putin wreck the Russian Federation so that they could grab their independence (as Ukraine itself did from the wreckage of the Soviet Union).

    As for

    Equally, why would Russians obey an order to launch nuclear weapons against the US knowing that by doing so, they risked bringing down nuclear retaliation on the heads of their own families?

    Well…………..now you are being a bit naïve.
    They’d launch for the same reason American crews would launch.
    And

    Why would today’s Russians be any more willing to die for a corrupt regime in 2017 than their ancestors were 100 years ago?

    Now, that’s a very complex question. Depends on a lots of variables.

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    • Replies: @annamaria
    Illumination of one of the "variables:" http://theduran.com/julian-assange-asks-us-said-nothing-obama-supported-ukrainian-neo-nazis/
    "...Assange has juxtaposed a neo-Nazi torch march in Kiev with the far-right torch march in Charlottesville. Apart from the torches, it is clear that the Ukrainian fascists were far more equipped for violence as they were wearing bullet-proof combat gear and facial coverings.
    Apart from this, the Ukrainian neo-Nazis got scant political coverage in the western media in spite of the fact that their actions included overthrowing a legitimate government as recognized by the United Nations and the installation of a fascist regime which continues to wage a war of aggression on the peoples of Donbass. This war has included the use of chemical weapons on civilians.
    Beyond this, Ukraine is also a bigger nuclear disaster waiting to happen than North Korea. While Pyongyang has stated that its weapons are defensive, the nuclear power stations in Ukraine continue to violate multiple internationally recognized safety standards. The possibility of another Ukrainian nuclear disaster in the place where Chernobyl occurred in 1986 looms heavily over the region."

    Another point is a surprisingly naive, if not intentionally disinformative, statement "a crooked gangster regime that has been robbing them blind for over 25 years." Even a cursory reading about the recent 25 years in Russia presents the reader with two names and two political systems: Yeltsin regime informed by the Harward Boys (imbeciles), which resulted in a horrific destruction of Russian economy and wholesale theft by the well-connected former Soviets and the well-connected and totally unscrupulous western scoundrels of Bill Browder kind. Under Yeltsin regime, the average lifespan of men plunged to 57 years. The sizeable segments of the population - including teachers, med doctors, and skilled workers - did not get salaries for months in a row. Yeltsin was, of course, a darling of the neocons and ziocons. Then about 15 years ago the country has begun its transformation to normality. This transformation, which slowed down the plundering from abroad and which has lifted from poverty the majority of Russian citizens, has been looked upon by the US ziocons with intense hatred. The latter is easily illustrated by the production of the presstituting MSM and by the imposition of illegal economic sanctions (illegal from the perspective of international law). Even greater irritation towards Russia has been produced by Russians' successful fight against ISIS/Daesh/Al Qaeda in Syria. Since Israel wants to see Syria destroyed, the idea of the end of slaughter in the Middle EAst is intolerable for the Israel-firsters.
    As for the sanctimonious preaching about "corrupt regime" in Russia, one wonders what country is the preacher from - Ukraine or Israel? Any sane American knows that the US Congress is hourly corrupt.

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  79. Eagle Eye says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Either way these sanctions is as much of a punishment for Europe as they are for Russia.
     
    And for Ukraine too. It appears that Putin is ready to try and bleed Ukraine to death, literally. It's really a no win situation for all involved. Look, I'm not myopic enough to believe that a long protracted war with Russia is in anybody's best interest. Before this stupid war started, roughly 60% of all Ukrainians (including the East and South) were for a pro-EU orientation, 40% pro Russia. This was a large minority, whose opinion had to be respected. But now? Probably 95% vs 5%. Even if Ukraine were to gain full EU membership down the road, so what? It would probably prosper at some point and would provide Russia with a stable, close trading partner. If things didn't work out, it could always leave and join some other Russian led union. Look at Great Britain. It's true that Russia is a mystery wrapped in an enigma!

    Look, I’m not myopic enough to believe that a long protracted war with Russia is in anybody’s best interest.

    Actually, war with Russia, whether protracted or short, is definitely in the financial and ideological interest of many IMPORTANT people in the Military-Industrial-Media complex.

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    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Agree.

    And I believe there is more.

    An example:
    You ask, anonymously of course, lower 70 % of Americans a simple question: "To improve your life (job, purchasing power, house, upward social mobility, blah, blah) would you mind getting into the war with Russia"?

    I'd wager the answer, for majority there, would be:"If you can guarantee me:
    - no use of WMDs on us.....
    - not ME drafted into that war
    .....NO, I would not mind...".
    , @annamaria
    Agree. The US has another "gift" for the EU and a real gift for MIC: "Moldova To Become Foothold For US Military" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-13/moldova-become-foothold-us-military
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  80. peterAUS says:
    @Eagle Eye

    Look, I’m not myopic enough to believe that a long protracted war with Russia is in anybody’s best interest.
     
    Actually, war with Russia, whether protracted or short, is definitely in the financial and ideological interest of many IMPORTANT people in the Military-Industrial-Media complex.

    Agree.

    And I believe there is more.

    An example:
    You ask, anonymously of course, lower 70 % of Americans a simple question: “To improve your life (job, purchasing power, house, upward social mobility, blah, blah) would you mind getting into the war with Russia”?

    I’d wager the answer, for majority there, would be:”If you can guarantee me:
    - no use of WMDs on us…..
    - not ME drafted into that war
    …..NO, I would not mind…”.

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    • Replies: @Eagle Eye
    Agree in principle, but not entirely sure what you mean by "lower 70 %."

    My sense is that better off, college-educated people (particularly Ivy League humanities alums) would come out strongly in favor of a profitable little war. Of course, the actual fighting and dying will be done by the hoi polloi from West Virginia and Mississipi.
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  81. Cyrano says:
    @Michael Kenny
    The author is Russian and he is defending his country. Fair enough. He would be more credible, though, if he avoided hysterical formulations like “Nazi junta in Kiev” or “Nazi-occupied Ukraine”. That kind of hysteria suggests panic and completely undermines the rest of his argument. The elephant in the room, of course, is whether young Russians would fight for a crooked gangster regime that has been robbing them blind for over 25 years. And that’s to say nothing of the 30 million non-Russians still living under Russian colonial rule who would probably be delighted to see Putin wreck the Russian Federation so that they could grab their independence (as Ukraine itself did from the wreckage of the Soviet Union). Equally, why would Russians obey an order to launch nuclear weapons against the US knowing that by doing so, they risked bringing down nuclear retaliation on the heads of their own families? The idea of the fanatical Russian soldier is cold war nonsense. Indeed, we know now that it wasn’t true even then. 2017 is the anniversary of the most famous military mutiny in Russian history. Why would today’s Russians be any more willing to die for a corrupt regime in 2017 than their ancestors were 100 years ago?

    The elephant in the room, of course, is whether young Russians would fight for a crooked gangster regime that has been robbing them blind for over 25 years.

    Remember how US sent 3 aircraft carriers towards N. Korea few months ago in order to scare them? I propose US should do the same in order to test the resolve of the young Russians. They should send 2-3 aircraft carriers into Russian waters – provided those things can sail that far north. If the young Russians show any signs of panic and despair – like asking for asylum in Ukraine, that means the US tactics has paid off and Moscow is ready for regime change. If not, the Russians can always use some new targets for practice.

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  82. @Beckow
    Yes, Brussels has been sleep walking into what they imagine is an inevitable greatness. But other than the military clause in the Ukraine Association, the real doozy was the un-negotiated open access to Russia's market through Ukraine with this EU treaty.

    To use a marriage analogy, Russia and Ukraine had a sort of an economic marriage, with open borders for trade, no duties, not even any particular controls. (It also includes Belarus, Kazakstan, Armenia, ...). Barging into this existing economic space, EU insisted on signing an agreement with Ukraine allowing open access by EU goods and services to Ukraine. By definition, that would also mean Russia, but EU refused to even meet to negotiate with Russia. EU's attitude was that 'it is none of Russia's business'. Almost exactly as if one spouse would one day simply bring a new partner into an existing long-term marriage and declare that it is 'none of anyone's business', this was a form of economic bigamy.

    All the protestation to the contrary by Brussels that it could be 'managed', that 'safeguards could be put in place later', or that any free flow of EU goods to Russia through Ukraine would be 'minimal', were shallow attempts to avoid looking at what was happening - a backdoor attempt to obtain access to the profitable Russia's market via an "Association Treaty" with Kiev. Without any negotiation with Russia. For example Russia's consumer market for cars, electronics or food could be - and would be - immediately accessible via a simple re-export through subsidiaries in Ukraine. So no more need to pay duties or manufacture some content in Russia - as is required today.

    It was a de facto one-sided declaration of an economic war on Russia by EU. One can argue that Russia would a have similar opportunity to use Ukraine to freely export to EU, but the nature of what EU and Russia export and import is very different, so that was simply not the case.

    Thus we had a military aggression, since Ukraine in NATO and Russian Navy out of Crimea were a given. But we also had a brazen economic aggression trying to access Russia's market by backdoor through Ukraine. Now wonder this absolute idiocy has backfired and we are all stuck with an ugly stalemate in Ukraine. Brussels is run by morons and they will cause more damage as morons with power always do.

    (Coming next 'sanctions' on Poland, Czech and Hungary because they don't want to become like Londonistan. And the inevitable backlash that will come. But that's what we get when we are ruled by idiots.)

    The EU did not barge in. It was invited by Yanukovich who wanted leverage n negotiations with Russia. The EU was obliged to talk by its treaties. Ukraine s sovereign. Russia had no treaty giving it control of Ukrainian foreign policy. Relations with Russia were up to Ukraine. Ukraine chose not to involve Russia. Russia went outside the normal diplomatic measures with a supremely arrogant customs blockade. The blowback has been enormous. Russia lost Ukraine to EU and NATO in a spectacular self inflicted disaster.

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    • Replies: @Eagle Eye

    The EU was obliged to talk by its treaties.
     
    In other words, the Eurocrat cabal concocted some pieces of paper to give themselves and their globalist masters a pretext for destabilizing a former Soviet republic and invade Russia's "near abroad."
    , @Beckow
    If your point is that most of the fault was with the Ukrainian politicians, I agree. From Yanukovitch to the current leaders they have been inept. But Europe also has to think this through. They knew that the Association Treaty was simply unrealistic, that trade with Russia was essential for Ukraine, that it was going to backfire, that Ukraine was in a no-win situation. Why did they make it worse? It was EU decision and not Yanukovitch's to exclude Russia from the trade negotiations.

    Customs blockade was the only rational reaction any country could do - you can't expect Russia to unilaterally open its markets because Ukraine and EU were run by morons. Calling the customs blockade "arrogant' is a good example of the emotional idiocy like in Brussels. What has happened is that Russia got back Crimea and shifted the responsibility for subsidizing Ukraine to the West. Ukraine got a lot poorer, EU lost some very good markets, and a bunch of Western Ukrainians who have always hated the "Moskali', hate them even more right now. So? I think everyone lost here.
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  83. @Andrei Martyanov

    There is very little competence or conscientiousness in Russia’s state structures and I find it difficult to imagine that the security agencies would be some kind of glaring exception to the general pattern.
     
    So, I have to inevitably ask a question--and your personal claim on a right to such sweeping generalizations is based on exactly what? Have you tried to express your opinions on gastroenterology or quantum mechanics?

    Okay, it didn’t take me long to think up an example.

    In 2014, one of the oft-cited reasons that Russia didn’t act as decisively as it could have and were pressing it to was because of a fear of getting cut off from SWIFT international financial messaging system.

    Now here’s the thing. China had a domestic alternative. Japan – firmly ensconced into the Western sphere! – had a domestic alternative.

    But not Russia.

    Despite the risk of a serious geopolitical standoff with the West being evident by 2008 at the latest, it simply appears that nobody in Putin’s “Military-Analytical apparatuses” had given any thought to it. A nanogenius advised by other nanogeniuses.

    This incompetence is hardly surprising. Russia’s silovik agencies are very seriously bloated, and (official) salaries are not especially high. This is not the sort of environment that would attract high quality human capital and it shows.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    In 2014, one of the oft-cited reasons that Russia didn’t act as decisively as it could have and were pressing it to was because of a fear of getting cut off from SWIFT international financial messaging system.
     
    Oft-cited by who? Some media amateurs? I have a very different perspective on that (how and why is not the pint or maybe it is) because this "danger" was greatly inflated and even today it is inflated especially for people like you, Anatoly, who obviously do not know that Russia's Central Bank already in 2002 had a superb (satellite based, including for remote areas) payment system which, as to quote some people who managed it (obviously former military;), "impressed Westerners greatly". Disconnection from SWIFT would have created a very short (several days max) inconvenience to Russia but reputational damage to US would have been extremely serious.

    Despite the risk of a serious geopolitical standoff with the West being evident by 2008 at the latest, it simply appears that nobody in Putin’s “Military-Analytical apparatuses” had given any thought to it. A nanogenius advised by other nanogeniuses.
     
    Just above, I gave you an information which testifies to the fact that you are not well-informed, which is expected. No, the abstract "threat" of being disconnected from SWIFT was greatly exaggerated and overrated media talking point--nothing more.

    This incompetence is hardly surprising. Russia’s silovik agencies are very seriously bloated, and (official) salaries are not especially high. This is not the sort of environment that would attract high quality human capital and it shows.
     
    Hm, OK, what is your opinion on people in GOU GSH? You know people from GRU? Do you want to discuss level of professional competence of say people who are in Russia's nuclear deterrent (I know some of them, former ones--superb professionals) or would you deny the fact of Russia not only withstanding all this mayhem with sanctions but actually prospering and improving her geopolitical position greatly? But then again, I have to ask a question do you posses an appropriate knowledge and analytical instrumentation to pass such greatly generalized judgments? Don't you have a shining example of US "elites" being completely inadequate to their tasks? Guess what--most of those people live and die by graphs. Well, mostly die--they can not predict their own next bowel movement, if you ask me. So, you are mistaking here some information (often presented in a specific context) with knowledge--those two are not the same.
    , @inertial
    Putin and the siloviks may be idiots but your example doesn't show it. Look, Chinese banks have more money than God. Also, everyone wants to do business with China, so they can strong arm foreign banks into using their alternative to SWIFT. Even then, China didn't start working on their own system until 2013. Why would Russia, who doesn't nearly have China's financial pull, do it before China?
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  84. @Felix Keverich

    Russia’s economy collapsed
     
    You realise that Ukrainian economy is doing a lot worse, right? And given Ukrainian penchant for anarchy that regime is much more likely to collapse. I reckon that's what Putin is counting on.

    My discussion of the prices elsewhere on this blog, look at my answers to find it quickly, shows how much worse Ukraine is. Although Venuzuela which offers 48% return on a three year bond is worse.

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  85. @Beckow
    He means that when commodity prices inevitably go back up, the rubl will go up in value, imports will become cheaper and the current price advantage for domestic manufacturers will disappear.

    That is a valid point, but with sanctions that won't make any difference - Russia has a perfect excuse to protect domestic producers and limit imports (counter-sanctions, duties, etc...). WTO has been unilaterally dismantled by EU and US. Russia could have high commodity prices and rubl, and it won't hurt local manufacturers.

    That's what happens when leaders make decisions based on emotions. When they assume that the other side will not respond. When they think that it is a game with maps and dice and that the 'exceptional' ones make and enforce the rules.

    He means that when commodity prices inevitably go back up, the rubl will go up in value,

    Russia’s expertise and true competitiveness are in her restoration of state control (a drawn out process) over key industries such as energy (extraction and production), aerospace, MIC. These are the main drivers of Russia’s current and future development and growth which depend on commodities (prices) only indirectly. These are industrial sectors which are effectively singled out as key strategic industries and rightly so. For people who never had to deal with Soviet MIC (I dealt with it a lot) or with Russian one it is really difficult to understand what is in it and how it relates to Russian economy as a whole. Most of cutting edge technologies, with some exceptions of course, are produced within MIC not only in Russia, but in US and in EU. These were actually anomalous 1990s in Russia which proved it beyond the shade of a doubt. There IS a good understanding of that in Putin’s circle–it is easily observable. Results also speak for themselves, some of them spectacular.

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    • Agree: Sergey Krieger
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    Russia’s expertise and true competitiveness are in her restoration of state control (a drawn out process) over key industries such as energy (extraction and production), aerospace, MIC. These are the main drivers of Russia’s current and future development and growth which depend on commodities (prices) only indirectly.
     
    A few points:

    1. An "expertise" in seizing a business doesn't necessarily translate into ability to run it successfully. Rosneft with its stagnating oil output, and depressed marketcap is a glaring example.
    2. There is nothing to support your claim that state-contolled enterprises are more competitive.
    3. MIC is not a center of profit in the economy, it is a center of cost. Its main customer is the government, government derives its income from taxes, taxes have to be extracted from the private sector in order to sustain MIC. For government officials it's plain delusion to think that they are "developing economy" by ordering more tanks. What they really do is transfer wealth from the more productive sectors of the economy into less productive, with a lot of waste and corruption in the process.

    , @Beckow
    Russia is economically a lot stronger than the perceptions in the West. It has to be, just by listing the obvious assets: resources, energy, enormous landmass, fresh water, educated population, high-tech space, nuclear and military industry, etc... Western elites know this, so they simultaneously try to get their hands on Russia's assets, and try to badmouth and minimize those assets in the media. That strategy is as old as mankind.

    It is not a good idea to tell the others what you want. Smart humans have learned over thousands of years that hiding one's motivations is the key to eventually getting what you want. So Western elites lie and it is understandable. Russians know it.

    But Russia also needs high-quality consumer goods, including housing, food, cars, electronics, etc... MIC only takes you so far. This is perfectly doable with a combination of Asian trade, selective European trade, and better domestic production. EU has shot itself in the foot by restricting its own trade with Russia. The catastrophic results will only come in the next 5-10 years - it takes time to reorient an economy. Resources rich Russia with a large consumer market combined with export-driven and resources poor EU were a perfect fit. That is gone now. People know when you don't like them, so they won't buy from you.

    We are dealing with stupid people with heavy emotional baggage (e.g. Poles, see Donald Tusk for a prime example). This is a downward spiral. Blaming Washington is pointless, they are not micro-managing it and would get nowhere without EU's own morons in Brussels. Well, if they prefer a semi-African, semi-Asian, 'vibrant' end-of-line comfort, how can one argue with that? At some point stupidity becomes irreversible.

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  86. @Anatoly Karlin
    Okay, it didn't take me long to think up an example.

    In 2014, one of the oft-cited reasons that Russia didn't act as decisively as it could have and were pressing it to was because of a fear of getting cut off from SWIFT international financial messaging system.

    Now here's the thing. China had a domestic alternative. Japan - firmly ensconced into the Western sphere! - had a domestic alternative.

    But not Russia.

    Despite the risk of a serious geopolitical standoff with the West being evident by 2008 at the latest, it simply appears that nobody in Putin's "Military-Analytical apparatuses" had given any thought to it. A nanogenius advised by other nanogeniuses.

    This incompetence is hardly surprising. Russia's silovik agencies are very seriously bloated, and (official) salaries are not especially high. This is not the sort of environment that would attract high quality human capital and it shows.

    In 2014, one of the oft-cited reasons that Russia didn’t act as decisively as it could have and were pressing it to was because of a fear of getting cut off from SWIFT international financial messaging system.

    Oft-cited by who? Some media amateurs? I have a very different perspective on that (how and why is not the pint or maybe it is) because this “danger” was greatly inflated and even today it is inflated especially for people like you, Anatoly, who obviously do not know that Russia’s Central Bank already in 2002 had a superb (satellite based, including for remote areas) payment system which, as to quote some people who managed it (obviously former military;), “impressed Westerners greatly”. Disconnection from SWIFT would have created a very short (several days max) inconvenience to Russia but reputational damage to US would have been extremely serious.

    Despite the risk of a serious geopolitical standoff with the West being evident by 2008 at the latest, it simply appears that nobody in Putin’s “Military-Analytical apparatuses” had given any thought to it. A nanogenius advised by other nanogeniuses.

    Just above, I gave you an information which testifies to the fact that you are not well-informed, which is expected. No, the abstract “threat” of being disconnected from SWIFT was greatly exaggerated and overrated media talking point–nothing more.

    This incompetence is hardly surprising. Russia’s silovik agencies are very seriously bloated, and (official) salaries are not especially high. This is not the sort of environment that would attract high quality human capital and it shows.

    Hm, OK, what is your opinion on people in GOU GSH? You know people from GRU? Do you want to discuss level of professional competence of say people who are in Russia’s nuclear deterrent (I know some of them, former ones–superb professionals) or would you deny the fact of Russia not only withstanding all this mayhem with sanctions but actually prospering and improving her geopolitical position greatly? But then again, I have to ask a question do you posses an appropriate knowledge and analytical instrumentation to pass such greatly generalized judgments? Don’t you have a shining example of US “elites” being completely inadequate to their tasks? Guess what–most of those people live and die by graphs. Well, mostly die–they can not predict their own next bowel movement, if you ask me. So, you are mistaking here some information (often presented in a specific context) with knowledge–those two are not the same.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    ... who obviously do not know that Russia’s Central Bank already in 2002 had a superb (satellite based, including for remote areas) payment system which, as to quote some people who managed it (obviously former military;), “impressed Westerners greatly”.
     
    No, I don't know of it, having never heard of it, nor found anything after five minutes of Googling (including in Russian). A source please?
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  87. Eagle Eye says:
    @peterAUS
    Agree.

    And I believe there is more.

    An example:
    You ask, anonymously of course, lower 70 % of Americans a simple question: "To improve your life (job, purchasing power, house, upward social mobility, blah, blah) would you mind getting into the war with Russia"?

    I'd wager the answer, for majority there, would be:"If you can guarantee me:
    - no use of WMDs on us.....
    - not ME drafted into that war
    .....NO, I would not mind...".

    Agree in principle, but not entirely sure what you mean by “lower 70 %.”

    My sense is that better off, college-educated people (particularly Ivy League humanities alums) would come out strongly in favor of a profitable little war. Of course, the actual fighting and dying will be done by the hoi polloi from West Virginia and Mississipi.

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    • Replies: @peterAUS

    not entirely sure what you mean by “lower 70 %.”

     

    Well...bottom 70 % of US society.
    Or....everyone below top 30 % of US society.
    From trash, through precariat, working class, middle class to some minor parts of upper class.

    Of course, the actual fighting and dying will be done by the hoi polloi from West Virginia and Mississipi.
     
    Agree.
    Still, if you pose the same question to those very people, I believe the answer (with those conditions) would be the same.
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  88. Eagle Eye says:
    @Philip Owen
    The EU did not barge in. It was invited by Yanukovich who wanted leverage n negotiations with Russia. The EU was obliged to talk by its treaties. Ukraine s sovereign. Russia had no treaty giving it control of Ukrainian foreign policy. Relations with Russia were up to Ukraine. Ukraine chose not to involve Russia. Russia went outside the normal diplomatic measures with a supremely arrogant customs blockade. The blowback has been enormous. Russia lost Ukraine to EU and NATO in a spectacular self inflicted disaster.

    The EU was obliged to talk by its treaties.

    In other words, the Eurocrat cabal concocted some pieces of paper to give themselves and their globalist masters a pretext for destabilizing a former Soviet republic and invade Russia’s “near abroad.”

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    • Replies: @annamaria
    It is doubtful that the Eurocrat cabal had any independence from the State Dept. while concocting the pieces of paper. The EU has become a miserable vassal of the ziocon/MIC/baksters-ruled US.
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  89. Che Guava says:
    @Michael Kenny
    The author is Russian and he is defending his country. Fair enough. He would be more credible, though, if he avoided hysterical formulations like “Nazi junta in Kiev” or “Nazi-occupied Ukraine”. That kind of hysteria suggests panic and completely undermines the rest of his argument. The elephant in the room, of course, is whether young Russians would fight for a crooked gangster regime that has been robbing them blind for over 25 years. And that’s to say nothing of the 30 million non-Russians still living under Russian colonial rule who would probably be delighted to see Putin wreck the Russian Federation so that they could grab their independence (as Ukraine itself did from the wreckage of the Soviet Union). Equally, why would Russians obey an order to launch nuclear weapons against the US knowing that by doing so, they risked bringing down nuclear retaliation on the heads of their own families? The idea of the fanatical Russian soldier is cold war nonsense. Indeed, we know now that it wasn’t true even then. 2017 is the anniversary of the most famous military mutiny in Russian history. Why would today’s Russians be any more willing to die for a corrupt regime in 2017 than their ancestors were 100 years ago?

    I gather that dear The Saker is a US citizen, may be incorrect there, but don’t tihink so!

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  90. @Andrei Martyanov

    In 2014, one of the oft-cited reasons that Russia didn’t act as decisively as it could have and were pressing it to was because of a fear of getting cut off from SWIFT international financial messaging system.
     
    Oft-cited by who? Some media amateurs? I have a very different perspective on that (how and why is not the pint or maybe it is) because this "danger" was greatly inflated and even today it is inflated especially for people like you, Anatoly, who obviously do not know that Russia's Central Bank already in 2002 had a superb (satellite based, including for remote areas) payment system which, as to quote some people who managed it (obviously former military;), "impressed Westerners greatly". Disconnection from SWIFT would have created a very short (several days max) inconvenience to Russia but reputational damage to US would have been extremely serious.

