Russian flag

OOK PLUG. Phil Butler's "Putin's Praetorians". A number of us explain how we came to our present views on Putin and Russia. Many simply couldn't believe the absurdly one-sided accounts of, especially, the Sochi Olympics and Ukraine. A little digging uncovered the lies and they've never gone back.

REMINDER. A big nuclear forces exercise last week with an ICBM and 3 SLBMs fired. Dramatic night sky effects in Siberia: they saw their tax rubles at work.

GOLD. The Central Bank of Russia holds 1800 tonnes of gold. China (the world's largest gold producer – Russia is number three) holds a similar amount. Many connect this with the coming "petroyuan".

RUSSIA INC. Russia continues its climb up the World Bank's rankings for ease of doing business.

ELECTION. There's no real opposition to Putin. And why would there be? Sneering as much as it can, even the Guardian gets it.

PROPAGANDA. Putin attends the opening of a prominently-placed monument to the victims of the Soviet repressions. The monument. Paul Robinson catalogues how the lügenpresse spun this into an attack on Putin for supporting Stalin or being repressive or something. I read the Soviet media back then and it was non-stop lies, belittling, twisting of everything in the West: a complete reversal today.

SYRIA REVELATIONS. Perhaps not coincidentally with revelations on "Russiagate" and Hollywood, come revelations about Syria. First, Washington admits (quietly) that the Syrian "rebels" have used chemical weapons. Second, a senior Qatari official reveals that Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the USA began shipping weapons to jihadists in Syria in 2011. The Syrian army has found stocks of Western and Israeli weaponry in captured Daesh areas. Everything, Dear Readers, your governments and media have told you about Syria has been a lie. (BTW, how many US troops in Syria? Anybody know?).

WHAT NOW? Washington wants genetic material from Russians? Bio war? No, no, only a paranoid Russian would suggest that: for benign, even laudable, reasons. Of the US Air Force. More.

WESTERN VALUES™. RT says Twitter approached it with a scheme to sell ads during the election but RT turned it down. Twitter has banned ads from RT because of "election interference". We learn today that Twitter actually interfered by burying things harmful to Clinton.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. It's rare that the alternative media and the MSM report the same thing on the same date, but it just happened. Philip Giraldi notes that, now that we know that the Clinton campaign paid for most of the Steele dossier, "Russiagate began within the Clinton Campaign headquarters". The WSJ says the same but still thinks that it was "Russia" that dunnit; but it dunnit to the other side. Jatras marvels that, despite the collapse of Version A, they still blame Russia. But not so fast, we're not there yet: the Steele dossier is 99% fake – enough money was spend to manufacture the wanted stories – "Russia", as in the government, had nothing to do with it even if individual Russians did. (But why bother to get actual Russians when you're making it up? We only have Steele's word for it that he did). One hopes we are only a few weeks away from the contrived mess exploding. Meanwhile, in what may be the very last idiocy, we are informed that "Russia Is Using Marxist Strategies, and So Is US President US President Trump". The suicide of American soft power, Andrew Korybko perceptively calls it.

HUNGARY CLEARS ITS THROAT. Ukraine's neighbours remember the OUN and its deeds. Poland put out the movie Volyn, for example. Now it's Hungary's turn. Kiev just passed a law insisting on Ukrainian instruction, there are a lot of Hungarian speakers (many of whom have Hungarian passports), Budapest has just announced it will block Kiev's efforts to gain greater connection to NATO. (More) The most likely future of Ukraine is that parts break off the edges.

A NEW CHERNOBYL? Not at all, merely the utterance of "information terrorists working in the interests of Russian propaganda." All will be well; better than well, even. (Read November 1, 2017 Update.) (Information terrorists – that's a good one, eh?)

UKRAINE. Another tent city in Kiev. Saakashvili has a plan. Crooks, clowns and nazis. Ten thousand casualties from non-military causes – morale is terrible. Life in Kherson. Ukraine continues to test the limits of Adam Smith's apophthegm that there is much ruin in a nation.

NEW NWO. Russia and the Philippines take another step in their courtship.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

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61 Responses to RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 20171102

  1. outthere says:

    So glad not to be in Ukraine
    or downwind of Ukraine
    I remember Chernobyl so well, my friend from Vienna was visiting me, and she did not want to go home.
    read the linked article
    Get Ready for a New Chernobyl in Ukraine (updated Nov 1, 2017)

  2. Barbara Ann says:

    I must take issue with one of your points Patrick: Propaganda. A good friend of mine, who was brought up in Minsk, did his military service near Odessa (at a missile silo..) and now lives in Paris, has described propaganda and lies in the Russian media to me as “even worse than in Soviet times”.
    Large parts of the Western media does lie, belittle and twist all things Russian. But I’m sure you didn’t intend to give the impression that their Russian counterparts are now shining examples of unbiased reporting re the West – or indeed on domestic matters. We are some way off yet from “a complete reversal” I think.

