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Corruption—What Russia and Ukraine (And Hunter Biden and Jared Kushner) Have In Common
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Earlier (2014) John Derbyshire Asks: Endemic Corruption—The Ukraine Is Ex-Soviet, But What Excuse Do Black American Politicians Have?

One of the first things I had to say about the Russia-Ukraine war, back in February when it had just broken out, was that it is the first of any significance to be fought in demographic modernity, between two technologically advanced nations which both have low fertility, a declining workforce, and a swelling number of geezers.

That’s interesting in itself, and I’m sure I shall return to it. Here though is another, not necessarily related, observation about this war.

Consider all the countries of the world. From that set, remove all the black African countries. Then remove the nonwhite East and South Asian and Pacific countries. Then remove all the majority-Muslim countries. Then remove all the Latin American countries with a large nonwhite component in their populations. What are you left with?

Well, you are left with countries that you couldn’t help thinking of, if you lined ’em up, as white European in their core populations. I don’t mean geographically European: Australia and Argentina would be in there, too. I mean demographically European.

OK, put aside for a moment that set of countries you just gathered, get on the internet and bring up Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. Every year Transparency International scores all the countries of the world for corruption, as best that can be done. Then they show a ranking, with the least corrupt countries ranked number one, the most corrupt ranked number 180.

The most recent ranking they have published is for the year 2021, last year. Ranked number one, the cleanest country, was Denmark, followed by Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, and Sweden. Ranked number 180, the most hopelessly corrupt, was South Sudan, with just above it as slightly less corrupt, Syria, Somalia, Venezuela, Yemen, and North Korea.

Now pick up that set of demographically European nations I started with. Working your way up from the bottom of Transparency International’s ranked list—which is to say, from South Sudan heading up towards Denmark, at what point do you begin to encounter demographically European countries, countries on my starting list?

I just tried it out for the 2021 rankings. The first hit is Russia, ranked 136. Russia is tied in the scoring with Mali, Liberia, and Angola, just ahead of Myanmar, Mauritania, and Pakistan.

Continuing on up the rankings towards Denmark, the next demographically European countries you encounter is—drum roll, please [drum roll]—Ukraine! She’s ranked number 122.

If you keep going up the rankings you get to Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina equal ranked at 110; although since both are heavily Moslem, I’m not sure we should count them. Continuing on upwards, there’s Moldova at 105, then Serbia and Argentina, equal ranked at 96.

So of all the world’s demographically European countries, easily the most corrupt are Russia and Ukraine.

Conclusion: Not only is this war being fought between two countries in demographic modernity—low fertility, lots of geezers—it’s also being fought between two extreme outliers on the scale of corruption for demographically European countries

Yes: For those of us addicted to statistical tables, this is a very interesting war.

The over-representation of black African and Caribbean countries in the more-corrupt rankings on that table from Transparency International is hard to miss. If you work down from Denmark at the top, the first such is Barbados, ranked 29th. You don’t get to mainland black Africa until Botswana at 45 and Rwanda at 52; but thereafter, heading downwards to “most corrupt,” the black countries really come into their own.

And those rankings for Botswana and Rwanda, 45 and 52, are still way, way cleaner than Ukraine at ranking 122 and Russia at 136; so again, hmm.

The U.S.A. hasn’t actually been that corrupt a country, as countries go. We make a pretty good showing, especially if you subtract out the states of Illinois and Louisiana.

But ordinary Americans have been making quips about corruption pretty much since the founding of the republic. Definition of an honest politician? When he’s been bought, he stays bought … Etc., etc.—you all know the kind of thing.

And the Chinese tradition of the mandarin using his power to enrich his family and friends has some unpleasant parallels with current American news stories.

Joe Biden comes immediately to mind here. He has used political power to enrich himself, his son, and his brother, although the Regime Media a re striving mightily to distract our attention from it all. It’s not likely Biden will be brought to answer for it. People accept it as part of the system.

Our previous president, Donald Trump, had no need to depend on politics for his own enrichment. In all probability he ended his presidency poorer than when he began it, although still of course impressively rich.

But there seems to have been some Chinese-style family enrichment going on here, too, though. The funds in this case are coming in not from Russia, Ukraine, or China, but from Saudi Arabia. The New York Times reported on April 10th that last year the Saudis favored the new private equity firm Affinity Partners with a two billion dollar—that’s “billion” with a “b”—investment[Before Giving Billions to Jared Kushner, Saudi Investment Fund Had Big Doubts, by David D. Kirkpatrick and Kate Kelly, April 10, 2022]

So what? So this: Affinity Partners belongs to Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, who was a senior White House adviser in the Trump administration. He was also a big booster for the Saudis, and got them off the diplomatic hook for various malefactions they have committed. Presumably this two billion dollars—”billion” with a “b”—is payback to Kushner, as well as insurance in the event of a second Trump presidency.

ORDER IT NOW

A necessary, although not sufficient, condition for Trump getting my vote if he runs again would be his signing a sworn affidavit—in public, under oath—that Jared Kushner be totally banned from the White House and its grounds for the duration of Trump’s second presidency.

Still, American-scale corruption is picayune by comparison with the Russian and Ukrainian variety. Two billion dollars? Estimates of Vladimir Putin’s net worth go all the way up to two hundred billion, making him quite possibly the world’s richest man. [Putin claims he makes $140,000 and has an 800-square foot apartment. His actual net worth is a mystery no one can solve., By Mahnoor Khan, Forbes, March 2, 2022]

Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, is nothing like as rich as that, probably only in the one-to-two million dollar zone, although the Russians have put out much higher numbers for propaganda purposes.

