The United States of Amnesia, and Its Incredible Asbestos Pants

Uncle Volodya says, You must remember, my dear lady, the most important rule of any successful illusion: First, the people must want to believe in it”.”

Liar, liar, pants on fire…

Chidren’s rhyme

In an era of stress and anxiety, when the present seems unstable and the future unlikely, the natural response is to retreat and withdraw from reality, taking recourse either in fantasies of the future or in modified visions of a half-imagined past.

Alan Moore, from “Watchmen”

Unless you were catatonic this past couple of weeks, dead drunk from Sunday to Saturday, suffered a debilitating brain injury or were living in Bognor Regis where the internet cannot reach, you heard about the west slapping a four-year Olympic ban on Russia. Because it could, it did. And not really for any other reason, despite the indignation and manufactured outrage. It’s a pity – now that I come to think on it – that you can’t use outrage to power a vehicle, fill a sandwich or knit into socks: because the west has a bottomless supply, and it’s just about as renewable a resource as you could envision.

As I have reiterated elsewhere and often, the United States of America is the cheatingest nation on the planet where professional sports is concerned, because winning matters to Americans like nowhere else. Successful Olympic medal-winners and iconic sports figures in the USA are feted like victorious battlefield generals, because the sports arena is just another battlefield to the United States, and there’s no it’s-not-whether-you-win-or-lose-it’s-how-you-play-the-game in wartime. Successful American sports figures foster an appreciation of American culture and lifestyle, and promote an image of America as a purposeful and powerful nation. Successful sports figures anywhere, really; not so very long ago Olympic gold medalists were merely given an appreciative parade by a grateful nation, and featured in lucrative advertising contracts if they were photogenic. More recently, some nations have simply paid athletes by the medal for winning. This includes most nations, with the notable exceptions of the UK, Norway and Sweden. So the pressure is on to win, win, win, by whatever means are necessary.

Since Russia is in second place only to Germany for all-time medal rankings in the Olympics, and since Russia eventually made it back up to Public Enemy Number One in the USA – after a brief hiatus during which it looked like a combination of Boris Yeltsyn and teams of Harvard economists were going to make a respectful pauper of it while it became a paradise for international investors – the USA spares no effort to beat Russia at everything. On occasions where it is not particularly successful, as it was not in the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi, it has turned to other methods – screaming that the Russians are all dopers who benefit from a state-sponsored doping scheme, and implementing bans to prevent as many Russian athletes as possible from competing.

And that’s my principal objection. In media matters in the world of sports, just as in other political venues, the USA relies on a combination of lying and relentless repetition to drive its points home. Thus it is that the English-speaking world still believes Russia was convicted of having had a state-sponsored doping plan, found guilty and justly sentenced upon the discovery of mountains of evidence, its accusers vindicated and its dissident whistleblowers heroes to a grateful world. Huzzah!!

Examples abound – here’s a random one from the BBC:

“Russia operated a state-sponsored doping programme for four years across the “vast majority” of summer and winter Olympic sports, claims a new report.

It was “planned and operated” from late 2011 – including the build-up to London 2012 – and continued through the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics until August 2015.”

The BBC is Britain’s state-funded broadcaster, financed by the British government, and the British government is second only to the United States in its virulent hatred of Russia and Russians. But that was back then, when the ‘doping scheme’ was newly ‘discovered’, and all the western reporters and government figures were nearly wetting their pants with excitement. What about now?

Essentially, nothing has changed. TIME Magazine:

“It’s the latest twist in a long-running saga of investigations into widespread, state-sponsored doping by the Kremlin.”

My soul, if it isn’t the USA’s star witness, Doctor Grigory Rodchenkov, in AFP;

“Doped athletes do not work alone. There are medical doctors, coaches and managers who provided substances, advised and protected them. In Russia’s state-sponsored doping scheme, there is also a state-sponsored defense of many cheaters including state officials, witnesses and apparatchiks who are lying under oath and have falsified evidence. These individuals are clearly criminals,” he said.

More about him later; for now, suffice it to say the western media still finds him a credible and compelling witness.

The Canadian Globe & Mail:

“In 2016, independent investigations confirmed that Russian officials had run a massive state‑sponsored doping system during the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi, which fed illicit performance-enhancing drugs to hundreds of athletes and took outlandish measures to pervert national drug-testing mechanisms.

The evidence was incontrovertible.”

I was going to go on, listing examples in the popular press from around the world, published since the latest ban was announced, all claiming investigation had proved the Russians had a massive state-sponsored doping scheme in place which let them cheat their way to the podium. But I think you get the picture, and that last lead-in was my cue; it was just too good to pass up.

Independent investigations confirmed. The evidence was incontrovertible.

Well, let’s take a look at that. Incontrovertible evidence ought to be able to withstand a bit of prying, what? When the evidence of something being so is both massive and incontrovertible, beyond question and the result of proof beyond a doubt, then that thing IS. Therefore, the western press is proceeding on the assumption that western investigations proved the Russians had a doping program in which all or most Russian athletes took prohibited performance-enhancing drugs, at the instruction of sports-organization officials, who were in turn directed by state officials to use such methods to permit Russian athletes to win where they would otherwise likely not have been capable of a winning performance. And there were such allegations by western figures and officials, together with assurances that there was so much evidence that…well, frankly, it was embarrassing. But the western media and western sports organizations and officials apparently do not understand what ‘evidence’ is.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), established in 1984 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and headquartered at Lausanne, Switzerland, is recognized by all Olympic international organizations as the highest authority for sports-related legal issues. An Investigative Commission consisting of Dr. Richard McLaren (Chair), Dick Pound and Gunter Younger was appointed to look into allegations of widespread and state-supported doping of athletes of the Russian Olympic team for the 2016 Winter Olympics at Sochi, Russia. The Commission’s star witness was Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, former head of the Moscow laboratory. According to what became known as the McLaren Report, more than 1000 Russian athletes across 30 sports were involved in or benefited from “an institutional conspiracy” of doping. The Investigative Commission settled on sanctioning 35 Olympic athletes with Anti-Doping Rules Violations (ARDV), and they were banned from further international sports competitions; those who had won medals had them confiscated. Nearly all the sanctioned athletes appealed their cases to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Sorry to keep hopping back and forth, but I’m trying to stay with two major themes at the same time for the moment – the accusations against the Russian Olympic athletes, which were entirely based on the revelations of the ‘doping mastermind’, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, and Dr. Rodchenkov himself. Western organizations and media were bowled over by the affable Rodchenkov, and eager to accept his jaw-dropping revelations about widespread doping in Russian sport. Sites specializing in sports doping with steroids feted him as the brilliant mind behind not only doping Russian athletes, but devising a test for common steroids which increased their detection window from only days to in excess of months. This enabled the retesting of previously-stored samples from international athletes which had already passed as clean. I suspect not a lot of followers of the Russian doping scandal are aware of that, and any such results should be viewed with the utmost suspicion in light of what a colossal fraud he turned out to be. I’d like you to just keep that in mind as we go further. Dr. Rodchenkov also claimed to be behind the brilliant – everything he does is brilliant – formulation of the now-notorious and, at the time of its alleged widespread use, top-secret “Duchess Cocktail”, a steroid-stacker mixed with alcohol which made the presence of the steroids undetectable. Remember that word; undetectable, because we’ll come back to it. Additionally, please keep in mind that Dr. Rodchenkov’s unique testing method was the one used to re-test stored samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics.

So, back to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. 39 Russian athletes who had been accused of doping in the McLaren Report appealed their sentences of lifetime Olympic bans and forfeiture of medals won.

Of those 39 appeals, 28 of the appeals were completely upheld, the judgments against the athletes reversed, and any medals forfeited were reinstated. A further 11 appeals were partially upheld, but the lifetime bans were reduced to have effect only for the upcoming Olympic Games at Peyongchang, Korea. That makes 39 of 39. Not a single athlete accused was found to have participated in a state-sponsored doping program administered by Russian sports officials acting under orders of the Russian government. The appeals of a further 3 Russian athletes were not heard by the date of release of the statement, and were stayed until a later date.

It is important to note, and was specifically addressed in the release, that the CAS did not examine the matter of whether there was or was not a state-sponsored or controlled doping program; that was not within the Court’s mandate. So for evidence of evidence, I guess you might say, and for an overall feel for the credibility of the witness whose revelations underpinned the entirety of the McLaren Report, we turn to Dr. Rodchenkov’s testimony before the CAS.

As we examine his performance on that occasion, I’d like to point out that this likely represents the first time Rodchenkov was cross-examined by and on behalf of individuals who were not necessarily delighted to believe everything he said without questioning it further, as the McLaren Commission apparently was. Because his story fell apart, often in ways that would have been amusing in anything other than the serious setting which prevailed. That’s Rodchenkov in the balaclava, which his handlers evidently thought necessary to conceal his appearance. Perhaps he’s had extensive cosmetic surgery, because his face was all over the news before that – he is in the US Witness Protection Program, after all. In my opinion, it only lent to the overall sense of unreality, but to each his own. I’ll also be jumping back and forth between what Rodchenkov or his backers confidently claimed prior to the hearing, and during testimony, when I think it is important to highlight manifest…umm…inconsistencies. Ready? Let’s do it.

Pre-CAS hearing: “The latest WADA report suggests that Rodchenkov helped as many as 1,000 Russian athletes get away with doping. Hundreds of those athletes were able to get away with the use of the “Duchess steroid cocktail” while avoiding detection.”

During testimony and under questioning by counsel for the defendants, Rodchenkov admitted (a) that he had never personally distributed the ‘Duchess cocktail’ to any Russian athlete, (b) that he had never personally seen any Russian athlete take the mixture known as the Duchess cocktail, (c) that he had never personally witnessed any Russian athlete being directed by a coach to take the Duchess cocktail, or any coach being directed by any Russian state official to distribute it to his athletes, and (d) that he had never personally seen any Russian athlete tamper with a doping sample.

Forgive me if I jump to the conclusion that the foregoing rules out a state-sponsored doping program insofar as it was ever witnessed by the McLaren Report’s star and principal witness; McLaren did not interview any other Russian officials, he claimed he didn’t have time.

But it gets better. Or worse, if you are Rodchenkov, or one of those who gleefully relied on his testimony to put those filthy Russians away forever.

Pre-CAS hearing: “In 2016, independent investigations confirmed that Russian officials had run a massive state‑sponsored doping system during the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi, which fed illicit performance-enhancing drugs to hundreds of athletes and took outlandish measures to pervert national drug-testing mechanisms…The evidence was incontrovertible.”

When examined on his statements that he had swapped samples of positive-test athletes urine after 1:00 AM, passing them through a ‘mousehole’ in the laboratory wall to FSB agents outside and exchanging them for clean samples, in light of the fact that his meticulously-maintained daily diary recorded him as being at home in bed by midnight, he claimed he had lied in his diary. What a clever intelligence asset, to have anticipated questioning years in advance, and added an extra layer of obfuscation! It was not specifically addressed in testimony to my knowledge, but I would like to highlight here that Dr. Rodchenkov was allegedly alone at the lab at these alleged times – except, of course, for the secret agents waiting outside the mousehole – and could have driven a gurney with a squeaky wheel loaded with conspiratorial piss samples out into the parking lot, and loaded it into the trunk of his car with nobody the wiser: why all the John le Carré espionagery through the wall? Comes to that, why would you contaminate a sample with salt, coffee granules and hilarious incompetence like accidentally getting male DNA in female samples, when the doping compound only you knew was in the samples was undetectable by anyone else, because you had specifically engineered it that way?

McLaren claimed in his report that he had seen a method demonstrated, which he presumed was the method used by the FSB to open the sealed sample bottles and replace the sample inside with clean urine. He further claimed that scratches found on the glass bottles were proof of tampering. Other analysts suggested the scratches were probably made when the sample bottle was sealed in accordance with the instructions for its proper use, and the manufacturer claimed the bottle had never successfully been opened, once sealed, without breaking the cap, which is by design an indication of potential tampering. The alleged secret method of successfully doing it was never demonstrated by McLaren or any of his operatives for independent verification. For Rodchenkov’s part, he claimed it had been done by ‘magicians’, and offered no clue as to the alleged method, and it seems clear to me that McLaren simply proceeded with Rodchenkov’s hearsay assurances that it had been accomplished.

The controversial and pivotal claim by McLaren that Russian Minister for Sport Vitaly Mutko, “directed, controlled and oversaw the manipulation of athlete’s [sic] analytical results or sample swapping” was not supported by anything other than Rodchenkov’s diary. You remember – the one he admitted to having embellished with lies so that stories he told years later would make sense. This is absolutely critical, because the claim to have proven the existence of a state-sponsored doping program rests only on this – Rodchenkov has admitted he never personally saw any Russian state official give orders to coaches or athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs. McLaren’s bombshell allegation appears to have been extracted from the diary of a proven and admitted liar, and is supported by no other evidence. Yet the western press still maintains there was a Russian state-sponsored doping program, administered with the knowledge and facilitation of the state government, and that this was proven. Rodchenkov is still accorded the respect of a credible witness. Rodchenkov is still speaking authoritatively about the nature of cheating, and – astoundingly – describing those who have lied under oath and falsified evidence as criminals, just as if he had not done both himself. It is as if the CAS hearings which exonerated the majority of the accused Russian athletes, and sharply reduced the punishments of the rest, had never happened. For all the mainstream media coverage the event received, it might not have.

Before the CAS hearing, WADA and the IOC regularly dangled reinstatement of the Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA) in exchange for the Russian government openly and completely accepting the conclusions of the McLaren Report, officially admitting to having cheated on a massive scale and with the full knowledge and support of serving government officials. It never did. The Russian state acknowledged it has a doping problem, and it has – some athletes were found guilty of having taken banned substances, and there are a few every Olympic competition. But Moscow has never accepted the conclusions of the McLaren Report. And after the CAS Appeals decision, RUSADA was reinstated anyway.

Which brings us to here; now. The entire focus of the McLaren Report and the bullying by the IOC was directed toward making Russia admit it was guilty of organized doping, with the drive for momentum seeking a ban on further competition. Since it never did, the alternative was to prove it without an admission, so that no doubt existed. Exonerating the few athletes ever charged among the thousand or so said to be guilty looks like a hell of a funny way of doing that. The McLaren Team’s star and main witness fell apart on the stand and admitted he had either lied about everything or simply made it up. There is no reason at all – outside stubborn western prejudice – to imagine Russian athletes are doping any more than any other national teams.

But then, hackers – Russians, of course, it goes without saying – calling themselves “Fancy Bear” and “Cozy Bear” (hint to Russians, do not call yourself “anything Bear” – the Bear is synonymous with Russia. Call yourself “Elon Tesla” or “Mo Money”) began to publish stolen medical data revealing the scope of western athletes who had been granted permission to use banned performance-enhancing drugs by their Olympic Associations, for perceived medical reasons, through the TUE – the Therapeutic Use Exemption. The western sports industry was outraged – that information was private, God damn it – and it was just grotesque that the cheating Russians would have the gall to allege western athletes were cheaters. But after it had time to calm down, and after some revelations proved hard to defend, the industry had to grudgingly admit the TUE was a problem.

Iconic American cyclist Lance Armstrong doped for years, but was revered by an entire generation of American kids and sports fans as the finest example of a stoic and selfless sportsman the human race could provide. Teammates and his sports doctor helped him avoid tests, and in one instance he dropped out of a race after receiving a text message from a teammate that testers were waiting for him. When he actually tested positive for corticosteroid use in the 1999 Tour de France, his doctors claimed he had received the steroid in a cream used to treat a saddle sore, and a back-dated prescription was provided.

Retroactive TUE’s sound phony right out of the gate, and consequently their use is supposed to be very rare, since the immediate perception is that the exemption was issued to protect the athlete from the fallout of a positive test; what could be simpler? Just issue them a prescription to take a banned substance, because they really, really needed it. Most of the TUE’s issued to tennis world champion Serena Williams were retroactive, in some cases going back two weeks or more. A TUE issued during a period that an athlete has withdrawn from competition sounds understandable, because they cannot be using it to enhance their career or win medals. A retroactive TUE issued during competition that allows an athlete to use a stimulant which increases drive, or a painkiller which lets them power through without the limb failing, is hard to see as anything other than a cheat issued to protect a national sports asset.

TUE’s are the vehicle of choice in professional cycling, with both British cyclists who won the Tour de France – Scott Froome and Bradley Wiggins – revealed to have secured TUE’s allowing them to take steroids during the competitions. They claimed to be suffering from ‘sport-induced asthma’, which is apparently a documented condition when you try to make your body process air faster or more efficiently than it is capable of handling. USADA head Travis Tygart, who is withering in his contempt of and hatred for Russia, loses no opportunity to defend the integrity of American athletes who are allowed to dope because they have a form that says they need to. I find it hard to believe Russian athletes who secured a TUE allowing them to take a performance-enhancer during competition would meet with such hearty approval from him. It’s because Americans are inherently honest and are genetically incapable of cheating, while Russians are just natural-born cheats.

American gymnastics champion Simone Biles quickly became the national face of ADHD by proactively defending her need for a banned substance. Tygart and American Olympics officials were maudlin in her defense, like everyone is just picking on a little girl and trying to rob her of hard-earned success. What effect does her permitted drug have? It permits an enhanced level of concentration and focus, so that no energy is lost to distractions such a a shouting crowd, bright colours and rapid movements, and she sees nothing but the target of her efforts. Is that helpful? What do you think?

The jury seems to be out on whether corticosteroids would help Biles focus on her routines, although there seems to be a fairly well-established body of evidence that these are not anabolic steroids, and do not increase muscle mass – that’s all her. But the zeal with which WADA went after meldonium – just because, apparently, eastern-European athletes used it extensively, although it has never been demonstrated to enhance performance – speaks volumes about the western bias in favour of therapeutic use of drugs by the Good Guys. They’re just looking after their health. Russians are cheating. How did WADA find out about meldonium? I’m glad you asked – USADA received a ‘confidential tip’ that east-European athletes were using it to enhance performance. Despite expert advice that there is no evidence at all that it enhances performance, WADA banned it. Because, you know, east-European athletes might think it helps them, and if they think that, then it is.

Just like Simone Biles and her TUE. But that’s not only allowed, she’s a hero for being so open about her ADHD.

In the USA, cheating seems to be focused on Track and Field, because that’s where the USA wins a lot of its medals. Hence the effort to minimize the Russian participation, and thus cut down the opposition.

“The United States in fact has a lengthy history of doping at the Olympic Games and other international events, and of turning a blind eye to its own cheating. That’s especially true in track and field, the front porch of the U.S. Olympic program because of track’s ability to drive American medal supremacy.

Nike’s track-and-field training program, for example, has been dogged by doping allegations since at least the 1970s, when its top officials were allegedly aware that athletes used steroids and other performance enhancing drugs. Since the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games, every single U.S. Summer Olympic team has included at least one sprinter who either had previously failed a drug test or would later do so. And that’s to say nothing of athletes in the other disciplines.

American drug cheats include some of the country’s most notable Olympians. Carl Lewis admitted in 2003 that he had failed three drug tests prior to the 1988 Seoul Olympics, but avoided a ban with the help of the U.S. Olympic Committee and won two golds and a silver instead. Justin Gatlin won the 100-meter dash at the 2004 Athens Games before later failing a drug test. Tyson Gay, the world’s fastest man entering the 2008 Beijing Games, later failed a drug test too. Gay and Gatlin nevertheless formed half of the American men’s 4×100 relay team in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

American athletes routinely fail drug tests, but are waved ahead to compete anyway. Eighty-four American Olympians failed drug tests in the year prior to the 1984 Los Angeles Games but went on to compete anyway, according to author Mark Johnson. Carl Lewis claimed that “hundreds” of Americans failed tests while remaining eligible to compete, with the assistance of the U.S. Olympic Committee, in Seoul. The USOC faced allegations ahead the 2000 Sydney Games that it had withheld information on 15 positive tests from international officials; by 2003, it had been accused of covering up at least 114 positives between 1988 and 2000.”

Curiously, the latest Russia ban is attributed to allegations that Russia fiddled with the athletes database it provided to WADA, covering up positive drug tests. But it appears the United States has a well-known history of fudging and obscuring positive drug-test results, refusing to reveal them to regulatory bodies, and pushing its doper athletes into international competition. Yet the United States has a loudly self-awarded reputation as the Defender Of Clean Sport.

Russia’s position is that the ubiquitous Grigory Rodchenkov – a proven and self-confessed liar, remember, who claimed to have lied in his diary where he was supposedly only talking to himself – modified the database from abroad, after he fled to the United States and made such a Godsend of himself in America’s drive to move up the medal rankings. He apparently retained administrator rights on the database, which was accessible online, even after fleeing from Russia. His lawyer’s defense, curiously, is that he did not and, significantly, ‘could not’ access the database. To me, that sounds like he’s going out a little bit on a limb – all the Russian side needs to do is prove that he could have to discredit Rodchenkov’s story. It looks like it is headed back to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the spring – the same venue which exonerated the Russian athletes after Rodchenkov’s previous epic thundering-in on full afterburner. Will it happen again? We’ll see. Until then the western press appears not to have noticed that Rodchenov lied his charming face off last time. And still is, through his shyster lawyer – “If WADA or any other agency needs Grigory to testify, Grigory will uphold his promise to co-operate fully to help atone for his role,” Walden said. You know – the role he admitted he never played, in that he never saw any Russian athlete take the Duchess Cocktail he claimed to have devised to make doping undetectable, never heard any Russian sports official order his players to take it, and in fact could not remember exactly what was in it.

Stay tuned – this should be interesting. Count on the Americans to press to the end for a full and lasting ban, probably for life.









1,156 thoughts on “The United States of Amnesia, and Its Incredible Asbestos Pants

  1. Кудрин: из федерального бюджета России воруют 3 миллиарда в год

    Kudrin: 3 billion a year stolen from the Russian Federal budget
    14.01.2020 | 03:53

    The head of the Accounts Chamber Aleksey Kudrin has stated that the chamber estimates the amount of theft from the Federal budget of Russia to be in the range of 2-3 billion rubles per year.

    US Military Spending: TRILLIONS of Dollars Unaccounted For

    2 October 2017, Catherine Austin Fitts, News & Commentary

    Dr. Skidmore and his team have now reviewed additional documentation and undocumented adjustments at DOD and HUD now total $21 trillion – more than the outstanding debt on the US government balance sheet.


    Amerika stronk!!!!


    1. Jeez – Kudrin again? Grandpa Kreakl always sings the same song; the people are being robbed by the government, which is fattening itself at their expense. I wouldn’t be surprised if that were true to the extent that it is awfully hard to see the ‘work’ of government as labour which justifies their having a much higher salary than the working man, but you can say that of every country I know of. Certainly this one. But isn’t Kudrin’s job to discover examples of government waste and the draining-off of funds which should be and can be plugged? That being the case, the best he can come up with are ‘estimates’? Let’s see some examples. In my experience, financiers are loathe to identify actual departments which are wasteful, since the department head will be down on their necks in about one second. Let’s see some examples of how Kudrin would save money, bearing in mind that his first love is always cutting pensions, because the elderly are the new idle rich.


