Category Archives: Russia

John Pilger: From China to Ukraine, the US is pursuing its longstanding ambition to dominate the Eurasian landmass

John Pilger writes for The Guardian:

Men wearing military fatigues in the eastern Ukrainian city of KramatorskI watched Dr Strangelove the other day. I have seen it perhaps a dozen times; it makes sense of senseless news. When Major TJ “King” Kong goes “toe to toe with the Rooskies” and flies his rogue B52 nuclear bomber to a target in Russia, it’s left to General “Buck” Turgidson to reassure the president. Strike first, says the general, and “you got no more than 10-20 million killed, tops”. President Merkin Muffley: “I will not go down in history as the greatest mass murderer since Adolf Hitler.” General Turgidson: “Perhaps it might be better, Mr President, if you were more concerned with the American people than with your image in the history books.”

The genius of Stanley Kubrick’s film is that it accurately represents the cold war’s lunacy and dangers. Most of the characters are based on real people and real maniacs. There is no equivalent to Strangelove today because popular culture is directed almost entirely at our interior lives, as if identity is the moral zeitgeist and true satire is redundant, yet the dangers are the same. The nuclear clock has remained at five minutes to midnight; the same false flags are hoisted above the same targets by the same “invisible government”, as Edward Bernays, the inventor of public relations, described modern propaganda.

In 1964, the year Dr Strangelove was made, “the missile gap” was the false flag. To build more and bigger nuclear weapons and pursue an undeclared policy of domination, President John F Kennedy approved the CIA’s propaganda that the Soviet Union was well ahead of the US in the production of intercontinental ballistic missiles. This filled front pages as the “Russian threat”. In fact, the Americans were so far ahead in production of the missiles, the Russians never approached them. The cold war was based largely on this lie.

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Putin: “We don’t need Alaska, sold it once, have enough cold territories”

Snowden asks Putin whether Russia has mass surveillance system similar to U.S. during live Q&A

Russians warned if they go abroad, US might snatch them

Fred Weir reports for the Christian Science Monitor:

Russia’s Foreign Ministry is warning that Russians should refrain from traveling abroad because they could be entrapped by US secret services who are actively “hunting” for Russians to persecute in punishment for Moscow’s recent annexation of Crimea, according to an official notice published on the Ministry’s website.

The message seems directed at the approximately 15 million Russians, most of them middle-class, who leave the country each year for tourism.

It says the US, which “unreasonably” refuses to accept the reunification of Russia and Crimea, is seeking revenge by “trying to make a routine practice of ‘hunting’ for Russian citizens in third countries with the goal of extraditing them to the US, where they will be convicted [and jailed] on what are usually doubtful charges.”

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John Glaser: The Intoxicating Pull of Proxy War Will Worsen Ukraine

John Glaser writes for Antiwar:

P050310PS-0374POD1The White House has just confirmed what had been reported in Russian media that CIA Director John Brennan was in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev over the weekend.

“Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is accusing the CIA of being behind the new government’s decision to turn to force,” AP reports. “But the CIA denies that Brennan encouraged Ukrainian authorities to conduct tactical operations.”

One would have to be incredibly gullible to believe that the CIA Director was in Kiev for benign reasons, just to catch up and have tea with the new leadership.

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John McCain: “We ought to at least give them some weapons so they can defend themselves”

The first confirmation of Russian boots on the ground in Ukraine?

Skip to 6:40 to see a man puported to be a Lieutenant Colonel from the Russian army giving police in the eastern Ukrainian city of Horlivka their new orders.

Eric Margolis: Patriotism Is the First Platform of Fools

Eric Margolis writes:

shutterstock_116696656A century ago, crowds in Paris were cheering, “on to Berlin!” Crowds in Berlin cried, “on to Paris.” World War I, the supreme example of nationalist/militaristic stupidity, was about to begin.

One hundred years later we hear cries across America to “get tough” with Moscow over fragmenting Ukraine. A dozen US F-16 fighters are being sent to the Baltic, a squadron of F-15’s to Poland, and a US warship to the Black Sea. In short, just enough to spark a war but certainly not enough to win one.

No one seems to have remembered – except Vlad Putin, of course – that the roughly 50,000 US troops and officials now based in Afghanistan are in large part at the mercy of Russia which controls their major supply and exit routes.

