Russia Politics Thread

Discussion in 'World Affairs' started by britbox, Aug 4, 2016.

  1. britbox

    britbox Multiple Major Winner

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  2. britbox

    britbox Multiple Major Winner

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  3. Federberg

    Federberg Multiple Major Winner

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    It does make you realise the tremendous power of America's cultural exports. No one questions America's actions, we all instinctively want to assume that everything done is benign. That's what you get for watching Hollywood movies all your life where the US is fighting on the side of good. Why would we ever consider their actions to be aggressive. Even now, we all look at Obama and say that he's not been a militarily aggressive President, but with his drone warfare he's probably killed more combatants than any President in history outside of the war time Presidents who presided over World Wars 1, 2, Korea and Vietnam etc. It's easy for us to suspend out intellects in this way because of the propaganda power of Hollywood.

    So it didn't surprise when Putin said that he had tried to point out these facts to the media, several times and he didn't know how he could do it effectively. I'm no fan of Russia, but from a geo-strategic point of view it's easy to comprehend their concern. Just imagine if it was Russia assembling missile systems near US territory.... No wait.. we've already seen what happens with the Cuban missile crisis, something I might add that was in response to a US missile system having been placed in Turkey
     
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  4. britbox

    britbox Multiple Major Winner

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    It's a powerful speech, although the speech he made at the 2007 Munich conference on global security was even stronger. He voiced very strong concerns then and that was before the US and Russia "fell out".

    Putin is a very astute guy... I find him very impressive, particularly if you follow him for a number of years and then check what has evolved compared to what he predicts.
     
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  5. Federberg

    Federberg Multiple Major Winner

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    He's clearly a very smart guy with a firm grasp on geo-politics. He's made some compromises with the development of the Russian economy which could be to Russia's detriment in the long term though. You can't sustain trying to match the United States militarily without a strong economy, and now he's virtually put Russia in a position where they could easily become a client state of China's. But all in all I agree, largely impressive
     
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  6. britbox

    britbox Multiple Major Winner

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    ^ From what he's said, my understanding is that he knows he can't compete in a like for like arms race. It was one of the things that contributed to the demise of the Soviet Union. So his philosophy is based around nullifying these things at a much lesser cost.

    Let's look at the Nimitz Aircraft Carrier as an example. Total Cost $6.2 billion. The Russians could spend $50 million on 40 missiles to sink it. No weapons system is going to defend against that sort of attack. Russian policy is based on the $50 mill spend rather than the $6.2 bill spend.

    In the great scheme of things , it makes sense.
     
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  7. Federberg

    Federberg Multiple Major Winner

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    yes agreed. But even then R&D doesn't come cheap, and if your smartest people flee because they don't see good prospects then that's a problem
     
  8. teddytennisfan

    teddytennisfan Multiple Major Winner

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    thanks for the threat -- it was needed.

    i confess to being biased - a russophile - one might say, but it also PRECEDES even my ''adult life' - it was always something i was most fascinated by - this ''russian world" since a child.

    --- in any case --

    one thing I can ATTEST to as my ''personal witness" of having at last visited russia for 2 weeks -- last month - is this;

    russians - when you really observe them closely and try to learn WHY they are who they are - not least this un-bowed devotion to their sovereignty and independence in what they consider as part of the ''russian world" which really -- extends as ''the empire' - but which IS borne out by the very natural rapport of the different nationalities around their sphere of influence - especially among the central asian nations --

    are actually a very, very hard working people - this i saw with my own eyes..very FAST in their application to work . and the other strong component i noticed is: they really do what is - in the USA -- a matter of pretense now:

    russians LIVE WITHIN THEIR MEANS. they make DO with LESS and produce MORE with it.

    where the USA ''life" is about mortgages, cheap prices based on make-believe ''prosperity" under mountains and mountains of debt...but russians are far more pragmatic, unpretentious about such things . this was very very shocking to me, almost, at how much they could ''squeeze" out of so little - in terms of economic 'size' or currency and financial power compared to the americans.

    so - it's not a surprise - in fact, it is probably NORMAL - to russians - to achieve what putin once joked about american profligacy and money printing :

    "they spend so much money on this new aircraft carrier, (USS FORD) - with that money we could do a lot more -- and really useful things too that can enhance the lives of our people".

    incidentally -- the USS ford is supposedly the most advanced -- and largest one to date - fom a country that has what in service? 11 , 12? to''project power?

    for what earthly reason really? while americans are paying taxes through their noses to finance 1 million dollars per year to maintain a SINGLE american soldier deployed abroad that just creates resentment from countries' ordinary folks?

    but -- there you go. it's the price of being ''the exceptional nation" i guess.

    as we all know the USA instigated and exhorted Europe to sanction russia because of that crimea matter that comes from that ukraine matter that comes from that USA state department nuland matter of yet another ''color revolution" ...

    and the russians of course can be said to have learned a bitter lesson:

    the decades after USSR DID NOT make them more ''welcome" to the west - on the contrary -- every effort made by the russians since 2000 to balance both their historic independence and coming to terms - but as equals -- with europe and USA -- has been at the very least rebuffed and even betrayed in terms of what self-respecting nations ought to b ehave like.

    so -- their response of 'counter-sanctions' - has certainly harmed europe's export industry of which russia has been one of the biggest trade partners...while of course making it harder for the russian economy to prosper ...

    but -- as my visit proved to me -- instead of russians ''lining up for food in markets with empty shelves"

    it was the EXACT opposite -- FOOD is abundant and of the very highest quality -- GMO'S are FORBIDDEN - and everything has to be natural ingredients and - the checking of imports - such as from even a close partner as china are STRICTLY enforced by customs - thus food is HEALTHY.

    And the historical traidtion of russia being food independent - with their strong agricultural history - has resurrected to heights it never saw before..to the point that they are - in a mere 2 harvest seasons -- the world's biggest exporter of wheat, and now barley. the farm equipment manufacturing and machinery industry has started to explode in its high demand in ASIAN countries - bringing with it the legendary qualities of very, very tough, long-lasting, easy to maintain, very rugged and versatile machines -- at highloy competitive prices - so much so -- china has become a ''marketing " conduit for russian products TO other nations along the ''SILK ROAD" - this is little discussed -- but all one has to do is go to china's online websites selling all kinds of russian tractors, jeeps, vehicles, motorcycles of bewildering variety and uses...

    this is what i mean by the russians being very resourceful with little money - creative and coming up with EXCELLENT products..which no one would know if one only listened to OBAMA

    "RUSSIA DOESN'T PRODUCE ANYTHING" . in toto with the usual western ''news" about russia.
     
    #8 teddytennisfan, Aug 6, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2016
  9. teddytennisfan

    teddytennisfan Multiple Major Winner

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    the ''power of america's exports?"

    it's main export is and always has been EMPIRE -- AND WAR.

    "I MUST with great shame and sadness say that the world's greatest purveyor of violence in all its forms is my own country and government"

    reverend martin luther king, jr.
     
