Polonium-210 Tea With The Tsar

In the last thread I was accused, by a commentator of allegedly Italian descent, of disseminating pro-American anti-Russian propaganda. It’s a false charge. This blog has been critical of Putin and Russia and its actions in Ukraine and elsewhere, but it certainly hasn’t heaped any kind of praise or adulation on the West or America. In fact, on occasion, this blog has mentioned and often implied that the “West” has “issues” just as the “East” does. If this blog concentrates the majority of its space, thus far at least, to criticism of Putin and Russia, it’s because there are plenty of blogs devoted 24/7 to criticism of the West and America, and many of those blogs are disseminated via Western servers and fiber optics meaning, for the time being at least until net neutrality is a thing of the past, the West allows this preponderance of incessant criticism whilst the East, meaning Russia, China and the Arab countries, represses freedom of expression and dissent. That’s not a trivial fact to be brushed aside. Stating this most important fact is not bragging about the West and America, it’s underscoring the importance and value of freedom of expression and dissent, because once that’s gone, True In-Your-Face Serfdom (yep, I’m singin the Trues again HBO) shortly follows.

A scrutinous perusal of this blog will reveal no patriotic symbolism or jingoistic jingles like one finds at The Vineyard of the Saker blog with its prominently displayed ribbon of St. George and the absurd message “Russia Stands For Freedom.” Catcher In The Lie isn’t interested in capturing and cultivating an audience, nor is it an intelligence community psyops. Cold N. Holefield doesn’t want a fan club. I don’t want a faithful following and an echo chamber in the comment section. In that sense, this blog is a rare exception and will, therefore, never be a popular pick. And I’m alright with that. I’d sacrifice popularity for creative, critical and objective thought and reasoning every day any day. In fact, it’s not even a sacrifice. It’s the natural and organic thing to do. The opposite is synthetic and contrived…and it shows.

Here’s the comment from Phoenix dindin (whatever the hell a Phoenix dindin is—but apparently whatever it is it likes fast motorcycles but somehow hates the Capitalism that produces the motorcycles and encourages such an expensive hobby for the increasingly idle who seek thrills with grifted/inherited loot) in the prior blog post that prompted this post, although it’s not the only comment that has served as motivation.

We all know that Putin is a dictator, that he is a murderer but now, if im not mistaken, i must aknowledge that he is going against the NWO,the banksters who decided these wars and to me this is a good thing because it slows down the process of globalization and in the meantime we can organize for a response and who knows maybe the dollar could collapse and so all the usa economy with a subsequent shift in the power from the dirty west to the brics countries which are dirties too but they dont INVADE OTHER COUNTRIES LYING THAT THEY WANT TO BRING DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM WHEN THE REALITY IS THAT THEY WANT TO RAPE THEM OF ALL THEIR RESOURCES!!

What? Is this person even paying attention? Is this comment for real? Could this person really have read everything I’ve written about and revealed thus far at this blog? The answer to those questions is obviously and resoundingly no. This person doesn’t care about research, investigation, observation and critical thought and reasoning. This person only cares about hate and finding something…anything to hate, and it’s found it in America and Israel. Yes, in its first post to this blog, made in Italian by the way, it made sure to mention Israel as well as America. I didn’t realize Italians were particularly anti-Semitic. I believe most aren’t, but as I revealed in the comments to that prior blog post, Fascism is mounting a comeback in Italy, and in Europe and around the world in general, so it could explain this person’s preoccupation with the American-Israeli relationship versus any other American relationship. Fascists don’t like many things, but at the top of that list are Jews. Anti-Semitism, for those who don’t already know, is a favorite pass time in Russia. It ranks right up there with drinking and bathing in vodka. Here’s a taste from The Moscow Times and The Huffington Post, quoted in that order from each respective link:

The Moscow Times

by Victor Davidoff

“Sometimes you’re sorry that the Nazis didn’t turn the ancestors of today’s liberals into lampshades.”

That shocking phrase wasn’t printed in an obscure neo-Nazi newsletter but was the subheading of an article in the web version of one of the country’s most widely read newspapers, Komsomolskaya Pravda. The author, Ulyana Skoibeda, is also widely read and notorious. She first came into the public eye when she proposed euthanizing newborn infants with disabilities and then took the spotlight with her fight for “racial purity” in the Russian state. She criticized the practice of inviting African soccer players into Russian teams and said “foreign citizens” like journalist Vladimir Pozner and writer Mikhail Veller, should be banned from television. Not long ago, Skoibeda got another 15 minutes of fame when she demanded that a text by the Russian writer Dina Rubina should not be used in a nationwide contest because “a citizen of Israel has no right to teach us” about Russia. Skoibeda, with the help of the popular newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, has helped take the centuries-old phenomenon of anti-­Semitism mainstream.

This time Skoibeda’s ire was ignited by a post on LiveJournal by the liberal politician Leonid Gozman, who also happens to be Jewish, like most of the other subjects of Skoibeda’s attacks. Gozman wrote a critical post about the television series “SMERSH,” an acronym for the Soviet wartime military counterintelligence agency, because it portrayed the agency’s activities in a rosy light.

“SMERSH operatives didn’t have snazzy uniforms, but that’s about the only thing that differentiates them from the [Nazi] SS,” Gozman wrote. “I don’t know how many innocent people they shot, but it was a lot. The acronym SMERSH, like SS and NKVD, should make people shudder in horror and not be used as the name of a group of patriotic soldiers.”

Historians are more certain of their figures. At a minimum, SMERSH arrested almost 500,000 people and executed 30,000 or 40,000 of them. Most of them were Soviet citizens who usually didn’t even know what crime they had committed, which was typical for the Stalinist period. We do know why one of those thousands was arrested — an Army captain by the name of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He was sentenced to eight years in the camps for calling Stalin “mustaches” in private correspondence.

SMERSH also was active on Soviet-occupied territories. In July 1945, two months after the end of World War II, a SMERSH unit near Bialystok in northeastern Poland executed almost 600 Poles without trial because they were suspected of having served in the Armia Krajowa, the Polish resistance under German occupation.

But the issue here is clearly not history. Since President Vladimir Putin first came to power, Russia has become a field where the threatening weeds of xenophobia and nationalism grow rampant. In Moscow, thousands have marched in nationalist demonstrations and taken part in riots. Crimes motivated by nationalism are so common that they are barely worth mentioning on the local crime news. Following the dark logic of European nationalism, whomever Russian nationalists start with as their enemy — migrant workers or African soccer players — sooner or later they get to the Jews.

Columnist Ilya Milshtein wrote on Grani.ru: “From low-grade xenophobia to an attack on Israeli citizens and blacks to lampshades. That is the historical path: from state patriotism to the crematoria at Auschwitz and the gulag camps.”

Anti-Semitism always flares up in Russia whenever the political situation heats up. Today’s patriots, like the monarchists a century ago, can’t help but notice that there are several Jews among the opposition leaders. They also can’t resist the chance to portray the entire opposition as secret agents of “Jewish capital.”

Prominent opposition leader and satirist Viktor Shenderovich jokes that his day is ruined if it doesn’t begin with an anonymous phone call asking when he will finally emigrate to Israel. Strangely enough, the more he changes his cellular number, the more anti-Semitic calls he gets.

Film critic Yury Bogomolov wrote on his Facebook page: “A civil war is already being fought, although it’s still a cold war. Liberals are not yet being shot, but they are labeled subversives in Komsomolskaya Pravda and on television. … The ideological basis for savage reprisals has been articulated, and the legislative mechanism may soon be put in place.”

Incidentally, lawmakers didn’t miss the publication in Komsomolskaya Pravda. The State Duma decided that three of its key committees, including defense and security, should be entrusted with an investigation. Alas, they weren’t tasked with investigating the fascist statement by Skoibeda. Instead, the Duma focused only on Gozman’s blog to determine if he violated the law by “equating Red Army troops with SS troops.” If not, several lawmakers suggested, new legislation should be passed to make statements like Gozman’s that equate ­Nazism with Soviet communism a crime.

Vladimir Sungorkin, editor-in-chief of Komsomolskaya Pravda, apologized to his readers for the publication, saying that he is unable to check all the material himself. But a few days later the newspaper treated its readers to another attack on a liberal, who — surprise — is also Jewish. In a comment to writer Mikhail Berg, a Komsomolskaya Pravda journalist regretted that “we can’t put people like that on the cobblestones of Red Square just before a convoy of T-90 tanks goes by in a parade.”

After that, Skoibeda’s dream of making lampshades out of the skin of liberals and their forefathers sounds almost quaint. When can we expect the headline calling for everyone to launch a pogrom?

Sweet! SMERSH. It sounds vaguely familiar…that acronym…like smerd except the “d” in smerd is replaced with an “sh” for shit perhaps? It would be appropriate and fitting—for SMERSH to be an acronym representative of shitty smerds (redundant, I know, since at one time smerd meant “stinker”).

The Huffington Post

A television news anchor on a Russian state-owned TV station has accused the Jews of bringing the Holocaust on themselves.

Evelina Zakamskaya, a presenter on the TV channel Rossiya 24, made the eyebrow-raising claim during a chat over the Ukrainian protests and Crimea.

She was interviewing Aleksandr Prokhanov – a writer who recently admitted he was fervently hoping for a new Cold War – who said supporters of Ukraine were bringing about “a second Holocaust.”

He said it is “strange that Jewish organisations, the European and our own Russian organisations, support the Maidan [protests].

“What are they doing? Do they not understand that they are bringing about a second Holocaust with their own hands? This is monstrous.”

Zakamskaya replied that the Jews “brought about the first [Holocaust] similarly.”

Nodding in agreement, Prokhanov said: “It is a blindness. It is an unbelievable blindness, that is clearly repeating itself, because even then in 1933 in Europe, many liberal organisations were feeding the Fuhrer.”

A video of the comments in Russian was first posted by a blogger on Americablog.com, who provided his own translation.

Unsurprisingly, many were left horrified by the comments, with one YouTube user summarising some of the reaction by commenting: “Complete and absolute facepalm. Nice display in what kind of shit fantasy Russia lives in today.”

Others said the fascists “are in Russia, not Kiev.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned of anti-Semitism in Ukraine following several violent anti-Semitic attacks that have occurred during the revolution.

But in an open letter to Putin this month, Jewish leaders wrote: “Your certainty about the growth of anti-Semitism in Ukraine, which you expressed at your press conference, also does not correspond to the actual facts.”

Yaakov Dov Bleich, a chief rabbi of Ukraine, also said earlier this month that the attacks may be provocations by pro-Russian forces seeking to delegitimise the Ukrainian revolution.

Sounds to me like Putin’s Russia is ridding itself of its infections (read Jews, gays, minorities and dissenters of all stripes). That’s the kind of personal liberty Monica Perez and her conservative hard “Right” Putin worshipers can get behind and support.

Phoenix dindin is not alone in its delusional notion that Putin is a savior against the New World Order (NWO) or whatever proxy we want to use for the force, or forces, that are always aligned against us Small People, even in the best of times. A commentator who goes by the name of ben (Uncle?), per this blog post at Moon of Alabama blog, had this to say in response to me about Putin and salvation:

CNH @ 13: Interesting theory in your ” call the bluff” link. Thanks for the input. Hopefully, the linkup between Oligarchs world wide, postulated on in your link, hasn’t yet happened. Time will tell. I for one, would still like to believe there’s a ruler somewhere, who really cares about the welfare of his\her workers. A naive dream? Maybe. Putin? We’ll see. The BRICK alliance? Again, we’ll see.

Posted by: ben | Apr 15, 2014 10:55:14 AM | 128

First of all, I believe it’s BRICS, not BRICK…unless ben meant to substitute Korea (North) for South America. But what’s most unnerving about ben’s post is the implication that the Small People must rely on a “ruler” to save them, and really, when has that ever been the case in history? I’m sure not a few intellectuals will come running to the rescue to provide examples of noble and benevolent “rulers” and to those examples I will say to the bookish ones, BULLSHIT. “Rulers” use the Small People. “Rulers” create the Small People. Small People create the “rulers.” Galileo allegedly  said, “woe the country that needeth a hero.” Cold N. Holefield says, “woe the people who needeth a ruler.” A people who need a ruler are Small People. How do I know? It’s written in the rule book, that’s how. Look it up yourself under the chapter called History. As I type this, the Smallville theme song per the YouTube below comes to mind. The Small People must be saved in perpetuity; it’s what makes it all go around and around. For the record, I don’t want anyone saving me—especially a “ruler,” and certainly not Putin. I thought the saying went, for all you Christians out there who see Putin as a return to Christian values, “God helps those who help themselves.” Seeking vindication and protection from a so-called “ruler” is the opposite of responsibility, accountability and empowerment especially when that “ruler” is a particularly conniving and heinous butcher like Putin with thousands of nukes at his disposal and allegedly prepared to use them if things don’t go his way (not that I believe that but that’s the meme being spread).