Ukraine has a good roster of billionaire oligarchs, though; and by no means all of those billions were acquired by making better mousetraps. By no means …

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by VDARE.com com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. Voltarde says:

    ” … Still, American-scale corruption is picayune by comparison with the Russian and Ukrainian variety. Two billion dollars? Estimates of Vladimir Putin’s net worth go all the way up to two hundred billion, making him quite possibly the world’s richest man. …”

    It is sad to see someone as intelligent as Mr. Derbyshire repeat such unconvincing allegations about Russia and Mr. Putin.

    Which news accounts are more credible on this subject: those written by Fleet Street and the U.S. media; or this account from someone with extensive on-the-scene knowledge of Russia and Mr. Putin’s record while he was in office in St. Petersburg and Moscow?

    Understanding Russia, Un-Demonizing Putin – Consortium News
    https://consortiumnews.com/2018/02/06/understanding-russia-un-demonizing-putin/

    The current U.S. Government recently seized $300 billion worth of Russia’s overseas foreign reserve assets. These are the assets of a sovereign state, one that is not at war with America.

    US not intending to give back frozen assets — White House
    According to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, the US’ goal is “to put them to a better use”

    https://tass.com/world/1437923

    The financial seizure of Russia’s assets by the United States is an act of utter piracy, just pure and simple barbarism. Hardly “picayune.” It is an act unworthy of a civilized country, and would be considered a shameful disgrace by America’s founders.

  2. Syria? Most corrupt? How do I crank a Derb?
    Oh, the Derb IS a crank.

    • Agree: Realist
  3. The opacity of Transparency International is mind-blowing.
    Or was my mind blown already?

    • Agree: Godfree Roberts
  4. OK, put aside for a moment that set of countries you just gathered, get on the internet and bring up Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. Every year Transparency International scores all the countries of the world for corruption, as best that can be done.

    It’s not an actual index of corruption, it’s index of perceptions of corruption. And whose perceptions are they? The usual suspects.

    According to the newspaper Le Monde: “In its main surveys, Transparency International does not measure the weight of corruption in economic terms for each country. It develops a Corruption Perception Index (CPI) based on surveys conducted by private structures or other NGOs: the Economist Intelligence Unit, backed by the British liberal weekly newspaper The Economist, the American neoconservative organization Freedom House, the World Economic Forum, or large corporations. (…) The IPC ignores corruption cases that concern the business world. So, the collapse of Lehman Brothers (2008) or the manipulation of the money market reference rate (Libor) by major British banks revealed in 2011 did not affect the ratings of the United States or United Kingdom.” The organization also receives funding from companies that are themselves convicted of corruption offences.[39] CPI’s reliance on opinions of a relatively small group of experts and businesspeople, has been criticised

    And that’s not even mentioning the funding it gets from George Soros.

    Basically, it’s a Globalist, Neoliberal front organisation. It is never going to give Russia a realistic score, even if that could even be done. Quite the contrary, it will ensure that Russia is always rated very poor.

    Derbyshire relies on this corrupt propaganda outfit for his argument re Russia. It just shows what a stupid old geezer he is.

  5. Dumbo says:

    What about America and England?

    The only difference I see is that in America, corruption is legal or done in a less obvious way.

    https://www.foxnews.com/media/watters-world-investigates-nancy-pelosis-315-million-in-assets

    And it’s not just money either. The whole establishment makes it impossible to talk openly of things such as gays, jews, women, transgenders, etc.

    • Agree: Dutch Boy
  6. Ole_ed says:

    Folks,

    Remember that it was only a few years ago that he was writing at NR–neo-Buckleyite garbage–and calling us ‘Latrine flies’. Some things–such as US-centric virtue signalling– don’t change. Right ‘Derb’?

  7. @Verymuchalive

    Mr. Derbyshire often embarrasses himself venturing out into the world beyond racebait and maths. (It is “maths” if you’re really smart, isn’t it?) Especially when flashing some British fealty to his adopted Uncle Sam.

    • Replies: @Realist
    , @Verymuchalive
  8. Wokechoke says:

    Hi John,

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/1294319/ukraine-arms-exports-by-country/

    If you look at this chart Ukraine arms exports drop by half in 2019, suddenly the war gear destined for Saudi Arabia stays in country. A significant arms exporter decides to stop exporting, or alternatively loses a rich customer. Can you do a little research into Ukrainian arms dealing? The materiel destined for Saudi Arabia might have been quite interesting stuff.

    Looks to me that they didn’t simply lose customers but were preparing for a significant battle and stopped exporting the materiel.

  9. @Voltarde

    How are you going to defame Bill Browder who I have heard smeared but found quite convincing in

    • Replies: @Sorel McRae
  10. JD- would you care to explore the implications of the top of the list being populated by very small countries?

    Wherever the US is on the list rated by perceptions or actuality I wonder if it isn’t properly to be regarded as a very corrupt country. One of the characteristics to explore would be the inordinate privilege of being able, still, to print the world’s reserve currency.

  11. @Verymuchalive

    Basically, it’s a Globalist, Neoliberal front organisation. It is never going to give Russia a realistic score, even if that could even be done. Quite the contrary, it will ensure that Russia is always rated very poor.

    I agree.

    I’ve traveled extensively throughout Ukraine (pre- and post-Maidan), Russia, and more than a hundred other countries, including in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Ukraine was the most corrupt country I have encountered by far, from bribe-extracting public officials down to a pervasive culture of commercial dishonesty and routine con-artistry; Russia (and Belarus, BTW), among the least!

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  12. Realist says:
    @Voltarde

    It is sad to see someone as intelligent as Mr. Derbyshire repeat such unconvincing allegations about Russia and Mr. Putin.

    How the hell did you figure Derbyshire was intelligent???

    The current U.S. Government recently seized $300 billion worth of Russia’s overseas foreign reserve assets. These are the assets of a sovereign state, one that is not at war with America.