  10. teddytennisfan

    teddytennisfan Multiple Major Winner

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    journal-neo.org
    Putin: Nyet to Neo-liberals, Da to National Development | New Eastern Outlook
    Author: F. William Engdahl
    [​IMG]After more than two years of worsening economic growth and an economy struggling with 10.5% central bank interest rates that make new credit to spur growth virtually impossible, Russian President Vladimir Putin has finally broken an internal factional standoff. On July 25 he mandated that an economic group called the Stolypin Club prepare their proposals to spur growth revival to be presented to the government by the Fourth Quarter of this year. In doing so, Putin has rejected two influential liberal or neo-liberal economic factions that had brought Russia into a politically and economically dangerous recession with their liberal Western free market ideology. This is a major development, one I had been expecting since I had the possibility to exchange views this June in St. Petersburg at the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

    With very little fanfare, Russian press a few days ago carried a note that could have a most profound positive significance for the future of the Russian domestic economy. The online Russian blog, Katheon, carried the following short notice: “Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed (the Stolypin economist group–w.e.) to finalize the report of the Stolypin Club and on its basis to prepare a new program of economic development, alternative to Kudrin’s economic plan. The program itself should be given to the Bureau of Economic Council in the IV quarter of 2016.”

    In their comment, Katheon notes the major significance of the decision to drop the clearly destructive neo-liberal or free market approach of former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin: “The Stolypin club report advises to increase the investment, pumping up the economy with money from the state budget and by the issue of the Bank of Russia. In turn, the concept of the Center for Strategic Research (Alexei Kudrin) suggested that investments should be private and the state is to ensure macroeconomic stability, low inflation, reduced budget deficit.”

    Kudrin failed

    In the current situation of severe Western economic and financial sanctions against Russia the flows of such private investment into the economy as the Kudrin camp advocates are rare, to put it gently. Cutting what is a very minimal budget deficit only increases unemployment and worsens the situation. President Putin has clearly realized that that neo-liberal “experiment” has failed. More likely, is that he was forced to let economic reality unfold under the domination of the liberals to the point it was clear to all internal factions that another road was urgently needed. Russia, like every country, has opposing vested interests and now clearly the neo-liberal bested interests are sufficiently discredited by the poor performance of the Kudrin group that the President is able to move decisively. In either case, the development around the Stolypin Group is very positive for Russia.

    In convening the new meeting of the Economic Council Presidium on May 25, after a hiatus of two years, President Putin, noting that the group deliberately consisted of opposing views, at that time stated, “I propose today that we start with the growth sources for Russia’s economy over the next decade…The current dynamic shows us that the reserves and resources that served as driving forces for our economy at the start of the 2000’s no longer produce the effects they used to. I have said in the past, and want to stress this point again now, economic growth does not get underway again all on its own. If we do not find new growth sources, we will see GDP growth of around zero, and then our possibilities in the social sector, national defense and security, and in other areas, will be considerably lower than what is needed for us to really develop the country and make progress. “

    Now just two months later, Putin obviously has decided. He clearly has an eye as well to Russia’s next presidential elections in March 2018. In doing so he has selected the one group of the three on the Economic Council that believes that the state has a positive role to play in development of the national economy.

    The Stolypin group in many ways harkens back to the genius behind the German “economic miracle” after 1871, whose ideas created the most impressive economic growth from backwardness in all Europe within just over three decades. The only other countries to come near to that German economic achievement were the United States after 1865, and the Peoples’ Republic of China after 1979, with the Deng Xiaoping “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.” The national economic development model is based on the work of the now-all-but-unknown 19th Century German national economist, Friederich List, the developer of the basic model of national economic development.

    Three Camps

    During the Shock Therapy years of Boris Yeltsin in the 1990’s, Harvard economists like Jeffrey Sachs, financed by meta-plunderer George Soros, advised Yeltsin. The disastrous policies of Yeltsin’s economic team, then led by Yegor Gaidar, implemented wholesale privatization of state assets at dirt-cheap prices to Western investors like Soros. They made drastic state budget reduction, cuts in living standards, elimination of old age pensions of the population. All was done in the name of “free market reform.” After that trauma, beginning with Putin’s first Presidency in 1999 Russia slowly began a painful recovery not because of the Gaidar-Harvard shock therapy, but rather despite it, a tribute to the determination of the Russian people.

    As astonishing as it might seem, those free market ideologues, followers of the late Gaidar, until now have held a virtual monopoly over policies of the Economics and Finance Ministries of Russia.

    They have been aided by the leader of a slightly different but equally destructive monetarist camp, Central Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina who only seems obsessed with controlling inflation and stabilizing the Ruble.

    This past May Putin gave the first sign that he was open to the idea that the ever-reassuring reports of his finance and economic ministers about how “recovery is just around the corner” (as Herbert Hoover allegedly said at onset of America’s Great Depression in 1930) were not right. The Russian President convened the Presidium of the Economic Council, a group which had not met in two years, charging them to come up with a plan to solve Russia’s economic problems. The Presidium consisted of thirty five members representing each of the three major economic camps.

    Former neo-liberal Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin headed one camp backed by Finance Minister Anton Siluanov and Economic Minister Alexey Ilyukayev. This group demands the usual Western laissez-faire remedies such as drastic reduction of the role of the state in the economy via wholesale privatization of the railways, energy companies like Gazprom, and other valuable assets. Kudrin was also named by Putin to chair the newly-reorganized twenty-five-member economic strategy group in May. Many national economists feared the worst at his naming, namely a revival of Gaidar shock therapy, Mach II. That now will clearly not happen. Kudrin and his approach have been rejected as not effective.

    The second group was represented by central bank head, Elvira Nabiullina. They were the most conservative, claiming that no reforms were needed and that no economic stimulus was needed either. Just hold a steady course under double-digit central bank interest rates and that will somehow kill inflation and stabilize the Ruble, as if that was the key to open the economic growth potential of Russia. It has instead been the key to slowly kill the economy and increase inflation.

    Stolypin Group

    The third group represented was the one most Western observers ridiculed and dismissed, with the US Pentagon-linked Stratfor referring to them as a “strange collective.” I have personally met and talked with them and they are hardly strange to anyone with a clear moral mind.

    This is the group which after two months has emerged with the mandate from Vladimir Putin to lay out their plans to boost growth again in Russia.

    The group is in essence followers of what the great almost-forgotten 19th Century German economist, Friedrich List, would call “national economy” strategies. List’s national economy historical-based approach was in direct counter-position to the then-dominant British Adam Smith free trade school.

    List’s views were increasingly integrated into the German Reich economic strategy beginning under the Zollverein or German Customs Union in 1834, that unified one German internal domestic market. It created the basis by the 1870’s for the most colossal emergence of Germany as an economic rival exceeding Great Britain in every area by 1914.