I know, I’m going hard on Vlad, aren’t I? Too bad. Get over it. He can take it, can’t he? Why does he have so many defenders? To me, it’s a sign of weakness. Strength needs no defense, but Putin requires 24/7 non-stop defense from all corners. In my book, not the rule book by the way, that’s a poignant contradiction. If Putin was strong, we’d never know his name let alone have to witness his hideously hairless bare chest. Strength doesn’t feel compelled to squash dissent and murder perceived enemies that may or may not exist, but Putin does. Take the case of Litvinenko. For those who aren’t familiar with this case, the following 2007 movie produced and directed by Russian dissident Andrei Nekrasov, Poisoned by Polonium: The Litvinenko File, can be found on Netflix streaming (but no doubt difficult if not impossible to find in Russia), but for those who don’t have Netflix here’s a link to Ovguide where you can watch the movie. It’s well worth it for those who haven’t, I promise. It behooves you to watch it when you get the chance, and you should make the chance sooner rather than later. It’s haunting.

I want to know what kind of glue ben and Phoenix dindin are sniffing? It’s obviously some powerful stuff. Putin’s ascension to power, like Obama’s, is permeated with mystery and intrigue with much of the trail of tears up the mountain of power left in plain sight for those who use their eyes to see rather than as biologically optical bijou. Putin’s rise was much more murderous because much more power is concentrated in the person of Putin versus his office, hence his need to stick around and maintain his position and tight hold despite Medvedev. Obama, on the other hand, occupies a symbolic and ceremonial position but his person possesses no power. Rather, the office of the executive possesses immense power; increasingly so in the last twenty to thirty years. In both cases, power is concentrated, and when power is concentrated, liberty and freedom are eliminated in short order.

While researching the Collapse subculture that’s been building around the world, and in America and The West more specifically, I used a handle/screen name of a character from the excellent 1971 satire directed by Alan Arkin starring Elliot Gould, Vincent Gardenia and Donald Sutherland called Little Murders. I consider it one of the greatest satires of all time, and it’s as relevant today as it was forty years prior. Personally, I sympathize and resonate more with Elliot Gould’s Alfred Chamberlain character than I do with the Vincent Gardenia’s Carol Newquist character. I chose Carol Newquist as my screen name at Clusterfuck Nation and other Collapse blog venues because the character represented many of the character profiles drawn to the idea of Collapse. Carol Newquist’s world was crumbling and Carol was losing control in an increasingly insane world driven insane by the severe oppression and repression of the likes of Carol. Carol and his ilk made their own bed, and now they’re lying in it. In the story, Carol laments and gives diatribes about the way things used to be and the way they should be again and how to make them the way they once were. Some of these lamenting diatribes are delivered in pseudo fits of rage. This character made me laugh so hard when I first saw this movie so many years ago, I nearly pissed my pants and died of suffocation trying to catch my breath. After reading Clusterfuck Nation for a while before going native and interacting with the rabble as part of my research, I decided this screen name would be perfect, but what I didn’t anticipate was how the audience at Kunstler’s blog, if you can call it (audience) that, completely missed the point. It’s not surprising, because as I’ve mentioned, there really is no audience at Kunstler’s blog, but if there was, yeah, they still would have missed the point. I guess the lesson is, it’s not worth trying to make a point in a world that increasingly, if it ever did, has no point. If you haven’t seen Little Murders, you should. Read James Howard Kunstler’s latest weekly offering here and then watch this clip, starting at 6:23, of Vincent Gardenia’s Carol Newquist character going on a tirade and tell me if you can tell any difference between the two. I can’t. They’re one and the same.

Carol Newquist says emphatically, “I want my freedom” at the end of that clip. And all the tactics he mentions that will get him and his ilk that freedom are the very same tactics the Conservative Revanchists pine for and the very same tactics Putin is using because, don’t you know (you should by now), as The Saker says, “Russia Stands For Freedom.” Satire’s now reality — maybe it always has been and I just haven’t noticed until now. Gardenia’s Newquist, who has clearly lost control and his grip, has conjured Putin in an attempt to turn back the clock, even though you can never go back. But you can pretend the past is a destination that beckons you, and sometimes that’s enough, isn’t it? Make believe can be fun, especially when you don’t even know you’re playing. But playing make believe in grown up land can be deadly. Putin has his Little Murders — a lot of them as a matter of fact. This link to a post at La Russophobe entitled The Putin Murders does an excellent job of exposing Putin for the mass murderer he is. Carol Newquist is proud. “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last.” Of course, the Putin Parade will have a field day with that link. They’ll tell you Kim Zigfeld, a pseudonym by the way, is a Neocon and therefore anything she authors cannot be trusted as a source. Read it for yourself and make your own mind up. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture especially when you put it in the context of everything else exposed in this blog. Here’s several comments to that linked blog post I found interesting:

Gus | August 19, 2008 at 2:51 am | Reply

When will the West learn to better counter such ruthless, Godless and thug-like behavior? I would like to see Putin and Medvedev hanging from a lamp post in Moscow someday!

Puss | November 24, 2009 at 9:13 pm | Reply

I am so-o-o pleased to read about your secret (?) wish, Gus. This is exactly what I was saying since they have ‘elected’ they Fishy-Eye Comrade P and his bunch of mafiosi.

Russians are absolute idiots, or too spooked to move, and there are so many of them, all sitting on their backsides prettily. Surely, would they care for their own wellbeing and their children’s future, they should do just that, – the Kremlin and Lubyanka companies should be both kicked out of business. To have their streets decorated in a lovely surreallistic Christmas-ey display, – with the hundreds of their greedy murderous vultures, suspended upside down, with the dosh falling out of their pockets, – ah, it is every decent man and woman’s dream! I am not a bloodthirsty monster at all, but, even if this would last for a couple of hours, before they have been put to prison, – wouldn’t it be something to dream about? If only.

The people keep very-very quiet, as usual, according to Pushkin’s ‘Boris Godunov’: ‘narod bezmolvstvuet’ – they all keep shtum, that is.

Miaou!

Julia | April 19, 2014 at 11:22 am | Reply

I am a Russian sitting on my … I am 50, a mother of a son 26. Do you know how many Russians have died since 1989? Nobody knows exactly – but hundreds of thousands, maybe more – about 150 000 children have been adopted by foreigners, hundreds of thousands women have been sold to brothels. All last European wars (including a Yugoslavian one) have been arranged by the KGB/FSB in order to hide the fact now enormously big the amount of dead Russians is. Post-Soviet migration could disguise the population decrease but well-being is – a paradox! – the time when you can count dead ones. So there is room only for permanent chaos. Don’t blame us – your country probably is afraid of conflicts with the oligarch’s/FSB’s Russia too. Your government has got the army, the police, the secret services. I have got my son. Will you notice his death? Or diffamation? Will you protect us? Believe me – they have come this time for your soul. Do not criticise Russians! Do something

Notice the bolded part. That’s not an insignificant number, but what a shining example of Monica Perez’s personal liberty that she will defend at all costs. Considering Monica is a high-ranking member of the Putin Admiration Society, I’m sure she’ll be ready to force her children into a life of sex slavery when it comes knocking at her door — which may be sooner rather than later if Monica and her ilk have their way and infection-cleansing gets underway earnestly in America and the West. Nothing says freedom and personal liberty better than sex slavery, don’t you agree?

While flipping the channels Sunday night, an increasingly favorite hobby/sport in an increasingly electronic world, I ran across Anthony Bourdain’s: Parts Unknown on CNN. Tony did an episode on Russia — specifically Putin’s Russia. He’s done several shows on Russia over the years in other presentational incarnations such as Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations but this one was particularly hard-hitting — and for good reason. At least he has the nerve to go there — something spineless traitors like Kunstler and Krolick (both Jews by the way, which is ironic or not depending on how deep you go in trying to solve the “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” (Churchhill) that is Russia), who have bilked the hopelessly indebted cash cow that is America for all it’s worth, are unwilling to do for various self-serving reasons. I like Bourdain. He’s an excellent writer and his shows are excellently choreographed and produced. Some people might call him a prick — but that, to me, is what makes him so endearing. The guy just says it like it is, no holds barred, whether the “is” part really is — which it’s most likely not, but who cares? Not me. Not anymore (ah, the memories ;-)). Here’s a taste of Bourdain’s prose from the Russia episode linked to above:

In this episode of “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown,” we take a look at Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Not Russia, the country of Tolstoy and Gogol, poetry and great sacrifice, forests of birch. Nor the Russia haunted by the Great War, Lenin and Stalin, terrors, gulags and purges. The Cold War does not feature in this story — nor what immediately followed. We’re looking at Putin’s Russia, the country he’s made — is making, right there, in full view of the world. We look at who’s doing well — and who is not.

Putin appears to see himself as a manly man of the old school. By old school, I mean mid period Sylvester Stallone. He is fond of appearing in public with his shirt off while riding a horse or standing in front of a tank or holding a large gun. All these macho displays might cause one to ask if he doth protest too much about his masculinity, but we won’t go there.

For reasons of good diplomatic relations, the West has been inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. Extending the benefit of the doubt has been something of a reflex when it comes to Putin. When a loud critic of Putin’s was poisoned by a radioactive polonium (a wildly expensive and nearly impossible to obtain substance outside of restricted military circles) in the center of London, the attitude was very much, “Who could possibly have done such a thing?”

In the run up to the annexation of Crimea, there was similarly disingenuous hand-wringing in the press and by public officials:

“What, oh, what, will Putin do next?”

And: “Who could those pro-Russian insurgents be?”

Though the question probably should have been, “Was there ever any doubt,” perhaps there are other priorities at work in the West’s apparent credulousness.

About 50% of the oil used by Europe comes from Russia these days. And Vladimir Putin has demonstrated before that he will not hesitate to turn off the tap.

Putin’s rule has been marked by official attitudes of xenophobia, homophobia and paranoia. He likes power, and, as we’ve seen with the Sochi Olympics, is not shy about projecting it. Though a former officer in the Soviet intelligence services, he is certainly comfortable with ’80s style go-go capitalism. The people close to him tend to make a lot of money. He’s not afraid of doing what he sees as being in his interests — or the interests of his country — and the hell with what anybody else thinks. He’s no wimp. He espouses, when convenient, anyway, traditional Christian values.

Thinking about it, he could probably get elected to Congress in this country.

Though his face is as taut and devoid of expression, as a Real Housewife, it holds, based on past behaviors, little mystery, one would think. Yet here we are, only now, finding out who Vladimir Putin really is.

This clip from Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown Russia episode, reveals hints of the True Russia (HBO — you Bastards!) that’s overlooked for the Potemkin Village spectacle that is the Tverskoy District of Moscow or the recent Sochi travesty with its $50 billion price tag. From that Sochi link, a commentator said the following:

by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region

February 24, 2014 10:52 AM

At least 20 % of all the Russian are sure that the Sochi’s $50 Billion expenditure was an ill spent whim of the ruler, absolutely unrelated to more urgent and higher priorities’ needs of the country, predominantly northern and impoverished beyond the Moscow Ring Road. The most optimistic forecasts are that there will be just 0,3% boost to the country’s GDP: the mountain of all spent resources gave birth to… a mouse.

Although the huge country badly needed modernization of its substandard roads, logistics infrastructure instead. All of the Sochi’s facilities will soon be neglected and looted as volunteers leave the place. Even in-numerous prosperous Russians will certainly prefer to have their holidays and vacations in more civilized places like Turkey, Greece and Italy than in semi civilized Sochi.

Don’t be a party pooper, Gennady. Remember Anna Chapman’s credo — something she repeats to herself in her head while she’s giving Putin head in his Yellow Submarine? Anna’s philosophical credo per the link I provided in the previous Revenge Of The Smerds post:

You must be active. You must be positive. And you must bring value. It just came to me. Sometimes I just know. I woke up one day and I just knew. And these three things correspond exactly to who I am. I am active, I am positive, and I bring value.

Now, Bourdain’s quote, immanently more sane and grounded, from the linked clip to his Russia show I provided:

The night train to St. Petersburg is one of the great fun things to do in Russia. Roll on great steel wheels through the night through dark forests of birch and snow. Out there in the dark, visible for a second or two at a time, the Real Russia — the one most Russians live in.