    Despite the risk of a serious geopolitical standoff with the West being evident by 2008 at the latest, it simply appears that nobody in Putin’s “Military-Analytical apparatuses” had given any thought to it. A nanogenius advised by other nanogeniuses.
     
    Just above, I gave you an information which testifies to the fact that you are not well-informed, which is expected. No, the abstract "threat" of being disconnected from SWIFT was greatly exaggerated and overrated media talking point--nothing more.

    This incompetence is hardly surprising. Russia’s silovik agencies are very seriously bloated, and (official) salaries are not especially high. This is not the sort of environment that would attract high quality human capital and it shows.
     
    Hm, OK, what is your opinion on people in GOU GSH? You know people from GRU? Do you want to discuss level of professional competence of say people who are in Russia's nuclear deterrent (I know some of them, former ones--superb professionals) or would you deny the fact of Russia not only withstanding all this mayhem with sanctions but actually prospering and improving her geopolitical position greatly? But then again, I have to ask a question do you posses an appropriate knowledge and analytical instrumentation to pass such greatly generalized judgments? Don't you have a shining example of US "elites" being completely inadequate to their tasks? Guess what--most of those people live and die by graphs. Well, mostly die--they can not predict their own next bowel movement, if you ask me. So, you are mistaking here some information (often presented in a specific context) with knowledge--those two are not the same.

    … who obviously do not know that Russia’s Central Bank already in 2002 had a superb (satellite based, including for remote areas) payment system which, as to quote some people who managed it (obviously former military;), “impressed Westerners greatly”.

    No, I don’t know of it, having never heard of it, nor found anything after five minutes of Googling (including in Russian). A source please?

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    Russia's banking system has SWIFT alternative ready
    https://www.rt.com/business/382017-russia-swift-central-bank/

    Russia Readies Back-Up System For Potential "Split With International Banking System"
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-25/russia-readies-back-system-potentially-explosive-split-international-banking-system

    Bank of Russia’s system for transfer of financial messages (SPFS)
    http://cyberft.com/about/comprasion/spfs
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    A source please?
     
    LOL. Let's put it this way--some former colleagues. I bet you also will not find many things on Google about many things USSR or Russia related too.
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  91. utu says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    ... who obviously do not know that Russia’s Central Bank already in 2002 had a superb (satellite based, including for remote areas) payment system which, as to quote some people who managed it (obviously former military;), “impressed Westerners greatly”.
     
    No, I don't know of it, having never heard of it, nor found anything after five minutes of Googling (including in Russian). A source please?

    Russia’s banking system has SWIFT alternative ready

    https://www.rt.com/business/382017-russia-swift-central-bank/

    Russia Readies Back-Up System For Potential “Split With International Banking System”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-25/russia-readies-back-system-potentially-explosive-split-international-banking-system

    Bank of Russia’s system for transfer of financial messages (SPFS)

    http://cyberft.com/about/comprasion/spfs

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    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    Not really. It's Swift under licence.
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  92. @Anatoly Karlin

    ... who obviously do not know that Russia’s Central Bank already in 2002 had a superb (satellite based, including for remote areas) payment system which, as to quote some people who managed it (obviously former military;), “impressed Westerners greatly”.
     
    No, I don't know of it, having never heard of it, nor found anything after five minutes of Googling (including in Russian). A source please?

    A source please?

    LOL. Let’s put it this way–some former colleagues. I bet you also will not find many things on Google about many things USSR or Russia related too.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    LOL, indeed.

    And I'm sure all those Soviet superweapons that Maksim Kalashnikov writes about were real as well. They weren't just mentioned in casual conversations, but appear in several books! Too bad the giants of thought who ruled the USSR were unable to arrest its collapse just as they were about to win the Cold War.

    Okay, I'm sorry if I came off as too sarcastic here, but I was genuinely exasperated by your response. :)

    @ utu,

    Yes, it does now.

    Considering that even Iran was capable of setting up an internal financial messaging system, that is not exactly an achievement.

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  93. @Beckow
    Yes, Brussels has been sleep walking into what they imagine is an inevitable greatness. But other than the military clause in the Ukraine Association, the real doozy was the un-negotiated open access to Russia's market through Ukraine with this EU treaty.

    To use a marriage analogy, Russia and Ukraine had a sort of an economic marriage, with open borders for trade, no duties, not even any particular controls. (It also includes Belarus, Kazakstan, Armenia, ...). Barging into this existing economic space, EU insisted on signing an agreement with Ukraine allowing open access by EU goods and services to Ukraine. By definition, that would also mean Russia, but EU refused to even meet to negotiate with Russia. EU's attitude was that 'it is none of Russia's business'. Almost exactly as if one spouse would one day simply bring a new partner into an existing long-term marriage and declare that it is 'none of anyone's business', this was a form of economic bigamy.

    All the protestation to the contrary by Brussels that it could be 'managed', that 'safeguards could be put in place later', or that any free flow of EU goods to Russia through Ukraine would be 'minimal', were shallow attempts to avoid looking at what was happening - a backdoor attempt to obtain access to the profitable Russia's market via an "Association Treaty" with Kiev. Without any negotiation with Russia. For example Russia's consumer market for cars, electronics or food could be - and would be - immediately accessible via a simple re-export through subsidiaries in Ukraine. So no more need to pay duties or manufacture some content in Russia - as is required today.

    It was a de facto one-sided declaration of an economic war on Russia by EU. One can argue that Russia would a have similar opportunity to use Ukraine to freely export to EU, but the nature of what EU and Russia export and import is very different, so that was simply not the case.

    Thus we had a military aggression, since Ukraine in NATO and Russian Navy out of Crimea were a given. But we also had a brazen economic aggression trying to access Russia's market by backdoor through Ukraine. Now wonder this absolute idiocy has backfired and we are all stuck with an ugly stalemate in Ukraine. Brussels is run by morons and they will cause more damage as morons with power always do.

    (Coming next 'sanctions' on Poland, Czech and Hungary because they don't want to become like Londonistan. And the inevitable backlash that will come. But that's what we get when we are ruled by idiots.)

    Brussels is run by morons and they will cause more damage as morons with power always do.

    Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek finance minister, makes a similar point about Brussels and some of the central bankers as well in his excellent “Adults in the Room.” He sez they are in dire need of some.

    Many other good points in your excellent comment, particularly the one about economic warfare, a concept that seems too little realized or understood at least here in Amerika.

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  94. @A22
    Don't forget that Australia and Canda are both small population wise with huge resources. While Russia has enormous Resources it has relatively large population. Also the people that Russia imports machinery and equipment from are not friendly ( unlike the case of Canada and Australia ).

    I think higher oil prices can be beneficial in case there was a clear plan of how to invest the money in domestic industry. There should be strict capital control and corruption money should be invested in the domestic market insted of western economies ( if you can't kill corruption, at least do not let the money go outside).

    The main difference between Russia and Australia would have to be that Russia is an independent nation while Australia is little more than a colony. Australia’s economy is supported by consumer credit while any worthwhile national assets are sold off cheaply to corporate cronies, often foreign.

    Having recently emerged from the greatest mining boom in its history, Australia the nation and Australians the people are deeply in debt. Very little manufacturing is done in Australia and while clean (gas) energy is practically given away to companies like Exxon and Chevron for export to China and elsewhere, domestic gas prices are some of the highest anywhere hurting manufacturing even more.

    Like Americans, Australians deserve to suffer in future for the crimes of allowing their taxes to be used to wage illegal and immoral wars. The sellout of their liberties by their politicians to the most dictatorially inclined along with the debt bomb ensures that the suffering will be real and enduring.

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  95. peterAUS says:
    @Eagle Eye
    Agree in principle, but not entirely sure what you mean by "lower 70 %."

    My sense is that better off, college-educated people (particularly Ivy League humanities alums) would come out strongly in favor of a profitable little war. Of course, the actual fighting and dying will be done by the hoi polloi from West Virginia and Mississipi.

    not entirely sure what you mean by “lower 70 %.”

    Well…bottom 70 % of US society.
    Or….everyone below top 30 % of US society.
    From trash, through precariat, working class, middle class to some minor parts of upper class.

    Of course, the actual fighting and dying will be done by the hoi polloi from West Virginia and Mississipi.

    Agree.
    Still, if you pose the same question to those very people, I believe the answer (with those conditions) would be the same.

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  96. @Andrei Martyanov

    A source please?
     
    LOL. Let's put it this way--some former colleagues. I bet you also will not find many things on Google about many things USSR or Russia related too.

    LOL, indeed.

    And I’m sure all those Soviet superweapons that Maksim Kalashnikov writes about were real as well. They weren’t just mentioned in casual conversations, but appear in several books! Too bad the giants of thought who ruled the USSR were unable to arrest its collapse just as they were about to win the Cold War.

    Okay, I’m sorry if I came off as too sarcastic here, but I was genuinely exasperated by your response. :)

    @ utu,

    Yes, it does now.

    Considering that even Iran was capable of setting up an internal financial messaging system, that is not exactly an achievement.

    Read More
    • Replies: @bb.
    I did some quick scanning as well and indeed, there might be something the story.
    utu has a link to the company subsidiary which operates for 19 years in Russia and looks like they were developing some serious banking tech >https://www.cyberplat.com/about/news/?id=275

    the first mention of their tech, in their news section is indeed from 2004 > https://www.cyberplat.com/img/about/news/?id=21
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  97. Too bad the giants of thought who ruled the USSR were unable to arrest its collapse

    Under Gorbachov? Not a chance. I spent some of my time in of North Caucasus Border Guards District hospital in 1988, I shared a a room (palata) let’s put it this way–a big shot from Republic’s KGB (I will omit his title–a department chief, ethnically Russian) plus there were many guys from the org there too. Everybody knew everything already then–nothing could be done. It was shared openly among non-civilian (there were some civilians too) people. But that is a separate story but what Moscow was doing (or rather what it was not doing) was already well-known then. The question was when, not if. By 1989 it was completely irreversible.

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    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Getting interesting.

    A question:
    WHAT exactly the leadership of Soviet Union should've done differently,and WHEN ,to prevent the collapse of the Union?
    I guess we could agree that God himself couldn't have prevented the collapse of Communism?
    , @utu
    everybody knew everything already then–nothing could be done

    what Moscow was doing (or rather what it was not doing) was already well-known then.

    What if it was decided somewhere in the deepest part of the deep state that the plug would be pulled off from the experiment called the USSR? They simply lost their faith in the system or it was a plan from the very beginning. The bankers who bankrolled the Bolshevik revolution in the first place decided that it was enough. They wanted more profit from the initial investment. You comrades have accomplished what we wanted. You have destroyed the spirituality of Russia and Russian people and modernized them by turning them into homo sovieticus from which is only one step to the rootless worker drones in the neoliberal system. Now the World is safe. No more threat from the Third Rome, the Christian Empire in the East.

    Nobody was able to come up with a Third Way. Nobody was really trying. Things were falling apart. Poland was running a beta version where things were being tested how to transition to the new system. It was rough. Nothing seemed to work. How to do it w/o killing too many people? How do it w/o loosing your own life and lives of your associates and your wealth and influence. Jaruzelski and his people met Rockefeller in New York in 1985 when his post martial law regime was still not recognized by the US. The most important part for the communist apparatus was their safety and security. The new regime, whatever it would be, had to guarantee it and furthermore they wanted to be a part of the action. In particular the power departments like security services of the communist apparatus wanted to lead the transformation into capitalism. They were the only ones who had a know-how about running banks, making international transactions, operating shell corporations from Switzerland, Luxembourg and tax heavens. They had connections and they could make everything happened within Russia and Eastern Block. So the Western bankers were dealing with them. They, the members of KGB and GRU were the agents of change. At the same time foreign security services were taking loyalty oaths from some communist security services operatives. The agencies became penetrated by CIA, Mossad and MI5.

    And then the orgy of looting and de-industrialization began.
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  98. inertial says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Okay, it didn't take me long to think up an example.

    In 2014, one of the oft-cited reasons that Russia didn't act as decisively as it could have and were pressing it to was because of a fear of getting cut off from SWIFT international financial messaging system.

    Now here's the thing. China had a domestic alternative. Japan - firmly ensconced into the Western sphere! - had a domestic alternative.

    But not Russia.

    Despite the risk of a serious geopolitical standoff with the West being evident by 2008 at the latest, it simply appears that nobody in Putin's "Military-Analytical apparatuses" had given any thought to it. A nanogenius advised by other nanogeniuses.

    This incompetence is hardly surprising. Russia's silovik agencies are very seriously bloated, and (official) salaries are not especially high. This is not the sort of environment that would attract high quality human capital and it shows.

    Putin and the siloviks may be idiots but your example doesn’t show it. Look, Chinese banks have more money than God. Also, everyone wants to do business with China, so they can strong arm foreign banks into using their alternative to SWIFT. Even then, China didn’t start working on their own system until 2013. Why would Russia, who doesn’t nearly have China’s financial pull, do it before China?

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    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    Anyway, these alternatives to SWIFT amount to using SWIFT under license. They still pool statistics and to some extent cooperate on money laundering, less so with China, also the spiritual home of Bitcoin.
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  99. annamaria says:
    @peterAUS
    Toning down rhetoric wouldn’t hurt your posts either.
    Like:

    That kind of hysteria suggests panic and completely undermines the rest of his argument.
     
    That kind of attitude suggest anxiety and slightly undermines the rest of his argument.
    Or

    The elephant in the room, of course, is whether young Russians would fight for a crooked gangster regime that has been robbing them blind for over 25 years.
     
    The elephant in the room, of course, is whether young Russians would fight for the plutocracy in Moscow.
    This is O.K.

    And that’s to say nothing of the 30 million non-Russians still living under Russian colonial rule who would probably be delighted to see Putin wreck the Russian Federation so that they could grab their independence (as Ukraine itself did from the wreckage of the Soviet Union).
     
    As for

    Equally, why would Russians obey an order to launch nuclear weapons against the US knowing that by doing so, they risked bringing down nuclear retaliation on the heads of their own families?
     
    Well…………..now you are being a bit naïve.
    They’d launch for the same reason American crews would launch.
    And

    Why would today’s Russians be any more willing to die for a corrupt regime in 2017 than their ancestors were 100 years ago?
     
    Now, that’s a very complex question. Depends on a lots of variables.

    Illumination of one of the “variables:” http://theduran.com/julian-assange-asks-us-said-nothing-obama-supported-ukrainian-neo-nazis/
    “…Assange has juxtaposed a neo-Nazi torch march in Kiev with the far-right torch march in Charlottesville. Apart from the torches, it is clear that the Ukrainian fascists were far more equipped for violence as they were wearing bullet-proof combat gear and facial coverings.
    Apart from this, the Ukrainian neo-Nazis got scant political coverage in the western media in spite of the fact that their actions included overthrowing a legitimate government as recognized by the United Nations and the installation of a fascist regime which continues to wage a war of aggression on the peoples of Donbass. This war has included the use of chemical weapons on civilians.
    Beyond this, Ukraine is also a bigger nuclear disaster waiting to happen than North Korea. While Pyongyang has stated that its weapons are defensive, the nuclear power stations in Ukraine continue to violate multiple internationally recognized safety standards. The possibility of another Ukrainian nuclear disaster in the place where Chernobyl occurred in 1986 looms heavily over the region.”

    Another point is a surprisingly naive, if not intentionally disinformative, statement “a crooked gangster regime that has been robbing them blind for over 25 years.” Even a cursory reading about the recent 25 years in Russia presents the reader with two names and two political systems: Yeltsin regime informed by the Harward Boys (imbeciles), which resulted in a horrific destruction of Russian economy and wholesale theft by the well-connected former Soviets and the well-connected and totally unscrupulous western scoundrels of Bill Browder kind. Under Yeltsin regime, the average lifespan of men plunged to 57 years. The sizeable segments of the population – including teachers, med doctors, and skilled workers – did not get salaries for months in a row. Yeltsin was, of course, a darling of the neocons and ziocons. Then about 15 years ago the country has begun its transformation to normality. This transformation, which slowed down the plundering from abroad and which has lifted from poverty the majority of Russian citizens, has been looked upon by the US ziocons with intense hatred. The latter is easily illustrated by the production of the presstituting MSM and by the imposition of illegal economic sanctions (illegal from the perspective of international law). Even greater irritation towards Russia has been produced by Russians’ successful fight against ISIS/Daesh/Al Qaeda in Syria. Since Israel wants to see Syria destroyed, the idea of the end of slaughter in the Middle EAst is intolerable for the Israel-firsters.
    As for the sanctimonious preaching about “corrupt regime” in Russia, one wonders what country is the preacher from – Ukraine or Israel? Any sane American knows that the US Congress is hourly corrupt.

    Read More
    • Agree: Andrei Martyanov
    • Replies: @jacques sheete

    As for the sanctimonious preaching about “corrupt regime” in Russia, one wonders what country is the preacher from – Ukraine or Israel? Any sane American knows that the US Congress is hourly corrupt.
     
    The sanctimonious preaching really annoys me too. You are correct, as usual, about the US Congress, and Uri Avnery, a former Knesset member and Irgun fighter in his youth, has this to say about the corrupt Israeli regime.

    This week, a prestigious [Israeli] TV program aired an investigation, and the picture was shocking. The entire military and civilian environment seems to be infected by corruption, as in a failed African state.



    Uri Avnery, "Anyone But [the corrupt] Bibi" 12/08/17
    http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1502458442/
     
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  100. peterAUS says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Too bad the giants of thought who ruled the USSR were unable to arrest its collapse
     
    Under Gorbachov? Not a chance. I spent some of my time in of North Caucasus Border Guards District hospital in 1988, I shared a a room (palata) let's put it this way--a big shot from Republic's KGB (I will omit his title--a department chief, ethnically Russian) plus there were many guys from the org there too. Everybody knew everything already then--nothing could be done. It was shared openly among non-civilian (there were some civilians too) people. But that is a separate story but what Moscow was doing (or rather what it was not doing) was already well-known then. The question was when, not if. By 1989 it was completely irreversible.

    Getting interesting.

    A question:
    WHAT exactly the leadership of Soviet Union should’ve done differently,and WHEN ,to prevent the collapse of the Union?
    I guess we could agree that God himself couldn’t have prevented the collapse of Communism?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    Sorry to interfere, but Soviet government most correctly party elite which occupied top positions with Gorbachov at the time were culprits in ussr destruction. Before arrival of Gorbachov there were some small managable issues which every country can have. He either purposefully or put of sheer stupidity destroyed the pillars that hold the country together. It is unbelievable for one who has not lived through that mad house.
    , @jacques sheete

    I guess we could agree that God himself couldn’t have prevented the collapse of Communism?
     
    That's particularly true regarding bankster supported varieties of communism which suggests that banking criminals have more power than G-d.

    We need to find ways of driving the money changers from our temples, but the precedents don't seem too encouraging.

    G-d help us... if you can!
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    I guess we could agree that God himself couldn’t have prevented the collapse of Communism?
     
    There was NO "communism" in USSR after WWII. By 1960s it was something else entirely with elements of state capitalism and proto-market relations ranging from rent and apartment exchange market to underground "tzehoviki". During Stalin's time, as an example, 6% of Soviet GDP was produced by cooperative and artel movement and included such things as manufacturing of TVs and radios. So, "communism" was pretty much dead by 1960s by means of its "adaptation" to Russian conditions--that was inevitable.

    WHAT exactly the leadership of Soviet Union should’ve done differently,and WHEN ,to prevent the collapse of the Union?
     
    This is a billion dollar question which can not be answered within a single (or even very many) post on a discussion board. USSR, essentially, was "blown up" from its "national" fringes but I will not discuss here the origins of that, albeit I know a lot about it. But as I said, Gorbachov and his circle can hardly be called competent people.
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  101. utu says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Too bad the giants of thought who ruled the USSR were unable to arrest its collapse
     
    Under Gorbachov? Not a chance. I spent some of my time in of North Caucasus Border Guards District hospital in 1988, I shared a a room (palata) let's put it this way--a big shot from Republic's KGB (I will omit his title--a department chief, ethnically Russian) plus there were many guys from the org there too. Everybody knew everything already then--nothing could be done. It was shared openly among non-civilian (there were some civilians too) people. But that is a separate story but what Moscow was doing (or rather what it was not doing) was already well-known then. The question was when, not if. By 1989 it was completely irreversible.

    everybody knew everything already then–nothing could be done

    what Moscow was doing (or rather what it was not doing) was already well-known then.

    What if it was decided somewhere in the deepest part of the deep state that the plug would be pulled off from the experiment called the USSR? They simply lost their faith in the system or it was a plan from the very beginning. The bankers who bankrolled the Bolshevik revolution in the first place decided that it was enough. They wanted more profit from the initial investment. You comrades have accomplished what we wanted. You have destroyed the spirituality of Russia and Russian people and modernized them by turning them into homo sovieticus from which is only one step to the rootless worker drones in the neoliberal system. Now the World is safe. No more threat from the Third Rome, the Christian Empire in the East.

    Nobody was able to come up with a Third Way. Nobody was really trying. Things were falling apart. Poland was running a beta version where things were being tested how to transition to the new system. It was rough. Nothing seemed to work. How to do it w/o killing too many people? How do it w/o loosing your own life and lives of your associates and your wealth and influence. Jaruzelski and his people met Rockefeller in New York in 1985 when his post martial law regime was still not recognized by the US. The most important part for the communist apparatus was their safety and security. The new regime, whatever it would be, had to guarantee it and furthermore they wanted to be a part of the action. In particular the power departments like security services of the communist apparatus wanted to lead the transformation into capitalism. They were the only ones who had a know-how about running banks, making international transactions, operating shell corporations from Switzerland, Luxembourg and tax heavens. They had connections and they could make everything happened within Russia and Eastern Block. So the Western bankers were dealing with them. They, the members of KGB and GRU were the agents of change. At the same time foreign security services were taking loyalty oaths from some communist security services operatives. The agencies became penetrated by CIA, Mossad and MI5.

    And then the orgy of looting and de-industrialization began.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    What if it was decided somewhere in the deepest part of the deep state that the plug would be pulled off from the experiment called the USSR? They simply lost their faith in the system or it was a plan from the very beginning.
     
    They realized what treasure they had on their hands and how they can become very very wealthy. FYI, first serious pure "capitalist", purely profit driven, ventures started in mid-1980s within safe realms of Komsomol--it was stepping stone for many Komsomol and, obviously, Party activists (behind the scene--in the end these were Party obkoms, under Central Committee watchful eye, which sanctioned Komsomol's entrepreneurship) towards "real" capitalism. Centers such as NTTM (Scientific-Technical Youth's Creativity Centers). Russian Oligarchy of 1990s emerged namely from those places. KGB and MVD were a separate story.
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  102. Beckow says:
    @Philip Owen
    The EU did not barge in. It was invited by Yanukovich who wanted leverage n negotiations with Russia. The EU was obliged to talk by its treaties. Ukraine s sovereign. Russia had no treaty giving it control of Ukrainian foreign policy. Relations with Russia were up to Ukraine. Ukraine chose not to involve Russia. Russia went outside the normal diplomatic measures with a supremely arrogant customs blockade. The blowback has been enormous. Russia lost Ukraine to EU and NATO in a spectacular self inflicted disaster.

    If your point is that most of the fault was with the Ukrainian politicians, I agree. From Yanukovitch to the current leaders they have been inept. But Europe also has to think this through. They knew that the Association Treaty was simply unrealistic, that trade with Russia was essential for Ukraine, that it was going to backfire, that Ukraine was in a no-win situation. Why did they make it worse? It was EU decision and not Yanukovitch’s to exclude Russia from the trade negotiations.

    Customs blockade was the only rational reaction any country could do – you can’t expect Russia to unilaterally open its markets because Ukraine and EU were run by morons. Calling the customs blockade “arrogant’ is a good example of the emotional idiocy like in Brussels. What has happened is that Russia got back Crimea and shifted the responsibility for subsidizing Ukraine to the West. Ukraine got a lot poorer, EU lost some very good markets, and a bunch of Western Ukrainians who have always hated the “Moskali’, hate them even more right now. So? I think everyone lost here.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    Russia was no excluded. Russia had no right to be there.
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  103. @peterAUS
    Getting interesting.

    A question:
    WHAT exactly the leadership of Soviet Union should've done differently,and WHEN ,to prevent the collapse of the Union?
    I guess we could agree that God himself couldn't have prevented the collapse of Communism?

    Sorry to interfere, but Soviet government most correctly party elite which occupied top positions with Gorbachov at the time were culprits in ussr destruction. Before arrival of Gorbachov there were some small managable issues which every country can have. He either purposefully or put of sheer stupidity destroyed the pillars that hold the country together. It is unbelievable for one who has not lived through that mad house.

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS

    ...Soviet government most correctly party elite which occupied top positions with Gorbachov at the time were culprits in ussr destruction.
     
    Be that as it may, the question still remains valid:
    What that top elite with Gorbachev could have done to prevent breakup of USSR?
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  104. bb. says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    LOL, indeed.