As the Ukraine crisis continues to build, it’s absolutely horrifying to recall that most of the American politicians and general public now lustily shouting “on to…where was it again?….oh yes….Kharkov” had no idea where Ukraine is, never mind Kharkov or Luhansk.

Ignorance is a primary fuel of nationalism and aggression. Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrel, as Dr . Johnson observed, and the first platform of fools.

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40% of Russia’s Food is from Dacha Gardens

From Natural Homes:

In 2011, 51% of Russia’s food was grown either by dacha communities (40%),  or peasant farmers (11%) leaving the rest (49%) of production to the large agricultural enterprises. But when you dig down into the earthy data from the Russian Statistics Service you discover some impressive details. Again in 2011, dacha gardens produced over 80% of the countries fruit and berries, over 66% of the vegetables, almost 80% of the potatoes and nearly 50% of the nations milk, much of it consumed raw.

While many European governments make living on a small-holding very difficult, in Russia the opposite is the case. In the UK one councillor‘s opinion regarding living on the land was, “Nobody would subject themselves to that way of life. You might as well be in prison“; tell that to a nation of gardeners living off the land.

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Russian deputy PM: Russia plans to get a foothold in the Moon

Neil McAllister reports for The Register:

Russia plans to get a foothold in the Moon - Dmitriy RogozinBarely six weeks after rolling troops into the Crimean Peninsula, an official from Vladimir Putin’s Russia has announced the country’s next expansion target: the Moon. As reported by the Voice of Russia, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told the government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta that establishing a permanent Moon base has become one of the country’s top space priorities.

“The moon is not an intermediate point in the [space] race, it is a separate, even a self-contained goal,” Rogozin reportedly said. “It would hardly be rational to make some ten or twenty flights to the moon, and then wind it all up and fly to the Mars or some asteroids.” Rogozin’s comments were an obvious dig against the US space program. NASA flew its last manned mission to the Moon in 1972 and currently has no plans to return humans to the Earth’s satellite.

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Former Foreign Secretary of India: ‘West scared of BRICS as it has no control over it’

Leaked YouTube calls: the newest way for Russia and the west to trade barbs?

Paul Lewis writes for The Guardian:

The recent spate of diplomatic phone calls intercepted and then uploaded on the internet could be viewed as a benign, even amusing, form of cyber warfare. What began as an act of apparent Russian chutzpah, in the leaking of US diplomat Victoria Nuland’s “fuck the EU” comments in February, has quickly escalated into something resembling a trend. In the months since, recordings posted on YouTube have made public the private calls of top diplomats, politicians and even heads of state from the USEU, Estonia,UkraineRussia and Turkey.

In every case, the calls have been dismissed by the victims as a hoax, or simply left unverified, although most analysts believe they are authentic. Whoever is responsible for the respective leaks has not yet confessed. The latest call to appear on YouTube is a leak with a twist. For the first time, Russia was not the suspected culprit behind the hacking and release of a call, but the target. Immediately it led to speculation that Washington might be entering what might be termed a “calls race”, reaping retaliation on Russia for its suspected role in the other leaks.

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NATO Chief: US Troops May Be Sent to Eastern Europe

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove continued to play up the idea of an imminent Russian invasion of eastern Europe, saying the alliance ispreparing “countermoves” in the region that may include US ground troops deploying. Gen. Breedlove said the plan right now is for a buildup of land, air, and naval assets in the region to “build assurance for our easternmost allies,” and that it would mean troops from several nations, including potentially the US, heading to “front-line states.”

Breedlove’s comments at the conference centered around commercial satellite photos of Russian military bases in the westernmost portion of the country, which he presented as proof Russia has troops “ready to go” in the area. He went on to say that Russia’s assets include “fixed and rotary wing aircraft,” unsurprising since a major Russian air force base is in the area near the Ukrainian border.

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Has Flawed US Policy led to a New Cold War? Interview with Stephen Cohen

Allegations Fly on US and Russian Involvement in East Ukraine Crisis

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

Close to the border: Public buildings were stormed in Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk. Today activists declared the eastern region - separate from Crimea, which is just off the map to the south - a sovereign republicThe secessionist protests in Eastern Ukraine and the subsequent Ukraine military takeover of the city of Kharkiv have added dramatically to East-West tensions in the area, and also to rumors and allegations of foreign involvement.  It’s not just unsourced claims from anonymous people, either. Secretary of State John Kerry openly accused Russia of sending “provocateurs” to Donetsk and the other cities and bribing ethnic Russians to protest against the pro-West government.

