Jan 17, 2017 E.R.
Click to download a 35-page .pdf document (image screendump)
BuzzFeed.com published the Intelligence report compiled by retired agent mr Steele working for the british MI6 and given to CIA director Comey in august 2016, and to sen (R) John McCain on december 9th.
During a security briefing in Trump Tower last Friday dec 7th between the intel chiefs, the minority leaders and the president-elect, a 2-page synopsis was presented as an addendum.
This is unpresedented, and senior White House adviser, Kellyanne Conway, also denied not only the claims of the 35 page dossier but even that mr Trump was aware of the briefing. The Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, told Mic that the allegations were absolutely false.
“It’s so ridiculous on so many levels,” he said. “Clearly, the person who created this did so from their imagination or did so hoping that the liberal media would run with this fake story for whatever rationale they might have.”
Thus, the climate between the politicians expected to "drain the Washington swamp" and the media starts resembling the Kremlin state-of-affairs.
"You lie through your teeth. Always. And if you are caught lying, you lie through someone ELSE's teeth."
"Sic transit gloria mundi"
Here follows the original 35 page dossier. And it is unconfirmed, as all such intelligence is, by its very nature. However we are intelligent people and fully capable to drawing our own conclusions, seeking information to that end.
Here follows links to additional case documents against mr Trump in US courts:
If you care to inform yourself,the evidence is overwhelming. Is this a man worthy of the highest respect, and the most esteemed position in the US? Or a traitor by any standard, a swindler and a crook.
What value has this flawed election, and the resulting coup of the highest office ?
No presidential election campaign is all snow white. There is simply too much at stake of the things we humans strive for. Power. Money. Glory. Celebrity.
So of course we tend to fall prey to its temptations, so to speak.
However, there are limits. And those are part rule of law, and part rule of conduct.
Also known as "Common Decency" among friends.
Here is a capaign, influenced and biased by the very same "small green men" as appeared in Simferopol, Crimea. Russia has succeeded in duping the uninformed, disappointed and troubled portion of the US electorate.
The resulting takover of both the media debate and the political scene means that this election is utterly and irreversibly compromised.
As a consequence it should be deemed void and invalid along with the many people that rode this Merry-go-round into Congress and the White House.
Jan 16, 2017 E.R.
The unimaginable has happened. A man has gotten himself into the White House who does not belong there. A man representing all we have come to abhor. Attacking (with impunity) the unassailable, skirting with treason, hiding his chekered past and his swindling affairs, his primitive outlook on women, hiding his court papers and his rape and sexual molestation even of minors. A medieval brute sharing values and attitudes with the darkest-minded Mulla that he professes to chase off the earth's surface.
Nov 4, 2016 E.R.
Stranger things have happened. Like when mr Trump was allowed to pretend
to be a decent man and a potential leader of the free world.
Photo: Screendump CNN
The 2016 Election Campaign has turned out to be all that it should NOT be. Competence, intelligent solutions to issues far greater than e-mails, decency and integrity and a clear-minded view of who is friend and who is opponent.
Instead, one of the contenders has shown racist, sexist, straight-faced lies about economic dishonesty and hiding shady tax and business practices. Piling one smelly turd on another faster than the public can showel them out.
One question is: what kind of person is this Donald Trump that has made a living out of all we have been told to abhor.
And another question is: Who is the american voter to accept it?
Michelle Obama as Democratic candidate for 2020?
Untainted, without any negatives to be exploited. Articulate, brilliant speaker, loved by most and admired by the rest.
Easy to wonder how Trump would fare if facing her. Badly.
A point to ponder in an election where 30 years experience in Washington dc has managed to become a liability.
Nov 3, 2016 E.R.
There is a trend in society that is deeply worrying. Not just in the US election, but in the social climate overall.
The trend is The Abandonment of Truth. The tailoring of the Truth, of facts, historical or not, is the trademark not of an advanced democracy, but of the rule of despots.
The US election is not unique, but a glaring example of a normless society where black is white, day becomes night and Donald Trump can cavort as a Politician.
Personally I see President Obama along with Michelle Obama as the sober voices. He stated in a democratic rally in Florida on the 2. nov that "there has not been such a clear choice in generations": The most experienced candidate ever, against the a self-proclaimed "dictator" (Trump backstage during a session of "The Apprentice" uttered: I am a dictator!!) who has muddled the debate with rude and toxic claims about all others. A man who by any old-fashioned moral codex is a traitor to the USA after being bought prepped by a Vladimir Putin. They have had close ties to for at least 5 years prior to the elections according to a still unpublished FBI investigation according to a statement by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid last Sunday. Donald Trump aligns himself with men that we can do best without: Russias Putin, Ukraine's deposed Janokowic (The booted GOP campaign manager Paul Manafort was kicked out because he became a liability to the GOP in august after found out to have close links to russian and ukrainian oligarcs/mafiosi, entering Kellyanne Convay). Even the figure of Nigel Farage turned up at a Trump rally, clearly wanting to have another shock Brexit even throwing the US and the Congress into turmoil. To what purpose?
Donald Trump WILL lose the election, and if our sense of direction still is intact, should stand trial on any number of issues: Hate speech, inciting public unrest, harrassment of minorities as well as ONE majority: women. I canot think of ONE "wrong" that this man has not done, and beside whom even the deepest dive into Hillarys sea of emails pales into a historic "hiccup".
Oct 25, 2016 E.R.