      1. Oh, he’s launched a second attack today, complaining again about poverty in Russia and how it should be dealt with.

        Кудрин высказался о борьбе с бедностью в России

        Kudrin has spoken about poverty in Russia

        “If we are talking about the fight against poverty, I would envisage more effective tools today: subsidies based on income per capita in the family”, RIA Novosti quoted him as saying.

        According to Kudrin, this would be better than reducing the personal income tax for low incomes.

        “Such a targeted subsidy would be more important in the fight against poverty than exemption from taxes”, he said.

        He sang a different tune when he was finance minister — the longest serving finance minister ever in Russian/Soviet/Imperial Russian history.

        Ebenezer Scrooge had nothing on him!

        He wa lauded for being a tight-fisted so-and-so, but he wasn’t averse to enriching himself when he was finance minister.


        1. Ummm….how is ‘a subsidy based on income per capita in the family’ different from a pension? And how is income per capita in the family calculated – total family earnings divided by number of people in the family? Is that going to incorporate pension earnings of any pensioners living under the same roof into total family income?

          I smell a Kudrin reduction. Kudrin is at bottom a free-market liberal who sympathizes with American conservatives’ views on welfare and tax breaks. There is no room in that outlook for anything which will actually benefit the poor, and initiatives from Kudrin are usually focused on ferreting out the welfare shirkers by increasing the amount of self-reporting everyone under the income-cutoff has to do to qualify for continued benefits. “Trickle-down’ plans like throwing money at the rich fit perfectly into Kudrin’s portfolio, which is why the west loves him and reckons he is such an economic genius. In reality, the most-successful and fairest plans in Russia for helping the poor are those formed against Kudrin’s objections, although he didn’t mind taking credit for them later.


        2. Kudrin is advocating for means testing to determine people’s eligibility for welfare services. In practice this means using people’s income (including their savings and assets) to determine such eligibility and would require more bureaucracy (to determine levels of eligibility and then to work out exemptions, such as exempting pensioners’ homes from asset tests) than simply lifting the minimum income tax threshold.

          In addition, means testing would bring more problems that Russia doesn’t need, such as the so-called poverty trap: people ending up stuck in poverty because if they work and save a bit more money, their benefits are eroded and they are back to square one. (This implies also that poor people’s incomes are constantly being monitored and cut whenever they increase, to say nothing of the psychological effects such surveillance has on the people whose incomes are being monitored.) So means testing acts as a disincentive to work and to save. Rich people and even people struggling on two or more measly incomes will object to a scheme in which the very poor receive benefits but appear not to do anything to get themselves out of poverty.

          A side note: back in the 1940s when William Beveridge made his social welfare proposals in his report that became the basis for the founding of the National Health Scheme in Britain, he recommended cutting out means testing to determine eligibility and instead advocated for a flat-rate universal contribution for flat-rate universal benefits, with rich and poor alike having equal access to equal benefits. In this way, Britain got a universal healthcare scheme with none of the social divisions and administrative headaches that means testing would have created.

          See, I figured Kudrin would hardly be known for having brilliant, left-field creative ideas on how to resolve socio-economic issues.


          1. Excellent points, Jen. “Means testing” is the work of the very devil, its consequence (whether intended or not) is to trap people in poverty. In the U.S. the final circle of hell is the so-called Medicaid “spend-down”, far crueler than anything devised in Dickensian England. It leaves a person without money, without dignity, without a home, without a car, without anything that gives a person a quantum of liberty.

            Plus, as you mention, the bureacratic costs of regulating and enforcing such a system far exceed anything that the government would spend if it just handed out money randomly to the citizenry and let them figure things out for themselves.


            1. Yes, I saw a good family in a good neighborhood lost everything; home, cars, life savings, etc. because his wife had a serious illness. I suppose he could have divorced her. I mean, you know, gotta look out for number one, But he did not. The invisible hand of the free market picking winners and losers.


              1. This may be of interest to some: it’s from the Independent, but for subscribers only. I am not a subscriber, but I can freely open one such opinion piece a week.

                Here it is:

                Is the American Dream nothing more than an antiquated fantasy?
                A trip to the theatre to see hit-musical Hamilton has caused Holly Baxter to ponder whether it really pays to be young, scrappy and hungry for more in the land of opportunity

                In Hamilton – the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical which jammed its toe in the door of history and brought some diversity to the Founding Fathers, the one which Mike Pence was booed at and which gave Barack Obama brief Billboard success with a remix – the eponymous Alexander raps that “just like my country, I’m young, scrappy and hungry”. It’s one of the most well-known phrases from the internationally successful play. You can even get your baby a onesie that has “Young, Scrappy And Hungry” emblazoned on it from the official Hamilton merchandise online store.

                Little wonder that that phrase stood out to audiences, especially American audiences: the American Dream is all about being young, scrappy and hungry in a country which owes you nothing but can sell you everything. If you’re scrappy enough and hungry enough, you can get whatever you want: riches, renown, maybe even the presidency. Because this is the land of the free. It’s not an old European throwback with an unelected House of Lords and a parliamentary process that ends with the Queen. It threw tea in the ocean. It struck out on its own. It is the reason why Meghan Markle is helping Harry shake off his shackles while Will and Kate scratch out another year on the wall of their gilded cage.

                It all sounds pretty great when you put it that way. But then you remember the pitfalls of being a young country and a lot of it falls down.

                There are some things that separate America from the rest of the developed world: its healthcare system, which leaves thousands without adequate access; its banking system, which charges for accounts and still uses cheques; its extreme patriotism; its high proportion of hard-line evangelicals in government; its loudly celebrated “democracy” which is actually just a two-party system; and the fact that it retains the death penalty. All of these are symptomatic of a young country still in the process of development – one which is old enough to have brought in such traditions and systems in the first place, but hasn’t existed long enough to realise their obvious pitfalls.

                Then there are the ways in which this lovable rogue of a country has deviated into some practices which are downright bizarre; for instance, giving out PBA cards.

                PBA cards – or Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association cards – are little pieces of paper you can carry in your wallet and present to a police officer if you get pulled over or arrested on the street. I learnt about them during a conversation with friends, where two of them revealed they held the cards (one of them had a sibling who was a police officer, and the other, tenuously enough, had a college girlfriend whose father was a cop.) They were reminiscing about how, during their university years when they were based on rural campuses a long way from their homes, they would barrel down country lanes at immense, illegal speeds in order to get back to their apartments at all hours of the night. Every now and then, a cop car would emerge from the foliage, put on its siren and pull them over for a speeding violation. “But it was all fine,” they told me, as they finished the story. “I just pulled out my PBA card and I was good to go.”

                Google PBA cards and you get a number of articles openly wondering whether PBA cards really work, whether they’re still given out and whether it’s true that they can get you out of minor misdemeanours. Anecdotal evidence suggests they are still very much part of the fabric of US society. I protested to my American friends that I couldn’t believe such a thing could exist in a country with a proper justice system.

                “Of course they do,” they laughed. “Didn’t you ever use a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card in Monopoly?”

                It’s worth pointing out that these cards are completely legal and seen as a benefit earned by the police officer named on the card for his or her service. If it sounds kind of like the police service operating more like a protection racket than a system of totally fair and equal justice for all, well, then I guess that’s just your bad luck. You’re probably jealous because you have points on your license. If you were young, scrappy and hungry enough to want to be treated the same as the boyfriend of a daughter of a police officer, then you’d buck up and bid for one on eBay.

                Hamilton, who was white, of course, was one of the Founding Fathers. The musical “Hamilton” casts Black actors in some of the roles portraying historical figures who were white.

                Above: The London West End cast of Hamilton, which co-stars Jason Pennycooke (left) as Thomas Jefferson.

                Jefferson was a slave owner, as was Hamilton and Washington etc.

                Life is full of ironies!


                1. I have to say I am pretty glad that getup for men went out of fashion. Although had I been born in those times, I might have been a peasant bumpkin with straw in my hair and clogs on my feet. Seems an ample enough recompense for not having to dress like a blind transvestite.

                  The Prince (‘Arry) and his missus were just here, taking their morning constitutional in Horth Hill Park as we sailed past in front of them outbound through Gosse Pass. And now I read they might be relocating to the area semi-permanently.


                  Apparently la-di-da music producer David Foster (also from here) arranged for them to stay at the stately home of friends of his. So they could have privacy, like. And the thing Victorians seemed proudest of was how they more or less ignored them instead of bunching up in their driveway to take selfies with the house in the background, or nodding at Harry and muttering, “‘morning, redheaded stranger I have never seen before” as they passed on hiking trails. Yes, by God, we Let Them Have Their Space. Our virtue started to get a bit tiresome after about the third day. Anyway, I guess they had a good time. And the rumor mill says they might be moving back, to divide their time between here and England. We’ll see. They might get fed up with not being recognized.


                2. How an aristocratic couple in the mid to late 18th century got dressed and ready to face the world:

                  A look at how an 18th-century gentleman got dressed:

                  It is likely that in colonial North America, slaves would have helped these people get dressed.


                3. It ain’t no oar either, me hearty! It’s what they used to pinch around a heavy cannon when sighting it at those Frenchies:

                  He’d wedge the spar under the gun carriage and with the help of the gun crew, they’d shift the aim of the gun left or right.

                  You wouldn’t know that, what with being a rocket man. 🙂


                4. Would too; it is a variant of the quoin, which was little more than a wedge used to elevate the gun carriage. I just wanted to use that joke, which I got off a Newfie sailor many years ago. He was fond of using it in response to the order, “Out oars; give way together”, when we used to have to actually row the Boston Whaler which we used as a rescue boat. We never had to do it in practice but the once – remind me to tell you sometime, it resulted in the Weapons Officer being confined to his cabin – and I was not in the boat on that occasion; it had a motor, dinnit? But we were obliged to occasionally practice the backup drill.

                  This chap, when the order was delivered, would mutter just loudly enough for the rest of the boat’s crew to hear, “‘Ere, now – them ain’t oars; them’s me sisters”.


                5. re: The “Duchess of Sussex” in Vancouver.

                  New images of a beaming Meghan Markle visiting the Justice For Girls charity in Canada yesterday have emerged after she previously visited the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre in Vancouver on the same day. Justice For Girls is a left-wing feminist organization that believes climate change ‘disproportionately affects girls’ [sic] and blames ‘colonization’ for female poverty and homelessness. Their website warns climate change is a threat to women’s survival – especially the lives of indigenous women, and calls for action on global warming, violence against women and female poverty. The photos have emerged as Prince Harry prepares to return to royal duties later this morning as he conducts the Rugby League World Cup draw from Buckingham Palace.

                  Note how the illiterate British journalist has placed an unnecessary apostrophe on “girl” above!

                  Justice For Girls is a left-wing feminist organization that believes climate change ‘disproportionately affects girls !!!

                  This nonsense really pisses me off!!!!!

                  source: Meghan Markle drops into another Vancouver women’s group to discuss ‘climate justice for girls’


                6. Yes, it’s getting so the only group you can safely and publicly denigrate to your heart’s content these days is white men – when you’re not sucking up to them for a charitable donation, of course.


                7. RE: aiming a naval muzzle loader cannon. I read somewhere that they would rely on the rolling motion of the ship to gain up/down aiming. Just need to light off the powder at the right moment.


                8. @ Trond

                  My dear Norwegian chappie,

                  Proud as you justifiably may be about the results of that minor gunboat scuffle with his Britannic Majesty’s Frigate “Tatar” in 1808, any becalmed sailing frigate, no matter how mighty the navy might be in which it is a fighting vessel, is at the mercy of a group of rowing boats, each equipped with a pop-gun.

                  It’s simply a question of the manoeuvrability of the latter as opposed to the unmanoeuvrability of the former, old boy.

                  Fortunately for HMS Tatar, a wind arose and the frigate could head out to sea, albeit that those rowing-boat types claimed that but for the wind they would have boarded and taken the Royal Navy warship, which in my humble opinion, is a mightily big supposition of what might have happened if those Scandinavians could have managed to scrabble up the tumblehome of the frigate and then clambered over its gunwales in order slash it out on deck, cutlass to cutlass with the Jolly Jack Tars and Royal Marines awaiting them.

                  Anyway, the Royal Navy made note of its setback when shore hugging the waters around Bergen and after that set-to, kept a safe distance from the Norwegian coast.


          2. “Means test” was a dirty word in my part of the world when I was a kid, a place where there was mass unemployment in the 1930s caused by the closure of the old heavy industries such as steel making, shipbuilding and coal mining.

            Bitter memories of the Great Depression and means testing and of the politicians who were in charge during the depression was one of the reasons why Churchill was rejected in the immediate post-WWII general election and Labour won a landslide victory.

            Grinding poverty was a reality of my father’s youth. He worked underground in a local pit (behind the street where I lived as a child, in fact) and was paid “boy’s money. As soon as he was 18 and, therefore, earned “man’s money”, he was put on short-time and worked only 3 days a week, his earnings just allowing him to survive.

            I was very saddened when, many years after my father’s death and shortly before I upped sticks and moved to the Evil Empire, an old man who knew my father in his youth said to me by chance: “Your dad was always hungry when he was at school with me!”

            My father was the youngest of a large family (2 brothers and 6 sisters) and his father died at work when he was 62 when my father was 9. After his father’s death there was poverty and means test.


        3. (1) The best way to end poverty in Russia is to restore Communism.
          (2) The root cause of poverty is a lack of money. The solution is for the government to give people money.
          I rest my case, M’Lord.


    2. Errr….isn’t Russian Federal Budget for 2019 something like 19 trillion roubles?
      Wouldn’t 3 billion RB be 0.15%?!

      Even it it were 3 billion dollars that is still about less than 1% stolen. Not nice but certainly not a big sign of depravity from the “Putin regime”

      Maybe that 19 trillion is not all Federal money but subdivided between Federal, Regional and Municipal – but the point still stands in that the amount is not gigantic


      1. Once upon a time, Adomanis would have been all over this, but that was a past life…

        And as we like to point out here every now and then to the lurkers, the Federal Budget is one of three that makes up the Consolidated Budget (Federal+Regional+Pension/Social-Medical Insurance) which currently stands at about 32billion odd rubes.* and was 4.8 in H1 2011:**




  2. Where? I don’t see any …!

    “A fight against manifestations of any form of intolerance and anti-Semitism is being conducted at all levels of the Ukraine government” stressed a statement made by the Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which statement was published on January 14 on the Ministry press service website.

    This Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs appeal was made following a statement made by the Israeli Foreign Ministry on January 13, which states that “those responsible for killing Jews during the Holocaust and pogroms” have became heroes in the Ukraine. An example of this is the recent honouring of Stepan Bandera, an open reverence for Nazi collaborator Andriy Melnik, and the creator of the racist theory of the Ukrainian race, Yuri Lipa and his father.

    source: На Украине не знакомы с позицией Бандеры по антисемитизму

    In the Ukraine, we are not familiar with the position of Bandera as regards anti-Semitism.


    1. Keep it up, Kuh-yiv. If you attract the wrath of Israel, expect a commensurate cut in your handouts from the USA. Ukraine is in no way revered in the USA the way Israel is, and it will not hesitate to lobby for a cut in aid to Ukraine if it does not see some shaping-up.


  3. Well, well – Ukraine knew all along that its plane had been shot down, but it soft-pedaled the situation because it did not want to hurt Iran’s feelings. Yep, as soon as they saw the little holes, the jig was up.

    Because an engine explosion with fragments of turbine blades and the nacelles looks nothing like that. No, the holes are e-shaped, so you will know it means ‘engine’.


  4. It was ‘100% the Russians’ says the American cyber-security company that was founded just before the Glorious Maidan, and numbers as its primary partners Google, Microsoft and IBM.

    Not even the slightest doubt; we know every time they entered the network and where they went. We just don’t have a clue what they were looking for, or if they…uhh….accessed any data. But everything else, as solid as if The Guy From Porton Down had told us himself.

    Caution urged by ‘some experts’ and a reluctance to assign blame so quickly suggests a worry that America will go to the Russian well too often, but at this time there is no indication of the brakes being applied – full speed ahead.

    So if you see any incriminating emails from Hunter Biden, I just hope you know the Kremlin doctored them to make the Bidens look bad, because they are terrified of Joe Biden becoming President. So if you want to spite the Kremlin, vote Biden.


    1. We don’t blame them. They can’t help themselves.

      What’s needed, boys and girls, is a guiding hand. Someone disinterested. Someone who has their best interest foremost in his mind.

      Can you think of someone like that, children? Hmm?


    2. Americans are in a vicious circle/Infinite Loop…

      I think they are using an old version of BASIC from the cold war era, called BASIC Russia Hate.

      10 Print “Russia bad!”
      20 Goto 10
      Russia bad!
      Russia bad!
      Russia bad!
      Russia bad!
      Russia bad!
      Russia bad!
      Russia bad!
      Russia bad!
      Russia bad!
      Russia bad!
      Russia bad!
      Russia bad!

      BREAK IN 10

      10 Print “Russia good!”
      20 Goto 10
      SYNTAX ERROR!!!!!!!


  5. “World War III is not going to happen because World War III already happened … and the global capitalist empire won. [Where is the “capitalism”?] Take a look at these NATO maps (make sure to explore all the various missions). Then take a look at this Smithsonian map of where the U.S. military is “combating terrorism.” And there are plenty of other maps you can google. What you will be looking at is the global capitalist empire. Not the American empire, the global capitalist empire.
    If that sounds like a distinction without a difference … well, it kind of is, and it kind of isn’t. What I mean by that is that it isn’t America (i.e., America the nation-state, which most Americans still believe they live in) that is militarily occupying much of the planet, making a mockery of international law, bombing and invading other countries, and assassinating heads of state and military officers with complete impunity. Or, rather, sure, it is America … but America is not America.”



  6. “Beyond this especially relevant example, there are plenty of friendly fire incidents by various militaries, including the U.S. and its allies, where even the most advanced radar systems and military aircraft equipped with specialized identification friend or foe (IFF) gear couldn’t stave off tragedy. Whether it be the loss of a RAF Tornado GR.4 to an American Patriot battery during the opening of Operation Iraqi Freedom or the shooting down of an Indian Mi-17 helicopter by an Indian surface-to-air missile during last year’s flare-up of aerial violence with Pakistan near Kashmir, there is a well-documented and continuing history of these events.”

    The article is worth reading but it lets the murderer Skippper of the Vincennes off the hook…IMO.


  7. Жить стало легче: Россия поднялась в рейтинге лучших стран мира
    Россия поднялась в рейтинге лучших стран мира на одну строчку

    15.01.2020, 14:10

    Life has become easier: Russia has risen in the ranking of the best countries in the world.
    Russia has moved up one point in the ranking of the best countries in the world.

    Russia has moved up one place in the ranking of the best countries in the world according to the American magazine US News & World Report, occupying a position in the third ten best ranked. At the same time, the authors of the list stressed that amongst the most powerful of world powers, our country was in second place, behind only the USA. Tourists, according to the study, have begun to go more willingly to Russia, and the growth rate of the Russian economy only appears below 11 countries in the world.

    According to the 2019 results, Russia is still second amongst the world’s strongest powers. The US News & World Report reports that Russia is second only to the US in terms of power, overtaking China.

    Amongst the best countries in the world there are 73 states. The rating is compiled every year by the publication on the basis of a variety of criteria.

    The magazine’s main rating is “The Best Countries in the World”. First place, according to the American edition, was taken by Switzerland, second by Canada, third by Japan. A year ago, Japan was second.

    The first five “best countries” also included Germany and Australia. Russia is in 23rd place. Our country has risen one place.

    So its true!!!!!

    Rasha weeeeeaaaak!!!!!!

    Amerika stronk!!!!!

    Of all the countries that are “better” and “stronker” than “Rasha”, I wonder how many of them have had sanctions hurled against them by “stronk Amerika” and its lickspittle vassals?

    And how many of them lost more than 22 million citizens in WWII?

    And how many of them had to endure an 80-year-old experiment whose aim was to create socialism?

    Cue you-know-who ….

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The President of Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) Evgeny Dykhne, in an interview with a Ukrainian media agency, has made a resonating statement. By blaming the Iranian authorities for the crash of the Ukrainian plane, he has actually inadvertently admitted the guilt of Kiev in the crash of Boeing МН17 above the Donbass in the summer of 2014.

    Dykhne stated that the authorities are already responsible for the crash of his airline[r] on January 8th, as they did not close their airspace.

    “If you want to know my opinion, it is the fault of those who did not close the country’s airspace. I do not care very much if a person pressed a button or the system activated itself”, said the head of the Ukrainian airline.

    By analogy with Dykhne’s statement that the Iranian authorities are primarily to blame for not closing the airspace over a zone of armed conflict, an obvious parallel can be drawn with the Ukraine.

    Does this mean that the crash of Boeing МН17 in July 2014 was the fault of those who did not close the airspace over the Donbass?

    At that time, only the government of the country, led by now former President Petro Poroshenko and his associates, could do have done so.

    source: The Head of Ukraine International Airlines has Inadvertently Admitted Ukraine’s Guilt in the MH17 Crash in the Donbass
    January 14, 2020
    Stalker Zone

    Edited by ME into real English.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What the H?

    Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has announced that the entire government is resigning in a surprise statement released shortly after President Vladimir Putin delivered his annual state-of-the-nation address.

    Accepting the resignation, Putin thanked the ministers for their hard work and asked them to function as a caretaker government until a new one can be formed.

    Medvedev and Putin had met for a work meeting to discuss the state-of-the-nation address earlier on Wednesday, the Kremlin said. Medvedev explained that the cabinet is resigning in accordance with Article 117 of the Russian Constitution, which states that the government can offer its resignation to the president, who can either accept or reject it.

    Is this a purge of the so-called “Atlanticists”? Or what?

    Liked by 1 person


      How does the Russian government work?

      According to the current Constitution, adopted in 1993, the government exercises executive power; it drafts and implements the federal budget and carries out the national policy in the sphere of finance, foreign policy, education, healthcare, culture, science, and so on.

      The government may submit its resignation to the President who also has the power to dissolve it. Another way to dissolve the government is for the Duma, the lower house of parliament, to pass a motion of no confidence, which can be vetoed by the President.

      The President appoints the Prime Minister with the Duma’s consent; Vladimir Putin appointed Dmitry Medvedev as prime minister twice, in 2012 and in 2018, after winning presidential elections.

      The President also appoints the deputy heads of government (there are 10 of them in the current cabinet) and the federal ministers at the Prime Minister’s suggestion. It is in the President’s power to dismiss both the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers.
      What is to change?

      In a move that looks set to significantly boost the power of parliament, Vladimir Putin called for changes to the Constitution that would enable the Duma to select the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers instead of the President.