Kerry’s Russian counterpart similarly claimed that the Ukrainian military offensive against Kharkiv involved “US mercenaries” from the Greystone company, a subsidiary of the notorious Blackwater. Ukrainian government spokesmen insisted that there were “no US special forces” involved in the Kharkiv operation, which likely intended to be a denial of the Blackwater claim, but was worded in a way that leaves the question open, and the rumors swirling.

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Former Pussy Riot Members Pose For Photo Op With Hillary Clinton

How very punk and anti-establishment. Here’s a recently taken photo of the two former members of Pussy Riot posing with Hillary ‘the wicked witch of the (fake) left’ Clinton. The girls seem to be very politically naive in allowing themselves to have become essentially propaganda tools of the U.S. government. And let’s face it,  Hillary is a psychopath and very much part of the problem. You certainly don’t fight the power by joining it.

Pussy Riot & Hillary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NATO chief to allies: Spend more on defence to deter Russia

Editor’s Note: To a man with a hammer, everything tends to look a lot like a nail. And even when it doesn’t, he’s going to try to convince you that it’s a nail. The largest and most expensive military alliance in the world is always looking for excuses to prevent a drop in its defence spending and now they have it in the form of the Red Hitler who apparently wants to reform the Soviet Union and invade Eastern Europe. NATO chief Rasmussen steps down this summer, but his replacement and fellow Bilderberger will continue to push the same war hype propaganda. Last year the U.S. was talking about cutting its military budget in Europe as part of its ‘Asia Pivot’, now they’re looking to increase it. Never let a good opportunity go to waste the saying goes, especially if it keeps your job from becoming irrelevant. 

David Blair reports for the Telegraph:

Photo: ReutersBritain and its Nato allies must respond to Russia’s “illegal aggression” against Ukraine by spending more on defence, the alliance’s secretary general has said. Writing in The Telegraph, Anders Fogh Rasmussen appeals for Nato members to modernise their armed forces as Russia tries to “carve up” Europe.

“Every ally needs to invest the necessary resources in the right capabilities,” writes Mr Rasmussen. “That means modern equipment, intensive training for our forces, and closer cooperation among Nato allies and with our partners. I know how challenging this is in today’s economic climate, but the security climate makes it vital.” Mr Rasmussen adds: “In the long run, a lack of security would be more costly than investing now and we owe it to our forces, and to broader society.”

The burden of defending Nato’s 28 members falls increasingly on just one: the United States. Last year, America accounted for 72 per cent of Nato defence spending, up from 59 per cent in 1995. This reflects cuts in military budgets across Europe. Of the 25 European members of Nato, only Britain, Greece and Estonia met an unofficial target of spending at least 2 per cent of national income on defence last year. The average figure was only 1.3 per cent. America, by contrast, devoted 4.4 per cent of its national income to defence.

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Russia and Ukraine face off in boxing ring

Russian envoy urges US officials to ‘do yoga’

From AP:

AP Photo/Fabrice CoffriniA senior Russian diplomat says U.S. officials should do yoga and watch TV comedy series to ease what he calls their irrational fixation on punishing Russia over Ukraine.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov’s comments to the Interfax news agency Thursday reflected simmering tensions between Moscow and Washington over Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The U.S. and the EU have slapped members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s entourage with travel bans and asset freezes.

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NBC News Tour of Ukraine-Russia Border Finds No Signs of Military Buildup

Jim Maceda reports for NBC News:

Image: Crisis in UkraineAll is not quiet on the Western Front, but the drumbeat of war along the long Ukraine-Russian border is nowhere near as loud as it sounds in Moscow.

According to dire warnings from U.S. military and intelligence officials, Russian President Vladimir Putin, fresh from his daring annexation of Ukraine’s strategic Crimean Peninsula, has concentrated tens of thousands of his forces on the border with Ukraine. Camouflaged and concealed to throw off U.S. spy satellites, the warnings say, the heavily armed combat troops and special operations forces are coiled and ready to spring across the border into restive regions of Eastern and Southern Ukraine such as Kharkov and Donetsk, where pro-Russian populations are eager to be annexed by Russia, just like Crimea.