  3. False comparison. No one is a “shining example” of anything this side of heaven. But I stand by it that in Russia it is far easier to get at reality than in the West. I challenge you to find an example from the Russian media, BTW.

  4. Laura says:

    Patrick and Barbara Ann — Have you seen this?
    I think we are all in an epistemic crisis and our way of life and freedom of thought is at stake.

  5. mike says:

    I’m with Barbara Ann. The West is co-equally guilty with Russia. Does anybody here actually believe that the Russians have given up Dezinformatsiya? If so, I have a bridge I want to sell you. Yes, I realize they probably got the idea from perfidious Albion. And we in the USA have done it too, and not only against the Russians. But the KGB perfected it. There is no way that the FSB stopped just because of organizational name changes.

  6. Tom says:

    @Barbara Ann@ Patrick Armstrong I believe Putin has realized that total conformity of mass media will only scare off intellectuals. Soviet times are over. They have adopted the Western system. TV is tightly controlled. But print not. You can go to any kiosk in Moscow and buy perdiodicals highly critical of the government. But who reads them? No more than 10% of the population. The internet is more problematic. To me it seems as if the government is still hesitating whether to crack down.
    So if you want to you can get yourself informed in Russia no worse than in the US. Just don´t turn on the TV or read any high circulation periodicals with simpler language. The high brow stuff though is as good or even better than in the US. TV is the same like in the USA.
    The biggest difference between the US and Russia is in the audience. Russians are more suspicious of authority. No doubt due to bad experience. The US mass media still has the trust of the majority of citizens. Therefore US media lays it on thick whereas in Russia they are more subtle. Their persuasion techniques are more underhanded. And more effective it seems to me. Also no doubt the elites are acting more in Russias national interest whereas I find it very difficult to sense any advantage for the average US citizen in what Beltway bubble inhabitants are doing in the rest of the world.
    On balance I believe that especially fly over inhabitants don´t know much about the world but have – in my experience – an instinctive grasp of the lies they are being subjected to. Hence Trump and kudos to the good instincts of those much belittled deplorables. What Trump does now is a different matter…

  7. Back in the Day they blocked us, we didn’t care what they said. Today it’s the other way round. QED.

  8. Anna says:

    You mean, Russian media has a chance to compete with the NYT (Iraq war), Washington Post (Russiagate), the Wall Street Journal (Ukraine’s “freedom” and MH17) and the whole 6-owners MSM? You are funny. The Soviet times look like a kindergarten compared to the incompetence, ineptitude, hypocrisy, and sycophancy in the highest echelons of the US power, the CIA and FBI and the Israel-occupied Congress. Where the Bolshevik sadists (many Jewish) had created GULAG (see Frenkel and Yagoda ) to exterminate the best and brightest among those representing the Russian nation, the US has created the Middle East mess in the name of Eretz Israel, MIC, and oilmen. You still do not get the gravity of the current situation when the US is refusing, consistently, to do diplomacy with Russia, despite the many attempts of the Russian federation to establish the normalcy of trade and cultural relationships. The US has been attempting to corner the resurrecting (nuclear-armed) Russia that was almost killed by the Harvard-advised shock economy in the 90-s.
    By the way, western part of the USSR, including Baltic states and some regions of Ukraine and Belorussia, still have grudges against “Russians”. See the Nazi and neo-Nazi parades in Ukraine and Baltic states. The Canadian progeny of Nazi collaborators approve the parades, whereas the Kagans-infested “think tanks” in the US have voiced no objections to the resurgence of neo-Nazism in eastern Europe. So much for the incessant squealing about “anti-semitism>’

  9. Anna says:

    Agree with Patrick

  10. Anna says:

    Are you able to provide an equivalent of “Russiagate” run by the Russian government and Russian press against a sovereign state? Just try hard.
    Meanwhile, here is the honorable Paul Craig Roberts addressing the point:

  11. I recommend this as a description of Russian propaganda for the domestic audience.

  12. kooshy says:

    I have been fallowing Russian media RT and Sputnik, Ria also Iranian media like the Press TV, I agree they naturally do have bias, but they way they show their bias is that almost only look for and report negative events, issues and news etc. of the west not that they lie. But the western MSM outright lie or twist, IMO that is the reason they are losing this information battle, and that could be the reason to limit access to foreign alternative media. So IMO it is difficult to say they don’t have a bias, or if they are balanced, but it’s even more difficult to show they are lying. The western Media not only have the bias but they are not fearful of lying since they believe they control the circulation of information and global frontlines.

  13. J says:

    The Russian government is none too happy regarding the Air Force harvesting Russian biological.
    The whole harvesting thing smacks of Biowarfare. Which contravenes the Geneva Conventions.