      Having announced the redistribution of power, Putin has stressed that Russia still needs to remain a “strong presidential republic”. According to Russian law, Putin now has two weeks to appoint a new Prime Minister.

      Lawmakers have already started drafting the legislation to put Putin’s proposals into practice.

      Seems like the Yeltsin/USA constitution is being s-canned for something that gives more power to the Duma. We can expect less cooperation with the West. Also, it will undoubtedly be reported in the West, that Putin is trying to handcuff his successor by giving more power to the Duma.

      All in all, it would seem to bode well for greater Russian independence as Putin will be less hampered by the Western-leaning faction.


      1. It will depend on who is in the Duma – if they elect people with good qualities it will be positive.

        (Although looking at the parliament here in the Uk. In my lifetime I have see a real sharp decline in the quality of people who become Members of parliament. I’m not sure why


        1. The US has the same problem. Some of our congresspeople are devoid of common sense, intelligence or relevant knowledge on important issues. I think that Russians are too pragmatic to elect similar buffoons.


        2. Voters only have the choice of those who stand for office. If the field consists of Clowns A through D, the winner is bound to be a Clown. The quality, altruism and dedication of the candidate pool has indeed receded, and that is throughout the western democracies.


            1. No, I mean Kudrin will not be feeling so chuffed about not being invited to be PM because he thinks he is the saviour of the Russian economy. He’s certainly one of those who’d prefer to go to Finland , where he could buy Valio butter and other superior Western products instead of those crappy, sub-standard or ersatz Orc ones that on sale in shithole russian supermarkets.


              1. For Woden’s sake! Kudrin is now spouting at the Gaidar Forum being held at RANEPA (The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation, the largest federal state-funded institution of higher professional education located in Moscow, and where my elder daughter, Yelena Denisovna is now studying and who is going to be the first Madam President of Russia), as is Dimka, another Western wannabe — always was and still is.

                Ye gods, I wouldn’t be seen dead at a meeting that has Gaidar’s name attached to it!

                And that other ’90s prick Chubais was spouting today, saying what they did wrong in the ’90s.

                I tell you what they did wrong, arsehole: they didn’t put you in prison!


                1. Refreshing, at least, even bracing to hear someone who was in the liberal vanguard in the 90’s actually say that things were done wrong in the 90’s, if that’s actually what he said. Normally the liberal elite of Russia affect to believe the only thing that went wrong in the 90’s was that Russian weakness caused her to falter without seeing the golden time through to its capitalist conclusion. Some would not have made it to the celebration party, of course, but that’s reality, innit? You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.


                2. Chubais was the one who, in effect, said “Tough shit!” as regards all those whose lives were shortened and destroyed by his and the Chicago Boys’ fast track plan towards making the former USSR into a capitalist wonderland — you know, like what “stronk Amerika” is. He just said that those unfortunates just couldn’t fit into the “free market” system and if they die, so what? They will soon be replaced by a generation that could.

                  And Chubais got richer and richer and continues to do so: never fired, shifted from one plum job to another.

                  What a pile of filth! I lived through those days, got married here in 1997, and I remember how it was. Most of Navalny’s rubberduckians don’t, though.

                  Чубайс: «Что вы волнуетесь за этих людей? Ну, вымрет тридцать миллионов. Они не вписались в рынок. Не думайте об этом — новые вырастут»

                  Chubais: “What are you worrying about these people for? So, thirty million will die. They don’t fit in the market. Don’t think about it, new ones will grow up”.

                  Talking of Navalny:

                  Navalny & Co Will Pay Russia’s National Guard 2.3 Million Rubles in Compensation
                  January 15, 2020
                  Stalker Zone

                  The Cheryomushkinsky Court of Moscow decided to recover more than 2.3 million rubles from the so-called “non-systemic opposition” of Russia. A very nice cake. But the cherry on it is who they have to pay this money to – the National Guard of Russia! This is compensation for organising an illegal rally on August 3rd 2019 on the streets of the capital.

                  Farewell — жопа!


                3. Чубайс счел неплатежи главной проблемой экономики 1990-х
                  15.01.2020 | 15:57

                  Chubais considered non-payments to be the main problem in the economy of the 1990s.
                  15.01.2020 | 15:57

                  [Christ! I bet that took some fathoming out!!!!]

                  Head of Rusnano[another plum position he was moved into after his ballsing up his previous one! — ME] Anatoli Chubais said that the main problem of economic reforms in the 1990s was the lack of payments. He said this at the Gaidar Forum, reports a correspondent of “”.

                  According to him, no one had foreseen such a phenomenon as “non-payments”. However, at that time, their overcoming allowed the improvement of the economic situation in the country.

                  “We did not foresee … that what had the deepest impact on the whole course of reforms in the 1990s was non-payments”, Chubais said.

                  According to his data, in 1996, the volume of non-payments was 45% of GDP and the motivation at the micro level could not begin in the country until the end of the century.

                  NEWS ON THE TOPIC:

                  – The Gaidar Forum will start in Moscow on January 15

                  – The head of Rusnano called the supervision system in Russia a problem for innovation.

                  – Chubais explained that the slippage in the economy has been caused by putting one’s foot down on the gas and brake pedals at the same time.

                  Well, I’m not an economist, but …. it sounds to me like he’s talking out of his fat arse.

                  What do they say about economists and weather forecasters …?


          1. Catherine II was a pretty woke choice. She didn’t need one man. She used them and tossed them out as she pleased. But the West made up rumors about her and horses.

            I think Russian women of power get similar levels of respect today. The “Venezuelan” troll here used to always call Zakharova a hag.

            Liked by 1 person

                1. I know.

                  At least Mirren is part Russian: her father was Vasily Petrovich Mironov, a former tsarist WWI officer.

                  They did a series not long ago on the fat Frau here as well.

                  The actress playing the role of the Russian Empress Yekaterina II (born Princess Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg in Stettin, Pomerania, Prussia: now Szczecin, Poland) is physically remarkably unlike the real historical person:

                  Yuliya Viktorovna Snigir ( Юлия Викторовна Снигирь), born 2 June 1983 (age 36), Donskoy, Tula Oblast, RSFSR, USSR, about 150 miles south of Moscow.

                  And her family name (her husband’s actually: her maiden name was Siriskina) is pronounced “Sneegeer”, not “Snigger”.

                  She’s a real Russian beauty. Well I think so, anyway, and I consider myself a pretty good judge of Russian pulchritude. She’s a former teacher of English as well: graduated from the Moscow State Pedagogical University.

                  Dmitry Ulyanov (enters the clip at 1.37), is the actor who plays the role of Empress Catherine’s chief shagger, Prince Grigorii Potemkin. In the clip, he is shown fighting Crimean Tatars (cue that slag singing “1940”), and again, just as Snigir bears no resemblance to Catherine, Ulyanov bears little resemblance to the real-life Potemkin.

                  The happy couple.


                2. Helen Mirren’s father Basil Mirren was a public servant employed by the British Ministry of Transport. He was a driving-test examiner. Her grandfather Pyotr Vasilyevich Mironov had been a colonel in the Imperial Russian Army and a diplomat in London during the February and October Revolutions in 1917 which left him stranded in that city.


              1. I was sure that Mironov was her grandfather when I first started writing that comment about her antecedents, but I double checked first and saw this:

                Helen Mirren
                Dame Helen Mirren was born in Queen Charlotte’s Hospital in West London. Her mother, Kathleen Alexandrina Eva Matilda (Rogers), was from a working-class English family, and her father, Vasiliy Petrovich Mironov, was a Russian-born civil servant, from Kuryanovo, whose own father was a diplomat. Mirren attended St. Bernards High School for girls, … See full bio »
                Born: July 26, 1945 in Hammersmith, London, England, UK

                I mistakenly read the following:

                Her mother, Kathleen Alexandrina Eva Matilda (Rogers), was from a working-class English family, and her father, Vasiliy Petrovich Mironov…

                as meaning that Helen Mirren’s father was Mironov and not her mother’s father., though clearly, Helen Mirren is much too young to have had a father who had fought in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904. Nevertheless, I let my common sense be overwritten by what I thought I had read.

                She’s just a little less than 4 years older than I am, and my father was 31 when I was born, and if Mironov was still alive in 1944 when the actress was conceived, he probably would have been pushing 80.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. I don’t watch/trust BBC-type productions. Star Media has produced an excellent series on the Romanovs – Episode 5 is on Catherine (and Peter III of course) …

                  From the closing moments of that video:

                  “**Catherine kept the title ‘Mother of the Nation’ close to her heart**. There was hardly any area of Russian life she didn’t look at to see how it might be improved – from provincial administration to the duties of Russian midwives. Her reign saw the birth of Russian journalism and satire. She even contributed to such magazines herself.
                  In 1795 she joined forces with Fredrick William of Prussia and Emperor Joseph of Austria to carve up Poland, annexing territory in Belarus, Western Ukraine, Lithuania and Latvia.
                  She wrote no fewer than three dozen literary works including eleven comedies and seven operas. Her reign saw the construction of great buildings and monuments in Moscow and St Petersburg, designed by men of genius such as Bazhenov and Kazakov. She initiated smallpox vaccination in Russia, vaccinating herself and her son Paul.

                  **She amassed an unrivalled collection of artwork that became the basis of the world famous Hermitage Museum**. She was a patron of Russian artists who themselves became masters – Fyodor Rokotov, Dmitry Levitsky and Vladimir Borovikovsky.


                  The scale and breadth of her achievements were awe-inspiring. No one could doubt her right to called Catherine … the Great.

                  For Russia, Catherine’s 34-year reign (from 1762-1796) was a period of dramatic growth. The population of the empire soared from 19 to 36 million. The conquests of her reign surpassed even those of Peter the Great. 29 new provinces were created, and 144 new towns founded.
                  The army doubled in size from 162,000 to 312,000. The navy grew from 6 frigates and 21 ships of the line to 40 frigates and 67 ships of the line. Her generals and admirals won an incredible 78 military victories. Meanwhile, industrial output boomed. The output of cast iron tripled. Russia became the greatest producer of cast iron in the world, overtaking the former world leader, Great Britain.

                  The value of Russia’s external trade rose from than 9 million rubles per year to nearly 46 million rubles per year. State revenue quadrupled from 16 million to 69 million rubles.
                  Catherine built on the foundations laid by Peter the Great 80 years before to create a giant and powerful new Russian empire. Many later generations would look back to her reign as the zenith of Russian imperial glory.

                  **But forever mindful of the limitations of power, she compared her own work to a drop of water falling in the ocean**.”


              2. Was she fat, though? I saw a display in the Kremlin museum, they had some of her dresses. Claimed they were her actual dresses. Tiny, tiny waist. Made a wasp look chubby.
                “Are you serious?” I demanded of the person conducting the tour.
                “Well, they all wore corsets,” the lady pointed out.


                1. Those dresses that you saw in the Kremlin must have been what she wore as a young woman when she first set up shop in St. Petersburg as a prospective wife for her German second cousin and prospective tsar, Karl Peter Ulrich von Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf, born in Kiel, who, indeed, became Tsar Petr III, and who then only reigned for 6 months until he was ousted by his wife.

                  Peter III became tsar because he was favoured by Tsaritsa Elizabeth, who was his aunt and had him brought from Germany to Russia, where he would get the top job following her death.

                  Catherine, then Grand Duchess Catherine, around the time of her wedding to her cousin, who became Tsar Peter III.

                  Uniform costume of Empress Catherine II in the form of the Life Guards Horse Regiment. Russia, 1780s

                  Her was a bonny lass!


                2. Well, that just confirms that Katya had a tiny, tiny wasp waist at first.
                  And then put on weight as she got older, which is normal for women, especially if they have kids.
                  Apparently Kathy pushed 4 kids out of her womb.
                  I think the normal formula is: For each baby pushed out, add 4 kilos of body weight.

                  Mother Nature is cruel to her daughters.


              3. Just discovered your site and enjoying a browse.

                Re Catherine (aka Princess Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg), I wonder if you have read Robert K Massie’s “Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman”. You seem a bit harsh – am I missing something?

                “Books were her refuge. Having set herself to learn the Russian language, she read every Russian book she could find. But French was the language she preferred and she read French books indiscriminately, picking up whatever her ladies-in-waiting happened to be reading. She always kept a book in her room and another one in her pocket. She discovered the “Letters of Madame de Sévigné” describing life at the court of Louis XIV. When a “General History of Germany” by Father [William Vincent] Barré, recently published in France in ten volumes, arrived in Russia, Catherine read a volume every week. She acquired the “Dictionnaire Historique et Critique” by the French philosopher Pierre Bayle, a seventeenth century philosophical freethinker and precursor of Montesquieu and Voltaire. Catherine read it from beginning to end. Gradually, guided by her own curiosity, she was acquiring a superior education.”

                Will share more shortly


                1. Continuing from Massie …

                  [To add context, Sophie/Catherine’s early life from childhood through to young adulthood was marked with rejection and isolation – you have to read it for yourself to appreciate it.]

                  “**To shield herself and to make life bearable, she turned again to books**. That winter she read the “Annals” of Tacitus, Montesquieu’s “L’Espirit des Lois” (“The Spirit of Laws”) and Voltaire’s “Esai sur les Moeurs et L’Espirit des Nations” (“Essay on the Manners and Spirit of Nations”)….

                  [On Voltaire …] Reason, not religion [] should govern the world. But certain human beings must act as reason’s representatives on earth. This led him to the role of despotism and to conclude that a despotic government may actually be the best sort of government possible – if it were reasonable. But to be reasonable, it must be enlightened; if enlightened, it may be both efficient and benevolent …

                  **Catherine, like many of her contemporaries was charmed by Voltaire. …

                  Here was a philosopher who could teach her how to survive and laugh.

                  … AND HOW TO RULE.**”


                2. Good morning, Julius, and welcome. Yes, the language of international diplomacy was once the language of the Russian aristocracy as well, and to my understanding the Russian language was more of a peasant dialect. Mikhail Lomonosov wrote the modern version in 1755, but perhaps I am oversimplifying as I am not Russian myself.


    2. Weird coincidences… or ways of perceiving the reality. This morning I turned the radio on to my favourite radio station and listened to the following song:

      It’s some Russian rap about a town (presumably in the Wild West) occupied by criminals. But suddenly a new sheriff arrives who takes on this situation and combats the criminals. The radio host interviewed the leader of the band and joked about how has the latter achieved his popularity… Could it be that someone has recommended him to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev?

      It was a good joke… and now all of a sudden we have a new sheriff in the town.


        1. Oops! I have listened to the song more carefully, and it’s actually about bad guys vs bad guys, as the new sheriff turns out to be a bloody dictator. So yes, let’s hope for the best. 😉


      1. The cartoon depicts the Western world order and the respective roles (poodles, whore, helpless/dependent children). Russia is not part of that order as should be obvious .


        1. Yes, it really should be.

          So is the troll really suggesting that Russia is so weak that, in reality, it’s just another arse-sniffing pooch like all the rest?

          As a matter of fact, the Ukraine is under that pile of shit and Russia is off page, left, having just shat on it.


    1. It was kind of them to leave out the Canadian hound, but we are in fact as devoted to Uncle Sam as any faithful servant. Although Troodledeau did appear to blame Trump for the shooting-down of the Ukrainian airliner. He said the mistake was owed to an escalation of tensions, and mentioned by-the-bye that Trump had not notified him of his intent to whack Soleimani. Which might seem a bit bitchy, except now Canadians are dead because of it. Maybe the beard makes him feel tough.

      Otherwise, though, loyal to a fault.


          1. Well, we’re not quite as fond of Israel as is the USA – it’s not yet the acid test of a political candidate in Canada to learn his/her position on Israel, as if he/she were running for election there, although the lobby groups do try to develop the same level of fervor. But I could buy being ensconced in Uncle Sam; our trade is so inextricably linked that the two nationalities are barely distinguishable. Many Canadian companies are actually owned by Americans, and vice-versa. At one time, as I used to be fond of pointing out illustratively, the CEO of American Airlines was a Canadian, while the CFO of Air Canada was American.

            There was just an article in the local paper the other day, though, which of course I cannot find now, which reported local sales of BC agricultural products broke however-many millions for the first time in 2019, so consumers do go out of their way to not buy American agricultural products if an alternative is available. And when Canadian fruit and vegetables are out of season, I notice now that a considerable amount of what is offered in the markets is from Mexico, so I buy that. Sometimes, though, there is no alternative to California produce. Onions, for instance – all last year, all the onions sold by Thrifty Foods, where I usually buy groceries, were from California. I inquired about it a couple of times, and never received a satisfactory answer. I would have to go to a farm market to buy Canadian onions, which I found astounding. Pork, too, often originated in the USA; my mom kept buying it for us because it was so cheap.


      1. Australia is the light-tan doggie about to come between Germany and Italy.

        You can’t see them but the Baltic chihuahuas have run out ahead yapping for all they’re worth about how they’re armed to the teeth with NATO bases.


            1. A classic example of всрятая! (See earlier thread on this word).

              значение (1):
              Некрасивая девушка.

              значение (2):

              пример текста:
              Встретил всратую девушку.


              синонимы: уродливая и т.д.


              meaning (1):
              ugly girl.

              meaning (2):
              shat out

              sample text:
              I met an ugly girl.

              comes from:
              to have a shit

              synonyms: ugly etc.


              1. Typo!

                всратая above , not всрятая

                Слово «всратая» (или «всратый» в мужском роде) произошло от ещё более грубого слова «срать», значение которого и так всем ясно. Используется как эвфемизм или оскорбление.

                Всратым называют человека, который является некрасивым, уродливым, либо просто неопрятным. В целом, это человек, который не выглядит хорошо и этим самым не особо привлекает к себе положительное внимание и, по сути, является посмешищем.

                The word “vsrataya” (or “vsratyi in the masculine grammatical gender) comes from the even coarser word, the verb “to shit”, the meaning of which being clear to everyone, and is used as a euphemism or an insult.

                The word is used when referring to a person who is not pretty, downright ugly, or just scruffy. In general, it is a person who does not look good and thus does not attract much positive attention to himself/herself and is, in fact, a laughing stock.

                I think just saying “He is shitty looking” is a good English equivalent.

                The word “shit” has multiple uses in my mother tongue:

                He talks shit.

                He looks shit.

                He fells like shit.

                He’s a shit wit.

                He’s shat all his money playing poker.

                He shat his exams.

                He smokes shit.

                He earns shit.

                He’s shit faced.

                Such is the tongue of the Bard of Avon!


    1. Saakashvili was in the process of setting up essentially the exact same scenario before the election in which his party got slaughtered by Georgian Dream. He spent the better part of a year transferring most of the presidential powers to the office of the Prime Minister, because he could not serve another term as president, and speculation at the time was that he intended to continue running the country from the PM’s office. But his entire party got kicked to the curb, so we never got to see if that was his plan. There was a caretaker in the PM’s office who was a personal friend of Saakashvili and who, it was said, would cheerfully resign at just the right moment so that his mentor could slide into the chair.

      I suppose it’s possible that’s what Putin is doing, too, although it doesn’t seem like him to me. But I always imagined he would remain active in Russian politics in some capacity so long as his health held up.

      There is typically confusion and alarm in the west when sudden seismic shifts in Russian politics occur because if the west had known in advance, it would have been in there trying to load the dice for favourites or otherwise to exert some measure of influence over the proceedings. Probably a part of the reason things are done as they are.


      1. This leaves me confused. The changes per Sputnik and RT transferred greater powers to the Duma to unwind excessive presidential powers established by and for Yeltsin and by extension, the US.

        The Duma provides a direct representation of the populations desires and, as such, tend to be more patriotic and less prone to concocted regime change efforts by the West.

        Other changes included requirements for a prospective president to have lived within Russia his/her entire life and to not hold a foreign passport. This is squarely aimed at banning imported politicians with imported idea.

        My take is that Putin is preparing the country and government for his departure from a leadership role. Whoever takes over will more answerable to the electorate. All in all, it seems to be a sign of maturing Russian governance. And this should help break the historical cycle of Russia being lead by either brilliance or by incompetence (not an expert here, just an opinion).

        I should think that giving more power to the Duma and reducing the potential for west-leaning politicians to hold high office is entirely a good thing. What am I missing?


        1. “I should think that giving more power to the Duma and reducing the potential for west-leaning politicians to hold high office is entirely a good thing.”

          Does it, though? How? Or does it open up the field for western influence through back-door support of Duma candidates selected for their pro-western views? Remember Khodorkovsky? Although for a long time I suggested he was never really interested in politics, preferring to concentrate on making huge amounts of money, that was a somewhat naive view to say the least. I may have been right that he sought no actual political role himself (to suggestions that he planned to run for president), but he was most certainly interested in controlling politics in Russia, as his support showed. It would be simplicity itself for western money to makes its way to a similarly bent oligarch or one who seems to be earnest, but is unabashedly pro-western, like the recent political star Mikhail Prokhorov. His tastes, if newspaper accounts are to be believed, have always been decidedly capitalistic and reflect a philosophy that wealth is to be enjoyed. How hard would it be for someone like Prokhorov to use his wealth to get the Right Sort elected to the Duma? Just an example. And don’t forget, closet liberals Gaidar and Chubais and Gref are still out there.

          It probably had to happen, but questions should be asked and critical thinking employed from the standpoint that whatever happens in Russia, Washington will seek to exploit it for whatever destructive value it can wring from it.


          1. Sure, there is always a need to be vigilant from the corrupting power of money in politics. But, if opinions polls are to be believed, the Western-leaners have never commanded more than an aggregate single digit support yet they seemed to have an outsized influence on policy, especially when Medvedev was president. Giving the Duma more power should be a stabilizing influence.

            Putin was exactly what Russia needed. Now that Russian confidence and optimism have been largely restored (but always a work in progress), they can have less reliance on the very rare extraordinary leader. I had felt Russia was one heartbeat away from potential disaster but no so much lately.

            The evening network news shows described the change as a naked grab for power so typical of Putin.


            1. “The evening network news shows described the change as a naked grab for power so typical of Putin.”

              Well, they would, because if he were a western leader that’s what it would be; since they don’t really understand anything about Russia and view it as an enemy which nonetheless governs itself more or less by western rules, they are consistently wrong. Never seems to teach them anything, though, and they’re always leaning into their next opportunity to be wrong again.

              I mostly found Dimka to be that rarity in Russian politics – a western-leaner with obvious admiration for western ways and the western lifestyle, but who genuinely loved Russia and wanted to do the best by it. He couldn’t really hold the highest office because he was still too easily seduced by the west, which had only to frame something as a tremendous gift to Russia to have him eagerly grab at it, but I don’t think any of his decisions were ever meant to hurt the country. Some suggest Putin kept him on to make him serve out a sentence in which western bait would be constantly dangled in front of him, but he didn’t have enough power to snatch it, but I don’t think so and his service was mostly commendable as long as he was not allowed to make any decisions involving the west himself. I don’t know anything about the new guy beyond what others have posted here, but you can be sure he is already the focus of intense western interest.