    This third group, the Stolypin group in the May, 2016 meeting, included Sergei Glazyev, and Boris Titov, co-chair of Business Russia, and Russia’s “business ombudsmen” since the creation of that post in 2012. Both Titov and Glazyev, an adviser to Putin on Ukraine and other matters, are founding members of the Stolypin Club in Russia. In 2012 Glazyev was named by Putin, then Prime Minister, to coordinate the work of federal agencies in developing the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia, today the Eurasian Economic Union. Titov, also the Leader of Right Cause party, is a successful Russian entrepreneur who in recent years has turned to work advancing various economic policies within the state, often in vocal opposition to Kurdin’s free-market liberal ideas. Notably, Titov is also co-chairman of the Russian-Chinese Business Council.

    A broad indication of the kind of proposals the Stolypin group will propose to revive substantial economic growth in Russia and deal with major basic infrastructure deficits that greatly hinder productive enterprise came in a series of proposals Glazyev made in September 2015 to the Russian Security Council, a key advisory body to the President.

    There, Glazyev proposed a five-year ‘road map’ to Russia’s economic sovereignty and long-term growth. It was aimed toward building up the country’s immunity to external shocks and foreign influence, and ultimately, toward bringing Russia out of the periphery and into the core of the global economic system. Goals included raising industrial output by 30-35 percent over a five year period, creating a socially-oriented ‘knowledge economy’ via the transfer of substantial economic resources to education, health care and the social sphere, the creation of instruments aimed at increasing savings as a percent of GDP, and other initiatives, including a transition to a sovereign monetary policy.

    In 1990 the first priority of Washington and the IMF was to pressure Yeltsin and the Duma to “privatize” the State Bank of Russia, under a Constitutional amendment that mandated the new Central Bank of Russia, like the Federal Reserve or European Central Bank, be a purely monetarist entity whose only mandate is to control inflation and stabilize the Ruble. In effect money creation in Russia was removed from state sovereignty and tied to the US dollar.

    Glazyev’s 2015 plan also proposed to use Central Bank resources to provide targeted lending for businesses and industries by providing them with low subsidized interest rates, between 1-4 percent, made possible by quantitative easing to the tune of 20 trillion rubles over a five year period. The program also suggested that the state support private business through the creation of “reciprocal obligations” for the purchase of products and services at agreed-upon prices. As well Glazyev proposed that the Ruble build up its strength as an alternative to the de facto bankrupt dollar system by buying gold as currency backing. He proposed that the Central Bank be mandated to buy all gold production of Russian mines at a given price, in order to increase the ruble gold backing. Russia today is the world’s second largest gold producer.

    Obviously Russia’s President has realized that whatever impressive advances Russia makes in the foreign policy area can be fatally undercut by a failing economy, Russia’s Achilles Heel as I noted in an earlier piece. The July 25 announcement by Putin has the potential to reverse that if done with resolution on all levels. There the President has a responsibility to clearly lay out their strategy over the coming five years—by the way a very useful time frame to judge results having nothing to do with old Soviet five-year plans, as France’s De Gaulle understood as well. By giving the population a clear vision of their future, he can tap into the remarkable Russian human resources to literally accomplish the impossible in turning the economy into a genuine prosperity based on sounder foundations than that of the monetarist laissez faire West which today is de facto bankrupt. Bravo Russia!

    F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”
     
  11. teddytennisfan

    teddytennisfan Multiple Major Winner

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    http://sputniknews.com/russia/20160808/1044063672/moscow-capital-future-look.html

    ==================================

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    22:55 GMT +3 hours08 August 2016
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    Moscow in 2035: How the Capital Will Look in 20 Years
    © Sputnik/ Maxim Blinov
    Russia
    18:59 08.08.2016Get short URL
    122742381
    Moscow has radically changed its appearance in the last several years. New residential areas, central squares, roads, and metro stations have been built or restored. So let us see Moscow in 20 years!
    Zaryadie Park

    Moscow's authorities have begun to build green zones in the capital. Zaryadie Park is definitely the main such architectural project of our decade. An unusual architectural landscape will appear on the site of the demolished Rossiya Hotel.

    [​IMG]
    © Sputnik/ Alexander Vilf
    Construction of Zaryadye Theme Park in Moscow
    The key concept is the principle of natural urbanism. The park will be divided into four specific zones: forest, steppe, tundra and meadows.

    Over the park, a dome will be build, covered with solar batteries to create special microclimates in different parts of the park.

    In addition, on the park’s territory the authorities want to construct a media-center, ice cave, underground parking and philharmonic.

    “In the philharmonic we want to construct a moving wall to allow 5, 000 people to enjoy any concert located in the park. Moreover, we will construct a so-called ‘soaring’ bridge with access to the waterfront,” said the deputy mayor for urban policy.

    According to Moscow’s main architect the park will feature all of Russia’s diversity, from climate to gastronomy.

    [​IMG]
    © Photo: stroi.mos
    Construction of Zaryadye Theme Park in Moscow
    It will open in 2017, in time for Moscow’s 870th anniversary.

    ZIL: Second revival

    Yesterday’s industrial area will transform into a mini-city of the XXI century.

    [​IMG]
    © Sputnik/ Alexander Vilf
    Construction of ZILART art class residential area
    On the 400 hectare territory, residential neighborhoods will appear, as well as a business and entertainment center, parks, a sports cluster, and its own autonomous educational zone. Vehicle production will no longer take place.

    [​IMG]
    © Sputnik/ Alexander Vilf
    The model of the ZILART residential area under construction at the site of the former ZIL plant
    ZIL’s model is a balance between comfortable apartments and business offices. It will be built to encourage harmony.

    “It will be an amazing example of architectural and planning decisions – solutions for working with public places. Probably it is the best project in Moscow since the 90s,” claims the chief architecture of Moscow.

    Moscow waterfronts

    The embankment of the Moskva River will be transformed. Along the river, authorities plan to build small green alleys and parks as well as beaches, places for leisure and squares.

    However, don’t be afraid. Roads and public transport will still exist..

    According to the chief architect of Moscow, we might end up with a totally new center after waterfront reconstruction.

    The road question

    In 2016, 100km of extra road is being built.

    Special attention should be devoted to road loops constructed above the ground, which resemble decorations from a sci-fi movie.

    [​IMG]
    © Sputnik/ Grigoriy Sisoev
    A cloverleaf interchange between the Moscow Ring Road and the Kashirskoye Motorway
    In addition, various bridges and tunnels will be introduced in the construction plan.

    Moscow’s underground

    In two decades, Moscow's subway network will build 60 new underground stations.

    “By 2025, the subway's total length will be increased by 1.5 times,” said an administrative figure.

    As a result, 93 per cent of people will have a metro stop within walking distance.

    [​IMG]
    © Photo: stroi.mos
    Metro project planning in Moscow
    Metro designs will be accomplished according to best Russian traditions.

    Each station will represent its district via the metro’s appearance.

    Churches and chapels

    [​IMG]
    © Sputnik/ Vladimir Fedorenko
    Church of St. Nicholas with a pyramidal bell tower in Bolshaya Ordynka Street in Moscow
    Each district will have its own church, built in a unique way. Projects will imitate Novgorod, Byzantine, Italian and other architectural schools.