  14. J says:

    Here’s Vesti broadcast regarding the Air Force harvesting of Russian biological

  15. FourthAndLong says:

    You ain’t kidding. Delusions by American supporters of Russia these days are as profound as were those of nitwits like G.B. Shaw and H.G Wells who thought Uncle Joe was the fearless helmsman of a socialist utopia. Are they as severe as those promoting the ‘Russia hacked the election’ hysteria? Close call, but I’d say more so.

  16. Patrick,
    Thanks for the illuminating and moving info about the Wall of Sorrow memorial in Moscow. Between this memorial and the annual march of the immortals, I find the Russian approach to their history to be quite heartening. I think we can learn something from them as we struggle to address our Civil War history and memorials.
    A few weeks ago, I was surprised by the Russian reaction to a NATO propaganda video recounting the struggle of Baltic resistance movements against Soviet occupation. the video drew a direct line from these “forest brothers” to the current Baltic military forces. As a Lithuanian-American with several family members who fought with the forest brothers, I enjoyed the video. Russian media obviously did not find the video as enjoyable as I did. Their reaction painted the Baltic resistance as Nazi dead enders. Perhaps the current situation in Ukraine colored their reaction, but I was still surprised by the vitriol in the Russian response. Do you know if Russia has made any effort to address the substantial history of Soviet brutalization of the Baltics in any meaningful way?
    The NATO Forest Brothers video
    Some Russian reactions to the NATO video

  17. Peter AU says:

    The biggest difference between Russia and US is official statements, answers to journalists – Putin, Lavrov, executive circle ect plus the Russian military leaders – transcriptions can be found to check on anything they say officially. Same in the US.
    The diference between US spokespeople and Russian spokespeople is enormous. In the US, especialy at press conferences it is a constant stream of generalities, cliches and lies, whereas in Russia, detailed answers are usually given to journalists questions.
    RT and Sputnik bias? Hardly. They seem mild to the point of being bland although Russia is under a determined though amateurish attack by the hedgemon. If they weren’t slightly bias Russia’s way then Russia Russia may as well pay the money out to western MSM for anti Russian propaganda rather than running their own world services.
    Domestic propaganda – all I have to go on is the Saker analysis (I do not know Russian) which Patrick has linked to and thought most likely to be accurate at the time I read it.
    But again, the starkest contrast is between transcripts of US official utterances and that of Russia. Over a period of time, Russian official statements have proved accurate and detailed, whereas US are generalities, cliches and lies.

  18. different clue says:

    Patrick Armstrong,
    In my purely amateur opinion, it seems to me that if Russia can be seen to consistently meet and perform certain difficult-operations benchmarks in the civilian economy; that that would be a sign of real economic development and advancement to reach that benchmark-meeting level.
    IF! . . . such a thing as “difficulty-threshold benchmarks” actually exist as an analytically useful set of things to watch for. IF such benchmarks can be thought of as actually existing, I think one such benchmark would be the ability to repeatedly and routinely get Kamchatka salmon from the Pacific ports to the markets of Western Russia . . . Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and then the smaller cities and even towns. Doing that would indicate the ability to handle delicate fish over 10 time zones of distance, make the salmon trains run on time each time every time, etc.
    If that seems like a silly thing to suggest as a performance benchmark to watch for, then I suppose we can all have a good laugh at my well-intended suggestion. But if it seems like a useful indicator of having reached a certain level of success at handling difficult multi-step commercial operations and logistics, then the appearance of fresh ( or maybe even just flash frozen) Kamchatka salmon in those markets is something to watch for.

  19. Peter AU says:

    Above all, I value honesty.
    Toner youtube –

  20. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    I grew up in communist Hungary. Although Radio Free Europe was forbidden to listen to we still had an alternative source of information. Now the roles have reversed.

  21. Peter AU says:

    State department spokesperson Psaki is right here . Those nasty Rooshens had no right to eavesdrop on Nuland and Pyatt’s private hegemon conversation about Yats is the man and f..k the EU, and publish this
    I do like Zakhrova’s press conferences though.

  22. Sure OK. How about becoming self-sufficient in chickens, pigs and (if the story about offering to export beef to Saudi Arabia is true) cows? Is that a benchmark enough for you? (PS why bring salmon from Far East to Moscow when it’s easier to bring it from the north?)

  23. Russians are pretty neuralgic about nazis. Perhaps they see them where they aren’t. But we don’t see them anywhere except in movies.
    Who’s got a better bead on things as Agent K might ask?
    Well not us, that’s for sure. Vide Ukraine.
    As to the Baltics, most of the Russians I know who have an opinion would argue (with, I might add, some justification) that Moscow tried to wake UK and France to the German danger, got a very lethargic response, signed up with Hitler to buy time, grabbed territory to buy space. They are also aware (as most in the West aren’t) that the first county to sign a non-aggression pact with Hitler was…. drumroll…. Poland.