That Real Russia is revealed in this excellent Ellen Barry NYT (American propaganda rag, I know, but one that cherishes uncensored Russian commentary in the comments to its many Russian articles) exposé. Here’s a taste per the link:

The Russia Left Behind

A journey through a heartland on the slow road to ruin.

LYUBAN

A Modern Train, a Rotting City

A few times every day, the high-speed train between St. Petersburg and Moscow barrels through the threadbare town of Lyuban. When word gets out that the head of Russia’s state railway company — a close friend of President Vladimir V. Putin — is aboard, the station’s employees line up on the platform standing at attention, saluting Russia’s modernization for the seconds it takes the train to fly through. Whoosh.

But Vladimir G. Naperkovsky is not one of them. He watched with a cold, blue-eyed stare as the train passed the town where he was born, with its pitted roads and crumbling buildings. At 52, having shut down his small computer repair business, Mr. Naperkovsky is leaving for another region in Russia, hoping it is not too late to start a new life in a more prosperous place. The reasons are many, but his view boils down to this: “Gradually,” he said, explaining his view of Lyuban, “everything is rotting.”

At the edges of Russia’s two great cities, another Russia begins.

This will not be apparent at next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, nor is it visible from the German-engineered high-speed train. It is along the highway between Moscow and St. Petersburg — a narrow 430-mile stretch of road that is a 12-hour trip by car — that one sees the great stretches of Russia so neglected by the state that they seem drawn backward in time.

As the state’s hand recedes from the hinterlands, people are struggling with choices that belong to past centuries: to heat their homes with a wood stove, which must be fed by hand every three hours, or burn diesel fuel, which costs half a month’s salary? When the road has so deteriorated that ambulances cannot reach their home, is it safe to stay? When their home can’t be sold, can they leave?

Clad in rubber slippers, his forearms sprinkled with tattoos, Mr. Naperkovsky is the kind of plain-spoken man’s man whom Russians would call a “muzhik.” He had something he wanted to pass on to Mr. Putin, who has led Russia during 13 years of political stability and economic expansion.

“The people on the top do not know what is happening down here,” he said. “They have their own world. They eat differently, they sleep on different sheets, they drive different cars. They don’t know what is going on here. If I needed one word to describe it, I would say it is a swamp, a stagnant swamp. As it was, so it is. Nothing is changing.”

Driving the highway, the M10, today, one finds beauty and decay. There are places where wild boars roam abandoned villages, gorging themselves on the fruit of orchards planted by men.

There are spots on this highway where it seems time has stopped. A former prison guard is spending his savings building wooden roadside chapels, explaining that “many souls” weigh on his conscience. A rescue worker from the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl is waiting, 27 years later, for the apartment the Soviets promised him as a reward. Women sit on the shoulder, selling tea to travelers from a row of samovars. Above them, pillars of steam vanish into the sky, just as they did in 1746, the year construction on the road began.

None of this appears to affect the obvious and nauseating crush those on the far “Right” and far “Left” in the West have on Putin. Eidetic, these people are not. They fall for it again, and again and again. They never learn. Take this satire (even though it’s not labeled as such, it is satire nonetheless), for example, from Ellen Barry (yes, Ellen again) at the NYT. It’s dated 2011 but it’s even more relevant today.

Texas Blogger’s ‘Man Crush’ on Putin Leads to Lengthy Heart to Heart

Gayne C. Young, a high school English teacher from Fredericksburg, Tex., is not a specialist in foreign policy. The blog he writes for Outdoor Life, a magazine for hunters and fishermen, focuses on subjects like his Labrador puppy, unusually large carp and a subdivision near his home that has been overrun by feral hogs.

Nonetheless, last week Mr. Young scored a journalistic coup, publishing a lengthy written interview with Russia’s prime minister, Vladimir V. Putin. Mr. Young approached the Russian government last year after blogging repeatedly about his “man crush” on Mr. Putin, and the questions he sent the Russian prime minister were, shall we say, softballs. They included, “Are there Yetis or Russian ‘wood goblins’ in the taiga?” and “Are you the coolest man in politics?”

The decision to grant the interview appears to be part of an attempt by Mr. Putin to soften his image in the West. During the three years since Mr. Putin entered a power-sharing arrangement with President Dmitri A. Medvedev, the president has been cast as the smiling face of a “reset” in the relations with the United States. In the eyes of Western observers, that has left Mr. Putin as the bad cop, which could pose a problem if he decides to return to the presidency next spring.

“There is some truth in this argument, and I think Putin has realized he needs to care about his image in the West,” said Alexander Rahr, a Russia specialist at the German Council on Foreign Relations. “The only argument which really speaks for Medvedev is this Western thing. That is his trump card. Putin has to counter it.”

The Outdoor Life interview — at times an exercise in mutual back-slapping — is not likely to have much impact, especially since it was released the same day as a much-anticipated news conference by Mr. Medvedev.

But it does show Mr. Putin trying to present himself in a softer, more friendly light. In between discussions of tiger poaching, Ernest Hemingway and the fragility of human existence, Mr. Putin tells Mr. Young that the United States and Russia have been powerfully drawn to each other since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The recent improvement in relations “seems to point to the fact that the vast majority of barriers between our peoples were unnaturally and artificially forced upon them,” Mr. Putin said. “Ordinary people always want to live in peace rather than in war and to be able to freely socialize, interact and make friends, if you wish. For too long, we had been cruelly held apart from each other, so it was only natural that the fall of the Iron Curtain generated a huge wave of interest toward Russia.”

Mr. Putin also plays up his image as an avatar of manliness, which has been established by photos of him riding shirtless on horseback, shooting a tiger with a tranquilizer gun or offering judo instructions. Asked about an episode last summer, when he shot a dart at the exposed back of a gray whale from a rubber dinghy, Mr. Putin drifted into Hemingway territory.

“All that surrounded me — the low sky, the stormy sea and, of course, the whales — was magnificent,” he said. “Besides, these elegant giants showed us a real performance, leaping out of the water in front of our boat.”

On that occasion, a reporter asked Mr. Putin whether it was dangerous, and the prime minister responded, “Living in general is dangerous.” In the Outdoor Life interview, he elaborated, saying that a human being is “still one of the most vulnerable creatures on earth,” barraged by disease, disaster and criminality.

“However, this is not a reason to hide away from life,” he said. “One can truly enjoy his or her life only while experiencing it, and it is inevitably related to a certain level of risk.”

It was the gray whale episode that especially captivated Mr. Young, 42. After he began writing about his “man crush,” his blog hits grew so high that his editors asked him for more, and he published an open letter to the prime minister proposing that the two men go hunting together.

Before long, Mr. Young was communicating with the press attaché in the Russian Embassy in Washington and with Ketchum, a public relations firm that represents Russia.

“My editors were like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah,’ ” Mr. Young said. But early in the spring, he was told that Mr. Putin was in the process of answering Mr. Young’s questions — at considerable length. The draft originally sent to Outdoor Life was almost 8,000 words long and had to be edited down by almost 3,000 words, Mr. Young said.

“I got to tell you, I’m more in love with the guy than ever,” he said. In an interview from his home in Texas, Mr. Young said Outdoor Life was hoping to send him to Russia to go fishing with Mr. Putin, who is not a keen hunter. It seemed Mr. Young’s ardor does not extend to Mr. Medvedev, since a mention of the Russian president’s name was met with silence on the other end of the line.

“You’re going to have to remind me who that is,” Mr. Young said.

I thought Putin was a homophobe? If this isn’t gay love, there is no such thing. Is that what it’s called these days — fishing? Get a hotel room already. Must they engage in such flamboyant fellatio in public for all to see? What about the gay exhibitionism laws in Russia? Shouldn’t they apply to the public pornographic behavior exhibited by Putin and Gayne (and “gay” is right there in his name) Young? Give these boys a rainbow flag, someone, please. It’s the only thing that’s missing — the rainbow flag and this theme song (just change the “her” to “him”) to go with their romance:

But over-compensating outdoorsy high school teachers from Texas aren’t the only profiles wanting to buddy up with Putin. Apparently, there are not a few, retired or otherwise, military personnel, at all levels, who admire Putin and would like to go fishing with him like Gayne Young. Don’t believe me? Head (haha) on over to Sic Semper Tyrannis for a look see. Military people, especially those with more brass, love Authoritarians — and Pat Lang and his type are no exception. Lang, if not explicitly certainly implicitly, has made clear his fondness and support, sometimes contractually as a consultant, for the likes of Bashar al-Assad, the late Omar Suleiman and now Vladimir Putin. If you thoroughly research Pat Lang’s blog, you can’t help but conclude he’s sympathetic with these murderous and torturous tyrants. Of course, Lang’s a spy (once a spy always a spy), and spies, these days at least and perhaps always, have no problem murdering and torturing when it’s called for to accomplish their mission, whatever that mission may be. All three of these authoritarian tyrants have murdered and tortured with impunity, the first two in that list under contract with America per this dated NYT article. Per the link:

Torture, American Style

Maher Arar is a 34-year-old native of Syria who emigrated to Canada as a teenager. On Sept. 26, 2002, as he was returning from a family vacation in Tunisia, he was seized by American authorities at Kennedy Airport in New York, where he was in the process of changing planes.

Mr. Arar, a Canadian citizen, was not charged with a crime. But, as Jane Mayer tells us in a compelling and deeply disturbing article in the current issue of The New Yorker, he “was placed in handcuffs and leg irons by plainclothes officials and transferred to an executive jet.”

In an instant, Mr. Arar was swept into an increasingly common nightmare, courtesy of the United States of America. The plane that took off with him from Kennedy “flew to Washington, continued to Portland, Maine, stopped in Rome, Italy, then landed in Amman, Jordan.”

Any rights Mr. Arar might have thought he had, either as a Canadian citizen or a human being, had been left behind. At times during the trip, Mr. Arar heard the pilots and crew identify themselves in radio communications as members of “the Special Removal Unit.” He was being taken, on the orders of the U.S. government, to Syria, where he would be tortured.

The title of Ms. Mayer’s article is “Outsourcing Torture.” It’s a detailed account of the frightening and extremely secretive U.S. program known as “extraordinary rendition.”

This is one of the great euphemisms of our time. Extraordinary rendition is the name that’s been given to the policy of seizing individuals without even the semblance of due process and sending them off to be interrogated by regimes known to practice torture. In terms of bad behavior, it stands side by side with contract killings.

Our henchmen in places like Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Uzbekistan and Jordan are torturing terror suspects at the behest of a nation – the United States – that just went through a national election in which the issue of moral values was supposed to have been decisive. How in the world did we become a country in which gays’ getting married is considered an abomination, but torture is O.K.?

As Ms. Mayer pointed out: “Terrorism suspects in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East have often been abducted by hooded or masked American agents, then forced onto a Gulfstream V jet, like the one described by Arar. … Upon arriving in foreign countries, rendered suspects often vanish. Detainees are not provided with lawyers, and many families are not informed of their whereabouts.”

Mr. Arar was seized because his name had turned up on a watch list of terror suspects. He was reported to have been a co-worker of a man in Canada whose brother was a suspected terrorist.

“Although he initially tried to assert his innocence, he eventually confessed to anything his tormentors wanted him to say,” Ms. Mayer wrote.

The confession under torture was worthless. Syrian officials reported back to the United States that they could find no links between Mr. Arar and terrorism. He was released in October 2003 without ever being charged and is now back in Canada.

Barbara Olshansky is the assistant legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is representing Mr. Arar in a lawsuit against the U.S. I asked her to describe Mr. Arar’s physical and emotional state following his release from custody.

She sounded shaken by the memory. “He’s not a big guy,” she said. “He had lost more than 40 pounds. His pallor was terrible, and his eyes were sunken. He looked like someone who was kind of dead inside.”

Any government that commits, condones, promotes or fosters torture is a malignant force in the world. And those who refuse to raise their voices against something as clearly evil as torture are enablers, if not collaborators.

There is a widespread but mistaken notion in the U.S. that everybody seized by the government in its so-called war on terror is in fact somehow connected to terrorist activity. That is just wildly wrong.

Tony Blair knows a little about that sort of thing. Just two days ago the British prime minister formally apologized to 11 people who were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for bombings in England by the Irish Republican Army three decades ago.

Jettisoning the rule of law to permit such acts of evil as kidnapping and torture is not a defensible policy for a civilized nation. It’s wrong. And nothing good can come from it.