              The bottom line is that whatever they were hoping, Putin is not going to disappear from politics and the very next day, Washington finally gets its man in charge. The succession will be carefully managed to ensure there are no regime-change loopholes.


              1. Medvedev is an arse-hole creeping little shit who was always suck-holing to the West and licking Western arses because he wants to be one of them and was, therefore, always getting suckered by the Western filth, who must have thought of him as being a stupidly naive little prick, which he is, of course, in that he is bedazzled by the Wondrous West that he so much wishes to be part of.

                Here he is suck-holing to Obama when he and the bogus Afro-American were not aware that their mics were still on:


                1. Maybe. It’s hard for me to see him that way, though, as I think pretty much all politicians are creeps, and I usually interpreted Medvedev’s attempts to build a closer relationship with the west as motivated by his own vision for moving the country forward. Naturally he did not see himself as being manipulated – nobody ever does. But he was loyal to Putin throughout his service, and the proffered sweetheart deals for stabbing him in the back must have been legion. I never really disliked him the way I do, say, Chubais and Gaidar (father and daughter). He was a bit silly-acting sometimes, when he thought he was being hip and cool, and he totally lacked Putin’s dignity and deliberation. But on the whole, he was a pretty good civil servant, if unremarkable, and he served as a great foil to accusations that the Putin government is anti-western – Dimka would have come to work dressed as a cowboy if he thought it would help make him look more cooperative and friendly. And to be fair, the western press often attributed totally meaningless things about his habits or behaviour as signals that he was a closet westerner – his appreciation for greasy hamburgers, for example. Maybe he just likes hamburgers. I do, too, and I would submit it has zero to do with my support for western foreign or domestic policy.


          2. I should think that the transfer of powers from the Presidency to the position of Prime Minister, and the holders of executive power being chosen by holders of legislative power, will make US control of the positions of Russian President and Russian PM more difficult. It takes time, effort and money to build up a lobbying presence in a large parliament; for one thing, the West needs to know who are the most significant organisations and agencies in Russia to penetrate and infiltrate, and then influence. Then these people need to know which politicians and which parties in the Federal Assembly to target. A parliamentary system where the holders of executive power are not chosen directly by the public but by political peers is likely to be more resistant to foreign infiltration if only because there are more people to target. The Russian language and alphabet, and current political culture are also likely to be barriers to penetration.

            It was much easier in the Yeltsin period when Yeltsin appropriated powers that should have belonged to the Federal Assembly, for the US to control the Presidency; Yeltsin was moving the country’s political structure to a centralised one that to some extent the Americans could relate to, because then it began to resemble the structures they knew and had experience with.


            1. Yes, that’s all true, which is why western regime-changers would be more likely to put their money on a politically-savvy oligarch like Prokhorov, who I am only using as an example. Such a person follows national politics closely and would be much more likely to know the insider information the western influencers would like to know, but do not.

              Mind you, that kind of meddling was always a risk, including under the previous system. And it didn’t work very well then. Then, though, Khodorkovsky did not seem to have Putin fooled for one second. It remains to be seen if that perspicacity will survive him.


        2. Forgot to mention that the proposed changes include Russian law was always trump international law within Russia. Seems like a no-brainer.


      2. Oho! Is there the implication that Putin is setting up a situation where he could slide back into the PM spot, once he has finished out all his Presidential terms?

        With the technocrat as a seat-warmer? Now, THAT would be devious!


  10. Yalensis, earlier you said that Russia should restore communism to remove poverty.

    How did that work the last time in 1917-1991? The Soviet Union collapsed and historical Russia was split into many different parts.

    I expect that if Russia would experiment communism the second time the outcome would be another split of Russia. This time it would be the North Caucasus, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and possible Siberia and the Far East breaking away from Moscow.

    And why is that? Because communism doesn’t work, period. It has been tried several times in many different parts of the world, and it has always failed.

    The basics are simple. Once private ownership is banned people stop caring. Motivation to work hard is gone If you are deprived of the possibility to make money and own private property.

    Say what you want about America but there is a good reason why basically all the greatest companies in the world are American, or at least from countries that have practiced capitalism for centuries: Microsoft, Apple, Exxon, Shell, Amazon, Intel, Ford, Mercedez Benz, Toyota, Samsung etc.

    You can compare how a middle class American and a middle class Soviet citizen lived in the 1980s. While a typical middle class American lived in a big house in a suburb with two cars in the household, a typical Soviet middle class citizen lived in a “kommunalka” apartment where many families had to share the same bathroom and kitchen and a Soviet citizen had to work a certain amount of years before being allowed a right to own his or her own car, usually a Soviet made Lada. Most of the Soviet citizens never had a chance to get their own car but instead of to rely on public transport.

    I know you are going to say that China is a good example that communism can work. But there is one problem: China is not really a communist country anymore. Actually the rise of China began at the same moment when Deng Xiaoping allowed private property and private enterprise. The horrendous communist policies of Mao Tse Tung killed tens of millions of Chinese people before that. Allowing people to work for their own well being was that made China what it is today (China is still a poor country compared to the West, but at least hundreds of millions of people are not starving anymore as was the case during Mao’s rule).

    If Russia ever restored communism again it would be the end of Russia.


    1. a typical Soviet middle class citizen lived in a “kommunalka” apartment


      I lived in a modern, built in the 1970s block in Voronezh in 1989.: 3 large rooms, largish kitchen, bathroom and toilet, 2 balconies , 11th floor.

      I live in a similar flat now, but on the 3rd floor, built 1976, central Administrative District, Taganskiy precinct, Moskva.

      The only thing communal about those 2 dwellings is the central heating, which is turned on in October and turned off in May.

      In England, during my childhood I lived in a slum street built in the 1850s: no central heating, no hot water, no bathroom, no toilet. The toilet was in the yard at the back. The dewelling had 2 downstairs rooms and 2 upstairs room, a so-called “two-up, two-down”. I lived there until 1960.

      Wilson St. in my home town, 1969

      My hometown is situated in the first capitalist country in the world.


      1. God that picture brings back memories – we lived in similar property in Birmingham until 1978. My family came over from Ireland in the 1960s and these type of houses were common place for working class families.

        You can still find them in the midlands and the north, although they have been modernised to include bathrooms.


      2. 6 Jerusalem St., Moskva

        The house where my family and I have lived these past 22 years.

        It was built in 1976.

        It is NOT a kommunalka!!!

        Our balcony is the bottom one (yellow), second from the left. In fact, that is both our and our neighbours’ balcony: our neighbours’ is to the left of ours and there is a full dividing partition between the two.

        The fully glazed balcony is accessible from our living room. The window to the right of it is our main bedroom; the window to the right of that is another bedroom, and the kitchen window is to the right of that.

        This, below, is a communal block:

        It is very likely now demolished and was one of a few remaining communal houses in Yaroslavl. It had a long corridor with small rooms, and a general toilet and kitchen on each floor.

        A kitchen in a 1983 Moscow communal block, now long gone.

        And here is an old communal apartment house ready for demolition:


      1. Capitalism and economic Nirvana are known to be one in the same…in the minds of morons.

        “Indications of this failure of capitalism are everywhere. Stagnation of investment punctuated by bubbles of financial expansion, which then inevitably burst, now characterizes the so-called free market.4 Soaring inequality in income and wealth has its counterpart in the declining material circumstances of a majority of the population. Real wages for most workers in the United States have barely budged in forty years despite steadily rising productivity.5 Work intensity has increased, while work and safety protections on the job have been systematically jettisoned. Unemployment data has become more and more meaningless due to a new institutionalized underemployment in the form of contract labor in the gig economy.6 Unions have been reduced to mere shadows of their former glory as capitalism has asserted totalitarian control over workplaces. With the demise of Soviet-type societies, social democracy in Europe has perished in the new atmosphere of “liberated capitalism.”7

        The capture of the surplus value produced by overexploited populations in the poorest regions of the world, via the global labor arbitrage instituted by multinational corporations, is leading to an unprecedented amassing of financial wealth at the center of the world economy and relative poverty in the periphery.8 Around $21 trillion of offshore funds are currently lodged in tax havens on islands mostly in the Caribbean, constituting “the fortified refuge of Big Finance.”9 Technologically driven monopolies resulting from the global-communications revolution, together with the rise to dominance of Wall Street-based financial capital geared to speculative asset creation, have further contributed to the riches of today’s “1 percent.” Forty-two billionaires now enjoy as much wealth as half the world’s population, while the three richest men in the United States—Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett—have more wealth than half the U.S. population.10 In every region of the world, inequality has increased sharply in recent decades.11 The gap in per capita income and wealth between the richest and poorest nations, which has been the dominant trend for centuries, is rapidly widening once again.12 More than 60 percent of the world’s employed population, some two billion people, now work in the impoverished informal sector, forming a massive global proletariat. The global reserve army of labor is some 70 percent larger than the active labor army of formally employed workers.

        Adequate health care, housing, education, and clean water and air are increasingly out of reach for large sections of the population, even in wealthy countries in North America and Europe, while transportation is becoming more difficult in the United States and many other countries due to irrationally high levels of dependency on the automobile and disinvestment in public transportation. Urban structures are more and more characterized by gentrification and segregation, with cities becoming the playthings of the well-to-do while marginalized populations are shunted aside. About half a million people, most of them children, are homeless on any given night in the United States.14 New York City is experiencing a major rat infestation, attributed to warming temperatures, mirroring trends around the world.”


    2. Comrade Karl, the vast majority of poverty in this world is in capitalist countries. Latin America and Africa will toss your silly assertions in the trash bin of history.

      And saying China is not communist is equivalent to saying the US is not capitalist. I leave it to your to figure out what the foregoing means.


    3. We can count on Karl doing a hit-and-run as he always does after his ass is handed to him on a silver platter (always wanted to use that phrase).


      1. Karl is an extremely consistent fascist ideologist.
        As always, I use the word “fascist” not as a derogatory, but in its clinical, scientific sense, namely that Karl adheres to the fascist world-view and ideology.


          1. He is, indeed. A manly Nordic-Ugric type with the IQ of a Teutonic übermensch.
            Being of such a high IQ it goes without saying that he is strong in mathematics and engineering. Although perhaps not so good at musical comedy, nor basketball.
            But still, a natural leader: “Colored” people should flock to him and demand to be guided by his wisdom and charisma.


  11. Russia’s new (proposed) PM Mikhail Mishustin. Never heard of him before, but did quickie research. According to VZGLIAD reporters Andrei Rezchikov and Natalia Makarova:

    This guy totally reformed the Russian tax system and implemented electronic automated system (woo hoo!), also implemented electronic signatures and other high-tech bling-blang.
    A 100% pure-blooded technocat (yay! my kinda guy!)

    Born 3 March 1966 in Moscow. Graduated from super-duper tech school in 1989. With certification as “Engineer – System Technician.”
    In 2003 successfully defended his dissertation on the topic of “The mechanics of governmental tax administration in Russia.” Almost won a Pulitzer for that.

    Continued on as geeky tax specialist. In 2008-2010 entered the realm of private investment business, with UFG Capital Partners and UFG Asset Management.

    Hobbies: Mishustin enjoys playing hockey, as does President Putin. One speculates they may have encountered one another on the ice.
    Religious views: Very religious, and was awarded the Order of Serafim Sarovsky.
    That was the nice Russian saint who lived with a bear. I wrote about him on my blog – little plug there, sorry…


    1. Checked his bio on Wikipedia: Mishustin did indeed attend a technological university and graduated with an engineering degree. This suggests he had no exposure to competing political and economic ideologies in his youth apart from what was required of him as a student living in Soviet times.

      Not quite as dramatic as living in a cave as a teenager, then digging ditches and later picking up a chemical engineering degree.


        1. And somebody who can actually deliver on his promises and cough up the actual apps. Not like pie-in-the-sky Dima, with his “high-tech” fantasies of building a Russian silicon valley.
          While Dima was a-dreamin’, Mishustin was a-coding


          1. Oh, I don’t know – Skolkovo is doing all right.


            I wish they would stop referring to it as ‘the Russian Silicon Valley’, which invites unfavourable and unfair comparisons considering the real Silicon Valley has been around for nearly 50 years, and Skolkovo has just reached its tenth anniversary. It’s more of a ‘tech city’, and I note that in plans at least, Skolkovo expects to house about a fifth of the number of IT professionals that work in all of Silicon Valley.

            Moreover, Skolkovo is focused almost entirely on startups and new technology, as Silicon Valley once was. However, the latter has begun to gravitate to solid corporate moneymaking models rather than the wildcat model it once espoused, and is at risk of relinquishing that reputation altogether.


            “For start-ups not on the unicorn list—and even for many that are—the chance that they will have an initial public offering and remain independent is small. That means the only way their investors will get their money out will be via an acquisition by one of the large companies. Google, Facebook, and their ilk “have become enormous by swallowing small companies, so the network is no longer the network but the octopus,” Margaret O’Mara, a historian at the University of Washington, told me.”


            1. The new Skolkovo Innovation Center railway station opened last May. I pass through it on my way to my country estate. It’s just beyond Moscow city limits, the Moscow Outer Ring Road, the Moscow belt road as it were:

              Innovatsionnyi Tsentr (Innovation Center) Transport Hub Opens
              It will only take you 17 minutes to travel to the Innovation City from downtown Moscow now that Innovatsionnyi Tsentr (Innovation Center) transport hub has been opened.

              Gas station with missiles?


          1. He has sort of a potato face… until he smiles. And then he looks nice.
            He seems like somebody one could have an interesting conversation with, even though he isn’t an intellectual per se.


        2. 2:35 in the video… “Работать, что называется, в белую, стало даже модно”. Translation: “White-collar work has become even fashionable”.

          So, apparently changes in tax collection led to the popularity of professional, managerial, or administrative work? Makes sense.

          It’s a wrong translation. 🙂

          “White” way of working is one where all taxes are being paid to the Government. It’s opposed to the “grey” or “dirty” way of working, where a worker gets paid in cash… which is a popular tax avoidance scheme on the employer side.


              1. Haha! Great catch, Evgeny. One possible way of translating в белую might be “working above-board and paying taxes”, as opposed to working “under the table”, or something like that. It’s hysterical that somebody translated that as “doing white-collar work” !


        1. re. the pingback below:

          I didn’t expect any of it. Neither did anyone else, whatever the so-called experts outgassing on the US Garbage Media may be pretending.

          Yeah, Kremlin-Watchers, Kremlin Experts, Kremlinologists — call them what you will — they know sweet FA!!!!

          I remember when the SU “fell” and none of these “experts” had any idea.

          Of course, they al knew it was going to happen in hindsight.


  12. В ЕП обвинили Россию в «искажении» истории Второй мировой войны
    Короткая ссылка

    In the European Parliament Russia is accused of distorting the history of the Second World War

    “We in the European People’s Party cannot accept Putin’s attempts to rewrite history. Although the Soviet Union suffered huge losses during the war, and its soldiers showed heroism, there is no denying that the Molotov — Ribbentrop Pact led to the outbreak of the Second World War”.

    Putin’s attempts?

    His own, personal, maniacal attempts??

    The European People’s Party — leader, Donald Tusk.

    “There is no denying …” — an appeal to ignorance.

    Everybody knows this to be true!

    In Poland there were the following Nazi extermination camps [Vernichtungslager]: Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and Majdanek.


    Makes one wonder, doesn’t it?

    After all, there’s no denying that Poles are at heart anti-Semites, in that they are all devout Roman Catholics.


    1. If the west – and especially the Poles – could get the Russian Federation to apologize for the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, their lives would be complete. For maybe five minutes, before they moved on to the next deep grievance. It’s all about getting the former Soviet Union to admit guilt, and the west can never get enough of that.


    2. Минобороны рассекретило документы об освобождении Варшавы
      01:46 17.01.2020 (обновлено: 05:23 17.01.2020)

      The Defence Ministry has declassified documents about the liberation of Warsaw
      01:46 17.01.2020 (updated: 05:23 17.01.2020)

      MOSCOW, 17 Dec — RIA Novosti. The Russian Ministry of Defence has published declassified materials on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Warsaw from the Nazis.

      It is noted that the new historical section is based on unique documents held at the Defence Ministry Central Archive, which in particular contain a collection on the Warsaw uprising of September 1944.

      The section also includes documents on Nazi atrocities in Poland, about the terrorist activities of Home Army units in the rear of the Red Army on the territory of Poland, Belarus and Lithuania in the years 1944-1945.

      The Ministry of Defence has said that the publication is aimed at protecting the historical truth, at countering the falsification of history and attempts to revise the results of the Second world war.< [My stress — ME]

      In particular, from the declassified documents it is revealed that in the Treblinka death camp in Poland during the Second World War at least 500 Americans and British prisoners of war were murdered.

      Warsaw was liberated by Soviet troops on 17 January 1945 during the Vistula-Oder offensive. The liberation of Warsaw allowed the Red Army to make significant progress towards the German border and played an important role in post-war relations between the USSR and Poland. The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR established the medal “For liberation of Warsaw”, which was awarded to more than 690 thousand participants of battles for the capital of Poland.

      After the liberation of left-Bank, part of the Polish capital was in ruins, 84% of housing having been destroyed. Material losses were estimated at $ 2.5 billion.

      According to military historians, in the battle for Warsaw there were killed about 200 thousand Soviet soldiers. In memory of the fallen soldiers in the Polish capital … there was created the largest military cemetery-mausoleum, where there are buried about 21.5 thousand soldiers of the First Belarusian Front of the Red Army. The memorial has an area is of 19.2 hectares and was opened in 1950, the fifth anniversary of the German surrender.

      The Central part of the complex is a sculptural group depicting a Red Army soldier and a 21-foot granite obelisk with the inscription “Eternal glory to the heroic soldiers of the invincible Soviet army who fell in battles with the Nazi invaders for the liberation of Poland and our capital city of Warsaw”.

      And the Poles are eternally grateful.

      Links to Russian MoD archives:

      The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation

      Warsaw on Fire


      1. And no sooner had the above archives been made available, did the Polish-Lithuanian Empire strike back:

        МИД Польши обвинил Россию в попытке переписать историю о войне

        Polish Foreign Ministry accuses Russia of trying to rewrite the history of the war

        Polish Foreign Ministry accuses Russia of trying to rewrite the history of the war
        WARSAW, January 17, 2020, 15:39 – REGNUM Allegations contained in new archival documents published by the Russian Ministry of Defence on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Warsaw from Nazi occupiers by Soviet troops troops that during the Second World War Home Army units destroyed the remaining Ukrainians and Jews in the city, are nothing more than an attempt to rewrite history. This statement was made at today’s briefing on January 17 by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Pavel Jablonski.

        Home Army: the main and largest resistance movement in Nazi occupied Poland during World War II.

        Note how Wik phrases the above sentence about the Home Army:

        The Home Army (Polish: Armia Krajowa, AK; Polish pronunciation: [ˈarmʲa kraˈjɔva]) was the dominant Polish resistance movement in Poland, occupied by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, during World War II.

        My stress!

        But only a little lower down in the Wiki article, one reads:

        The Home Army was disbanded on 19 January 1945, after the Soviet Red Army had largely cleared Polish territory of German forces.

        My stress again!

        The Home Army sabotaged German operations such as transports headed for the Eastern Front in the Soviet Union. It also fought several full-scale battles against the Germans, particularly in 1943 and in Operation Tempest in 1944. The Home Army tied down substantial German forces and destroyed much-needed German supplies.

        So what about the “Soviet occupiers” mentioned above.

        Didn’t the Home Army fight them?


  13. Countries appearing with a deeper shade of green are ranked as more peaceful, countries appearing more red are ranked as more violent.

    So now you know, courtesy of Global Peace Index, that Russia is far, far more belligerent than the USA.

    Stands to reason, don’t it?


        1. I wonder if those who draw up this index ever consider that the perceived violence of a country be considered as a function of the deaths caused by the foreign policies of that country?


          1. I downloaded the PDF on the methodology to look for how deaths caused by a nation’s military outside its borders were treated. Turns out that such deaths/violence are not a factor. Ergo factso, the million+ murders by the US military over recent years are not relavent to the violence associated with a nation. How convenient.


            1. So all you really need to do is talk about peace all the time, and how you are a force for peace and all your actions are in pursuit of that goal. Doesn’t have to be a bit of truth in it. What a valuable index – I must bookmark it.


    1. There certainly are advantages to stirring up shit abroad, setting up an opposition and then sending your soldiers haring off thereward to support it in an effort to overthrow the government. For one, you get labeled a super-peaceful country by some jag-off index you probably funded yourself. The USA does not fight in the USA. And until fairly recently, it got all its military adventures rubber-stamped by the UN as ‘peacekeeping’. That, alas, proved too time-consuming, and so R2P doctrine was devised by that legendary peacekeeper, Sammy “Genocide” Power to expedite American military adventuring while still remaining loosely under the ‘last resort, but we have to act’ rubric.


  14. “The Democrats, for their part, have based their impeachment drive on the claim that Trump is a threat to US national security because he temporarily withheld military aid to Ukraine, depicted as engaged in a “hot war” with Russia. The effort to either remove Trump from office or force him to adopt a more aggressive anti-Russian posture is an extension of the McCarthyite-style campaign against Moscow that has been at the center of the Democrats’ opposition to Trump since the 2016 presidential campaign.

    The impeachment and Senate trial are part of a bitter conflict within the ruling class over foreign policy issues. The Democrats are aligned with disaffected factions of the intelligence and foreign policy establishment that consider the removal of Russia as an impediment to US hegemony over the Eurasian landmass a precondition for confronting and defeating the greater threat to US imperialism, China. Trump speaks for factions that consider the confrontation against China as the first priority and believe that it may be possible to enlist Russia in this drive.

    The events of Wednesday illustrated that there is no democratic or progressive content to the Democrats’ impeachment drive and that both sides in the political warfare in Washington are right-wing and pro-war.”

    “Trump speaks for factions that consider the confrontation against China as the first priority and believe that it may be possible to enlist Russia in this drive.”

    Seriously?…..So the American psychopaths think they can foment sufficient turmoil between Russia and
    China to persuade the former to ally herself with the West (America) in a nuclear bloodbath attack on the latter. Moreover, presumably America would be left more or less unscathed.


    1. Yes, it’s bad, all right. However, I’m a little disappointed to see RT go for such a typically western-media cheap shot: whenever there is a disaster like this – inadvertent weapon discharge, chemical release, fuel spill, whatever – the typical western reporter quickly gets out a map, and looks for the nearest elementary school. The headline duly reports, “Police officer opened fire only 300 yards from Elementary School!!” in tones of horror. Readers have a visceral reaction when there is danger to children, and this sort of reporting milks that for all it’s worth. I kind of expect better from RT. Dumping fuel over the general population is hazardous, and it is conceivable dumping it over agricultural areas could do more long-term damage than dumping it on schoolkids, who generally wash up pretty well. But hydrocarbon broccoli does not fire the imagination; newspapers always go for the kiddie angle.