    And I'm sure all those Soviet superweapons that Maksim Kalashnikov writes about were real as well. They weren't just mentioned in casual conversations, but appear in several books! Too bad the giants of thought who ruled the USSR were unable to arrest its collapse just as they were about to win the Cold War.

    Okay, I'm sorry if I came off as too sarcastic here, but I was genuinely exasperated by your response. :)

    @ utu,

    Yes, it does now.

    Considering that even Iran was capable of setting up an internal financial messaging system, that is not exactly an achievement.

    I did some quick scanning as well and indeed, there might be something the story.
    utu has a link to the company subsidiary which operates for 19 years in Russia and looks like they were developing some serious banking tech >https://www.cyberplat.com/about/news/?id=275

    the first mention of their tech, in their news section is indeed from 2004 > https://www.cyberplat.com/img/about/news/?id=21

    Read More
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  105. @annamaria
    Illumination of one of the "variables:" http://theduran.com/julian-assange-asks-us-said-nothing-obama-supported-ukrainian-neo-nazis/
    "...Assange has juxtaposed a neo-Nazi torch march in Kiev with the far-right torch march in Charlottesville. Apart from the torches, it is clear that the Ukrainian fascists were far more equipped for violence as they were wearing bullet-proof combat gear and facial coverings.
    Apart from this, the Ukrainian neo-Nazis got scant political coverage in the western media in spite of the fact that their actions included overthrowing a legitimate government as recognized by the United Nations and the installation of a fascist regime which continues to wage a war of aggression on the peoples of Donbass. This war has included the use of chemical weapons on civilians.
    Beyond this, Ukraine is also a bigger nuclear disaster waiting to happen than North Korea. While Pyongyang has stated that its weapons are defensive, the nuclear power stations in Ukraine continue to violate multiple internationally recognized safety standards. The possibility of another Ukrainian nuclear disaster in the place where Chernobyl occurred in 1986 looms heavily over the region."

    Another point is a surprisingly naive, if not intentionally disinformative, statement "a crooked gangster regime that has been robbing them blind for over 25 years." Even a cursory reading about the recent 25 years in Russia presents the reader with two names and two political systems: Yeltsin regime informed by the Harward Boys (imbeciles), which resulted in a horrific destruction of Russian economy and wholesale theft by the well-connected former Soviets and the well-connected and totally unscrupulous western scoundrels of Bill Browder kind. Under Yeltsin regime, the average lifespan of men plunged to 57 years. The sizeable segments of the population - including teachers, med doctors, and skilled workers - did not get salaries for months in a row. Yeltsin was, of course, a darling of the neocons and ziocons. Then about 15 years ago the country has begun its transformation to normality. This transformation, which slowed down the plundering from abroad and which has lifted from poverty the majority of Russian citizens, has been looked upon by the US ziocons with intense hatred. The latter is easily illustrated by the production of the presstituting MSM and by the imposition of illegal economic sanctions (illegal from the perspective of international law). Even greater irritation towards Russia has been produced by Russians' successful fight against ISIS/Daesh/Al Qaeda in Syria. Since Israel wants to see Syria destroyed, the idea of the end of slaughter in the Middle EAst is intolerable for the Israel-firsters.
    As for the sanctimonious preaching about "corrupt regime" in Russia, one wonders what country is the preacher from - Ukraine or Israel? Any sane American knows that the US Congress is hourly corrupt.

    As for the sanctimonious preaching about “corrupt regime” in Russia, one wonders what country is the preacher from – Ukraine or Israel? Any sane American knows that the US Congress is hourly corrupt.

    The sanctimonious preaching really annoys me too. You are correct, as usual, about the US Congress, and Uri Avnery, a former Knesset member and Irgun fighter in his youth, has this to say about the corrupt Israeli regime.

    This week, a prestigious [Israeli] TV program aired an investigation, and the picture was shocking. The entire military and civilian environment seems to be infected by corruption, as in a failed African state.

    Uri Avnery, “Anyone But [the corrupt] Bibi” 12/08/17

    http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1502458442/

    Read More
    • Replies: @annamaria
    The western leaders are no better.
    The face of evil: "Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was funded by a wealthy Arab state while serving as Middle East peace envoy, leaked emails seen by the Sunday Telegraph reveal." https://www.rt.com/uk/399527-tony-blair-middle-east/
    "Blair also received millions in consultancy fees by the very same Arab state and the sovereign wealth fund of its capital, Abu Dhabi, raising questions over whether the New Labour founder had a conflict of interest. A spokeswoman for Blair dismissed the claims, insisting he “never used his Quartet role to pursue business interests” and “did no commercial work connected with the Israeli/Palestinian issue. ... Blair had failed in his duty as a peace envoy because of the extensive business interests he had in the region. “Blair suffered from a perceived conflict of interests with his considerable array of business contacts, with governments and organizations and companies in the Middle East."
    Cheney is capitalizing on his former position by eyeing the oil reserves of the Golan Heights. Obama the Fraud is capitalizing by collecting fees from the banksters. Blair the Pious is capitalizing by collecting fees from the wealthy Arab states... But the purists in a battle against corruption in Russia (barely recovered from the "purists"-approved shock economy) lose all their senses (smell included) re western governments.
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  106. @peterAUS
    Getting interesting.

    A question:
    WHAT exactly the leadership of Soviet Union should've done differently,and WHEN ,to prevent the collapse of the Union?
    I guess we could agree that God himself couldn't have prevented the collapse of Communism?

    I guess we could agree that God himself couldn’t have prevented the collapse of Communism?

    That’s particularly true regarding bankster supported varieties of communism which suggests that banking criminals have more power than G-d.

    We need to find ways of driving the money changers from our temples, but the precedents don’t seem too encouraging.

    G-d help us… if you can!

    Read More
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  107. annamaria says:
    @jacques sheete

    As for the sanctimonious preaching about “corrupt regime” in Russia, one wonders what country is the preacher from – Ukraine or Israel? Any sane American knows that the US Congress is hourly corrupt.
     
    The sanctimonious preaching really annoys me too. You are correct, as usual, about the US Congress, and Uri Avnery, a former Knesset member and Irgun fighter in his youth, has this to say about the corrupt Israeli regime.

    This week, a prestigious [Israeli] TV program aired an investigation, and the picture was shocking. The entire military and civilian environment seems to be infected by corruption, as in a failed African state.



    Uri Avnery, "Anyone But [the corrupt] Bibi" 12/08/17
    http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1502458442/
     

    The western leaders are no better.
    The face of evil: “Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was funded by a wealthy Arab state while serving as Middle East peace envoy, leaked emails seen by the Sunday Telegraph reveal.” https://www.rt.com/uk/399527-tony-blair-middle-east/
    “Blair also received millions in consultancy fees by the very same Arab state and the sovereign wealth fund of its capital, Abu Dhabi, raising questions over whether the New Labour founder had a conflict of interest. A spokeswoman for Blair dismissed the claims, insisting he “never used his Quartet role to pursue business interests” and “did no commercial work connected with the Israeli/Palestinian issue. … Blair had failed in his duty as a peace envoy because of the extensive business interests he had in the region. “Blair suffered from a perceived conflict of interests with his considerable array of business contacts, with governments and organizations and companies in the Middle East.”
    Cheney is capitalizing on his former position by eyeing the oil reserves of the Golan Heights. Obama the Fraud is capitalizing by collecting fees from the banksters. Blair the Pious is capitalizing by collecting fees from the wealthy Arab states… But the purists in a battle against corruption in Russia (barely recovered from the “purists”-approved shock economy) lose all their senses (smell included) re western governments.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Che Guava
    This is odd, since Hitchens was himself an avid Trotskyite.

    http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2017/08/corbyn-or-blair-guess-which-ones-the-real-marxist-menace.html

    . . . still, worth reading, although Hitchens is unable to name the particular 'Party' to which Bliar belonged.

    Would not be surprised if it was the same one as Mr. Hitchens, at a small remove in time.

    ISO, IIRC, but the stupid Trotskiists had so much infighting, the same party names meant different variations in different places, and the Japanese ones were all different, like Central Core Faction, Round Corner (or Corner Rounding), Release Faction (still going, near my home).

    Years (over ten) ago, I found a great infographic of stupid 'Fourth International' groups, didn't include any outside Western Europe and USA, but hilarious in a small way.
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  108. @peterAUS
    Getting interesting.

    A question:
    WHAT exactly the leadership of Soviet Union should've done differently,and WHEN ,to prevent the collapse of the Union?
    I guess we could agree that God himself couldn't have prevented the collapse of Communism?

    I guess we could agree that God himself couldn’t have prevented the collapse of Communism?

    There was NO “communism” in USSR after WWII. By 1960s it was something else entirely with elements of state capitalism and proto-market relations ranging from rent and apartment exchange market to underground “tzehoviki”. During Stalin’s time, as an example, 6% of Soviet GDP was produced by cooperative and artel movement and included such things as manufacturing of TVs and radios. So, “communism” was pretty much dead by 1960s by means of its “adaptation” to Russian conditions–that was inevitable.

    WHAT exactly the leadership of Soviet Union should’ve done differently,and WHEN ,to prevent the collapse of the Union?

    This is a billion dollar question which can not be answered within a single (or even very many) post on a discussion board. USSR, essentially, was “blown up” from its “national” fringes but I will not discuss here the origins of that, albeit I know a lot about it. But as I said, Gorbachov and his circle can hardly be called competent people.

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS

    USSR, essentially, was “blown up” from its “national” fringes but I will not discuss here the origins of that, albeit I know a lot about it.
     
    Well...why not discuss that?

    How about this (not my idea, of course, just read it somewhere), in a very crude form:
    Communist ideology replaced God, replaced Heaven with paradise on Earth.
    Couldn't deliver of course (can't be done....).
    Masses got surly; elites lost confidence in own ideology.
    A set of beliefs had to be replaced with....something.....
    Nationalism was the easiest choice (probably hard wired in humans).

    Or, perhaps, the nationalism was the only proper choice. That's the question isn't it, really?

    Or, better...did it appear out of something (I'd say human nature) out of masses....or....it was created by cynical elites seeking something to keep their power? I'd go for the former.

    Bang....no more USSR.

    I guess you can see what that ...theory....can lead to.

    Further breakup of Russian Federation if elites there don't address the quality of life of an average citizen.
    Not as implausible as we'd want to believe, IMHO.
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  109. annamaria says:
    @Eagle Eye

    Look, I’m not myopic enough to believe that a long protracted war with Russia is in anybody’s best interest.
     
    Actually, war with Russia, whether protracted or short, is definitely in the financial and ideological interest of many IMPORTANT people in the Military-Industrial-Media complex.

    Agree. The US has another “gift” for the EU and a real gift for MIC: “Moldova To Become Foothold For US Military” http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-13/moldova-become-foothold-us-military

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  110. annamaria says:
    @Eagle Eye

    The EU was obliged to talk by its treaties.
     
    In other words, the Eurocrat cabal concocted some pieces of paper to give themselves and their globalist masters a pretext for destabilizing a former Soviet republic and invade Russia's "near abroad."

    It is doubtful that the Eurocrat cabal had any independence from the State Dept. while concocting the pieces of paper. The EU has become a miserable vassal of the ziocon/MIC/baksters-ruled US.

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  111. JL says:
    @Felix Keverich

    So, you’re fine with a commodity export driven, nay, dependent, economy, but simultaneously complain that it’s harder to make money when the value of those exports drop in price by some 50%. Does that really make sense to you?
     
    Does it look like I'm complaining? I don't, I was just trying to explain the situation.

    Some people speak of "resource curse" and "the oil needle", but I don't see it that way. The ability to export commodities on international markets simply means a boost to country's trade and income. It does not make a country more corrupt and technologically backward, than it otherwise would have been. A "commodity-dependent economy" is an economy that responds to cycles in commodity markets. Those can give it a powerful boost when commodity prices are rising, but cause a "hangover" during downturns.

    Russia is always going be "commodity-dependent" since it will be exporting huge amounts of commodities. Oil prices will rise again, and competitive advantages that domestic manufacturers enjoy right now will evaporate, but on the other hand the Russian consumer will have more money to spend so on balance, the effect will be positive for domestic businesses. In the meantime, the country is simply missing out on good income, that's all. Unlike you, I don't see much of silver lining at all.

    Does it look like I’m complaining? I don’t, I was just trying to explain the situation.

    When you wrote that Russia should be like Australia and Canada because “they live well”, yes, it sounded like you were complaining. I happen to agree with you that being a large commodity exporter in and of itself is not a bad thing; if you’ve got it, use it. Furthermore, commodity price volatility can be modulated with counter-cyclical fiscal policy. Indeed, this is what allowed the Russian government to bail out the private sector after the 2008 crisis.

    What makes Russia different is the amount of resources it needs to devote to security (tbh, I feel silly even writing this, like pointing out that water is wet). By now it should be equally obvious that the geopolitical paradigm has changed. As such, it cannot rely on the import of anything from anywhere and it absolutely has to be self sufficient in all areas that matter, from food to energy to manufacturing.

    In short, Russia has no choice to but to update its economic model. It can no longer accumulate reserves to offset commodity price weakness. It needs to create and utilize domestic pools of liquidity for internal investment. In addition to state security, this will also help to cushion commodity price weakness. There’s no reason why the monetary authorities can’t create an environment whereby the Rouble remains relatively weak even if oil prices were to go up, or the government can’t continue to stimulate investment.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    What makes Russia different is the amount of resources it needs to devote to security (tbh, I feel silly even writing this, like pointing out that water is wet). By now it should be equally obvious that the geopolitical paradigm has changed. As such, it cannot rely on the import of anything from anywhere and it absolutely has to be self sufficient in all areas that matter, from food to energy to manufacturing.

    In short, Russia has no choice to but to update its economic model.
     

    That's easy for you to say. You don't actually have to live in this country. You will cheer on Russia from a safe distance, occasionally share you wisdom, while somebody else is making real sacrifices. No thanks!

    I sure don't want to see a return to Soviet-style economic autarky so that our government could pursue some sort of military parity with the US. To start, that simply isn't possible: Russia will go broke while trying to catch up to US military. Second, Russia doesn't need a parity with US to deter an agression: our present capabilities are more than adequate.


    There’s no reason why the monetary authorities can’t create an environment whereby the Rouble remains relatively weak even if oil prices were to go up, or the government can’t continue to stimulate investment.
     
    No, no, no. That's not like monetary policy works. Authorities cannot just create an enviroment to fix the rouble, certain rules must be always obeyed. For example, if the flow of petrodollars coming into the country is rising that puts pressure on the rouble to appreciate. The only real way to mitigate that is to create a financial flow in the opposite direction: by operating a soveregn wealth fund, that invests in securities abroad. I doubt that's what you had in mind.

    The government should also be extremely careful while trying to stimulate investment, because it's a pro-inflationary policy. High inflation tends to complicate long-term business planning. It makes long-term credit unaffordable. RCB understands that, that's why they are so obsessed with their inflation targets. They want low inflation so that the country could start developing a market for long-term credit.

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  112. annamaria says:

    Moon of Alabama is dressing up the sanctimonious US “liberals.” It is impossible to find this simple explanation on the MSM and on the modestly-presstituting sites like Truthdig. http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/08/charlottesville-what-you-wish-upon-others-you-wish-upon-yourself.html
    “U.S. “liberals” cuddle fascists and right-wing religious extremists in Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela and elsewhere. But when similar movements appear on their own streets they are outraged. The person in the center on the above picture drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville killing one and wounding several. Politicians and media hail such persons when they appear, often hired by the CIA, to overthrow the government of some foreign country. They condemn the same mindset and actions at home. But the glorification of right-wing violence elsewhere hands justification to right-wing groups at home.”

    Eyewitness account: http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/08/charlottesville-1-by-cvillereader.html
    “The last time I checked, the Virginia State Police and the Virginia National Guard are not small time operations. Both of them were on the scene and did nothing.
    And McAuliffe is on the record saying that the State had planned for months for this, and that he thought the policing of the protests was a success.
    Charlottesville City Council is up to their necks in this, and is dominated by Leftists. This includes the mayor, who was educated at Berkeley, teaches at UVa, and has long and deep connections with McAuliffe. They used this event as a way to score political points. Disgraceful.
    I will also point out that long after the police broke up the rally, and most of Unite the Right group had departed, they allowed Antifa and their supporters to roam the sidewalks and streets of downtown Charlottesville armed with bats and pepper spray. There is no explaining this away, because the internet is filled with videos that show this.” cvillereader

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  113. @Beckow
    If your point is that most of the fault was with the Ukrainian politicians, I agree. From Yanukovitch to the current leaders they have been inept. But Europe also has to think this through. They knew that the Association Treaty was simply unrealistic, that trade with Russia was essential for Ukraine, that it was going to backfire, that Ukraine was in a no-win situation. Why did they make it worse? It was EU decision and not Yanukovitch's to exclude Russia from the trade negotiations.

    Customs blockade was the only rational reaction any country could do - you can't expect Russia to unilaterally open its markets because Ukraine and EU were run by morons. Calling the customs blockade "arrogant' is a good example of the emotional idiocy like in Brussels. What has happened is that Russia got back Crimea and shifted the responsibility for subsidizing Ukraine to the West. Ukraine got a lot poorer, EU lost some very good markets, and a bunch of Western Ukrainians who have always hated the "Moskali', hate them even more right now. So? I think everyone lost here.

    Russia was no excluded. Russia had no right to be there.

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    • Replies: @Beckow
    Of course Russia had 'no right' to be at its own economic divorce with Ukraine, why would they have any rights? As in Sharia, the exceptional one declares 'I divorce you' (I think 3 times), and that's it. No 'right' for the unexceptional ones.

    And that's how the Western civilization slowly ends itself.

    , @annamaria
    "Russia had no right to be there."
    Let's have a lesson in geopolitical history. Below is the longest excerpt that I have ever posted, but it's worth it: http://thesaker.is/vassal-aristocracies-increasingly-resist-control-by-u-s-aristocracy/

    "A turning-point in escalating the weaponization of finance was reached in February 2014 when a Ukrainian coup that the Obama Administration had started planning by no later than 2011, culminated successfully in installing a rabidly anti-Russian government on Russia’s border, and precipitated the breakaway from Ukraine of two regions (Crimea and Donbass) that had voted overwhelmingly for the man the U.S. regime had just overthrown. This coup in Ukraine was the most direct aggressive act against Russia since the Cold War had ‘ended’ (it had actually ended on the Russian side, but not on the American side, where it continues) in 1991. During this coup in Kiev, on February 20th of 2014, hundreds of Crimeans, who had been peacefully demonstrating there with placards against this coup (which coup itself was very violent — against the police, not by them — the exact opposite of the way that “the Maidan demonstrations” had been portrayed in the Western press at the time), were attacked by the U.S.-paid thugs and scrambled back into their buses to return home to Crimea but were stopped en-route in central Ukraine and an uncounted number of them were massacred in the Ukrainian town of Korsun by the same group of thugs who had chased them out of Kiev.
    This massacre didn’t play well on local Crimean television. Immediately, a movement to secede and to again become a part of Russia started, and spread like wildfire in Crimea. (Crimea had been only involuntarily transferred from Russia to Ukraine by the Soviet dictator Khrushchev in 1954; it had been part of Russia for the hundreds of years prior to 1954. It was culturally Russian.) Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, said that if they’d vote for it in a referendum, then Russia would accept them back into the Russian Federation and provide them protection as Russian citizens. On 6 March 2014, U.S. President Obama issued “Executive Order — Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine”, and ignored the internationally recognized-in-law right of self-determination of peoples (though he recognized that right in Catalonia and in Scotland), and he instead simply declared that Ukraine’s “sovereignty” over Crimea was sacrosanct (even though it had been imposed upon Crimeans by the Soviet dictator — America’s enemy — in 1954, during the Soviet era, when America opposed, instead of favored and imposed, dictatorship around the world, except in Iran and Guatemala, where America imposed dictatorships even that early). Obama’s Executive Order was against unnamed “persons who have asserted governmental authority in the Crimean region without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine.” He insisted that the people who had just grabbed control of Ukraine and massacred Crimeans (his own Administration’s paid far-right Ukrainian thugs, who were racist anti-Russians), must be allowed to rule Crimea, regardless of what Crimeans (traditionally a part of Russia) might — and did — want.
    America’s vassal aristocracies then imposed their own sanctions against Russia when on 16 March 2014 Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to rejoin the Russian Federation."

    Obama the Fraud has been an obedient servant for the oligarchy and Lobby. Nothing else.
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  114. @inertial
    Putin and the siloviks may be idiots but your example doesn't show it. Look, Chinese banks have more money than God. Also, everyone wants to do business with China, so they can strong arm foreign banks into using their alternative to SWIFT. Even then, China didn't start working on their own system until 2013. Why would Russia, who doesn't nearly have China's financial pull, do it before China?

    Anyway, these alternatives to SWIFT amount to using SWIFT under license. They still pool statistics and to some extent cooperate on money laundering, less so with China, also the spiritual home of Bitcoin.

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  115. @utu
    Russia's banking system has SWIFT alternative ready
    https://www.rt.com/business/382017-russia-swift-central-bank/

    Russia Readies Back-Up System For Potential "Split With International Banking System"
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-25/russia-readies-back-system-potentially-explosive-split-international-banking-system

    Bank of Russia’s system for transfer of financial messages (SPFS)
    http://cyberft.com/about/comprasion/spfs

    Not really. It’s Swift under licence.

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    • Replies: @bb.
    could you please elaborate on the ''Swift under licence'' statement?
    I am no programmer so I only understand it poorly, but got more interested in the topic as of recent news. From what I gather from the cyberplat site (linked above by utu and me), it looks more problematic as a simple license switch, namely, the system doesn't work properly yet and has limited functionality and compatibility issues compared to the swift. If it was a licensed product, I would assume it would be more...complete. Furthermore, it looks like the company was working on some domestic system or subsystems for a long time now.
    Also, still going by recent news, could the blockchain tech substitute swift? I know this isn't news only in Russia(all major banks are rushing to commercialize it), but it's CB was the first to officially flirt with it.
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  116. Che Guava says:
    @annamaria
    The western leaders are no better.
    The face of evil: "Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was funded by a wealthy Arab state while serving as Middle East peace envoy, leaked emails seen by the Sunday Telegraph reveal." https://www.rt.com/uk/399527-tony-blair-middle-east/
    "Blair also received millions in consultancy fees by the very same Arab state and the sovereign wealth fund of its capital, Abu Dhabi, raising questions over whether the New Labour founder had a conflict of interest. A spokeswoman for Blair dismissed the claims, insisting he “never used his Quartet role to pursue business interests” and “did no commercial work connected with the Israeli/Palestinian issue. ... Blair had failed in his duty as a peace envoy because of the extensive business interests he had in the region. “Blair suffered from a perceived conflict of interests with his considerable array of business contacts, with governments and organizations and companies in the Middle East."
    Cheney is capitalizing on his former position by eyeing the oil reserves of the Golan Heights. Obama the Fraud is capitalizing by collecting fees from the banksters. Blair the Pious is capitalizing by collecting fees from the wealthy Arab states... But the purists in a battle against corruption in Russia (barely recovered from the "purists"-approved shock economy) lose all their senses (smell included) re western governments.

    This is odd, since Hitchens was himself an avid Trotskyite.

    http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2017/08/corbyn-or-blair-guess-which-ones-the-real-marxist-menace.html

    . . . still, worth reading, although Hitchens is unable to name the particular ‘Party’ to which Bliar belonged.

    Would not be surprised if it was the same one as Mr. Hitchens, at a small remove in time.

    ISO, IIRC, but the stupid Trotskiists had so much infighting, the same party names meant different variations in different places, and the Japanese ones were all different, like Central Core Faction, Round Corner (or Corner Rounding), Release Faction (still going, near my home).

    Years (over ten) ago, I found a great infographic of stupid ‘Fourth International’ groups, didn’t include any outside Western Europe and USA, but hilarious in a small way.

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  117. @JL

    Does it look like I’m complaining? I don’t, I was just trying to explain the situation.
     
    When you wrote that Russia should be like Australia and Canada because "they live well", yes, it sounded like you were complaining. I happen to agree with you that being a large commodity exporter in and of itself is not a bad thing; if you've got it, use it. Furthermore, commodity price volatility can be modulated with counter-cyclical fiscal policy. Indeed, this is what allowed the Russian government to bail out the private sector after the 2008 crisis.

    What makes Russia different is the amount of resources it needs to devote to security (tbh, I feel silly even writing this, like pointing out that water is wet). By now it should be equally obvious that the geopolitical paradigm has changed. As such, it cannot rely on the import of anything from anywhere and it absolutely has to be self sufficient in all areas that matter, from food to energy to manufacturing.

    In short, Russia has no choice to but to update its economic model. It can no longer accumulate reserves to offset commodity price weakness. It needs to create and utilize domestic pools of liquidity for internal investment. In addition to state security, this will also help to cushion commodity price weakness. There's no reason why the monetary authorities can't create an environment whereby the Rouble remains relatively weak even if oil prices were to go up, or the government can't continue to stimulate investment.