    “Already we have built 46 churches, 39 are being constructed, and 40 are just planned. Also we constructed 1 02 wooden chapels,” said the State Duma deputy. “To accomplish all scheduled tasks, we will need 20 to 25 years.”

    Sports arenas

    The 2018 Football World Cup will give fans not only exciting matches but also new stadiums.

    [​IMG]
    © Sputnik/ Maksim Blinov
    Reconstruction of the Luzhniki grand sports arena in Moscow
    Mini-sport cities will be built around arenas. They will have swimming pools, ice rinks and a landscaped park with bike paths.

    Reconstruction of Luzhniki stadium will be finished at the end of this year
     
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  12. teddytennisfan

    teddytennisfan Multiple Major Winner

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    I MET some muscovites -- especially college age people while in st petersburg last month..as they were also visiting their other main city st petersburg..

    and i was told that moscow is now so big - and building continues everywhere - that they no longer call it moscow CITY - but ''district'' - or ;'moscow region'..

    russia is quite complex in its arrangement.
    they call it ''federation'' being a collection of republics or autonomous regions like little countries of their own really - mostly based on nationality actually...

    so when they have something like TATARSTAN -- which is south of moscow ''region'' - it was created that way long ago because most of the population was TATAR - LIKE MARAT SAFIN comes from that province or district or republic 'of tatarstan' ..

    or a far east southern siberia jewish autonomous region, or a northern arctice siberian turkic autonomous region of northern natives...that kind of thing where each region has its particular ''national' character...

    who are then represented in the national parliament of DUMA..though safin himself as junior minister under PUTIN'S party - united russia - represents a district within Moscow Region instead of tatarstan where his family comes from.

    and russia has over 80 such ''republics', districts, regions, autonomous regions as the case may be..often based on the historical culture...and these republics are what would be the equivalent of the ''states'' in the USA.

    one of these is sooooo big - it can swallow all of europe..somewhere in the middle of russia from north to south..
     
  13. teddytennisfan

    teddytennisfan Multiple Major Winner

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    putnik International
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    13:03 GMT +3 hours24 August 2016
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    No Need for Russia to Apologize for Curbing US Provocation
    © AP Photo/ Manuel Balce Ceneta
    Columnists
    12:26 24.08.2016Get short URL
    Finian Cunningham
    09720
    Predictably, Western protestations ensued after Russia this week blacklisted a group of US-based so-called non-governmental organizations as being “undesirable” on its territory.


    Among the banned group of seven were the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy and the Open Society run by capitalist billionaire-speculator George Soros. These organizations have launched numerous “civil-society groups” in Moscow over recent years which allegedly are involved in promoting “democracy”, “business enterprise” and “free media”.

    [​IMG]
    © Flickr/ Insider Monkey
    ‘Obama Has Been Too Soft on Putin,’ Said Soros as He Called the Shots on Ukraine
    Under Russian law, passed in 2015, the government has the right to sanction any group as “undesirable” if it is deemed to undermine Russia’s constitution and state security.
    It is a moot point why such American outfits that have demonstrable political allegiance to Washington and its inimical agenda towards Russia were even allowed to set up in the country in the first place.

    US ambassador to Russia John Tefft decried the latest sanction by the Kremlin. He said: “We see this move by the Russian government as another deliberate step to further isolate the Russian people from the world.”

    The arrogance in the American ambassador’s words are astounding, but typical of Washington’s supremacist self-regard.

    So Russian people are, we are told, being isolated from the rest of the world? Notice how US-based advocacy groups are somehow equated with access to “the world” and as if they are paragons of virtue.

    The quickest way to gain a reality-check is from asking this question: how many Russian NGOs are operating in the US? That’s right – none. Yet, the self-proclaimed “exceptional” Americans consider it their prerogative to export groups to promulgate supposed “Western values” in Russia and dozens of other countries around the globe.

    [​IMG]
    © AFP 2016/ LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI
    Soros Hacked: US Billionaire Manipulated Europeans Into Accepting Maidan
    To illustrate just how “isolated” Americans are from Russian influence, one only has to consider how antagonistic US politicians, media and pundits are towards Russia-based news broadcasters. Channels like RT and Sputnik are routinely vilified as “Kremlin propaganda”, even though they are arguably more balanced than the slew of American corporate-controlled outlets that act as unquestioning cheerleaders for US foreign wars and subversions.
    Bear in mind, too, RT and Sputnik are publicly recognized news channels. They are not clandestine organizations operating with a hidden agenda.

    Now, if that’s the kind of hostility which legitimate Russia-based international news channels are hit with, one can only imagine the uproar if there were actually Russian-sponsored “civil-society” groups based in Washington that published reports and press releases which continually sought to undermine the American constitution, institutions and government policies.

    Such hypothetical Russia-supported networks would be booted out of the country as “agents of a foreign enemy” if not facing jail time as “spies”.

    Again, as a measure of the likely furore, look at the recent alleged computer hacking of the Democrat party’s database and how that has been rabidly attributed to “Russia trying to interfere in the US presidential elections”. There isn’t a shred of evidence for such alarmist hacking claims, but the point to note is how knee-jerk bellicose Washington is to even the mere notion that Russia could possibly be intruding in American domestic politics.

    But in Russia’s case against the US organizations, this isn’t hypothetical. The list of American NGOs banned this week by Russia are provably inimical to Russia’s domestic politics, its constitution and institutions.

    [​IMG]
    © AFP 2016/ KARAM AL-MASRI
    Wolf In Sheep's Clothing? Soros-Sponsored NGO in Syria Aims at Ousting Assad, Not Saving Civilians
    George Soros, Mister Money-Bags behind Open Society, has repeatedly accused Russia of outlandish policies, such as precipitating the European refugee problem as a way to undermine the European Union, as well as intending to invade Eastern European states.
    The term “non-governmental organization” is a complete misnomer. It is a clever fraud, just like many of the other claims made by these groups. Far from being supposedly independent and private, the blacklisted groups are bankrolled by the US State Department and Congress, and, especially in the case of Soros’ Open Society, are intimately linked with Washington’s foreign policy goals.

    That makes them very much “American governmental agencies”.

    Under the thinly veiled guise of promoting “democracy” the US-sponsored agencies are all about destabilizing Russian society and undermining the governing authorities. This subversive activity would not be tolerated for one second if the shoe were on the other foot over in the United States. So why should Russia accept unilateral American subversion and sanctimony?

    The insidious, and frankly dangerous, purpose of the National Endowment for Democracy, Open Society and all the other Orwellian-named American outfits can be gleaned from the way these same groups are responsible for a host of “color revolutions” and regime changes since the dissolution of the Soviet Union nearly a quarter of a century ago. They serve as the soft power arm of US imperialism.

    Former Soviet Republic Ukraine was a prime target. State Department official Victoria Nuland is on record for disclosing that $5 billion was funneled into the country from the early 2000s to precipitate regime change that culminated in 2014 when the elected government in Kiev was ousted by CIA-backed fascists. The new regime is responsible for a war on ethnic Russians in the east of the country since 2014 which has killed 10,000 people, and for ongoing efforts to sabotage Crimea. The bigger purpose of the US-backed regime change operation in Ukraine is to act as a spearhead against the real prize, Russia.