  15. The US seems to be doing massive fudging of the books via gross understatement of inflation. The upsides are huge:
    – reduce social security annual adjustments
    – inflate GDP growth claims
    – reduce wage growth across the board
    – justify low interest rates (interest rates may be lower than inflation resulting in a negative discount rate)
    – maintain a fiction that the economy is just wonderful to keep people spending.

    Via the Saker:


      1. Helmer writes in his above-linked article:

        The Bundestag report, which runs to 17 pages and was completed on December 9, has been noted in the German-language media. To date, however, it has been ignored by the Anglo-American press, including the alt-media.

        This is just unbelievable!

        Or is it?

        The document was drawn up by the Research Unit of the German Bundestag, which in a footer to said document, describes itself thus:

        The Scientific Services of the German Bundestag supports members of the German Bundestag
        in their mandate-related activities. Their
        [The Scientific Services of the German Bundestag — ME] works do not represent the opinion of the German Bundestag, of any of its organs or of the Bundestag administration, rather, they are the professional responsibility of their authors and the management of the department. Works of the Scientific Services only provide information that has been asked for.
        This is an individual commissioned work for a member of the Bundestag. The work may contain protected information subject to the Bundestag secrecy regulations or other information not suitable for publication. Intended disclosure or publication must be notified in advance to the respective department and is only permitted if the source has been indicated. The department will advise on the issues to be considered.

        And sweet FA in the truthful, free Western MSM about this.

        Lying by silence!

        If you want to read it in German, here it is in downloadable pdf format:

        Intervention in Bürgerkriegsgebieten: Zur Rolle Russlands im Ost-Ukraine-Konflikt

        Intervention in civil war zones: On Russia’s Role in the East-Ukraine Conflict

        Viel Spaß!



        1. By the way, in the SITREP above, there is mentioned the incident that occurred the other day in the Arabian Sea when the USN again bleated about the Russian Navy being out of order as regards its navigational procedure and that it had acted “aggressively”.

          It turned out that it was the USN that had broken international navigational procedure, but that’s what the navy of the Exceptional Nation is allowed to do, of course, albeit that the USN vessel had followed International Maritime Law practice by blasting 5 times on its siren in order to demand of the Orcs what their intentions were. However, by International Maritime Law, it was the USN vessel that was obliged to give way, but no matter …

          Anyway, that star UK arsewipe of a so-called newspaper, namely “The Independent” reported this incident with the following headline:

          US destroyer fires warning blasts at Russian warship in Arabian Sea



          Five short blasts, they say.


          Hit the deck, tovarishchi!!!!!

          The BBC says in the above clip that “Russia denies that it came close to the US ship”.


          See: ВМС США огласили свою версию сближения с российским кораблем в Аравийском море

          The U.S. Navy has announced its version of a course convergence with a Russian ship in the Arabian Sea.

          “Растиражированное заявление представителей 5-го флота ВМС США о якобы имевшем место “опасном” сближении российского корабля с эсминцем “Фаррагут” в Аравийском море не соответствует действительности”, – говорится в сообщении Минобороны РФ, поступившем в “Интерфакс”.

          “Именно эсминец ВМС США, находясь слева по курсу от двигавшегося вперед российского военного корабля, 9 января 2020 года грубейшим образом нарушил международные правила предупреждения столкновения судов в море, совершив маневр на пересечение его курса”, – заявили в Минобороны РФ.

          “A replicated statement by representatives of the 5th Fleet of the U.S. Navy about the alleged ‘dangerous’ convergence of a Russian ship with the destroyer ‘Farragut’ in the Arabian Sea does not correspond to reality”, said a report of the Defence Ministry, which report has been received by “Interfax”.

          “It was the U.S. Navy destroyer which, finding itself on January 9, 2020 to the port side of the forward moving Russian warship, grossly violated international rules for preventing the collision of ships at sea by making a manoeuvre to cross its course”, said the Defence Ministry.

          Port is red; starboard is green! A red and green lamp with red and green backgrounds respectively.

          Simple rule:

          If to starboard red appear,
          ’tis your duty to keep clear…
          Green to green, red to red
          perfect safety, go ahead.

          Not for the US Navy it ain’t!


        2. The authors never come out and say there is no Russian regular army presence in eastern Ukraine – they only say no credible evidence has ever been offered that there is. That’s not quite the same thing, although it is downright mutinous in terms of the typical western circling of the wagons. Enormous implications for funding, as well, if anyone English-speaking ever takes notice of it – the bulk of defense-related handouts have been delivered with the understanding that the Ukrainian Army is fighting a desperate battle for survival against the Russian Army. The latter, if involved, must surely be offered kudos for inflexible discipline – the fight has been going on for 6 years now, and I can’t imagine there is anyone who can spell ‘Army’ who thinks the Ukrainian military could hold back the Russian military if they were really making an effort to win. So if they are involved, they must be operating in permanent stalemate mode. Which is not very military, really, is it?

          Washington must be so disappointed in the Germans. They are going squishy on Russia everywhere you look. I invite everyone to remember it was the Germans who were responsible for many of Russia’s current woes, such as the Olympic cheating scandal, in which the German broadcaster ARD was pivotal – I’m just surprised the USA didn’t present them with a Medal Of Freedom or something. This is interesting, but inviting as it would be to regard it as a watershed moment when Germany came out in favour of Russia, it would be unwise to do so just yet.


  16. From my Friday unsolicited “Moscow Times” round up:

    ‘January revolution’
    President Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping constitutional changes that would allow him to extend his grip on power after leaving the presidency.

    Shock horrors!

    But the bulletin gives a link to this article to the only Moscow English online daily that nobody reads:

    Will Putin Stay Or Will He Go? Bombshell Address and Shock Medvedev Resignation Offer Big Hint
    Real and proposed changes to the structure of the Russian government shine a light on Vladimir Putin and the country’s futures.

    So, one reads further with bated breath ….

    Now try as I might, I just cannot find anything on that which is stated in the bulletin that I received, namely “President Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping constitutional changes that would allow him to extend his grip on power after leaving the presidency”.

    Maybe I’m just dumb?

    Can anyone here enlighten me?


    1. Simpleton! ANY changes proposed by Putin are ipso-facto designed to consolidate and extend his grip on power. It’s what he lives for. When he finally leaves office he will probably wither up and blow away overnight – no more sweeping into a nightclub swathed to his eyebrows in expensive furs which are cast off to be gathered by an obsequious aide, as he moves grandly to the tables to bet more money than the average worker makes in a year, on a whim. No more bursting into a restaurant, bare-chested and dribbling with gold chains and bling, to have all other patrons evicted ignominiously so that he can dine in regal splendor. Power is Putin’s drug.


  17. Ukraine’s Prime Minister Submits Resignation After Leaked Audio Recording
    Recording appears to capture criticism of the president, but Oleksiy Honcharuk suggests audio may have been manipulated

    He only said what’s true, though, namely that Zelenskiy knows shag all about economics, which is only marginally less, in my opinion, than what many economists seem to know, especially those bums at the many Moscow Kreakl institutes for Economics. .

    I only said he was a stupid prick — in economics. He’s a genius at everything else!

    Gimme a kiss and let’s make up!


    1. That’s pretty funny. I’m not really a Zelensky fan, he’s too much of a suck-up to the west for me, but I’m pretty confident he can take criticism and I’d be surprised if it was he who asked for Honcharuk’s resignation. Of course the President is not a genius about economics – you could put what Troodledeau knows about economics in your eye without blinking, although his Liberals are setting a government record for spending. The President has advisors who are supposed to be experts in every discipline. It’s not even surprising if the President knows dick about finance – but by God, the Minister of Finance better know. Quite apart from it being impossible for the President to be an expert in everything, decisions made in consultation with advisors also insulate the President against firing for a decision he/she did not make on his/her own.

      The real comedy, though, is his immediate defense that the audio might have been manipulated. I suppose, no, don’t tell me – the Russians did it! Politics has become so subject to overt manipulation among politicians themselves, as well as those who do their shadowy dirty work, that ‘it’s a fake!’ is the go-to defense. But we were supposed to believe those ‘voice intercepts’ of ‘separatists’ rejoicing over shooting down MH17 were genuine. It’s only a fake if we tell you it’s a fake – everything else is real.


  18. For detractors of Artificial Intelligence (including myself), well, maybe it’s not so bad after all. In fact, there is evidence that Apple’s digital assistant Siri is a Communist.
    Exhibit A:
    When Estonian ex-President and lifelong fascist Toomas Hendrik Ilves, asked Siri to play the Estonian national anthem, she burst out singing the hymn of the USSR as performed by the Soviet Red Army Chorus and Ensemble named after Alexandrov.
    Ilves complained about this bitterly on his twitter feed, and got a response from a resident of Lithuania, who said the same thing happened to him when he requested the Lith anthem.

    Siri is not without a sense of humor, though. When a Finnish citizen asked her to play the Finnish national anthem, she burst out with the soundtrack of a crime thriller as performed by Iggy Pop and Danger Mouse.


      1. Here is the story in American:

        Between March and May this year, Russia’s holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds plummeted by $81 billion, representing 84% of its total U.S. debt holdings.

        The sudden debt dump may have contributed to a short-term spike in Treasury rates that spooked the market. 10-year Treasury yields topped 3% in April for the first time since 2014.

        I agree – the recent purchase could be a gambit.


        1. That story is from 2018, so a bit dated. I understood Russia’s long-term outlook to be decreasing dependence on the US dollar and a shift to local and European currencies. I’m not sure why Russia would start buying up debt again which could only bring them a return if that currency increased or maintained dominance, but I think we can rule out affection for the greenback and a desire to support its health.


    1. China also holds a massive, even greater share of US debt, some of which it even bought up under front companies so as to mask the fact that it was purchased by a Chinese owner. So you have to ask yourself a question – would I feel comforted by large shares of my debt being owned by sworn enemies, reasoning that it must be due to their stupidity? Or would I be nervous that it might constitute an economic vulnerability? After all , the only way they can expect to get a payout on their investments is if I continue to be successful! Idiots!

      Or have I missed something?


    1. Presumably, Medelev dissolved the government so Lavrov had no choice in the matter. Again, presumably, he will be appointed to his old position once the new government is formed.

      The MSM reported that the ENTIRE Russian government resigned in apparent protest to Putin. Americans would take that to mean that the Duma, Supreme Court and the local dog catcher all up and quit leaving Putin with total personal control of every aspect of life and economy of Russia. I’m not disputing that fact, of course.


      1. Acting Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has commented on the likelihood that he will retain his position in the new cabinet. He spoke of this at a press conference devoted to Foreign Ministry performance results for 2019.

        He said that he was performing his duties as instructed.

        “I was instructed to perform the duties three days ago: I am doing that”, said Lavrov.

        He also said that he planned to take part in a Berlin conference on Libya on January 19. According to him, he will also talk to his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Mayo before the event.



      2. In apparent protest to Putin? Why? What would lead any analyst to draw that conclusion? Is that what a government typically does when its leader is broadly popular? Resign, so as to show the little people their vote is actually meaningless? There’d be a few ministers who would have to take the back way home if that were the case.

        The west interprets it as a Putin grab for unchallenged power because they don’t know any other way to characterize it.


    2. It’s my understanding that when a Russian Prime Minister resigns, the entire Cabinet must resign along with the PM. That requirement probably must be in the Russian Constitution. I was looking at the Wikipedia entry on the role of Russian Prime Minister the other day and discovered the fact. MSM outlets clearly don’t read Wikipedia articles even when the website self-censors for their benefit.

      Lavrov is currently acting as caretaker Foreign Minister until Mishustin is formally approved and appointed. Likewise Dmitry Shoigu is now acting Defence Minister though the most senior defence officials will remain as they are, they are not affected by Medvedev’s resignation. Lavrov and Shoigu and other senior ministers are likely to be reappointed unless they opt out, in which case the entire resignation and reappointment process under a new PM is a formality.


      1. Bingo, Jen, I think you are right (as usual). The entire government resigning — it’s not a protest against Putin, duh, it’s just the way they are supposed to do, according to the Constitution of a “parliamentarian” system, as Russia now is, apparently. Surprise!

        The really good ones will retain their posts, I presume.


    3. Ooooooo….I never thought of that – somehow I was reasoning that the cabinet would remain. Lavrov is probably the best Foreign Minister Russia has ever had. But that might be a good post for Zakharova.


      1. The relevant section in the Russian Constitution is Chapter 6, Article 117 which refers to the resignation of the Russian government, including all Cabinet ministers. (It can be viewed online in English translation.) The resigning govt still continues in caretaker mode until Mishustin is confirmed. Whether before or after the referendum, that would be interesting to see. Why couldn’t Medvedev have waited until after the referendum on the constitutional reforms to resign?


  19. Turns out thats there were US casualties from the Iranian missile strike:

    Concussions were cited and no doubt mental breakdowns after that 10 minute or so bombardment. I speculated the long delay in allowing news media on the base was to provide enough time for the troops to compose themselves (and apparently evacuate those who could not keep it together). Army strong.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So they were lying when they said there had been no casualties?

      I thought it was only Orcs and other subhumans, who are not guided by Providence to follow the righteous path, that tell porkies.


      1. Well the Danish troops literally crapped their pants, because they were not expecting to ever be on the receiving end of a missile barrage.

        I guess you can take it pretty easy if you kill people by remote control.


    2. Plenty of comments about fitness for active service of US military personnel have been made over the past few years on a variety of blogs around the interweb. Navy personnel feature prominently in allegations of elective illnesses and pregnancy when deployments are considered unfavourable.

      Any attempt to assess real casualties should be deferred until bloggers with service experience comment. IMHO, of course.

      No reason for believing that faint hearted service personnel is a phenomenon unique to the USA, incidentally.


      1. Concussions from the force and shockwaves of the blast can have serious long-term health effects. Quite a few people must have also been lifted off their feet and thrown a long way and hit something hard if they’d been in the wrong spot at the wrong time. The issue is that all US and other foreign military in Iraq should have been put on alert and their evacuations should have started as soon as Qassem Soleymani’s murder hit the headlines, in anticipation of a retaliation. These people are on the frontline and they should act as though they’re on the frontline, all the time. Physical fitness counts very little under bombardment.


        1. Apparently those colors do run.

          Anyway, its mental fitness that matters. The CNN story went to some length explaining that US troops are not accustomed to being under attack. Need to keep a lid on this to keep those recruits coming in.

          Based on numerous articles, the missile accuracy caught the US by surprise. They acted as if the missiles would fall randomly over several square miles. On the other hand, the missiles were targeted away from where troops would be hiding and to things like the drone command center.

          BTW, a rumor circulating in the Middle East that Iran wanted Soleimani dead as he was becoming too powerful. The rumors fork into many variations at that point based on the degree of US-Iranian cooperation. I doubt all of it


          1. The US Army is a capably-run, professional military force. Its soldiers probably get a little excited when they are under fire, as it would be perfectly normal to do, and in my opinion the US military in general tends to act as if combat is just an extension of a video game. But the soldiers who came out of Iraq at the end of formal hostilities were quite a bit different from the ones who went in. Getting shot at by people who mean to kill you probably has a sobering effect.

            Also, reporters conducting interviews after a strike like that are looking for a certain type of comment; one that humanizes the interviewee and strikes a responsive chord with the folks back home in flyover country. If he tears up a little as he says, “Ah jus’ wanna go home to mah wahf an kids”, so much the better. Reporters are not interested in the guy with the beady eyes who said “It was lame; piece of cake. Wait’ll we get our hands on the ones that done it. We’ll jerk their tongues out’n their heads an’ fry ’em on a hot rock”. Doesn’t present the right image of the American soldier; too intense.

            American soldiers should be used to being under attack – the country is at war somewhere all the time. Granted, they’re usually sent to tinpot countries whose ability to defend themselves is not great, but still, being shot at must be nearly a daily occurrence. I think it’s the randomness of a missile attack that freaks people out; you can’t see anyone attacking you and you just have to keep your head down and hope your number doesn’t come up.


            1. I have a different take. CNN reports on the US military are as scripted as any TV “reality show” – details are not important but the tone and message are controlled. As said earlier, the long delay in allowing reporters on scene was to let the troops compose themselves.

              As for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, much of their stress is the killing that the US Army does and what their brothers-in-arms do (rape, murder, theft). Their brains are frazzled by the beliefs that they may have had about heroism and bringing peace, freedom and prosperity in contrasts to the horrible reality of what they are really doing. The some with empathy and compassion are the worst off while the psychopaths are in hog heaven.

              They don’t come back from war with wisdom and a desire to end war. The psychopaths come back spoiled by easy murder and rape so they become cops or criminals and the other come back unable to cope with the cultivated image of the wonderful US soldier and the reality that they lived.

              The US got out of Vietnam due to, in part, an open revolt in the ranks of the Army and Navy (the ranks did the right thing in that regard I believe).

              I think the Pentagon wanted to keep US soldiers out of similar heavy combat with a determined adversary. The strategy of embargoes, assassinations and dirty tricks followed by shock and awe attacks were needed as US boots on the ground could not handle a sustained war with a determined adversary.

              And that is why there will not be a war with Iran involving US ground troops. The US would lose and lose badly. The Russians, Iran and North Korea know the limitations of the US military.

              The above are extrapolations of what I know of US values and culture. It could be wrong.


              1. Those are the effects of extended combat tours on anyone’s armed forces. No matter what a humanist you might be going in, sooner or later a friend you love will get whacked in an ambush, and you will come to see the enemy as animals, and their liberal defenders back home as only slightly less disgusting. The US is the chief example of this because the USA is constantly at war with someone, and always insists on only US judgments imposed on its armed forces for any perceived transgression. Trials panels are made up of senior officers who know better than to be seen taking the enemy’s side – only bitterness will result, and increased extrajudicial killings. So transgressors get off lightly ‘for the good of the service’. But it would be wrong to think this perversion of values is uniquely American.


          1. Of course, I’d forgotten that the Iranians had warned the Americans via the Swiss embassy in Tehran. The US had time to get the soldiers out of Al Asad airbase. No excuses then, and those 11 soldiers have every right to seek compensation from the US military for their injuries – not that they can expect anything even approaching an apology.


          2. I think what the Iranians did was laudable: They showed that their intent was not to harm any individual person, but just to show what they could do, if pushed. A humane form of deterrence.


            1. Or if you were a cynic, you could say it was done that way to escape a US counterstrike, gradually escalating into war, as the USA would feel obligated to do if any of its troops were killed.


            2. It was a well-placed warning shot. Iran is likely confident that there will never be a serious US attack on Iran beyond a symbolic attack on nothing of importance. I wonder if drone activity has decreased around Iran.

              The GCC would be in open revolt if a major attack were being planned as they now know Iran can, at their option, make KSA and UAE uninhabitable. Its a sort of a MAD standoff.

              The US had to lie about the casualties during the heat of the moment least Trump be compelled to launch a retaliatory strike. They also had to lie by omission about Iran’s advanced warning. It would look so bad that even when the enemy gave notice, there was nothing the US could do to stop the attack.

              It was a huge win for Iran just as the failed cruise missile strike in Syria was a huge win for Russia and Syria.


              1. Well, it certainly was a warning that Iran will not just run to the UN if it is attacked. It will fight back, and it has weapons capable of causing significant damage and the delivery capability to put them on target. The USA is fondest of quarrels where the enemy has an antiquated or no defense capability. Significantly also, while western world leaders jumped all over Iran for shooting down the Ukrainian airliner once it had admitted doing so, some of them also apportioned blame to Trump and the US for ratcheting up tensions in pursuit of Trump’s bully policies.


                1. Iranian cleric Shahab Moradi seem to have a good understanding of current American pop culture:

                  “Soleimani death: Spiderman, Spongebob only US heroes, Iran cleric says”

                  Of course the Iranians could try blowing up Pat Tillman’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery to make a point that the US has no real living heroes equivalent to Qassem Soleymani.


                2. We soon won’t have either, if we continue at our current pace of removing memorials to men who are now bad examples of abuse of native rights or misogynists.


                3. Moradi is absolutely right: The Americans have no living heroes, only cartoon characters. (Of which I would reckon SpongeBob is the most positive figure.)

                  Americans have not had any living heroes since the assassination of Martin Luther King.
                  In a different reality, that man should have been elected President, and maybe things would be different now.


    3. Now the Iranian press is reporting that 16 American soldiers with severe or even fatal injuries were airlifted to Kuwait after Iran’s missile attack on the Ayn al Asad US airforce base.

      Tehran Times:

      Fars News Agency says much the same and quotes Al Qabas as well so I didn’t link to the article.

      Elijah J Magnier’s tweets raise the question of whether the injured soldiers have been spread around different US airbases in Europe and the Middle East so as to diffuse the number of injured and dead soldiers and cover up the lie that no US soldiers died in the missile attack in Iraq.

      The thread actually begins with the recent news of the deaths of two US airmen at a base in western Germany. No details of what led to their deaths are known. Could these men have been recently airlifted there from Iraq?


      1. It’s a possibility in my mind. The long delay in admitting reporters to the base and belated acknowledgment of airlifted casualties suggest deception. If the reports are correct and the US had already decided that a military response was off the table due to the effectiveness Iranian missiles then the story hangs together.

        Also, those missile packed 1/2 ton warheads and were on target. People were going to get hurt.

        I saw Trump on TV making his first public statement on the attack. I swear to God that he looked like a deer in the headlights as he went to the podium. The guy was spooked.

        Again, there is virtually no chance of a major military attack against Iran.


  20. This bloody stinks!

    У Медведева и его семьи останется резиденция в «Горках», охрана и штат помощников
    Все эти привилегии он получит не как бывший премьер, а как экс-президент [видео]

    Medvedev and his family will have a residence at Gorki, security and a staff of assistants..
    He will get all these privileges not as a former prime minister, but as an ex-president [video].

    14:10, 17 January, 2020

    Dmitry Medvedev will retain all of his previous privileges after his resignation as prime minister. We are talking about a state residence, security measures, personal legal immunity, as well as a number of other benefits. The Medvedev family will also retain its special status.

    All these state privileges will be given to Medvedev as an ex-president. As for former prime ministers, their position is more modest. According to the law, they are only entitled to a pension supplement of 55-75% of the current Prime Minister’s remuneration. Ex-presidents are another matter.

    After Boris Yeltsin voluntarily resigned from his post as Russia’s first president, acting head of state Vladimir Putin signed a decree “On guarantees for a president of the Russian Federation who has ceased to perform his duties, and his family members”. In 2001, the President signed a Federal Law of the same name, specifying the decree of 1999. The law was amended twice later, in 2007 and in 2010.