    Russia is not the only country to be screwed monetarily by the U.S. Government not by a long shot. But probably the worst corruption a government can be involved in is attacking a foreign nation or overthrowing a foreign government. Here the US is the apex asshole…peerless…no competitor has a chance. The US has caused the death of millions of foreign citizens for the purpose of wealth and power…not to mention its own citizens.

    • Agree: GomezAdddams
  13. Realist says:
    @Verymuchalive

    Derbyshire relies on this corrupt propaganda outfit for his argument re Russia. It just shows what a stupid old geezer he is.

    Agreed. Any list of corrupt countries that is not topped by the United States is lying and useless.

    • Agree: Notsofast
    • Disagree: James N. Kennett
    • Replies: @Peter Akuleyev
  14. Realist says:
    @Greta Handel

    (It is “maths” if you’re really smart, isn’t it?)

    To really excel at math does take genius…depending on the degree you excel. Derbyshire is a bit above the average an amateur, a want-to-be. If he were in the mid to upper echelon of mathematicians you would know of him as a mathematician…not a dumbass opinion writer.

  15. @Wizard of Oz

    Perhaps you should not be so credulous.

    Benjamin Bidder, “The Case of Sergei Magnitsky: Anti-Corruption Champion or Corrupt Anti-Hero?: The Case of Sergei Magnitsky: Questions Cloud Story Behind U.S. Sanctions,” Spiegel International, 26 November 2019, https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/the-case-of-sergei-magnitsky-anti-corruption-champion-or-corrupt-anti-hero-a-1297796.html:

    Browder has a well-documented talent for selling a set of facts so that it supports his own version of events. In Moscow, this was part of his business model as an investor. According to its own calculations, Hermitage Capital Management generated a 1,500 percent return on its investments within just a few years. According to Russian investigators, a company in Browder’s fund structure had wrongly paid only 5 percent in taxes, when in fact 15 percent should have been due. A double taxation agreement with Cyprus should not have been applied. …

    Hermitage bought cheap shares in Russian state-owned corporations, such as Gazprom or Sberbank, from the late 1990s onward. Then he took on the conglomerates’ leadership, denounced the widespread corruption and demanded reforms. If these came to fruition, the value of Browder’s shares rose. … In 1998, [Gazprom] was worth $3.5 billion. Within seven years, that number had jumped to $160 billion. Hermitage held many shares through shell companies. … The companies took advantage of tax breaks that were intended for firms with workplace disability rates of at least 50 percent — and not as a tax-saving model for Western investment funds. Over the course of their years-long investigations into Hermitage, Russian authorities stumbled upon a man who was helping Browder come up with his tax-saving models: Sergei Magnitsky. Browder says the practice of skirting taxes was common at the time. …

    The Moscow policeman Pavel Karpov, for one, who Browder claims worked with Kuznetsov to have Magnitsky arrested and killed in retaliation for his testimony, filed a defamation lawsuit against Browder in London in 2012. The presiding judge, Justice Simon, ruled the British courts had no jurisdiction over the matter. But in his written verdict, he also wrote scathingly about Browder, calling him a ‘story-teller’ who did ‘not come close to pleading facts which, if proved, would justify the sting of the libel.’ Simon also wrote that his assessment was to be explicitly understood as ‘a measure of vindication’ of Karpov. …

    In August, the European Court of Human Rights announced its ruling in the Magnitsky case: Russia must pay the deceased’s relatives 34,000 euros ($37,500) because the state should have protected the prisoner’s life and health. Nowhere in its verdict was there any mention of murder. The judges did, however, take apart the claim that the whistleblower had been imprisoned out of revenge. Magnitsky’s arrest was not without cause, they wrote, nor were the authorities’ actions malicious.

    • Replies: @36 ulster
    , @Wizard of Oz
  16. @Greta Handel

    I don’t know about “flashing British fealty” ( wouldn’t he be prosecuted ! ). However, the problem with Mr Derbyshire is this. Apart from his honesty about negroes – for which the National Review sacked him – most of his other opinions are bog standard Neocon. This makes for tedious and uninformative articles, at best, or downright stupid and bigoted ones, as here.

    In summation.
    John Cleese: Don’t mention the War!
    John Derbyshire: Don’t mention the Jews! ( even when he’s Jared Kushner )

  17. Mark G. says:

    Rankings of countries by levels of economic freedom is another way of showing levels of government corruption. Such rankings put out by the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute match rankings of countries by levels of corruption fairly well. Countries with free market economies and low levels of government corruption generally have higher GDP per capita and longer life expectancies. If you look at country rankings of GDP per capita and life expectancy, they are fairly close to rankings of economic freedom and corruption.

    African countries are at the bottom of all these rankings: government corruption, economic freedom, GDP per capita and life expectancy. The Ukraine and Russia both rank fairly low but, more importantly, there is not much difference between them. Any propaganda that this is a fight between freedom and tyranny is false. Since there is not much difference between them, there is no particular reason for the U.S. government to support one over the other by buying military weapons and then giving them to one side. That just benefits weapons manufacturers here in the United States while costing U.S. taxpayers money.

    • Agree: Achmed E. Newman
    • Thanks: Coemgen
  18. do chere says:

    How is an African country fairly judged corrupt by Western standards when its populations own cattle and goats mainly? There is a South African proverb/idiom which, loosely translated says, ” they see those of the goats (backside), those of the sheep are covered by the tails”. When the rich are corrupt , it is never corruption but bankruptcy, etc, but whatever the poverty – stricken do to survive, a crime easily gets ascribed to it. Has anyone considered that had it not been for corruption (Corruption with a BIG “C”) in Western high places, there wouldn’t have been a war going on in Ukraine?