    It was the US State Department and George Soros who were instrumental in overseeing the Kiev regime-change coup.

    Translated from Orwellian lexicon, “promoting democracy” means promoting Washington’s version of “democracy” which is to install vassal regimes that will roll over for American capitalists like Hungarian-born Soros.

    [​IMG]
    © AP Photo/ Andrew Kravchenko, Pool
    Victoria Nuland's Dreamland: Ukraine as American Model for Democracy
    Russia’s independent government under President Putin has qualified it for Washington-inspired regime change. And as Russia defies Washington’s hegemonic ambitions over Ukraine and Syria, the target on Putin becomes ever more intense, as far as the imperialist warmongers in Washington are concerned.
    Previous Russian elections have been disparaged by the NED, Soros and the other US-sponsored agents. With the forthcoming Kremlin elections one could expect that a major negative media onslaught was being prepared by these same Washington-funded groups. Allegations of election fraud flagged by Soros and NED-funded networks in Moscow would have been amplified by Western media outlets in the usual manner.

    Also, if Democrat contender Hillary Clinton wins the US presidential poll in November it is a safe bet that the Washington warmongering cabal in the CIA and foreign policy establishment would have ramped up the subversive thrust of the US agencies in Moscow.

    Russia is therefore right to pre-empt. After all, would the reverse have been accepted in the US. No way.

    The inevitable Western outcry alleging Russia “clamping down on democratic rights” is laughable for its arrogant double think.

    The West imposes sanctions on Russia over trumped-up claims, then expects to get away with Washington-funded groups infiltrating with destabilizing disinformation; and then when the Russian government restricts these groups, Washington has the brass neck to protest.

    This is the mindset of a megalomaniac. What does it want next? Russia to apologize for existing?

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.
     
  14. britbox

    britbox Multiple Major Winner

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    Soros doesn't like Russia because he can't influence Russia.
     
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  15. teddytennisfan

    teddytennisfan Multiple Major Winner

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    BINGO!! YOU SAID IT IN A NUTSHELL.

    the guy -- what an OLD HIDEOUS thing -- just can't get over his habit of undermining countries for his 'new world order"

    Creeeeeppppyyyy...won't you say? makes my hair stand literally. i mean this is the guy who actually BRAGGED -- and considered , openly so - that he is PROUD of the way he 'survived world war 2" and AVOID being interned by the nazis - as a jew himself -- because of how he charmed his way and was such a sell-out -- and how he LITERALLY collected gold fillings from dead bodies? can you just imagine?

    and then parlays that wealth he built inthe USA from his ''gold and treasure scavenging" on a pile of horrors of war -

    to pile on MORE dead bodies everywhere for his lugubrious lust for power and that sadistic project of his to play the world like it's some play-pen?

    and THIS is the guy who literally gives INSTRUCTIONS AS exposed in those e mails of HIS That got hacked -- to HILLARY on which country to ''regime change" next - and SHE , LIKE A GOOD highschool valedictorian obliges..

    i mean -- my god...there are actually people like THESE? it just boggles my mind, Britbox -- DESPITE what we already know has happened in history -- STILL boggles my mind. because we literally see unfolding HOW great evil is unleashed, how it is PLANNED ...i mean -- i can barely get over it myself..considering having so much information about things already...how they USE people for their personal aggrandizement...in the BILLIONS literally.

    we are talking here --

    KINGSMAN movie level of EVIL ..U know what i mean? it's MOVIE fiction EVIL -- in the flesh in our real world ...

    WHAT THE hideous guy needs is a bloke like that young apprentice to do him in!!
     
  16. teddytennisfan

    teddytennisfan Multiple Major Winner

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    this is the SAME guy that ''visited" emperor obama -- and shortly after came the MAIDAN FASCIST/NAZI coup staged by Nuland ..

    and now that he is not satisfied that they didn't GET the east ukrainian with REAL ethnic russians and was ORIGINALLY The very birthplace of the russian state -- which HE wants and USA wants as staging ground for a ''first strike nuking" capability against russia's ural mountains retaliatory defenses --

    he is NOW egging on KILLARY by saying "obama has been TOO SOFT on Russia". and you can BET that valedictorian Killary can't WAIT to oblige on HER account!

    creepy -- really creepy. it's like someone straight out of a horror film, u know?
     
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  17. teddytennisfan

    teddytennisfan Multiple Major Winner

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    sputniknews.com
    Putin's Speech at Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok
    Sputnik
    VLADIVOSTOK (Russia), (Sputnik) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has thanked South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for taking part in the opening of an oceanarium on Russky Island, saying that it will be a platform for more international cooperation.

    [​IMG]

    "I would like to thank the president of South Korea and the prime minister of Japan for participation in the opening of the oceanarium, to thank them for the contribution that they are making in the development of relations between our two countries and to express hope that this will be yet another good platform for international cooperation."

    The South Korean president said that she was hoping for cooperation with Russia and Japan, particularly in the environmental protection of the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

    The EEF is currently underway on Russky Island near Russia's eastern city of Vladivostok. The forum, which will run through Saturday, is expected to attract some 2,500 participants, from countries including China, Japan, South Korea, India, Vietnam, Australia, the United States and Singapore.

    Digital Economy

    Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday proposed to create common "digital economy" space for the states located in the Asia Pacific region.

    "We are living in the century of information society, of rapid development of digital telecommunication technologies and it is necessary to seize opportunities, which are opened up through cooperation in order to let public agencies and companies from different countries to cooperate in electronic format… In that context we propose to create a common digital economy space."

    He added that it implied the creation of legal and technological grounds for electronic cooperation.

    Energy Prices for Countries of Asia-Pacific

    Russia is ready to offer competitive energy prices for countries of the Asia-Pacific Region and is proposing to create an intergovernmental working group on the Asian energy super ring project, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated.

    "For a faster, more dynamic realization of this project [Asian energy ring] we are offering to create an intergovernmental working group. At the same time I want to stress that Russia is ready to offer our partners a competitive, in the Asia Pacific Region, price for electric energy and fix it for a long-term period."

    The Asian energy super ring project stipulates the unification of energy systems of Russia, Japan, South Korea, China and Mongolia. This ring is expected to consist of separate energy bridges, one of which can connect Russia's Sakhalin with Japan.

    Far East Infrastructure

    Russia is working out measures to support investors who will build external infrastructure for investment projects in the Far East, Putin added.

    "Today, we already provide direct state subsidies to investors for the development of transport, energy and other infrastructure, for the opening of new production facilities. We are now thinking about improving support mechanisms. Investors who will build external infrastructure on their own, should receive this additional support from the government," Putin said, adding that "various proposals" on the issue "are being discussed."

    Putin also said that access to natural resources in the Far East should be linked to investment in their processing.

    The Russian leader proposed that Japan and South Korea reflect on the creation of joint investment ventures with Russia to finance industrial and high-tech projects.