  24. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Did you read the Donna Brazile disclosures? In the immortal words of TTG’s SSG, “The shit is on, good buddy!”.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  25. kooshy says:

    Don’t be scared “The Cat has become a pious Muslim”
    “Senior US official visited Damascus for talks: Lebanese daily”

  26. Barbara Ann says:

    Agree re epistemic crisis in US. To the article’s main question as to whether Trump can “brazen his way out of an indictment”, I’d repeat my previous view that Trump’s potential nuclear option remains calling the faithful to the streets. What anyone says with regard to his guilt or otherwise would likely cease to be relevant if he pressed that particular button.

  27. LeaNder says:

    Mike, what is the real difference between “Dezinformatsiya?”/Disinformation and marketing or shaping Public Opinion to one’s own advantage?
    Never mind that propaganda and disinformation was largely ignored post 1945.
    May I give you the definition of Public Relations/(Marketing), and have you ever reflected on how much of what you read is based on it?
    Here is the definition of a German prof: PR is “the construction of desirable realities”. Notice, must be the construction only.
    In 1986, Merten published widely acclaimed writings on the evolution of communication and public relations. Merten formulated in 2006 an essay ‘Only who can lie can communicate’ (Press Spokesman, 4, Issue 1, 2006: 22-25), in which he consistently derived from a theoretical perspective that communication always calls for the possibility to act without truth.

  28. Barbara Ann says:

    Glad to see my previous post generated a good range of views – echo chambers rarely produce new information.
    Patrick, my friend was referring primarily to TV and print media in Russia and given that I do not have easy access to these (I have no Russian) I must decline your challenge. I’ll therefore happily restate my comment as merely echoing the view of a trusted friend (and his Moscow-born wife). Both were (re)educated at elite European business schools, so I acknowledge that this may color their views WRT their erstwhile homelands.
    On Raevsky’s article on propaganda, I certainly concur that Russia no longer needs to generate anti-Western propaganda for domestic consumption – simply translating the hysterical lunacy we put out is enough to expose the lies and hypocrisy.
    kooshy, I too follow Russian media designed for foreign consumption (and Press TV as it happens) and agree that notwithstanding the expected selection bias re subject matter and sources, I agree it is generally at least as factual ‘ours’. As I say, it is Russian domestic media that was the subject of the comment.
    Sid Finster, I agree that Western anti-Russian propaganda has increased enormously and you are right to highlight the difference between a population that knows media is biased/controlled and one that has yet to realize this.
    Tom, re finding the truth in a Moscow kiosk:
    Anna, I’m pleased you find me amusing.

  29. FB Ali says:

    Leander, if you must use italics, please learn how to turn them off at the end of your post.
    Otherwise you screw up the whole thread below.

  30. different clue says:

    Patrick Armstrong,
    Your benchmarks are benchmarks for sure. Moving fresh salmon from the Far East to Moscow and keeping it fresh would be even more difficult given the distances involved. It would indicate that the whole Trans-Siberian Railroad system is reliably working up to Fresh Salmon quality over several thousand miles. Self-sufficiency in chickens and pigs within European Russia seems simpler to me. Would exporting beef from European Russia to Saudi Arabia be just as difficult as moving salmon from the Far East to West Russia? Aren’t chicken, pork and beef more durable meats and easier to handle and ship while maintaining quality than salmon is? (Perhaps people who know about handling and shipping bulk quantities of various kinds of meat can weigh in on this).
    When I talk about salmon, I am talking about wild salmon. When you mention salmon from the “north”, what “north” are you talking about? I looked up about the ranges of the wild salmon species and I find that the
    Chum salmon and the Pink salmon are described as ranging “west” to the Lena River. The Lena River is still pretty far East and poses the same challenges of distance and processing/handling/shipping infrastructure.
    So what “north” are you talking about? Scandinavian Europe? Because if you are talking about Scandinavian Europe, you are talking about farmed salmon. I have eaten farmed salmon and I have eaten the quality of wild salmon available to people several thousand miles from the Pacific River fishing grounds. And farmed salmon is pure crap, not even worth eating. If farmed salmon is what you are talking about from the “north”, that is no benchmark of anything. Any Russians who would rather have wild shinola salmon from the Far East than farmed sh*t salmon from the “north” would not be impressed by the “greater easiness” of bringing farmed sh*t salmon from the “north”.

  31. kooshy says:

    “ simply translating the hysterical lunacy we put out is enough to expose the lies and hypocrisy.”
    Ann, as I read Persian language Iranian media this is exactly what is happening on Iranian Media, they simply translate the western hypocrisy and some times make a few comments on it.
    They know those who fallow and read both language version will confirm the authenticity of the translation,
    is a technique using no lie or twist and hard to counter.