  19. SafeNow says:

    In the U.S., you obtain a benefit not by paying a cash bribe, but by having a particular skin color. The magnitude of the former benefit is minuscule compared with the magnitude of the latter, in terms of the benefit to the individual. The same goes for the distorting effect of how the society functions. In the U.S., for example, the “bribe” of skin color gets you into medical school, and then into a lifetime of incompetent practice, killing patients. Meanwhile, in Russia, the cash bribe gets you a better car or an extra loaf of bread.

    • Replies: @Thelma Ringbaum
  20. Dutch Boy says:
    @Dumbo

    The system of lobbying and political donations is just legalized political corruption (the oligarchs wouldn’t have it any other way).

  21. @Voltarde

    Canada is right up there with the best of them including Hillary Clinton- William Jefferson Clinton- the boys in Trump Tower and the legal and financial crew in London- England. The Moscow Treasury was raided in 1991 when alcoholic Yeltsin entertained Clintons and the Russian – ( Jew ) Mafia moved money to London England for washing. Lucy Edwards in New York featured in and there was YBM Magnex and its origins from Canada ( Peterson -former Premier of Ontario sat on its Board of Directors) and YBM fleeced shareholders but the Brain of it was on the FBI Top 10. Later FBI removed the Brainy Don claining he was too hard to catch ( he paid off the corrupt FBI) and it is fact FBI and RCMP and Revenue Canada have made more money via stonewalling-coverups and extortion/ silenceing -bribes than what their paycheques provide. New Jersey had he boys operate a gas-diesel scheme worth millions and again—-where was the law? Dalai Lama is likely the richest con man in the world today–1,000 mule loads of gold enering India and not paying customs duties and the act –in his robes wanting again to return to Tibet—to brutally run a cabal of thugs hanging out in a temple turning the wheels of fortune while gouging the peasants with inherited Debt.

  22. We can call out on goy corruption, but what happens if you mention Jewish corruption?

    When Jews are corrupt, we call them out as individuals, not as part of the Cabal.

    • Agree: Charles
    • Replies: @KenH
  23. Charles says:

    It is worth noting that defining or even perceiving corruption is, in its essense, an Anglo-Saxon concern. Notably but not exclusively of course, the S-Saharan states do not even consider bribery, extortion, et cetera to be crimes. Those things are simply how life is – very much like present-day Chicago.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  24. lastdance says:

    The idea that western societies are less corrupt than Russia or Ukraine is laughable. Only someone brainwashed would believe that. If we would denominate corruption according to severity and damage to the general population and add it up, we’d end up with the same amount per resident in the nations of the world.
    Corruption shows itself in different ways. The western societies are just better in hiding
    it. We basically legalized it and call it lobbying now. There is not one major city in North America, for example, that isn’t run by developers. No major infrastructure project is being awarded to companies without inside knowledge and favours exchanged. The whole capitalist system is built on corruption.
    The corruption in Russia and Ukraine has a different character because of it’s history. In communist and socialist countries a big part of corruption takes place on the “street level”, while in capitalist ones it plays itself out in the “higher echelons” of society. The overall damage to the general population in terms of cost is about the same though. One just has to look at the 2008 economic crisis where the general populace took the brunt of the aftermath while the banks and player who caused the crisis where bailed out.
    Here is one example how it works in the “civilized” world.

  25. @Charles

    I mashed [Agree] too quickly, Charles. I will differ with you only in that the Chinese have been recognizing and talking about corruption for centuries. The problem with their mindset is that they think the way to get rid of it is to get better, more un-corrupt people into those positions of great power. Stupid, stupid, stupid. The problem is that there ARE those positions of great power available to begin with.

    I will say that the Anglo-Saxons are the ones that seemed (note the “ed”) to have the best handle on this concept.

  26. 36 ulster says:
    @Sorel McRae

    Just when I thought that the Ukraine-Putin Narrative couldn’t get any more stomach-turning, alleged author Bill Browder, “activist investor” (Haw! Ha-HAW-ha!) and grandson of longtime CPUSA Supremo Earl Browder, crawls out for an interview for the midday radio show on Toronto’s CFRB, hosted by–ahem–Evan Solomon. Mr. Browder assures us that he’s at the top of Vladimir Putin’s enemies list, marked for death, no less. Sorry, but if Putin wanted Mr. Browder dead, I’m pretty sure Putin would have succeeded some time ago. Maybe through the FSB’s Bulgarian contacts, they with the special-tipped umbrellas. They have experience operating in London, where Mr. Browder is said to live. The media deserves contempt for fabricating the Gallant Ukraine myth and the legend of Mr. Putin’s vast wealth (you’d think that an allegedly all-powerful demi-tsar such as he would disdain the pursuit of oligarchical wealth, unlike Mr. Browder), but many of us have abandoned our cherished skepticism over this and other issues (e.g., “follow the science.” Trust the experts…”).

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  27. @Sorel McRae

    What you quote suggests mostly that Browder takes one of the well established views of tax law in particular, namely that you are entitled to try a d escape its impact honestly if deviously. Claiming the wrong tax rate or deduction is just par for the course unless fraudulent. Chancing it isn’t per se fraudulent.

    I was interested in the evidently true fact that he was an investor rather than a thieving oligarch. That seems undisputed.

    As to the whole Magnitsky saga and the continued activity of Browder in extending Magnitsky Acts (latest in Australia I think) why would he do it if he didn’t believe his version of the story. It can hardly be for the money so one has to treat it as possibly on the top level of Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs – like the foundation of charitable foundations by traditional mega rich capitalists. N’est ce pas?

    • Replies: @Sorel McRae
    , @Adrian
  28. Adrian says:

    The strange thing about the Browder case is not that he is a teller of tales, there are many like him, but that his tales have been so readily accepted, by all kinds of assemblies, from high to low, without any further scrutiny. The only explanation for this is a widespread russophobia. Future historians of culture, if there will be any, will find this a puzzling phenomenon.