    "They could focus on the financing of projects not only in agriculture but also in industry, in the sphere of high technologies and in the field of natural resources," Putin said, expressing confidence that "the Far East with its land resources is capable of becoming one of the leading suppliers of quality, ecologically pure food products for the Asia-Pacific Region, where almost 60 percent of our planet’s population live."

    Seoul-Moscow Transport Cooperation

    Cooperation between Russia and South Korea in the sphere of transport to open up new possibilities to develop resources, South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Saturday.

    "Through cooperation between [South] Korean and Russian businessmen in the sphere of creation of infrastructure, including in the sphere of transport and ports, it will be possible to work out a new multimodal logistical route that will allow to unite the Eurasian continent. Particularly, the Northeast Passage will open new possibilities for a sustainable development of resources," Park said at a plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).

    She added that construction of inter-city speedways at Russia's Far East and urban redevelopment would create potential for cooperation.

    Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Russian Federation State Council would discuss the development of country's transport infrastructure.

    Russia, Japan ‘Natural’ Partners in Economic, Regional Security Spheres

    Russia and Japan are "natural" partners in the economic and security spheres, Vladimir Putin said.

    "We are natural partners with Japan, absolutely natural partners in the development of trade-economic ties and in the resolution of issues of regional security. And we [Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe] understand this very well."

    The Russian president stressed that Russia and Japan must find a way to resolve their territorial dispute in order for it "not to destroy our relations, but to create a strong base for long-term development."

    "Some time ago, we at the request of Japanese friends have returned to the consideration of the issue and ready to consider it. In order to solve it, we need a level of trust, a high level of trust and we need such a formula, I will repeat the thing I have said in an interview with Bloomberg, that will allow both the sides not to feel themselves at loss. It is a complicated solution, but it could be found."

    Japan and Russia have never signed a permanent peace treaty after World War II due to Tokyo's claims to four Russian islands. The islands, located in the Sea of Okhotsk, were claimed by Soviet forces at the end of the war.

    Issue of Crimea's Territorial Belonging Historically Closed

    The issue of Crimea's territorial belonging historically closed, President Putin said.

    "The people of Crimea have made their decision, they have voted [in a referendum]. The issue is historically closed, there could be no return to the previous system," Putin said.

    Russia's historical southern region of Crimea rejoined Russia after a 2014 referendum. Almost 97 percent of the region's population voted for reunification in a referendum. Sevastopol, which has a federal city status, supported the move by 95.6 percent of votes.

    Russia to Try to Return North Korea to Path of Negotiations

    © AP Photo/ Ahn Young-joon

    Russia will try to return North Korea to the path of negotiations, because the tensions around Pyonguang need a careful approach, Putin said.

    "It is necessary to return the situation [around North Korea] to the path of negotiations and we will persuade North Korean partners in it in every possible way. Madam [South Korean] President [Park Geun-hye] knows that we still have certain communication channels with North Korea and we will certainly use them to move the situation from that critical confrontation where it is now," Putin said at a plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).

    He added that Russia's solid position on the issue was against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and called on Pyongyang to adhere to its international obligations, but at the same time the issue needed a careful approach and it was necessary not to provoke Pyongyang.

    According to the Russian leader, the inter-Korean crisis that could result in a global catastrophe is impermissible.

    "Korean nation has gone through many hardships. It is impossible that some inter-Korean crisis that would result in a global catastrophe [could take place]. We should do everything to avoid such scenario. It is necessary to exert efforts aimed at cooperation everywhere, where it is possible," Putin said.

    Minsk Agreements Should Be Fully Implemented Without Any Restrictions

    The Minsk agreements need to be implemented without any restrictions and the United States, as well as the member states of the Normandy Format should contribute to this, the Russian president said.

    "We believe that the Minsk agreements should by fully implemented without any restrictions, limitations and substitution of concepts. And we will sincerely strive for that. But we cannot achieve this alone; the Normandy format participants and the United States should to do it with us, because only they have a real influence on the current Kiev authorities. Of course, without the political will of the Ukrainian leadership it is also impossible. And ultimately it depends on them," Putin said.

    © Sputnik/ Gennady Dubovoi

    In April 2014, Kiev authorities launched a military operation to suppress independence supporters in the eastern Ukrainian Donbass region. In February 2015, the two sides reached a ceasefire deal after talks brokered by the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine — the so-called Normandy Format — in the Belarusian capital of Minsk.

    Key points of the Minsk agreements include a ceasefire, heavy weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in eastern Ukraine, constitutional reforms, including a decentralization of power in the country, and granting a special status to the Donbass region.

    Russia Ready for Full Cooperation With Washington but Wants Interests Respected

    Relations between Russia and the United States are "frozen" but Moscow is not to blame for the situation, as it remains open to full cooperation with Washington, Vladimir Putin said.

    "Our relations are in a rather frozen state. I think it is not our fault," Putin said, adding "We were not the initiators of the cooling of these relations. We are ready to fully unravel our cooperation any second. But that does not depend only on us. It depends on how the leaders of the future US administration would want to build relations with Russia."

    The Russian president stressed that Moscow is always ready for cooperation but wants its interests to be respected by Washington.

    "If our partners actually agree with a different logic — the logic of consideration of mutual interests, respect for the interests of each other, then our relations will change drastically," Putin said.
     
    #17 teddytennisfan, Sep 3, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2016
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  18. teddytennisfan

    teddytennisfan Multiple Major Winner

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    sometimes -- putin's sense of humor -- very russian one, i might say (being a bit familiar with them since many have been friends for decdes to me - there's that mix of sardonic, =irony and behind it a severe realism) -

    put is sharply:

    being asked about obama's obvious expansion of militarism , or at least under his watch - (i mean seven countries somehow ''regime changed" or slated for) -
    with the US trundling out the 1.5 Trillion dollar boondogle of F-35 ''All purpose" jet...with its documented failures ...

    putin sardonically quipped...

    "they have so much money -- with money like that , or even a small fraction -- we could definitely do a lot more..but then that's how they do things..so..."

    point is - the USA now insists the F-35 is READY to 'have air superiority"

    on the basis of it being an 'invisible" 5th generation plane...
    in which ''the days of dog-fighting are over -- we'll be able to shoot missiles at adversaries in the air from over 300 miles away and they won'/t see us until we're close by them".

    but to be ABLE to actually fly and FIND its targets as well as map its flight - the F-35 - they neglect to add -- when speaking of 'no need for close quarter dog fights" ...

    is COMPLETELY dependent on AWACS - meaning EACH F-35 requires a support system which IF LOST or rendered useless by EM electro magnet warfare - which RUSSIANS are the MASTERS at doing --

    these planes are BLIND in the air...and in dogfights -- which americans declare to be ''extinct" (they also said that during world war 2, vietnam war, korean war, iraq war....)...
    are practically like turkeys -- POOR maneuverability , SLOW and giving off so much heat - and HASN'T proven in test after test to be at 'peak performance" as advertised IF it is fitted with ALL the weaponry it is supposed to carry....

    and has repeatedly ENGINE SHUT during flight giving a real scare to pilots....its EJECTION seat problem STILL hasn't been solved -- and they simply don't MENTION it in their ''sales" talk now --
    which SNAPS the neck or spine of the pilot under 150 pounds - which the plane's TIGHT cockpit prefers..

    has ''won in fights " tests in the air -- ONLY against VIETNAM and world war TWO era planes...- is EASILY out performed by the F-16 OR even F-15...