  32. b says:

    Salmon, for example from north America/Canada to Europe, is usually transported on planes …

  33. mike says:

    different clue –
    “…farmed salmon is pure crap, not even worth eating.”
    We finally agree on something. I won’t eat salmon unless I catch it myself or if it comes from someone I know and trust.
    Unfortunately we are on the wrong side of history. The United Nations Fisheries-and-Aquaculture department claims that two million tons of farmed salmon are produced compared to less than a million for wild, all varieties,

  34. mike says:

    LeaNder –
    There is a relationship.
    But disinformation is deliberate lies spread to deceive. An outright lie propagated to mislead.
    PR tries to manage information to put the best spin on it. Hence the term ‘spin meister’. Many use it in a deceitful way: cherry picking facts, or using words that appear truthful in order to convey a false impression, or rhetorical tricks to ‘shape’ facts. Common in politics, business, entertainment, sports, courtrooms, in domestic arguments, and even sometimes here on this otherwise wundebaren blog by some commenters (I do not exclude myself).

  35. Forget salmon. I was too laconic in my response.
    Russia has in the last few years probably become self-sufficient in food. When I lived in Moscow (93-96) it was generally said that 50% of food was imported. I have anecdotal experience of the dismal state of Russian food production then. That was the era of Bush legs (chicken). Canada at that time started exporting pork (grew to about $500M a year). Russia now is self-sufficient in chicken and pork; beef soon (gestation periods). It is the world’s largest grain exporter. These are benchmarks far more important than Far East salmon in Moscow (which there may be, for all I know).
    The lugenpresse seldom reports these things.

  36. For those who don’t speak Russian and thus can’t see how Russians view the US, here are a couple videos with English subtitles. Use the direct links if the video doesn’t load.
    MUST SEE interview of Maria Zakharova on Russian TV
    Two part MUST SEE interview of Margarita Simonyan [head of Russia Today] on Russian TV
    Basically the Russians think the US has gone cray-cray…

  37. different clue says:

    Salmon by plane? I did not know that. Well then, it should be easy enough for Russia to move Far East salmon by plane to West Russia. So it is not such a benchmark.

  38. different clue says:

    Patrick Armstrong,
    Thank you for the clarification. Was Russia on this self-sufficiency path even before the Obama sanctions? Did the Obama sanctions speed up Russia’s progress? If so, then that would be a lesson for the US in the benefits of protectionism, since the Obama sanctions would be a functional form of “protectionism from without”.
    Forget salmon? I’m afraid I can’t do that. I like salmon too much. But I will accept that “Far East Salmon reaching West Russia” is not the benchmark I thought it might be. Still, I hope it is happening. Why should Russians have to settle for aqua-feedlot corn-fed “salmon” if they can get the real thing?

  39. different clue says:

    I’m sorry to learn that we don’t agree on anything else. Well . . . we’ll just have to share our agreement on salmon, then. And the salmon you have had is probably as much better than the “Copper River Sockeye” salmon I can get from Krogers after its multi-thousand-mile journey . . . . as that salmon itself is from the “chicken tenders of the sea” that one gets from the salmon farms.
    As to history, maybe it doesn’t have any sides and no persistent direction. Maybe Homer Simpson got it right when he said : ” Aww.. history is just a bunch of stuff that happened.” We are certainly on the right side of salmon.

  40. J says:

    Regarding the Poles in the Russian memories, don’t forget their mutial love fests (i.e. the Polish-Russian War of 1792, and then there is of course the Russian-Polish 1654-1667, the Livionian War of 1558, and there’s the Moscow War of 1612, the 1830 thang, with a few more like the 1409 thrown in for good measure).
    Citing the above we’d have to say the Russians look upon the Poles as ‘non-aggressive’ towards the Russians, right?
    We’re not even going to mention the Teutonic Knights thing-a-ma-jig aka Ледовое побоище. And my fellow Americans today think only of the ‘Cold’ War of the 20th Century when they think of Россия.
    There’s no salt-in-the-wounds between the Russians and the Poles there would you say?
    Вставайте, люди русские!
    On a more pleasant note Beautiful, beautiful Славяне – Дети Богов.
    History doesn’t stop for anyone. Don’t forget the song Журавли
    Пелагея sings Ой,да не вечер.

  41. Pavlo says:

    Your enthusiasm for Nazi terrorists is noted.
    Perhaps you think the characterisation is unfair – it isn’t. You should take note of just how many Baltic terrorists were former Reich collaborationists, and don’t try to minimise the significance of that – Balt nationalists in general fully supported the Germans’ genocidal ambitions, just not with respect to themselves.