    There have been attempts of course to analyse his story. One of the contributors already mentioned a relevant article in the prestigious German magazine Der Spiegel. But Browder managed to get a potentially most effective one, a film by fellow Putin-critic Andrei Nekrasov, blacklisted.

    Browder calls himself Puitin enemy no.1. When did he become so? At any case after he made this statement quoted in Wikispooks:

    But we are sitting here in an audience of international investors. Everyone sitting here watching all of this and wondering, is Russia a good place or a bad place to invest? And Mr Ryzhkov, I believe you when you say there’s freedom of the press. Because I used the press in all sorts of corporate governance fights, attacking all sorts of people, including government officials and there’s never been any recourse coming back to me. And I also believe that Russia has a democratic process that is not going to go away. Bill Browder (January 28, 2005) 

    And, we can safely assume, also after he was accused of tax fraud.

    In his previous piece John Derbyshire asked “How About Show Trials for Enemies of the People Who Want U.S. Embroiled In This Ukraine-Russia Mess?”

    Why not start with Broder, John?

    This suggestion is also implicit in Glenn Greenwald’s recent question:

    Not really sure how or why Garry Kasparov (a foreigner who accused Obama of surrendering to Putin), Bill Browder (who relinquished his US citizenship for tax reasons, says CBS), & a bunch of right-wing Ukrainians get to dictate US policy toward Russia.

    • Replies: @Eagle Eye
  29. @Sorel McRae

    Ukraine was the most corrupt country I have encountered by far, from bribe-extracting public officials down to a pervasive culture of commercial dishonesty and routine con-artistry

    So you’ve not been to Kosovo ( admitedly, only partially recognised) yet.
    World traveller, you must try harder.

    • Replies: @Sorel McRae
  30. @36 ulster

    Sorry, but if Putin wanted Mr. Browder dead, I’m pretty sure Putin would have succeeded some time ago. Maybe through the FSB’s Bulgarian contacts, they with the special-tipped umbrellas. They have experience operating in London, where Mr. Browder is said to live.

    You’re very much living in the past. The murder of Georgi Markov via a pellet laced with ricin, injected by an umbrella, happened as long ago as 1978, before the end of the Cold War. If you are aged 36, you weren’t even born then. For my sins, being a young man at the time, I do remember the episode very well.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgi_Markov

    The Bulgarian Communists obtained the pellet from the East German Stasi, without Russian knowledge. The KGB had nothing to do with it. Indeed, they were frankly annoyed that Zhivkov had permitted this crass act.

    The FSB doesn’t have any contacts in the Bulgarian military or intelligence anymore, now that Bulgaria is part of NATO. No doubt, it will have agents operating secretly inside these organisations. That’s what intelligence services do. I doubt very much that they will be focussed on obtaining poison pellets.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  31. @Wizard of Oz

    I don’t know where Mazlow would fit ethnic animus on the hierarchy, but it seems to be the guiding principle of most of the U.S. elite’s policy toward Russia.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  32. @Verymuchalive

    No, you? Please describe!

    I have been to Albania without any problems. Didn’t find it quite the traveler’s mecca Linh Dinh did (but then no two people really visit the same country). I would expect Kosovo’s shall-we-say unique origins to have an impact on top of cultural similarity.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  33. Adrian says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    As to the whole Magnitsky saga and the continued activity of Browder in extending Magnitsky Acts (latest in Australia I think) why would he do it if he didn’t believe his version of the story. It can hardly be for the money

    No it is not money. The obsessiveness of it suggests something else:

    It has been suggested that narcissists have two layers of rage. The first layer of rage can be thought of as a constant anger towards someone else, with the second layer being a self-aimed anger.Wikipedia

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  34. @Sorel McRae

    It would be interesting to know if Mazlow could have given a place for some tribes’ or families’ or other groups’ collective hates as something observed or turned up by research. It hadn’t occurred to me because, probably, because I have thought of the hierarchy as describing what is natural to emotionally healthy moral individuals. I don’t think the rank and file of Russian armies in Ukraine, or most armies anywhere any time are made up of individuals competing to show how high they are in the hierarchy.

  35. @Adrian

    Maybe. I’ve never met him or known anyone who had as far as I know. Members of legislatures should be pretty good at recognising narcissists so it is intriguing that so many legislatures have accepted his pitch.

    • Replies: @Adrian
  36. @Verymuchalive

    To extend your comment it is interesting to consider all those cases where it seems likely Russian agents performed poisonings without killing . The Skripals and two shots at Navalny are amongst those where scoffers say it’s all fabricated because if the FSB had wanted them dead they would have been.

    It occurs to me that there are at least two possible devious motives for poisoning but not killing. One is that it can have at least as much deterrent effect by the fear it creates and publicity it gets. The other is that it facilitates the propaganda line that it was all a false flag by the Brits or US or whoever.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  37. KenH says:
    @Priss Factor

    We can call out on goy corruption, but what happens if you mention Jewish corruption?

    When Jews are corrupt, we call them out as individuals, not as part of the Cabal.

    Except when Jewish corruption becomes public the offending Jews suddenly are recast as “white” or “evil white men” for witless goyim consumption and to protect the carefully cultivated image of the chosen race.

  38. Unit472 says:

    The most corrupt nations listed, with the exception of North Korea, also seem to be the source for a good many US refugees and illegal immigrants. South Sudan, Syria, Somalia, Venezuela and Yemen. Curious that.

    Another thing that is gnawing at me with this Russia/Ukraine war. Putin seems to be increasingly a less comical but just as inept dictator as Mussolini. Xi Jinping should beware of making Putin’s Russia a partner in his Axis of Evil less he end up with an Italy on his hands.