These are not nice people. The people who currently sympathize with them, or contracted with them in the past for torture services, are not nice people. Anyone who supports this kind of debauchery is themselves debauched. So, when you visit Lang’s site and do the thorough research if you’re so inclined, you be the judge especially when you consider the Putin worshiping and coddling that’s going in at that space right now. What Putin worshiping, you ask? How about the comments by FB Ali in his most recent guest post at Sic Semper Tyrannis and the supporting commentary in the comment section to that post, for example. The post itself is a rather run-of-the-mill analysis for Putin apologists who claim the West is encircling Russia in an attempt to subordinate the Russian soul. It even mentions Neocons. Imagine that? But what’s most noteworthy are the adulatory comments about Putin in the comment section. As I’ve said before on this blog, if these people aren’t being paid for their Putin water-carrying propaganda, they should be — because if they’re not, they’re fools, and if they are, they’re duplicitous opportunists who discard any notion of principles. Here’s a sampling of some of the comments from the linked post. Hold your nose because the smerdiness is most mephitic:

burton50 said in reply to VietnamVet…

Say what you want about Putin, but in the course of fifteen years he and his team have acted very decisively to limit and reverse the damages of this trend in Russia, rebuilt and re-energized the armed forces, begun the hard work of reconstructing the state’s tax base and its institutional organization, and brutally rehabilitated the state’s capacity to reign in the sort of massive theft and corruption that when on in Yeltsin’s era. The effort has begun to bear fruit in the reversal of the terrible demographic and economic trends unleashed by the collapse of the USSR (it’s to this that Putin’s famous quotation refers). The program was not to be a frontal assault in the Bol’shevik manner: the oligarchs are probably thought of as useful in their own way, but they are carefully supervise and have been warned in no uncertain terms that interference in the affairs of the nation (as in the Ukraine) wouldn’t be tolerated.

FB Ali said in reply to burton50..

I agree with what you say about Vladimir Putin. He saved Russia from a decline into poverty and irrelevance. Perhaps that is one of the reasons he is so detested by the neocons and their supporters.

I think he is a Russian patriot, and this is his primary motivation in his policies and actions.

Highlander said in reply to FB Ali…

I agree Putin is a great leader for Russia, a very hard nosed and realistic man.

A worthy opponent for anyone. I hope,it doesn’t come down to a face off with Obama.

Alba Etie said in reply to FB Ali…

He also has been a champion of endangered wildlife in Siberia and elsewhere.

The Twisted Genius said in reply to VietnamVet…

I disagree with your assessment of Putin. He is a skilled adversary worthy of respect. Rather than a dirty rotten scumbag, he is a heard hearted empath and, perhaps, one of the rough men we hear so much about. As Burton50 said, he has politically neutered his one per centers, the Russian oligarchs. Russian history will probably look kindly on the Putin years.

Tyler said in reply to David Habakkuk…

Why can’t we be friends? Because of World War Gay and the fact that Russia offers an alternative to soulless hedonism which is the West’s primary export now.

turcopolier said…

“by keeping neo-cons in his administration, he can neutralize/co-opt them as a group.” IMO Obama is a weak man If I were president, the neocons would be in hiding. pl

What’s particularly ironic about FB Ali’s felicitous admiration of Putin is the fact that FB Ali has shared a very similar experience with Alexander Litvinenko, but unlike Litvinenko, Ali was not tracked down in Canada by his former colleagues and poisoned with Polonium-210 to die a torturous and undignified death. And yet, FB Ali not only fails to acknowledge his common ground with Litvinenko, but instead, not only ignores the murderous crimes of the sadist who ordered the poisoning of Litvinenko, but proclaims Putin’s greatness as a Russian patriot when Putin is in fact no such thing. Sorry, FB Ali, but you have lost all credibility as have Lang and any and all commentators to his blog. Here’s a link to Amazon if you want to purchase his recently published book about his Pakistani persecution. I find it difficult to empathize when he can’t find it within himself to empathize with Litvinenko and instead holds Litvinenko’s executioner on a pedestal. Disgusting. Here’s a quote about Ali’s autobiographical book:

FB Ali was a rising star in the Pakistan Army when, in 1969, Gen Yahya Khan, the army chief, declared martial law and took over the country. Disheartened at the direction in which Pakistan was heading, and his inability to do anything about it, he contemplated resigning, but the 1971 war with India intervened. Given an important combat command shortly before it began he witnessed firsthand how badly this disastrous war was mismanaged by the military regime and the incompetent generals it had appointed. The resulting debacle drove him to initiate and lead the army action that forced Gen Yahya Khan to hand over power to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who had won the 1970 election. The usual fate of kingmakers befell him: in 1972 he was retired from the army and a few months later arrested and tried on charges of trying to overthrow the government. Narrowly escaping a death sentence, he ended up with life imprisonment, spending over 5 years in prison before he was released following Bhutto’s ouster in another military coup. Though offered a significant role in the new setup he decided to move to Canada with his family. This memoir contains an insider account of many important events of that decade, including the 1971 India-Pakistan war and the troubles in East Pakistan that led to the creation of Bangladesh. It is also a poignant tale of courage and endurance in the face of adversity.

FB Ali ends his post at Sic Semper Tyrannis with the following admonition:

As Alastair Crooke points out, Russia is not afraid of sanctions, and this will not alter the course of developments in the Ukraine. All they will lead to is a much more confrontational and insecure world in the future.

With so many critical problems facing humanity (over-population, widespread poverty, global warming, to name a few) this is not a happy prospect.

But wait. PailiP just got done telling us that a positive population rate in Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. If FB Ali and all the Putin worshipers and apologists are so concerned with over-population (and many of them are), then surely they should be concerned with, rather than championing, the positive population trend in Russia — if it can be called a trend. Not to mention, if a country’s standard of living is improving, the population should be declining, not increasing as we’re seeing in Russia. As it stands, Russia’s just adding people as fuel to a future fire (nuclear perhaps) without proper consideration for their welfare and well-being. They’re just statistics on a Powerpoint slide to ironically gloat about — nothing more. Russia’s population trend is not positive when you consider the thesis of this linked article.

Higher standards of living, then, reduce fertility. And lower fertility improves living standards. This is what China’s government says. It is also the view that has emerged from demographic research over the past 20 years.* In the 1980s, population was regarded as relatively unimportant to economic performance. American delegates told a UN conference in 1984 that “population growth is, in and of itself, neither good nor bad; it is a neutral phenomenon.” Recent research suggests otherwise.

Cutting the fertility rate from six to two can help an economy in several ways. First, as fertility falls it changes the structure of the population, increasing the size of the workforce relative to the numbers of children and old people. When fertility is high and a country is young (median age below 20), there are huge numbers of children and the overall dependency ratio is high. When a country is ageing (median age above 40), it again has a high dependency ratio, this time because of old people.

Slowing fertility has other benefits. By making it easier for women to work, it boosts the size of the labour force. Because there are fewer dependent children and old people, households have more money left for savings, which can be ploughed into investment. Chinese household savings (obviously influenced by many things, not just demography) reached almost 25% of GDP in 2008, helping to finance investment of an unprecedented 40% of GDP. This in turn accounted for practically all the increase in Chinese GDP in the first half of this year.

Lastly, low fertility makes possible a more rapid accumulation of capital per head. To see how, think about what happens to a farm as it is handed down the generations in a country without primogeniture. The more children there are, the more the farm is divided. Eventually, these patches become so tiny they cease to be efficient. This is occurring in Bangladesh.

Get the standard of living right, and more ideal demographic statistics will follow, not the other way around as most believe and advocate.

But all the above is window dressing for what’s really going on behind the scenes and mostly out of the headlines. I only mention it and keep harping on it and focusing on it because it’s important to challenge and expose the false narrative or narratives. There is no Cold War Redux. It’s a cover for what’s really going on and that is a divvying up of the planet’s Small People and the resources they rely on to thrive. In the case of Crimea, Russia’s annexing move, and The West’s seeming indifference to it, telegraphs that the oil grab was agreed to in advance. Per this Dallas Morning News article:

Crimea may yield trillions in oil riches for Russia and Putin

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited an oil rig in the Caspian Sea operated by Lukoil in 2010. Though Russia has done little to draw attention to the fact, the March 2014 seizure of Crimea theoretically extended its maritime boundaries in the Black Sea to include offshore oil and gas assets potentially worth billions, resources that Russia tried and failed to secure via negotiations less than two years ago.

When Russia seized Crimea in March, it acquired not just the Crimean Peninsula but also a maritime claim more than three times its size with the rights to underwater resources potentially worth trillions of dollars.
Russia portrayed the takeover as reclamation of its rightful territory, drawing no attention to the oil and gas rush that had recently been heating up in the Black Sea. But the move also extended Russia’s maritime boundaries, quietly giving Moscow dominion over potentially vast oil and gas resources while dealing a crippling blow to Ukraine’s hopes for energy independence.

Moscow did so under an international accord that gives nations sovereignty over areas up to 230 miles from their shorelines. Russia had tried, unsuccessfully, to gain access to energy resources in the same territory in a pact with Ukraine less than two years earlier.

“It’s a big deal,” said Carol Saivetz, a Eurasian expert in the Security Studies Program of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It deprives Ukraine of the possibility of developing these resources and gives them to Russia. It makes Ukraine more vulnerable to Russian pressure.”
Gilles Lericolais, director of European and international affairs at France’s state oceanographic group, called Russia’s annexation of Crimea an “obvious” play for offshore riches.

In Moscow, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said there was “no connection” between the annexation and energy resources, adding that Russia did not even care about the oil and gas. “Compared to all the potential Russia has got, there was no interest there,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Saturday.

Irving-based Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and other major oil companies have already explored the Black Sea, and some petroleum analysts say its potential may rival that of the North Sea. That rush, which began in the 1970s, lifted the economies of Britain, Norway and other European states.
William B.F. Ryan, a marine geologist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, said Moscow’s Black Sea acquisition gave it potentially “the best” of that body’s deep oil reserves.

Oil analysts said that mounting economic sanctions could slow Russia’s exploitation of its Black and Azov Sea annexations by reducing access to Western financing and technology. But they noted that Russia had already taken over the Crimean arm of Ukraine’s national gas company, instantly giving Russia exploratory gear on the Black Sea.

“Russia’s in a mood to behave aggressively,” said Vladimir Socor, a senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, a research group in Washington that follows Eurasian affairs. “It’s already seized two drilling rigs.”
The global hunt for fossil fuels has increasingly gone offshore, to such places as the Atlantic Ocean off Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico and the South China Sea. Hundreds of oil rigs dot the Caspian, a few hundred miles east of the Black Sea.

Nations divide up the world’s potentially lucrative waters according to guidelines set forth by the 1982 Law of the Sea Treaty. The agreement lets coastal states claim what are known as exclusive economic zones that can extend up to 230 statute miles from their shores. Inside these zones, states can explore, exploit and manage deep natural resources, living and nonliving.

The countries with shores along the Black Sea have long seen its floor as a potential energy source, mainly because of modest oil successes in shallow waters.

Just over two years ago, the prospects for huge payoffs soared when a giant ship drilling through deep bedrock off Romania found a large gas field in waters more than half a mile deep.
Moscow moved fast.

In April 2012, Putin, then Russia’s prime minister, presided over the signing of an accord with Eni, the Italian energy giant, to explore Russia’s economic zone in the northeastern Black Sea. Ryan, of Columbia, estimated that the size of that zone, which existed before the Crimean annexation, amounted to roughly 26,000 square miles, about the size of Lithuania.

A month later, oil exploration specialists at a European petroleum conference made a lengthy presentation, the title of which asked: “Is the Black Sea the Next North Sea?” The paper cited geological studies that judged the waters off Ukraine as having “tremendous exploration potential” but saw the Russian zone as less attractive.

In August 2012, the Ukrainian government announced an accord with an Exxon-led group to extract oil and gas from the depths of Ukraine’s Black Sea waters. The Exxon team had outbid Lukoil, a Russian company. Ukraine’s state geology bureau said development of the field would cost up to $12 billion.

When Russia seized the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine on March 18, it issued a treaty of annexation between the newly declared Republic of Crimea and the Russian Federation. Buried in the document — in Article 4, Section 3 — a single bland sentence said international law would govern the drawing of boundaries through the adjacent Black and Azov Seas.

Ryan estimates that the newly claimed maritime zone around Crimea added about 36,000 square miles to Russia’s existing holdings. The addition is 31/2 times the size of the Crimean landmass, and about the size of Maine.
As for oil extraction in the newly claimed maritime zones, companies say their old deals with Ukraine are in limbo, and analysts say new contracts are unlikely to be signed anytime soon, given the continuing turmoil in the region and the U.S. efforts to ratchet up pressure on Moscow.

“There are huge issues at stake,” noted Saivetz of MIT. “I can’t see them jumping into new deals right now.”