There is a war of ethics raging in Poland. A struggle that is as unique to Poland as it is a war between the new, liberal democracy and the dark-blue PiS with its tail firmly stuck in the past. The polish Parliament (Sejm) finally turned down the law that inituially was penned by the conservative think-tank Ordo Iuris, but only after some of the largest street protests for decades erupted throughout Poland.
Since the parliament elections in 2014 the freedom and independence of the Polish press has been restricted, liberal editors fired and state media outlets brought to obedience. So much so that the European Parliament in effect issued an ultimatum to the Polish Parliament to live up to its commitments.
(see European Parliament resolution on the situation in Poland (2015/3031(RSP))
This law would give Poland, the powerhouse of human rights and long liberal traditions the same laws on womans health as Malta, Ireland and... the Vatican, none less.
Oct 15, 2016 E.R.
The news have turned into a flood, this season is unlike all else in living memory. And so, in every storm it is useful to keep a little distance. Politics (which the Swedish Prime minister Olof Palme once called "The Art of the Possible") is not different from our other meanderings, but the US elections seem to bring things "to a head", and raises serious questions on many levels.
Rather than waste too much time on sidetracks, it suffices to state that Donald Trump is no politician, and that the degeneration of the GOP started long ago. The Tea Party movement, Sarah Palin and paralyzing the US Congress' law-making process were all signs of what was to come.
The news and images from the horror of Aleppo are pushed aside by unending denials from a mr. Trump about whether he groped womens breasts and the contrast becomes surreal. Clearly the man has mental issues, and one is left wondering how he would be as president. A meeting with a serious woman, for instance Angela Merkel or ECB's Christine LaGarde might turn just as surreal.
However this abomination brings another and more serious question: What happened to the US, where millions of GOP voters actually endorse this weirdness? It seems that desperation comes creeping out of the woodwork when sane-looking republicans are interviewed by CNN and says "Who cares if Trump violates women, lies straingt in the voters faces? .." and generally turns out to be a man one would not shake hands with, never be seen with in public. One is left feeling sick. A portion of the electorate that I would not hesitate to call The Deplorables seem not to expect the moral backbone they lack themselves. The other half are ready to take responsability for their informed choices. Michelle Obama said truthfully at a rally on the 14th oct: "we are not just talking about politics, but of basic human decency".
Donald Trump has been let to destroy the GOP, making it his own on-stage-idiocy for the world to watch in befuddled amazement, to the shaming not only of the USA and the entire democratic process.
President Obama, a born public speaker stated in a rally in Ohio in the 14th that "..you in the GOP chose this man as your standard bearer. Were you so blind that you stood UP for him, endorsed his senseless campaign? And now Trump is seen as a serial sex-offender you abandon him NOW? What took you so long?.." And after a short pause, words dangling in the air: "You get no credit for that!"
Aug 1, 2016 E.R.
Some facts seem to be constant pillars that make up the base of all thing. Like the fact that "action creates re-action" or that "truth has a nasty habit of emerging, sooner or later" there is another one: "A Right has to be earned". Meaning you cannot have something for nothing. This is a sound principle, working well in ethics, business (mostly..) and in politics where Democracy is right up there along with the Holy Grail, 90% opinion ratings, and sainthood.
But as such, it is to be earned rather than deserved. And here democracy shows its most glaring weakness when a sizable portion of the US electorate seems to have taken it for granted rather than having earned it.
The GOP has a long tradition claiming to be the anti-intellectuals, the "party for ordinary working people". Apart from a few years during the Reagan era when it sold itself as "the Party of Ideas" the Republican Party has stuck to its guns (litterally..) upholding conservative ideas. The party's electoral roots consisted largely of white blue-collar males of modest education, earning the nick-name "Stupidparty" at least in the world of social media. Deserved or not, this ephitet sticks to it like a band-aid to a sore bottom.
Mostly its a put-on for the gullible masses: Even when claiming they would "choose the 2000 first names in a Boston phonebook over 2000 Harward professors" to lead USA, the same GOP chose 2 Harward professors as their top political advisors: Henry Kissinger and sen. Patric Moynehan. But among an uncaring and generally uninformed electorate the point was quickly lost in a sea of political stump speeches and one-liners.
But something has changed. The transformation of the GOP that 15 years ago fractured into The Tea Party now has chosen a presidential candidate who's main asset is ignorance. Seen from the sidelines, the Republican Party has seized to exist in all but name.
Jul 23, 2016 E.R.
Politics have always been defined alone political and ideological lines: Left/right. Radical/conservative. Fascist/communist (though the latter is a little Retro?) But there is another charateristic that is mostly ignored, surely because it's a sensitive issue: simple demagoguery against a sophisticated and intelligent debate.
One thing is sure. Simple demagoguery takes little effort. Just deliver a simple message. And also no effort to swallow it, hook, line and sinker. Simple messages that resonate with the most basic human needs: Pain, Fear, Hunger. Hate.
During the US primary elections we have witnessed a virtual collapse of a divided and weak Republican Party. We can despair at Donald Trump. A man so thoroughly free of any sense of honor and decency that he falls readily in the trash-can for any one who is not desperate to justify him for whatever reasons.
But such have always existed: everyone knows of some local bully, a discredited and big-mouthed baffoon of little substance.
What really disturbs is ONE fact: that millions of people accept obvious lies, wrapped in insults and peppered with contempt for themselves.
Read more >>>
Click for video: Mannerisms, style and expressions.
Watching Donald Trumps mannerisms leads one to think he has
studied those of another noteworthy man: Benito Mussolini.
It may be not only Melania who copies from others...
