What IS it with Russia?

June 20, 2014 E.R.

Killers still free here

"  Investigating?   Really....?’’

The russian legal system is politizised to a seemingly endless degree, mixing business interests, state oppression and removing critics with sheer terror.

In a country supposedly planning everything with the eyes on long term stability, this is an incredible lapse of logics: the disintegration of the state control apparatus could accellerate in these days of internet journalism.

Read here for a report on some notable cases where the killers or the men behind them are alive and doing very well indeed.

June 19, 2014 E.R.

Novaya Gazeta journalist       Igor Domnikov

Murdered for interfering in the business of the powers-that-be.

The man who ordered the murder is big business man in Lipetsk. Justice? Tatarstan refuses to bring charges.

June 20, 2014 E.R.

Only in Russia...

A recent poll bt the Levada Center comprising 1600 russians over 18 shows that a mere 55 % consider that a political opposition is needed. 33 % think it is definitely not needed whereas the remaining have no opinion. And even more remarkable: nearly 70 % believe it would never come to  power.

The Numbers game.

What  future can democracy  have in a country where half the population dismisses it as irrelevant or logically dont care?

Russians have had 100 years of inability to draw own conclusions. Strange enough they view journalists with deep suspicion, and I  was even told that "they are paid"

Suggestions, anyone?

1o.th June 2014 E.R.

Pu Tin & Xi Jinping: new alliances?

"The only good Red is....?"

"Weird. All that Red. Brings back some memories...

was it in...Moscow 1980s? or Berlin 1930s??"

Russia had to swallow a camel or two as Putin and Gazprom met with Xi Jinping and the chinese China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) in Beijing on 21th of May. Russia was losing out like an oil barrel with holes at both ends: They had to accept what was offered. The deal is probably only tentative and what it really is worth is hard to even speculate on. It is more in the realm of kinda advanced guessing, as noone can predict the price of oil and gas 20-30 years from now.

July13, 2014 William Pawlowsky

Very pointed about  Russia and old lies

Seldom have I  read a more personal and yet exact tirade  about Russia and the myths created.

Russia, the "defender of Slavs and brother of Ukrainian Slavs".

Russia has nothing to  do with the Slavs. Language, culture and mental  framework: they are from  the Mongol steppes.

Like in the "Third Reich" lies were heaped on other lies and left for a mindless and gullible population to consume.Just like now.

Even USA gets its news from Russian media?

William Pawlowsky


june 20, 2014 E.R.

Never quite out of fashion, it seems?

"  Useful idiots"  again?

When I stayed in the US a while during the last millenium, I worked as advisor to the USGC, among other places at the Department of Transport in Washington d.c.

I had the pleasure to befriend the one country that has till now ensured that we dont all speak german since 1945, and since decades after that we do not speak russian.

However I am staunchly European by birth and unbridled habit, and my stay was brief. But I did not leave the USA until I had noticed one remarkable thing: the general public was ill informed about the rest of the world.

True, decisionmaking (particularly in matters of geopolitics) has never fallen on the shoulders of the general public, but when less-than-shining homework is evident in the corridors of power, jaws ought to drop to the footsoles. Mine did.

Former vice president runner-up Sarah Palins meanderings (re: CBS interview with Katie Couric and more) and her "bridge to nowhere" has stood steadfast as a mark of incompetence unsurpassed till this day. With or without "a view to russia" from Alaska.

There are two kinds of political mistakes. One based on greed, and one on ignorance. CEOs and members of corporate boards have to justify to the shareholders, and shareholders chief interests surprise few.

But when politicians not only in Europe but also the US senate and Congress cannot see the motives for russian political maneuverings over the decades there is a lot more than a bridge in Alaska that leads into thin air.

This story will be reported on during  the coming days in a special segment, and includes russians courting the US media and US politicians in receptions and fora in Washington d.c. as late as one week ago.

Some related material...

"Friendly Foes: U.S.-Russia military relations soaring"

"World Russia Forum, June 16-17, 2014: meeting"

Russias dread: to be surrounded

by people who dont like them.

Safe neighbourhood?

The rusting "Nerpa": one of the most dangerous things in russia. A storage for radiactive waste from among other the nuclear icebreaker "Lenin". Moored just north of Murmansk she is floating only on pumps. Funny thing is that foreign states pay for trying to keep russias miserable nuclear waste as safe as humanly is possible.