Trillions? That’s a lot of Sochis. That’s bigger and better Potemkin Villages. It looks like Crimea isn’t the only acquisition, though. You have to look at the resource pay-off, at least for annexation purposes. This is why the entirety of Ukraine will not be annexed, but certain parts will be because of their strategic access to resources, namely gas and oil. Take Moldova and Kazakhstan, for example. They’re two former Soviet countries Putin’s spending considerable operational time on amidst this alleged Ukraine crisis. Per this WaPo article:

Russian President Putin builds ties in Moldova, Kazakhstan and Baltics

Vowing to defend ethnic Russians wherever they live, President Vladimir Putin has embarked on an aggressive campaign to rebuild the pride and assertiveness of the Russian people, which he says was lost in the breakup of the Soviet Union.

A week ahead of a presidential vote in Ukraine that will help determine that nation’s relationship with Russia, Putin has been devoting new power to redressing what he has called the historical tragedy that shattered the Soviet Union into 15 nations.

After Ukraine, the most immediately vulnerable country may be Moldova, whose Transnistria region is the westernmost edge of a belt of non-Russian territory that Putin has noted was once part of the Russian Empire. Odessa and parts of eastern Ukraine are also part of that territory, which Putin called Novorossiya, or New Russia.

“This is not about reestablishing the Soviet Union,” said Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University who is an expert on Russian security issues. But, he added, “there is this genuine sense that he is this czar who is gathering the Russian lands.”

On Victory Day, the May 9 holiday that marks the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin visited Transnistria’s celebrations, an unusual trip that analysts say signaled Kremlin intentions over the region.

“Russia is not only monitoring the situation, but we will do everything needed for the residents of Transnistria to see our role as peacekeepers and as guarantors of the Transnistrian Republic’s security,” Rogozin said during his visit, Interfax reported.

“There’s great reason to be concerned in Moldova,” said a senior Obama administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal thinking. “Even if it’s not a direct intervention,” the official said, “it’s a way to be able to weaken the government, to be able to rattle the cage, to be able to say, ‘If relations with Russia are bad, we can always pull this one out of the hat and start creating trouble.’ ”

Kazakhstan, too, appears to be nervous. Officials there proposed laws last month that would include harsh sentences for calls for separatism. In some parts of northern Kazakhstan, ethnic Russians make up more than half the population, and President Nursultan Nazarbayev has long worked to solidify his government’s influence in the region.

We’ll see what transpires in the months and years ahead, but through it all, we should keep our eye on the gorilla, and not the ball. If you watch the ball, you miss the gorilla.

 

That’s all for now. I have more to say — so much more, but this post has already become too lengthy, so I’ll end it here.

Until next time, lie well my friends and for all the right reasons. I know I will.

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25 thoughts on “Polonium-210 Tea With The Tsar

    • Thanks for catching that. I made the correction. I pulled the trigger too quick on this one without a final proof-read. I just went through it and caught seven or eight mistakes. Let me know if you find anything else.

    • I agree my blog posts are lengthy and rich with information. But I’m not sure it’s a fault. I do think waning attention spans are a fault. The quicker the pace of life, the lesser the attention span. It’s like the video at the end of this blog post. You’re so distracted by the ball being passed around at an ever-quickening pace, you never see the gorilla. Still, I’ll throw some shorter posts into the mix for the easily distracted among us — which is most everyone these days regardless of their demographic profile. Distraction is the glue that binds us all despite our distracting differences.

      Waning Attention Spans

      I find that my attention span is getting shorter and shorter, and I have coined a description for this condition: hair-trigger multitasker. I start a task, and if it is taking too long to complete, I move on to something else. It means that I find it difficult to spend long periods of time working on particular projects. And it also offers a convenient excuse why it took me until today to write this column: I just couldn’t find the time to complete it earlier in the week.

      I am in good company: Even Rupert Murdoch says he rarely finishes the longer WSJ stories.

      The hair-trigger part of this means we have become more impatient. What about slow-to-load Web sites? Outta here. Long-winded emails? Hit the delete key. Some of us have bought a second screen for our PCs just so we can have lots of windows open to keep us amused.

      I find that the way I interact with my computer is also changing: I used to be able to read long Web pages and articles online. No longer. I watch shorter online videos too: five minutes is almost the outer edge for me. I guess this is one reason why Sony (and I would assume others will join them) are now repackaging five-minute episodes of Charlie’s Angels and TJ Hooker. While some of you might say that there never was more than five minutes’ worth of content in these episodes, it goes to show that online, life is short. Cut to the chase (literally for both programs mentioned), get in, get out.

      I find that my own video viewing habits are going bi-modal: the short Web videos that you can find on You Tube et al. The longer feature-length films I still watch in my living room. Not much in-between.

      I haven’t analyzed how my writing style has changed over the years (now, that would be a project for some undergrad to take on) but I would be willing to bet that my sentences and paragraphs are getting shorter, too.

      Back when I toiled in the IT fields at Transamerica Insurance, we had to do Flesch-Kincaid Readability tests on our documents, to make sure they are readable. There is a tool to do this analysis online of course (not sure of its accuracy):

      http://www.online-utility.org/english/readability_test_and_improve.jsp

      Does this spell the end of deep content diving? I don’t think so. But it does show that as we design new Web sites, we need to make more of our content more digestible. More componentized. Summaries up at the top of the page. Sentences shorter.

      It is harder to write these nuggets too. It was Blaise Pascal who said: “I made this letter very long, because I did not have the leisure to make it shorter.” (Hat tip to Larry Hertzog for today’s column idea.)

      • A few years ago I wrote a comment on CFN chiding Hancock (you remember Hancock…always complaining about right-wing authoritarianism) for his too-long posts. I told the tale of a 5 page financial analysis I wrote and turned into my boss for his review and ultimately for publication to upper management. BTW, I had a terrible relationship with my boss from the day he arrived until I retired some 8 years later.

        Tom read the report, called me into his office and said effectively that the report was a work of genius. Actually he didn’t use the word genius but his praise was so effusive he may as well have called it genius. He said “However, I want you to cut it down from 5 pages to one.” I said “that’s impossible, I could never make my points and lead management to the desired conclusions in one page.”

        “Possible or not” Tom said, “that’s what I’m directing you to do. There’s not a person in upper management who will sit still long enough to read five pages on any subject.”

        Somehow I trimmed the report to a page. I had read about brevity in The Elements of Style by Strunk and White and I had heard the aphorism “Brevity is the soul of wit” and that a good poem is “a gem of compression” but here was a real world case where I must force myself to be brief.

        Though I HATE tom to this day I privately thank him for forcing brevity on me. (Note: I have already allowed this reply to become too long.)

  1. It takes longer when you are contriving a story. Like the purported commentor conceding
    Putin is a “murderer”-what a straw man. It’s “curious.” On the other blogs Putin-
    Russia sympathetic, you do not find such perambulatory concessions. Only on this
    Russophobic blog do you find pro-Putin commenters conceding he’s a murderer, then
    throwing in more diversion, finally coming round to Putin’s defense of Russia from
    unipolar hegemonic imperialism.
    When the Saker says Russia represents freedom, he does not mean freedom of defiling the
    holy, as did “Pussy Riot,” after which they were feted by American media as if sophisticated
    political philosophers.
    But as Rummy said, you go with the army you got, whether defiling the sacred or
    wreaking havoc in the cradle of civilization.
    And those who value this kind of freedom while fearing hierarchy, they are the culture-destroying levelers Putin is doing a good job thus far defending against.

    • I haven’t even mentioned Pussy Riot or Khodorkovsky. Those two examples are canards. The only freedom in Russia is the freedom of tyrants and bully boys to oppress and repress any and all dissent.

      The ones who embrace hierarchy do so when they’re the ones on top, but when they’re not, they decry it. I don’t fear hierarchy, I just don’t respect it.

      At least Pussy Riot didn’t take a shit on the hood of Kirill I’s auto like Nashi degenerates did to the opposition leader’s car. Talk about defiling. An automobile is more sacred than any church. Why? Because most people give more time, attention and devotion to their automobiles than they do their religion or their church.

      Havoc was being wreaked in the “Cradle of Civilization” since the bambino learned to crawl and then walk. You can’t lay that at The West’s doorstep. Did The West ultimately partake in the games? Sure. But don’t pretend Arabs weren’t butchering each other once, and ever since, the cradle could no longer contain them.

  2. In the Poisoned by Polonium: The Litvinenko File documentary linked to at Ovguide, at the 4:45 mark, Yeltsin says, “Russia will never go back to the past.” In this post I mentioned how not a few who are drawn to the phenomenon of Collapse wish to return to a mythical past where they felt they had more control. Putin’s team to include Vladislav Surkov (a mix of Karl Rove and Joseph Goebbels on a serious dose of steroids) has conjured a mythical Russian past to seize and hold power. And that’s the problem with hierarchy because that will always happen and always does. ALWAYS.

    You can only go back — to the future.

  3. The Arabs didn’t partake in the American Civil War, not a bad self-butchering by a very
    warlike American populace, more warlike than the Iraqis if you pro-rate the 1776-2014 period of butchering at home and abroad Americans have done, admittedly a good fraction of it without the approval of such patriots as Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh and Norman Thomas.

  4. This is an excellent article analyzing the resurgence in Orthodox religiosity in Russia. Obscurantists with nukes. Not a good combination. Read it and weep. Reagan’s flipping out Six Feet Under.

    The Privatization of God by Putin

    By Vladimir Shlapentokh

    Introduction

    The number and variety of tricks Putin has used to insure his power and justify his legitimacy as the Russian leader surpasses those of all who ruled Russia before him in both their inventiveness and diversity. This is certainly true about the Soviet leaders; Putin’s trickery even surpasses Stalin’s, with all his tactics for removing his rivals in the late 1920s. Western politicians are, of necessity, forced to participate in a complicated parliamentary struggle, and in a climate of unhinged public opinion. However, their ingenuity pales in comparison with the cunning of Putin’s lieutenants.

    Two major events during Putin’s rule determined Russia’s domestic and foreign policies, whose single goal was the maintenance his own personal power: the Orange Revolutions in some post-Soviet republics in 2003-4, and the mass protest movement from December 2011 to May 2012. The Orange Revolutions led to Putin’s decision to dismantle aspects of democracy in society and take a hostile position toward the West—which was, in his opinion, behind these revolutions. The mass protests made him even more aggressive toward the opposition, and highlighted the fact that the regime does not have its own ideology. In the winter of 2011-12, Putin saw, probably more clearly than ever before, that the lack of ideology necessary to legitimize his regime was a major problem, despite the high price of oil and his well-paid special police teams.

    Putin’s technology for keeping power

    The roster of political maneuvers used by Putin and his people to prevent the success of rivals is indeed very impressive. Besides rigging the election at both the campaign and voting stages, this roster includes the creation and dismantling (when useful) of the various fictitious oppositional political parties that have, supposedly, initiated attacks on the Kremlin and its party, “United Russia.” The fictional oppositional parties emulate critiques from a nationalist position (e.g., “Fatherland” headed by Putin’s acolyte Dmitry Rogozin), from a liberal perspective (e.g., the “Party of the Right Cause” headed by various Kremlin’s myrmidons, the “Civic Force” party headed by the official bureaucrat Mikhail Barzhevsky, and “Business Russia” headed by Boris Titov), and from the left (e.g., the “Just Russia” party headed by Putin’s crony, Sergei Mironov).

    Putin’s strategy has also included transforming the Communist party into a pawn in his political games. Putin’s political technologists can boast of the subtle manipulation of Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s party, which was created by the KGB in 1990, pretending to oppose the government but faithfully serving Yeltsin’s and Putin’s regimes. Putin’s operators initiated various supposedly spontaneous movements, including those that targeted the youth, such as the “Nashi” (Ours) movement (founded in 2005). He also aimed at all strata of the population through “The Popular Front.” These technologists, together with big money, can be proud of their success in having recruited many of the most sophisticated intellectuals as Putin’s propagandists. Putin and his masters of political intrigue were able to advance bogus political rivals and seduce even very rich people in Russia like Mikhail Prokhorov, who readily obeys any task from the Kremlin. As fake critics of the regime, Prokhorov was joined by Alexei Kudrin, former deputy premier minister and Putin’s personal friend. Also joining in the ranks of the illusory opposition was Anatolii Chubais, Putin’s Minister. These people comprise a pseudo-liberal team that Putin can use as a last protection—an alternative against real opposition—when he is cornered and thinking only of how to avoid the fate of Mubarak or Gaddafi.