    What makes Russia different is the amount of resources it needs to devote to security (tbh, I feel silly even writing this, like pointing out that water is wet). By now it should be equally obvious that the geopolitical paradigm has changed. As such, it cannot rely on the import of anything from anywhere and it absolutely has to be self sufficient in all areas that matter, from food to energy to manufacturing.

    In short, Russia has no choice to but to update its economic model.

    That’s easy for you to say. You don’t actually have to live in this country. You will cheer on Russia from a safe distance, occasionally share you wisdom, while somebody else is making real sacrifices. No thanks!

    I sure don’t want to see a return to Soviet-style economic autarky so that our government could pursue some sort of military parity with the US. To start, that simply isn’t possible: Russia will go broke while trying to catch up to US military. Second, Russia doesn’t need a parity with US to deter an agression: our present capabilities are more than adequate.

    There’s no reason why the monetary authorities can’t create an environment whereby the Rouble remains relatively weak even if oil prices were to go up, or the government can’t continue to stimulate investment.

    No, no, no. That’s not like monetary policy works. Authorities cannot just create an enviroment to fix the rouble, certain rules must be always obeyed. For example, if the flow of petrodollars coming into the country is rising that puts pressure on the rouble to appreciate. The only real way to mitigate that is to create a financial flow in the opposite direction: by operating a soveregn wealth fund, that invests in securities abroad. I doubt that’s what you had in mind.

    The government should also be extremely careful while trying to stimulate investment, because it’s a pro-inflationary policy. High inflation tends to complicate long-term business planning. It makes long-term credit unaffordable. RCB understands that, that’s why they are so obsessed with their inflation targets. They want low inflation so that the country could start developing a market for long-term credit.

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    • Replies: @JL
    I get it, you're a monetarist religious fanatic. The thing is, though, the problems in Russia's economy that lead to high inflation are structural, not monetary. As such, monetary policy alone will not solve the inflation issue. So the RCB is stuck, without fiscal and legal reform, between a choice of higher inflation and higher growth, or the opposite. By obsessing over inflation, they are sacrificing economic growth.

    The government should also be extremely careful while trying to stimulate investment, because it’s a pro-inflationary policy.
     
    This is not necessarily true, and your dogmatic approach negates the rest of what you wrote. Essentially, you are still putting the monetary cart before the horse. Think of it this way, if a company's borrowing costs are lower, they can charge less for their products. How is that inflationary? And if monetarism works so well, why does Russia lower interest rates when the economy is improving, and raise them during recession? I assume you are aware that that's the opposite of the way developed economies operate.

    I sure don’t want to see a return to Soviet-style economic autarky so that our government could pursue some sort of military parity with the US. To start, that simply isn’t possible: Russia will go broke while trying to catch up to US military. Second, Russia doesn’t need a parity with US to deter an agression: our present capabilities are more than adequate.
     
    This is a straw man argument, I certainly never suggested such a thing. You should realize how Russia gained its "present capabilities". Your hero Kudrin resigned, ostensibly over military expenditures, and subsequent events proved how wrong he was. Russia doesn't need parity with the US, nor can it achieve such, but a proper deterrence is absolutely essential. It is also, unfortunately, very expensive.

    You don’t actually have to live in this country... while somebody else is making real sacrifices. No thanks!
     
    Newsflash: You don't have to live in this country, either! Russia is not the Soviet Union, you don't need an exit visa, the MVD just shortened the time for issuance of international passports, the road to SVO is wide open, and its runways are fully operational. So, unless you are a wanted criminal, have large unpaid debts, or are privy to classified information, by all means, to paraphrase: ticket, suitcase, airport.

    What you call sacrifices, others would call tradeoffs. In my opinion, the idea that it is unacceptable to forego a certain amount of material wealth today for a more stable, prosperous future is a large reason the Western world finds itself in such a state of crisis. I'd like to think Russians, who can take pain and sacrifice like nobody's business, can deal with a bit less purchasing power, and god forbid, no French cheese, so that they withstand external pressure in the future to develop as they see fit.

    Pretty much everyone is materially worse off today than they were in 2014. But there have been a lot of positive developments. For one thing, there seems to be more social cohesion. It's not as much everyman for himself. Russians also have a great knack for artisanal goods. A good portion of the Russian products that have replaced Western imports is of higher quality; domestically produced organic food, cosmetics, electrical equipment, you name it, this stuff either wasn't available before or wasn't competitive on price.


    You will cheer on Russia from a safe distance
     
    Well, at a safe distance from the MKAD, anyway.
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  118. @utu
    everybody knew everything already then–nothing could be done

    what Moscow was doing (or rather what it was not doing) was already well-known then.

    What if it was decided somewhere in the deepest part of the deep state that the plug would be pulled off from the experiment called the USSR? They simply lost their faith in the system or it was a plan from the very beginning. The bankers who bankrolled the Bolshevik revolution in the first place decided that it was enough. They wanted more profit from the initial investment. You comrades have accomplished what we wanted. You have destroyed the spirituality of Russia and Russian people and modernized them by turning them into homo sovieticus from which is only one step to the rootless worker drones in the neoliberal system. Now the World is safe. No more threat from the Third Rome, the Christian Empire in the East.

    Nobody was able to come up with a Third Way. Nobody was really trying. Things were falling apart. Poland was running a beta version where things were being tested how to transition to the new system. It was rough. Nothing seemed to work. How to do it w/o killing too many people? How do it w/o loosing your own life and lives of your associates and your wealth and influence. Jaruzelski and his people met Rockefeller in New York in 1985 when his post martial law regime was still not recognized by the US. The most important part for the communist apparatus was their safety and security. The new regime, whatever it would be, had to guarantee it and furthermore they wanted to be a part of the action. In particular the power departments like security services of the communist apparatus wanted to lead the transformation into capitalism. They were the only ones who had a know-how about running banks, making international transactions, operating shell corporations from Switzerland, Luxembourg and tax heavens. They had connections and they could make everything happened within Russia and Eastern Block. So the Western bankers were dealing with them. They, the members of KGB and GRU were the agents of change. At the same time foreign security services were taking loyalty oaths from some communist security services operatives. The agencies became penetrated by CIA, Mossad and MI5.

    And then the orgy of looting and de-industrialization began.

    What if it was decided somewhere in the deepest part of the deep state that the plug would be pulled off from the experiment called the USSR? They simply lost their faith in the system or it was a plan from the very beginning.

    They realized what treasure they had on their hands and how they can become very very wealthy. FYI, first serious pure “capitalist”, purely profit driven, ventures started in mid-1980s within safe realms of Komsomol–it was stepping stone for many Komsomol and, obviously, Party activists (behind the scene–in the end these were Party obkoms, under Central Committee watchful eye, which sanctioned Komsomol’s entrepreneurship) towards “real” capitalism. Centers such as NTTM (Scientific-Technical Youth’s Creativity Centers). Russian Oligarchy of 1990s emerged namely from those places. KGB and MVD were a separate story.

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  119. bb. says:
    @Philip Owen
    Not really. It's Swift under licence.

    could you please elaborate on the ”Swift under licence” statement?
    I am no programmer so I only understand it poorly, but got more interested in the topic as of recent news. From what I gather from the cyberplat site (linked above by utu and me), it looks more problematic as a simple license switch, namely, the system doesn’t work properly yet and has limited functionality and compatibility issues compared to the swift. If it was a licensed product, I would assume it would be more…complete. Furthermore, it looks like the company was working on some domestic system or subsystems for a long time now.
    Also, still going by recent news, could the blockchain tech substitute swift? I know this isn’t news only in Russia(all major banks are rushing to commercialize it), but it’s CB was the first to officially flirt with it.

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  120. Beckow says:
    @Philip Owen
    Russia was no excluded. Russia had no right to be there.

    Of course Russia had ‘no right’ to be at its own economic divorce with Ukraine, why would they have any rights? As in Sharia, the exceptional one declares ‘I divorce you’ (I think 3 times), and that’s it. No ‘right’ for the unexceptional ones.

    And that’s how the Western civilization slowly ends itself.

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  121. @Andrei Martyanov

    He means that when commodity prices inevitably go back up, the rubl will go up in value,
     
    Russia's expertise and true competitiveness are in her restoration of state control (a drawn out process) over key industries such as energy (extraction and production), aerospace, MIC. These are the main drivers of Russia's current and future development and growth which depend on commodities (prices) only indirectly. These are industrial sectors which are effectively singled out as key strategic industries and rightly so. For people who never had to deal with Soviet MIC (I dealt with it a lot) or with Russian one it is really difficult to understand what is in it and how it relates to Russian economy as a whole. Most of cutting edge technologies, with some exceptions of course, are produced within MIC not only in Russia, but in US and in EU. These were actually anomalous 1990s in Russia which proved it beyond the shade of a doubt. There IS a good understanding of that in Putin's circle--it is easily observable. Results also speak for themselves, some of them spectacular.

    Russia’s expertise and true competitiveness are in her restoration of state control (a drawn out process) over key industries such as energy (extraction and production), aerospace, MIC. These are the main drivers of Russia’s current and future development and growth which depend on commodities (prices) only indirectly.

    A few points:

    1. An “expertise” in seizing a business doesn’t necessarily translate into ability to run it successfully. Rosneft with its stagnating oil output, and depressed marketcap is a glaring example.
    2. There is nothing to support your claim that state-contolled enterprises are more competitive.
    3. MIC is not a center of profit in the economy, it is a center of cost. Its main customer is the government, government derives its income from taxes, taxes have to be extracted from the private sector in order to sustain MIC. For government officials it’s plain delusion to think that they are “developing economy” by ordering more tanks. What they really do is transfer wealth from the more productive sectors of the economy into less productive, with a lot of waste and corruption in the process.

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    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    You probably forgot who ran and developed all those businesses before they were stolen, pardon me, privatized. So far it looks like state owned and ledindustries performed far when they were state owned unless you count as success buying sport clubs and super yachts from proceeds.
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  122. @Andrei Martyanov

    No offence, but Rozhin is a better analyst than you are
     
    Non taken.

    it to Kremlin’s foreign policy in Ukraine.
     
    As I said not for once, Mr. Rozhin lacks a serious foundation which would allow him to assess Russia's capabilities across the board (economic, military etc.), not to speak of a dynamics (change) of those capabilities and resources depending on the geopolitical dynamics. I, certainly, wouldn't object to you basing your views on "analysis" of Rozhin as opposed to my albeit I will have to somehow learn with it;-)

    Mr. Rozhin lacks a serious foundation which would allow him to assess Russia’s capabilities across the board (economic, military etc.), not to speak of a dynamics (change) of those capabilities and resources depending on the geopolitical dynamics.

    LMAO is that the best you can do? You could challenge Rozhin’s analysis, but impugning his credentials in this fashion is just lame. You think only qualified people can share an opinion on foreign policy issues? And what are your credentials btw? I hope it’s not classified ;)

    Look, it doesn’t take a “serious foundation” to realise that Kremlin made a terrible mess of Ukraine. You just need to open your eyes and see it. You could try it sometime.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    You think only qualified people can share an opinion on foreign policy issues? And what are your credentials btw? I hope it’s not classified
     
    Here is an excerpt from my Curriculum Vitae.

    EDUCATION
    1980-1985
    Caspian High Naval Red Banner Academy of S.M. Kirov (KVVMKU im. Kirova), now defunct, Baku, USSR. Navigational Faculty. Master Of Science, Naval Engineering, Specialist in Gyro-Inertial Navigational Complexes of Naval Strategic Missile Systems (focus on strategic missile submarines of projects 667B-BD, NATO: SSBNs Delta I & II class). Secondary specialty: commanding officer tactical units of naval infantry (marines). Undergraduate degree in Military Sciences.

    I omit here another "funny" officer school but it is irrelevant. So, yes, I am not really interested in opinions of hacks, because while they may have an opinion, they can not have a sound judgement. Just to give you some "feel" of "credentials", among my classmates several COs of nuclear and diesel-electric submarines, Chiefs of Staffs of serious naval formations, some, actually, occupied positions which required graduation of General Staff Academy (as they did graduate it), Professors which taught in Kuznetsov Academy (Russian equivalent of Naval War College), some commanded formations in First and Second Wars in Chechnya. Are those in a ball park? Are they good enough? I myself took part in some funny business in Caucasus, apart from serving on the ships and eventually, before being taken out of service for a health reasons, ended a Flag Specialist (F-1) of Separate Brigade of the ships. I don't know, maybe it is just me, but somehow I am not impressed with Mr. Rozhin's "analysis".


    Look, it doesn’t take a “serious foundation”
     
    Oh yes, it does, my dear. If Rozhin tells you differently--good luck. But this is classified, all right;)

    that Kremlin made a terrible mess of Ukraine.
     
    Really? I may be out of my shape today but somehow I thought for the last three years that these were Ukrainians themselves, "assisted" by US State Department and EU smooth operators (plus a host of all kinds of "intelligence" organizations) who "made it", not Kremlin. But again, what do I know, really.
    , @annamaria
    "Kremlin made a terrible mess of Ukraine. You just need to open your eyes and see it."

    You mean this? -- "A turning-point in escalating the weaponization of finance was reached in February 2014 when a Ukrainian coup that the Obama Administration had started planning by no later than 2011, culminated successfully in installing a rabidly anti-Russian government on Russia’s border, and precipitated the breakaway from Ukraine of two regions (Crimea and Donbass) that had voted overwhelmingly for the man the U.S. regime had just overthrown. This coup in Ukraine was the most direct aggressive act against Russia since the Cold War had ended." http://thesaker.is/vassal-aristocracies-increasingly-resist-control-by-u-s-aristocracy/
    What kind of secret information do you have to refute the apparent picture of the US malicious meddling? This forum is no ziocons' nest; for such you need to go to Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. For some mysterious reasons, you hope that UNZ readers read only the CIA-approved propaganda on MSM. This is an unsubstantiated hope. People on this forum do not trust Douglas Feith but trust Robert Perry: "The Mess that Nuland Made:" https://consortiumnews.com/2015/07/13/the-mess-that-nuland-made/
    We also prefer Philip Giraldi over Bill Kristol and Judy Miller: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2014/02/22/philip-giraldi-on-the-neocons-ukraine-russia-and-the-oligarchs/
    Nobody pressured Nuland-Kagan and McCain to fraternize with Ukrainian neo-Nazis. Or you think that it is wrong to believe our lying eyes and instead we " just need to open" our eyes and "see it" your ways - the very bad Russians attacking the "democracy on the march" in Ukraine. In reality, we see the well-documented (and obvious to all sane people) ziocons-designed, Odessa-massacre-flavored, CIA-directed civil war on a border with Russian Federation, thousands of miles away from the US. Just another bloody regime change. The US-made regime changes always have certain enthusiastic apologists to explain how the "others" are to blame for the destruction of a given country and for the massive death of civilians. Are you sure that people do not remember the story of Iraq and Libya? (Mossadeq is rather far away in time). Sure Putin is hated... particularly by Israel-firsters, for his "misbehavior" in the sovereign Syria. Is not this so, Mr. Felix Keverich?

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  123. Beckow says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    He means that when commodity prices inevitably go back up, the rubl will go up in value,
     
    Russia's expertise and true competitiveness are in her restoration of state control (a drawn out process) over key industries such as energy (extraction and production), aerospace, MIC. These are the main drivers of Russia's current and future development and growth which depend on commodities (prices) only indirectly. These are industrial sectors which are effectively singled out as key strategic industries and rightly so. For people who never had to deal with Soviet MIC (I dealt with it a lot) or with Russian one it is really difficult to understand what is in it and how it relates to Russian economy as a whole. Most of cutting edge technologies, with some exceptions of course, are produced within MIC not only in Russia, but in US and in EU. These were actually anomalous 1990s in Russia which proved it beyond the shade of a doubt. There IS a good understanding of that in Putin's circle--it is easily observable. Results also speak for themselves, some of them spectacular.

    Russia is economically a lot stronger than the perceptions in the West. It has to be, just by listing the obvious assets: resources, energy, enormous landmass, fresh water, educated population, high-tech space, nuclear and military industry, etc… Western elites know this, so they simultaneously try to get their hands on Russia’s assets, and try to badmouth and minimize those assets in the media. That strategy is as old as mankind.

    It is not a good idea to tell the others what you want. Smart humans have learned over thousands of years that hiding one’s motivations is the key to eventually getting what you want. So Western elites lie and it is understandable. Russians know it.

    But Russia also needs high-quality consumer goods, including housing, food, cars, electronics, etc… MIC only takes you so far. This is perfectly doable with a combination of Asian trade, selective European trade, and better domestic production. EU has shot itself in the foot by restricting its own trade with Russia. The catastrophic results will only come in the next 5-10 years – it takes time to reorient an economy. Resources rich Russia with a large consumer market combined with export-driven and resources poor EU were a perfect fit. That is gone now. People know when you don’t like them, so they won’t buy from you.

    We are dealing with stupid people with heavy emotional baggage (e.g. Poles, see Donald Tusk for a prime example). This is a downward spiral. Blaming Washington is pointless, they are not micro-managing it and would get nowhere without EU’s own morons in Brussels. Well, if they prefer a semi-African, semi-Asian, ‘vibrant’ end-of-line comfort, how can one argue with that? At some point stupidity becomes irreversible.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Russia is economically a lot stronger than the perceptions in the West
     
    I elaborate on this premise a lot here:

    http://www.unz.com/article/assessing-russias-military-strength/

    I agree.
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  124. @Felix Keverich

    Russia’s expertise and true competitiveness are in her restoration of state control (a drawn out process) over key industries such as energy (extraction and production), aerospace, MIC. These are the main drivers of Russia’s current and future development and growth which depend on commodities (prices) only indirectly.
     
    A few points:

    1. An "expertise" in seizing a business doesn't necessarily translate into ability to run it successfully. Rosneft with its stagnating oil output, and depressed marketcap is a glaring example.
    2. There is nothing to support your claim that state-contolled enterprises are more competitive.
    3. MIC is not a center of profit in the economy, it is a center of cost. Its main customer is the government, government derives its income from taxes, taxes have to be extracted from the private sector in order to sustain MIC. For government officials it's plain delusion to think that they are "developing economy" by ordering more tanks. What they really do is transfer wealth from the more productive sectors of the economy into less productive, with a lot of waste and corruption in the process.

    You probably forgot who ran and developed all those businesses before they were stolen, pardon me, privatized. So far it looks like state owned and ledindustries performed far when they were state owned unless you count as success buying sport clubs and super yachts from proceeds.

    Read More
    • Agree: Andrei Martyanov
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    You probably forgot who ran and developed all those businesses before they were stolen, pardon me, privatized.
     
    It was not Sechin and co who built the Russian oil industry, that's for sure. "Siloviki" are not entitled to this property. But you're missing the point. I cannot help, but marvel at the thinking that putting corrupt bureaucracy in charge of companies is what delivers economic growth.
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  125. @Felix Keverich

    Mr. Rozhin lacks a serious foundation which would allow him to assess Russia’s capabilities across the board (economic, military etc.), not to speak of a dynamics (change) of those capabilities and resources depending on the geopolitical dynamics.

     

    LMAO is that the best you can do? You could challenge Rozhin's analysis, but impugning his credentials in this fashion is just lame. You think only qualified people can share an opinion on foreign policy issues? And what are your credentials btw? I hope it's not classified ;)

    Look, it doesn't take a "serious foundation" to realise that Kremlin made a terrible mess of Ukraine. You just need to open your eyes and see it. You could try it sometime.

    You think only qualified people can share an opinion on foreign policy issues? And what are your credentials btw? I hope it’s not classified

    Here is an excerpt from my Curriculum Vitae.

    EDUCATION
    1980-1985
    Caspian High Naval Red Banner Academy of S.M. Kirov (KVVMKU im. Kirova), now defunct, Baku, USSR. Navigational Faculty. Master Of Science, Naval Engineering, Specialist in Gyro-Inertial Navigational Complexes of Naval Strategic Missile Systems (focus on strategic missile submarines of projects 667B-BD, NATO: SSBNs Delta I & II class). Secondary specialty: commanding officer tactical units of naval infantry (marines). Undergraduate degree in Military Sciences.

    I omit here another “funny” officer school but it is irrelevant. So, yes, I am not really interested in opinions of hacks, because while they may have an opinion, they can not have a sound judgement. Just to give you some “feel” of “credentials”, among my classmates several COs of nuclear and diesel-electric submarines, Chiefs of Staffs of serious naval formations, some, actually, occupied positions which required graduation of General Staff Academy (as they did graduate it), Professors which taught in Kuznetsov Academy (Russian equivalent of Naval War College), some commanded formations in First and Second Wars in Chechnya. Are those in a ball park? Are they good enough? I myself took part in some funny business in Caucasus, apart from serving on the ships and eventually, before being taken out of service for a health reasons, ended a Flag Specialist (F-1) of Separate Brigade of the ships. I don’t know, maybe it is just me, but somehow I am not impressed with Mr. Rozhin’s “analysis”.

    Look, it doesn’t take a “serious foundation”

    Oh yes, it does, my dear. If Rozhin tells you differently–good luck. But this is classified, all right;)

    that Kremlin made a terrible mess of Ukraine.

    Really? I may be out of my shape today but somehow I thought for the last three years that these were Ukrainians themselves, “assisted” by US State Department and EU smooth operators (plus a host of all kinds of “intelligence” organizations) who “made it”, not Kremlin. But again, what do I know, really.

    Read More
    • Agree: Sergey Krieger
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    I myself took part in some funny business in Caucasus, apart from serving on the ships and eventually, before being taken out of service for a health reasons, ended a Flag Specialist (F-1) of Separate Brigade of the ships.

     

    This is all very good, but I don't see a whole lot of international expertise in your CV. You may well be an expert in naval development, but that doesn't give you the authority to write about foreign policy, certainly not enough authority to look down on Rozhin.

    I may be out of my shape today but somehow I thought for the last three years that these were Ukrainians themselves, “assisted” by US State Department and EU smooth operators (plus a host of all kinds of “intelligence” organizations) who “made it”, not Kremlin.
     
    Forget about Ukrainians, they are in great pain, obviously, but I find little solace here. Can you really say with a straight face that what is happening in Ukraine does not affect Russia's interests in a negative way? They are erasing every trace of Russian influence in Ukraine: political, economic and cultural. And Kremlin allowed this to happen.

    Meanwhile, Americans are expanding their presence in the country, building a naval facility etc. It doesn't matter that US facility will be small, what matters is escalating American footprint in Russia's soft underbelly. Rozhin thinks it's a problem. So do I. What about you?

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  126. @Beckow
    Russia is economically a lot stronger than the perceptions in the West. It has to be, just by listing the obvious assets: resources, energy, enormous landmass, fresh water, educated population, high-tech space, nuclear and military industry, etc... Western elites know this, so they simultaneously try to get their hands on Russia's assets, and try to badmouth and minimize those assets in the media. That strategy is as old as mankind.

    It is not a good idea to tell the others what you want. Smart humans have learned over thousands of years that hiding one's motivations is the key to eventually getting what you want. So Western elites lie and it is understandable. Russians know it.

    But Russia also needs high-quality consumer goods, including housing, food, cars, electronics, etc... MIC only takes you so far. This is perfectly doable with a combination of Asian trade, selective European trade, and better domestic production. EU has shot itself in the foot by restricting its own trade with Russia. The catastrophic results will only come in the next 5-10 years - it takes time to reorient an economy. Resources rich Russia with a large consumer market combined with export-driven and resources poor EU were a perfect fit. That is gone now. People know when you don't like them, so they won't buy from you.

    We are dealing with stupid people with heavy emotional baggage (e.g. Poles, see Donald Tusk for a prime example). This is a downward spiral. Blaming Washington is pointless, they are not micro-managing it and would get nowhere without EU's own morons in Brussels. Well, if they prefer a semi-African, semi-Asian, 'vibrant' end-of-line comfort, how can one argue with that? At some point stupidity becomes irreversible.

    Russia is economically a lot stronger than the perceptions in the West

    I elaborate on this premise a lot here:

    http://www.unz.com/article/assessing-russias-military-strength/

    I agree.

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  127. @Sergey Krieger
    You probably forgot who ran and developed all those businesses before they were stolen, pardon me, privatized. So far it looks like state owned and ledindustries performed far when they were state owned unless you count as success buying sport clubs and super yachts from proceeds.

    You probably forgot who ran and developed all those businesses before they were stolen, pardon me, privatized.

    It was not Sechin and co who built the Russian oil industry, that’s for sure. “Siloviki” are not entitled to this property. But you’re missing the point. I cannot help, but marvel at the thinking that putting corrupt bureaucracy in charge of companies is what delivers economic growth.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    That's different story. I am talking about origins of all those industries. They were not founded by some entrepreneurs but by Soviet state. Entrepreneurs broke most factories apart an sold for scrap. As Marx noted there is no difference for capitalists how to make money given high return on investment. If this requires to destroy they will destroy.
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  128. @Andrei Martyanov

    You think only qualified people can share an opinion on foreign policy issues? And what are your credentials btw? I hope it’s not classified
     
    Here is an excerpt from my Curriculum Vitae.