    As I recall Hitler was working hard on his invasion of the USSR when Mussolini kept on getting Germany involved in Italy’s side shows be it North Africa or Greece. Hitler had to divert a substantial number of German troops to keep Italy from being defeated by the British or Greek armies. Also upset his time table so winter caught him at the Gates of Moscow because in the spring Mussolini attacked Greece and started losing.

    The good news is that Xi is probably aware now of just how risky an attack on Taiwan would be. Since it is an island he can’t bring to bear his larger army and infantry dug into Taiwan’s many mountains is rather impervious to missile or naval bombardment. Taking down apartment buildings in Taipei would get him the same bad PR it has gotten Putin and not take a square foot of Taiwan.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    , @Wokechoke
  39. Adrian says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    Members of legislatures should be pretty good at recognising narcissists

    Hell no – what they see everyday around them is no longer conspicuous.

    In a series of studies performed in the United States and Denmark, researchers found that people with higher levels of narcissism—a trait combining selfishness, entitlement, and a need for admiration—were also more likely to participate in politics.

    so it is intriguing that so many legislatures have accepted his pitch.

    Russophobia – plus the salesmanship of a professional huckster.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  40. @Unit472

    UR threadsters are overdue for receiving such a hint if optimism.

  41. @Adrian

    Maybe but I choose to retain some optimism where one can only guess that what we hear from him is phony.

    • Replies: @Adrian
  42. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his (former?) sponsor, the criminal oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, had a prominent role in the Pandora Papers.

    https://www.occrp.org/en/the-pandora-papers/pandora-papers-reveal-offshore-holdings-of-ukrainian-president-and-his-inner-circle

    Igor Kolomoisky and Hennadiy Boholiubov owned 98% of Ukraine’s largest bank, PrivatBank, and looted it by lending money to their own companies. The bank was nationalized in 2016 (under the Poroshenko administration) to prevent its collapse. Kolomoisky wants his shares back, and the case is being contested in the Ukrainian courts.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/20/privatbank-ukraines-president-zelensky-and-the-oligarch-kolomoisky.html – this report from 2019 states:

    Meanwhile, Valeria Gontareva, who was the governor of Ukraine’s central bank in 2016 and made the decision to nationalize Privatbank, says she is the victim of a campaign of harassment because of the nationalization.

    Gontareva, who now lives in London and works as an academic, was injured when she was hit by a car in London in August, and then a car belonging to a family member in Ukraine was torched in September. Earlier this week, her home in Ukraine was burned down in a suspected arson attack. Kolomoisky has denied any involvement in the incidents.

    Even before the Russian invasion, Ukraine was utterly unsuitable for EU membership. Comparisons with African levels of corruption are apt; Ukraine may actually be worse.

    • Agree: Orville H. Larson
  43. @Wizard of Oz

    To extend your comment it is interesting to consider all those cases where it seems likely Russian agents performed poisonings without killing . The Skripals and two shots at Navalny

    If the Skripals were poisoned, it certainly would not have been a nerve agent, since they would have expired very quickly. It would help if they were around to tell their part of the story. Where they are and how they are remains known only to MI6 and a few others.

    Navalny’s hospital report in Germany indicates acute pancreatitis, consistent with his alcoholism, drug addictions and diabetes. The only one who poisoned Navalny was himself.

    Oz, sorry to disappoint you, but poisoning by agents of the Russian or other governments is likely to be a lot less prevalent than many people suspect.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  44. @Sorel McRae

    A relative served in the British Army, though he left over 10 years ago. He served one tour in Kosovo. He gave me a detailed account of his time there to me. By far the worst place he had ever been to. Imagine the Mafia running a country, but ten times worse.

  45. @SafeNow

    I wonder how people manage get these extra cars or better loaves of bread. Last time I was in Russia no one , ever, asked me for any bakshish. Did I dress too much like a tax inspector ? Who knows..

  46. Anon 2 says:

    A little bit of anthropology:
    Jewish philosophy of life is very simple.
    It goes like this:

    “Everybody steals and everybody lies.
    Therefore, anyone who doesn’t steal and doesn’t lie is a ‘freier.’ “

    The word ‘freier,’ roughly meaning ‘sucker’ is well-known wherever
    Jews used to live in large numbers in Europe, esp. in Greater Poland.
    In Israel, “Don’t be a freier” is known as the 11th Commandment.
    Netanyahu would often say, “I’m not a freier.’ To the Jewish mind,
    anyone who is a freier is the lowest of the low, and can be treated
    with total contempt. Jews often put Christians in this category.

  47. @Verymuchalive

    I’m afraid I haven’t your expertise in matters of molecular biology and medicine. Nor do I have access to the proofs you rely on for asserting that Navalny is/was suffering from those maladies you mention. I look forward to enlightenment. Also about why the Skripals would certainly have died if Novichuk had been used. As I recall it the poison was on a door handle and a policeman who also touched it got sick but survived, while a couple got very sick after they found the thrown away container and one died.

    Mind you, if one allows oneself a little more doubt than is usual on UR it seems possible that the FSB agents would be happy with the idea that, if they were caught in the UK the charge would not be murder. And, another possibility, if Navalny was as sick as you say, and, anyway, he might have calculated that his life would be safer in a Russian prison for the time being anyway and he might well get out in 5 years time if Putin was still in power and be able to go on lecture tours in the West.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  48. Adrian says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    I choose to retain some optimism where one can only guess that what we hear from him is phony.

    Why “optimism”? I regard feeding this anti-Russian hysteria as providing fuel to a life threatening fire.

    “one can only guess “? Judging Browder’s claims now is not just a matter of guessing:

    After the painstaking inquiry by Der Spiegel and Nekrasov a few things seem reasonably clear:

    1.Magnitsky was not a crusading attorney, a whistleblower, as Browder has presented him. but an accountant working for Browder. His first contact with the police was not as a whistleblower, to report a corruption case, but either as a witness or a suspect.