    The Orthodox Church’s Ideology –the major reliable ally of the regime

    More important than all of the previously discussed political tricks is Putin’s decision to use the Orthodox Church as an instrument in solidifying his power. Indeed, Putin has been haunted since the beginning by the lack of a viable ideology and the solid legitimization of his rule. There has not been an ideology (or a “national idea” in Moscow’s parlance) with which he was able to unite Russians and provide everybody with a directive of how to behave and act in the absence of clear-cut commands from the Kremlin.

    Despite its erosion over the course of Soviet history, the Soviet ideology performed this function quite well until its end. Working all 12 years of Putin’s term, his aides have not achieved the goal of offering their master even a draft of a national ideology. This task was not solvable because it was impossible to combine all of Putin’s statements, which are mutually exclusive and contradictory, like the praise of private property and the market on one side, with the justification of state intervention in the economy and the confiscation of private property of undesirable people on the other. It was impossible to reconcile the praise of democracy with the commendation of the Soviet past (Stalin and the regular broadsides against the West) ; the slightly hidden nationalism; and the rude denunciation and persecution of the critics of the regime. The radical shift to an alliance with the Church has solved the problem, as pointed out by noted ethnographer Yurii Semenov, “the authorities’ instruments but Orthodox rhetoric.”

    Figuratively speaking, Putin put God at his service. He “privatized” God in his personal interests in the same way he privatized the major television channels, as well as the oil and gas companies, as a part of his clandestine domain. As a part of the deal, the Orthodox Church (again without historical precedence) received extensive power to intervene in the ideological and political life of the country. The involvement of the Orthodox Church in Russian politics and ideology helped Putin strengthen his regime, and at the same time encouraged obscurantism in society and the decline of science, contributing to the flight of the best minds from Russia as well as to the country’s isolation by the West.

    Of course, it is possible to contend that one ideology exists in Russia, whose major goal is the accumulation of wealth for Russians, from their leaders down to ordinary people. However, such an ideology is essentially deeply individualistic, and is actually destructive in terms of consolidating a society’s public ideology around what a desirable society should do.

    Individualistic ideology, with greed as its main value, appeals to the anti-social instincts, encourages the atomization of society and is deeply hostile to state and order. In fact, all secular ideologies prompt the bureaucracy and all of a country’s citizens to act in the interests of the society, even without commands from the ruling elite (although the efficacy of these ideologies is another matter.) None of the secular ideologies—liberal, Communist or radical nationalist—suited Putin, whose behavior is ostensibly aimed only at the maintenance of his personal power and his wealth. Even the relatively mild nationalist ideology, with patriotism as its main value, which Putin has tried to regenerate since his arrival to power, could not gain real support in a deeply fragmented and politically indifferent society. Most Russians today are deeply indifferent to the national interests of their country, because they can see the ruling elite is completely absorbed with the maintenance and expansion of their power and illegally acquired wealth.

    The Orthodox religion as an ideology appears more consistent than any other versions of ideologies offered by Putin’s aides, “sovereign democracy” among them. All other secular ideologies are a threat to Putin’s personal power. By accepting, de facto, the Orthodox religion as a national ideology, and demonstrating his personal allegiance to the Church and friendship with the Patriarch, Putin hopes to significantly improve his political standing in the country, and to expand the ideological basis for his relations with the majority of Russians, which has significantly deteriorated in the last several years.

    Indeed, the official ideology of the Russian Orthodox Church satisfies Putin in every way. This ideology not only includes the various “pure” religious postulates which if—and only if — implemented can indeed boost morals in society, it also provides political directives that are fully acceptable to Putin’s regime. Of all the possible ideologies, the ideology offered by the Church best helps Putin to solve his most important problem—the legitimization of his regime.

    First, it sermonizes about obedience to political power and supports the cult of state, along with an unwavering rejection of a societal focus on the individual and human rights. As patriarch Cyril said, speaking before students at MoscowUniversity: “It is the Orthodox tradition to pray for the tsars and all superiors.” He added that “the State is a sacred institute in the mentality of our people.”[i] The Church not only avoided participation in the pro-democratic movement in 2011-2012, it openly condemned it as a threat to the stability of the country, and openly condemned the participants of the protest movement, using Soviet terminology, “enemies of people.” (On the other hand, the Church never condemned those of their dignitaries who cooperated with the KGB. ) What can be more pleasant to Putin than the Church’s regular assault against democracy? Putin can also only be delighted with the attitudes of the Church toward the West. From the Patriarch to the ordinary priest, the West is described as a satanic power.

    Of great merit to Putin is the fact that the clerical ideology avoids critiquing any problems in Russian society. Aside from a few empty phrases, the Church has not denounced corruption and criminalization in the country, or matters relating to the material polarization of Russian society. Indeed, it would be impossible, since Russians consider the church itself to be a deeply corrupted organization. Defending itself and the regime, the Church suggests that the fight against corruption in society and in the Church is equal to a fight against the state and the church as institutions.

    Making religion his main ideological instrument, Putin has transformed the Church into an organization that resembles the propaganda department of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist party, and the patriarch Cyril into a sort of Soviet ideological guru like Mikhail Suslov. As theologian and publicist Yakov Krotov said, “the top Church hierarchs perform the same role as Marxists under Bolsheviks”.

    Ordinary Russians – a respect for Orthodoxy even with low religious services attendance

    When choosing religion as his major ideological weapon, Putin, of course, took into account the rather positive attitudes of most Russians toward Orthodox religion and the Church. In a twist of history, Putin’s regime benefited from the harsh treatment of the Church by the Soviet order, with the image of the Russian church as a martyr in Soviet history.

    Research shows that, according to Levada’s survey in October 2012, 79% of Russians consider themselves religious. However,most Russians are dubious about the sincere religiosity of their countrymen (84%). Indeed, only a minority of them—no more than 10-15%—attend Church (8% at least several times a month). However, with this data, there is no doubt that there is respect for religion and that the Church is held in high esteem, a fact that is exploited by the regime. Many Russians now wear the cross on their body, an action which was almost impossible in Soviet times. The majority of Russians see the Church as the “main force for the spiritual revival of the country,” and as a moral authority (about 60%). The number of Russians who share this view has almost doubled since 1994. Three quarters of Russians now think that “the Church saved the country in difficult times and now it should do it again”. The pro-Church activity of Putin’s state is actually supported by two-thirds of Russians.

    Moreover, two-thirds support hardening punishments “for actions insulting religion” and support the relevant law passed by the State Duma. On the whole, society is tolerant of the personal enrichment of the clerical dignitaries, despite several publications in the liberal media.

    Even more important is the fact that the Church is the most trusted institution in the country (as much as the president), and surpasses the army. According to the Levada center, 49% trusted both the president and the Church in June 2012, compared with 41% who trusted the army. The patriarch also enjoys a high popularity rating. A reasonable speculation is that, in the case of a national emergency, the patriarch would be first, or at least second, in addressing the nation on the issue on TV, with suggestions on what should be done to overcome the national crisis.

    Certainly, with a rise in the levels of education, enthusiasm about religion—particularly about the Church and its dignitaries—diminishes. Many educated Russians are greatly irritated with the expansion of church activity in society, and have mocked the Church and the patriarch incessantly on the Internet. As a result, the growth of the Church as an ally to the regime has further polarized the Russian intellectual community. Those who chose to be loyalists show their fealty to the Church. Those who are enemies of the regime take an anticlerical position and, with the growing political and economic power of the Church, their hostility toward the Church has increased. The critical attitudes of many Russian intellectuals toward the Orthodox Church today show a large contrast with the position of the Russian educated class under the last decades of Communist rule. Then, the respect for the church, which was persecuted by the authorities, was included in the code of conduct of the Russian intellectuals, though, ironically, most of them were atheists.

    The ideological support of the regime by the Church

    Having abandoned the idea of the spreading its own secular ideology, and having ignored the constitutional separation of church and state (in some cases, Putin has supported it directly or has twisted the concept of the separation of church and state to such a degree that he finally praised the total coalescence of the two institutions ), the regime has expended great effort in entrenching the Orthodox activity in each segment of Russian society. With the Patriarch’s slogan about “the coalescence of the Church with society state”—the regime officially launched “the Christianization” of the country. Now, whereas a position in the Communist nomenclature required one to conspicuously refuse to observe Orthodox rituals or to identify himself or herself with the Church, the current government’s close ties with the church (in Russian parlance, to be “accepted by the church”) calls for the opposite, which signals a demonstration of loyalty to the regime. One has no chance of making a career in Putin’s Russia without showing respect for the church. The amusing thing is that in both cases—the Soviet and Putin’s—it turned out that only ordinary people who held no position in the state hierarchy were free from pressure by the state on religious matters. The transformation of former members of the Soviet nomenclature into Orthodox believers weirdly resembles the flight of cynical Roman aristocrats from paganism into Christianity, in order to save their positions and wealth, when it became the state religion in the Roman Empire in the 4th century.

    The high dignitaries of the state, starting with Putin, regularly attend major church services, and Putin has demonstratively executed the Orthodox rite of crossing himself. This ritual has become a part of political life in the country. Each new church, official building, or new production asset is now blessed in a special ceremony attended by a high official of the government. Vladimir Putin has taken part in the blessing ceremony of several holy sites. He was among many governmental and Church dignitaries who attended the ceremony of blessing a new Church complex in Usovo (Moscow region) in 2010. It has been highly touted by the media that Putin has his own personal spiritual priest, Father Tikhon (Oleg Shevkunov before taking his vows). Putin’s visits to monasteries and churches have also been highly publicized in the official media.

    In May 2012, the head of the nuclear corporation, Sergei Kirienko, the Federal center director Valentin Kostikov, and the local bosses participated in the opening of a new cathedral in Sarov, the main nuclear center in Russia. Kirienko spoke eloquently, with the verve of a real preacher: “It is not often that such a center of security and state is created as here at Sarov, the historical center of spiritual power of Russia” (the first Sarov Church was founded in 1706; it closed in 1927 after being plundered).

    The government has also permitted the full-scale penetration of the Church in the educational system. The collaboration between local authorities and the Church has become a standard in society. The church received full freedom to create Orthodox schools in the country, even if, paradoxically, the bureaucratic obstacles of state and church hinder the expansion of the religious educational system, in addition to there being a great shortage of teachers able to talk professionally about religion. However, even with all these obstacles it is important to note that the church has aggressively entered into the whole system of education. While the regime has not, so far, ordered the Bible to be taught in schools, it has allowed a sort of substitute—“The Basics of Orthodox Culture.” The cases of interaction between Church and schools have multiplied. Thus, at a meeting arranged by the Church eparchy in Kaluzhsk in August 2011, the head of the educational department of a Borovsk district declared that “cooperation with the clerical institutions in the moral education of children is a priority in the work of the authorities.” This bears an amusing resemblance to a similar narration during Soviet times; at that time, instead of the Church, they referred to the Communist party. It was decided that each school in the Kaluzhsk district would be served by a priest, who would participate in teaching a course in “The Basics of Orthodox Culture” and in the preparation of the Orthodox ceremonies. Many schools have introduced the teachings of the Orthodox religion, despite there being a high proportion of non-Russian students in the schools. Equally important is that a position has been created for a priest in all military units—including the army, the Minister of Internal Affairs, and the FSB—and that Church buildings have gone up on the properties of the various universities. The creation of a theological department at the famous Engineer-Physical Institute, which prepares scholars and engineers for the nuclear industry, was a shock, even to contemporary Russians, who have become accustomed to the Orthodox offensive.

    Like the department of propaganda of the Central Committee, the Church is practically (if not formally) endowed with the right of censorship, which is treated as if it were legal by the central authorities as well as by local institutions. Vladimir Pastukhov addressed the issue of the Church’s censorship in his article “The Country on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown,” in which he talked about the Church which attacked “all oases of cultural growth.” One typical example is that Rostov’s authorities banned the opera Jesus Crisis –Superstar in 2012. The Church inspired a law that would invoke punishment for actions and words that could be considered hostile to religion, as noted by Alexander Nevzorov in his article “Orthodoxy or Life,” who declared the Church an open enemy to freedom of speech and an advocate of obscurantism.

    Putin’s regime has also intensely supported the growth of the material basis of the Church. With the help of the state, hundreds of churches have been built throughout the country. In the Moscow region, the Church plans to build 600 cathedrals in 2012. With the total support of the state, the Church has ousted a variety of cultural institutions from their buildings, claiming ownership.

    The political activity of the Church in the regime’s favor

    The Church provides the regime not only with an ideology but also, in many ways, with direct support for the authorities.