    EDUCATION
    1980-1985
    Caspian High Naval Red Banner Academy of S.M. Kirov (KVVMKU im. Kirova), now defunct, Baku, USSR. Navigational Faculty. Master Of Science, Naval Engineering, Specialist in Gyro-Inertial Navigational Complexes of Naval Strategic Missile Systems (focus on strategic missile submarines of projects 667B-BD, NATO: SSBNs Delta I & II class). Secondary specialty: commanding officer tactical units of naval infantry (marines). Undergraduate degree in Military Sciences.

    I omit here another "funny" officer school but it is irrelevant. So, yes, I am not really interested in opinions of hacks, because while they may have an opinion, they can not have a sound judgement. Just to give you some "feel" of "credentials", among my classmates several COs of nuclear and diesel-electric submarines, Chiefs of Staffs of serious naval formations, some, actually, occupied positions which required graduation of General Staff Academy (as they did graduate it), Professors which taught in Kuznetsov Academy (Russian equivalent of Naval War College), some commanded formations in First and Second Wars in Chechnya. Are those in a ball park? Are they good enough? I myself took part in some funny business in Caucasus, apart from serving on the ships and eventually, before being taken out of service for a health reasons, ended a Flag Specialist (F-1) of Separate Brigade of the ships. I don't know, maybe it is just me, but somehow I am not impressed with Mr. Rozhin's "analysis".


    Look, it doesn’t take a “serious foundation”
     
    Oh yes, it does, my dear. If Rozhin tells you differently--good luck. But this is classified, all right;)

    that Kremlin made a terrible mess of Ukraine.
     
    Really? I may be out of my shape today but somehow I thought for the last three years that these were Ukrainians themselves, "assisted" by US State Department and EU smooth operators (plus a host of all kinds of "intelligence" organizations) who "made it", not Kremlin. But again, what do I know, really.

    I myself took part in some funny business in Caucasus, apart from serving on the ships and eventually, before being taken out of service for a health reasons, ended a Flag Specialist (F-1) of Separate Brigade of the ships.

    This is all very good, but I don’t see a whole lot of international expertise in your CV. You may well be an expert in naval development, but that doesn’t give you the authority to write about foreign policy, certainly not enough authority to look down on Rozhin.

    I may be out of my shape today but somehow I thought for the last three years that these were Ukrainians themselves, “assisted” by US State Department and EU smooth operators (plus a host of all kinds of “intelligence” organizations) who “made it”, not Kremlin.

    Forget about Ukrainians, they are in great pain, obviously, but I find little solace here. Can you really say with a straight face that what is happening in Ukraine does not affect Russia’s interests in a negative way? They are erasing every trace of Russian influence in Ukraine: political, economic and cultural. And Kremlin allowed this to happen.

    Meanwhile, Americans are expanding their presence in the country, building a naval facility etc. It doesn’t matter that US facility will be small, what matters is escalating American footprint in Russia’s soft underbelly. Rozhin thinks it’s a problem. So do I. What about you?

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS
    “Westerner”

    Look, it doesn’t take a “serious foundation” to realise that Kremlin made a terrible mess of Ukraine. You just need to open your eyes and see it.
     
    “Easterner”

    Really? I may be out of my shape today but somehow I thought for the last three years that these were Ukrainians themselves, “assisted” by US State Department and EU smooth operators (plus a host of all kinds of “intelligence” organizations) who “made it”, not Kremlin.
     
    “Westerner”

    Can you really say with a straight face that what is happening in Ukraine does not affect Russia’s interests in a negative way? They are erasing every trace of Russian influence in Ukraine: political, economic and cultural. And Kremlin allowed this to happen.
    Meanwhile, Americans are expanding their presence in the country, building a naval facility etc. It doesn’t matter that US facility will be small, what matters is escalating American footprint in Russia’s soft underbelly. Rozhin thinks it’s a problem. So do I.
     
    “Easterner”
    …not yet posted but could go as:
    -Russia showed resolution, speed and strength.
    -Putin showed great leadership
    -West got overextended and lost high moral ground
    -Russia is reorganizing own great capabilities
    -etc…etc…

    Seen this countless of times all over the Internet. And, experienced in face to face/phone/whatever conversations.

    And, in my experience, no way in Hell either will change his/her position for a millimeter.

    Maybe thinking about “why is that” could make an interesting conversation?
    , @Sergey Krieger
    Ukraine is committing suicide by doing what they are doing. Eventually it will be torn to pieces. Ukraine simply cannot exist as viable independent entity without Russia.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    This is all very good, but I don’t see a whole lot of international expertise in your CV. You may well be an expert in naval development, but that doesn’t give you the authority to write about foreign policy, certainly not enough authority to look down on Rozhin.
     
    I am also "an expert" (hate those terms) in issues of military doctrines (look up what doctrines and international relations have in common--they are two sides of the same coin) with peers,( including from the US) appreciating my views but, frankly, I don't care about Rozhin, I don't care about his "analysis", I don't even know his background. His BS was called out not by me only and after the FUBAR with "Putinvseslil" with Vlad Shurigin (unlike Rozhin, Vlad is tightly connected to to some serious military people) publishing interview with North Wind--I see no reason to discuss anymore all this amateurish BS. Manuscript for my book is currently under consideration, and if it accepted for publication I will send you a copy--the book is precisely about profound differences between professionals and amateurs, and, on the example of US "elites" demonstrates a scale of catastrophe which unfolds when ignoramuses pretend to know better.
    , @A22
    The Ruble probably will not appreciate again to its previous highs again since I do not see oil prices doubling. So manipulating the value of the currency is not that pressing of an issue, I think.

    What I understood from your replies regarding the economy is that you are against protectionism. If that is the case, how do you think Russia can stand up to Western economic bullying (Military aggression is not that big of issue, I agree.) ?
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  129. peterAUS says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    Sorry to interfere, but Soviet government most correctly party elite which occupied top positions with Gorbachov at the time were culprits in ussr destruction. Before arrival of Gorbachov there were some small managable issues which every country can have. He either purposefully or put of sheer stupidity destroyed the pillars that hold the country together. It is unbelievable for one who has not lived through that mad house.

    …Soviet government most correctly party elite which occupied top positions with Gorbachov at the time were culprits in ussr destruction.

    Be that as it may, the question still remains valid:
    What that top elite with Gorbachev could have done to prevent breakup of USSR?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    What prevent. He made it happen. But here the clue, he should have done nothing at all, just let system work. Without him undermining every pillar nothing would happen. USSR was doing just fine.
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  130. @Felix Keverich

    You probably forgot who ran and developed all those businesses before they were stolen, pardon me, privatized.
     
    It was not Sechin and co who built the Russian oil industry, that's for sure. "Siloviki" are not entitled to this property. But you're missing the point. I cannot help, but marvel at the thinking that putting corrupt bureaucracy in charge of companies is what delivers economic growth.

    That’s different story. I am talking about origins of all those industries. They were not founded by some entrepreneurs but by Soviet state. Entrepreneurs broke most factories apart an sold for scrap. As Marx noted there is no difference for capitalists how to make money given high return on investment. If this requires to destroy they will destroy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    If a firm or country fails at the task of creative destruction it stagnated. 500 years of Dutch/British capitalism has given us all better health, longer, safer lives, less violence and more wealth. May creative destruction continue. USSR stagnated in the late 1970's at the latest, well before Gorbachaev. It was over by 1980.
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  131. peterAUS says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    I guess we could agree that God himself couldn’t have prevented the collapse of Communism?
     
    There was NO "communism" in USSR after WWII. By 1960s it was something else entirely with elements of state capitalism and proto-market relations ranging from rent and apartment exchange market to underground "tzehoviki". During Stalin's time, as an example, 6% of Soviet GDP was produced by cooperative and artel movement and included such things as manufacturing of TVs and radios. So, "communism" was pretty much dead by 1960s by means of its "adaptation" to Russian conditions--that was inevitable.

    WHAT exactly the leadership of Soviet Union should’ve done differently,and WHEN ,to prevent the collapse of the Union?
     
    This is a billion dollar question which can not be answered within a single (or even very many) post on a discussion board. USSR, essentially, was "blown up" from its "national" fringes but I will not discuss here the origins of that, albeit I know a lot about it. But as I said, Gorbachov and his circle can hardly be called competent people.

    USSR, essentially, was “blown up” from its “national” fringes but I will not discuss here the origins of that, albeit I know a lot about it.

    Well…why not discuss that?

    How about this (not my idea, of course, just read it somewhere), in a very crude form:
    Communist ideology replaced God, replaced Heaven with paradise on Earth.
    Couldn’t deliver of course (can’t be done….).
    Masses got surly; elites lost confidence in own ideology.
    A set of beliefs had to be replaced with….something…..
    Nationalism was the easiest choice (probably hard wired in humans).

    Or, perhaps, the nationalism was the only proper choice. That’s the question isn’t it, really?

    Or, better…did it appear out of something (I’d say human nature) out of masses….or….it was created by cynical elites seeking something to keep their power? I’d go for the former.

    Bang….no more USSR.

    I guess you can see what that …theory….can lead to.

    Further breakup of Russian Federation if elites there don’t address the quality of life of an average citizen.
    Not as implausible as we’d want to believe, IMHO.

    Read More
    • Replies: @annamaria
    You forgot Israel-firsters who are neither "westerners" nor "easterners."
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  132. peterAUS says:
    @Felix Keverich

    I myself took part in some funny business in Caucasus, apart from serving on the ships and eventually, before being taken out of service for a health reasons, ended a Flag Specialist (F-1) of Separate Brigade of the ships.

     

    This is all very good, but I don't see a whole lot of international expertise in your CV. You may well be an expert in naval development, but that doesn't give you the authority to write about foreign policy, certainly not enough authority to look down on Rozhin.

    I may be out of my shape today but somehow I thought for the last three years that these were Ukrainians themselves, “assisted” by US State Department and EU smooth operators (plus a host of all kinds of “intelligence” organizations) who “made it”, not Kremlin.
     
    Forget about Ukrainians, they are in great pain, obviously, but I find little solace here. Can you really say with a straight face that what is happening in Ukraine does not affect Russia's interests in a negative way? They are erasing every trace of Russian influence in Ukraine: political, economic and cultural. And Kremlin allowed this to happen.

    Meanwhile, Americans are expanding their presence in the country, building a naval facility etc. It doesn't matter that US facility will be small, what matters is escalating American footprint in Russia's soft underbelly. Rozhin thinks it's a problem. So do I. What about you?

    “Westerner”

    Look, it doesn’t take a “serious foundation” to realise that Kremlin made a terrible mess of Ukraine. You just need to open your eyes and see it.

    “Easterner”

    Really? I may be out of my shape today but somehow I thought for the last three years that these were Ukrainians themselves, “assisted” by US State Department and EU smooth operators (plus a host of all kinds of “intelligence” organizations) who “made it”, not Kremlin.

    “Westerner”

    Can you really say with a straight face that what is happening in Ukraine does not affect Russia’s interests in a negative way? They are erasing every trace of Russian influence in Ukraine: political, economic and cultural. And Kremlin allowed this to happen.
    Meanwhile, Americans are expanding their presence in the country, building a naval facility etc. It doesn’t matter that US facility will be small, what matters is escalating American footprint in Russia’s soft underbelly. Rozhin thinks it’s a problem. So do I.

    “Easterner”
    …not yet posted but could go as:
    -Russia showed resolution, speed and strength.
    -Putin showed great leadership
    -West got overextended and lost high moral ground
    -Russia is reorganizing own great capabilities
    -etc…etc…

    Seen this countless of times all over the Internet. And, experienced in face to face/phone/whatever conversations.

    And, in my experience, no way in Hell either will change his/her position for a millimeter.

    Maybe thinking about “why is that” could make an interesting conversation?

    Read More
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  133. @Felix Keverich

    I myself took part in some funny business in Caucasus, apart from serving on the ships and eventually, before being taken out of service for a health reasons, ended a Flag Specialist (F-1) of Separate Brigade of the ships.

     

    This is all very good, but I don't see a whole lot of international expertise in your CV. You may well be an expert in naval development, but that doesn't give you the authority to write about foreign policy, certainly not enough authority to look down on Rozhin.

    I may be out of my shape today but somehow I thought for the last three years that these were Ukrainians themselves, “assisted” by US State Department and EU smooth operators (plus a host of all kinds of “intelligence” organizations) who “made it”, not Kremlin.
     
    Forget about Ukrainians, they are in great pain, obviously, but I find little solace here. Can you really say with a straight face that what is happening in Ukraine does not affect Russia's interests in a negative way? They are erasing every trace of Russian influence in Ukraine: political, economic and cultural. And Kremlin allowed this to happen.

    Meanwhile, Americans are expanding their presence in the country, building a naval facility etc. It doesn't matter that US facility will be small, what matters is escalating American footprint in Russia's soft underbelly. Rozhin thinks it's a problem. So do I. What about you?

    Ukraine is committing suicide by doing what they are doing. Eventually it will be torn to pieces. Ukraine simply cannot exist as viable independent entity without Russia.

    Read More
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  134. @peterAUS

    ...Soviet government most correctly party elite which occupied top positions with Gorbachov at the time were culprits in ussr destruction.
     
    Be that as it may, the question still remains valid:
    What that top elite with Gorbachev could have done to prevent breakup of USSR?

    What prevent. He made it happen. But here the clue, he should have done nothing at all, just let system work. Without him undermining every pillar nothing would happen. USSR was doing just fine.

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS

    ...just let system work...
     

    USSR was doing just fine
     
    Thank you for your input.
    Enlightening.
    Much appreciated.
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  135. @Felix Keverich

    I myself took part in some funny business in Caucasus, apart from serving on the ships and eventually, before being taken out of service for a health reasons, ended a Flag Specialist (F-1) of Separate Brigade of the ships.

     

    This is all very good, but I don't see a whole lot of international expertise in your CV. You may well be an expert in naval development, but that doesn't give you the authority to write about foreign policy, certainly not enough authority to look down on Rozhin.

    I may be out of my shape today but somehow I thought for the last three years that these were Ukrainians themselves, “assisted” by US State Department and EU smooth operators (plus a host of all kinds of “intelligence” organizations) who “made it”, not Kremlin.
     
    Forget about Ukrainians, they are in great pain, obviously, but I find little solace here. Can you really say with a straight face that what is happening in Ukraine does not affect Russia's interests in a negative way? They are erasing every trace of Russian influence in Ukraine: political, economic and cultural. And Kremlin allowed this to happen.

    Meanwhile, Americans are expanding their presence in the country, building a naval facility etc. It doesn't matter that US facility will be small, what matters is escalating American footprint in Russia's soft underbelly. Rozhin thinks it's a problem. So do I. What about you?

    This is all very good, but I don’t see a whole lot of international expertise in your CV. You may well be an expert in naval development, but that doesn’t give you the authority to write about foreign policy, certainly not enough authority to look down on Rozhin.

    I am also “an expert” (hate those terms) in issues of military doctrines (look up what doctrines and international relations have in common–they are two sides of the same coin) with peers,( including from the US) appreciating my views but, frankly, I don’t care about Rozhin, I don’t care about his “analysis”, I don’t even know his background. His BS was called out not by me only and after the FUBAR with “Putinvseslil” with Vlad Shurigin (unlike Rozhin, Vlad is tightly connected to to some serious military people) publishing interview with North Wind–I see no reason to discuss anymore all this amateurish BS. Manuscript for my book is currently under consideration, and if it accepted for publication I will send you a copy–the book is precisely about profound differences between professionals and amateurs, and, on the example of US “elites” demonstrates a scale of catastrophe which unfolds when ignoramuses pretend to know better.

    Read More
    • Agree: Sergey Krieger
    • Replies: @peterAUS

    ...the book is precisely about profound differences between professionals and amateurs, and, on the example of US “elites” demonstrates a scale of catastrophe which unfolds when ignoramuses pretend to know better.
     
    Fair point.

    May I ask, as a Russian and, presumably, knowing Russian side quite well, did you put in the book the same level of critique for Russian "elites" as you, apparently, put for Western "elites".
    You know...fair and balanced....no biases...stuff like that.

    Or, perhaps, Russian "elites" are doing just fine (for their own people that is; we know they've been doing rather well for themselves)?
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  136. @Sergey Krieger
    That's different story. I am talking about origins of all those industries. They were not founded by some entrepreneurs but by Soviet state. Entrepreneurs broke most factories apart an sold for scrap. As Marx noted there is no difference for capitalists how to make money given high return on investment. If this requires to destroy they will destroy.

    If a firm or country fails at the task of creative destruction it stagnated. 500 years of Dutch/British capitalism has given us all better health, longer, safer lives, less violence and more wealth. May creative destruction continue. USSR stagnated in the late 1970′s at the latest, well before Gorbachaev. It was over by 1980.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    Stagnated? Said by who? Gorbachov? Give me a break. On the other hand, I wonder why Canadians do not move in droves to live in yellow knife. Many , including you don't have a clue regarding geography and climate impact upon cerain countries development not to be forgotten huge wealth transfer from numerous colonies and now perifery to metropol via various financial schemes and outright theft. How do you think life in USA would have been were USA to be located much closer to northern pole without other benefits of geography and being regularly visited by friendly partners? What about GB making it without colonies and financial system geared to siphone wealth there?
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  137. peterAUS says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    What prevent. He made it happen. But here the clue, he should have done nothing at all, just let system work. Without him undermining every pillar nothing would happen. USSR was doing just fine.

    …just let system work…

    USSR was doing just fine

    Thank you for your input.
    Enlightening.
    Much appreciated.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Shpin
    I sense irony. Let's on the other hand panic, start while driving car along the highway swing the wheel wildly left and right while putting pedal to the metal pushing brakes simultaneously and putting gear in reverse and doing other similarly wise moves. I wonder where would the driver end. Gorbachov was doing exactly what I have just described but with country. Hence, just driving along would do the trick without crazy moves.
    Much appreciated.
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  138. peterAUS says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    This is all very good, but I don’t see a whole lot of international expertise in your CV. You may well be an expert in naval development, but that doesn’t give you the authority to write about foreign policy, certainly not enough authority to look down on Rozhin.
     
    I am also "an expert" (hate those terms) in issues of military doctrines (look up what doctrines and international relations have in common--they are two sides of the same coin) with peers,( including from the US) appreciating my views but, frankly, I don't care about Rozhin, I don't care about his "analysis", I don't even know his background. His BS was called out not by me only and after the FUBAR with "Putinvseslil" with Vlad Shurigin (unlike Rozhin, Vlad is tightly connected to to some serious military people) publishing interview with North Wind--I see no reason to discuss anymore all this amateurish BS. Manuscript for my book is currently under consideration, and if it accepted for publication I will send you a copy--the book is precisely about profound differences between professionals and amateurs, and, on the example of US "elites" demonstrates a scale of catastrophe which unfolds when ignoramuses pretend to know better.

    …the book is precisely about profound differences between professionals and amateurs, and, on the example of US “elites” demonstrates a scale of catastrophe which unfolds when ignoramuses pretend to know better.

    Fair point.

    May I ask, as a Russian and, presumably, knowing Russian side quite well, did you put in the book the same level of critique for Russian “elites” as you, apparently, put for Western “elites”.
    You know…fair and balanced….no biases…stuff like that.

    Or, perhaps, Russian “elites” are doing just fine (for their own people that is; we know they’ve been doing rather well for themselves)?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Or, perhaps, Russian “elites” are doing just fine (for their own people that is; we know they’ve been doing rather well for themselves)?
     
    Even if I may agree with you on some parts of Russian "elites" (and they are doing well for themselves the same way as Western ones do) but:

    You know…fair and balanced….no biases…stuff like that.
     
    If to be fair and balanced it is the United States, not Russia, who is in a deep existential crisis and it will get worse, much worse, before it will get any better. Russia doesn't face such hard choices now and, in fact, in a pretty damn good shape all things considered.
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  139. annamaria says:
    @Philip Owen
    Russia was no excluded. Russia had no right to be there.

    “Russia had no right to be there.”
    Let’s have a lesson in geopolitical history. Below is the longest excerpt that I have ever posted, but it’s worth it: http://thesaker.is/vassal-aristocracies-increasingly-resist-control-by-u-s-aristocracy/

    “A turning-point in escalating the weaponization of finance was reached in February 2014 when a Ukrainian coup that the Obama Administration had started planning by no later than 2011, culminated successfully in installing a rabidly anti-Russian government on Russia’s border, and precipitated the breakaway from Ukraine of two regions (Crimea and Donbass) that had voted overwhelmingly for the man the U.S. regime had just overthrown. This coup in Ukraine was the most direct aggressive act against Russia since the Cold War had ‘ended’ (it had actually ended on the Russian side, but not on the American side, where it continues) in 1991. During this coup in Kiev, on February 20th of 2014, hundreds of Crimeans, who had been peacefully demonstrating there with placards against this coup (which coup itself was very violent — against the police, not by them — the exact opposite of the way that “the Maidan demonstrations” had been portrayed in the Western press at the time), were attacked by the U.S.-paid thugs and scrambled back into their buses to return home to Crimea but were stopped en-route in central Ukraine and an uncounted number of them were massacred in the Ukrainian town of Korsun by the same group of thugs who had chased them out of Kiev.
    This massacre didn’t play well on local Crimean television. Immediately, a movement to secede and to again become a part of Russia started, and spread like wildfire in Crimea. (Crimea had been only involuntarily transferred from Russia to Ukraine by the Soviet dictator Khrushchev in 1954; it had been part of Russia for the hundreds of years prior to 1954. It was culturally Russian.) Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, said that if they’d vote for it in a referendum, then Russia would accept them back into the Russian Federation and provide them protection as Russian citizens. On 6 March 2014, U.S. President Obama issued “Executive Order — Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine”, and ignored the internationally recognized-in-law right of self-determination of peoples (though he recognized that right in Catalonia and in Scotland), and he instead simply declared that Ukraine’s “sovereignty” over Crimea was sacrosanct (even though it had been imposed upon Crimeans by the Soviet dictator — America’s enemy — in 1954, during the Soviet era, when America opposed, instead of favored and imposed, dictatorship around the world, except in Iran and Guatemala, where America imposed dictatorships even that early). Obama’s Executive Order was against unnamed “persons who have asserted governmental authority in the Crimean region without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine.” He insisted that the people who had just grabbed control of Ukraine and massacred Crimeans (his own Administration’s paid far-right Ukrainian thugs, who were racist anti-Russians), must be allowed to rule Crimea, regardless of what Crimeans (traditionally a part of Russia) might — and did — want.
    America’s vassal aristocracies then imposed their own sanctions against Russia when on 16 March 2014 Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to rejoin the Russian Federation.”

    Obama the Fraud has been an obedient servant for the oligarchy and Lobby. Nothing else.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    Failed at the first sentence. The turning point was 13 August 2013.
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  140. annamaria says:
    @Felix Keverich

    Mr. Rozhin lacks a serious foundation which would allow him to assess Russia’s capabilities across the board (economic, military etc.), not to speak of a dynamics (change) of those capabilities and resources depending on the geopolitical dynamics.

     

    LMAO is that the best you can do? You could challenge Rozhin's analysis, but impugning his credentials in this fashion is just lame. You think only qualified people can share an opinion on foreign policy issues? And what are your credentials btw? I hope it's not classified ;)

    Look, it doesn't take a "serious foundation" to realise that Kremlin made a terrible mess of Ukraine. You just need to open your eyes and see it. You could try it sometime.

    “Kremlin made a terrible mess of Ukraine. You just need to open your eyes and see it.”

    You mean this? — “A turning-point in escalating the weaponization of finance was reached in February 2014 when a Ukrainian coup that the Obama Administration had started planning by no later than 2011, culminated successfully in installing a rabidly anti-Russian government on Russia’s border, and precipitated the breakaway from Ukraine of two regions (Crimea and Donbass) that had voted overwhelmingly for the man the U.S. regime had just overthrown. This coup in Ukraine was the most direct aggressive act against Russia since the Cold War had ended.” http://thesaker.is/vassal-aristocracies-increasingly-resist-control-by-u-s-aristocracy/
    What kind of secret information do you have to refute the apparent picture of the US malicious meddling? This forum is no ziocons’ nest; for such you need to go to Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. For some mysterious reasons, you hope that UNZ readers read only the CIA-approved propaganda on MSM. This is an unsubstantiated hope. People on this forum do not trust Douglas Feith but trust Robert Perry: “The Mess that Nuland Made:” https://consortiumnews.com/2015/07/13/the-mess-that-nuland-made/
    We also prefer Philip Giraldi over Bill Kristol and Judy Miller: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2014/02/22/philip-giraldi-on-the-neocons-ukraine-russia-and-the-oligarchs/
    Nobody pressured Nuland-Kagan and McCain to fraternize with Ukrainian neo-Nazis. Or you think that it is wrong to believe our lying eyes and instead we ” just need to open” our eyes and “see it” your ways – the very bad Russians attacking the “democracy on the march” in Ukraine. In reality, we see the well-documented (and obvious to all sane people) ziocons-designed, Odessa-massacre-flavored, CIA-directed civil war on a border with Russian Federation, thousands of miles away from the US. Just another bloody regime change. The US-made regime changes always have certain enthusiastic apologists to explain how the “others” are to blame for the destruction of a given country and for the massive death of civilians. Are you sure that people do not remember the story of Iraq and Libya? (Mossadeq is rather far away in time). Sure Putin is hated… particularly by Israel-firsters, for his “misbehavior” in the sovereign Syria. Is not this so, Mr. Felix Keverich?