Vladimir Zhirinovsky. A loose cannon in the Russian parliament.
As if that was ever needed.
Oct 22, 2015 E.R.
Ever since Russia started air campaigns in Syria towards the end of September 2015, it was clear that this was another surprise package for the West. But there were rumblings ahead, with Bulgarian authorities denying russian aircraft the use of their airspace for "humanitarian help" destined for Damascus and spotters eyeing ships movements in the Bosporus Strait en route to Latakia, Russia's only access to the Mediterranian. This time there was no need for more "little Green men" and un-marked trucks carrying nothing but canned tuna.
In a move instantly recognisable as Russias "Real-politik" Putin moved tanks, artillery, APC's and notably: advanced surface-to-air missiles of the same kind that killed MH17 in Ukraine. Remarkable, as IS was the purported aim for all this hardware. IS is known for many things, among which is a distinct lack of aircraft to shoot down.
Within hours, it became clear to all but the most dim-witted that Russia cares as much about combating terrorism as it cares about its journalists well-being and integrity.
Putins overwhelming drive is that of self-preservation. It is not hard to see that his "Sword of Domokles" is his own russian population hungry for any sign of russian stature. To keep them united and quiet, the classic solution is a war. Ukraina has lost its momentum. Frozen conflicts tend to lose media heat, as most frozen things will become luke-warm. So IS and Syria is the perfect blend. A chance to out-shine the US and a meandering Europe in the deluge of refugees from....indeed the very same Syria.
The anti-air missiles planted in Syria is no coinsidence. This is a war of proxy against the West both diplomatically and militarily. Putin wants to set the agenda specially concerning a no-fly-zone in Syria where US aircraft are operating with Coalition aircraft.
The reality is the exact opposite of Putins claims. Far from bombing IS, russia is bombing "all that is not Assads forces". Syria and russia's affair goes back to Hafez al-Assads regime, when the port city of Latakia developed into what is now Russias only remaining naval port in direct contact with the events in the Middle East.
All the more remarkable was it when Russia launched 26 cruise missiles, it was 1500 kilometers away in the Kaspian Sea, resulting in flight-paths crossing both Iran and Iraq, narrowly skirting NATO airspace.
Following the attack, Putin congratulated the airforce and said that all missiles struck "within 3 meters"
Indeed at least 4 missiles missed not only the intended targets (presumably in Raqqa), but indeed missed an entire country: they crashed in Iran.
..and then they were two: Syrias Assad "pressing the flesh" with Putin in the gilded halls if Kreml this week. The rubble tends to collect on the bottom.
Another kind of rubble: Desperation in the streets of Homs,
the receiving end of Russias "fight against terror:"
July 12, 2015 E.R..
We usually feel (as the Europeans we are...?) that Europe represents the pinnacle of national, social and cultural development. We have carved our position out from the Medieval Mess, based on some principles. Admittedely we (including myself) are prone to bias, and not blind to the unpleasantless of our own sins. But this does not disqualify us from judging those who represent forces that bring our ideals to shame.
This order is under attack. Some problems we face are natural: unemployment, injustice, human errors and weaknesses.
But some are systematically exploited for their own purposes, and on a state level there is the constant struggle between democratic rule-of-law and regimes with no respect for it.
I came across an article http://vz.ru/opinions/2015/4/7/738010.html in Russias Vzyglad website that is typical in many ways.
The author Edward Birov, states in not so many words that 3 districts in Belarus were "given" by USSR, inferring that Russia has the moral right to reclaim a part of Belarus. Food for thought: Russia had no hesitation to invade and steal, dispensing with its old allies as it seems fit.
Russia has its fingers in litterally every conflict in the world,
plus a few that dont even exist yet. And to further"rub it in", Moscows old ally Alexander Lukashenko is told that there are two choices: one is to hold a referendum "this autumn" opening for joining "mother Russia" or to see Belarus seize to exist in the present form. Little wonder that mr. Lukashenko is currently looking for new and more reliable friends in the West.
The current crisis in Greece is a bad challenge to the unity of Europe, and naturally a golden opportunity for Russia to sow discord, exploiting the centuries-old links to Greece, mainly through the Orthodox Church, of all things.
Putins efforts to "protect Christian Values" at the drop of a hat becomes grotesque when considering the tragedy that russia has caused. Not only in scores of other countries, but also for the russians themselves. Life in Russia is every bit as grey and hopeless as depicted everywhere, and latest in the excellent film "Leviathan", available for all audiences. Except in Russia where ist is banned for unclear reasons.
US President Obama in late winter 2015 called Russia "...that country that does not MAKE anything". Indeed Russia hates all the west represents, but loves what we make. Russia dreams of Mercedes, while gritting its teeth.
A Divine Bond? "In God we Trust"...russian style.
A russian finger. Up yours?
Back then in 1991 there was already talk about turning the Krasnoyarsk Region into an independent Yenisei (Central Siberian) Republic – and the talk was happening in the regional government building, not just on the streets and in people’s kitchens.
Later, in 1993, the head of the regional governing council Vyacheslav Novikov (now a senator) suggested uniting with the Irkutsk Region to form an Eastern Siberian Republic.
But by then the Region had already lost part of its territory to two new Autonomous Okrugs (districts), the Taymyr and Evenk, with larger indigenous Siberian populations, and Nationalists among the majority ethnic Russian population were proposing that what remained become a Russian Autonomous Okrug.
Ideas about general devolution and fragmentation were flying in all directions.
And it is time for an awakening again?