    Feeling like a powerful political actor, the Church has directly intervened in the law-making process. In the fall of 2012, the Church demanded that the Civil Code include, for example, freedom from paying rent on holy land, including buildings, as well as immunity from bankruptcy. Several of the Church’s demands were satisfied by the State Duma.

    The Church openly supported the regime in the recent election campaign. Not only did it support Putin’s party in the election, in February 2011, the Orthodox Church permitted priests and all other Church dignitaries to participate in the election as candidates themselves supporting the Kremlin. The Patriarch openly declared that he supported Putin during the 2012 presidential campaign.

    With the help of the state, the Church has created its own media, similar to a newspaper, called Vera i slovo (Faith and Word), and supports several very aggressive nationalistic movements like Sacred Russia, Georg’s Orthodox Alliance and others.

    The Church has aggressively infiltrated all state structures in the country in a way that resembles the Soviet Communist party, which had its units in each cell of Soviet society. The patriarchy regularly invites high officials to its Moscow headquarters and has also awarded some of them with Church medals.

    What is more, the Church has had a strong influence on the political parties. Some of them have proclaimed their fealty to Orthodox fundamentalism. The Rodina—the Motherland party—is regarded as the political hand of the Church. At the suggestion of the Kremlin, the Church even had some success in penetrating The Right Cause party, which was the most well-known liberal organization of the past two decades. In an expansion of their activities, the Church gave some informal support in 2012 for the creation of volunteer guards, whose task was the protection of Orthodox values. The Church has also helped the regime with foreign policy. The evident goals of the Patriarch’s visits to the Ukraine were to increase the influence of Kremlin politics on the leadership of this republic.

    Cordial interaction between Putin and the Patriarch

    In the past, Kremlinologists tried to measure the importance of Soviet politicians by their closeness to the supreme leader. Those who most frequently accompanied him to various ceremonies or stayed near him at Lenin’s mausoleum were declared to be second to the general secretary in the country. By this logic, patriarch Cyril could claim to play the role of Molotov under Stalin in the 1930s, or Suslov under Brezhnev in 1960s-1970s. Putin and Cyril have never lost opportunities to praise each other. It is absurd to talk about a possible conflict between Putin and Cyril, as some analysts have attempted to predict. The Patriarch is no more than an instrument in Putin’s politics, even if Putin publicly kisses the ritual objects held by the Patriarch’s hand, as demanded by ceremony.

    Pussy Riot

    The case of Pussy Riot in 2012 revealed the depth of the collusion between the Orthodox Church and Putin’s regime. Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist punk-rock group founded in 2011. Three members of the group staged a performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior last fall. The central part of their performance, which lasted only a few minutes and was stopped by the guard, was chanting the lyrics “Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!» The women said their protest was directed also at the Orthodox Church leader’s support for Putin, who was elected for a third term as Russia’s president two weeks later. Two of the three women were incarcerated on March 3, 2012, and the third on March 16. They stayed in prison until October, when they were sentenced to two years of imprisonment (one was freed on probation).

    While the majority of Russians supported the harsh sentences meted out to these young women from the punk group “Pussy Riot” for their behavior in the Church, many Russian intellectuals and international public opinion have condemned the decision of a Moscow court to severely punish three young women for “offense to the Orthodox religion.” Putin pretended to ignore the fact that he, personally, was the target of the punks’ action. However, the international condemnation of this highly publicized punishment did not prevent the Kremlin from endorsing the severe sentence simply because Putin’s total support for the Church carries much more importance than any other considerations.

    The cost of the alliance

    Permitting the Church to play a formidable role in Russian life, the regime, or the country carries an enormous cost that will affect development in Russia for many years to come.

    In the opinion of many observers, the new holy alliance, which clearly strengthened the course of further alienating the West and democracy, has pushed the country toward obscurantism. Russia experienced a direct anti-civilization period under Tsar Alexander the Third after the murder of his father by the “populists” in 1881, as well as under Stalin in the aftermath of the war. The Kremlin was blinded by the nationalist desire to present Russia’s science as superior over the West’s and, on the eve of Stalin’s death, vehemently attacked Darwin’s theory and the theory of relativity.

    In 2011-2012, Russian analysts began talking of Putin’s Russia shift, not toward the Soviet past but rather to its Middle Age status, before the rule of a tsar who loved Europe, as did Peter the Great. The various prejudices, like a belief in various supernatural forces, which had declined significantly in Soviet society have returned en mass in contemporary Russia, even if the Orthodox Church supposedly rejects at least some of them. The number of people who believed in some of the prejudices has doubled. The rumors about the end of the world on December 21, 2012, when a 5,125-year cycle known as the Long Count in the Mayan calendar supposedly comes to a close, has not influenced as many people in a country as it has in Russia. The New York Times related (December 1,2012) how the Russian government was forced to intervene; its minister of emergency situations said that he had access to “methods of monitoring what is occurring on the planet Earth,” and that he could say with confidence that the world was not going to end in December.

    Vladimir Pastukhov, a British-Russian researcher, suggested in October 2012 that Putin’s Russia is moving to “the Middle ages clerical and criminal state.” Some analysts have gone so far as to say that Putin “turned Russia into a country of fools.” Certainly, Putin’s Russia is now only at the first stage of a move toward the Middle Age’s intellectual climate, and continues to take one step after another in this direction.

    The entrance of the Orthodox Church as a fully fledged ideological, and even political, actor has helped accelerate the decline of science in the country. As the Russian Nobel prize winning physicist Zhores Alferov noted in the book “Power Without Brains: The Retreat of Science from State,” the marriage of the Kremlin with the Church was accompanied by the divorce of the state with science. Both developments have encouraged an outburst of aggressive ignorance in society—consider the multiplication of various absurd projects like those of Victor Petrik, who claimed to have invented various miraculous devices but was mocked by scholars, and the proposal to organize a discussion on the creation of a perpetuum mobile in Skolkovo in 2012. There is no doubt that the clericalization of the country has accelerated the flight of the best minds away from Russia. Still, it is no less remarkable that the Moscow court dealing with the punk group Pussy Riot justified its condemnation of the young women with references to theLaodician and Trull sobors of the 4th and 7th centuries.

    An unintended cost of active protection of the Orthodox Church by the state in a multinational country like the Russian Federation is the encouragement of Islamic fundamentalism. Activists demanding equality with the Orthodox Church have expanded Islamic fundamentalism in republics with Muslim populations. The Chechen republic is a good example. The activities of the Orthodox Church have helped the president of the Chechen republic, Ramazan Kadyrov, to justify the Islamization of the region and de facto separation from the Russian Federation; the activities of the Orthodox Church have had the same effect on other Muslim regions. Among them are such important regions as the Tatar republic.

    Conclusion

    The close alliance of Putin’s regime and the Orthodox Church, with its aggressive anti-Western stance, hostility toward democracy, and contempt for science has had a growing impact on Russian society. Since the Church enjoys high prestige among a majority of Russians, its active political and ideological roles strengthen the anti-democratic trend in the country and its isolation from the West. At the same we do not see the positive moral impact of the Church on the every day life of the Russians.

    However,it is unreasonable to exaggerate the influence of the Church on the political process in Russia, and to even talk about the ascension of “Orthodox Nazism,” as previously suggested by some authors. Whatever the intervention of the Church in the political and ideological life of Russia, this institution remains under the full control of the Kremlin and will only do Putin’s bidding. So far, Putin’s regime, with its authoritarian policies, has tried, and will continue to try, to control not only the Orthodox Church but also the nationalist and leftist organizations which, along with the liberal movement, present a threat to Putin’s personal power. Only big external factors (like a sudden decline in the price of oil) and internal factors (like a technological catastrophe) can undermine the political stability of the regime. The Orthodox Church, as has been the case throughout Russian history, remains no more than the compliant instrument of the Russian leaders.

  5. I do not agree with, nor do I practice, censorship. The reason your comment didn’t post immediatley was because it contained greater than seven links. The default for WordPress is two before it goes immediately into moderation, but I changed it to seven when I set up the administrative preferences several months prior. Unlike Lang, I won’t delete your posts and ban you if I don’t agree with you. I will argue with you, because life’s not worth living if you can’t argue, but believe it or not, your opinion, everyone’s opinion, does matter — to me at least.

    That’s not to say I don’t and won’t monitor comments. If a situation/pattern developed in the comment section to this blog as it’s done at other blogs like Clusterfuck Nation and Moon of Alabama, where the comment section is hijacked by a sock puppet brigade, I would probably just shut down comments altogether because once the sock puppet brigade targets a blog and sets in, it’s like Kudzu — it can’t be successfully managed; the only way to deal with it is to deprive it of space. To allow a sock puppet infestation to continue unfettered and unabated is a form of censorship in and of itself for all the obvious reasons.

    That’s not to imply you’re a sock puppet. I know you’re obviously not, but believe me, there are more of them than there are legitimate singular commentators out here in the cyber hinterland. Even Lang has some, although they haven’t taken control. No one takes control from Lang, but he can be manipulated and is. His need to control makes him vulnerable to that very clever and subtle manipulation.

    I’ll read your comment and research your links throughout the day today and respond accordingly if motivated, which no doubt I will be.

    I can’t vouch for Q. Shtik. He’s on a brevity kick right now and apparently is eschewing any blog posts or accompanying commentary that exceeds customary “texting” length.

    Q. Shtik — you know what I would have done with Tom’s admonition for brevity? I would have given him that brevity in the form of one page with one perfect acronym on it as follows:

    LOL

    And for that, I would be promoted to CEO in no time.

    Thankfully, at Catcher In The Lie there are no CEO’s to report to and imposed authority has no sway here. We’re free to be as brief or exhaustive as we like. This blog is my surrogate middle fingers. They can take the fingers, but they can’t take the essence that uses those fingers as a symbol of defiance. But they do try. Try hard. In vain — and vein.

  6. I’ll have other comments, but initially I want to state for the record that the death of Berezovsky doesn’t interest me. Litvinenko’s death does. The two are mutually exclusive — to me at least. Berezovsky was a greedy, conniving, duplicitous dirt bag who fell into disfavor with Putin, but he’s indicative of Putin’s Russia and Putin’s inner circles (Dante’s nine circles of hell come to mind). Litvinenko was a rare exception. I consider his temerity brave and noble. It took real true grit and guts to do what he did — something about as common as unicorns these days.

  7. I may not have made myself clear. A reason why the mysteries surrounding the death of Berezovsky are relevant to those surrounding the death of Litvinenko is that one thing that seems reasonably clear is that the former did not want to be exposed to cross-examination on his claims about the death of the latter.

    The ‘Litvinenko Justice Foundation’ also may have become worried about the contradictions in his claims, as the English-language transcript of the responses Berezovsky gave on 30 March 2007 to Alexander Otvodov of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has been taken off their website.

    As to the credibility of British claims of Russian government responsibility, I can recommend a report in the ‘Sunday Times’ from March last year, and one from the ‘Independent’ from May.

    http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/National/article1227521.ece
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/former-russian-spy-would-give-evidence-to-public-inquiry-into-killing-of-alexander-litvinenko-8622845.html

    The larger part of the former, unfortunately, is behind a paywall, but the substance of the two reports is essentially the same. To my mind, what is at issue is patently disinformation.

    • You made yourself clear. I thought I was clear. I responded to the following, which imo is irrelevant to the discussion of Litvinenko, unless you’ve included it to rebut a theory that Berezovsky was murdered/suicided by the FSB in order to silence him once and for all. I haven’t made that argument and wouldn’t. Others have, no doubt. I’m not them.

      As you may be aware, Berezovsky died on 23 March. The inquest into his death left open the question of whether he killed himself or was murdered. However, the inquest neither considered an obvious possible motive for his suicide, or reflected on the fact that, if anyone had a motive to murder him at this point, it was not the Russian security services.

      What’s notable about this quote is you consider motive in Berezovsky’s demise but seem to ignore it in Litvinenko’s case, instead focusing on means and opportunity at the expense of motive, or so it seems.

      I have more reading to do, so I don’t want to prematurely argue this with you until I have thoroughly vetted what you’ve presented.

      Either way, Litvinenko is not the lynch pin in the case against Putin. He’s merely one of many, so if his case is a Rabbit Hole, which it appears to be, it’s overwhelmed by so many just like it that no one can reasonably claim all the murders are at the hands of Western intelligence services to make Putin look bad. That simply doesn’t wash.

  8. Before you fixed it a line of yours said “…It took real [teu] grit and guts…”

    I did a search with Bing and learned this:

    TEU: Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (intermodal shipping container)

  9. Scaramella is certainly a piece of work. Nobody knows who he really is, and yet he’s done so much for someone his age. A real Mystery Man — very similar to Israel Shamir.