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  141. @peterAUS

    ...just let system work...
     

    USSR was doing just fine
     
    Thank you for your input.
    Enlightening.
    Much appreciated.

    I sense irony. Let’s on the other hand panic, start while driving car along the highway swing the wheel wildly left and right while putting pedal to the metal pushing brakes simultaneously and putting gear in reverse and doing other similarly wise moves. I wonder where would the driver end. Gorbachov was doing exactly what I have just described but with country. Hence, just driving along would do the trick without crazy moves.
    Much appreciated.

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  142. annamaria says:
    @peterAUS

    USSR, essentially, was “blown up” from its “national” fringes but I will not discuss here the origins of that, albeit I know a lot about it.
     
    Well...why not discuss that?

    How about this (not my idea, of course, just read it somewhere), in a very crude form:
    Communist ideology replaced God, replaced Heaven with paradise on Earth.
    Couldn't deliver of course (can't be done....).
    Masses got surly; elites lost confidence in own ideology.
    A set of beliefs had to be replaced with....something.....
    Nationalism was the easiest choice (probably hard wired in humans).

    Or, perhaps, the nationalism was the only proper choice. That's the question isn't it, really?

    Or, better...did it appear out of something (I'd say human nature) out of masses....or....it was created by cynical elites seeking something to keep their power? I'd go for the former.

    Bang....no more USSR.

    I guess you can see what that ...theory....can lead to.

    Further breakup of Russian Federation if elites there don't address the quality of life of an average citizen.
    Not as implausible as we'd want to believe, IMHO.

    You forgot Israel-firsters who are neither “westerners” nor “easterners.”

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  143. @Philip Owen
    If a firm or country fails at the task of creative destruction it stagnated. 500 years of Dutch/British capitalism has given us all better health, longer, safer lives, less violence and more wealth. May creative destruction continue. USSR stagnated in the late 1970's at the latest, well before Gorbachaev. It was over by 1980.

    Stagnated? Said by who? Gorbachov? Give me a break. On the other hand, I wonder why Canadians do not move in droves to live in yellow knife. Many , including you don’t have a clue regarding geography and climate impact upon cerain countries development not to be forgotten huge wealth transfer from numerous colonies and now perifery to metropol via various financial schemes and outright theft. How do you think life in USA would have been were USA to be located much closer to northern pole without other benefits of geography and being regularly visited by friendly partners? What about GB making it without colonies and financial system geared to siphone wealth there?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    I have heard this said mostly by Russian engineers and managers in the Opto-electronics industry with whom I worked trying to organize exports in the 1990's when much of the Soviet apparatus for organising state industry was still in place. I was well known at the Laser Associating Moscow. They thought that there had been 20 years of lost opportunities.
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  144. Cyrano says:

    I think that the Ukrainians (along with their spiritual brothers, the Polaks) deserve the titles of Yoga Masters for inventing a new pose which allows them at the same time to stand up to the Russians and bend over for the Americans.

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  145. A22 says:
    @Felix Keverich

    I myself took part in some funny business in Caucasus, apart from serving on the ships and eventually, before being taken out of service for a health reasons, ended a Flag Specialist (F-1) of Separate Brigade of the ships.

     

    This is all very good, but I don't see a whole lot of international expertise in your CV. You may well be an expert in naval development, but that doesn't give you the authority to write about foreign policy, certainly not enough authority to look down on Rozhin.

    I may be out of my shape today but somehow I thought for the last three years that these were Ukrainians themselves, “assisted” by US State Department and EU smooth operators (plus a host of all kinds of “intelligence” organizations) who “made it”, not Kremlin.
     
    Forget about Ukrainians, they are in great pain, obviously, but I find little solace here. Can you really say with a straight face that what is happening in Ukraine does not affect Russia's interests in a negative way? They are erasing every trace of Russian influence in Ukraine: political, economic and cultural. And Kremlin allowed this to happen.

    Meanwhile, Americans are expanding their presence in the country, building a naval facility etc. It doesn't matter that US facility will be small, what matters is escalating American footprint in Russia's soft underbelly. Rozhin thinks it's a problem. So do I. What about you?

    The Ruble probably will not appreciate again to its previous highs again since I do not see oil prices doubling. So manipulating the value of the currency is not that pressing of an issue, I think.

    What I understood from your replies regarding the economy is that you are against protectionism. If that is the case, how do you think Russia can stand up to Western economic bullying (Military aggression is not that big of issue, I agree.) ?

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Russia is pretty much screwed in this respect since its depence on Western technology is overwhelming. Hovewer, self-isolating itself by erecting artificial barriers to trade will only serve to compound the problem.

    There is a number of things that Russia could do to reduce US economic leverage:

    1. Russian government officials like to own real estate and bank accounts in the West, and they get very upset, when they are blocked from using those by sanctions. They could try keeping their wealth in Russia instead.

    2. CBR keeps a subtantial portion of its currency reserves in T-bills and other US assets. US authorities can freeze these assets at any time. So it may be wise to dump those.

    3. Russian oil companies, including Rosneft, sell oil based on dollar-denominated contracts. They could make an effort to convert these contracts into non-dollar currencies. This will create problems and hurt profits in the short term, but will make it harder for the US to lock out Russia from the global economy.

    Above all Russian leadership needs to make up its mind about what sort relationship with the West it wants. I see plenty of contradictions and naivety in Moscow behavior. To start, there is no shortage of anti-Western propaganda on Russian TV, but little actual effort to prepare the country for a long-term stand-off. Russian officials always keep talking about how they want to "improve relations" and work with US, and then they do things like moving into Syria which serves to annoy US greatly. Russian foreign ministry uses Soviet-style language to lambast Washington in its statements, but then they always go back to talking about how they are ready to work on "improving relations".

    Russian elite appears to be under illusion that Washington needs these "improved relations" as much as they do. That's not true, Russian elite wants it more (after all they are the ones keeping their families and bank accounts in NATO countries). That means any real improvement in relations will have to come on the back of unilateral Russian concessions. Are we ready capitulate yet? No? Then maybe we should stop talking about "improving relations", because it ain't happening.
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  146. JL says:
    @Felix Keverich

    What makes Russia different is the amount of resources it needs to devote to security (tbh, I feel silly even writing this, like pointing out that water is wet). By now it should be equally obvious that the geopolitical paradigm has changed. As such, it cannot rely on the import of anything from anywhere and it absolutely has to be self sufficient in all areas that matter, from food to energy to manufacturing.

    In short, Russia has no choice to but to update its economic model.
     

    That's easy for you to say. You don't actually have to live in this country. You will cheer on Russia from a safe distance, occasionally share you wisdom, while somebody else is making real sacrifices. No thanks!

    I sure don't want to see a return to Soviet-style economic autarky so that our government could pursue some sort of military parity with the US. To start, that simply isn't possible: Russia will go broke while trying to catch up to US military. Second, Russia doesn't need a parity with US to deter an agression: our present capabilities are more than adequate.


    There’s no reason why the monetary authorities can’t create an environment whereby the Rouble remains relatively weak even if oil prices were to go up, or the government can’t continue to stimulate investment.
     
    No, no, no. That's not like monetary policy works. Authorities cannot just create an enviroment to fix the rouble, certain rules must be always obeyed. For example, if the flow of petrodollars coming into the country is rising that puts pressure on the rouble to appreciate. The only real way to mitigate that is to create a financial flow in the opposite direction: by operating a soveregn wealth fund, that invests in securities abroad. I doubt that's what you had in mind.

    The government should also be extremely careful while trying to stimulate investment, because it's a pro-inflationary policy. High inflation tends to complicate long-term business planning. It makes long-term credit unaffordable. RCB understands that, that's why they are so obsessed with their inflation targets. They want low inflation so that the country could start developing a market for long-term credit.

    I get it, you’re a monetarist religious fanatic. The thing is, though, the problems in Russia’s economy that lead to high inflation are structural, not monetary. As such, monetary policy alone will not solve the inflation issue. So the RCB is stuck, without fiscal and legal reform, between a choice of higher inflation and higher growth, or the opposite. By obsessing over inflation, they are sacrificing economic growth.

    The government should also be extremely careful while trying to stimulate investment, because it’s a pro-inflationary policy.

    This is not necessarily true, and your dogmatic approach negates the rest of what you wrote. Essentially, you are still putting the monetary cart before the horse. Think of it this way, if a company’s borrowing costs are lower, they can charge less for their products. How is that inflationary? And if monetarism works so well, why does Russia lower interest rates when the economy is improving, and raise them during recession? I assume you are aware that that’s the opposite of the way developed economies operate.

    I sure don’t want to see a return to Soviet-style economic autarky so that our government could pursue some sort of military parity with the US. To start, that simply isn’t possible: Russia will go broke while trying to catch up to US military. Second, Russia doesn’t need a parity with US to deter an agression: our present capabilities are more than adequate.

    This is a straw man argument, I certainly never suggested such a thing. You should realize how Russia gained its “present capabilities”. Your hero Kudrin resigned, ostensibly over military expenditures, and subsequent events proved how wrong he was. Russia doesn’t need parity with the US, nor can it achieve such, but a proper deterrence is absolutely essential. It is also, unfortunately, very expensive.

    You don’t actually have to live in this country… while somebody else is making real sacrifices. No thanks!

    Newsflash: You don’t have to live in this country, either! Russia is not the Soviet Union, you don’t need an exit visa, the MVD just shortened the time for issuance of international passports, the road to SVO is wide open, and its runways are fully operational. So, unless you are a wanted criminal, have large unpaid debts, or are privy to classified information, by all means, to paraphrase: ticket, suitcase, airport.

    What you call sacrifices, others would call tradeoffs. In my opinion, the idea that it is unacceptable to forego a certain amount of material wealth today for a more stable, prosperous future is a large reason the Western world finds itself in such a state of crisis. I’d like to think Russians, who can take pain and sacrifice like nobody’s business, can deal with a bit less purchasing power, and god forbid, no French cheese, so that they withstand external pressure in the future to develop as they see fit.

    Pretty much everyone is materially worse off today than they were in 2014. But there have been a lot of positive developments. For one thing, there seems to be more social cohesion. It’s not as much everyman for himself. Russians also have a great knack for artisanal goods. A good portion of the Russian products that have replaced Western imports is of higher quality; domestically produced organic food, cosmetics, electrical equipment, you name it, this stuff either wasn’t available before or wasn’t competitive on price.

    You will cheer on Russia from a safe distance

    Well, at a safe distance from the MKAD, anyway.

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    • Agree: Andrei Martyanov
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    I get it, you’re a monetarist religious fanatic.
     
    I have a degree in economics. There is nothing religious or magical about monetary policy, it is a form of science, or art more like it: while succesful outcome is never assured, certain laws of economics must be always be obeyed, otherwise you end up with a situation like modern day Venezuela, where president Maduro thought he could "fix" the inflation simply by banning businesses from raising prices.

    I know proponents of expansionary monetary policy claim that inflation in Russia is mostly structural in its origin. But that's plainly inaccurate as the rise in utility prices could never account for double digit inflation.


    As such, monetary policy alone will not solve the inflation issue.
     
    It already did. According to latest projections, inflation in Russia is expected to be at 3.8% for 2017, a testament to the success of CBR's infation targeting policy.

    This is not necessarily true, and your dogmatic approach negates the rest of what you wrote. Essentially, you are still putting the monetary cart before the horse.
     
    Inflation really is the fundamental issue. Interest rates cannot be lower than inflation, otherwise companies would have incentives to engage in currency speculation and financial arbitrage. On top of that, borrowing costs must also account for the risks involved in running a business, which in Russia are substantial.

    if a company’s borrowing costs are lower, they can charge less for their products. How is that inflationary?
     
    LOLWUT? That's not what companies do in real life.

    In this particular example, lower interest rates will incentivise businesses to expand, which means hiring more people, pushing up demand for labor, which leads to rising wages. That's just one way in which lower borrowing costs translate into more inflation.

    There is general rule here: injecting money into the economy creates inflationary pressure. In general, I do not believe that a country can print its way out of economic stagnation. That's Venezuela's way.

    , @Andrei Martyanov

    What you call sacrifices, others would call tradeoffs.
     
    Superb point! May I steal it? I will refer to you, of course.
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  147. @A22
    The Ruble probably will not appreciate again to its previous highs again since I do not see oil prices doubling. So manipulating the value of the currency is not that pressing of an issue, I think.

    What I understood from your replies regarding the economy is that you are against protectionism. If that is the case, how do you think Russia can stand up to Western economic bullying (Military aggression is not that big of issue, I agree.) ?

    Russia is pretty much screwed in this respect since its depence on Western technology is overwhelming. Hovewer, self-isolating itself by erecting artificial barriers to trade will only serve to compound the problem.

    There is a number of things that Russia could do to reduce US economic leverage:

    1. Russian government officials like to own real estate and bank accounts in the West, and they get very upset, when they are blocked from using those by sanctions. They could try keeping their wealth in Russia instead.

    2. CBR keeps a subtantial portion of its currency reserves in T-bills and other US assets. US authorities can freeze these assets at any time. So it may be wise to dump those.

    3. Russian oil companies, including Rosneft, sell oil based on dollar-denominated contracts. They could make an effort to convert these contracts into non-dollar currencies. This will create problems and hurt profits in the short term, but will make it harder for the US to lock out Russia from the global economy.

    Above all Russian leadership needs to make up its mind about what sort relationship with the West it wants. I see plenty of contradictions and naivety in Moscow behavior. To start, there is no shortage of anti-Western propaganda on Russian TV, but little actual effort to prepare the country for a long-term stand-off. Russian officials always keep talking about how they want to “improve relations” and work with US, and then they do things like moving into Syria which serves to annoy US greatly. Russian foreign ministry uses Soviet-style language to lambast Washington in its statements, but then they always go back to talking about how they are ready to work on “improving relations”.

    Russian elite appears to be under illusion that Washington needs these “improved relations” as much as they do. That’s not true, Russian elite wants it more (after all they are the ones keeping their families and bank accounts in NATO countries). That means any real improvement in relations will have to come on the back of unilateral Russian concessions. Are we ready capitulate yet? No? Then maybe we should stop talking about “improving relations”, because it ain’t happening.

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  148. annamaria says:

    The US-”liberated” Ukraine: http://theduran.com/kiev-regime-doomed-to-failure-because-of-dismal-support/
    “Corruption has become so serious in the Kiev regime that its Finance Minister is being investigated for tax evasion over many years. .. The inquiry into possible corruption by such a senior figure under Petro Poroshenko has barely been reported in the West. It wouldn’t do to upset the reputation of the “pro-democracy revolution” in the country – the same “revolution” whose President [Mr. Poroshenko] has the complete confidence of 1% of the Ukrainian people, according to a poll conducted in June by the Washington-based International Republican Institute. The 1% figure, reported widely in eastern Europe, has been concealed from sensitive Western eyes by the mainstream media. … Much of the Ukraine’s political elite are rolling in riches while a typical Ukrainian has an average monthly income of about $200. It was revealed that “elected officials have personal holdings worth hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate” – from Poroshenko himself to Ihor Kononenko, deputy head of Poroshenko’s parliamentary faction.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-06/ukraine-has-lost-billions-trade-agreement-eu-year-one

    “The former Soviet Republic lost €2.2 billion more than it lost in 2015 on trade with the EU. While imports from the EU have surged, exports have barely grown. … the European Union has flooded Ukraine with goods, which is contrary to the aim of the free trade agreement…”

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  149. @JL
    I get it, you're a monetarist religious fanatic. The thing is, though, the problems in Russia's economy that lead to high inflation are structural, not monetary. As such, monetary policy alone will not solve the inflation issue. So the RCB is stuck, without fiscal and legal reform, between a choice of higher inflation and higher growth, or the opposite. By obsessing over inflation, they are sacrificing economic growth.

    The government should also be extremely careful while trying to stimulate investment, because it’s a pro-inflationary policy.
     
    This is not necessarily true, and your dogmatic approach negates the rest of what you wrote. Essentially, you are still putting the monetary cart before the horse. Think of it this way, if a company's borrowing costs are lower, they can charge less for their products. How is that inflationary? And if monetarism works so well, why does Russia lower interest rates when the economy is improving, and raise them during recession? I assume you are aware that that's the opposite of the way developed economies operate.

    I sure don’t want to see a return to Soviet-style economic autarky so that our government could pursue some sort of military parity with the US. To start, that simply isn’t possible: Russia will go broke while trying to catch up to US military. Second, Russia doesn’t need a parity with US to deter an agression: our present capabilities are more than adequate.
     
    This is a straw man argument, I certainly never suggested such a thing. You should realize how Russia gained its "present capabilities". Your hero Kudrin resigned, ostensibly over military expenditures, and subsequent events proved how wrong he was. Russia doesn't need parity with the US, nor can it achieve such, but a proper deterrence is absolutely essential. It is also, unfortunately, very expensive.

    You don’t actually have to live in this country... while somebody else is making real sacrifices. No thanks!
     
    Newsflash: You don't have to live in this country, either! Russia is not the Soviet Union, you don't need an exit visa, the MVD just shortened the time for issuance of international passports, the road to SVO is wide open, and its runways are fully operational. So, unless you are a wanted criminal, have large unpaid debts, or are privy to classified information, by all means, to paraphrase: ticket, suitcase, airport.

    What you call sacrifices, others would call tradeoffs. In my opinion, the idea that it is unacceptable to forego a certain amount of material wealth today for a more stable, prosperous future is a large reason the Western world finds itself in such a state of crisis. I'd like to think Russians, who can take pain and sacrifice like nobody's business, can deal with a bit less purchasing power, and god forbid, no French cheese, so that they withstand external pressure in the future to develop as they see fit.

    Pretty much everyone is materially worse off today than they were in 2014. But there have been a lot of positive developments. For one thing, there seems to be more social cohesion. It's not as much everyman for himself. Russians also have a great knack for artisanal goods. A good portion of the Russian products that have replaced Western imports is of higher quality; domestically produced organic food, cosmetics, electrical equipment, you name it, this stuff either wasn't available before or wasn't competitive on price.


    You will cheer on Russia from a safe distance
     
    Well, at a safe distance from the MKAD, anyway.

    I get it, you’re a monetarist religious fanatic.

    I have a degree in economics. There is nothing religious or magical about monetary policy, it is a form of science, or art more like it: while succesful outcome is never assured, certain laws of economics must be always be obeyed, otherwise you end up with a situation like modern day Venezuela, where president Maduro thought he could “fix” the inflation simply by banning businesses from raising prices.

    I know proponents of expansionary monetary policy claim that inflation in Russia is mostly structural in its origin. But that’s plainly inaccurate as the rise in utility prices could never account for double digit inflation.

    As such, monetary policy alone will not solve the inflation issue.

    It already did. According to latest projections, inflation in Russia is expected to be at 3.8% for 2017, a testament to the success of CBR’s infation targeting policy.

    This is not necessarily true, and your dogmatic approach negates the rest of what you wrote. Essentially, you are still putting the monetary cart before the horse.

    Inflation really is the fundamental issue. Interest rates cannot be lower than inflation, otherwise companies would have incentives to engage in currency speculation and financial arbitrage. On top of that, borrowing costs must also account for the risks involved in running a business, which in Russia are substantial.

    if a company’s borrowing costs are lower, they can charge less for their products. How is that inflationary?

    LOLWUT? That’s not what companies do in real life.

    In this particular example, lower interest rates will incentivise businesses to expand, which means hiring more people, pushing up demand for labor, which leads to rising wages. That’s just one way in which lower borrowing costs translate into more inflation.

    There is general rule here: injecting money into the economy creates inflationary pressure. In general, I do not believe that a country can print its way out of economic stagnation. That’s Venezuela’s way.

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    • Replies: @Aedib

    Interest rates cannot be lower than inflation, otherwise companies would have incentives to engage in currency speculation and financial arbitrage.
     
    That's true but a real +5% interest rate doesn't look irrational to you? I mean that in extremis Friedman’s mythology is dragging growth.
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  150. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Max Payne
    Pshh. Hi-tech weaponry.

    Hey even Nazi Germany had night vision technology ( http://www.achtungpanzer.com/german-infrared-night-vision-devices-infrarot-scheinwerfer.htm ). They lost. Oh technology... how could you fail the Aryan race? Those crafty partisans and their black pajamas I tell ya...



    Look at Vietnam. I get it...you ladies think Vietnam had some elite anti-air system that was tighter than a crabs ass (so elite it stopped the Christmas bombings that decimated North Vietnam...oh wait...) Yet with the latest in chemical warfare (Agent Orange) and dropping more bombs on piss-poor Vietnam than the whole of Dubbya-Dubbya-Too... all that couldn't win the war (even with helicopters and shit; it's an aircraft that flies up and down... talk about some high-tech shit especially in the 60s-70s).

    All that technology beaten by the ultimate of all weapons.... black pajamas.

    NVGs? If only that poor kidnapped Russian had black pajamas on...... probably could've taken the whole of Ukraine all by himself.

    A 5 year old with a gun is still a 5 year old with a gun. Yeah... it's dangerous... but it's a friggin' weak ass child. Throw a brick hard enough at it and you'll be fine. I hate kids...

    Vietnam was won by regular NVA troops with armor, transport, etc. supplied by the USSR (and China to an extent), not by irregular “black pyjamas”.

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  151. @peterAUS

    ...the book is precisely about profound differences between professionals and amateurs, and, on the example of US “elites” demonstrates a scale of catastrophe which unfolds when ignoramuses pretend to know better.
     
    Fair point.

    May I ask, as a Russian and, presumably, knowing Russian side quite well, did you put in the book the same level of critique for Russian "elites" as you, apparently, put for Western "elites".
    You know...fair and balanced....no biases...stuff like that.

    Or, perhaps, Russian "elites" are doing just fine (for their own people that is; we know they've been doing rather well for themselves)?

    Or, perhaps, Russian “elites” are doing just fine (for their own people that is; we know they’ve been doing rather well for themselves)?

    Even if I may agree with you on some parts of Russian “elites” (and they are doing well for themselves the same way as Western ones do) but:

    You know…fair and balanced….no biases…stuff like that.

    If to be fair and balanced it is the United States, not Russia, who is in a deep existential crisis and it will get worse, much worse, before it will get any better. Russia doesn’t face such hard choices now and, in fact, in a pretty damn good shape all things considered.

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS

    If to be fair and balanced it is the United States, not Russia, who is in a deep existential crisis and it will get worse, much worse, before it will get any better.
     
    Be that as it may, how about this:
    That crisis can be lessened by taking over Russia (as, say, taking over Poland)?
    Or, even, by keeping increasing pressure on Russia?
    I know how it sounds, cancel the moral outrage and rational discussion. Doesn't matter. That's the most likely scenario. If in doubt, analyze how things have been going since November last year.
    That's for West.

    Russia doesn’t face such hard choices now and, in fact, in a pretty damn good shape all things considered.
     
    Russia does face hard choices because it will face the increasing pressure from West.
    You are from Cold War. Me too. Most of people posting/reading here read about it. We lived it.
    So, we do remember what was being constantly said about crisis in the West/Capitalism and greatness of USSR/Communism. Don't you find almost the same rhetoric now?
    As one poster here said:

    What you call sacrifices, others would call tradeoffs. In my opinion, the idea that it is unacceptable to forego a certain amount of material wealth today for a more stable, prosperous future is a large reason the Western world finds itself in such a state of crisis. I’d like to think Russians, who can take pain and sacrifice like nobody’s business, can deal with a bit less purchasing power, and god forbid, no French cheese, so that they withstand external pressure in the future to develop as they see fit.

     

    Don't we remember similar statements in mid/late 80's. We know what happened in 90's.
    Do we really believe that the average Russian is happy with his/her sacrifices, sorry, tradeofs, when watching Russian "elites" behavior?
    Similar to an average Soviet man watching "nomenclatura"?

    I believe that regime in Moscow failed there and keeps failing.

    And I also believe that things will get worse for Russians before they get better. If ever.
    I'll change my opinion when I see that....tradeoffs....shared by all levels of Russian society.
    If not, slowly but surely, Russia will keep losing.
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  152. @JL
    I get it, you're a monetarist religious fanatic. The thing is, though, the problems in Russia's economy that lead to high inflation are structural, not monetary. As such, monetary policy alone will not solve the inflation issue. So the RCB is stuck, without fiscal and legal reform, between a choice of higher inflation and higher growth, or the opposite. By obsessing over inflation, they are sacrificing economic growth.

    The government should also be extremely careful while trying to stimulate investment, because it’s a pro-inflationary policy.
     
    This is not necessarily true, and your dogmatic approach negates the rest of what you wrote. Essentially, you are still putting the monetary cart before the horse. Think of it this way, if a company's borrowing costs are lower, they can charge less for their products. How is that inflationary? And if monetarism works so well, why does Russia lower interest rates when the economy is improving, and raise them during recession? I assume you are aware that that's the opposite of the way developed economies operate.

    I sure don’t want to see a return to Soviet-style economic autarky so that our government could pursue some sort of military parity with the US. To start, that simply isn’t possible: Russia will go broke while trying to catch up to US military. Second, Russia doesn’t need a parity with US to deter an agression: our present capabilities are more than adequate.
     