    This is what Medvedev will get by law:

    1. A State Residence for life.

    2. The right to Federal State Security protection in places of permanent or temporary residence

    3. Special means of telecommunication.

    4. A transportation service

    5. A corps of assistants (for his continuing activities) with specially equipped office space.

    6. The right to free treatment in special clinics and hospitals.

    7. State life and health insurance from the federal budget.

    8. Personal legal immunity. The ex-president cannot be held criminally and administratively liable for acts he committed during his presidency. He may not be detained, arrested, searched, questioned or subjected to personal search. Serious crimes are an exception should a criminal case be initiated (a criminal case can be initiated only if the State Duma agrees to deprive the ex-president of his immunity).

    It appears that Medvedev’s family will remain in his Gorki-9 residence near Moscow. According to the law, he has the right to live in an existing residence or choose another one from the list of state dachas. But it is unlikely that Medvedev is ready to change his place of residence together with his post (by presidential decree, he has been appointed deputy chairman of the Security Council). The Gorki-9 residence, located 15 kilometres from Moscow on Rublevo-Uspenskoye Shosse, was given to Boris Yeltsin in 1999, but he preferred to live in Barvikha.

    Medvedev occupied the Gorki-9 residence during his presidential term, as well as when he was prime minister. During this time, the residence has been rebuilt several times.

    Welcome back the nomenklatura!

    By the way, this is Medvedev’s present dwelling on the elite “settlement” known as “Gorki-9” [Hill-9]:

    And here is little Dimka as he homewards plods his weary way after a hard day at the office:

    “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

    ― George Orwell, Animal Farm


          1. That’s what Dimka’s doing in the picture above: he’s nonchalantly swaying his hips as he strolls along the drive towards his country cottage, but he’s desperate to get to the nearest bog, where he can drop his keks and let it all gush out, and he’s scared shitless, metaphorically speaking, though literally he is full of it, of farting lest he fills his pants.

            Russian “sashay”: can’t find a cognate term.

            From a Russian dictionary:

            “She sashayed down the centre aisle to the stage” – Oна скользнула по среднему проходу к сцене, which really translates as: “She slid down the centre aisle towards the stage”.


            1. P.S. – to answer the question, what is the Russian word for “sashay” — it’s chassé.
              Russian ballet uses the French words.
              Hey, if it’s good enough for Tolstoy…


      1. Here is the true story: The word “sashay” is from the French “chassé”, it’s a dance move.
        Like certain other French dance terms, it came into American English as names for Square Dancing moves, like “dos si dos” (back to back) or “shashay” (a kind of steppping move).

        I know that in figure skating, chassé is a kind of step where you put down, then pick up one foot while skating in a circle. Ultimately, of course, it comes from the French-Russian ballet world, it literally means “to chase”. It’s the kind of dance step where one foot “chases” the other.
        Here is an example from youtube, thank you, you’re welcome:


        1. Are all US ballerinas that big?

          ‘Er’s a bonny lass!

          Bear in mind, yon’s a bonny un below an’ all:

          Anastasia Volochkova, 41, first hit the headlines when she was fired from the Bolshoi Ballet for being “too fat” back in 2003.

          I think it more likely that the male members of the Bolshoi ballet had Anastasia dismissed because none of them they could lift her.

          I’d give it a try, though!

          I really would!


          1. The girl in the youtube video, she’s cute and talented, but I doubt if she is a professional ballerina. She is not en pointe, and she doesn’t have the body of a professional dancer. I guess she could be a dancer in a local school troupe, or something.
            The professionals have to be very light, so that they can be lifted by their partners. They have to starve themselves, basically.


              1. The ballet females need to stay skinny for the sake of their art, but they could put some stuffing in their bras, I reckon. Not so much thought that it could overbalance and tip them over… We’re talking fulcrum dynamics here…


  21. Completely off topic but Stooges may be aghast at evidence that one of the main pillars of Western Civilisation (I’ve given capitals, so must be important) could be hollow…

    Investigators have been instructed to find out what the hell occurred during the draw for Spain’s BIG ONE – El Gordo at Christmas 2019… To judge by the angry reaction of the locals in the bar where we watched the report incredulously, the authorities better get the racing skates on:

    One case in which the hand is definitely not quicker than the eye in the embedded video.


    1. Or maybe the Persians should hasten their development of a nuke in order to protect themselves from the Empire, and maybe the unbalanced trolls who willfully leap from one neuron to another depending on the last tweet they read, should STFU?


      1. Iran is on record as having no desire or plans for nuclear weapons. And that position makes sense to me. NK may need nukes as they are at a military disadvantage relative the the US, Japan and SK.

        Iran has the size and power to thwart outside aggression without nukes. Plus, Iranian nukes are useless in virtually every military scenario as its enemies also have nukes. Plus, nukes are expensive to develop and maintain.

        If Iran were attacked with nuclear weapons, one would hope that the axis of resistance if not the world would take down the aggressor.


        1. Back in your oats again, NS?
          Not that long ago you were whining about being an “outcast” (boo hoo!) and saying you would go away…
          Then nobody paid attention, and then you got sassy again and started back in right where you left off, with the vile language and the provocations…


          1. I haven’t posted anything to you….nothing….
            Yet there you were with your csf comment to me about a RT vid I posted….
            Nobody else has posted a problem with my comments….
            The provocation is solely on you….as is clear….

            Well unlike you who apparently sucks the ass of corporate america to make your big IT bucks…
            I may well not be of your ‘in crowd’ status with those you pretend to loathe!!!



            1. “Nobody else has posted a problem with my comments….”

              Oh right, I keep forgetting that you have a 5-second short-term memory.
              In previous thread, you had accused Moscow Exile of being a Klan member, then denied you said it, then ME had to post the comment to remind you, which was only from 2 weeks earlier.


              1. P.S. – and again with the “sucking ass” fetish, that’s a real thing with you, isn’t it?
                It’s disgusting, and anybody who engages in that fetish is disgusting, in my view.


          2. You actually started that one, yalensis. If you look back, you will see NS was totally minding his own business, and by the bye, he is completely entitled to be incensed at allegations that black people are of lower intelligence than whites; Karl certainly knows better, and that is one of the trollier things to ever come out of his mouth. I thought NS’s rebuttal was comparatively restrained. But you straightaway put your thumb in his eye.


            1. Er, no, Mark, those were 2 separate incidents. The second one was my response to NS telling the Persians/Iranians they should STFU. I objected to NS ordering the Iranians to STFU. NS responded with his usual “dog-ass” hysteria.

              The IQ thing was an earlier thread, you are getting confused. Karl had posted a racist comment. I didn’t object to NS’s response to the racist comment, I merely pointed out (helpfully) that Karl was no friend to NS, who had previously tried to defend Karl and even form an alliance with him against other commenters.


    2. The Iranians may well have evidence of US and maybe even other foreign cyber-interference in their missile defence systems but are keeping this information close to their chests given the present situation. Recall that several years ago their nuclear energy plant databases were infected by the Stuxnet virus which everyone now agrees was developed by people connecated to the Israeli govt. Israel and especially Binyamin Netanyahu does have an interest in stoking up tensions between the US and Iran, and in Soleymani’s assassination. Israel has new elections in March and Netanyahu will try to gatecrash them for the third time to avoid jail-time. Soleymani was the fellow who helped Syria turn around its fortunes in its war against Western invasion by proxy through ISIS, al Nusra and their allies, so his removal certainly benefits Israel.


      1. Still, the simplest and most plausible explanation is human error exacerbated by threats of imminent military attack by the US. Agreed that if their defense systems were hacked, best not to advertise the discovery and invite Russian specialists to harden their systems against future attack.

        IIRC, the Venezuelan electrical grid was hacked and Russian IT guys were called in to take appropriate actions. Have not heard of any outages since.


  22. Remember when Ukraine and Russia struck that gas deal, and Ukraine agreed to drop all its lawsuits while Russia agreed to pay out the amount awarded Ukraine by the arbitration court in Stockholm? Pfffft! Yeah, that lasted a long time.

    “In the meantime, the “gas truce” between Russia and Ukraine, which was a condition for an agreement on the transit of Russian natural gas through Ukrainian territory, was short: Naftogaz is preparing new lawsuits for Russia. The lawsuits are scheduled to be filed in late 2020 or 2021, according to the executive director of the company Yuri Vitrenko. Naftogaz will file lawsuits because of the loss of its ability to use Crimean assets; the amount of the lawsuit is about 5 billion dollars, but with interest, Vitrenko believes, the sum can exceed 7 billion dollars. If we realistically divide ambitions of the Ukrainian side by two, I expect the maximum potential damage for Gazprom around $2-3.5 bn.”

    The Ukrainians are never going to stop firing off nuisance lawsuits, because they were successful that one time and they got money as a result. Never mind if none of their lawsuits are ever successful again – it keeps them in the news and doesn’t cost Ukraine anything to try it unless the case actually comes to court. But it is another example of why gas transit through Ukraine should be shut down completely as soon as alternative routes can carry the load. Even if it meant Russia had to sell a little less gas than it could have done, it would be worth it for not a drop of Russian gas to cross Ukraine for a year. Of course, now they are locked into a contract, so it will be 5 years before they can shut it off altogether. But in the meantime, transit volumes should be kept religiously at their minimums, while the remainder goes by other routes.


              1. Nah, I searched Sputnik (English) for the benefit of those who know little or no Russian, but nowt doin’.

                Don’t know why, but sometimes Sputnik Russian articles belatedly turn up on its English language site.

                I had no time to translate the salient points in the Russian language graphic.


                1. The headline of the graphic states:

                  According to the ranking of the most powerful countries in Europe at the end of 2019, in first place was Russia and in the bottom places are the Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovenia and Slovakia

                  The source of the rankings is given as “US News & World Report”.

                  Beneath the map of Europe are shown data about the 27th, 30th and 31st ranked countries, namely Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia respectively. The GDPs of these countries are given., together with their respective populations: 2.8, 1.9 and 1.3 million people.

                  Below this data, it is stated thus:

                  The position of European countries and their position in world rating

                  [You can see Russia as being rated top-dog in Europe, and at the end of the Russian bar, in red, is the number 2, meaning that Russia is rated №2 in the world. Interestingly, France is rated at №4 in Europe bit as joint №2 with Russia globally.]

                  The rating is based on an analysis made by the BAV Group and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where experts have used as a basis of their analysis their assessment of the economies of the countries, their influence in the field of politics, their military might, their position as regards world leadership and their membership of international alliances.

                  The bar chart has an inset giving data on Lithuania:

                  Lithuania occupies

                  86th place
                  as per GDP

                  81st place
                  as regards its armed might
                  according to Global Firepower 2019

                  140th place
                  in the world as regards its population,
                  according to data for 2019 from the
                  Lithuanian Department of Statistics.

                  You may send my translation fee to my Sberbank account. Mark will give you the details.


          1. They could have done; the rulings of the Stockholm court are not very enforceable. Some are non-binding, but even those which are binding lack any real means to enforce them, and it falls to individual countries with a ruling in their favour to collect – as we have seen, Ukraine is fond of seizing Gazprom property.

            It will bring them to grief eventually, because the west only gives them enough help to keep them staggering along, and when they lose their transit fees they will be in a bad way because that figure represents nearly all of their economic growth for the year; no transit fees, no growth. It just annoys me that the Ukrainians are so two-faced, dropping lawsuits on a promise only to start new ones. But Russia wanted to play it by the book. Still, it’s important to remember that Ukraine can never defeat Russia either militarily or economically, and so in the end it will lose, and when it does its western friends will forsake it.


            1. They will play the Crimea card forever so as to claim compy off the Orcs, as will the USA in its imposition of sanctions against the Empire of Evil.

              The bastards will have to wait until hell freezes over (or, in the Russian vernacular, until crabs whistle on top of mountains) before they get the Crimea back.

              It never was theirs in the first place!

              “Forever” in the Banderastan case means until the whole filthy Galitsian-Nazi edifice collapses or until it ceases to get support from the Exceptional Nation.


  23. Carroll at it again in the Independent:

    Russia says Iran shot down passenger plane after US jets were sent to its borders
    Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov claims US fighter planes spooked Iran into making ‘a human mistake’
    Oliver Carroll Moscow
    15 hours ago

    Iran shot down a commercial plane, killing all 176 crew and passengers, because it was spooked by “six F-35 US fighter jets” near its borders, Russia’s top diplomat has said.

    “This information needs verification, but I’d like to emphasise the nervousness that always accompanies such situations,” Russia’s acting foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said on Friday during his annual press conference, in response to a question from The Independent.

    “It was a human mistake. Everyone understands that.”

    What Lavrov actually said:

    My translation of what Lavrov says above at the very beginning:

    “There were at least six F-35s in the air along the Iranian border, and this … this …. this …. this information — which, I think, is still being double-checked — but it … I should just like to underline the edginess that always accompanies such situations”.

    Carroll continues in his article thus:

    Mr Lavrov initially denied his foreign ministry had made any statement backing the Iranian position.

    Iran’s eventual disclosure seemed to come as a surprise to Moscow, which has so far taken a very different approach to its own missile problem. A significant body of evidence now links Russia to the Buk anti-aircraft system that brought down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) over the Donbass region of Ukraine in July 2014, with the loss of nearly 300 lives.

    The “significant body of evidence” that Carroll cites having been provided by the social network, Bellingcat and the Ukraine FSB, whereas another no less significant body of evidence from Russia and the manufacturers of the BUK missile system has been studiously ignored.

    Carroll then rolls merrily along with:

    Russian commentators have made obvious comparisons between the Iranian and Russian responses to their respective disasters, but the most interesting comments came from Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of Kremlin-funded TV news network RT. She suggested that Iran’s actions showed them to be “real men … unlike other countries … including [Russia]”.

    Mr Lavrov fudged The Independent’s question as to whether he agreed with Ms Simonyan’s analysis, declining to accept Russian responsibility for MH17.

    So, lets just check out what Simonyan actually said as regards Iran manfully owning up to its guilt — more exactly, what she Tweeted about this matter:

    “There are two schools of thought on how a big country that demands respect should behave if it messes up catastrophically,” Simonyan wrote in a Twitter thread. She went on:

    “Some think the country must deny, deny, deny, never admit anything and never apologize for anything. Otherwise it’ll just get strangled and ‘it’ll only get worse.’ And simply because go to hell. Most decision-makers in most powerful countries I know, including our own, belong to this school of thought. The other school of thought holds up Iran as an example. Purely as a human, I’m with the latter school. In my book, Iran manned up. Will things only get worse for it because of that, we’ll see. When people wake up on the other side of the ocean”.

    Source, our old chum Bershidsky, hammering away at his keyboard in Berlin for Bloomberg:

    Iran Admits to Plane Shootdown. Putin Still Won’t.
    Countries that down airliners usually take responsibility. Not Russia.
    By Leonid Bershidsky
    January 13, 2020, 7:36 PM GMT+3

    Bershidsky’s above statement means that he takes it as a given that Russia was responsible for downing MH-17. A Bellingcat fanboy, I see! I thought he was rated as some kind of intellectual?

    The self-exiled Bershidsky writes in his above linked article:

    Simonyan’s tweets reveal an internal debate within the Russian establishment on the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014. The European Union and the U.S. have blamed, and sanctioned, Russia for the death of the 298 passengers and crew. An international investigation established that the plane was shot down with a missile obtained by separatist fighters in the region from the Russian military, but Russia has repeatedly denied this, coming up with one alternative version of the incident after another. There’s no doubt as to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s favorite “school of thought.”

    The RT editor is wrong, though. The “deny, deny, deny” strategy employed by Russia in the MH17 case is an exception rather than a general rule. What Iran did is far more typical. Countries that shot down passenger airliners usually admitted it sooner rather than later. And, yes, in most cases they had to bear the consequences. It’s not clear how denying can avert ultimate responsibility, either.

    According to Bershidsky:

    In 1988, when missiles launched from the American cruiser Vincennes brought down Iran Air Flight 655 with 290 people on board, it didn’t take the U.S. long to admit what happened…

    Well, the US was hardly in such a situation to deny it had shot down the aircraft, but was quick to point out that Iran shared responsibility for the downing of Iran Air Flight 655.

    In 1996, the governments of the U.S. and Iran reached a settlement at the International Court of Justice which included the statement “… the United States recognized the aerial incident of 3 July 1988 as a terrible human tragedy and expressed deep regret over the loss of lives caused by the incident …”

    As part of the settlement, even though the U.S. government did not admit legal liability or formally apologize to Iran, it still agreed to pay US$61.8 million on an ex gratia basis in compensation to the families of the Iranian victims.

    My stress.

    And Bershidsky recounts the details of the downing of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 by a Soviet warplane. The denials made by the SU at that time lasted for 6 weeks. He goes on to list how all other similar shootings down of aircraft have quickly given rise to speedy confessions by the guilty parties. He even includes the Ukraine in being such a guilty party and a speedy confessor of its guilt as regards the downing of a Siberian Airlines flight 1812 in 2001:

    In 2001, Ukraine wouldn’t admit accidentally shooting down a Siberian Airlines flight during an anti-aircraft exercise for about a week, but then President Leonid Kuchma dropped the pointless effort and fired the defense minister. Ukraine paid out more than $15 million in compensation, but the incident solidified its reputation for military ineptitude, which doubtless was a factor in Putin’s 2014 decision to attack the country.

    Yes, doubtless it was!

    Give me strength!!!!!

    The self-exiled Bershidsky implies that the Ukraine confessed its guilt: it did not.

    It still does not admit its guilt!

    The Ukraine eventually admitted that it might have caused the crash.

    At first, the Ukraine military denied outright that one of its missiles could have brought down the airline. And then their tune changed, they then admitting that one of their missiles had probably brought down the aircraft.

    And they have still not settled ensuing compensation claims made by families of Siberian Airlines flight 1812 victims.

    On 22 August 2007 Kiev Appeals Court dismissed the victims’ relatives suit against the Ministry of Defence of the Ukraine, ruling that military of Ukraine bear no liability for the accident. The court decision conflicts with report of the IAC group which had investigated the accident on Russia’s behalf.[

    Between 2003 and 2005, the Ukrainian government paid $15.6 million in compensation to the relatives of the victims. In 2004, Siberian airlines filed a lawsuit, against the Ukraine Defence Ministry and the Ukraine State Treasury at a Kiev court, seeking more than $15.3 million in compensation for the loss of the passenger jet. However, the Kiev Interregional Commercial Court of Appeal, in September 2011, rejected a compensation claim from the Russian airline. An appeal to the Kiev Economic Court of Appeals was rejected, in May 2012. The ruling was further upheld, in December 2012, by the Ukraine Supreme Commercial Court. As of January 2013 the court proceedings continued, but were disrupted again due to the Maidan protests.


    These small details slipped your mind, Bershidsky?

    But the exiled bourgeois Internationalist then goes for the throat — the throat of his “Motherland”, so to speak, though I think Bershidsky and others of his ilk would scoff at such a concept — in his article with:

    Iran’s decision to take the blame wrong-footed the [Kremlin] propagandists, drawing the unusually revealing reaction from Simonyan, but also got independent commentators in Russia overly excited about the example Iran presented for the Russian leadership. “It’s possible that Iran’s acceptance of responsibility for the Ukrainian Boeing’s crash means the end of the post-truth era,” wrote Kirill Martynov, politics editor of the hard-hitting weekly Novaya Gazeta. [Who is “independent”, see: not “Kremlin controlled”.]

    The Kremlin, however, isn’t denying Russia’s role in bringing down the Malaysian airliner because it’s any more “post-truth” than the Iranian leadership. It’s doing so, as Simonyan put it, “because go to hell.” The denials say, “What are you going to do about this?” more than they obscure the truth.

    If you start apologizing, the logic goes, you’re never going to stop: Your enemies will see you as weak and exploit your weakness. Admitting that Russia sent the missile launcher to eastern Ukraine would be tantamount to an official confirmation that the Russian military is actively aiding the pro-Moscow rebels in the region. But, even worse, it would mean admitting that the Russian military isn’t particularly competent and the weapons systems Russia has been peddling throughout the world allow for horrible errors like the downing of MH17.

    The hard-hitting weekly Novaya Gazeta, the favourite rag of the “why-was-I-born-here” bourgeois whingers, circulation: 184, 000.

    He, Bershidsky! Wie lange leben Sie schon in Berlin? Du kannst jetzt ein bisschen Deutsch sprechen, oder? Dann hören Sie sich das an: Du bist ein verdammtes Arschloch!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oops!

      I at first addressed the slimy rat formally in German, then switched to the informal 2nd person singular, like I was talking to a friend or a kid or as a superior type to a stupid shitwit.


      He, Bershidsky! Wie lange leben Sie schon in Berlin? Sie können jetzt ein bisschen Deutsch, oder? Dann hören Sie sich das an: Sie sind ein verdammtes Arschloch!

      Polite formulaically, but rude!


    2. Those western taunts to Russia are pathetic but plays well to the true believers of Western Moral Superiority.

      What was interesting is the tracking of F-35s at Iran’s border. I don’t know the military significance but tracking a stealthy aircraft seems to be a big deal.


      1. Yes, that’s a good point as well; the F-35 is supposed to be invisible. The USA will likely deny there were any such aircraft in the area, but if the composition of the flight was correct they will know they can be seen and probably tracked. And the purpose of the message was likely to impart that information.

        We’ve been over it before many times, but there really are no ‘invisible’ aircraft. Eventually radar will ‘burn through’ stealth technology, and it is just a question of range. When it gets close enough, radar will get imagery. The aim of stealth is to make burn-through range so short that the aircraft will have already launched a weapon before it is detected, or will already be on an attack run. And it is nearly always easier and cheaper to engineer radar improvements that will see stealth aircraft at comparatively long ranges than it is to make aircraft stealthier. Also, there is no such thing as thermally-stealthy aircraft, so thermal-imaging sensors will see a stealthy aircraft the same as they will any other which emits heat. But they historically do not have much range capability. Still, it’s just a question of what any aircraft produces which is detectable, and then maximizing your detectability of that parameter.


    3. The Kremlin is denying bringing down the Malaysian Boeing because it did not have anything to do with it. Means, motive and opportunity – Ukraine backed by the US State Department had all three sides of the triangle. The scenario concocted by which Russia is supposed to have done it is so awkward as to be unworkable – a single Buk launcher unit could only have detected the airliner if it had been pointed directly at it when the launcher’s radar was switched on, because that’s the role of the surveillance radar, which was not present in any of the posed possibilities – but is absolutely essential because Russia could not have reached the Malaysian airliner from Russia. Therefore it must have sneaked into Ukraine and potted it, and then sprinted back out; no other narrative would put the launcher manned by Russians and the Boeing together at the right range and time. But it could not have been a whole Buk complex, or someone would have had to have seen it. The west goes on about mountains of evidence, but it always says that and the bigger the lie, the bigger the mountain of evidence. So far no western agency has ever – ever – shown any convincing proof. But people are supposed to believe when the west says it has proof, or that its investigative bodies say they have seen proof which convinces them. Because the west does not lie. In spite of the many, many times it has been actually caught in the very act of lying.

      Russia did not shoot down the Boeing. Ukraine did, and the USA covered up for it.