Read more in depth here >>>
About the author
is correspondent for Novaya Gazeta based in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
In 2008 he was awarded the prestigious Golden Quill prize for his investigative work.
By Anna Dolgov Jan. 23 2015 11:14
Last edited 19:04
Ilya Naymushin / Reuters
People gather near a stall with meat at an open-air food fair in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Jan. 14, 2015.
A lawmaker from the ruling United Russia party has offered his advice to Russians struggling to pay for food amid the country's soaring inflation: "Eat less."
This "parallel world" attitude echoes that of Marie Antoinette, isolated in the relative solitude of the Chateau de Versaille in the last pre-revolution days in 1790s France. Apparently surprised to hear that people in Paris were staving to death, she dropped the only words to immortalise her: "..Our people have not bread? Tell them to eat creamcakes instead"
Some things never seem to change?
Food prices in the Urals' Sverdlovsk region have increased by around 25 percent compared to the same period last year, figures cited by regional lawmaker Ilya Gaffner indicate, but he said it was "not that bad," according to video footage posted online Thursday.
Food price inflation in Russia has sky-rocketed and the ruble has dropped to (at present) 64 Ruble/USD . To "add insult to injury" Putin banned a range of European food imports in response to Western sanctions. Inflation is expected to accelerate even more this year, a devastating 15-17%: Potatoes from Kazakstan cost 400 % more than previous imports from the west.
During a televised visit to a local grocery store in Yekaterinburg, Gaffner suggested that Russians should draw inspiration from the most devastating periods in their country's history and enjoy the supposed health benefits of going hungry.
"We are all Russians, we have lived through hunger and cold," Gaffner told Novy Region television station.
"If supposedly there isn't enough money, people should think about their health and somehow eat less," he said lightheartedly.
Mr Gaffner who heads the local legislature's agricultural policy committee, has sparked outrage even from the normally docile russians. Some of them accused Gaffner of having bankrupted a numer of local farms and food-processing factories, Novy Region reported.
During the interview at the grocery store, Gaffner conceded that going without food may be difficult, but argued that New Year's feasts would supposedly tide Russians over for a while.
"The New Year's frenzy is over, people have all eaten their fill, and now it's time to engage in sports activities," he said in the video.
Some local inhabitants may be hard-pressed to appreciate the advice.
"I have a disabled son, he is constantly asking for sugar," a woman in the store told Gaffner. "I am forced to deny him, because there is simply no money at all anymore."
Party comrades from the regional United Russia branch responded to the criticism by praising the work of price monitoring panel Public Control and accusing the sporty lawmaker for not thinking through his statements.
The problem is that mr.Gaffner also heads this inistitution. So much for impartiality and transparency?
"To Ilya Gaffner, who allowed himself an inappropriate remark, I would recommend to think seven times before saying something," local United Russia chief Viktor Shepty said in a statement on his party's website, under a headline that read: "Doing good deeds, one should be proper in one's remarks."
But Gaffner defended his statement, calling for Russians to "unite" in face of economic problems, local Ura.ru news portal reported.
"People should recall the old times. Should recall labor, should take care of vegetable gardens," he was quoted as saying. "I don't think I have said anything improper."
Gaffner made headlines last year when MK tabloid accused an agricultural firm linked to the lawmaker of misappropriating state funds allocated for the support of local dairy farmers.
A website run by supporters opposition activist Alexei Navalny responded to the incident by calling Gaffner the "best lawmaker of United Russia, who embodies that party."
The anti-corruption website added that Gaffner owned three apartments in Yekaterinburg.
"So he probably won't have to make changes in his eating habits," Navalny.com writers quipped.
Thus, in order to stay slim, stop eating and to sports instead.
Gaffner's biography on the local administration website said he had four sons and is an avid sports fan.
Russian Food Price Inflation Reaches Up to 150% — Prosecutor
Record $150 Billion Fled Russia in 2014 as Oil Prices and Sanctions Hit Econom
TASS, Jan 23, 2015
“Eighty-eight such (propagandists) have been expelled from Ukraine as of today,” Markiyan Lubkovsky, an adviser to the Ukrainian Security Council’s chief told the Ukrainian television Channel 5.
Dec 3, 2014 E.R.
Amnesia, or just blind eye? Or just all we usually dislike in a human?
Putins willing echo in the EU parliament is now forced to actually answer questions from reporters who, in spite of an effort to be polite, can barely manage that. This interview is an eye opener.
Marine Le Pens own father and party founder distances himself from her policies and they are hardly even on talking terms of late. She displays a degree of bias against the Ukrainian people that is only matched by political and historical amnesia.
Refrences to Putins policy towards Ukraine are apparent from ca 4 minutes into the video, and she states that she admires Putin for "standing up to US and European cold war tactics" and "restoring pride to Russia", a country not having had too much of that sort for the last 70 years.
What strikes any informed viewer is how she can ignore the Soviet and Russian power politics during more or less those same 70-odd years.
If "restoring pride" and opposing the West is the sole criteria, maybe she would find a good friend in North Korea and Kim Jong-un?
During the interview she expresses a wish to look at Putins Russia with "a positive eye".
Is that a french improvement over "a blind eye"?
May her performance help to open the eyes of people who have less illusions about Russia. Also relatives on KAL 007 shot down by Soviet fighters over Sachalin Island ..or dutch relatives of the innocents falling out of the Ukrainian skies in July.
I expect she will find that to be an extremely "hard sell", although I also have few illusions about honesty of any kind. Including political and intellectual honesty, be there such a thing at all.