    AND THE USA PUSHES to countries to BUY for a princely sum of 200 million dollars each........

    as opposed to RUSSIA selling a SUKHOI 34 FULLBACK that is NOW proven repeatedly to be - as a mere 4th generation fighter /bomber -- is as PRETTY as AN EAGLE or a HAWK on air as anybody could wish for

    for a mere 50 million.

    and TO TOP it off -- just about EVERY russian plane is designed to be able to FLY after a mere 24 hour maintainance or , if need be, even a few hours...where practically the american fleet requires at least 2 days of maintainance for the next flight...

    a russian plane can be maintained and fixed by a crew of 2 or 3 people. where american planes require a STAFF...

    the F-22 and F-35 etc...require a COMPLETE PLATOON of grounds crew to pick up and clean every bit of paper and pebble on an airstrip before a plane can fly or land...for fear of damage...while russian planes are ALWAYS designed to land and fly on much rougher surfaces..

    i\'d say -- if i had a cool 50 mil -- i'd know where to go shopping for bang for the buck...

    certainly the INDIANS know - they are demanding that RUSSIA HURRY UP with production !

    oh = but OBAMA said "the russians don't produce or make anything".

    yes of course -- if obama says so......
    but then -- if only someone told him it's the RUSSIANS who created the JET PROPULSION engine...lol. u know -- the same one that flies the world's BIGGEST PLANE -- ANTONOV? and heaviest =- heavy haul, longest haul plane in history of flight?

    and it's the russians NASA is piggybacking on to EVEN reach space...
    and it's the russians already in design stage of complete, self-[sustaining permanent habitats on MARS...AT A FRACTION the cost it takes WALL STREET.......
    lol.
     
    #18 teddytennisfan, Sep 3, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2016
  19. teddytennisfan

    teddytennisfan Multiple Major Winner

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    russia-insider.com
    How Brainwashed Do You Have to Be to Believe Putin Is the New Stalin?
    Bryan MacDonald (RT) Fri, Sep 2, 2016 | 823 15
    ‘Tom’ thinks Vladimir Putin is the new Josef Stalin. As he’s never been to Russia, his views surely reflect the power of a Western media narrative which continuously demonizes the Russian President.

    Last week, an optician from my home town, let’s call him ‘Bernard,’ posted a link on Facebook to a radio show I participated in from Moscow. There was nothing unusual about that, but some of the comments below the line were startling.

    Particularly from a man I admire in other walks of life, who will be known as ‘Tom’ for the purposes of this op-ed. Tom is as bright as a button, well read, and is a high achiever but his prejudices when it comes to Russia are badly misinformed.

    “Russia (is) probably the most corrupt nation on the planet. Putin is in the same league as Stalin. Sorry, I have no time for their leadership. A tiny number of oligarchs have usurped the wealth of a huge country. All are friends of Putin,” Tom wrote on Bernard's page.

    My initial reaction was that his statement essentially regurgitated talking points from numerous BBC ‘exposes’ on Putin’s Russia. Which does go to show the influence of the British state broadcaster.

    Since I began reporting on Russian affairs, I’ve often been exasperated by the incredible bias of many American and British peers. Indeed, some of the factually challenged, and one-sided, dispatches they frequently deliver wreck my head. For example, when they have Vladimir Putin fathering love children in Switzerland, purchasing vineyards in southern Spain or secretly exulting in the title of the world’s richest person. All delivered without credible - or often even named - sources by newspapers which have accused this network of promoting "conspiracy theories."

    In moments of weakness, I sometimes feel I’ve been too harsh on certain individuals. After all, everyone needs to make a living and their copy reflects the expectations of editors back home who usually know little or nothing about Russia, but demand sensationalism. The fact that many newspapers no longer offer monthly retainers to their foreign correspondents, but operate on a “no foal, no fee” basis only increases the pressure on journalists to get published. And, incidentally, most Moscow-based hacks from the Anglo-sphere appear to have no proper training in the trade at all.

    In my native Ireland, it’s a bit different. Unlike the BBC in neighboring Britain, for example, the state broadcaster (RTE) still occasionally strives for balance on East Europe and is sometimes open to the Russian perspective on events. For that reason, I was recently invited onto the country’s most popular daytime radio show to discuss the view from here on the Rio Olympics after a controversy regarding an Irish boxer, Michael Conlan, and his opponent, Vladimir Nikitin.

    However, it’s not the content of the program, deftly handled by the remarkably neutral Joe Duffy, which discommoded me. Sadly, it’s the subsequent social media reaction. You see, proximity to the United Kingdom, a NATO member, means many Irish people can’t help but consume their media and culture and it appears that the tremendous propaganda from across the sea has permeated into Irish discourse.

    It's All About Transparency

    My initial reply to Tom was a little angry, a result of my frustration at inaccurate stereotypes when it comes to a country I know very well. At first, I pointed out that Stalin was responsible of the deaths of at least 20 million (the consensus figure) people and that the Georgian dictator established a murderous web of gulags and shunted around entire ethnic groups to sate his paranoia. Sure, some political opponents of Putin have left Russia, apparently to pursue careers on the talk show circuit, but we haven't had mass executions (in fact, unlike in America for instance, the death penalty is outlawed in Russia) and labor camps aren't a feature of his administration. Oddly, these type of things do exist in China, but its leaders are feted in the West.

    Meanwhile, Putin’s one external war of his 12 years as President - or two if you count Ukraine as a Russian conflict - has caused far fewer deaths than Barack Obama’s bombing campaigns against seven countries during his eight-year term. For the record, they are Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia. As it happens, Russia’s Syria intervention is legal under international law, whereas most of the American incursions have been illegal. Putin’s domestic war was Chechnya, which he inherited from Boris Yeltsin’s badly botched attempts to quell the restive province.

    On the subject of graft, Tom was surely surprised to learn that Russia is not the most corrupt nation on earth, nor close to being labeled as such. According to the Germany-based Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, Russiais actually 49 places below the worst offender, North Korea. Indeed, the country’s rating improved by 17 places last year as a government anti-graft drive appears to be yielding some results.

    Money, Money, Money

    Tom’s other big concern was the oligarchs. These individuals actually owe their wealth to the botched 1990’s privatizations during Yeltsin’s presidency. Indeed, not only are they certainly not “all friends of Putin,” he’s actually cracked down on plenty of them. Including Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the late Boris Berezovsky, both of whom have been heavily promoted in western media. It is true that a number of oligarchs have survived in Russia but today their political influence is negligible compared to the Yeltsin years, when they pretty much ran the government.