  42. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    You might wish to review Harry Fankfurt’s article on “Bullshit”:
    G.A. Chein’s article “Deeper into Bullshit”
    and, if you have time, read the volume: “Bullshit and Philosophy:
    Guaranteed to Get Perfect Results Every Time”, Gary L. Hardcastle and George A. Reisch. You can see the table of contents:
    A few schools are now offering courses on how to identify “bullshit” since few students are trained in rhetoric and logic these days. Here is one example:
    Ishmael Zechariah

  43. Castellio says:

    Canada continues its march into self-righteous irrelevance.
    We’ve found and identified the bad guys: Russians, Venezuelans and South Sudanese.

  44. Peter AU says:

    ” Aww.. history is just a bunch of stuff that happened.”
    History is continous, rather than something that “happened”.
    Defence of Deir Ezzor. Makes the Alamo crowd look a bunch of losers.
    Even Stalingrad was not totaly surrounded and cut off.
    History walks over empires and tramples them into the mud.
    I see by your post below, you have downgraded the importance of fresh wild salmon. Nothing better than a freshly caught fish, but I would guess it would be low on the list of Russian strategic priorities at the present time.

  45. turcopolier says:

    Peter AU
    I will elbow my way into this. IMO you are completely wrong about history. It has no purpose, it has no inevitable direction. It has no “arc.” It just happens. the left like the idea of purpose in history because they use that notion as propaganda just as Marx did. pl

  46. LeaNder says:

    Yes, I should pay more attention, especially if I am in babbling mode looking for distraction. Point taken. Thank you Sir.

  47. LeaNder says:

    Thanks Ismael, that’s an interesting two man team, or on the surface an interesting ‘cross-fields-approach’:

  48. Gibbon: “history is little more than the record of mankind’s crimes, follies and misfortunes.”

  49. LeaNder says:

    ‘funny’: “dieses ansonsten wunderbaren Blogs”, would work. It felt odd. Are you a linguist? A speaker of German or is this some type of accident?
    “(I do not exclude myself)”
    you shouldn’t, I for one, appreciate your presence.

  50. jld says:

    No need to lecture LeaNder on bullshit she is an accomplished master.

  51. LeaNder says:

    You should take note of just how many Baltic terrorists were former Reich collaborationists, and don’t try to minimise the significance of that
    Is that so? Pavlo? Besides TTG alludes not to ‘the Baltic territories’ but to Latvian experience:

  52. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There is, evidently, a very strong belief in purposefulness of History among recent (last 150 years) Catholic Thinkers. Please check the historian Christopher Dawson and von Balthazar (sic. ?)

  53. Babak Makkinejad says:

    It is not for money alone, often you are dealing with expanded populations that need to be fed; lake Urmia in Iran and Aral Sea in Uzbekistan are instances of greed and stupidity of economic development. What is needed, among the Christiabs, is an Ecological Theology and among Muslims an Ecological Sharia.

  54. mike says:

    Pavlo –
    The Hilfswilliger or Hiwis were not all Ukrainians, Tatars, and Balts. Half of the collaborators in German uniform were ethnic Russians.

  55. mike says:

    TTG –
    In the late fifties, my cousin and I used to occasionally drink after hours at the Lithuanian Club in Southie. The bouncer who let us in had one eye and a badly scarred face and little or no English. Looking back now I would bet that he was probably an alumnus of the Forest Brothers.