It would seem that FN's newly elected leader Marine Le Pen has some issues with real life. She does lead the party much in the same way as Putin leads Russia: Without opposition and debate. And seemingly with eyes closed.
I can respect political opinions, but not downright lies and lack of respect both for the political process as well as twisting history to fit your needs. FN is hitching a cheap ride into parliament on the back of real concerns like immigration and the fight against the IS.
Marine Le Pen reacts aggressively to merely questioning her integrity after FN received financial support from a Russian owned bank.
She would be well adviced to treat foreign money the same way as Putin does:
Branding russian recipients as "agents of foreign powers"
Nov 30, 2014 E.R.
There is a move in EU. There are deep divisions of opinion in the member states over very real issues, and so there are groups and affiliations across the spectrum from extreme left to the extreme right. But this is how democracy works and this is not where the russian problem is to be found.
However, Russia works in the old and predictable ways that any dead corpse of a regime always works: Covertly, aggressively and establishing alliances with whoever might suit the aim to destabilise the enemy: the West.
Be sure, the conflict of hearts and resources never really stopped after the cold war.
It just changed color from red to brown.
In a move that on the surface continues the struggle against the Nazis of the 1940-s, Putin in fact tries to gain support in ultra-nationalistic circles in EU. In an article in the german taboid Bild Putin is showing another side: a new leader, or should one say Führer for the EU nationalism. His tactics are defined by the Moscow based Centre for Strategic Communications.
Marine le Pen,s daughter is also joining the fry.
Alexander Gauland chums up to Putin, joins Yakunin in Wienna stomp
Alexander Gauland was also a special guest of the Russian ambassador in Berlin in September as well as speaking at a pro-Russia conference on Saturday alongside Russian Railways president and Putin confidant Vladimir Yakunin.
This is an evolving story to be updated.
Vive lá Folie: Marine Le Pen. An extreme right poised for the Presidency in 2017?
Marine le Pen eyes the eyes Elysée Palace in the next preseidential elections in France in 2017. She challenges a weakened Francois Hollande who has managed neither EU economy and immigration skilfully, nor treated wives and not-so-wives gracefully.
Her party Front National needs cash for the campaign, and no bank in France or in EU was cooperative. One can only wonder why.
The Bild Zeitung article highlight one of the AfD's financing methods - trading gold - as a way for the Kremlin to buy influence into the party. The advisors suggested the Russian government could sell gold to the party at a loss or use the Germans as a middleman for gold trading at commission as a way of filling the party's coffers.
The AfD (Alternativ für Deutchland) has sold gold worth €2.1 million since October, making low profits but aim to maximise the amount of public aid - calculated according to how many votes a party wins and its other income - it receives. During the influence of Hans-Olav Henkel (74) the party voted for sanctions and a firm suppoert for Ukraine. This has changed under Alexander Gauland.
Putin's experts also suggest repeating the strategy of making loans to the party, which has proved successful in France.
There, the First Czech-Russian bank loaned the far-right more than €9 million – and its leaders have showered Russia with praise in return.
One wonder what happens as the rest of the money, € 31 mill arrive.
Christian Wipperfürth of foreign policy think-tank DGAP said in an interview that "A lot of things have changed in West Europe and Central Europe in the last 20 years and Putin and the Russian people don't understand it.
"Russia is going back to its instinctive conservatism, as in the century before World War One."
The political parties on the far right seem split, and this at a time when one might think that the political fault lines between east and west are nearly comically emphasized, people specially on the right seem befuddled. The imminent need to join the fight against "liberal ideas, centralism and foreign elements" is a bit of a mouthful coming from a regime that tramples human lives and principles of civilized society on a daily basis.
"No more bearded ladies, vielen Dank" resonates well between the icy Kremlin walls.
After all, we need to note that the sale of iPhones and iPads plummeted as fast as the famed iPhone monument in central St. Petersburg was pulled down.
All because Steve Jobs turned out to be gay.
Dec 1, 2014 E.R.
L'honneur entre nous?
Honestly, who needs fiction when facts are as amusing? As reported by the french weekly "Le Point" police in Rennes was informed of a burglary on the first Mistral amphibious assault vessel destined for Russia.
Several sensitive and advanced computer parts and harddisks delivered by Thales were missing on 25. november. In addition made-to-order transmission equipment was stolen.
None of the russian military personnel currently undergoing training on board are formally accused of theft, but a minimum of insight is needed to say that the russian military stole the equipent themselves. Due to increasing pressure from NATO most western governments, the french have delayed delivery of the 2 ships because of Russias open aggression in many european countries, and the attack and de facto occupation of parts of Ukraine.
The reasoning follows the line "we seem uncertain to receive the ships anytime soon, so let's take what we can home to mother russia..."
If you canot buy it, steal it. An interesting attitude from a country that lambasted france for treatening to cancel the deal altogether because Russia treats the west as an enemy .
The rest of us expects the french Ministry of Defence to following EU rules on arms deals with nations at war.
At war with EU and thus with France herself.
Nov 14 2014 E.R.
"Dog-gone" in Sochi, again. The famed dogs of Sochi are back after hundreds were shot to "shine up# the city before Olympics 2014
To any outside observer Russia is tainted. We have to dig deep and long into the depths of our common heritage, if not to say Memory to find parallels to what happens today. Or do we really have to go so far back? With the risk of knocking down open doors and stating what is obvious to all of us, is events leading to WW2 while other factors are very similar to events preceeding the collapse of the Soviet state.