  24. This is interesting. Putin is actually really ticked right now, and used language he has never used before in public to diss the Polish nationalists, and their warped view of history.
    He is also forming a direct alliance with Israel against the Poles, which is kind of cool.
    Putin promised to “shut the fucking mouths” of those who continue to rewrite WWII and to deny the Holocaust.
    The shutting of said mouths will occur, not via fisticuffs, but via a barrage of information and documentation; and a center shall be set up to disperse this information.
    Russia will also collaborate with Israel to set up a memorial to the victims of the Leningrad blockade. “And, by the way,” Putin reminded people, “among the victims of the Holocaust quite a lot of them were Jewish citizens of the Soviet Union.” Putin also reminded, that ethnic Russians not only suffered disproportionately, but also bore the brunt (70%) of the losses, as they heroically fought to defend their Motherland and to rid the world of the “brown plague.”


    1. Interesting
      But why does Israel need to be involved in the memorial to the Leningrad blockade?

      Russia should surely be able to commemorate that themselves .


      1. It’s a Jew thing….one minute murder rampages in Gaza slaughtering say 1500 civilians …next they’re piously building memorials to the Leningrad siege..

        Go figure


        1. Undoubtedly there are factions within Israel; some reasonable, others insane. It would appear that the insane faction is in the dominant position.


          1. All I’m saying is that a stop needs to be put to this shit…

            Apartheid was dismantled in part because there were enuf determined voices of outrage throughout the planet to bring it down…same thing could apply here ….but it hasn’t.


          2. I think Putin is still clinging to some hope that the “sane” faction of Israelis can help him to shame the Europeans. He is trying to build a Russia-Israel ideological front against Poland.
            It might not work, but it can’t hurt to try.


    2. Sorry, Yalensis!

      I posted earlier this morning (now 09:19 Moscow time, 19 January) below on the same topic and have just scrolled back and seen the above.

      Yes, the Evil One has got pissed off, to put it mildly, over what these Polish revisionists are doing.

      He should target the filth in the Baltics as well for doing the same.


  25. The new Russian PM will announce his appointees on 21 January per the Saker. That will be the acid test. Hoping for a new head of the central bank (I think that is an appointed position) and, of course, Lavrov and Shoygu remain. Again, hoping for the best.


    1. “WEDGEWOOD’S SPRAWLING OPERATION epitomizes a major shift in the housing market, which is increasingly dominated by anonymous owners operating through a web of shell companies. More than 3 million homes and 13 million apartment buildings are owned by LLP, LC, or LLC entities, according to 2015 census data, business structures that do not mandate naming owners or investors.

      Most states no longer require limited liability companies to disclose their owners, making them an attractive vehicle for “individuals who wish to own real estate but want to be able to hide their identity,” said Susan Pace Hamill, a University of Alabama Law professor. That often poses a major problem for tenants trying to figure out who exactly is evicting them, or cities that want to go after the owner of vacant properties in disrepair.

      In 2018, The Guardian exposed conservative TV host Sean Hannity’s multimillion-dollar property empire, which he assembled via dozens of shell companies with names combining the initials of his children’s names. And a series of New York Times investigations in 2015 and 2016 chronicled how in New York City, limited liability companies were being used to launder money and defraud struggling homeowners.”


      1. Ding ding ding!!! Money laundering. The government could not give a tin weasel about tenants trying to figure out who is evicting them, struggling homeowners being defrauded or mystery owners of vacant properties in disrepair. It is shell companies using real estate to wash dirty money. But of course the American answer is more deregulation because…well, because it’s the answer to everything. Certainly the answer to “How is it that the rich keep getting richer?”


        1. It has been estimated that at least $300 billion is laundered each year in the United States alone. According to a 2009 study published by the United States Sentencing Commission, more than 81,000 people are convicted of money laundering on some level each year in the United States.

          I suspect much of NYC’s prosperity is from the money laundering industry – high paying jobs, no ugly factories and environmentally clean operations. What’s not to like?

          Florida, the capital of government fraud, must be close behind. No links as I don’t feel like turning of the ad-blocker.

          Not to worry, London is the money laundromat of the world. What was that about corruption in Russia?


      2. Real estate is ideal for money laundering because, depending on the jurisdiction, crooks can use third parties like shell companies to buy property and combine payment for property purchases with mortgage loans. All these options and others that mix illegal and legal monies together make tracing dirty money difficult. Buying property and then reselling it to a company (which the seller might own indirectly) is another way of laundering money while always maintaining control of the property.

        Methods of using property purchases to launder money:


  26. “We will shut the filthy mouth of some public figures abroad, who open theirs only to achieve short-term political goals. We will shut them up with reliable and fundamental facts.”
    Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, President of Russia

    See: Russia will combat the rewriting of WWII history with new free-to-all archive center
    18 Jan, 2020 20:50

    Moscow is to create the most extensive collection of WWII documents, open to all persons anywhere, to once and for all “shut the filthy mouth” of those seeking to rewrite history for short-term gains, the Russian president said.

    Any person, Russian or non-national, will be able to access the archive, including through a website resource, and the ultimate goal is to debunk any disinformation about the most devastating conflict in human history, President Vladimir Putin pledged, during a meeting with veterans of the Great Patriotic War, held in St. Petersburg on Saturday.


  27. Владимир Путин: К 75-летию Победы выплатим ветеранам войны по 75 000 рублей

    Vladimir Putin: On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Victory, war veterans shall be paid 75,000 rubles each
    !8 January 2020 16:50

    “We have always financially supported the veterans. Usually it was payment for the holiday: 10 thousand rubles for veterans, and 5 thousand for those who worked in the rear”, the President recalled. “Today I got up and thought about our celebrating 75 years since the Victory. Therefore, we shall provide assistance associated with this figure: 75 000 rubles for veterans and 50 000 for workers in the rear. I think people will understand this!

    75 000.00 ₽ = $1, 218.00
    50 000.00 ₽ = $812.00

    That’s jolly decent of the tyrant!


  28. Further to my comment above that it seems that that pampered, privileged, highly educated member of the Russian bourgeois elite, namely that “intellectual” Russian-Jewish polyglot in self-imposed exile and Bloomberg employee Bershidsky is a Bellingcat fanboy, in that he believes there is a “mountain of evidence” proving that “Russia” shot down MH17, I found the following article from offGuardian to be of some interest:

    Crimes of the century – truth, perception and punishment
    Kevin Smith
    19 January 2020

    Not a lot of folk know about Titus Oates these days. That’s because education in the UK is now total shite, in my humble opinion.

    Being Anglo-Irish and a former left-footer, I certainly was told in my childhood about the mischief that dirty lying bugger had made, though!


  29. Well, that’s it for this year, the festive season is over!

    Today is the Orthodox Epiphany, the 12th Day of Christmas, when the faithful take a dip:

    Крещение [kryeshchenije], it’s called in Russian — “baptism”.

    Whatever turns you on!

    I’ll stick to having little chats with Woden in my holy grove — it’s in the forest that surrounds our dacha territory…..

    The clip above was made in the Far East, in Kamchatka. That’s why its already up on YouTube, because it is 9 hours ahead of Moscow time there, it being now, as I write 22:50 in Kamchatka and 13:50 in Moscow.


    1. Still waiting for real winter weather here. Not much snow. Temperatures have been 5 degrees and more above seasonal average highs for over a month now — same all over Europe. Seasonal normal temps return in a couple of days, they say. Warmest winter so far since 1927, but no one can remember so far back now, so it mus be the onset of the end of the world, or so a Swedish schoolgirl who doesn’t go to school says.

      I wonder where she lives?

      Not the hysteric Thunberg: that little cracker above, I mean.

      Sounds like some bugger is shooting ducks off-scene.

      Hope he’s got a licence.


      1. In fact, I’m nearly 100% sure its the pond near our house, Kalitnikovskiy Pond [Калитниковский пруд], which is usually frozen over solid this time of year, when everyone skates there. I think I recognise the church tower in the background right at the end of the clip, where she’s snuggling into her bathrobe.

        It’s yet another one of them churches that is called the “Joy of All Who Sorrow”.

        It’s full name is “The Church ‘Joy of All Who Sorrow’ at the Kalitnikovskoe Graveyard” [Церковь Всех Скорбящих Радость на Калитниковском кладбище].

        The bloody big graveyard that almost surrounds the church is probably where my mortal remains will end up.


      2. We’ve had ours, I hope. We got what was for us an enormous dump of snow a few days ago, probably about a foot. Too deep for my little car, anyway. Fortunately for me, I was off that day and so did not have to say I could not make it to work. I spent most of the day shoveling snow, and it was all gone in a few days of milder weather and rain. I believe it was -6 the night of the snowfall, and in fact we had had several days of what is – again, for us – quite cold weather. It’s more seasonal now. We have snow every other year on average, but usually not a lot and it usually does not stay long. That’s good, because the city has no snow-removal equipment, and traffic is always paralyzed.


        1. I saw on the BBC yesterday that Newfoundland was hit hard the other day with a huge snowfall. Some bloke said he’d lived there for 27 years and had never seen such a heavy snowfall before.


          1. Yes, it was apparently a record over the time period, but it was aggravated by high winds at the same time which caused drifting. Some people opened their doors to see nothing but snow from bottom to top.


      3. Despite saturation media coverage of every snow flurry, the winter in the Midwest US has been quite mild. We finally had a significant snowfall yesterday (6″) and the temperature will “plunge” to seasonal average values.

        It seems northern India and Pakistan have historically severe winter weather. Its depends on how the jet stream wiggles they say.


        1. Yes, for the past month it has been wiggling from the Atlantic over France, Ireland, the UK and then eastwards towards Norway, Sweden and Finland, bringing extremely mild weather to Scandinavia, Poland, Banderastan, Belarus and Mordor. Its milder by 10 degress celsius in central Siberia as well, which means it’s a balmy minus 27 Celsius there now!


  30. This abnormally warm winter is the result of gales continuously rolling into Western Europe from the Atlantic, which is warmer than usual. By the time this Atlantic air has reached here, its force and temperature has decreased but it nevertheless has been warming up central and eastern Europe to unseasonably high temperatures.

    It is now 0°C. However, the ups and downs of temperatures in recent years bugs me. The warmest January 19th on record here was in 2007, when it was +6°C, and on the coldest on record January 19th the temperature was -31°C — and that was in … wait for it, wait for it … 2006!!!!

    But Saint Greta says the world’s going to end and wicked adults have “stolen her dreams”.

    Yeah, right!

    Errrr … waddya mean, Greta?

    What were you dreaming of?


    1. Sorry for the crassness but, in the name of world peace, Greta should finger herself and chill out.

      (some wag in England made the recommendation)


      1. It was a woman “fringe comedian”, so-called “edgy” wag, whom I’ve never heard of because of my being in exile for a quarter of a century, but I believe the woman who made the comment about the girl who doesn’t go to school and lectures heads of state and diplomats the world over has some kind of disability.


        1. Rosie Jones is the comedienne’s (sexist, sexist!!!) name. She has cerebral palsy.

          I make no apologies for calling a woman humourist a “comedienne” because I’m OLD and I’m reliving my youth, when no one was arsed about saying “steward” and “stewardess” or “actor” and “actress”.

          Only a couple of years ago, some stupid fellow-countryman pretentious prick pulled me up for saying “actress”, trying to belittle my use of English by saying the term I had used was “giving my age away”.

          So I kicked him in the balls.


          1. “man hours” is under pressure and may soon succumb.

            I do prefer the term “flight attendant” over stewardess as they are extensively trained in various safety protocols and not just how to place trays and serve soft drinks while pushing service carts down narrow aisles. If the stories are not exaggerated, many have kept their cool during serious aviation accidents.


            1. Indeed. A British air steward, Barbara Jane Harrison, was posthumously awarded the George Cross (our highest civilian award for bravery) for her attempts to evacuate passengers from a burning aircraft following a crash in 1968. While she could have jumped to safety, she repeatedly went back into the burning fuselage to drag passengers out and push them down the slides. She was killed in an explosion while trying to help an elderly couple.


              1. A documentary series called “Air Disasters” strives to depict airline accidents realistically using only documented facts and in proper context. Many episodes mentioned flight attendants risking their lives to help passengers to escape, I believe flight attendants are underappreciated.


                1. The Aeroflot ladies are the best!

                  As I have often recounted on here that they always think I’m Russian, which opinion of theirs left my wife gobsmacked when she first witnessed this error.

                  I had forewarned Mrs. Exile what would happen when an Aeroflot stewardess reached me with the tea and coffee that she was pouring out for passengers and saying in English to each and everyone of them : “Tea or coffee, sir? Tea or coffee, madam?”

                  When the stewardess reached my aisle seat, she just glanced down at me and said gruffly: “Чай? Кофе?”

                  “But you don’t look Russian!” said my wife in astonishment.

                  “They think I do”, I replied.

                  My wife still thinks I resemble Sean Connery, a native of Edinburgh and of Irish and Scottish ancestry.

                  She’s worn glasses since she was a little girl, I must add.


  31. He confessed multiple times to authorizing the murder and showed no signs of remorse. Rather, he expressed pleasure and satisfaction. His henchmen carried out the murder with excessive force and brutality. All are suspected of being a part of a global criminal empire involved in illegal drugs, human trafficking, assassination, extortion, Ponzi schemes, money laundering, theft and terrorism.

    Shortly after Soleimani’s death, Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions, tweeted that the bar for lethal action by a nation claiming self-defense — as the Trump administration has repeatedly claimed — is extremely high and requires an imminent threat that the US has so far failed to identify.

    “The targeted killings of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al Muhandi most likely violate international law [including] human rights law,” she wrote. “Lawful justifications for such killings are very narrowly defined and it is hard to imagine how any of these can apply to these killings.”

    The US has declared itself above international law so the trial’s outcome will be ignored even though the US seems to generally controls international court decisions.

    If Trump is convicted of a war crime, it will make Europe squirm just a little. What would the democrats do with such a development? Its not like their hands are any cleaner (or more accurately, the deep state). They need to be careful how they play a Trump conviction.


  32. Paging Moscow Exile – would you be interested in doing a guest post? Specifically, on the current hot-button issue of Putin’s determination to crush the Poles’ contention that Russia is rewriting history, and the Polish government’s insistence that it is Russia that is rewriting history. I really think this issue deserves addressing, and it is taking on the appearance of a toe-to-toe slugfest which is attracting considerable interest, which in turn suggests the outcome is of geopolitical importance. Poland would like the world to believe the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact – an article of national faith in Poland as the Budapest Memorandum is in Ukraine – actually started the Second World War. And you can see western defenders lining up on that side of the argument – poor Poland, weepy weepy weepy.

    Geoffrey Roberts, Professor Emeritus of History at University College Cork, National University of Ireland, offers this fascinating equivocation:

    “My research has led me to conclude that Putin is broadly right in relation to the history of Soviet foreign policy in the 1930s but deficient in his analysis of the Nazi-Soviet pact.”

    Teaser – Roberts is the author of “The Unholy Alliance: Stalin’s Pact with Hitler”. Oh, we have SO got his number. But wait! He is also the co-author of “Churchill and Stalin: Comrades-in-Arms during the Second World War”. Mmmmm…the picture is more complicated that it at first appears.

    Add to that the foam-splattered chunnering of femme fatale Annie Applebum in “Putin’s Big Lie”.

    Frankly, nobody here seems to know this historical period and its background better than you do, and I am increasingly convinced it is important – a significant amount of international pressure is being focused on the issue. Whoever prevails is likely to consolidate their own national view in history. The research for a post on this will have to be meticulous, as everything in it which is purported as fact is likely to be challenged. Substantiation must be provided. That said, for you it would be little more than an extra-long comment. You would just have to write the body – although that is all the real pick-and-shovel work – and I would write the lead-in.

    A lot of people have a lot invested in Poland’s view prevailing, but this is a unique moment – the fact that Poland has a hardline nationalist government which frequently embarrasses the EU prevents broad international endorsement of its views. The world is waiting to be convinced – are you up for it?

    If you are interested in taking a whack at it, just say so and I will get in touch with a current email address – obviously my military one does not work any more, and I don’t think the one you have is up to date.


    1. I shall see what I can cobble together. It’s a question of time management, see. As it happens, I’ve just read a lengthy article in on this very same issue, written by a Russian historian.

      It’s all a question of interpreting history and deciding where to start. I certainly would not start the story later than the foundation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 16th century, but that would mean quickly galloping ahead, to the partitions of Poland, the Poles’ more than willing help to the Corsican in 1812, the Polish-Russian war of the 1830s, namely the suppression by the Russians of Polish nationalists … but the real dirt begins post-Versailles, 1919.


      1. I don’t think you would have to go that far back to the founding of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 16th century. In any case it was a much different country from the Poland that was created in 1918. The post-WW1 Poland was a much more nationalist country with disputes with or grudges against its neighbours (including Lithuania) and ambitions of leading central and eastern Europe, including countries that had never been part of the old dual Commonwealth (Finland for one). The current Poland still has such ambitions under its Intermarium project.

        Poland-Lithuania at its largest extent, superimposed on a map of modern Europe:

        The nations in a new proposed Polish Intermarium:


        1. Different though the post-Versailles resurrected nationalistic Poland may have been when compared to the multi-ethnic Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, it is the idea of a “Stronk Poland” that has been ingrained into the Polish ruling class psyche that counts, a Slavic, though Roman Catholic, Poland that is wedged between the Germanic nations and the barbarians to the east and protecting civilized, Christian Western Europeans from the onslaught of the formerly schismatic Eastern Orthodox and latterly godless, communist, mixed race Asiatic Russo-Mongol-Tatar hordes.

          Ironically, it was the Lithuanians who were the last pagans in Europe, they only having started to convert slowly to Christianity after their top man, Władysław II Jagiełło, was duly baptised at the Wawel Cathedral in Kraków on 15 February 1386, thereby becoming king of Poland. His baptism was a condition laid down for his becoming king. The royal baptism was followed by the conversion of most of Jogaila’s court and knights.

          The Lithuanian peasantry, however, remained faithful to their gods for much longer, which only proves that they were not quite as dumb as their superiors were.


          1. Some of the Lithuanian peasantry still remaining faithful to their gods after hundreds of years of Roman Catholicism and half a century of official Soviet atheism:


    2. I’d like to third that (after yalensis). This historical revisionism is increasingly becoming a major part of the West’s ‘soft power’ arsenal. Black is now white, up is down and left is right and, as the years pass, those who can categorically say ‘this is nonsense; you’ve got things back to front’ get fewer and fewer. Inside 50 years, probably a lot less, the spot of bother in the mid 20th century which destroyed much of Europe will have been attributable to the Soviet Union with Germany being a victim along with other European countries.


      1. My effort is to work with other Serbs and Russians to bring to light the West’s schemes of using Tito to mask the WW II Serbian genocide and to protect the perpetrators from accountability. Russia’s effort to take control of its history from the West, can help Serbia to recover its own history as well.


      2. The Macbeth argument:

        Fair is foul and
        Foul is fair…

        The Powers That Be rely on the evaporation of the memory of the masses, day by day, ever further on and more harvesting for Father Time.

        And said Powers ALWAYS remember or have catamite remembrancers to “remember” on their behalf.


    3. I regularly engage Polish trolls about this.

      Adolf’s 23 May 1939 conference with his generals exposes what he was thinking. Salient points are:

      1) Adolf was going to war over Poland in the late summer of 1939.

      2) The only thing he feared was Western military intervention.

      Not that #2 would had stopped him, oh no. It would merely have altered his priorities. He believed that a massed attack on Poland would only work if the West stayed out. If that couldn’t be assured, then the main effort would have to be directed west, and Poland taken out simultaneously with a secondary effort.

      The following about German military planning for the invasion of Poland may also be useful:

      Intervention by the West or even the USSR was a minor concern if the Wehrmacht could defeat Poland in two or three weeks, as he (Colonel-General Franz Halder, Chief or the German General Staff) confidently predicted it would. In the course of the next two months, the army drew up its plans. Hitler hardly figured in this process, although the army did keep him informed. On April 26 or 27 Brauchitsch took the army’s draft to the Fuhrer, who approved it without making any important changes. On May 1 the invasion force’s two army group headquarters received their missions; they submitted their plans on May 20 and 26 respectively. In the meantime, Halder had worked out many of the details of the invasion by making it the focus of the General Staff’s annual staff ride, which took place from May 2 to May 11. The OKH released its final version of the plan on June 15. It reflected the fact that the army’s primary concern was to finish Poland off as quickly as possible so that it could transfer units to the west. Despite Hitler’s assurances that the western powers would stay out of the fight, the OKH was taking no chances.

      (7 lines cut)

      Preparations went forward over the course of the summer on several levels. A series of camoflaged movements and maneuvers served to bring units to the eastern front as the date for the attack – originally set for August 26 – approached. Hitler also kept up a propaganda campaign with which he hoped to inflame the German people while delaying his enemies’ preparations. In addition, after intense negotiations he succeeded in obtaining a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union, accompanied by a secret clause under which the two states would divide Poland. He was sure that this diplomatic coup, which he announced on August 23, would deter the western powers from intervening in the campaign; thus he was profoundly shocked when Britain signed a treaty of alliance with Poland on August 25. That treaty, along with Mussolini’s reluctance to join in the fray, prompted Hitler to call hi forces back literally in the last hours, but he soon regained his nerve and rescheduled the attack for 1 September.

      Geoffrey P. Megargee “Inside Hitler’s High Command” University of Kansas Press, 2000, pgs. 68-69.

      So Adolf wanted the M-R pact for political reasons, to show the west that they wouldn’t have the USSR in their coalition, not that Neville Chamberlain wanted that, as the dismal story of Anglo-French-Soviet negotiations in the spring & summer of ’39 showed. And Adolf was shocked to discover on 25 August that The Pact had actually been counterproductive. Here’s a bit of British government thinking on that last point:

      “For all the other acts of brutality at home and aggression
      without, Herr Hitler had been able to offer an excuse, inadequate
      indeed, but not fantastic. The need for order and discipline in Europe,
      for strength at the centre to withstand the incessant infiltration of
      false and revolutionary ideas – this is certainly no more than the
      conventional excuse offered by every military dictator who has ever
      suppressed the liberties of his own people or advanced the conquest
      of his neighbors. Nevertheless, so long as the excuse was offered
      with sincerity, and in Hitler’s case the appearance of sincerity were
      not lacking over a period of years, the world’s judgement of the man
      remained more favorable than its judgement of his actions. The faint
      possibility of an ultimate settlement with Herr Hitler still, in these
      circumstances, remained, however abominable his methods, however
      deceitful his diplomacy, however intolerant he might show himself of
      the rights of other European peoples, he still claimed to stand
      ultimately for something which was a common European interest, and
      which therefore could conceivably provide some day a basis for
      understanding with other nations equally determined not to sacrifice
      their traditional institutions and habits on the bloodstained altars
      of the World Revolution.