    I’m not sure how Scaramella discredits Litvinenko. Is it guilt by association you’re claiming? I’d say Scaramella was put onto Litvinenko just for that — to discredit him at a later date through guilt by association. No doubt Scaramella didn’t know he would be the foil/patsy to take the fall when the investigation was made into a farce from the inside out. But from what I can tell, Litvinenko’s exposure to him, and interaction with him, was pretty limited, and Litvinenko’s claims about Prodi and the KGB infiltration of Italy still have not been disproven despite the Mitrokhin Commission being decommissioned and silenced. Just because there’s no more commission doesn’t mean Prodi isn’t still under suspicion. Every former Communist is always under suspicion — in perpetuity as far as I’m concerned, and it’s actually a farce any Communist holds any office these days anywhere, considering.

    Italy on Financial Brink as “Former” Communist Tries to Lead

    While much of world attention has focused, understandably, on Pope Benedict XVI’s February 11 resignation announcement, another resignation and election in Italy are at the center of global financial concerns. When Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti (shown) resigned in December 2012, he set in motion the process for general elections, which took place February 24-25. The results of the election have been indecisive, to say the least, with no party gaining a majority in the parliament, and no candidate for prime minister commanding a clear mandate. Pier Luigi Bersani, the ex-Communist Party leader who now heads the Democratic Party, scored a narrow victory in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Parliament, but was unable to come up with a majority in the upper house, the Senate. Bersani is now scrambling to fashion a workable coalition with opponents. Unless and until he does that, Italy, the eurozone’s third largest economy and the world’s eighth largest economy, is faced with a “hung parliament,” without a prime minister and without a government.

    Nouriel Roubini, the New York University economist known as “Dr. Doom,” said the election results “make Italy ungovernable. It is political, economic and financial chaos.” He is not alone in that assessment; many predict that Bersani will be unable to pull together a workable coalition and that Italian voters will have to go back to the polls again within six months.

    Bersani’s Democratic Party/Italy Common Good leftist coalition took 29.5 percent of the national vote. The People of Freedom coalition led by billionaire media mogul and three-time prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, claimed 29.1 percent of the vote. The wild card that upset all expectations is the populist, anti-establishment Five Star Movement, a recent phenomenon launched by comedian Beppe Grillo, who struck a chord with millions of Italian voters by attacking and exposing the corruption in both the Berlusconi and Monti governments. Grillo’s Five Star Movement took 25.5 percent of the vote. Mario Monti’s outgoing Civic Choice coalition won the support of only 10.5 percent of voters.

    Grillo has said his party would not back a confidence vote on a new government formed by any of the mainstream parties. He has called for new elections, which he may expect would bring even more voters to his banner. Having already exceeded the expectations of most analysts, and with disgust among Italian voters for the corruption and scandals of the current parties, it’s likely that Grillo’s vote tallies would swell in a rematch.

    Kremlin’s Hand in Italy’s Politics

    What has gone virtually unmentioned in coverage and analysis of the Italian elections is the win-win-win situation for Putin with the Bersani/Berlusconi/Monti lineup; the only unknown in this respect is Grillo.

    Pier Luigi Bersani’s past history as a Communist Party leader has been passed off by media pundits as nothing to be concerned about, which is a strange nonchalance considering the extensive information concerning critical infiltration of the Italian government by the Soviet KGB/Russian FSB over many decades, as exposed by the Mitrokhin Commission, KGB/FSB defector Alexander Litvinenko, and others. The Kremlin strategists targeted Italy as a top priority not only because of its economic prominence and its key roles in the EU and NATO, but also, of course, because it is home to the Vatican and the Holy See. As the headquarters of the worldwide, billion-plus-member Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican has long been a top target of KGB intrigue (see here, here, and here).

    In addition to his long Communist Party pedigree, Bersani also served as minister twice in the administrations of Romano Prodi, whom Alexander Litvinenko identified as the KGB’s top man in Italy. It was very likely his exposure of Prodi that led Vladimir Putin to arrange Litvinenko’s public assassination by polonium poisoning in November 2006.

    The New American reported in 2007:

    The revelation that most likely sealed Alexander Litvinenko’s death warrant was his charge that Italy’s current prime minister, Romano Prodi, was known as the KGB’s top man in Italy. If true, that would also make him one of Russia’s top assets in all of Europe, since Prodi served as president of the European Commission from September 1999 through November 2004, one of the most critical periods of the European Union, which included the launching of the euro currency, expansion of the EU to include former communist countries, and drafting of the proposed EU constitution. And if true, it would make Litvinenko a bomb that could, potentially, topple governments, end high-level careers, send government officials to prison, and destroy a vast intelligence network that has taken more than a generation to put in place.

    According to Alexander Litvinenko, when he was planning to flee from Russia in 2000, he consulted his former KGB boss and trusted friend, General Anatoly Trofimov, who advised him not to seek refuge in Italy, since it was loaded with KGB agents. “Don’t go to Italy,” General Trofimov said, “there are many KGB agents among the politicians: Romano Prodi is our man there.” At the time, Signor Prodi was Italy’s prime minister. That was immediately before his stint as EU Commission president, which was followed by his return as Italy’s prime minister in May 2006.

    The Mitrokhin Commission faced enormous pressures, obstructions, and stonewalling, along with vicious attacks from press. Little wonder: Among the many individuals fingered as KGB operatives in Italy by KGB defector Vasili Mitrokhin were diplomats, military officers, cabinet ministers, intelligence officers, and prominent journalists and editors of the nation’s top newspapers. The New American reported at the time:

    There has been speculation in political and intelligence circles that a particular Italian professor/politician revealed by Mitrokhin, but referred to only by the KGB code name UCHITEL (“the Teacher”), pointed to Prodi, a former professor and longtime insider in Italy’s top business and political echelons. This would help explain why Prodi, during his earlier stint as prime minister, failed to take any action when British intelligence provided his government with information in 1996 about 261 Italians who had been operating for decades as agents for the KGB. When British sources publicly released this information in 1999, Prodi claimed not to have been informed about it earlier. However, his defense minister confirmed that he had given the British information to Prodi.

    Subsequently, when the Mitrokhin Commission began delving into the matter, Prodi and his influential media and political backers went into hyper drive to stop publication of the report. It was due out in March 2006, but still remains unpublished. More recently, on November 20, just three days before Litvinenko’s death, Prodi fired the chiefs of three of Italy’s intelligence agencies, all of whom would have been important to any investigation of the Mitrokhin information. If Prodi is Moscow’s man, as General Trofimov is alleged to have said, then Russia’s intelligence structures would stop at nothing to protect such a valuable, long-term investment.

    The New American reported further, in a separate article on Prodi, that even without the Mitrokhin and Litvinenko revelations, there were plenty of clues from the public record that Prodi was “Moscow’s Man.” Among those clues was the huge presence of “former” Communist Party officials in his cabinet, which was high even for Italy, where the communists have had a firm foothold for much of the past century, running openly for office, winning election to Parliament and serving in top government posts. We noted in 2007:

    Prodi’s left-wing Olive Tree coalition government boasts current and “former” communists, such as Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema, who was secretary of the Italian Federation of Young Communists in the 1970s, then a top member of the Italian Communist Party, and now head of the Democrats of the Left, an offshoot of the Communist Party; Minister of Social Solidarity Paolo Ferrero, a leader of the Communist Refoundation Party; and Economic Minister Pier Luigi Bersani and Labor Minister Livia Turco, both former members of the Italian Communist Party, now with the Democrats of the Left. Not to mention radical Marxists in the Prodi cabinet such as Emma Bonino, Giuliano Amato, Fabio Mussi, Francesco Rutelli, and Alessandro Bianchi.

    Is Bersani himself one of the KGB recruits mentioned under code name in the Mitrokhin investigation? What about his main opponents? Silvio Berlusconi may seem like an unlikely prospect for a KGB operative, but there are more ways to recruit — or trap — an agent of influence than with ideology or money. Sex appears to be the ticket for the scandal-plagued billionaire, who is infamous for his “Bunga Bunga” parties with underage girls. And as we noted in “The KGB Chief & the Media Mogul: The Strange Putin/Berlusconi Relationship,” Berlusconi has developed a troubling relationship with the “Godfather of the Kremlin” and his Mafiya oligarchs. Berlusconi and Putin have neighboring luxury villas on Sardinia’s Emerald Coast, and Putin has even sent his daughters to live in Berlusconi’s villa.

    Then there’s Mario Monti, the “technocrat” economist, dubbed “Super Mario” by the press during his glory years on the European Commission (1994-1999), where he helped engineer the financial integration of the European Union. Like many other EU politicians, Monti epitomizes the “Davos Man,” the jet-setting globalist denizen of the World Economic Forum (WEF) who is comfortable confecting a socialist-corporatist New World Order with the communist leaders of Russia and China. Monti is not only a regular WEF attendee, but also a member of the Atlantic Council, an advisor to Goldman Sachs — and a member of that ultimate Insiders’ club, the Bilderberg Group.

    Yet there is another very important elite “club” that is rarely mentioned in which Monti is not only a member, but a founding member: the Spinelli Group. Named for Altiero Spinelli (1907-1986), a leader of the Italian Communist Party and a key activist for European federalism, it includes the following members: Jacques Delors, a leader of the French Socialist Party and former president of the European Commission; Joschka Fischer, a former communist student leader and associate of the terrorist Red Army Faction, and later German foreign minister; Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a 1960s communist student leader, ally of terrorists, confessed child sex abuser, and member of the European Parliament on the Greens ticket; and Pier Virgilio Dastoli, an assistant to Spinelli and a leader in the Communist and Allies Group of the European Parliament.

    Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement may turn out to be a front for other forces than are apparent on the surface, but it is clear that the alternative parties led by Bersani, Berlusconi, and Monti are all hopelessly corrupt and would lead Italy to disaster.

  10. “My blog is a commemoration to him.”

    So I was right, your anti-Oligarch shtik is a smokescreen, and your real purpose is mindless vituperation of Putin. And you think you’re so unique!

    “If this blog concentrates the majority of its space, thus far at least, to criticism of Putin and Russia, it’s because there are plenty of blogs devoted 24/7 to criticism of the West and America”

    An original little snowflake, seemingly alone in a sea of Putin-adulation… However does it survive?

    So, delusional as well as a Russophobe.

    But I knew that from the start.

    • However does it survive?

      How does it survive? Because the weather outside is frightful, and the fire is slowly dying — you dummy.

      Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

      Feel free to constructively join the conversation any time. So far, you’re not much more than a heckler from the stands. Your prose is excellent. I enjoy it, but you need more substance.

      I’d even be willing to let you do a guest post, but I’m guessing you’d refuse such a gracious offer. Drive-by heckling is so much easier — and more fun.

      By the way, no more use of the word vituperative or derivations of it for a while, alright? Find a cinnamon.

      FYI, you’re going to love my next post entitled What’s Your Emergency?. Care to guess what it’s about before I post it? As always, I promise it won’t disappoint.

      Yours,

      The Lonely Snowflake

  11. PailiP, was this you over at Moon of Alabama?

    This Cold Hole asswipe…a blog that exhorts us to lie well and for all the right reasons?
    Aren’t there enough smarmy lying scumbag pro empire whores in the MSM? Sounds like Putin is making all the right moves so far, if it pisses off you and the almighty “West” everywhere, all the time, while Putin’s domestic popularity is in the 70-80 percent range.
    You might just have reality warped to fit your own uncle cracker, anti Russian viewpoint stuck in 1986.
    I think the reson your blog is not popular is not that it is full of truthiness, but that it is full of meandering bullshit cherry picked to support your own views.

    Posted by: Prey4 Justice | May 25, 2014 9:42:46 AM | 142

    If so, it’s alright if you post it here, like I have, with the screen name you use here. There’s no need to hide behind yet another screen name at another blog to excoriate me for pummeling your man crush.

    For those who aren’t sure what this is about, I posted the following at Moon of Alabama blog yesterday and as we see, PailiP’s just now, this morning, seen it.

    Putin holds all the cards.

    Putin holds a House of Cards.

    My blog is a commemoration to him. He’ll have time to read it when he’s rotting away in the Hague in six years if he’s not assassinated first.

    Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | May 24, 2014 5:03:47 PM | 36

  12. Constructive conversation? Here?

    I correct your lack of understanding about Russian population decline and you turn it into “Putin is leading Russia into another Holodomor due to overpopulation!!” Make. Me. Laugh.

    Drive-by ridicule is all you’re gonna get, because it is precisely what you deserve.

Comments are closed.