    This is a straw man argument, I certainly never suggested such a thing. You should realize how Russia gained its "present capabilities". Your hero Kudrin resigned, ostensibly over military expenditures, and subsequent events proved how wrong he was. Russia doesn't need parity with the US, nor can it achieve such, but a proper deterrence is absolutely essential. It is also, unfortunately, very expensive.

    You don’t actually have to live in this country... while somebody else is making real sacrifices. No thanks!
     
    Newsflash: You don't have to live in this country, either! Russia is not the Soviet Union, you don't need an exit visa, the MVD just shortened the time for issuance of international passports, the road to SVO is wide open, and its runways are fully operational. So, unless you are a wanted criminal, have large unpaid debts, or are privy to classified information, by all means, to paraphrase: ticket, suitcase, airport.

    What you call sacrifices, others would call tradeoffs. In my opinion, the idea that it is unacceptable to forego a certain amount of material wealth today for a more stable, prosperous future is a large reason the Western world finds itself in such a state of crisis. I'd like to think Russians, who can take pain and sacrifice like nobody's business, can deal with a bit less purchasing power, and god forbid, no French cheese, so that they withstand external pressure in the future to develop as they see fit.

    Pretty much everyone is materially worse off today than they were in 2014. But there have been a lot of positive developments. For one thing, there seems to be more social cohesion. It's not as much everyman for himself. Russians also have a great knack for artisanal goods. A good portion of the Russian products that have replaced Western imports is of higher quality; domestically produced organic food, cosmetics, electrical equipment, you name it, this stuff either wasn't available before or wasn't competitive on price.


    You will cheer on Russia from a safe distance
     
    Well, at a safe distance from the MKAD, anyway.

    What you call sacrifices, others would call tradeoffs.

    Superb point! May I steal it? I will refer to you, of course.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JL
    By all means, it's yours, no references necessary!
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  153. peterAUS says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Or, perhaps, Russian “elites” are doing just fine (for their own people that is; we know they’ve been doing rather well for themselves)?
     
    Even if I may agree with you on some parts of Russian "elites" (and they are doing well for themselves the same way as Western ones do) but:

    You know…fair and balanced….no biases…stuff like that.
     
    If to be fair and balanced it is the United States, not Russia, who is in a deep existential crisis and it will get worse, much worse, before it will get any better. Russia doesn't face such hard choices now and, in fact, in a pretty damn good shape all things considered.

    If to be fair and balanced it is the United States, not Russia, who is in a deep existential crisis and it will get worse, much worse, before it will get any better.

    Be that as it may, how about this:
    That crisis can be lessened by taking over Russia (as, say, taking over Poland)?
    Or, even, by keeping increasing pressure on Russia?
    I know how it sounds, cancel the moral outrage and rational discussion. Doesn’t matter. That’s the most likely scenario. If in doubt, analyze how things have been going since November last year.
    That’s for West.

    Russia doesn’t face such hard choices now and, in fact, in a pretty damn good shape all things considered.

    Russia does face hard choices because it will face the increasing pressure from West.
    You are from Cold War. Me too. Most of people posting/reading here read about it. We lived it.
    So, we do remember what was being constantly said about crisis in the West/Capitalism and greatness of USSR/Communism. Don’t you find almost the same rhetoric now?
    As one poster here said:

    What you call sacrifices, others would call tradeoffs. In my opinion, the idea that it is unacceptable to forego a certain amount of material wealth today for a more stable, prosperous future is a large reason the Western world finds itself in such a state of crisis. I’d like to think Russians, who can take pain and sacrifice like nobody’s business, can deal with a bit less purchasing power, and god forbid, no French cheese, so that they withstand external pressure in the future to develop as they see fit.

    Don’t we remember similar statements in mid/late 80′s. We know what happened in 90′s.
    Do we really believe that the average Russian is happy with his/her sacrifices, sorry, tradeofs, when watching Russian “elites” behavior?
    Similar to an average Soviet man watching “nomenclatura”?

    I believe that regime in Moscow failed there and keeps failing.

    And I also believe that things will get worse for Russians before they get better. If ever.
    I’ll change my opinion when I see that….tradeoffs….shared by all levels of Russian society.
    If not, slowly but surely, Russia will keep losing.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    So, we do remember what was being constantly said about crisis in the West/Capitalism and greatness of USSR/Communism. Don’t you find almost the same rhetoric now?
     
    It wasn't West and its "pressures" which finished off Soviet Union. You speak in cliches' here, really.


    Do we really believe that the average Russian is happy with his/her sacrifices, sorry, tradeofs, when watching Russian “elites” behavior?
    Similar to an average Soviet man watching “nomenclatura”?
     
    It is well known fact that average Russian is not happy. I can tell you even more--I know that there are very many Americans who feel the same, among them all those "deplorables" or Romney's 47% which did cost him en election. So, nothing knew here really. Be that new Russia or Western "elite" or "golden youth" Noblese Oblige is not for them. It was always like this since recorded history started.
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  154. JL says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    What you call sacrifices, others would call tradeoffs.
     
    Superb point! May I steal it? I will refer to you, of course.

    By all means, it’s yours, no references necessary!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    Thank you. I sure as hell will use it.
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  155. @peterAUS

    If to be fair and balanced it is the United States, not Russia, who is in a deep existential crisis and it will get worse, much worse, before it will get any better.
     
    Be that as it may, how about this:
    That crisis can be lessened by taking over Russia (as, say, taking over Poland)?
    Or, even, by keeping increasing pressure on Russia?
    I know how it sounds, cancel the moral outrage and rational discussion. Doesn't matter. That's the most likely scenario. If in doubt, analyze how things have been going since November last year.
    That's for West.

    Russia doesn’t face such hard choices now and, in fact, in a pretty damn good shape all things considered.
     
    Russia does face hard choices because it will face the increasing pressure from West.
    You are from Cold War. Me too. Most of people posting/reading here read about it. We lived it.
    So, we do remember what was being constantly said about crisis in the West/Capitalism and greatness of USSR/Communism. Don't you find almost the same rhetoric now?
    As one poster here said:

    What you call sacrifices, others would call tradeoffs. In my opinion, the idea that it is unacceptable to forego a certain amount of material wealth today for a more stable, prosperous future is a large reason the Western world finds itself in such a state of crisis. I’d like to think Russians, who can take pain and sacrifice like nobody’s business, can deal with a bit less purchasing power, and god forbid, no French cheese, so that they withstand external pressure in the future to develop as they see fit.

     

    Don't we remember similar statements in mid/late 80's. We know what happened in 90's.
    Do we really believe that the average Russian is happy with his/her sacrifices, sorry, tradeofs, when watching Russian "elites" behavior?
    Similar to an average Soviet man watching "nomenclatura"?

    I believe that regime in Moscow failed there and keeps failing.

    And I also believe that things will get worse for Russians before they get better. If ever.
    I'll change my opinion when I see that....tradeoffs....shared by all levels of Russian society.
    If not, slowly but surely, Russia will keep losing.

    So, we do remember what was being constantly said about crisis in the West/Capitalism and greatness of USSR/Communism. Don’t you find almost the same rhetoric now?

    It wasn’t West and its “pressures” which finished off Soviet Union. You speak in cliches’ here, really.

    Do we really believe that the average Russian is happy with his/her sacrifices, sorry, tradeofs, when watching Russian “elites” behavior?
    Similar to an average Soviet man watching “nomenclatura”?

    It is well known fact that average Russian is not happy. I can tell you even more–I know that there are very many Americans who feel the same, among them all those “deplorables” or Romney’s 47% which did cost him en election. So, nothing knew here really. Be that new Russia or Western “elite” or “golden youth” Noblese Oblige is not for them. It was always like this since recorded history started.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    Russian elites have been Russia's curse for a long time. I do not feel that current crop is any better.
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  156. @JL
    By all means, it's yours, no references necessary!

    Thank you. I sure as hell will use it.

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  157. @annamaria
    "Russia had no right to be there."
    Let's have a lesson in geopolitical history. Below is the longest excerpt that I have ever posted, but it's worth it: http://thesaker.is/vassal-aristocracies-increasingly-resist-control-by-u-s-aristocracy/

    "A turning-point in escalating the weaponization of finance was reached in February 2014 when a Ukrainian coup that the Obama Administration had started planning by no later than 2011, culminated successfully in installing a rabidly anti-Russian government on Russia’s border, and precipitated the breakaway from Ukraine of two regions (Crimea and Donbass) that had voted overwhelmingly for the man the U.S. regime had just overthrown. This coup in Ukraine was the most direct aggressive act against Russia since the Cold War had ‘ended’ (it had actually ended on the Russian side, but not on the American side, where it continues) in 1991. During this coup in Kiev, on February 20th of 2014, hundreds of Crimeans, who had been peacefully demonstrating there with placards against this coup (which coup itself was very violent — against the police, not by them — the exact opposite of the way that “the Maidan demonstrations” had been portrayed in the Western press at the time), were attacked by the U.S.-paid thugs and scrambled back into their buses to return home to Crimea but were stopped en-route in central Ukraine and an uncounted number of them were massacred in the Ukrainian town of Korsun by the same group of thugs who had chased them out of Kiev.
    This massacre didn’t play well on local Crimean television. Immediately, a movement to secede and to again become a part of Russia started, and spread like wildfire in Crimea. (Crimea had been only involuntarily transferred from Russia to Ukraine by the Soviet dictator Khrushchev in 1954; it had been part of Russia for the hundreds of years prior to 1954. It was culturally Russian.) Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, said that if they’d vote for it in a referendum, then Russia would accept them back into the Russian Federation and provide them protection as Russian citizens. On 6 March 2014, U.S. President Obama issued “Executive Order — Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine”, and ignored the internationally recognized-in-law right of self-determination of peoples (though he recognized that right in Catalonia and in Scotland), and he instead simply declared that Ukraine’s “sovereignty” over Crimea was sacrosanct (even though it had been imposed upon Crimeans by the Soviet dictator — America’s enemy — in 1954, during the Soviet era, when America opposed, instead of favored and imposed, dictatorship around the world, except in Iran and Guatemala, where America imposed dictatorships even that early). Obama’s Executive Order was against unnamed “persons who have asserted governmental authority in the Crimean region without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine.” He insisted that the people who had just grabbed control of Ukraine and massacred Crimeans (his own Administration’s paid far-right Ukrainian thugs, who were racist anti-Russians), must be allowed to rule Crimea, regardless of what Crimeans (traditionally a part of Russia) might — and did — want.
    America’s vassal aristocracies then imposed their own sanctions against Russia when on 16 March 2014 Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to rejoin the Russian Federation."

    Obama the Fraud has been an obedient servant for the oligarchy and Lobby. Nothing else.

    Failed at the first sentence. The turning point was 13 August 2013.

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  158. @Sergey Krieger
    Stagnated? Said by who? Gorbachov? Give me a break. On the other hand, I wonder why Canadians do not move in droves to live in yellow knife. Many , including you don't have a clue regarding geography and climate impact upon cerain countries development not to be forgotten huge wealth transfer from numerous colonies and now perifery to metropol via various financial schemes and outright theft. How do you think life in USA would have been were USA to be located much closer to northern pole without other benefits of geography and being regularly visited by friendly partners? What about GB making it without colonies and financial system geared to siphone wealth there?

    I have heard this said mostly by Russian engineers and managers in the Opto-electronics industry with whom I worked trying to organize exports in the 1990′s when much of the Soviet apparatus for organising state industry was still in place. I was well known at the Laser Associating Moscow. They thought that there had been 20 years of lost opportunities.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    "They thought that there had been 20 years of lost opportunities."
    $$$. This is all to it. But otherwise. Stagnation? Not true. Those guys were most probably busy trying to make money on what had been developed in as you say Stagnation years...
    It was Gorbachov who started the whole stagnation meme. Did he do any better than Brezhnev under whom industries were growing and life standards improving. Doubtfully. Basically the proof is in the pudding.
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  159. Aedib says:
    @Felix Keverich

    I get it, you’re a monetarist religious fanatic.
     
    I have a degree in economics. There is nothing religious or magical about monetary policy, it is a form of science, or art more like it: while succesful outcome is never assured, certain laws of economics must be always be obeyed, otherwise you end up with a situation like modern day Venezuela, where president Maduro thought he could "fix" the inflation simply by banning businesses from raising prices.

    I know proponents of expansionary monetary policy claim that inflation in Russia is mostly structural in its origin. But that's plainly inaccurate as the rise in utility prices could never account for double digit inflation.


    As such, monetary policy alone will not solve the inflation issue.
     
    It already did. According to latest projections, inflation in Russia is expected to be at 3.8% for 2017, a testament to the success of CBR's infation targeting policy.

    This is not necessarily true, and your dogmatic approach negates the rest of what you wrote. Essentially, you are still putting the monetary cart before the horse.
     
    Inflation really is the fundamental issue. Interest rates cannot be lower than inflation, otherwise companies would have incentives to engage in currency speculation and financial arbitrage. On top of that, borrowing costs must also account for the risks involved in running a business, which in Russia are substantial.

    if a company’s borrowing costs are lower, they can charge less for their products. How is that inflationary?
     
    LOLWUT? That's not what companies do in real life.

    In this particular example, lower interest rates will incentivise businesses to expand, which means hiring more people, pushing up demand for labor, which leads to rising wages. That's just one way in which lower borrowing costs translate into more inflation.

    There is general rule here: injecting money into the economy creates inflationary pressure. In general, I do not believe that a country can print its way out of economic stagnation. That's Venezuela's way.

    Interest rates cannot be lower than inflation, otherwise companies would have incentives to engage in currency speculation and financial arbitrage.

    That’s true but a real +5% interest rate doesn’t look irrational to you? I mean that in extremis Friedman’s mythology is dragging growth.

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  160. @Philip Owen
    I have heard this said mostly by Russian engineers and managers in the Opto-electronics industry with whom I worked trying to organize exports in the 1990's when much of the Soviet apparatus for organising state industry was still in place. I was well known at the Laser Associating Moscow. They thought that there had been 20 years of lost opportunities.

    “They thought that there had been 20 years of lost opportunities.”
    $$$. This is all to it. But otherwise. Stagnation? Not true. Those guys were most probably busy trying to make money on what had been developed in as you say Stagnation years…
    It was Gorbachov who started the whole stagnation meme. Did he do any better than Brezhnev under whom industries were growing and life standards improving. Doubtfully. Basically the proof is in the pudding.

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  161. @Andrei Martyanov

    So, we do remember what was being constantly said about crisis in the West/Capitalism and greatness of USSR/Communism. Don’t you find almost the same rhetoric now?
     
    It wasn't West and its "pressures" which finished off Soviet Union. You speak in cliches' here, really.


    Do we really believe that the average Russian is happy with his/her sacrifices, sorry, tradeofs, when watching Russian “elites” behavior?
    Similar to an average Soviet man watching “nomenclatura”?
     
    It is well known fact that average Russian is not happy. I can tell you even more--I know that there are very many Americans who feel the same, among them all those "deplorables" or Romney's 47% which did cost him en election. So, nothing knew here really. Be that new Russia or Western "elite" or "golden youth" Noblese Oblige is not for them. It was always like this since recorded history started.

    Russian elites have been Russia’s curse for a long time. I do not feel that current crop is any better.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    I do not feel that current crop is any better.
     
    They are worse.
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  162. @Sergey Krieger
    Russian elites have been Russia's curse for a long time. I do not feel that current crop is any better.

    I do not feel that current crop is any better.

    They are worse.

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS

    They are worse.
     
    NOW we totally agree.

    Purge of those "elites" in Russia would be the first sure sign that something positive is happening in Russia.

    And because it has NOT been happening I just can't see the regime in Moscow much different from the regime in Washington.
    Just weaker.

    So, nothing to "encourage" the "elites" in West to change their ways.
    On the contrary in fact.
    Just keep pushing on all fronts (ONE condition only: do NOT get into nuclear, all the rest totally free rein).

    A smart guy told me ages ago , just after the Berlin Wall came down: "now, our elites won't be needing to thread carefully on the working class.....hard times ahead".

    And, something also important.
    Why not push/escalate against Russia from an average American point of view?
    "Same shit as ours here....fuck them.....if there is something for ME there (job, money...adventure)."
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  163. peterAUS says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    I do not feel that current crop is any better.
     
    They are worse.

    They are worse.

    NOW we totally agree.

    Purge of those “elites” in Russia would be the first sure sign that something positive is happening in Russia.

    And because it has NOT been happening I just can’t see the regime in Moscow much different from the regime in Washington.
    Just weaker.

    So, nothing to “encourage” the “elites” in West to change their ways.
    On the contrary in fact.
    Just keep pushing on all fronts (ONE condition only: do NOT get into nuclear, all the rest totally free rein).

    A smart guy told me ages ago , just after the Berlin Wall came down: “now, our elites won’t be needing to thread carefully on the working class…..hard times ahead”.

    And, something also important.
    Why not push/escalate against Russia from an average American point of view?
    “Same shit as ours here….fuck them…..if there is something for ME there (job, money…adventure).”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    "Purge of those “elites” in Russia would be the first sure sign that something positive is happening in Russia."
    And massive nationalization of stolen assets bringing almost all of industries under state ownership with obvious restoration of all necessary organizations required necessary to maintain and develop country's industrial base for people's good.Private enterprise imho should be kept to small scale services where it has some role.
    The wrong turn was taken back in 80's which doe snot mean that if one took wrong road he should keep driving along it regardless forever. At some point realization must be made that the choice was wrong and it is time to return to right path which does not mean single party rule or communists back in power. It was after all about Soviet power which meant power of the people.
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  164. @peterAUS

    They are worse.
     
    NOW we totally agree.

    Purge of those "elites" in Russia would be the first sure sign that something positive is happening in Russia.

    And because it has NOT been happening I just can't see the regime in Moscow much different from the regime in Washington.
    Just weaker.

    So, nothing to "encourage" the "elites" in West to change their ways.
    On the contrary in fact.
    Just keep pushing on all fronts (ONE condition only: do NOT get into nuclear, all the rest totally free rein).

    A smart guy told me ages ago , just after the Berlin Wall came down: "now, our elites won't be needing to thread carefully on the working class.....hard times ahead".

    And, something also important.
    Why not push/escalate against Russia from an average American point of view?
    "Same shit as ours here....fuck them.....if there is something for ME there (job, money...adventure)."

    “Purge of those “elites” in Russia would be the first sure sign that something positive is happening in Russia.”
    And massive nationalization of stolen assets bringing almost all of industries under state ownership with obvious restoration of all necessary organizations required necessary to maintain and develop country’s industrial base for people’s good.Private enterprise imho should be kept to small scale services where it has some role.
    The wrong turn was taken back in 80′s which doe snot mean that if one took wrong road he should keep driving along it regardless forever. At some point realization must be made that the choice was wrong and it is time to return to right path which does not mean single party rule or communists back in power. It was after all about Soviet power which meant power of the people.

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS
    O........K..........

    Any thoughts, then, why The Great Leader, I mean Putin, has not done that?

    And, any thoughts on what an average citizen of Russian Federation feels and thinks about that?

    And, the really important, would that average citizen risk his life and lives of people he/she loves for that Russia?
    And, a step further, would he/she mind replacing that Russia with something different ?

    That is where the real strength, or weakness, of Russia is and not some weapons, numbers, Great Patriotic War and similar delusions.
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  165. annamaria says:

    “Syria accuses US and UK of supply chemical agents for weapons to terrorists”: http://theduran.com/syria-accuses-us-uk-supply-chemical-agents-weapons-terrorists/

    “All the found special equipment is hand grenades and projectiles for grenade launchers, which are equipped with irritant CS and CN poisoning substances (presented on slides). The discovered chemical munitions shown on the slide were produced by Federal Laboratories in the United States… And the toxic agents were produced by the companies Chemring Defence UK (Great Britain) and NonLethal Technologies (US)… the toxic agents were found in militant depots both in Aleppo and in the liberated areas of eastern neighborhoods in Damascus suburbs.”

    Here we are – Federal Laboratories US, Chemring Defence UK, and NonLethal Technologies US.
    Where are the children-loving Samantha Power and Nikki Haley to lecture the world about the very bad Assad and even “badder” Russians?

    Read More
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  166. peterAUS says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    "Purge of those “elites” in Russia would be the first sure sign that something positive is happening in Russia."
    And massive nationalization of stolen assets bringing almost all of industries under state ownership with obvious restoration of all necessary organizations required necessary to maintain and develop country's industrial base for people's good.Private enterprise imho should be kept to small scale services where it has some role.
    The wrong turn was taken back in 80's which doe snot mean that if one took wrong road he should keep driving along it regardless forever. At some point realization must be made that the choice was wrong and it is time to return to right path which does not mean single party rule or communists back in power. It was after all about Soviet power which meant power of the people.

    O……..K……….

    Any thoughts, then, why The Great Leader, I mean Putin, has not done that?

    And, any thoughts on what an average citizen of Russian Federation feels and thinks about that?

    And, the really important, would that average citizen risk his life and lives of people he/she loves for that Russia?
    And, a step further, would he/she mind replacing that Russia with something different ?

    That is where the real strength, or weakness, of Russia is and not some weapons, numbers, Great Patriotic War and similar delusions.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cyrano
    You are absolutely right man, when the Germans attacked in 1941, instead of fighting them with weapons, numbers, patriotism and other delusions, if the Russians were only smart enough to overthrow communism right there on the spot, that would have stopped the Germans dead in their tracks. They would have just stood by admiring the strength of the Russian people to overthrow communism. And by the way, you don’t have the intelligence to make fun of Putin.
    , @Sergey Krieger
    Well, I am not Putin. But he seems to be liberal , otherwise I do not see why necessary steps were not taken earlier. He would have had popular support for that. I am not Levada center, but here what I will tell. Russia often delays necessary reforms and changes until it becomes impossible to find peaceful solution. I see no blood if it is done correctly however, with 86% of all resources in Russia in 10 % hands and few opportunities for vast majority with inequality worse than before revolution especially knowing what sh***t of elites Russia got now my views are bleak. Unless necessary things are done from the top it will go on intl it won't. At the moment here is no outside force that can lead. Hence I hope Putin will see the light and do it.
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  167. Cyrano says:
    @peterAUS
    O........K..........

    Any thoughts, then, why The Great Leader, I mean Putin, has not done that?

    And, any thoughts on what an average citizen of Russian Federation feels and thinks about that?

    And, the really important, would that average citizen risk his life and lives of people he/she loves for that Russia?
    And, a step further, would he/she mind replacing that Russia with something different ?

    That is where the real strength, or weakness, of Russia is and not some weapons, numbers, Great Patriotic War and similar delusions.

    You are absolutely right man, when the Germans attacked in 1941, instead of fighting them with weapons, numbers, patriotism and other delusions, if the Russians were only smart enough to overthrow communism right there on the spot, that would have stopped the Germans dead in their tracks. They would have just stood by admiring the strength of the Russian people to overthrow communism. And by the way, you don’t have the intelligence to make fun of Putin.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    Without Bolsheviks and Stalin in power and what they did, Russia would not survive that experience. Even with all preparations it took so much to win. I hardly envision Russian people fighting this hard for Putin and Russian elites. Thankfully, thanks to Soviet military experience and investments, lack of comparable threat as US military is not exactly on Wehrmacht level and yes nukes I think this is not going to be tested.
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  168. @peterAUS
    O........K..........

    Any thoughts, then, why The Great Leader, I mean Putin, has not done that?

    And, any thoughts on what an average citizen of Russian Federation feels and thinks about that?

    And, the really important, would that average citizen risk his life and lives of people he/she loves for that Russia?
    And, a step further, would he/she mind replacing that Russia with something different ?

    That is where the real strength, or weakness, of Russia is and not some weapons, numbers, Great Patriotic War and similar delusions.

    Well, I am not Putin. But he seems to be liberal , otherwise I do not see why necessary steps were not taken earlier. He would have had popular support for that. I am not Levada center, but here what I will tell. Russia often delays necessary reforms and changes until it becomes impossible to find peaceful solution. I see no blood if it is done correctly however, with 86% of all resources in Russia in 10 % hands and few opportunities for vast majority with inequality worse than before revolution especially knowing what sh***t of elites Russia got now my views are bleak. Unless necessary things are done from the top it will go on intl it won’t. At the moment here is no outside force that can lead. Hence I hope Putin will see the light and do it.

    Read More
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  169. peterAUS says:

    …with 86% of all resources in Russia in 10 % hands and few opportunities for vast majority with inequality worse than before revolution especially knowing what sh***t of elites Russia got now my views are bleak. Unless necessary things are done from the top it will go on intl it won’t. At the moment here is no outside force that can lead.

    Agree.

    The real problem, IMHO, isn’t the s**t on top in West.
    Or the s**t on top in Russia.

    It’s that the s**t on top in West believes it can keep pushing.
    Because the s**t on top in Russia haven’t done their duty to the people.

    So we have a problem.
    S**t rolls downhill.

    In this particular thread that’s people in Ukraine/Donbass/whatever.

    And the REAL problem, those two s**ts can miscalculate in their push/pull game for the plebs.
    Nukes.
    End of story.