      The conclusion of the German-Soviet pact removed even this faint
      possibility of an honorable peace.”

      Lord Lloyd of Dolobran “The British Case” Eyre & Spottiswoode Limited.
      London, 1939, pgs 54-5, with a preface by Lord Halifax, the Foreign

      So as long as there remained the merest, threadbare hope, of a chance, of a possibility remained that maybe, someday, Adolf would go and stick it to the Bolshies, the appeasing Brit Conservatives making up His Majesty’s Government at the time were determined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

      Until Ribbentrop went to Moscow & signed The Pact.

      So one could argue that The Pact actually provoked HMG ratifying the Anglo-Polish alliance 2 days after The Pact, and thus The Pact completely failed for the purpose Adolf intended it.


      1. rkka – welcome back!! It’s been, like…forever.

        Stay tuned for Moscow Exile’s guest post on the subject; I think it will be interesting and stimulate an energetic discussion. It continues to astonish me that there are ongoing attempts to reshape a part of history upon which so much attention was focused when it was taking place.


  33. Fellow Stooges: Happy Martin Luther King Day!
    Lot of pics to choose from, but I like this one, because it shows the man’s thoughtful side:

    Probably pondering about the nature of imperialism and how best to fight against it.


    1. He was murdered for many reasons. Being a socialist with the charisma and smarts to lead a socialist movement was a prime reason. Just my opinion,


        1. Don’t forget the police. They serve to keep the poorest of the poor fearful least they become organized. The unofficial qualifications likely include a strong sadistic streak with on-the-job training in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not all police are bad but the ones who patrol poor areas mostly are.


        2. Jane Fonda didn’t have his reach but was also heavily smeared. The Pork Pie News Networks’ unofficial motto should be Ours is not to question why, ours is but to do pork pie!


  34. Roman-Taras Yosypovych Shukhevych was a “Ukrainian nationalist”, one of the commanders of Nachtigall Battalion, or officially “Special Group Nachtigall”, a subunit under the command of German Abwehr special operations, as well as a Hauptmann of the German Schutzmannschaft 201 auxiliary police battalion — bumping off Jews their forte — a leader of the “Ukrainian Insurgent Army” (UPA), and one of the organizers of the Halych-Volhyn Massacre.

    Otherwise, he was a pretty ordinary sort of guy.


    Coming next … Hitler Avenue and Goebbels Boulevard?


  35. Meanwhile, back in the Borderlands: Zelensky is ticked that the Israelis did not invite him to make a speech at the Holocaust commemoration in Israel (celebrating 75th anniv of Auschwitz liberation). Zelensky still intends to crash the party, but will not be allowed to make a speech.
    Zel pointed out that a quarter of all the Jews killed in the Holocaust were residents of the Ukraine (true fact), so he simply does not understand why they won’t let him up to the podium.


    1. More on that topic here .
      Putin is to be the guest of honor at the Auschwitz thing. Also the reason why the Poles refused to go (also they were told they couldn’t make a speech.)
      Analysis by Vadim Kolesnichenko: He sees a division within the Israeli elite. Some of them were perfectly willing to go along with the Ukrainian Banderite nonsense and the rewriting of history, for the sake of NATO and geopolitics, etc.
      But a faction from deeper down in the guts of Israel rose up and drew a line at a certain point. Holocaust denial and Nazi rehabilitation cuts at the roots of the very foundation of Israel, and its legitimacy as a state.

      Similarly, and in mirror-image: Opposition to Banderite glorification cuts at the roots of the modern Ukrainian state. Which is why Zelensky, himself a Jew, cannot go against the Banderites, in the final analysis. A final destruction of Banderism means the final destruction of the Ukrainian (independent) state, once and for all.
      A goal “devoutely to be wished” by some, as Shakespeare might say. But that’s not Zelensky’s position, natch. Hence, he finds himself in this impossible position.

      Meanwhile, Putin has cleverly found a way to forge an ideological alliance with a section of the Israeli elite, using the Holocaust to ideologically attack Russia’s enemies. A way that leaves Poland and Ukraine standing out in the cold and clearly on the wrong side of the fence.


      1. In the interview he also deliberately omits reference to the millions of Kazakhs and Russians killed during the 1930’s famine- even though the question asked to him specifically mentions it, choosing instead to take the Banderetard line on it.

        Interesting to see if the Latvian President, also jewish, attends given that latvia has the same dubious history on this as Ukraine


    2. Zel pointed out that a quarter of all the Jews killed in the Holocaust were residents of the Ukraine (true fact), so he simply does not understand why they won’t let him up to the podium….

      And a quarter of the guards at Auschwitz etc. were Yukies — specifically Galitsians?


          1. That’s a good question. I cannot even imagine what Zel could say in public on this issue, or who could even write a speech for him. He represents a nation that formally endorses Stepan Bandera and the (losing) Nazi side of the war. Come to think of it, as a “loser” country, they could be accountable to pay reparations to the Jewish survivors. That would be something to behold.


  36. @Mark

    Thank You…A fair and accurate assessment of what happened as anyone who read the freakin’
    comments knows.

    All Yalensis need do is to keep his POS (IMO) trap out of my cyber face…I do NOT F with him..or it or whatever. ..he is of no interest to me. This is soooooo simple…when two people do not get along they should stay the F out of one another’s face. This is true on the streets and on the net.

    As for karl:
    1) I personally find the ‘kart as troll’ shtick kinda played out and tiresome at this point…
    OK so he’s a troll according to most of you…so we got that 4 or 5 years ago.
    Go after the **substance** of what he posts. Calling him a “troll” ad nauseam seems to me a silly
    I ignore him for the most part.

    2) As for my having allied myself with his expressed opinions or defended them…Nope!
    Those who alleged the link silly MF….not copy and paste…but post the actual link to
    comments where I allied myself with karl. As I recall it was only a few days ago that I went after karl
    concerning his fawning praise of capitalism.


    1. “All Yalensis need do is to keep his POS (IMO) trap out of my cyber face…..”

      Er, no, it doesn’t work that way on a comment forum, I’m afraid. You can’t really forbid a fellow commenter from responding to you, you don’t have that kind of power if it’s not your blog.

      So, here’s the deal, NS:
      If you say something in a comment that I disagree with, then I reserve my right to retort and express my countervailing opinion.
      After which, you can either enter into a civilized debate using ACTUAL WORDS, or, being you, with your 10-word potty vocabulary, you can retort with your “suck dog ass” per usual, which fills everybody with awe at your intellectual prowess.

      And that’s the name of that tune…



      1. Nor is it your blog.
        Your ad hominem horseshit hyperbole is not expressing a countervailing opinion on some issue of political substance: e.g
        “After which, you can either enter into a civilized debate using ACTUAL WORDS, or, being you, with your 10-word potty vocabulary, you can retort with your “suck dog ass” per usual”

        To me you’re a simple vapid POS -how’s that for alliteration-for whom profanity is appropriate.
        “civilized debate”….LOL!!!
        MF Puhleeeeeze!!! LOL!! To me you are a piece of shit-aka megalomaniacal control freak- with whom I’ve no interest in debating.
        Now there may well be those on this blog who feel the same way about me…but note carefully :
        They don’t F with me nor I with them…YOU are the ONLY Stooge who over the years has had running battles with other Stooges.

        Mark has told us both to STFU and move on….you need to do that.


        1. Off your meds again, I see. Hm, I think I liked you better when you were in the depressive phase of your bi-polar cycle.
          Since we are in the process of issuing mutual “countervailing” orders (ooh, that was a big word for you. 4 whole syllables!), then please pay special attention and note this down: YOU started this feud when you accused me of belonging to the Ku Klux Klan.
          Still waiting for an apology…


  37. This man HAD to be assassinated by the racist fascist American PTB:
    (Listen to the speech)
    “It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch antirevolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has a revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions that we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores, and thereby speed the day when “every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.”


    1. On a grammatical point, I get sick and tired of young Russians commenting on my use of “shall”, saying that they were taught at school that nobody says “shall” now, especially speakers of the United States English vernacular. I respond to their criticism by saying that I remember when some US citizens used to say “shall” as I do, and some who still do.

      Dr. King said “shall” above. He also sang with the multitudes “We shall overcome!” And in the KJV Bible it is written: “Thou shalt not kill”, which is not the same as “Thou must not kill” or “Thou wilt not kill”.


      1. In my 30s I’m not really young, but I was taught that “I shall” is the right way to speak, and “I will” is the acceptable way. Not sure how much teaching standards have been altered since 1990s, though.


        1. When Russian students send me SMS messages reading: “I will be late”, I automatically wonder why they intend to be late rather than they feel obligated to be late through circumstances not of their volition.

          I shall die = I am obliged to die one day; I 100% expect to die..

          I will die tomorrow = It is my firm intention to die tomorrow.

          He will die = I 100% expect him to die.

          He shall die = I intend that he die: I am not predicting his death with certainty.

          You shall be taken from this place to a place of execution, where you shall be hanged by the neck until dead.

          May the Lord have mercy on your soul.

          God save the Queen!


          1. Haha, that’s a good point!

            Your example of using the word “shall” in the context of announcing the death sentence is a perfect example. Were it “will”, that would have been unbearable to hear!


          2. As we have also discussed here, though, ‘shall’ and ‘will’ are used more or less interchangeably in QR&O’s for the Canadian Forces (all elements), and they are titled Queen’s Regulations and Orders for a reason – because they come from England, signed by Her Majesty the Queen, innit? The alternate is ‘may’. “The Commanding Officer may, on his own authority (they were all ‘hims’ back then, although we’ve had a couple of female CO’s since), grant short leave not to exceed two days in a calendar month”. “Shoes shall be clean, black and highly shone”. I’m not even sure if the ‘highly shone’ part is in there, but I vividly recall a classmate, John Gorman, responding to the Base Chief’s remonstration that his shoes were not very shiny on parade for Commandant’s inspection (the Commandant himself never remarked on such things; during inspection he would be trailed by the Parade Commander, the Divisional Officer, and the Base Chief brought up the rear, but a significant glance was enough), “They are clean and black, which I believe is the standard set out in regulations”.

            Base Chiefs do not like to be quoted regulations by Ordinary Seamen.

            John was always a bit of a maverick, though. I recall he was sent to HMCS FRASER after we graduated, and while a crew member on there he waited on the jetty until after work and subsequently beat up the Petty Officer in charge of the Pay Office because he had closed that office early and John was going on leave the next day, and wanted to receive his pay. To be fair, he had reported to the pay office during working hours and made his request in person, only to be told the office was closing. To which he had made some cryptic rejoinder like “I’ll be seeing you later, then”, or something to that effect. I don’t believe he had a long career in the navy, but although he was typically a man of few words, he did have a sense of humor and was often quite a good laugh when we were all out together, and a good shipmate so long as you treated him fairly. But he grew up in a tough part of town (Spryfield, a suburb of Halifax) and learned early that if you were quick, you could hit somebody before they hit you in a situation where hitting looked to be a likely outcome.

            Anyway, ‘may’ was discretionary while ‘shall’ and ‘will’ were direct orders.


        2. Evgeny, you have to understand that American English is different from English English. In most contexts, Americans say neither “I will” nor “I shall”, just “I’m gonna…”
          “I’m gonna finish this project today.”

          One exception: “Who wants to go to go buy the pizza?” Answer: “I’ll go.”


          1. Just re-read my own comment, and had an epiphany about the semantic distinction:
            “I’m gonna buy some pizza.” (routine, factual, future act)
            “I’ll buy the pizza.” (volunteering, offering to perform a future act)


          2. The “going to do” future form is the most commonly spoken one in English, be it British or American. This is because most folk talk of future events that they have already planned to do or about which they can confidently predict because of present evidence.

            If my wife had told me in English 21 years ago that she was expecting a baby, she would have said to me “I am going to have a baby! I am 3 months pregnant”.

            And if later, someone had observed that her belly was swelling, they would have said to me, “I see your wife is going to have a baby!”

            However, Russian schoolbooks still say that “will” is the English “future tense” auxiliary verb.

            It is not, simply because there is no future tense as such in English: it is a polysemantic modal auxiliary verb having many uses, as do the other modal auxiliary verbs, either deontically or epistemically.

            Because of this belief that “will” expresses the English “future tense”, many Russian speakers of English say “will” when translating in their minds from Russian into English, thus:

            Если я буду знать ответь, я тебе скажу!

            If I will* know the answer, I will tell you!

            If my wife had said to me 21 years ago: “I will have a baby!” she would have been telling me of her firm intention to bear a child.

            A woman can, of course, say, for example. “I will have a baby when I am 30”.

            She could also say to a partner, “Please use a condom, otherwise I shall have a baby”, meaning she had no intention of becoming pregnant but expected to run the risk of pregnancy if not making use of a contraceptive device.

            The modal verb “will” has no inbuilt semantic futurity, Witness this extract below taken from a leaflet I picked up at the Moscow British Consulate:

            Right of abode
            3. Who has the right of abode?
            3.1 Under Section 2 of the Immigration Act 1971 (which was amended by section 39 of the British Nationality Act 1981), all British citizens and certain Commonwealth citizens have the right of abode in the United Kingdom.
            People who became British citizens on 1 January 1983
            3.2 You will have become a British citizen on 1 January 1983 (when the British Nationality Act 1981 came into force), and will therefore have the right of abode in the United Kingdom if, immediately before that date:
            a) you were a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies and had your citizenship by being born, adopted, naturalised or registered (see Note 4) in the United Kingdom; or….
            etc., etc….

            My stress!

            1 January 1983 was most definitely in the past!

            I have shown the above many times to Russian teachers of English who insist that “will” is used to make a “future tense” in English. They look at it and say it is a mistake.

            Consider the following:

            I’ll be meeting Jim next week. (I meet Jim every week and it will be the same next week.)

            I’ll meet Jim next week. (I intend to meet Jim next week.)

            I’m going to meet Jim next week. (I decided to meet Jim some time ago and now I am expressing my intention.)

            I’m meeting Jim next week. (Jim and I have arranged the time and place because we have some reason to meet.)

            It will rain, I’m afraid. (I expect rain. It is my sure opinion.)

            It’s going to rain. (I expect rain. It is my sure opinion because I can see dark clouds in the sky. My opinion is based on clear evidence.)

            The present tense (I am meeting) is more definite than be going to (I am going to meet) and will is the least definite (I will meet).


  38. Remember Twilight Zone’s ‘Cornfield kid’???

    “Warns Khameini to be “careful with his words” just as it has emerged he justified the assassination of Soleimani by saying the latter had “said bad things” about the US

    Trump murdered Qassem Soleimani for “saying bad things” about the USG, according to The Hill. The president, gathered Friday at Mar-a-Lago with donors and supporters, also threatened Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.”

    “Iran has to go because it is a symbol of resistance to bankster neoliberalism. Donald Trump is the current Mafia don for the financial elite. He is threatening to kill the top leader of Iran—its spiritual as well as political leader—and if he manages to do that, there will be serious blowback, not only against the USG military bases scattered around the Middle East, but quite possibly in the American heartland as well, including the targeting of neocons and others pushing for a war that would benefit Israel and further deplete America’s treasure (or rather, require more debt piled on future generations) and spill an incalculable amount of blood.”


  39. Deja Vu…all over again…

    once more

    “On the eve of a planned right-wing gun-rights rally in Richmond, Virginia, fascists and white supremacists are reportedly heading for the Virginia state capitol, hoping to create a “second Charlottesville,” modeled on the neo-Nazi riot in 2017 which killed one anti-fascist demonstrator and attracted the praise of President Donald Trump, who called the fascist marchers “good people.”

    Well if the antifa folk show up armed to the teeth and prepared to shoot to kill ….


    1. I read Ron Unz occasionally, because there’s no denying he unearths surprising stories and dares go where many fear to tread – but I am nearly always confounded and turned away by his hatred of the Jews. Some say he’s only being fair, but he is ready and even eager to blame the Jews for everything that’s wrong with the world.

      That said, if anyone deserves to be made a national victim of restitution and property confiscation, it is the Poles. Their floundering and ridiculous self-justification is a delight to observe, and if more agreements demonstrating European powers’ appeasement of Hitler get dragged into the spotlight it will be delight heaped atop delight. The historical position I am prepared to defend is that Russia made an agreement with Germany – and of non-aggression each toward the other rather than a cooperative all-friends-together cuddle – only after it was clear that nobody wanted to join Russia in facing down the Nazis. And I think I am on pretty solid ground.


      1. Yes…when push came to shove with the impending Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia,ONLY Russia was prepared to aid the Czechs with direct military intervention. Britain and France-particularly the latter- had asserted that they too would militarily assist the Czechs in the eventuality of a Nazi attack. They did not.
        (Besides the Quora link,there is a more succinct and enlightening ref on this point…but I can’t seem to locate it)
        “David J Gill, lives in Oakland, CA
        Updated Aug 30, 2018 · Author has 1.4k answers and 1.4m answer views
        Yes. France refused to honor its defense treaty with Czechoslovakia in the face of mere political threats from Hitler and in advance of any real military threat. Instead, France’s Prime Minister, Edouard Daladier, publically participated in a conference among nations that sought to placate Hitler with Czechoslovakia’s integrity as the sacrifice. France willingly engaged in a process to negotiate away Czech security without a representative of Czechoslovakia included as a party to the negotiations. And France did this despite the public commitment of the Soviet Union to come to the military aid of the Czechs, contingent on France honoring the terms of their treaty. (The rare instance of admirable statesmanship on the part of Joseph Stalin.) That is betrayal!

        Though Britain had no treaty of mutual defense with Czechoslovakia to betray, the initiative undertaken by Neville Chamberlain was, if anything, more contemptible than France’s betrayal. Chamberlain went out of his way to free-lance an agreement to appease Hitler that was a repudiation of standing defense treaties, to which Britain was not party.”


    2. But Putin had more papers and more proof in his vaults. He produced a report dated late 1944-early 1945, when pro-London Polish militants of AK had made an attempt to take over Warsaw from the Germans before the Red Army’s arrival. The report said that the AK fighters systematically killed all the Jews who survived the German suppression of Warsaw Ghetto uprising (1943). It could explain why the Russian army did not think it is their sacred duty to help the AK militants.
      If I am not mistaken, it was around this time also that the Polish Home Army murdered Leon Feldhendler, one of the co-leaders of the Sobibor mutiny and escape.
      It always incensed me to think that Feldhendler survived the brutish Nazis only to be killed by marauding Polacks.


  40. Finance, Energy and Agriculture have all been reappointed to their previous posts. However, Economy is a new face – Maxim Reshetnikov replaces Maxim Oreshkin.

    It seems odd to me that the Finance Minister and Minister of the Economy are not the same person; isn’t that kind of duplication of effort? Or is the overall platform too big for one person?

    Oh; and also Sports is a new face, which I suppose is quite relevant to this post – Oleg Matytsin was assessed to be the best choice to take up the fight with the west over doping bans which seem to be based on nothing more than a desire to keep Russia out of competitive sport.


    1. The duties of Finance Minister are not necessarily the same in most countries and even the status of Finance Minister in the Cabinet hen-pecking order varies from one country to the next. Australia has a Finance Minister who acts as a junior minister to the Treasurer: the duties involve overseeing government department expenditures and financial management (in other words, budgeting and general money house-keeping). What the Australian Finance Minister does not do (that the Treasurer does) is decide where and how much money is allocated to different areas of the economy, decide on economic policy and announce the Federal Budget.

      Maxim Oreshkin had been Minister for Economic Development which is actually a very different beast which takes in activities like regulating certain types of business environment, issues of compliance, certification, accreditation and setting standards, and issues related to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses.

      In other countries, these functions might be split among different government departments or combined with other functions in a department. In some countries, or even in some states within a country, there may be a separate ministry for small and medium-sized businesses (combined with something perhaps) and functions like regulation and setting standards may be hived off to another department or delegated to a special agency.


    1. You can tell that’s fake because Burger King in Argentina pitched in with the job offer first and with the debt on Frogmore Cottage that he’s got to pay off, that particular beggar can’t be a chooser. 🙂


          1. What are the odds that as the little feller grows up, he resembles James Hewitt more than either of his parents or any of his putative grandparents?


    2. Of course; anything to support the Royal Family, now that they have decided to get stuck in and get their hands dirty. I can’t promise to eat it, mind, but I am anxious to do my bit up to a point.

      There was an amusing article in the local paper the other day, detailing what Harry and Meaghan want to give up and what they wish to retain. They don’t want to be working royals, but it seems they’d like to retain the income from some properties in England, and their royal residence there.

      Mustn’t be cynical, and if they truly want to be just like everyone else, they should be allowed to do it. And I never actually expected them to get regular jobs like the proles. I imagine he has a nice little nest egg saved up. Say; the house next door is for sale!


      1. Prince Harry inherited a fair amount from his mother Diana Spencer whose wealth was valued at 21 million pound sterling which works out to US$31 million today. The assets of her estate were to have been split between her sons and the money distributed to them when they were 25 years of age; however the executors of DS’s estate (who I believe were her mother Frances Shand-Kydd and sister Sarah McCorquodale, a former girlfriend of Prince Charles when he was single) did not distribute the monies until the princes turned 30 years of age.

        The prince and his wife Megan will have to pay rent on Frogmore Cottage and they will also have to pay back the money used from UK taxpayers to renovate the building which, despite its cute Beatrix Potter name, had been five residential units before the renovations.

        Incidentally there is a royal prerogative known as “The Grand Opinion for the Prerogative Concerning the Royal Family” which enables the reigning monarch to have full legal custody of his/her grandchildren. This means that in the event Prince Charles becomes King, he can legally order Prince Harry and his wife to send Archie and any younger siblings back to Britain at any time. This could be a possibility if Prince Harry’s marriage comes under strain and he and MM decide to separate.


        1. Question: If they skip over Charles, and then William becomes King, then could he order his brother Harry to send the little nephews back, to be shut up into the Tower of London? For safekeeping?


          1. I doubt it – the Duchess of Cambridge is chucking out kids like she is some kind of royal-baby factory, and looks likely to continue doing so until her fertility is burnt out. Archie is neatly bracketed by Cambridge Kidz, so he would never conceivably be a threat to the throne if there even is a monarchy by the time he is an adult. The potential British-Columbia Windsors will still need security, though, to prevent errant kidnappers and that sort of thing.


          2. William would hardly want his nephews and nieces back in the UK if there’s a possibility they might challenge his own kiddies in their own future Game of Thrones contest.


            1. Richard III did not bump off his nephews! That’s a Tudor lie that W. Shakespeare Esq., amongst others, helped propagate, in that he scribbled his scurrilous propaganda piece “The Tragedy of King Richard III” during the reign of Elizabeth I, the granddaughter of Henry VII, who would never have become king if the sons of Edward V had not so mysteriously and conveniently vanished.

              And Richard III did not have a hump-back either!

              Forget “Game of Thrones” is a mere fantasy: mediaeval England was the real deal!