The photo above shows a delilict russian nuclear waste facility

(if that is the word) in Andreeva Bay, north on the Kola Peninsula

18.th May 2014 E.R.

OMON: Russias contribution to Crimea

14. may: OMON Special Services give Simferopol a new attraction: Repression always follows russian visits abroad.

New footage from newly annexed Crimea. Is this a view to enjoy, even for the population who really wants closer ties to Moscow?

Deceit as a statesform

All lie. Some more than others, and states most of all. In states with a defunkt control mechanism (i.e. journalism and free press) lying has been elevated to an artform. And it is effective to the point where the truth becomes a matter of debate.

This may be a case of simply clever talking but admittedly we are facing a propaganda war that is changing the political landscape in Europe, and there seem to be unclear lines of defense. Much stemming from our own inability to call a spade for a spade. So not only is the truth become debatable, but also a victim of political correctness.

Or worse.

Russia is said by many to  be the only place where not just the future is uncertain, but also the past.

Photo by FoxNews


Do we need a man like Putin? Maybe yes. To remind us what happened in 1939.

Russia and Putin are different from us in the West. And they need this difference, in order to keep distance and nurture the myth of Mother Rossia,- the very symbol of belonging together, in  the face of all else. Right from the start, russians have seen themselfs as apart from all else. Not so hard to do so when looking east, to Asia. But a lot harder when looking west, facing cultures that all russians hanker to belong to, and yet with an increasingly desperate need to differ from.

This is part of the Russian Dilemma. To  belong to the european circle, while at the same time distancing oneself from it. If ever allowed to  blend freely, russian identity would simply vanish: in a recent gallup, 55 % of all young russians would emigrate if they only found a place in the west to  emigrate TO.

Since long before the revolution soon 100 years little has been done to integrate russia to Europe, unless strictly on russias terms. Or Soviets tems. Just one long, hard look on the maps showing the roads and connections between west and the somewhat byzanthine east suffices: there are remarkably few. Even care was taken to  not have  the same width of the track on railroads, making  crossing a bothersome affair.

Another type of distancing is what has been nurtured for decades. Xenophobia, at times to a level we in the west find strange. And as always the best way to  keep Russia together is to  have "an enemy at the gates", threatening the very soul of whatever is Russia. This is  what  drives Putin. The Encirclement, as illustrated on  the left and going "in absurdum".

There are basically 3 ways to dominate. The simplest is to pay someone. But this Russia could never afford. The second is to scare the others: "We are strong". The third way is to scare ones own people: "They are strong"

During Putins speech to the Duma on march 18th Putin said "They are constantly trying to sweep us into a corner because we have an independent position, because we maintain it and because we call things like they are and do not engage in hypocrisy."

And in a televised interview in April he said "There are enough forces in the world that are afraid of our strength, 'our hugeness,' as one of our sovereigns said. So they seek to divide us into parts."

This is not merely a "lust for more land", although nothing hurt the russian soul more than the defeat of the Soviet Union, and thus the revelation that Russia is a country en par with all others. It hurt, because the superiority of russia got a bloodied nose.

Herein lies the key to a prominent trait in "the art of being Russian": Contempt.

Vladimir Putin as a KGB officer

stationed in Dresden

"..another  little man.  This time without moustache.."

Vladimir Putin is not

a post-communist

more than he is a


He is a fascist.

It would serve people well to look in the reat-view mirror. Russians may be excused for not having one: In the west we worry about the Future. Russians argue non-stop over the Past. To all with some knowledge of history the paralells to Hitlers ascent to power seem clear. The contempt for weaker, the cult of the body, contempt for  democratic practices and governance, his nationalism and lofty rhetoric.

The wests own far-right was quick to recognise a kindred spirit while Kremlin tries at all costs to distance from right wing extremists Kiew and in the west, happily  neglecting their on version that is merely considered "patriots, nationalists and defending the Motherland from  the decadence of the rotting West"

Amusing how  little difference  it is between Motherland  and Vaterland...

"Death is horrible, isn't it?" Putin asked viewers rhetoriclly

at the end of his recent television address.

"...but no, it appears it may be beautiful if it serves the people: Death for one's friends, one's people or for the homeland, to use the modern word."

That's as fascist as it can get. Putin and russia hates being reminded. All the more reason for us to continue doing it.