Russians generally reel at the comparison to Hitler. Small wonder, as generations have been taught that Hitler was the devils incarnation. The fact is that Hitler and Stalin had a plan to carve up Europe, attacking Poland from both sides, and even having a common victory parade. These are facts not commonly known, and specially not in Russia and numerous other similarities makes a mockery of russian demonizing the Nazi era. Its alive and still kicking in Kreml.
The parallels do not stop there.
The situation at hand today has much in common with the days when the USSR collapsed. Also then an over-ripe and dysfunctional elitist state buckled under falling oil prices and non-existant economic governance. In fact the Saudi had struck a deal with the US government to press the oil prices down, crippling a USSR leaking from both ends.
The Obama administration has a couple of weeks ago reached a settlement with the Saudis again, to keep up production and down prices.
But there the similarities stop.
This time there is no Gorbatchov overseeing the final debacle of a totalitarian state, and welcomed by a West willing and eager to assist in Russia finally joining the free and democratic world.
Now we see an extreme nationalist state, aggressive and treatening, in its final throes. Breaking all and any agreements, stepping on all neighbours and again bringing war to europe.
We are not meeting the russian state half-way, this time. This time they have to sort out their own mess.
Now, litterally with debris flying around the ears, Russia againt tries to destabilise others instead of rebuilding their own house..
Estonia has had one man abducted, dragged across the border only to appear on russian TV a fortnight later as a spy.
In Latvia a move is made to activate separatist intentions in the eastern Latgale region to join russia:
And believe it or not, Russia claims the Norwegian state is guilty of terror, no less, against russian women living in Norway:
Oct 4 2014 E.R.
One of the more poignant moments caught brilliantly. Europe rids itself of shame and degradation and moves on.
Soon to come to Moscow and Siberia and beyond? Watch this space.
Khodorkovskij challenges Putin:
Divine justice or a void to be filled?
Russia has been reduced to a state of near idiocy, not by any evil- minded external forces, but by its own sins of omission: democracy and free opinions are values that the civilized world has had to stand up for during revolts, revolutions and wars. Russia has has to go through all of these, but for other reasons, and to other goals.
A russian special treat:
Grigorij Jefimovitsj Rasputin
1863 till murdered in 1916
"on the dark side of the moon"?
The powers-that-be, from the Tzars (with a touch of Rasputin...) and Stalin to Berija and todays Putin (Rasputin, minus the Ras..?) has never sought an open society based on the rights of the individual. Just to perpetuate power over the befuddled masses, even naming WW2 as the "Great Patriotic War".
There was nothing patriotic about it: Just a fight to survive for the state. Scolars point out that the monolithic power apparatus of russia would have collapsed decades ago if WW2 did not happen. The reason being that an isolationist state NEEDS enemies to survive. Its own population was always isolated and ignorant, and never posed an internal threat.
And so it is even today.
Russia has never sought to alleviate tensions with its neighbours but builds on confrontation. Thrives on it.
However three things have changed fortunes for modern day despots.
The fact that wars can be replaced by football matches or economic cooperation. And then the insight resulting from communication: Now neither railroad tracks with different track-width from the rest of Europe, nor keeping the Kiryllic alphabet can hinder communication to the rest of the world.
Any russian can read about the Secret Cities of the past, and see the devastation of countless nuclear mishaps having ruied large areas of Kazakstan and Siberia. An article on these taboos will shortly follow here.
Russia has killed not only its own people, but destroyed large areas situated as a comfortable distance from Moscow and the datchas of the elite on the Black Sea or Sotsji.
NOW: People demonstrate in the streets of Moscow 21 sept.
Russia is grinding to a halt, with no visions for a future or even a political challenge demanding responsible governance.
But now things may change....?
The power-base of the monolith of traditional russian statehood is shrinking in tune with the erosion of the economy and the subsequent political melt-down that became all to clear even to the most tear-eyed nationalist, not to mention the hammer-and-sicle wielding riff-raff. It is tempting to add gleefully that the powerbase is now so narrow that the Kremlin will have to balance on one foot only.
However the implications of yet another toppled russian experiment in ultra-nationalism are many and hard to judge. The russian power elite is already fighting in a race for resources, and the oligarchs that could escaped with their billions and finally themselves to London (lovingly also called Londonskij..) or to a shielded life in the Swiss alps.
Putins political footwork in Ukraina has followed a path so predictable thatit is only matched by the inability of the west to come to its senses. The resulting melée still has its momentum forwards, simply because russia is flat on its back.
Despite the growling we are all so used to, its throat is bared. An example of that came this week when Kremlins vice prime minister Arkadij Dvorkovitsj declared that after all, russia would "not slam sanctions on the west" in spite of screaming blue murder the week before. Then EU and USA hit home with slow-burning sanctions designed to cripple russias oil and monetary markets over time, but no response this time.
The explanations are simple: Russia has no more sticks to throw at a west that finally is about to rid itself of russian gas. Even norwegian salmon and polish apples are finding new markets, and NASA last week signed a contract with Elon Musks Spacex Corp. for a radical new rocket engine to replace NPO Energomash's RD-180 rocket engines. A full 80% of Energomash annual turnover depended on sales to an otherwise grounded NASA. Now that bird also flies, and worried officials at NPO Energomash see a very short future.
Onless of course they can start making bicycles.
Noone needs RD-180s..
Trust in russias economic clout along with the shrinking resources sends shivers through politicians and entrepreneurs alike. And to topple it, the regime itself starts to jostle to be "last man standing": Last week saw the house arrest of oligarch Vladimir Jevtusjenkov, a man making a fortune in all from oil to cellphones and among russias 15 wealthiest. Again the reason was taxes and white washing money, just as it was more than 10 years ago with Yukos and Mihael Khodorkovskij.