Top Russian officials – including Putin himself – have denied any such troop concentrations near the Western border. One minor Ministry of Defense official, who didn’t want to be named because he wasn’t authorized to comment, told NBC News that there had been training exercises – war games – in the border region but, once ended, those troops and armor returned to their bases. “All of this international hype is completely unfounded,” he told us earlier in the week.

Still, the stream of YouTube video clips and photos seemed to tell a different story: long convoys of Russian armored personnel carriers on a highway headed toward Ukraine; tanks and artillery pieces moving by rail on dozens of train cars; squads of MI-24 combat helicopters perched on a hill near Belgorod, only 20 miles from Ukraine. Are these preparations for a Chechnya-like invasion, or just more maneuvers meant to intimidate Ukrainians and the West?

We went to look for ourselves. Cameraman Dmitry Solovyov, sound engineer Alexei Gordienko and I packed our bags, devices and news-gathering gadgets into the back of our grey, nondescript bureau minivan and began a journey along the 1,200 mile border between Russia and Ukraine – many segments of which give no indication that it’s an actual border between two countries.

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The infantile diplomacy behind demonising Russia

Frank Furedi writes for Spiked:

The infantile diplomacy behind demonising Russia

[...] After analysing the statements about Ukraine made by Western diplomats over the past two weeks, I have come to the uncomfortable conclusion that the motives behind the current campaign to demonise Russia are based on genuine convictions. Of course, there is a great deal of propaganda, wilful distortion and a significant element of fantasy in this campaign – but the outlook it expresses has been so firmly internalised by many in the West that it now constitutes their reality. And the fact that the West’s new breed of would-be Cold War crusaders have convinced themselves of their own rhetoric is likely to have far more destabilising consequences than if this campaign were simply a cynical example of old-fashioned realpolitik. At least realpolitik has the merit of being rooted in the real world; the current anti-Russian campaign, by contrast, is based on confusion and, even worse, on self-deception.

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Russian Officials See Growing Threats From US, NATO

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

Top Russian security official Alexander Malevany says his government faces growing threats from the United States and its allies in NATO, stemming from US “hysteria” about the annexation of Crimea.  Malevany warned he is seeing a growing number of US efforts to “weaken Russian influence in a region that is of vital importance,” referring to Eastern Europe.

Earlier this week President Obama began talking up a significant increase in US and NATO deployments into Eastern Europe, supposedly to reassure Poland, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania that NATO would defend them from Russian invasion.

Instead of being a stabilizing influence, such deployments have fueled concern in Russia, and have Russia’s regional allies, notably Belarus, pushing for bigger Russian deployments in the area to reassure them against NATO expansion.

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U.S. Pledges Support for ‘All Post-Soviet States’

David Brunnstrom reports for Reuters:

Eurasia 2A senior U.S. official will travel to two countries in Central Asia next week to emphasize U.S. support for the independence of post-Soviet states after Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal, Washington’s point person for South and Central Asia, will visit Kazakhstan from March 31 to April 2 and Kyrgyzstan from April 2-4.

“In both countries Assistant Secretary Biswal will re-affirm the U.S. commitment to continued engagement and partnership with the countries of the region for stability and prosperity,” the State Department said in a statement. A State Department official added that would “affirm our support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of both countries and for all post-Soviet states.”

The U.S. visit will come two weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine, another former Soviet state. Putin is now expected to turn to the autocrats of Central Asia, particularly Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazarbayev, to further his aim of erecting a Eurasian Union of former Soviet states.

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Ukraine’s IMF Deal: Heading Toward a Greece-like Depression?

Professor Jack Rasmus writes for Common Dreams:

Photo: REUTERS / Yiorgos KarahalisOn Thursday, the IMF released the broad outlines of its terms and conditions for loans and other measures for the Ukrainian economy. What those terms and conditions mean is less a rescue of the Ukrainian economy than the onset of a Greece-like economic depression for the Ukrainian populace.

Ukraine’s economy had clearly entered a recession, its third since 2008, sometime in the latter half of 2013.  Some recent estimates of the likely contraction of the economy in 2014-15 have ranged from 5%-15% in GDP decline.

The ‘IMF Standby Agreement with Ukraine’ text released March 27, acknowledges the current severe economic instability of the Ukrainian economy. What it fails to acknowledge, however, is how the IMF package will further adversely impact that economy.

