Friday, July 24, 2015

Russia and Ukraine Links

The following are abstracted from, with minor editing, the links below.  For the full story please go to the original posts.  

During the last several years, Putin arduously worked to suppress and eliminate all the liberal and democratic elements in his country, which he believed could challenge his power. To fight them, he actively promoted the anti-liberal and reactionary forces of the society, granting them extensive political and social influences. Thus, today, the Russian government has surrounded itself by and in fact incorporated extreme anti-democratic forces, who exercise almost unlimited power, creating a union of both far right and far left – radical nationalists, religious fundamentalists and monarchists united with Stalinists, other communists and totalitarian utopians.

All that matters for Putin is their points of agreement: belief in an absolute autocratic government, repression of political diversity and freedom of speech, state control over the social and private realms, intolerance to ethnic and religious minorities, imposition of one state ideology, the pursuit of “traditional values”, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, hatred towards homosexuals, etc. As a matter of fact, all these and other properties of the current Russian state well fit Umberto Eco’s famous fourteen criteria, which he described as the necessary qualifications of fascism.

“The current wave of neo-Nazism is different from what the elders remember from Perestroika in the first half of the 1990’s. In that sense, the wave that came at the end of the 1990’s and the beginning of 2000, is a new youthful wave of people who really call themselves Nazis or nationalist socialists, or stand for ‘white power,’ which in European terminology is still considered to be neo-Nazism. There is quite a large number of such people. Essentially, they constitute the majority of the Russian nationalist movement.

I remember very well in Soviet schooling, that the main complaint against Hitler’s regime was that Hitler killed communists and attacked the USSR, and other countries. Of course, Nazi Germany was seen first and foremost as the aggressor. However, if one is not a German neo-Nazi but a Russian neo-Nazi, this complaint disappears. Communism is also outdated. The rest was silenced in Soviet school, the Holocaust too, by the way

Moscow has released an initial list of “undesirable organizations” that constitute a “threat to the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation, its defense capabilities and its national security.” The list includes the MacArthur Foundation (which had been funding cooperation between Western and Russian scientists).  The move, part of Vladimir Putin’s campaign to stifle civil society in Russia, comes as no surprise

In the early 1990s, (the author) served as executive director of George Soros’s International Science Foundation for the former Soviet Union and Baltic States. We helped tens of thousands of scientists remain in the profession by giving them emergency support grants to feed their families.

(This was followed by the) MacArthur Foundation (which) devise(d) a program to advance research in the natural sciences in the Russian education system. (The) proposal (was) to establish centers combining research and education at Russian universities — a shift from the Soviet model, in which universities emphasized teaching while the Academy of Sciences and industry institutes conducted research. Education minister, Alexander Tikhonov, in March 1998, was enthusiastic, stating that his ministry would match every dollar contributed.

(The MacArthur Foundation) selected 16 Russian universities to receive grants of $1 million over three years; established the first technology transfer offices at Russian universities, helped Russian scientists learn how to deal with equipment suppliers, and provided funding to attend international conferences.

Andrei Fursenko, the minister of education and science from 2004 to 2012, was a strong supporter. In June 2014 (the author) met with Mr. Fursenko in Moscow. He expressed concern about Russian scientists refusing to revise their articles to respond to criticisms and suggestions from peer reviewers — a major reason behind their declining share of publications in international journals.

Earlier this month, (the author) saw Mr. Fursenko again. I expressed my concerns over the Kremlin’s recent actions. He told me bluntly (repeating the Kremlin’s lines) that things have changed. He said that this was because “America cannot tolerate any partner who does not behave as an obedient child listening to a parent’s strictures.” Russia, he said, is tired of this.

These are symptoms of a broader reversal. The Kremlin, suspicious of the West’s democratic values and what they might bring, now finds the risks of cooperation to be too great.

Garry Kasparov is a renowned Russian chess Grandmaster and former World Chess Champion. He retired from chess in 2005. He is also a political activist and prominent Putin critic (now living in America). A section about Garry Kasparov has been removed from a book commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Russian sports society Spartak. Evgeny Gik, the author of the section on Kasparov, said that the book’s editor couldn't say who exactly made this decision.

Every week produces a rich harvest of manifestations of “official insanity” in Russia, according to Vera Yurchenko of Moscow’s “Novaya Gazeta” newspaper. Here is her Top 10 for this past week:

A crisis has spread to almost every third Russian company town, where one employer dominates the local economy, and only a fraction of them will get government aid, officials said on Wednesday.
“We have 319 mono-cities, and 94 of them are classified as in crisis,” Economy Minister Alexey Ulyukayev said in Usolye-Sibirskoye, a town in the Irkutsk region of Siberia, at a meeting led by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. “According to our estimates, the funds allocated in the budget for four years will be enough for 20-30 monocities.”

This article lists 45 secret instructions issued by Beria to the NKVD regarding Poland. From them it becomes obvious of the Kremlin’s intent to wreck the economies of the Eastern European countries left in their control after the end of the war.

At the end of the Second World War, half of Europe was occupied by ‘liberating’ Soviet troops. Officially (The Yalta agreement), Moscow stated it will respect the sovereignty and independence of the occupied countries, and ensure the right to self-determination of the entrants in its area of influence. In reality, their fate was already sealed. In a few years, they had replaced these countries’ democratic regimes with totalitarian systems inspired and controlled by the Kremlin.

The plan of this transition was the same everywhere. Much of it has been theorized by Lavrentiy Beria himself, the dreaded chief of the NKVD. A secret directive written for the Soviet secret services working in Poland demonstrates this set developed by the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs on 2 June 1947, bearing the sign “Moscow 02.06.1947 K-AA / CC113, indication NK/003/47.

Vladimir Putin was of deep interest to American intelligence even when he was deputy mayor of St Petersburg in the 1990s. “Putin . . . was part and parcel of looting the state; and he was involved in it for years,” Richard Palmer, a former CIA station chief in Moscow, claimed in evidence to a US congressional committee in 1999.

Yet surprisingly little is known about the extent of Putin’s personal wealth or whether it is hidden. One reason is that the United States has been concerned with more pressing priorities during the intervening 20 years. Another is that the White House found claims of corruption in Russia politically awkward at a time when they were trying to get along with the man in the Kremlin.

As they did so, a picture emerges of low-level US government officials gathering material on Putin’s wealth and political appointees, which was simply ignored by their masters.  “I know of one instance where a CIA report on corruption was sent to the White House, where an official wrote on it in foul language and sent it back.”


  1. judas priest...I think I have one last putin meme for yellowdog granny..after that I don't think I will do them any more.making a joke out of putin is like making a joke out of hitler..feck.


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