For its meddling in the Yukos scam, the russian government was centenced by the International Court of Arbitration in Haag to pay 50 bln USD to former Yukos shareholders.
I do not much believe that anyone will ever see than compensation. But Khodorkovskij may be the straw that broke the camels back.
And if one day Putin, like Ghaddaffi peeps out from a sewer pipe, there are enough people who would gladly forget the cash.
Sept 3 2014 E.R.
Make sure you die in your own bed for Mother Russias sake...not in another country. Its a mess to explain away to your own people
What to make of a regime that sends a career diplomat out in the world with one task only: to lie? Lavrovs press conference circus has become like an old table in a room: it just IS there. All the time, as an irritant. What is served on the table may vary slightly from day to day, but it always smells.
And how to view a country that lies to its own population? The latest exersise is a new twist on an old artform in Russia: How to make people disappear.
Young russian men die in places they were not supposed to die. Brainwashed, cheated and gang-pressed into a place they did not belong, they and their families are also victims, just like in past russian adventures.
350 russian soldiers have been sent from the Kostroma base in Russia to the areas bordering Ukraina for "military traning". Since then noone has disclosed their whereabouts, or what their corrent status is. They vanished.
No officers at the base will say anything other than that they are not in russia, and the women have been given orders to go home.
From returning survivors and bereft families ittranspires that the men are taken to thw Ukrainian border, all identifications removed from uniforms and vehicles. Then they are sent over the border, sais Ella Poljakova.
The death certificates are issued in russia, with en empty space where place of death normally is filled in.
Ella Poljakova and Sergej Krivenko are russian opposition politicians and members of a so called Human Rights Council that operates under Putin in a strictly advisory capacity. But it is no secret that the council has a rather strained relation to Putin.
On the 28th of august they reported that as many as 100 russian soldiers were killed in Ukraina just on that day alone, and as many as 350 were wounded.
These are 450 hard questions to explain away for Putin and the military.
Ella Poljakova and Sergej Krivenko now demand a public inquiery as to the events leading to these tragedies.
But also the truth about russias role inside Ukraina.
It is doubtful whether that report will be made at all, however. But we can appreciate their courage and determination.
Distraught: Ludmila Hohlova. Leader of the organisation of Soldiers Mothers.
Valeria Sokolova: Where are our men from the Kostroma-base?
Olga Garina finally got through with her 20 year old son. He called from Kiev to say he had been detained in Ukraina. All 3 photos here: Dimitry Serebryakov /AFP
How to re-define the responsabilities of the journalist: A Balanced View, at any cost? No. Read more here. We appreciate comments
Sept 1 2014 E.R.
For anyone with an eye on the past and not just on the present these weeks have been a roller-coaster. We have moved within 6 months from local unrest in a European country, seemingly with russian involvement, to a full scale war between a significant European country and a russia hell-bent on reclaiming a soviet-style domination of as much of the west as it can lay its hands on. The leadership of the "free world" has been chased "from pillar to post" by a ruthless nationalist regime in Moscow.
As time goes and europes heart is being torn to pieces right before both policitians and citizens. It is mind-boggling: The way to fight a war and get away with it: Remove insignia and license plates from vehicles, and deny ANY involvement.
For some inexplainable reason the West seems to be unable to scrap the word "allegedly" about any russian involvement, even if the tanks reek of vodka and fresh paint, teeming with Ivans from all over russia, toting weapons that NEVER was available outside russia. One asks WHY.
A defining moment for the chicken. And for the European Union.
Imagine that there is commotion in a henyard one black night on the farm. You grab a flashlight and shotgun on the way out the door and when lighting up the scene of panicky chickens, you find yourself facing a slightly stunned fox, eyes blinking and with a mouth full of bloody feathers. Your conclusion: shoot the fox.
However: if you ask Angela Merkel, Francois Holland or worse still David Cameron, they would state that "one has to understand the fox, too.." or "..the chicken was brought there from the fox's own fridge by the said Fox"...or that there was no chicken in the first place. Or a statement woulf be issued to the effect that the even was so unlikely (the fox had been house-trained by themselves for 23 years and certifiably had become a vegetarian) that it really did not happen at all.
At this point things get really serious. Are we all taken "for a ride" into a land of empty promises and lies rivalling even mr Lavrovs media circus?
The people running Europe these days: Putin and one of his underlings:
Rosneft's and Pirelli's Igor Sechin: Before or after the kiss? Photo: Reuters
Yesterday I watched an interview with the OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier on France24 channel. And I have to say that a more disheartening performance is hard to find. I have come to expect little courage and honestly from politicians, but when a representative of the very organization set to overview transparency and human/democratic rights in Europe cannot utter the word "war" or "russian invation" then I see little use of the whole EU.
I have understanding and some tolerance for the working conditions of politicians, as well as the fact that the general audience are privvy to a small portion of the truths at stake. But when ALL the naïvité and downright stupidity masquerading as "real-politik" or diplomatic finesse blocks the civilised West from lifting even a bloody finger to assist a fighting Ukraine, I personally see no use of EU at all. In fact I see them as worse than Putin and his gung-ho clicque: they are at least not pretending to stand for any higher ideals. Only good old-fashioned fascism getting cheers from every nut-headed populist and neo-nazi in europe.
On a personal note, I wish never again to see or hear the words "gravely concerned.." again.