  56. TTG,
    On the current situation of the Baltics, as on much else, useful context may be provided by the remarks on ‘Revolution, War and Empire’ given at the recent Valdai Club meeting by one of the best of British post-war historians, Dominic Lieven – himself the descendant of a great family of Baltic German nobility.
    (See .)
    It may also be useful to bring into the picture two notable figures born into Lithuanian noble families – Felix Dzerzhinsky and Jozef Pilsudski.
    At the heart of Lieven’s discussion is an emphasis on the ambiguous effects of the changes associated with ‘modernisation’, with industrialisation, urbanisation, and mass education, and the spread of ‘modern’ political ideas of liberalism, nationalism, and socialism, generating inherently contradictory pressures.
    So in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries developments associated with ‘modernisation’ led easily to the conclusion that empire or something like it was the key to success, if not indeed survival, for nations and peoples. But, particularly but not exclusively, in parts of the world where ‘nationalist’ consolidations could not build on long-standing coherent forms of identity, they generated pressures towards fragmentation – and this was particularly so in the Hapsburg, Romanov and Ottoman Empires.
    A point other historians – notably Liliana Riga – have stressed is that one escape route from these dilemmas was to embrace an ideology promising a utopian future in which ethnic and religious antagonisms are transcended.
    So Dzerzhinsky ends up as the organiser of the Soviet secret police. Meanwhile, Pilsudski chooses the ‘nationalist’ route, but submerges Lithuanian identity in Polish. As a result, he becomes the founder of the modern Polish state and also of ‘Prometheism’ – in which an awareness of the power of nationalism becomes the basis for using it to undermine the transformed version of the Russian Empire which Dzerzhinsky helped establish and defend.
    In the First World War, the policy of Imperial Germany was driven by two fears – of the effects of the processes of fragmentation inside the Hapsburg Empire, and of possibly successful ‘modernisation’ inside the Romanov – which might turn it into a ‘superpower’.
    The élites of Wilhelmine Germany actually fought their war in the East rather cleverly – exploiting both national and class tensions within the Russian Empire to good effect. As regards Britain, their policy was a calamity.
    Having by attempting to challenge British naval power caused my countrymen – temporarily at least – to move away from their traditional Russophobia, the Germans then played into the hands of British efforts to enlist the vast potential power of the United States against them.
    But for the defeat in the West which American intervention produced, Eastern Europe would have been consolidated – at least in the short term – as a sphere of German hegemony, with anti-Russian nationalists, particularly in Ukraine, playing a key role.
    Instead, the fragmenting effects of ‘modernisation’ were given full rein, with, in addition, the principle of ‘self-determination’ applied in ways that worked against the two major powers of the area, Germany and Russia both of which had been excluded from the peace settlement. This was hardly a recipe for stability – and implicit in it, from the start, was the possibility of collaboration between those two powers.
    After it became clear that Hitler’s version of nationalism had definitively defeated both communism and social democracy in Germany, a critical question, for policymakers in Paris, London and Moscow, became what were the implications of the fact that he was a nationalist. The agenda set out in ‘Mein Kampf’ was actually for a radical reconciliation of the tensions Lieven analyses.
    The conditions for nationalism would be destroyed by a combination of annihilation and ethnic cleansing, leaving the remnants as a ‘helot’ population in an autarkic German ‘Lebensraum’ capable of confronting the United States.
    (See .)
    A common alternative interpretation was that the views expressed by Hitler when he was an obscure agitator were likely to have little relevance to what he would do now he held power. According to this view, Hitler’s real agenda – and in particular, that for which he would be prepared to take large risks of another major war – was to bring ethnic Germans into a Greater German ‘Reich.’
    From the first interpretation, two possible conclusions could be drawn. One was that it was actually in the interests of the Western democracies to tolerate, or indeed encourage, German expansion eastwards, in the hope that the two ‘totalitarian’ powers would destroy each other.
    The other was that Hitler had to be stopped, it was absurd to believe that the power of any of the East European states, in itself, was adequate to do this, and effective ‘containment’ required the involvement of the Soviet Union.
    If, sitting in London, you think it is obvious that Hitler’s agenda is to bring ethnic Germans into a Greater German Reich, how do things look? People in the West who are naive enough to take ‘Mein Kampf’ seriously, it naturally follows, are to be seen as gratuitously risking a confrontation with Germany over the Sudetenland, which is likely to escalate – 1914-style – into a general war.
    Moreover, it is then natural to assume that the Soviets see all this, and their professions of interest in ‘collective security’ and the ‘Popular Front’ are part of a disingenuous strategy designed to inveigle German and the Western powers into a new disastrous war. This view was part of the the basis of ‘appeasement’, and in particular of Neville Chamberlain’s thinking.
    What then if, sitting in Moscow, one – without necessarily concluding that Hitler will act on the basis of ‘Mein Kampf’ – takes that book seriously, and thinks that the British do as well? The short answer is that it becomes natural to conclude that Chamberlain has drawn the alternative implication I have suggested if one takes ‘Mein Kampf’ seriously – and is trying to encourage Germany East in the hope that it will destroy the Soviet Union.
    Actually, this view is demonstrably wrong. When in March the occupation of the rump of Czechoslovakia destroyed the credibility of the assumption that Hitler’s objectives were limited to bringing ethnic Germans into a Greater German Reich, the unilateral guarantee to Poland was intended as a ‘deterrent’.
    Unfortunately, Chamberlain was too stupid to grasp that a natural counter-move by Hitler would be to seek an agreement with Stalin, and that – for all kinds of reasons – the latter might think that his least worst option to make terms.
    Among other things, the Polish guarantee ‘cooked the goose’ of the Baltics. As Hitler advanced, so too did Stalin. And indeed, the fact that he did so probably saved Leningrad from falling in the summer of 1941. Of course, this also meant that the Baltics were subjected to Soviet methods of imperial management by terror.
    And of course, like Dzerzhinsky, both Stalin and Beria were not ethnic Russians – both came from the Caucasus, and so had a very strong awareness of the power of nationalism, but had, as it were, taken the Dzerzhinsky route: and responded to those taking versions of the Pilsudski one with extreme violence. Similar violence, however, was also directed, for different reasons, at very many ethnic Russians.
    In the event, unlike his predecessors in the First World War, Hitler followed Napoleon in relying on ‘blitzkrieg’ against Russia – and lost. Of course, during this conflict, very many anti-communist and anti-Russian nationalists collaborated with the Germans. What on earth did anyone expect them to do, in the real world?
    What then however happened was that, in the wake of Hitler’s defeat, Stalin made precisely the mistake against which some of Russia’s most incisive conservative thinkers had warned his Tsarist predecessors.
    By attempting a ‘Pan-Slav’ solution in Eastern Europe, he actually made familiar problems of imperial management totally unmanageable. In essence, he had boxed his successors into over-extended positions which they could not in the long run expect to hold, but which they could not abandon without risking stimulating the tendencies towards fragmentation inside the Soviet Union itself.
    Fast forward then to the selection of Gorbachev as leader, and his throwing in his lot with anti-Stalinist elements in the Russian élite. The mantra of the time was Georgiy Arbatov’s line, “Our major secret weapon is to deprive you of an enemy”. The assumption was that, if the Soviets liquidated the Stalinist inheritance, including both the Eastern European Empire and contingency planning for a World War II-style conflict, that would undercut the position of anti-Russian forces in the West.
    There were, of course, sceptics – including among anti-Stalinist and indeed anti-communists. Such people could point out that British Russophobia antedated the Bolshevik Revolution, and was only reluctantly and temporarily abandoned when there were challenges from a power like France or Germany.
    In addition, very many of the people making the running in American policy, they could point out, were refugees from Russia and Eastern Europe: among many obvious example, Brzezinski, who might be seen as Pilsudski’s heir, being a particular notable one.
    In the event, the position of the sceptics turned out right. The final epitaph on Arbatov’s delusions was provided by Putin at Valdai, when he was asked by a German participant what mistakes he thought Russia had made in its relations with the West. His reply: ‘Our most serious mistake in relations with the West is that we trusted you too much. And your mistake is that you took that trust as weakness and abused it.’
    It is, I think, precisely many people who were naturally inclined to Arbatov’s view who were most deeply angered by the ‘Forest Brothers’ video. A good example, I suspect, is Maria Zakharova. They think, quite rightly, that they were, as we say in Britain, ‘taken for Charlies.’
    (See )
    This does not mean that any of these people have the least desire to repeat Stalin’s mistakes, and invade the Baltics.
    But, of course, as the ‘front line states’ in a conflict with an hostile alliance, any economic links which could be used against Russia have to be minimised.
    In Gorbachev’s dream-world of the ‘common European home’, the geographical position and historical links of the Baltics could have been an enormous advantage. In the new world, something close to the reverse applies.
    Meanwhile, as was well illustrated by comments by ‘rkka’ here a few days ago, many people who are not in any Stalinist by natural inclination have come round to the view that, whatever else he got wrong, about Western policy he was essentially right.