    2. Magnitsky was not murdered as even his mother has testified but died because of an illness ( a physician had diagnosed an inflammation of the pancreas several months before) and medical neglect. So he was not beaten to death by several policemen as Browder has claimed.

    3, Magnitsky made notes in prison, inter alia on his various complaints to the prison authorities – he doesn’t talk anywhere there of torture. Browder claimed however that he was tortured on a daily basis.

    How is it that Browser’s claims were so readily accepted? The late Max Parry has dealt with this question too in a review of Nekrasov’s film in Consortium News:

    a kind of trans-Atlantic groupthink took hold with clear political benefits for those who went along and almost no one wiling to risk the accusation of being a “Kremlin stooge” by showing doubt.

    And the thing acquired its own momentum, Once the American Congress and Obama had been taken in Browder had a comparatively easy job in convincing other audiences.

    Only twice were his assertions dealt with in a court of law. I quote from the English version of the article in Der Spiegel:

    Some of the people accused by Browder have begun to fight back against the allegations. The Moscow policeman Pavel Karpov, for one, who Browder claims worked with Kuznetsov to have Magnitsky arrested and killed in retaliation for his testimony, filed a defamation lawsuit against Browder in London in 2012.

    The presiding judge, Justice Simon, ruled the British courts had no jurisdiction over the matter. But in his written verdict, he also wrote scathingly about Browder, calling him a “story-teller” who did “not come close to pleading facts which, if proved, would justify the sting of the libel.” Simon also wrote that his assessment was to be explicitly understood as “a measure of vindication” of Karpov.

    The case was also dealt with in the European Court of Human Rights. Der Spiegel again:

    the European Court of Human Rights announced its ruling in the Magnitsky case: Russia must pay the deceased’s relatives 34,000 euros ($37,500) because the state should have protected the prisoner’s life and health. Nowhere in its verdict was there any mention of murder. The judges did, however, take apart the claim that the whistleblower had been imprisoned out of revenge. Magnitsky’s arrest was not without cause, they wrote, nor were the authorities’ actions malicious. The investigations into Magnitsky began in 2004, long before he first approached the authorities, it says on page 39 of the court’s written verdict. But that didn’t stop Browder from describing the ruling as a “resounding victory.”

    A private viewing of Nekrasov’s now blacklisted film was once arranged in Washington. There was a question session afterwards that was moderated by Seymour Hersh. Browder claimed that those who had arranged this should be charged on the basis of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

    I understand that for those who have not seen “The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes”, a personalised screener can be obtained from producer Torstein Grude: [email protected]

    I haven’t tried this myself yet.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  49. @Adrian

    I won’t be pinning too much on Browder, at least until I can contradict you.

    I don’t put much store by what Der Spiegel says about what Simom J said. To start with waffley pleadings which can be amended might have just been used as a low cost way of verbally beating up the plaintiff and his colleagues
    (without expensive research) when Browder’s essential defence that was expected to succeed was to have te case struck out. That could easily have been done in a way which was likely to irritate an English judge leading to his comment about “a measure of” [sic] vindication.

    Unless Browder was a party to the European Court of Human Rights case it can’t be counted as of much relevance. Do you know that Magnitsky’s relatives weren’t encouraged or coerced into suing then running dead, possibly promised more money too, precisely to achieve the playing down of Magnitsky’s experience that has convinced you? Come to think of it, isn’t it odd that Russia didn’t simply object to the jurisdiction of the court?

  50. Adrian says:

    Unless Browder was a party to the European Court of Human Rights case it can’t be counted as of much relevance.

    Browder had no standing in this case at all. His spreading myths about it didn’t automatically give him that.

    Come to think of it, isn’t it odd that Russia didn’t simply object to the jurisdiction of the court?

    Not odd at all. The Russian Federation ratified the European Convention on Human Rights in May 1998 and that implied recognising the jurisdiction of this court. However, “Russia, having been expelled from the Council of Europe as of 16 March 2022, ceases to be a party to the convention with effect from 16 September 2022 in accordance with article 58.”

    Pretty outrageous, but so it is.

  51. @Wizard of Oz

    For Navalny’s drug use, alcoholism and diabetes, see below.
    http://johnhelmer.net/category/navalny/
    http://johnhelmer.net/german-doctor-treating-alexei-navalny-makes-new-disclosures/

    The policeman who became ill did so after handling the door knob of the Skripals’ house. This was several weeks after the Skripals had allegedly been poisoned. Novichuk and other OP poisons degrade very quickly. If it had been there since the Skripals were allegedly poisoned, any material left would have oxidised. It would not have caused illness. The logical inference was that the material was not Novichuk and had been freshly applied to the door knob, if that was indeed the source of the poison.

    Dawn Sturgess, the woman who allegedly died of Novichuk poisoning, did so months after the Skripals ( July 2018, as opposed to March 2018 ). She died, so it was claimed, after being given a perfume bottle with Novichuk in it by her partner Charlie Rowley. Mr Rowley was an employee of Porton Down, Britain’s “Biological and Chemical Research Centre.” Allegedly, she sprayed some on. She died and Mr Rowley became critically ill but recovered.
    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/u-k-woman-dies-after-exposure-novichok-same-nerve-agent-n889711
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-53406789

    How Mr Rowley obtained the “perfume bottle” has never been satisfactorily explained, or its alleged connection to the Skripal case.
    But that’s enough reading to keep you busy for a few days.