I find the cowardice of the West sickening. Only a few politicians dare to speak out, and should be respected for that.
Dalia Grybauskaite. Not Putins Poodle.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said "Russia is at war with Ukraine and so effectively at war with Europe" in an interview on Reuters on aug 30. Naturally she is right. Putin has launched into a non-declared war against all that europe has prided itself for (and as often sinned against...) for the last 200 years.
Polands Donald Tusk was elected new president of the EU. He is one of Putins sharpest critics along with foreign minister Radosław Sikorski and can be expected to bring some courage to the EU leadership.
Some have claimed that EU has failed miserably, and that a union between the Baltic states, Poland and all the nations bordering this new ultra-nationalist russia woud be preferrable. After all: they all know the true Russia.
Doing something about it: Lithuanias floating LNG terminal
"the Independence" will end the russian energy monopoly when operational later this autumn.
Today Poland and Germany commemorated the 75th anniversiry of Germays invation on Westerplatte, starting a catastrophe that claimed 6 million lives in each country.
Can we hope for honestly and some courage to prevail among Wests polititians?
Russias politicians are a lost cause. We have to face a future without Ladas and a still shaky economy. But lets not be fools again.
No more "spring chickens".
More of the same.
is here shame or even
1o.th June 2014 E.R.
It is hard to imagine the rationale driving Putin.
Experienced politicians and the general public are at their wits end to understand, and diplomats and pundits across the board are in a daze as to the long term fallout for a russia that "nearly had it done": nearly working relations with the rest of the world even with the grumbling aquiesence of states like Moldova and Georgia, and membership in the fora that matters in polite company.
One can discuss political stategy till the cows come home, but politicians are politicians by virtue of knowing and understanding their actions as well as the reactions to what they do.
Putin has miscalculated the consequences, it would seem. Russia has lost all in the West, and will have to make business with China. But Russia is no match for the emerging China, a fact demonstrated earlier when Putin had to accept Chinas terms on the gas-deal. Business is best done between equal partners. Russia is anything but Chinas equal.
Financially speaking, russias primary asset is its energy. But demonstrated in Ukraina, russia cannot solely dictate the price: they depend on the client as well.
So it is all the more striking when this life-blood for russia is no longer flowing freely to the West. Russia cannot win a war of business, making a regime of economic sanctions and isolation more effective than first assumed.
Russians are like obsessed by the idea of the great Russian Empire forgetting or overlooking the total discrepancies between what an Empire is, and the state russia finds herself in. Not to mention the rest of the world: more interested in making things work than to be...Empired upon?
Empires rose by military might where noone asked whether interests were balanced: it is always built on imbalance. Business, trade and democracy precludes (at least in principal...) balanced partners. Also energy deals.
On 3rd of June the European Commission asked Bulgaria to suspend its work on the pipeline because the contracts for the project have been awarded in violation of the bloc's laws. Under EU-legislation the supplier of energy cannot also operate or build distribution to customers. All this to counter owner-operator monopolies and to further business transparency by applying standard regulations to tenders and planning.
There will be reporting on the contractors ties to Gazprom, as many seem to depend strategically and financially on Gazprom.
The 2,380-kilometre pipeline was planned to be operational by end of 2015. Gazprom expects to build the second and third lines by the end of 2016. A fourth line is scheduled to follow by the end of 2017.
The pipeline will travel under the Black Sea and through Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia before delivering supplies to Italy, Greece and Austria.
Gazprom estimates that the 925 kilometer subsea section will cost 10 billion euros at 2010 prices.
“This is a priority infrastructure project and I hope the European Commission will find more solidarity in its future relations,” Bulgarian Economy and Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev said in a state radio interview this week. He is clearly worried that vital business interests are being politicized, concerns shared across the board.
But the first to se energy deals to gain politically was not EU. it was russia.
Following Bulgarias move, Serbia announced a stop to the plans as well.
Is this really the face of Europe in 2014?
This becomes somewhat personal, and may counter whatever role I have worked up as a dispassionate reporter on events, dispensing theories and political analysis. I am tempted to use less formal language while facing this heartbreaking sadness. But i will not. I leave it to you: we are all human. All in Maidan, as she was this sunday, the first summers day. THIS is what all really is about.
In The Archives we will keep already published articles, filed under each respective tab, so they are easy to find. We do not yet have a searchable database (though it is planned) and the material is stored by the principle "newest on top"
Growing up in post-war Norway, I had one proud opinion that I voiced as often as anyone would care to listen to me. The basis of which was that we had emerged from the much dreaded "Dark Ages" and bathed in the light of civilized society, free from ignorance and superstitions. That we were ruled and inspired by rationality and logics in the spirit of Voltaire and Rousseau.
However, I was the ignorant one.
Maybe I could be forgiven, being ca 10 years old but with an above-the-normal interest in history and with the firm belief that two people could always reason.
In the 50-odd years since, I have learned the answers to a few things, and been confronted by new questions: What makes educated and equally articulate people take a diametrically opposite stance in current events?
Mao Zedong once stated that
"religion is the opium for the masses"
I would add any "-ism" that requires total subservience to the list of religions. No matter if they are labeled communism or fascism, there are not any fundamental differences: All is just a matter of crowd control. And the un-informed are always ruled by the people who create the truths best fitted to their tasks.
I am not a journalist by profession, but I do believe that critical journalism is absolutely vital in any society. No society is ever finished, and the struggle to perfect it is really a team work in which we all can take part.
Thus this small contribution.
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