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Boris Berezovsky left a ‘broken man’

Time to Disband NATO: How Should the US Relate to the Rest of the World?

Alice Slater writes for Counter Punch:

With 16,000 of the world’s 17,000 nuclear bombs in the US and Russia, the US should certainly not be fanning the fires for a new cold war after the distressing events in Crimea and the Ukraine.   Rather, we should acknowledge our broken promise to Gorbachev that we wouldn’t expand NATO if Russia didn’t object to a reunified Germany’s entry into NATO when the wall came down, and promise not to invite the Ukraine or Georgia to become members of our old Cold War military alliance.   We should be disbanding NATO and working for reform of the UN system so that it can fulfill its peacekeeping mission without archaic reliance on regional military competitive alliances.

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Ukraine’s new government: What the West is trying to ignore

‘Ever since the new Ukrainian interim government was ushered into power on the 27 February, the United States and European Union have been very keen to offer it both political and economic support. But so far there’s been very little mention from Western leaders of the far-right politicians who make up a sizeable proportion of the new 21-strong Ukrainian cabinet. These include politicians from the nationalist Svoboda party, whose leader has repeatedly made anti-Semitic and racist remarks and whose party platform displays an obsession with ethnicity.’ (Truthloader)

Obama Suggests Russian Annexation of Crimea Is Worse Than Iraq Invasion

John Glaser writes for Antiwar about Obama’s suggestion that Russia’s annexation of Crimea is worse than the U.S. invasion of Iraq:

…This is perhaps the most asinine thing the president has said in the entirety of his presidency. The invasion of Iraq was an illegal, preventive war based on lies. It got hundreds of thousands of people killed and cost trillions of dollars. The U.S.-backed dictator of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, is ruling the nation with an iron fist, as the country slips back into civil war. Nothing but chaos, ruin, and rivers of blood resulted from the criminal invasion. For Obama to even dare to compare Crimea to Iraq is a sick joke.

Obama also rejected comparisons to Kosovo…

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Firtash and Gazprom: Billionaire Sought by U.S. Holds Key to Putin Gas Cash

Irina Reznik and Henry Meyer report for Bloomberg:

A detained billionaire who made a fortune as a middleman in Russia’s murky gas trade with Ukraine may hold the key for U.S. lawmakers seeking harsher sanctions against President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

Ukrainian Dmitry Firtash, arrested in Vienna this month on an American warrant for bribery and other charges, may hand over a treasure trove of information about deals involving Russian state gas exporter OAO Gazprom that the U.S. would consider corrupt, said Mikhail Korchemkin, a former analyst for the Soviet Union’s Gas Ministry in Moscow and founder of Malvern, Pennsylvania-based East European Gas Analysis.

After Putin seized Ukraine’s southern Crimea region, a U.S. Senate panel approved a bill on emergency funding for the country that would widen the scope of sanctions to include any Russian involved in “significant” corruption.

“This law would enable the U.S. to go after any member of Putin’s entourage,” Masha Lipman, an analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said by phone. “The point is to deepen the fractures within the Russian elite. The idea is to weaken Putin so he can be contained.”

President Barack Obama last week expanded financial sanctions to 20 more Russian officials, billionaires and a bank, including brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, who have joint investments with Firtash in Ukraine and Russia. The Rotenbergs’ companies received $7 billion of contracts for the Sochi Winter Olympics and are major suppliers to Gazprom.

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Ukraine: Controversy over Tymoshenko ‘wipe out Russians’ leak

Dmytro Gorshkov reports for AFP:

Ukraine’s former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko was plunged into fresh controversy on Tuesday after Russian television broadcast a tape where she is heard urging the “wiping out” of Russians over Moscow’s seizure of Crimea.

Tymoshenko, a hugely controversial figure both in Ukraine and Russia who was released from jail last month, confirmed the voice was hers but said some of the comments had been manipulated.

“This really crosses all the boundaries,” Tymoshenko is heard to say in the leaked phone call posted on YouTube and broadcast extensively on Russian television Monday.

“One has to take up arms and go wipe out these damn ‘katsaps’ together with their leader,” the voice said in Russian, without mentioning Putin by name. The word “katsap” is a derogatory Ukrainian term for Russians.

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