    Undeterred, Tom shot back by insisting that Putin was “coming after the Baltic States,”“ruining the Russian economy” and that “whatever faults the West has, it is far more appealing which is obviously why Europe and (the) USA are so attractive to refugees and immigrants. Not too many (are) heading East!”

    In the real world, Russia is actually the globe’s second biggest immigration destination after the USA and has accepted far more newcomers than any other European state. This isn’t widely reported abroad because it runs counter to lazy, and erroneous, tales of the “dying bear.” Which are pure hokum anyway, because Russia's birth rate is far healthier than that of many other large European states, including Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain.

    Also, when it comes to the Baltics, there is no evidence that Putin has any hostile interest in those rapidly depopulating (Latvia has lost 27% of its people since 1990) countries, which have close to zero natural resources and boast little strategic value, especially considering Moscow already controls nearby Kaliningrad. At the same time, the number one emigration destination for citizens of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, presumably seeking brighter futures, is actually Russia.

    This is despite their free access to the European Union whereas they need visas for Russia, which can be difficult to obtain.

    Furthermore, when it comes to the Russian economy, despite the current crisis, the average, official, monthly salary today (in dollar terms) is $567, compared to a meager $64 when Putin assumed office in 2000 and GDP per capita, when measured by purchasing power parity, has trebled. Also, quite incredibly given the severity of the collapse in resource prices, Russian unemployment has actually fallen this year.

    Rocking in the Free World

    Democracy is another concern of Tom’s. He states that “Russia could be a super country with proper democracy” and“should be a counter balance to US dominance.” Nevertheless, there are problems with this supposition. You see, Russia isn't powerful enough to equalize the US and its annual military spending (around $50 billion) is a drop in the ocean compared to Washington's largesse ($598 billion in 2015). Anyway, the Kremlin doesn’t appear to crave such a status. Instead it seems to want the US to merely butt out of its hinterland.

    When it comes to democracy - and this is tricky to explain - most Russians don’t appear to actually want to adopt the Western system. This year, Levada, which is universally accepted to be an independent pollster, revealed that only 7 percent of Russians are strongly concerned about democracy. Instead, voters are more interested in levels of social support (60 percent) and personal safety (45 percent). This tallies with a 2014 survey in which only 5 percent saw a Western-style democracy as essential for Russia’s development versus 16 percent who favored a return to the Soviet system. Indeed 45 percent of respondents said western-style democracy would be “destructive” for Russia and 55 percent agreed that the only form of democracy that could work for Russia was one that was "completely unique, corresponding to national traditions and Russia's specifics.”

    To understand why Russians are so belligerent about values held dear in other parts of Europe, we need to go back to the 1990’s. Back then Russia adopted a liberal democratic system and it turned out to be the most disastrous decade endured by a major global economy since the Second World War. The state effectively broke down and criminals ran amok. Salaries weren’t paid on time and proud, educated people were forced to sell their possessions on street corners just to survive. To add insult to injury, the Kremlin was helmed by a chronic alcoholic who was enthusiastically supported by the US and the 1996 election was effectively stolen in order to prevent the Communists from winning, while the west failed to bat so much as an eyelid. As a result, democracy is often a dirty word in Russia and the term “liberal” has been merged with a swear word “pederast” (pedophile) to create a new insult known as “liberast.”

    Do as I say, not as I do

    Next, Tom brings up Russian alliances with totalitarian regimes. He mentions Iran, Syria, Belarus, Venezuela, China, North Korea and Serbia. Now, never mind that some of those are not dictatorships; he does have a point here. But the problem is that the west has lost all moral authority in this regard through American-led support for the likes of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Chad, Uganda, Rwanda and Uzbekistan. Indeed, the latter regime has jailed more political prisoners than the rest of the former USSR put together and is known for boiling its opponents to death.

    Despite this, when John Kerry visited nine months ago, he never even mentioned these subjects in public. Presumably because Washington finds Uzbekistan geographically useful in case of future tensions with Russia or China in central Asia.

    But back to the original point. If we accept that Putin is obviously no Stalin, we need to find a more appropriate equivalence. So, I’d suggest Charles DeGaulle. The former French leader was also a staunch nationalist who tried to plot a different path for France, while remaining part of the global order. Because of the Cold War, the general’s ambitions were tolerated but Putin hasn’t enjoyed such luck. Interesting, both were also accused of cronyism and installing their fellow travelers as a new elite in their countries and 'Gaullists' remain the establishment in France today. That might be instructive for those who endlessly predict the end of the "Putin system" in Russia.

    There is no evidence that Putin is an especially “dangerous man” as Tom suggests. Russian jails are not choc-a-block with political activists like those in, Western-allies, Uzbekistan and Turkey. There is also nothing to suggest that the Kremlin runs secret prisons to detain its opposition as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch have accused Ukraine of this weekend. The same Ukraine that the US and EU fully support, arm and bankroll.

    Putin’s involvement in Ukraine might be considered murky, but it’s hardly on a par with Stalin’s activities there. Russia has reabsorbed Crimea, which was only subsumed into Ukraine in the 1950’s for administrative reasons, with barely a shot fired. Additionally, the Kremlin has supported ethnic Russian rebels in the east to an extent considered far too conservative by many Russians. It's also worth mentioning that Mikhail Gorbachev, considered a very reasonable man in the west, openly supports Putin's Ukraine policy. For which, as it happens, Kiev has given him a visa-ban. By comparison, Stalin is accused of killing at least 2.5 million Ukrainians in a forced famine (the Holodomor) and we know he deported millions more to other regions of the USSR.

    Comparisons between the legendary French leader and Putin don't end there. Because the situations they inherited are also somewhat synonymous. DeGaulle took over a defeated France, which had been humiliated in the 1940’s, and rebooted the state while promoting patriotic pride amongst its citizens. Similarly, Putin came to power in a Russia which had been reduced to penury during the 90’s and was the laughing stock of the world. Of course, there’s little doubt that the President sees it as his mission to restore Russia’s ‘greatness.’ However, behaving like a long dead Georgian despot would evidently be counter- productive and morally unacceptable.

    Sorry, Tom, but Putin is no Stalin. And thank God for that.
     
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  20. Billie

    Billie Nole fan
    Nole's World Moderator

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    Thanks Teddy, that was very well said by an Irishman, although I guess everything could be labeled as propaganda.;)

    Considering the state of Russia when he first came in power, Putin made a lot of positive things for Russians. You know how many Russians died in the WW2 and any country that experienced such tragic and devastating effects is not keen of stirring up another war. That was one thing that Bosnian Serbs told everybody: "do you realize what a war is and what destruction it will bring? It's better to negotiate for a longer time than light up a match in such a sensitive area." Did they listen? Of course not. With all the provocations on Russia's border, I am impressed by his restrain. If Putin were anything like the old guard Russian (communist) leaders, the war on a large scale would have been started a long time ago. But so far he is managing to balance all sides, somehow, his internal problems, including economy, and international relations. But how far can anybody be pushed before they snap?
     
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