    Read More
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  170. @Cyrano
    You are absolutely right man, when the Germans attacked in 1941, instead of fighting them with weapons, numbers, patriotism and other delusions, if the Russians were only smart enough to overthrow communism right there on the spot, that would have stopped the Germans dead in their tracks. They would have just stood by admiring the strength of the Russian people to overthrow communism. And by the way, you don’t have the intelligence to make fun of Putin.

    Without Bolsheviks and Stalin in power and what they did, Russia would not survive that experience. Even with all preparations it took so much to win. I hardly envision Russian people fighting this hard for Putin and Russian elites. Thankfully, thanks to Soviet military experience and investments, lack of comparable threat as US military is not exactly on Wehrmacht level and yes nukes I think this is not going to be tested.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cyrano
    That logic is completely flawed, my man. If someone attacked me in my home, trying to rob me and murder me, defending myself doesn’t mean that I am doing it for whomever is the president of the country that I live in – I am doing it for myself. The Russians didn’t do it for Stalin, they did it for themselves and their loved ones.
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  171. Cyrano says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    Without Bolsheviks and Stalin in power and what they did, Russia would not survive that experience. Even with all preparations it took so much to win. I hardly envision Russian people fighting this hard for Putin and Russian elites. Thankfully, thanks to Soviet military experience and investments, lack of comparable threat as US military is not exactly on Wehrmacht level and yes nukes I think this is not going to be tested.

    That logic is completely flawed, my man. If someone attacked me in my home, trying to rob me and murder me, defending myself doesn’t mean that I am doing it for whomever is the president of the country that I live in – I am doing it for myself. The Russians didn’t do it for Stalin, they did it for themselves and their loved ones.

    Read More
    • Agree: JL
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    They obviously did it to protect loved ones and motherland, but also to protect new life which was opened for them by the said Stalin. Heroism was unprecendented even in Russian history. Compare it to 1918.
    , @Sergey Krieger
    You did not get me. Life was improving first time in centuries, social lifts were opened, benefits of new life were very tangible. Not only it was worth fighting for motherland but for new life of their loved one which first time in millennia showed promise of the future. Stalin was obvious concentration fulcrum of this. He was alos the one who gave means to protect, defend and win the war. No matter how brave and patriotic people would be, they would lose without changes that Bolsheviks with Stalin unleashed.
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  172. @Cyrano
    That logic is completely flawed, my man. If someone attacked me in my home, trying to rob me and murder me, defending myself doesn’t mean that I am doing it for whomever is the president of the country that I live in – I am doing it for myself. The Russians didn’t do it for Stalin, they did it for themselves and their loved ones.

    They obviously did it to protect loved ones and motherland, but also to protect new life which was opened for them by the said Stalin. Heroism was unprecendented even in Russian history. Compare it to 1918.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    No, compare it to 1812.
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  173. @Cyrano
    That logic is completely flawed, my man. If someone attacked me in my home, trying to rob me and murder me, defending myself doesn’t mean that I am doing it for whomever is the president of the country that I live in – I am doing it for myself. The Russians didn’t do it for Stalin, they did it for themselves and their loved ones.

    You did not get me. Life was improving first time in centuries, social lifts were opened, benefits of new life were very tangible. Not only it was worth fighting for motherland but for new life of their loved one which first time in millennia showed promise of the future. Stalin was obvious concentration fulcrum of this. He was alos the one who gave means to protect, defend and win the war. No matter how brave and patriotic people would be, they would lose without changes that Bolsheviks with Stalin unleashed.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    Life was improving first time in centuries
     
    Stalin starved millions of peasants to pay for his industrialisation needs. If you're a patriot of Russia you cannnot overlook that. You can't accept that as some "price of victory", that's BS.

    My ancestors used to own a mill in what is now Republic of Tatarstan. Stalin put them a cattle car, and unloaded them in the middle of Ural steppe to be used as slave labor in construction of Magnitogorsk.

    The entire Soviet period was a monstrous experience, that forever scarred the Russian people. Denying this is not patriotism, it's plain delusional, it's disrespect for the people, who suffered.

    , @Cyrano
    You are both right and wrong, my friend. I agree that without the industrialization that the Bolsheviks introduced, Russia would have been toast. Bolsheviks played crucial role in preparing Russia for the victory. I disagree that Stalin was the focal point of affection symbolizing the fatherland.

    Even Stalin was aware of his somewhat limited appeal for inspiring Russian patriotism. That's why he resurrected some historical figures from the imperial past to better appeal to the Russians' sense of patriotism. He established the orders of Suvorov and Kutuzov for this purpose - to inspire the Russians with some heroes from their glorious, pre-communist past.

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  174. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Sergey Krieger
    They obviously did it to protect loved ones and motherland, but also to protect new life which was opened for them by the said Stalin. Heroism was unprecendented even in Russian history. Compare it to 1918.

    No, compare it to 1812.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    1812 not comparable. French were not Wermacht despite Napoleon. Still not comparable.
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  175. @Sergey Krieger
    You did not get me. Life was improving first time in centuries, social lifts were opened, benefits of new life were very tangible. Not only it was worth fighting for motherland but for new life of their loved one which first time in millennia showed promise of the future. Stalin was obvious concentration fulcrum of this. He was alos the one who gave means to protect, defend and win the war. No matter how brave and patriotic people would be, they would lose without changes that Bolsheviks with Stalin unleashed.

    Life was improving first time in centuries

    Stalin starved millions of peasants to pay for his industrialisation needs. If you’re a patriot of Russia you cannnot overlook that. You can’t accept that as some “price of victory”, that’s BS.

    My ancestors used to own a mill in what is now Republic of Tatarstan. Stalin put them a cattle car, and unloaded them in the middle of Ural steppe to be used as slave labor in construction of Magnitogorsk.

    The entire Soviet period was a monstrous experience, that forever scarred the Russian people. Denying this is not patriotism, it’s plain delusional, it’s disrespect for the people, who suffered.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    The entire Soviet period was a monstrous experience, that forever scarred the Russian people. Denying this is not patriotism, it’s plain delusional, it’s disrespect for the people, who suffered.
     
    So, explain to me how, then, you are admiring Rozhin who obviously is Stalinist? LOL.
    , @Sergey Krieger
    Stalin did not starve anyone. There was urging need to change things both in villages and cities otherwise Russia would not survive. Stalin was resolving problems not of his but Tsarist Russia making. Somehow you are omitting millions death of peasants from hunger and mulnutrition during centuries of Tsarist rule and extremely hih death rates among children, not socialist lifts and illiteracy. Somehow after last starvation no more happened. Russia had mortal decease that required invasive surgery. Sorry, hands waving the way it was done before Bolsheviks did not and would not help. Regarding your ancessors they might have been miroedi/ kulaki. You should know what that meant
    .Hence retribution. The worst thing that scared Russia is what has been going on for the past 30 years. In every sphere including demography, education, industries. Russia is being ruled by thieves and criminals and you dare to ask about my patriotism. Soviet time unfortunately has been the highest point of Russia development.
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  176. @Anon
    No, compare it to 1812.

    1812 not comparable. French were not Wermacht despite Napoleon. Still not comparable.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    OK then, compare it to 1939. Russians fighting for their homes-- heroic. Russians fighting for Stalin-- pathetic.
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  177. @Felix Keverich

    Life was improving first time in centuries
     
    Stalin starved millions of peasants to pay for his industrialisation needs. If you're a patriot of Russia you cannnot overlook that. You can't accept that as some "price of victory", that's BS.

    My ancestors used to own a mill in what is now Republic of Tatarstan. Stalin put them a cattle car, and unloaded them in the middle of Ural steppe to be used as slave labor in construction of Magnitogorsk.

    The entire Soviet period was a monstrous experience, that forever scarred the Russian people. Denying this is not patriotism, it's plain delusional, it's disrespect for the people, who suffered.

    The entire Soviet period was a monstrous experience, that forever scarred the Russian people. Denying this is not patriotism, it’s plain delusional, it’s disrespect for the people, who suffered.

    So, explain to me how, then, you are admiring Rozhin who obviously is Stalinist? LOL.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    You're not funny, and you're not very bright, Martyanov. The notion of critical thinking is obviously alien to you. I don't 'admire' people, like you admire Putin. I pay attention to what they have to say.
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  178. @Felix Keverich

    Life was improving first time in centuries
     
    Stalin starved millions of peasants to pay for his industrialisation needs. If you're a patriot of Russia you cannnot overlook that. You can't accept that as some "price of victory", that's BS.

    My ancestors used to own a mill in what is now Republic of Tatarstan. Stalin put them a cattle car, and unloaded them in the middle of Ural steppe to be used as slave labor in construction of Magnitogorsk.

    The entire Soviet period was a monstrous experience, that forever scarred the Russian people. Denying this is not patriotism, it's plain delusional, it's disrespect for the people, who suffered.

    Stalin did not starve anyone. There was urging need to change things both in villages and cities otherwise Russia would not survive. Stalin was resolving problems not of his but Tsarist Russia making. Somehow you are omitting millions death of peasants from hunger and mulnutrition during centuries of Tsarist rule and extremely hih death rates among children, not socialist lifts and illiteracy. Somehow after last starvation no more happened. Russia had mortal decease that required invasive surgery. Sorry, hands waving the way it was done before Bolsheviks did not and would not help. Regarding your ancessors they might have been miroedi/ kulaki. You should know what that meant
    .Hence retribution. The worst thing that scared Russia is what has been going on for the past 30 years. In every sphere including demography, education, industries. Russia is being ruled by thieves and criminals and you dare to ask about my patriotism. Soviet time unfortunately has been the highest point of Russia development.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    Regarding your ancessors they might have been miroedi/ kulaki. You should know what that meant
     
    It means they were productive members of society, who worked hard. The Soviet regime decided to punish them for being prosperous. The regime viewed prosperity as a crime. It reduced its people to slaves.

    Slavery (i.e mass forced labor) was essential to the economic system that Stalin was building. Without slave labor Stalin 's industrialisation plans couldn't have "succeeded", if this word is even appropriate here.

    The hunger of 1933 was another consequence of Stalin's policy of industrialisation. The hunger was engineered by the regime. The authorities expropriated (stolen) all the grain, leaving the peasants with nothing to feed their families. The grain was directed for export, and proceeds were used to purchase industrial machines.

    There is no way Soviet authorities couldn't have known that peasants would starve. By taking their grain they effectively condemned millions of innocent people to death, and I just don't see how anyone who remotely cares about Russian people can condone that.
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  179. @Andrei Martyanov

    The entire Soviet period was a monstrous experience, that forever scarred the Russian people. Denying this is not patriotism, it’s plain delusional, it’s disrespect for the people, who suffered.
     
    So, explain to me how, then, you are admiring Rozhin who obviously is Stalinist? LOL.

    You’re not funny, and you’re not very bright, Martyanov. The notion of critical thinking is obviously alien to you. I don’t ‘admire’ people, like you admire Putin. I pay attention to what they have to say.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    I don’t ‘admire’ people, like you admire Putin. I pay attention to what they have to say.
     
    LOL. Let me quote myself (that is why I love information age--everything is documented):

    I promised that I will expand on my personal opinion on this matter and here it is--I am "expanding". I will say nothing new or what have not been discussed before but before I delve deeper into the topic here comes my fine print--I really do not like Putin that much.
     
    http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/search?q=Putin

    So, allow me, in this particular case, put under serious doubt what I highlighted in bold in your quote;-)
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  180. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Sergey Krieger
    1812 not comparable. French were not Wermacht despite Napoleon. Still not comparable.

    OK then, compare it to 1939. Russians fighting for their homes– heroic. Russians fighting for Stalin– pathetic.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    Finland? Mongolia? Do you frankly have a clue what you are talking about? Cared to read more than what is posted in the West? What about the outcome of both campaigns? Did USSR get what was planned? Olitical and military objectives fullfilled? Fighting pathetically for Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk and so on? What about Brest citadel. Pathetic? Sorry, you are pathetic.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  181. @Sergey Krieger
    Stalin did not starve anyone. There was urging need to change things both in villages and cities otherwise Russia would not survive. Stalin was resolving problems not of his but Tsarist Russia making. Somehow you are omitting millions death of peasants from hunger and mulnutrition during centuries of Tsarist rule and extremely hih death rates among children, not socialist lifts and illiteracy. Somehow after last starvation no more happened. Russia had mortal decease that required invasive surgery. Sorry, hands waving the way it was done before Bolsheviks did not and would not help. Regarding your ancessors they might have been miroedi/ kulaki. You should know what that meant
    .Hence retribution. The worst thing that scared Russia is what has been going on for the past 30 years. In every sphere including demography, education, industries. Russia is being ruled by thieves and criminals and you dare to ask about my patriotism. Soviet time unfortunately has been the highest point of Russia development.

    Regarding your ancessors they might have been miroedi/ kulaki. You should know what that meant

    It means they were productive members of society, who worked hard. The Soviet regime decided to punish them for being prosperous. The regime viewed prosperity as a crime. It reduced its people to slaves.

    Slavery (i.e mass forced labor) was essential to the economic system that Stalin was building. Without slave labor Stalin ‘s industrialisation plans couldn’t have “succeeded”, if this word is even appropriate here.

    The hunger of 1933 was another consequence of Stalin’s policy of industrialisation. The hunger was engineered by the regime. The authorities expropriated (stolen) all the grain, leaving the peasants with nothing to feed their families. The grain was directed for export, and proceeds were used to purchase industrial machines.

    There is no way Soviet authorities couldn’t have known that peasants would starve. By taking their grain they effectively condemned millions of innocent people to death, and I just don’t see how anyone who remotely cares about Russian people can condone that.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    Used favors and loans to make other work for them , this is how hard it was. Usurers. From ethical point of course. Hence retribution.
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  182. @Anon
    OK then, compare it to 1939. Russians fighting for their homes-- heroic. Russians fighting for Stalin-- pathetic.

    Finland? Mongolia? Do you frankly have a clue what you are talking about? Cared to read more than what is posted in the West? What about the outcome of both campaigns? Did USSR get what was planned? Olitical and military objectives fullfilled? Fighting pathetically for Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk and so on? What about Brest citadel. Pathetic? Sorry, you are pathetic.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk-- heroic Russians in WWII. Not pathetic.

    Tolvajarvi? Pretty darned pathetic.

    Terijoki government? Pathetic. Kuusinen became head of Finnish government?

    Mongolia? Not so pathetic, not so heroic either-- force with considerable numerical advantage, greater in tanks, repels a probing attack.
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  183. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Sergey Krieger
    Finland? Mongolia? Do you frankly have a clue what you are talking about? Cared to read more than what is posted in the West? What about the outcome of both campaigns? Did USSR get what was planned? Olitical and military objectives fullfilled? Fighting pathetically for Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk and so on? What about Brest citadel. Pathetic? Sorry, you are pathetic.

    Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk– heroic Russians in WWII. Not pathetic.

    Tolvajarvi? Pretty darned pathetic.

    Terijoki government? Pathetic. Kuusinen became head of Finnish government?

    Mongolia? Not so pathetic, not so heroic either– force with considerable numerical advantage, greater in tanks, repels a probing attack.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    Finland, Mongolia, first year of Great Patriotic was = learning process. Then fruition. I hope you understand what learning rocess means especially with so many new weapons coming on line and how to use it all and command effectively masses of troops and equipment. No effort is pathetic when lessons learned. Finish campaign had two stages by the way.
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  184. @Felix Keverich

    Regarding your ancessors they might have been miroedi/ kulaki. You should know what that meant
     
    It means they were productive members of society, who worked hard. The Soviet regime decided to punish them for being prosperous. The regime viewed prosperity as a crime. It reduced its people to slaves.

    Slavery (i.e mass forced labor) was essential to the economic system that Stalin was building. Without slave labor Stalin 's industrialisation plans couldn't have "succeeded", if this word is even appropriate here.

    The hunger of 1933 was another consequence of Stalin's policy of industrialisation. The hunger was engineered by the regime. The authorities expropriated (stolen) all the grain, leaving the peasants with nothing to feed their families. The grain was directed for export, and proceeds were used to purchase industrial machines.

    There is no way Soviet authorities couldn't have known that peasants would starve. By taking their grain they effectively condemned millions of innocent people to death, and I just don't see how anyone who remotely cares about Russian people can condone that.

    Used favors and loans to make other work for them , this is how hard it was. Usurers. From ethical point of course. Hence retribution.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    That's a truly bizarre point of view! What you're trying to do here is to justify "on ethical grounds" Communist slavery, expropriation and mass killing. Stop. Examine your moral depravity, and how you got into this unfortunate state.
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  185. @Felix Keverich
    You're not funny, and you're not very bright, Martyanov. The notion of critical thinking is obviously alien to you. I don't 'admire' people, like you admire Putin. I pay attention to what they have to say.

    I don’t ‘admire’ people, like you admire Putin. I pay attention to what they have to say.

    LOL. Let me quote myself (that is why I love information age–everything is documented):

    I promised that I will expand on my personal opinion on this matter and here it is–I am “expanding”. I will say nothing new or what have not been discussed before but before I delve deeper into the topic here comes my fine print–I really do not like Putin that much.

    http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/search?q=Putin

    So, allow me, in this particular case, put under serious doubt what I highlighted in bold in your quote;-)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Sorry, but I had better things to do than read your obscure blog, Mr Naval Enthusiast. I did read this comment of yours, where you confessed to being a cheer-leader for the Kremlin.
    http://www.unz.com/tsaker/debunking-the-myths-about-weapons-deliveries-to-the-ukraine/#comment-1966353

    Let me try one explanation: maybe because President Of Russian Federation has daily briefings by what amounts to the one of the two best in the world SignInt, HumInt and Military-Analytical apparatuses whose level of knowledge and processing power is not only in a different universe than of some amateur but because “Kremlin” does bear responsibility for 146 million of Russian citizens. So, yeah I have to “cheer-lead” for “Kremlin”.
     
    This sure smacked of admiration to me. I'm sorry if I misunderstood you: if you really are something other than a loyalist for Putin and his regime, then perhaps you would be willing to aknowledge his failings from time to time.
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  186. @Anon
    Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk-- heroic Russians in WWII. Not pathetic.

    Tolvajarvi? Pretty darned pathetic.

    Terijoki government? Pathetic. Kuusinen became head of Finnish government?

    Mongolia? Not so pathetic, not so heroic either-- force with considerable numerical advantage, greater in tanks, repels a probing attack.

    Finland, Mongolia, first year of Great Patriotic was = learning process. Then fruition. I hope you understand what learning rocess means especially with so many new weapons coming on line and how to use it all and command effectively masses of troops and equipment. No effort is pathetic when lessons learned. Finish campaign had two stages by the way.

    Read More
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  187. @Sergey Krieger
    Used favors and loans to make other work for them , this is how hard it was. Usurers. From ethical point of course. Hence retribution.

    That’s a truly bizarre point of view! What you’re trying to do here is to justify “on ethical grounds” Communist slavery, expropriation and mass killing. Stop. Examine your moral depravity, and how you got into this unfortunate state.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    Well, we have different points of view. But we're it not a good idea to expropriate current crop of so called "hard working" people. Unlike previous crop this one has no even remote venir of legitimacy.
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  188. @Andrei Martyanov

    I don’t ‘admire’ people, like you admire Putin. I pay attention to what they have to say.
     
    LOL. Let me quote myself (that is why I love information age--everything is documented):

    I promised that I will expand on my personal opinion on this matter and here it is--I am "expanding". I will say nothing new or what have not been discussed before but before I delve deeper into the topic here comes my fine print--I really do not like Putin that much.
     
    http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/search?q=Putin

    So, allow me, in this particular case, put under serious doubt what I highlighted in bold in your quote;-)

    Sorry, but I had better things to do than read your obscure blog, Mr Naval Enthusiast. I did read this comment of yours, where you confessed to being a cheer-leader for the Kremlin.

    http://www.unz.com/tsaker/debunking-the-myths-about-weapons-deliveries-to-the-ukraine/#comment-1966353

    Let me try one explanation: maybe because President Of Russian Federation has daily briefings by what amounts to the one of the two best in the world SignInt, HumInt and Military-Analytical apparatuses whose level of knowledge and processing power is not only in a different universe than of some amateur but because “Kremlin” does bear responsibility for 146 million of Russian citizens. So, yeah I have to “cheer-lead” for “Kremlin”.

    This sure smacked of admiration to me. I’m sorry if I misunderstood you: if you really are something other than a loyalist for Putin and his regime, then perhaps you would be willing to aknowledge his failings from time to time.

    Read More
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  189. Cyrano says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    You did not get me. Life was improving first time in centuries, social lifts were opened, benefits of new life were very tangible. Not only it was worth fighting for motherland but for new life of their loved one which first time in millennia showed promise of the future. Stalin was obvious concentration fulcrum of this. He was alos the one who gave means to protect, defend and win the war. No matter how brave and patriotic people would be, they would lose without changes that Bolsheviks with Stalin unleashed.

    You are both right and wrong, my friend. I agree that without the industrialization that the Bolsheviks introduced, Russia would have been toast. Bolsheviks played crucial role in preparing Russia for the victory. I disagree that Stalin was the focal point of affection symbolizing the fatherland.

    Even Stalin was aware of his somewhat limited appeal for inspiring Russian patriotism. That’s why he resurrected some historical figures from the imperial past to better appeal to the Russians’ sense of patriotism. He established the orders of Suvorov and Kutuzov for this purpose – to inspire the Russians with some heroes from their glorious, pre-communist past.

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    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    Yes, every small thing that could help was used. Ultimately people fought not for Stalin per see, but for motherland and promise of new life. Life was hard, but unlike before it was improving. We're it not for the war things could have turned far better and earlier. People knew what they were fighting for.
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  190. @Felix Keverich
    That's a truly bizarre point of view! What you're trying to do here is to justify "on ethical grounds" Communist slavery, expropriation and mass killing. Stop. Examine your moral depravity, and how you got into this unfortunate state.

    Well, we have different points of view. But we’re it not a good idea to expropriate current crop of so called “hard working” people. Unlike previous crop this one has no even remote venir of legitimacy.

    Read More
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  191. @Cyrano
    You are both right and wrong, my friend. I agree that without the industrialization that the Bolsheviks introduced, Russia would have been toast. Bolsheviks played crucial role in preparing Russia for the victory. I disagree that Stalin was the focal point of affection symbolizing the fatherland.

    Even Stalin was aware of his somewhat limited appeal for inspiring Russian patriotism. That's why he resurrected some historical figures from the imperial past to better appeal to the Russians' sense of patriotism. He established the orders of Suvorov and Kutuzov for this purpose - to inspire the Russians with some heroes from their glorious, pre-communist past.

    Yes, every small thing that could help was used. Ultimately people fought not for Stalin per see, but for motherland and promise of new life. Life was hard, but unlike before it was improving. We’re it not for the war things could have turned far better and earlier. People knew what they were fighting for.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Studley
    Sergey, I like your thinking re Holodomor. As someone of English descent, mind if I borrow it?

    1) Great Irish Famine 1840s. Never happened.

    2) Bengal Famine 1943. A fabrication.
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  192. peterAUS says:

    Ah, sure..as always, the Great Patriotic War.
    As Americans, the American Revolutionary War.
    Great past……
    Not much connection to the present, let alone future, but feels good.
    That’s important.

    For those not in the business of feeling good, a couple of points related to the present and, most likely, future.

    The propensity of Russian elites NOT to share the burden with the masses.
    Quite the opposite.
    Almost “in your face” attitude.
    Arrogance….contempt……or simple pure greed and stupidity.

    The effect of that attitude on society like cohesion and, should it happen, sacrifice for the COMMON good.

    Ah, yes, when Western tanks start rolling into Motherland then we’ll see that greatness, as with Napoleon and Hitler.
    Yeah…….

    There won’t be any tanks rolling. Not because of the might of Russian military but because it just doesn’t work that way any more. No need.

    A bit of dissent here, separatist movement there and there you go.

    Like in Ukraine for example.

    The commoners there just need to choose between oligarchs in Ukraine and oligarchs in Russia.

    We’ve seen overwhelming enthusiasm for Donbass Republic/whatever.
    Great fervor, self-sacrifice, blah, blah.
    Yeah.

    But let’s keep focus on Javelins, elite special forces, super competent spy agencies, great leaders etc.

    Feels good.

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  193. Studley says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    Yes, every small thing that could help was used. Ultimately people fought not for Stalin per see, but for motherland and promise of new life. Life was hard, but unlike before it was improving. We're it not for the war things could have turned far better and earlier. People knew what they were fighting for.

    Sergey, I like your thinking re Holodomor. As someone of English descent, mind if I borrow it?

    1) Great Irish Famine 1840s. Never happened.

    2) Bengal Famine 1943. A fabrication.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    By all means. You can check Elena Prudnikova regarding everything related to peasant question including Holodomor.
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  194. @Studley
    Sergey, I like your thinking re Holodomor. As someone of English descent, mind if I borrow it?

    1) Great Irish Famine 1840s. Never happened.

    2) Bengal Famine 1943. A fabrication.

    By all means. You can check Elena Prudnikova regarding everything related to peasant question including Holodomor.

    Read More
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