    PS I was rather disappointed you didn’t ask me about the Markov case, which was certainly one involving the agents of foreign government, and a bit of a disaster for MI5.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  52. @Verymuchalive

    PInterested to be reminded of John Helmer and to see the way he has been sucked in to self preservation as a foreign resident of Moscow more or less monopolising reporting of Russia to Africa. The first little give away was the tendentious Russian imperialist use of “The Ukraine” but, generally, he seems pretty happy reporting that Russia will smash Ukraine and keep it smashed. What he says, like what Walter Duranty wrote, is no doubt readable and worth reading but I don’t trust it.
    P
    What he says about the Navalny poisoning allegations leaves untouched that the German doctors couldn’t determine if Novachuk was used, and certainly not in a short time and so the evidence from scientific analysis came from a German military laboratory a week or so after Navalny was taken to Grrmany.

    As to your unsourced claims that the policeman touched poison on the door handle some considerable time after the Skripals were poisoned, and that Charlie Rowley was an employee of Porton Down (and the implication that it was relevant) I credit you with a poor memory rather than believing that you just made it all up.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  53. @Verymuchalive

    I was wondering how they put together the index. Corruption indeed.

    • Thanks: Verymuchalive
  54. @Wizard of Oz

    The Closing of The Australian Mind. Wiz, you’re certainly a case.

    The Policeman is Nick Bailey
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46290989

    Det Sgt Bailey came into contact with the nerve agent after being sent to the Skripals’ home, where it had been sprayed on the door handle.
    After finishing work on that fateful day, he unwittingly contaminated his home. He and his family have so far been unable to return.

    Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found seriously ill on a bench in Salisbury on the afternoon of Sunday 4 March.
    That night, Det Sgt Bailey and two colleagues were sent to their home, in a quiet suburb. Clad in full forensic suits, they were tasked with making sure there were no other casualties.
    By Tuesday he was so unwell, he was rushed to hospital.

    Doctors had to break the news to Det Sgt Bailey that he had been poisoned with Novichok.

    “It’s the fear of the unknown because it’s such a dangerous thing to have in your system. Knowing how the other two were [and] how badly they’d been affected by it, I was petrified,” he said.

    Intensive care doctors at Salisbury hospital were faced with something they had not dealt with before and, according to Dr Duncan Murray, there was “a very real expectation” all three could die.

    Det Sgt Bailey’s treatment was both painful and stressful.

    “I was conscious throughout the whole time,” he said. “I had lots of injections… I had five or six infusions at any one time in my arms. Physically, I felt quite numb after a while.”

    THAT WAS NOVEMBER 2018

    Here’s the December 2021 version
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10326917/Nick-Bailey-poisoned-Salisbury-novichok-attack-reveals-accused-plot.html

    NOTICE THE BIG CHANGE

    While unwell on Monday, it was the following day he woke hallucinating and sweating in what he calls ‘a tsunami of pure heat and fire’ following which he was admitted to A&E.

    ‘Even the staff at the hospital were scared about how this was going to work and what was going on. It was pure terror,’ he said.

    ‘I cried a lot because I was so scared. I thought it’s only a matter of time before I slip into a coma and die.’

    He was in hospital for 17 days, remaining conscious throughout.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  55. @Verymuchalive

    I see no relevant change in the story justifying your original claim.

  56. @Realist

    Any list of corrupt countries that is not topped by the United States is lying and useless.

    No, the US is a middle-weight when it comes to corruption. If you think otherwise you are either extremely provincial or one of those frothing at the mouth leftists that sees America as the root of all evil. You certainly have never worked in the business world. Spend a few days running a business in Italy or Poland, then come back and talk to me about corruption in America. To say nothing of Mexico, China, etc. etc.

  57. MEH 0910 says:

    https://vdare.com/radio-derb/a-statistically-interesting-war-all-kinds-of-corruption-an-honest-lefty-and-the-other-side-of-hesperophobia-etc

    https://www.johnderbyshire.com/Opinions/RadioDerb/2022-04-15.html

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
  58. Wokechoke says:
    @Unit472

    Taiwan can be easily conquered. Sink any ships going in. Sink ships going out. Shoot down aircraft going in and out.

    The wider war that might create is another issue.

  59. @Dumbo

    “The only difference I see is that in America, corruption is legal or done in a less obvious way.”

    Washington, Di$trict of Corruption is bought-and-paid-for by . . . well, the PACs and the lobbyists with the biggest checkbooks. Want a member of Knesset West–I’m sorry, Congress–to see things your way? Lay some bribes–er, uh, “campaign contributions”–on him. He’ll come around. . . .

  60. Mb123 says:

    This is a silly article, reasoning at the high school level.

  61. Eagle Eye says:
    @Adrian

    [GREENWALD:] Not really sure how or why Garry Kasparov (a foreigner who accused Obama of surrendering to Putin), Bill Browder (who relinquished his US citizenship for tax reasons, says CBS), & a bunch of right-wing Ukrainians get to dictate US policy toward Russia.

    For that matter, it is insane to let policy be dictated by “officials” with an obvious ancestral grudge or other personal interest in the matters before them.

    The late Madeleine Albright (PBUH – purgatory be upon her) by all accounts spent idyllic years as a diplomat’s daughter in Belgrade. As U.S. Secretary of State, she played a key role in breaking up and destroying Yugoslavia.

    ETHNIC DIPLOMATS

    Related to this, the U.S. should end the ridiculous practice of appointing ethnics to serve as diplomats in the land of their ancestors, e.g. Jean Kennedy Smith in Ireland, Gary Locke in China or Tony Coelho in Portugal. If the ethnic emissary is a loyal American, the host country will not benefit from his/her appointment in any case. On the other hand, if the emissary does extend special consideration to his ancestors’ country, the appointment will tend to taint the collective reputation of the ethnic group in the U.S.

    • Agree: Orville H. Larson
  62. MEH 0910 says:
    @MEH 0910

    https://vdare.com/radio-derb/under-the-southern-cross-corruption-and-florida-bans-math-textbooks-for-not-being-about-math-etc

    https://www.johnderbyshire.com/Opinions/RadioDerb/2022-04-22.html

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