  57. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In my opinion, the Russian Federation will succesfully down-size Lithuania when the opportunity presents itself. She will apply the same techniques that were so succesfully employed against Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.

  58. Peter AU 1 says:

    In reading histories of wars and politics, it is the history of the range of human character that never changes. We gather accumulated knowledge over the centuries, yet human character stays the same.
    Sometimes we can modify our behaviour if we are aware of issues, but near impossible to completely override the operating system programmed into us before birth.

  59. different clue says:

    Peter AU,
    “downgraded the importance of fresh wild salmon” . . . ? really?
    I think you may be viewing my comment in response to Mike’s comment through the entirely wrong end of the telescope.
    Since charts and graphs may help illustrate certain realities better than words can sometimes, I will do my best to make a crude little chart illustrating what I said about the relative merits and quality of Fresh-caught wild salmon, grocery-store wild salmon and farmed salmon.
    I I
    I I
    I Farm salmon…Grocery wild salmon…Fresh caught wild salmon I
    I I
    I The worst <------------Pretty Good----------------> The best I
    I ______________________________________________________________ I

  60. different clue says:

    That has always been my suspicion. And that is what I have done. Wild salmon from a can is better than farmed salmon from a restaurant. The quality fall-off from wild (even if it is “just” wild coho/chum from the inside of a can) to farmed is vertically steep and catastrophically total.

  61. different clue says:

    Babak Makkinejad,
    Various groups within the various Christian Churches and Denominations are working to do that very thing. Here is an example.
    And some are looking to Western Civilization’s pre-Christian “Deep Past” to see where an anti-environmental ethic of anti-stewardship might have first emerged and where precedents for a pro-environmental ethic of pro-stewardship may be found in the same “Deep Past” of the same Western Civilization.
    One such author is the plant geneticist/ agronomic scientist Wes Jackson lately of The Land Institute (which he founded some thirty years ago). He wrote a book about this kind of thinking called
    New Roots For Agriculture.
    Also ” Altars of Unhewn Stone

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